President Raúl Castro in Colombia to attend signing of final agreement to end armed conflict

Cartagena: A new era of peace begins
President Raúl Castro in Colombia to attend signing of final agreement to end armed conflict
Author: Yaima Puig Meneses | internet@granma.cu
september 26, 2016 09:09:31

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CARTAGENA DE INDIAS, Colombia.- Shortly after noon, yesterday, September 25, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers arrived here, to attend the signing of the final agreement between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia- People’s Army (FARC-EP) to end the armed conflict and construct a stable, lasting peace in the country. At the Rafael Núñez Airport, Cuba’s head of state was greeted by Deputy Foreign Minister Patricia Londoño, who said she was honored to welcome Raúl and expressed “infinite gratitude to Cuba for all its efforts, for having hosted the negotiations and talks over the last few years.” The Cuban delegation also included Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla; Eusebio Leal Spengler, Havana City Historian; and José Luis Ponce Caraballo, ambassador in Colombia; as well as a number of officials from the Ministry, many of whom played important roles fulfilling Cuba’s responsibility as a guarantor of the talks.

Scheduled midday, according to the Foreign Ministry, is a religious ceremony requested by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at San Pedro Claver Cathedral, in the city’s central historic district.
Later during the afternoon the Peace Accords signing ceremony will take place on San Francisco esplanade, at the Cartegena Convention Center, with some 16 heads of state expected to attend, along with representatives from a number of regional and international organizations

Campesino Congress in Arms: the birth of the agrarian Revolution

Campesino Congress in Arms: the birth of the agrarian Revolution
On the morning of September 21, 1958 a transcendental event featuring over 200 delegates, was inaugurated
Author: Pedro Antonio García | internet@granma.cu
september 21, 2016 17:09:54
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  Raúl Castro speaking during the First Campesino Congress in Arms, accompanied by Vilma Espín (seated behind him), Rebel soldiers and campesinos. Photo: Archive
Before 1959 Soledad de Mayarí Arriba was a place forgotten by those who governed in Cuba. A truck, in 1958, would have a difficulty accessing the area, and often need help to make its way out of the tricky terrain. A cock fighting ring and a bar with an adjacent dancehall were the only facilities there. Sick people would have to be carried on foot in hammocks to receive medical attention in La Prueba, located close to Alto Songo, some 40 kilometers away; some dying along the way.
When the Second Front, led by then Commander Raúl Castro Ruz, established itself in the region, the first Revolutionary Campesino Committees (CRC) were created, based on the experience of the Rebel Army in the Sierra Maes­tra, with a secretary as leader, and civil and military delegate. These committees, in addition to maintaining order in their respective areas, were responsible for gathering supplies and information for the guerillas. Expanding its activities, the directorate of the Second Front created the Agrarian Bureau, a body which would function as a link between the masses and Rebel Army military commanders.

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The U.S. blockade of Cuba remains in full force

The U.S. blockade of Cuba remains in full force
Although positive steps have been taken to modify aspects of the blockade, existing restrictions impede progress in the normalization of relations, and on September 14, the President reauthorized the 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act, the original basis of the blockade when it was established in 1962

Author: Pedro Etcheverry Vázquez | internet@granma.cu
Author: Andrés Zaldívar Diéguez | internet@granma.cu
september 16, 2016 16:09:48

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Photo: Juvenal Balán
On December 17, 2014, Presidents Raúl Castro Ruz and Barack Obama announced to the world the decision to reestablish diplomatic relations between the governments of Cuba and the United States, opening the doors to future talks to benefit both nations. It might have appeared, at this historic moment, that the economic war waged by the U.S. against Cuba was coming to an end, but this was not the case.
The hostile policy remains in full force, with blockade regulations enforced by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
February 11, 2015, a Mexican branch of Santander Bank refused to handle a small transaction of 68,290 euros for the Central Bank of Cuba, not to acquire any product, raw material, or do business, but to pay the country’s membership dues to the Center for Latin American Monetary Research.
On March 12, the German financial institution Commerzbank was fined some 1.7 million dollars by OFAC, for maintaining economic relations with Cuba, among other alleged violations.
March 25, OFAC levied a fine of 7,658,300dollars on the U.S. company PayPal for processing transactions which allegedly involved products of Cuban origin or were of Cuban interest.
According to a Ministry of Culture report, between April, 2014, and March of 2015, the blockade caused Cuban cultural entities losses valued at 24 million dollars, principally in art education and the music industry. In the first case, the blockade has an impact on the quality of training and students’ creativity by restricting availability of basic resources like musical instruments, visual arts supplies, ballet slippers and wardrobe. In the case of music, the impact is felt in relation to live performances by Cuban artists in the United States, obstacles to selling recordings, and income from royalties.
The Ministry of Education has reported that during the same period, the blockade has caused damages of almost two million dollars. Sanctions imposed on international entities that do business with Cuba have led many to avoid exporting articles needed to enhance the teaching-learning process, obliging the country to seek such items in China, and pay higher shipping costs given the distance of this market. Remuneration paid to Cuban educational professionals working in other countries has been affected, as well, by the prohibition on using the USD in international transactions.
June 1, the U.S. company SIGMA Aldrich, a leader in the chemical and biochemical industries, refused to supply the Cuban state enterprise QUIMIMPEX products key to its development, alleging that it could not supply products, services, or technical information because of blockade regulations.

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HANDS OFF CUBA MONTH!

Join Us on 
Saturday October 1 @ 1 pm 
at the Statue of Jose Martí in Central Park,
as we celebrate the start of 
HANDS OFF CUBA MONTH!

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During this month, there will be several activities and actions in solidarity with the struggle to Lift the U.S. blockade against Cuba!
Join us at the Statue of Jose Marti in Central Park as we kick off HANDS OFF CUBA Month with a flower offering to Jose Marti and a community Speak out! We will be speaking out against the Blockade, giving out literature, reciting poetry, and building a movement to end this blockade!
Saturday, October 1st, 2016 @ 1pm-3pm 
Central Park W. 59th St. and Avenue of the Americas

For more information on New York Cuba Solidarity Project: Email: nycsproject@gmail.com Website: www.nycsproject.org
Cuba Hotline: 718-601-4751

Fidel & Raúl honor Comandante de la Revolución Juan Almeida

Fidel & Raúl honor Comandante de la Revolución Juan Almeida
Yesterday September 11, the 7th anniversary of Comandante Juan Almeida’s death was commemorated, with floral wreaths from Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro and Army General Raúl Castro presented during the ceremony
Author: Eduardo Palomares Calderón | palomares@granma.cu
september 12, 2016 08:09:31

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The tribute to Comandante Juan Almeida was held in Tercer Frente in the municipality of Contramaestre, Santiago de Cuba province

TERCER FRENTE, Santiago de Cuba.—Floral wreaths Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro and Army General Raúl Castro were presented during a the, commemorating the 7th anniversary of his death, yesterday September 11, in this mountain community, in the municipality of Contramaestre, Santiago de Cuba province.
At the side of the monument which crowns the mausoleum where the remains of Tercer Frente heroes and martyrs rest, also presented by outstanding cadets from the Camilo Cienfuegos Military Academy was a wreath in the name of the Cuban people.
The tribute began with the traditional march from Cruce de los Baños to La Esperanza Hill, led by Party Central Committee member and Provincial First Secretary Lázaro Expósito, and Brigadier General Rafael Hernández.
Likewise participating were Beatriz Jhonson, Central Committee member and president of the Provincial Assembly of Peoples Power; decorated Heroine of the Republic, Brigadier General Delsa Esther Puebla Viltre (Teté); and relatives of the beloved Rebel Army Comandante, writer, and musician.
Almeida participated in the 1953 assault on the Moncada Garrison; the Granma expedition; and founded the guerilla front in this region, which grew to 6,000 square kilometers under Rebel control. Among his many virtues, he is remembered for his loyalty to Fidel and Raúl, and his closeness to the people who so loved and admired him.

Full steam ahead for the Blockade: U.S. Prevents Spanish Bank from Offering Services to Cuba

U.S. Prevents Spanish Bank from Offering Services to Cuba

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Madrid, Sep 10 (Prensa Latina) The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. on Cuba over 54 years ago, prevented Spanish Banco Santander from offering services to representatives of the Caribbean island in this country, trascended here today.

A press release of Havana’s embassy in Madrid revealed the system of sanctions of Washington prevented the Santander from having sales outlets at the Cuban General Consulates in the cities of Barcelona, Sevilla and Santiago de Compostela.

‘It is disappointing that three Cuban consulates have been banned from receiving services from a Spanish entity to improve attention to their users’, lamented the Cuban ambassador to Spain, Eugenio Martinez.

The diplomat attributed those restrictions to ‘obscure and unjustified unilateral decisions of the U.S. that affect negatively the Cubans and third countries’.

How is it possible that two months after the visit to Havana of President Barack Obama, last March, a subsidiary of the Santander bank in Catalonia tells the Cuban consul in Barcelona that they could not put an outlet to facilitate users the payment of consular tariffs through magnetic cards, asked Martinez.

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The blockade continues Bruno Rodríguez Parilla, Minister of Foreign Relations

Cuban Foreign Minister: The blockade continues
Bruno Rodríguez Parilla, Minister of Foreign Relations, this afternoon September 9, presented the report calling for an end to the U.S. blockade of Cuba which will be debated in the UN next month
Author: International news staff | informacion@granma.cu
september 9, 2016 15:09:48

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Photo: Cubaminrex

Minister of Foreign Relations Bruno Rodríguez Parilla, this afternoon September 9, presented the country’s report on United Nations General Assembly Resolution 70/5, entitled, “The Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial, and Financial Blockade Imposed by the United States on Cuba,” in a Havana press conference.

During the reading of the report, which will be discussed for the 25th time by the General Assembly in October, the minister reaffirmed that the blockade continues despite statements made by the U.S. President almost two years ago calling for its end. This policy has been maintained and continues having a profound impact on the Cuban economy, and limiting the right to development of the Cuban people, the minister insisted.

“The blockade hurts the Cuban people. Need and hardship are daily occurrences for the Cuban family. The impact of the blockade on Cuba cannot be underestimated. It is the principal obstacle to national development,” Rodríguez said.

“We recognize the progress in relations between the governments of Cuba and the United States, but effects include those on food, the pharmaceutical industry, foreign trade, and international cooperation, among others,” he reported, adding that no sector is exempt from the blockade’s impact, not health, social security, services, or education.

Between April of 2015 and March of 2016, the blockade’s damage to Cuba has been estimated to be approximately 4.68 million dollars, Rodríguez reported.

“For these reasons, the Cuban government will present to the UN General Assembly, the report entitled The Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial, and Financial Blockade Imposed by the United States on Cuba,” he said.

 

Unasur calls meeting of foreign ministers following coup in Brazil

Unasur calls meeting of foreign ministers following coup in Brazil
Rousseff’s removal from office has prompted varied reactions among governments of the region, several of which have described it as a “coup”
Author: Prensa Latina | internet@granma.cu
september 2, 2016 15:09:50

Women shout slogans during a protest against Brazil's interim President Michel Temer and in support of suspended President Dilma Rousseff at Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 17, 2016. The banner reads " Dilma stays, Temer out". REUTERS/Nacho Doce - RTSER1B

The Brazilian people remain mobilized in the streets against the coup.
QUITO.— The Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), Ernesto Samper, will begin a round of consultations with member country foreign ministers, in order to arrange a meeting and address the issue of the removal from office of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
In a statement released yesterday the regional mechanism noted that the move in Brazil “raises concerns and has regional implications, consideration of which justifies an extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers,” as reported by PL.
Rousseff’s removal has prompted varied reactions among governments of the region, several of which have described the move as a “coup”.
The protests following the vote by the Brazilian Senate to impeach the president have multiplied across more than a dozen states; however incidents have only been recorded in São Paulo.
There, in the same place where just a few hours before a group opposed to Rousseff had celebrated her removal with honking, cake and champagne, supporters of the former president confronted the Military Police, who attempted to disperse two protests against the Temer government.
The two demonstrations departed from the São Paulo Art Museum, in the financial heart of the country, toward the center of the city and, for the third straight night, police fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.
In Brasilia, hundreds of supporters of the Workers’ Party mobilized, as they have done since Monday, in support of the former president.
A crowd gathered to hear Rousseff’s brief farewell speech following her ousting and sang the national anthem in front of the Palacio de la Alvorada, the presidential residence.
Several hundred gathered that evening on the Explanada de los Ministerios, facing the Brazilian Congress, to express solidarity with Rousseff.
Protests against Michel Temer also multiplied across Río de Janeiro, where hundreds of people demonstrated in the center of the city, and other capitals of the interior, such as Porto Alegre, Salvador, and Vitoria.

President Nicolás Maduro reports arrests, including 92 Colombian paramilitaries camped 500 meters from Miraflores Presidential Palace

Chavista mobilization peacefully answers opposition offensive
Venezuelan Chavista mobilization peacefully answers opposition offensive
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro reports arrests, including 92 Colombian paramilitaries camped 500 meters from Miraflores Presidential Palace
Author: Dilbert Reyes Rodríguez | | informacion@granma.cu
september 2, 2016 10:09:46

Photo: AVN
CARACAS.—With an impressive mobilization in the streets of this capital city, the revolutionary people of Venezuela confirmed their support to the Bolivarian government and rejection of violence, frustrating a coup offensive announced for September 1 by the opposition leadership.
“Peace has triumphed once again. They threatened to assault Caracas and the people of Caracas came out onto the streets by the thousands,” President Nicolás Maduro said, as he addressed the Chavista crowd that filled Bolívar Avenue and other principal streets.
The President reported that the coup attempt was turning out to be a fiasco, as several plans for violence by paramilitaries around the country were dismantled, while recognizing the sensibility and adherence to constitutional law shown by those participating in the opposition march of 30,000 held in the capital.
“We have been capturing mercenaries in the northern zone of Caracas, among them an encampment of 92 Colombian paramilitaries deployed 500 meters from Miraflores, and important right wing leaders with plans to place bombs, with weapons, with millions of real and counterfeit dollars, prepared to attack their own people,” he detailed.

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Defending the Cuban Revolution