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Daily Archives: April 22, 2011

Se eterniza la tiranía en Cuba

Se eterniza la tiranía en CubaLa dictadura de es un fenómeno social inexplicableJosé Santiago Healy (*)

Lo que ocurre en Cuba semeja una pésima película de ficción con una trama aburrida y un final incierto que difícilmente será feliz.

Fidel Castro a sus 84 años de edad decide finalmente despojarse de todos los títulos políticos para heredarlos a su hermano Raúl de 79 años y del mismo perfil dictatorial y autoritario.

Mientras en el Medio Oriente la sociedad sale a las calles para derrocar a sus gobiernos opresores, en la isla caribeña se lleva al cabo una transición ordenada y pacífica, pero ¡entre tiranos de la misma sangre!

Castro asumió el poder en Cuba luego de una revolución o revuelta armada en 1959 y no soltó el mando único hasta el año 2006 cuando una enfermedad intestinal lo puso al borde de la muerte.En ese entonces el líder cubano delegó una buena parte del poder en su hermano Raúl, quien había sido su brazo derecho durante sus casi cincuenta años al frente del gobierno.Pero se mantenía como primer secretario del Partido Comunista Cubano, un cargo con mucho simbolismo político, hasta el pasado martes cuando entregó el puesto a su hermano Raúl y la segunda secretaría a José Ramón Machado, actual vicepresidente del país. Como tercer secretario fue designado Ramiro Valdés, quien fue comandante de la revolución y otro viejo compañero de andanzas de los hermanos Castro.La prolongada y atroz dictadura de Fidel Castro es un fenómeno social inexplicable. Dio inicio en 1959 en medio de grandes esperanzas luego del régimen también autoritario de Fulgencio Bautista, pero al paso de los años se convirtió en un gobierno antidemocrático en donde no se han respetado los más elementales.

Para colmo el régimen de Castro abrazó el comunismo de la Unión Soviética que nada tenía que ver con la idiosincrasia de los pueblos latinoamericanos y que generó guerras intestinas de grandes dimensiones en varios países de Centroamérica y el Caribe.Castro desarrolló a su favor un liderazgo que sedujo a las corrientes de izquierda en el mundo entero gracias a su feroz rivalidad con y a su habilidad política -vagancia dirían algunos– para enfrentar las adversidades.Entre más golpes recibía de Estados Unidos y sus aliados durante las primeras décadas de su gestión, crecía el número de sus simpatizantes entre universitarios, intelectuales y militantes de partidos liberales.En medio de las tempestades, Castro logró granjearse las simpatías de personajes de la talla de Jimmy Carter y Gabriel García Márquez, y de presidentes mexicanos como José López Portillo y Carlos Salinas. Incluso recibió la visita de Juan Pablo II en el año 1998 que levantó grandes expectativas de cambio que lamentablemente nunca lograron concretase. Pero todo tiene un principio y un final. El gobierno cubano tuvo su época de gloria durante el auge soviético, pero al paso de los años sus políticas equivocadas llevaron al país a una pobreza crónica y a un aislamiento mundial en prácticamente todos los terrenos.

Por ello fue patético escuchar de voz del nuevo líder del Partido Comunista, Raúl Castro, que su principal cometido será "defender, preservar y proseguir perfeccionando el socialismo y no permitir jamás el regreso del régimen capitalista".

En un país con tantas carencias y en donde no existen libertades de empresa, de expresión ni de creencias religiosas, ¿por qué hablar de perfeccionar un sistema que está agotado y que demostró su inoperancia desde hace varios años?

Ya sabemos que tampoco el capitalismo ni el liberalismo económico han sido capaces de acabar con la pobreza y atraso de los pueblos latinoamericanos. Pero permiten libertades y la lucha de ciudadanos hacia un sistema democrático con un mejor nivel de vida. En Cuba a los opositores se les castiga con cárcel y con el aislamiento social. Sólo la alta burocracia vive decorosamente mientras que el grueso de la población padece hambre, marginación y pobreza.

Pero ni Fidel ni Raúl Castro quieren soltar el poder ni promover un verdadero cambio. Lástima porque Cuba es un gran país que tiene en su gente su mayor riqueza.- México, D.F.

http://www.yucatan.com.mx/20110422/nota-13/109361-se-eterniza-la-tirania-en-cuba.htm

Chávez: "No hemos copiado nunca ni copiaremos jamás el modelo cubano"

Política, Relaciones Cuba-

Chávez: "No hemos copiado nunca ni copiaremos jamás el modelo cubano"

El venezolano citó como prueba de ello que el trabajo por cuenta propia es masivo en la nación suramericana

EFE, Caracas | 22/04/2011

El presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez, descartó que el modelo socialista del gobierno de Raúl Castro haya fracasado y opinó que ha entrado en un "refrescamiento" que se consolidará con las reformas aprobadas esta semana por el gobernante Partido Comunista.

El modelo socialista de la Isla "no ha fracasado ni fracasará; es todo un proceso que está apenas comenzando, una etapa, como lo ha calificado (el presidente) Raúl (Castro), como un refrescamiento, digo yo, de una actualización del modelo", dijo Chávez en una llamada telefónica realizada hacia la medianoche a una emisora de la red estatal de la televisión de su país.

En Venezuela, añadió, "no hemos copiado nunca ni copiaremos jamás el modelo cubano", y prueba de ello es que el trabajo por cuenta propia, recién instaurado en la isla, es masivo en la nación suramericana.

Pese a ello, sostuvo, "ya comenzaron los opinadores a decir que Venezuela y Chávez han venido copiando el modelo cubano y que qué vamos a hacer ahora que fracasó".

En la ceremonia de clausura del VI Congreso del Partido Comunista de Cuba, el pasado martes, se leyó una carta enviada al evento por Chávez en la cual este subrayó que "el socialismo es la única vía para la salvación de la humanidad".

En el texto agregó que "las naciones hermanas deben triunfar por el camino de la revolución y no por otro, para conquistar las verdaderas patrias cuyos ejemplos están plasmados en Cuba y Venezuela con el respaldo de un pueblo que luchó y demostró la valentía necesaria para conseguir su destino".

Sobre su propio modelo socialista, el gobernante venezolano dijo anoche que debe "blindarse" para hacer frente "a las amenazas".

"Nuestro camino es el camino de la paz viva, viviente. Debemos garantizarlo y blindarnos contra las amenazas de algunos sectores de la derecha que anhelan que haya una intervención militar extranjera en el país", como ocurre en Libia, sostuvo.

En ese sentido, reiteró, como lo ha hecho insistentemente en las últimas semanas, que esos sectores opositores a su gestión tienen planes de desconocer su triunfo en las elecciones generales de diciembre de 2012, algo que da por descontado.

http://www.cubaencuentro.com/cuba/noticias/chavez-no-hemos-copiado-nunca-ni-copiaremos-jamas-el-modelo-cubano-261318

El gobierno concede la libertad condicional al preso político Efraín Rivas

, Liberaciones

El gobierno concede la condicional al político Efraín Rivas

Según la Comisión Cubana de Derechos Humanos, el opositor fue apresado en 1996 durante una infiltración armada y condenado a 20 años de cárcel, de los que cumplió 15

Agencias, La Habana | 22/04/2011

El gobierno otorgó la libertad condicional al preso político Efraín Rivas, apresado en 1996 durante una infiltración armada y condenado a 20 años de cárcel, informó este viernes la Comisión Cubana de Derechos Humanos y Reconciliación Nacional (CCDHRN), reportó AFP.

Rivas, de 50 años y a quien la CCDHRN considera preso político, fue excarcelado el jueves tras cumplir 15 años de condena por "actos contra la seguridad del Estado" y "terrorismo", plazo que ya le permitía gozar de libertad condicional, de acuerdo con la organización defensora de los derechos humanos.

Según un comunicado de la CCDHRN, Rivas fue encarcelado junto a otros dos encausados en Varadero, Matanzas, "mientras realizaban una operación armada contra el gobierno de Cuba".

La prensa oficial reportó entonces que Rivas fue detenido junto a Marcelino Rodríguez (condenado a 25 años) y Yoel Cano (20) cuando dispararon desde una embarcación, procedente de Florida, contra un de la cadena española Meliá, en el principal polo turístico de la Isla.

Elizardo Sánchez, de la CCDHRN, "en estos momentos hay por lo menos una decena de prisioneros condenados por similares motivaciones y casi todos han sobrepasado el tiempo mínimo de cumplimiento de condenas para que se les conceda la libertad condicional".

Tanto la CCDHRN como la agrupación sostienen que quedan en prisión alrededor de sesenta prisioneros, que no cometieron hechos de sangre ni delitos comunes.

Tags: , Represión

http://www.cubaencuentro.com/cuba/noticias/el-gobierno-concede-la-libertad-condicional-al-preso-politico-efrain-rivas-261320

ABRIL 2011 VI CONGRESO DEL PCC, ACTUALIZACIÓN DE LA MENTIRA

ABRIL 2011 VI CONGRESO DEL PCC, ACTUALIZACIÓN DE LA MENTIRA22-04-2011.Fran Du Suárez SuárezBuró de Información de la Comisión Martiana y JACU

(www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- La Habana, Cuba. Desde la mañana del 15 de Abril Parraga localidad humilde del municipio capitalino Arroyo Naranjo fue ocupada por agentes de la policía política desplegados con la orden de vigías y represores de cualquier movimiento de los activistas pacíficos residentes en esta barriada al sur de la Habana.

Las calles Cervantes, Yumurí y Guasimal fueron entre otras las principales arterias cercadas de este operativo que duro hasta la tarde noche del 19 de Abril, la de Heriberto Liranza y el conocido Guasimal 9ª cede de las organizaciones juveniles Comisión Martiana y JACU, domicilio de su líder Lilvio Fernández Luis.

Patrulleros de la policía nacional revolucionaria (PNR), dirigidos por alrededor de 5 a 10 agentes de la policía política los cuales eran relevados diariamente en su agotador cerco demostrativo de intimidación y poder represivo, dicho sea de paso algo nada concordante con los planteamientos de Raúl Castro el cual desde su informe inaugural del VI congreso del Partido Comunista de Cuba (PCC) habló en todo momento de Cambios, claro está a favor de la actualización del socialismo y restablecimiento en el poder de una dinastía de sucesión pensada por Fidel desde el mismo enero de 1959, la cual comenzó desde el 2006 cuando Raúl sucedió a Fidel en el poder por su grave enfermedad ratificándose en la presidencia en el 2008.

Al mediodía del 19 de Abril la orden fue cumplida, Raúl Castro es designado Jefe del Partido Comunista de Cuba y a solo varios kilómetros en las esquinas de las calles Cervantes y Yumuri tres agentes de la policía política se enciman sobre Arnaldo Herrera Campoalegre, piden sus documentos y al unísono exigen se despoje de su liga blanca con la palabra Cambio, entregando sus documentos y negándose a entregar su liga Herrera Campoalegre recibe una bofetada de uno de los agentes seguido de una feroz golpiza propinada por los tres represores la cual por minutos sólo fue interrumpida por la necesidad de esposarlo y facilitar el abuso hacia este pacífico defensor de los , terminando el atropello con las exigencias a toda voz de varios vecinos del lugar "basta de abuso, es un ser humano no un perro, asesinos", fue trasladado a la fuerza hacia la unidad de policía Capri en el municipio Arroyo Naranjo, liberado horas más tarde ocupándosele los certificados de lesiones remitidos en el municipal, los cuales irían archivados por los Órganos de la Seguridad del Estado según el oficial Enrique del departamento 21 de dichos Órganos.

"Ante la ley todos los hombres son iguales sea cual sea dice nuestra Constitución Cubana" Raúl Castro.

Varios fueron los atropellos, detenciones, cercos de vigilancia en más de 72 horas por parte de las fuerzas represoras de la policía política contra mujeres y hombres activistas pacíficos en pro del verdadero cambio democrático en Cuba.

Quedando bien claro el mensaje del hoy y primer secretario partidista cubano cuando dijo en su intervención inaugural del congreso del (PCC)."En la revolución casi todo está dicho y exigiré por los poderes que me ha conferido el pueblo que se cumpla"

Futuro incierto el del Cambio Político, Económico y Social espera a los cubanos con grandes cuotas de más envejecimiento y militarización del poder político, más Socialismo, total planificación estatal de la economía y el no al mercado, en los temas Sociales después de esperar por más de 50 años por algún proyecto a favor de mejoras, queda según Raúl tener fe que con la guía de la Revolución y el Partido Comunista el cual dirige, en un quinquenio de duro trabajo se verán los resultados.

Tags: , Represión

http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/article.asp?artID=32039

New OFAC guidelines encourage funding of private businesses

New OFAC guidelines encourage funding of private businesses

Under new guidelines for Cuba-related applications, the U.S. agency in charge of enforcing sanctions is encouraging sending funds to private businesses on the island.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) created a license category allowing remittances "to individuals or independent non-governmental entities to support the development of private businesses, including small farms."

Assistance to a private business in Cuba up to $2,000 per year can be sent without having to apply for a license; amounts in excess of $2,000 can be sent after OFAC grants a specific license.

The Cuban government is encouraging the creation of small businesses and private farming. More than 180,000 "self-employment" licenses have been issued since last fall, and the government granted more than 110,000 long-term leases of fallow farmland to private farmers.

As examples, OFAC cites "a U.S. charitable organization [wishing] to transfer funds to Cuba to support the rebuilding of poultry production farms and to provide training sessions to local poultry farmers," and "an individual [wishing] to send $1,000 to a Cuban national to buy the equipment necessary to start a small business."

http://www.cubastandard.com/2011/04/21/new-ofac-guidelines-encourage-funding-of-private-businesses/

Reasons for an Injustice / Miriam Celaya

Reasons for an Injustice / Miriam CelayaMiriam Celaya, Translator: Unstated

As if the proverbial mediocrity of the usual television programming weren't enough, in recent weeks there is a new series, incredibly badly made and edited even worse, that has been presented on the screen. "Cuba's Reasons," is the title of this latest garbage, which clearly intends to disinform the national population trying to create a state of negative opinion around the use of new information and communications technologies. To accomplish this they are using old methods that everyone knows don't work: demonizing the dissidence as "mercenaries in the service of the empire," presenting "hero" agents infiltrated into the heart of it, and showing "proofs" — which is never presented — of the activities designed to destabilize the revolution and betray the people.

The official demonization of the in a country where people have a miserable level of access would seem an absurdity, which is reinforced if we consider that this campaign takes place in the era of computers and in the midst of a true global revolution in communications technology.

However, if we analyze the current global context and internal conditions in Cuba, the fact is perfectly logical. The Cuban government may be too late, archaic and decadent (as it is), but its attitude is consistent, given that its ultimate goal is to retain power at all costs.

I will try to present an explanation of what appears to be the desperate resort of the island's government: disinformation as state policy.

New scenes and new actors

The year 2011 debuted with a new scenario. At the international level, the processes of transformations that are occurring in North Africa and that continue to widen their influence over neighboring regions, have demonstrated the functionality of the technology in support of democratic interests. Long-standing autocratic regimes have collapsed or are in the process of extinction faced with the push of innovative ideas that have flowed through social networks and have been able to mobilize crowds. A new world landscape is being drawn, which necessarily influences the emergence of new global and national politics. There are clear signs of the coming of other times, not yet clearly defined, but generally showing a trend: The era of dictatorships, as we know, seems to be coming to an end.

At the national level, the Cuban landscape has been gradually and quietly evolving in recent years. It would be useful to mention the fundamental elements that indicate these small apparent changes, or that have influenced them.

A growing feeling of popular frustration faced with a permanent socioeconomic crisis that has translated into a general apathy: the regime has lost the power to call on people. Instead of the old voluntary and massive mobilizations, it's becoming ever more obvious that participation in "revolutionary acts" is being achieved through the setting of "quotas" — for schools and workplaces — to achieve a significant volume of people to attend these public rituals. Official recognition of the inability to indefinitely maintain the so-called "subsidies" (social benefits), such as the ration book and others; as well as the announcement of the layoffs of 20% of the working population of the country. The government itself has confessed that "the model is broken." The growing significance of the activism of civic groups since the imprisonment of the 75 independent journalists in 2003 (The Black Spring) in a wave of repression what received wide international condemnation and that led to the rise of the Ladies in White, an example of peaceful resistance, of the ability to act and of the force of ideas, even in a closed society. The events of the Havana Psychiatric that resulted in the death by cold and mistreatment of more than two dozen patients there, which led to a number of criticisms among the population and accented the lack of confidence in these institutions. The death after a long hunger strike of the of conscience Orlando Tamayo and the following hunger strike of Guillermo Fariñas, events that unleashed an international movement to reject the Cuban government. For the first time in many years, different sectors of the dissidence, without articulating a common program, showed unanimity in support of the release of the political prisoners. Growth in the sector of active dissidence, refreshed by the growth in activity by independent journalists and in the rise and rapid development of the independent blogosphere and social networks. The sudden and extemporaneous announcement of a Communist Party Congress, which was eight years late and held in secret, admitting only the base of Party militants. Forcing the release of the political prisoners of the Black Spring, an undeniable achievement of the forces of independent civil society, particularly of the Ladies in White and Guillermo Fariñas.

Other factors of a diverse nature have influenced the emergence of a scenario in which new social actors are breaking ground with alternative proposals to the national stalemate. An interesting variable in this scenario is, undoubtedly, the fact that a share of the recently released political prisoners have decided to remain in the country, and to continue their activities within the peaceful dissidence. This not only puts to rest the government's argument that "dissidents are only interested in emigrating," but shows the power of the widening focus of alternative views of civil society in virtually all regions of Cuba.

The government's "reasons"

To try to understand the government's new disinformation strategy, one has to start from the essential premise: it is a strategy of survival. The regime has run out of time in an irreversible way, and is incapable of recreating even its repressive methods. This puts it in an extremely fragile position, to the point that the mere use of technology as an alternative option to create and develop citizen journalism and social networks accelerates the crisis of a system that has been able to rely, until recently, on monolithic control of the media.

The closed nature of dictatorships is, paradoxically, their most vulnerable point, given that anything that alters the monolithic nature of the system can pierce its structure and precipitate its fall. So the Internet is now a crack through which what up to now has been half a century of totalitarian power could begin to drain away, forcing the authorities to implement an urgent campaign against "the free flow of information."

As if the critical position of the regime was not already sufficiently compromised, the recent arrive of the fiber optic cable in the country — via — will allow an exponential multiplying of the capacity to reach the network of networks. Thus, it is urgent for the Cuban government to create a social climate that justifies the maintenance of controls on the use of technologies, establishing a rigorous system of selection to determine who merits (revolutionaries-faithful-reliable) receiving this service and at the same time using this as an excuse not to allow general access.

Arguably, then, the series on Cuban TV — for which four programs have been produced to date — is only the phenomenal external of the creative weakness of the government, as well as a scandalous demonstration of its incapacity to renew its methods and discourse, forcing it to remain barricaded behind obsolete formulas proven to be ineffective.

It is obvious that there are objective reasons not only for the authorities to systematically obstruct access to the Internet, but to try to convince the masses of the great harm that flows from of information. It is because of this that the entire information spectrum must pass through the purifying hand of the government and its most loyal servants who will determine the relevance — or not — of each news item before it is consumed by the population. To orchestrate this campaign — a medieval crusade against what has come to be called "cyberwar" — the authorities count on the media, in their absolute control, and the relative technological illiteracy and lack of access of the masses.

The effects of injustice

What the authorities obviously did not count on, is the effect on the population ideological fatigue, caused by the general decay of the system at all levels, which manifests itself for the most part in the total lack of impact of the programs already broadcast and in the result contrary to what they hoped to achieve. The ordinary Cuban tends to reject the informers, hence the antipathy aroused by the real or supposed "agents" who infiltrated the dissidence. On the other hand, the haste and the hatchet job of the makers of the series, flagrantly present a product so badly made that it offends the natural intelligence of ordinary people.

As a result of these questionable shows, some Cubans I know have more questions than answers, among them one finds with great frequency the following:

Who can believe the testimonies of the "agents" of State Security and some paper scrawled with numbers as proof of alleged payments to the "mercenary" dissidents?

How can they support the idea that the dissidents are seeking to benefit from the United States if the TV series clearly shows that it was an alleged Cuban government agent with which the officials of the "enemy" county conducted their contacts with citizens of this country?

Is State Security working now to create more national mercenaries, or "counterrevolutionaries"?

Who is "fabricating" new villains, the Empire of the government of the Island?

And another rhetorical question which arises from an overwhelming logic: When an agent of the Cuban government lies on Radio Marti, is it the station that is lying?

The official media manipulation that occurs in "Cuba's Reasons" is so obvious that people quickly incorporated it into the repertoire of jokes that characterizes the Cuban people. "Did you see the third season of Castro's espionage soap opera?" asks one friend to another. And there is no shortage of newspaper vendors who use the show to encourage a sale: "Hey! The agent in Granma!" a proclamation that at the same time expresses a covert irony: the real "agent" is the official press.

However, beyond the ill-fated attempt to "stuff" viewers, the price of this staging is expensive in other equally counterproductive ways, because fabricating imaginary enemies from the screen also has promoted the activism of dissidents, which is gaining recognition. In a country where the media is in the hands of the ruling class it could be argued that facts do not exist until they are reported by the media. If we add to this the increasing loss of credibility for that class and the social need of finding new spaces of expression — as developed in the sustained growth of the alternative niches of civil society — it could be argued that disinformation as a new government policy is doomed to defeat.

Now we must wait for the new episodes already being advertised on Cuban television. Surely in some of the chapters to come they will try to keep the promise, so often postponed, of showing us the actual payments of imperial emoluments on the part of the greatly debased home-grown mercenaries, be it a leader of the opposition, an independent or a .

They will need more than the reliable testimony of their own paid agents and, of course, they will have to completely renovate the production team for the series to see if they can give us a more finished product. Still, it won't do to create too many expectation, the genre of suspense requires, in principle, a range of possible finales that the Cuban government is unable to offer. It turns out that the end of this process — a few chapters more or less — is already known by nearly everyone. In short, the ideological architects of the amendment to the Constitution were right in 2002 when they decided that socialism in Cuba is irreversible: it's true; precisely in the static nature of its sentence.

April 18 2011

http://translatingcuba.com/?p=9126

Aging Cuban rulers stumble over leadership renewal

Analysis: Aging Cuban rulers stumble over leadership renewalBy Jeff Franks

HAVANA | Thu Apr 21, 2011 3:30pm EDT

(Reuters) – 's admission at a Communist Party congress that Cuba lacks successors for its aging leaders underlined the old guard's inability to give up power and its struggle to preserve the Revolution.

Addressing the congress that ended on Tuesday, Castro gave a litany of reasons for the failure to find new faces and vowed to look for candidates from groups that have been neglected before, including non-members of the party.

The leadership issue is a serious problem for the 79-year-old president, who wants to ensure the survival of Cuban communism and defy opponents' predictions it would die with the Castros.

With that in mind, Castro, 79, has embarked on an ambitious reform of Cuba's stagnant , but he says it will take five years to complete. He formally took over the Cuban presidency from his brother , 84, in 2008.

The sight of former leader Fidel Castro being helped to his chair at the close of the congress reinforced the fact that time is growing short for the men who have run the country since the 1959 Revolution.

He was also a reminder to current leaders of the dangers of staying in power too long, said security guard Cecilio Guerra.

"The older people loved him for what he did after the triumph of the revolution, but we've been in the same situation for so long that many came to blame him for it," he said.

Cuba's top leaders are mostly in their 70s and 80s, but they have often given public assurances that younger people were being groomed to take over.

Some observers thought the congress would provide a glimpse of Cuba's future rulers, but they were disappointed when the status quo prevailed, embodied by the selection of Raul Castro as the party's first secretary and his longtime ally Jose Machado Ventura, 80, as number two.

Along with them were a host of familiar faces picked for the party's powerful 15-member Political Bureau.

"It was what I expected, but it wasn't what I hoped for. Even the leaders know we need new people with new ideas, and we need them now," said flower peddler Isabela, who did not give her full name.

Dropped from both the Politburo and Central Committee was Culture Minister Abel Prieto, a relative youngster at age 60.

In a speech, Castro said the party had been neglectful of getting new blood at the top, which he pledged to change.

"Today, we are faced with the consequences of not having a reserve of well-trained replacements with sufficient expertise and maturity to undertake the new and complex leadership responsibilities in the party, state and government," Castro soberly told his fellow communists.

NO STRAYING FROM THE PATH

This was not an easy task, he said. "Although we kept on trying to promote young people to senior positions, life proved that we did not always make the best choice."

The wrong choices included several who strayed from the strict ideological path hewn by the Castro brothers.

There is speculation Prieto may have been one of these, and the same was likely the case for former Vice President Carlos Lage and former Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque.

The latter two, both years younger than their ruling contemporaries, were riding high, often cited as successors to the Castros, when suddenly they were fired in 2009.

They were forced to issue public apologies for what Fidel Castro described as succumbing to "the honey of power."

It was never revealed officially why they were dismissed, but reports surfaced that they had been secretly recorded making remarks about "dinosaur" colleagues and suggesting that, once in charge, they would make changes to the Cuban system.

Therein lies a big reason Cuba has a paucity of younger leaders, said Christopher Sabatini, senior policy director for the Americas Society in New York.

The current rulers forged their beliefs in the fires of revolution and half a century of resisting ideological foe the United States. They have viewed with mistrust those who did not pass through the same crucible.

"Fidel, Raul and other 'historicos' carry with them the spirit, vision and the dogma of the revolution. That sense of ownership over a movement, a historical moment, doesn't allow for competing interpretations or the cultivation of new leaders," Sabatini said.

"For this reason, charismatic movements rarely outlive their founder," he added.

President Castro, looking to prove history wrong, said the party would broaden its search for new leaders away from the party operatives who have been their talent pool in the past.

He said the leadership needs more women, blacks and people of mixed race and that Cubans who are not Communist Party members should be considered for high government positions.

(Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Vicki Allen)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/21/us-cuba-leaders-idUSTRE73K77Z20110421

Cuban dancer takes leap and lands in Tampa

Cuban dancer takes leap and lands in Tampa6:11 PM, Apr 21, 2011Kathryn Bursch

Tampa, Florida – In ballet, it's all about the feet and Nieser Zambrana has them.

"He has outstanding feet," says Peter Stark, the artistic director for Next Generation Ballet. "His form is exquisite."

Until recently, Zambrana was a member of the prestigious National Ballet of Cuba. It's considered one of the best companies in the world.

Still, Zambrana yearned for more artistic and after a December performance in Hamilton, Ontario , he took a taxi to the U.S. border.

Zambrana does not speak English, but through his aunt he told 10 News that he was on edge all day.

"Yeah, he was nervous," says Ivonne Lemus. But once again his feet got him through; he jumped out of the cab and his toes touched down in the United States.

"The moment he put the step over the yellow line in the United States, no one can turn him back," says Lemus.

Besides Lemus, Zambrana has other relatives in Tampa and faster than a pirouette, he had a job. At just the right time, Tampa's newest ballet company needed a lead for its May performance of a Midsummer Night's Dream.

"We were thinking about hiring local," says Stark. "And in walks this exquisite dancer into the Patel Conservatory and we couldn't have asked for better luck."

Zambrana has been training and rehearsing with the Next Generation Ballet, made up of pre-professional dancers, so while he's growing as an artist, he's also helping young dancers as well.

"He's definitely a dancer to aspire to," says 15-year-old Drew Nelson. "Because he works so hard and he's always so professional during rehearsals."

Zambrana plans to audition for major dance companies across the nation, but while he's in Tampa he's learning English and he invites everyone to "Come watch me dance."

The Patel Conservatory's Next Generation Ballet performs "A Midsummer Night's Dream" on May 14th at the Straz Center.

http://www.wtsp.com/rss/article/188257/8/Cuban-dancer-takes-leap-and-lands-in-Tampa

China to support Cuba’s economic reforms

to support Cuba's economic reforms

In a major symbolic gesture of support, Chinese Hu Jintao pledged to support Cuba on its path of economic reform.

China is Cuba's second-largest economic partner and has provided billions of dollars in low-interest loans.

In a message to former President — published by Cuba's official media on Thursday — Hu expressed his satisfaction about the 311-point reform package the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba approved this week. The reforms seek to cut state activity back to strategic economic sectors, open a real estate market, open space for small business and private cooperatives in , services and retail, and phase out subsidies for and goods of daily use.

The reforms are being implemented on the background of austerity, President Raúl Castro warned during the Congress. Rising oil and food prices are causing Cuba to spend $800 million more this year than budgeted, while the country has little access to international credit. The cabinet is meeting this week to adjust the plan and budget that were passed in December.

"Both China and Cuba currently are in a crucial stage of development," Hu said in his message. "We will support Cuba to explore the path of Socialist development that corresponds to its national reality. We will continue to provide help to socio-economic development … within our means."

http://www.cubastandard.com/2011/04/22/china-to-support-cubas-economic-reforms/

US relaxes donation rules for Cuba

US relaxes donation rules for CubaApril 23, 2011

MIAMI: The US government has released new rules defining which Americans may freely to Cuba, making it easier for US schools, churches and cultural groups to visit and increasing the amount of money Americans can send to the island to support its growing private .

The White House says the changes to US-Cuba policy are aimed at supporting Cuba's civil society and putting distance between Cubans and their communist government. The policies rescinded more restrictive travel and remittance guidelines issued by the former George Bush in 2003.

Under the official rules, Americans can send up to $US2000 ($1860) a year to Cuba. There will be a limit on the amount any American can send: $US500 a quarter to ''support private economic activity''. The Clinton administration had set that figure at $US300 a quarter.Advertisement: Story continues below

Religious and educational groups can travel to Cuba without specific licences for certain types of events or study. Travel without specific licences is also allowed for the commercial marketing, sales negotiation, accompanied delivery, or servicing in Cuba of items related to telecommunications ''that have been authorised for commercial export''.

The rules are controversial among Cuban exiles, some of whom say they will help a dying regime. Proponents of the changes say that allowing more contact and economic independence would allow Cubans to cut ties to their government.

http://www.smh.com.au/world/us-relaxes-donation-rules-for-cuba-20110422-1dre3.html

Cruises to Cuba coming?

Cruises to Cuba coming?Written by Shawn Dake Shipping News Apr 21, 2011

United Caribbean Lines is a company without ships that isn't anywhere near starting service yet, but has come up with an interesting concept. They plan to use converted Danish ferries for service from Tampa, Florida to Havana, Cuba, with a possible secondary service to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The overnight voyages would take 18 hours each way. Should Cuba open up to U.S. this line could be riding in on the first wave. Perennial cruise executive, Bruce Nierenberg is the man behind this latest venture.

to Cuba is currently banned for most, but not all U.S. citizens. Cuban-Americans with relatives on the island are permitted to travel on charter flights, and do so in great numbers, from Miami, Tampa, New York and Los Angeles. The concept of taking them to Havana by ship is not approved at present, although Nierenberg is said to be in the process of seeking permits from the U.S. Treasury Department. The idea is that with a comparable cost, and the ability to take more goods and supplies along with them, people would opt to go by sea instead of air with the added amenities of dining, shows, movies and entertainment. The concept of a mini-cruise on converted ferries is not something new to Nierenberg who three decades ago was CEO of Scandinavian World Cruises which later evolved into the one-day SeaEscape Cruises. Proposed fares would be $350 round-trip based on double occupancy of a cabin, or $150 in an -style seat in a lounge. For families traveling together, third and fourth guests would be charged half fare. The vehicle decks of the ferry could be used for transporting larger items like bedding, appliances, medicine and clothing that are either not available or too expensive to be purchased in Cuba.

United Caribbean Lines says it has the ability to start service later this year if it is granted the U.S. license to serve Cuba. Nierenberg claims that there will be no trouble in procuring suitable vessels in the 1,500 to 2,000 passenger range. "It's a buyer's market these days, and I will have no problem getting cruise ferries from one of the major operators in Denmark." Not so, says European ferry expert Bruce Peter. "DFDS (Danish Ferries) do not have any passenger ships for sale; the next to become available will probably be from Viking Line once their new Stockholm-Turku vessel is built. There's not exactly a glut of cruise ferry tonnage for grabs in Europe right now."

The vessel pictured in United Caribbean Lines color scheme is actually the ANEK Lines ferry EL. VENIZELOS. The ship was originally ordered in 1979 but took until 1984 to launch for Stena Lines as the STENA POLONICA. It was never delivered to them, and in 1988 the still incomplete ship went to Fred. Olsen Lines and was renamed BONANZA. Finally in 1992 the ship went to the Greeks and was completed as EL. VENIZELOS, making for one of the longest gestation periods of any major vessel. The 575 foot long ship has a tonnage of 38,261 tons. The ship is presently chartered to Tunisia Ferries and ANEK have denied that a deal has been done. Bruce Nierenberg has previously stated that the vessel pictured is only for illustrative purposes and it might be a different ship that they finally acquire.

Cruise ferry service from Tampa to the Yucatan has also been proposed for many years without much success. During the winter of 2002/2003 the SCOTIA PRINCE (ex STENA OLYMPICA) gave it a brief try before discontinuing the route. With the present decline in tourism to Mexico, this seems like a bad time for a start-up car ferry operation. This service is proposed for the first half of 2012, with the voyage taking 30 hours each way. While no cars would be carried to Cuba, up to 600 at a time could be transported to Mexico. If unrestricted tourism to Cuba were to open up in the future, having a ship already based in Florida that could quickly be shifted from Mexico to Cuban service might prove to be a great benefit for United Caribbean Lines.

Cuba currently receives 2.5 million visitors each year primarily from , Europe and Latin America. More than 400,000 Cuban-Americans flew to Havana in 2010. The projected influx of U.S. tourists is projected at between 1 and 2 million annually should the be lifted. A large majority of these would arrive by cruise ships as capacity in Cuba is still too low to handle the additional arrivals. The resignation this week of 84-year old from leadership of the Cuba Communist Party coupled with the Obama administration relaxing restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba may both be signs of enormous changes coming sooner than later. The cruise industry will be on the first wave of reaping the benefits should Cuba emerge as the latest Caribbean tourism destination.

Thanks to Bruce Peter and Martin Cox

http://maritimematters.com/2011/04/cruises-to-cuba-coming/

ATAQUE A ACTIVISTAS EN CAIMANERA

ATAQUE A ACTIVISTAS EN CAIMANERA22-04-2011.Elisa Milagros Reiner AcostaComisionado de Información y Prensa

(www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- Una integrada por los miembros de la Brigada de "Respuesta rápida" aquí en el municipio Caimanera arremetió contra la que sirve de sede o "Casa del Pueblo" del Municipio de Oposición" Caimanera, donde nos encontrábamos los integrantes de dicha agrupación realizando una sesión de trabajo.

La casa, sita en Calle Martí No.18A E/ Carretera y Calle G, Caimanera- Guantánamo, que a su vez es la vivienda de Eliexei Aranda Matos, del Municipio de Oposición de Caimanera y de esta Comisionada de Información Prensa, fue rodeada por la turba y al grito de consignas "revolucionarias" comenzó a apedrear el recinto, a pesar de la hora, alrededor de las 10 de la noche y se extendió hasta la madrugada de hoy 21 de abril.En el lugar nos encontrábamos los ocho comisionados, nuestro presidente y cuatro menores de edad, de 9, 8, 7 y 5 años respectivamente. La vivienda que es de madera rústica y techo de tejas de fibrocemento, la construcción es muy frágil, por lo que una piedra entró e hirió a Ernesto Carrera Moreno, Comisionado de , quien tuvo que recibir atención médica.

La reacción tan violenta de las autoridades se debe a la gran repercusión que ha tenido nuestro trabajo documentando las víctimas de las minas antipersonales, que tantos muertos y lesionados han dejado en nuestra comunidad. Además se trabaja por el levantamiento del estado de sitio que por años ha padecido nuestro municipio, ya que para entrar y salir de Caimanera se necesita pasar por tres puntos de control y si no eres residente del mismo no puedes ingresar, ni siquiera de visita, algo que es una horrenda discriminación y viola nuestros más elementales .

Tags: , , Represión

http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/article.asp?artID=32038

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