A guide to the complex road to normalization between Cuba and the United States

CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND VIENNA CONVENTIONS
A guide to the complex road to normalization between Cuba and the United States

After more than five decades of broken diplomatic ties, it is difficult to find recipes that do not repeat past mistakes

Author: Sergio Alejandro Gómez | internet@granma.cu
july 3, 2015 12:07:33

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Photo: Russia Today

After more than five decades of broken diplomatic ties, it is difficult to find recipes that do not repeat past mistakes

For two countries which have lacked formal ties for more than half a century, it is very difficult to find recipes on how to build a new relationship that do not repeat past mistakes.
But since the Presidents of Cuba and the United States announced their intention to open a new chapter in their complex bilateral history, there exists an indispensable set of references regarding the way forward: the Charter of the United Nations and International Law, in particular the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.
Army General Raúl Castro Ruz mentioned these himself during his speech on December 17 and ratified as such in important speeches including that of the 3rd CELAC Summit and the 7th Summit of the Americas.
The issue was included in the rounds of talks held between Cuban and U.S. diplomats to polish the details of the final agreement announced Wednesday, July 1, on the reestablishment of relations and opening of embassies.
In the letters exchanged between Obama and Raúl, the commitment to implement these principles, once the Cuban flag is again flying in Washington and the U.S. in Havana, is noted.
The UN Charter is the constituting instrument of the Organization and determines the rights and obligations of Member States. It also establishes its bodies and procedures.
The Charter was signed on June 26, 1945, in San Francisco, at the end of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, and came into force on October 24 of that year. It was the result of four years of intense work with the view to avoid new wars that would put humanity on the brink of annihilation.
Among the principles and purposes are the defense of sovereign equality, the settlement of disputes by peaceful means, refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State and non-intervention in matters of domestic jurisdiction.
Similarly, the Charter promotes friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and the self-determination of peoples, cooperation in solving international problems and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of all.
For its part, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations entered into force on April 18, 1961, while the Convention on Consular Relations became valid from April 24, 1963.
Both Cuba and the United States have signed these documents, which were drafted within the UN to regulate a practice that is as old as man himself.
While the Conventions are based on very specific points, at the same time they establish that the customary norms of international law continue to govern any questions not expressly addressed.
“Customary international law (…) is nothing more than the practices of international subjects that are generally accepted by them as Law,” Rodolfo Dávalos, professor at the University of Havana and president of the Cuban Court of International Commercial Arbitration, told Granma.
In order that any practice is admitted as Law, it is necessary for this repetition of acts to be generally accepted, uniform, repeated over the course of time and based on a legal conviction, he adds.
In other words, the professor explains, no practice outside the framework of the functions of diplomatic missions as established by the Vienna Convention may be lawful unless it is covered by customary international Law, and this does not cover any illicit act, contrary to the norms of the receiving State.
The diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States have had no solid reference in over a century, especially after the U.S. intervention in the War of Independence, but compliance with the basic principles established for all nations, can help lay the foundation for progress in this long and complex road to the full normalization of relations.
Some articles of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations:
Article 3
1. The functions of a diplomatic mission consist inter alia in:
a) representing the sending State in the receiving State; b) protecting in the receiving State the interests of the sending State and of its nationals, within the limits permitted by international law; c) negotiating with the Government of the receiving State; d) ascertaining by all lawful means conditions and developments in the receiving State, and reporting thereon to the Government of the sending State; e) promoting friendly relations between the sending State and the receiving State, and developing their economic, cultural and scientific relations.
Article 27
3. The diplomatic bag shall not be opened or detained.
4. The packages constituting the diplomatic bag must bear visible external marks of their character and may contain only diplomatic documents or articles intended for official use.
Article 41
1. Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State.
3. The premises of the mission must not be used in any manner incompatible with the functions of the mission as laid down in the present Convention or by other rules of general international law or by any special agreements in force between the sending and the receiving State.

Statement by the Revolutionary Government With the reestablishment of diplomatic ties with the United States,

Statement by the Revolutionary Government
With the reestablishment of diplomatic ties with the United States, the lifting of the blockade, among other issues, will be essential to the ultimate normalization of relations

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Author: Granma | internet@granma.cu
july 1, 2015 12:07:23

ON July 1, 2015, the President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, and the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, exchanged letters through which they confirmed the decision to reestablish diplomatic relations between the two countries and open permanent diplomatic missions in their respective capitals, from July 20, 2015.
That same day, the official opening ceremony of the Embassy of Cuba in Washington will be held, in the presence of a Cuban delegation led by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla and composed of distinguished representatives of Cuban society.
By formalizing this step, Cuba and the United States ratified the intention to develop respectful and cooperative relations between both peoples and governments, based on the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and International Law, in particular the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.
The Government of Cuba has decided to reestablish diplomatic relations with the United States in full exercise of its sovereignty, invariably committed to the ideals of independence and social justice, and in solidarity with the just causes of the world, and reaffirming each of the principles for which our people have shed their blood and ran all risks, led by the historic leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz.
With the reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies, the first phase concludes of what will be a long and complex process towards the normalization of bilateral ties, as part of which a set of issues will have to be resolved arising from past policies, still in force, which affect the Cuban people and nation.
There can be no normal relations between Cuba and the United States as long as the economic, commercial and financial blockade that continues to be rigorously applied, causing damages and scarcities for the Cuban people, is maintained, it is the main obstacle to the development of our economy, constitutes a violation of International Law and affects the interests of all countries, including those of the United States.
To achieve normalization it will also be indispensable that the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo Naval Base is returned, that radio and television transmissions to Cuba that are in violation of international norms and harmful to our sovereignty cease, that programs aimed at promoting subversion and internal destabilization are eliminated, and that the Cuban people are compensated for the human and economic damages caused by the policies of the United States.
In recalling the outstanding issues to be resolved between the two countries, the Cuban Government recognizes the decisions adopted thus far by President Obama, to exclude Cuba from the list of state sponsors of international terrorism, to urge the U.S. Congress to lift the blockade and to begin to take steps to modify the application of aspects of this policy in exercise of his executive powers.
As part of the process towards the normalization of relations, in turn, the foundations of ties that have not existed between our countries in all their history will need to be constructed, in particular, since the military intervention of the United States 117 years ago, in the independence war that Cuba fought for nearly three decades against Spanish colonialism.
These relations must be founded on absolute respect for our independence and sovereignty; the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system, without interference in any form; and sovereign equality and reciprocity, which constitute inalienable principles of International Law.
The Government of Cuba reiterates its willingness to maintain a respectful dialogue with the Government of the United States and develop relations of civilized coexistence, based on respect for the differences between the two governments and cooperation on issues of mutual benefit.
Cuba will continue immersed in the process of updating its economic and social model, to build a prosperous and sustainable socialism, advance the development of the country and consolidate the achievements of the Revolution.
Havana, July 1, 2015

The Five on Robben Island: A tribute to Mandela

The Five on Robben Island: A tribute to Mandela
Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René visited the island where Mandela was imprisoned and paid tribute to his example of the triumph of human spirit over adversity

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Author: Deisy Francis Mexidor | internet@granma.cu
june 25, 2015 12:06:55

The Five toured the prison when Nelson Mandela was held by the apartheid regime for 18 years. Photo: Prensa Latina
ROBBEN ISLAND, South Africa.—A sign in English and Afrikaans announces arrival on Robben Island, situated off the coast of Cape Town, a site which encompasses a painful history, thankfully now past for South Africans.

The island of dry sand and strong winds, surrounded by sharp reefs and the unique sound of the thousands of birds that fly overhead, is today a symbol of freedom.

To get there, you have to board a boat at the Nelson Mandela memorial located in the commercial and tourist district of Waterfront.

The journey is about 12 kilometers, a half hour boat ride, enough to reflect on the triumph of human spirit over adversity encompassed by this historical site.

Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González, the Five Cuban anti-terrorists who themselves were greatly inspired by the spirit of resistance of Prisoner No.46664, Nelson Mandela, during their imprisonment in the U.S., traveled to the island as part of their tour of South Africa.

Mandela spent 18 of the 27 years that the apartheid regime kept him imprisoned on Robben Island.

Accompanied by Ahmed Kathrada, who was also imprisoned alongside Mandela, the Five toured the historical site that was opened as a museum on January 1st, 1997 and declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999.

Certain areas are usually off-limits to tourists, but Kathrada provided the Five with access to Mandela’s cell, a small, damp and unimaginable space.

They studied the iron bars through which only hands could pass, the blanket on the floor that was all Mandela had for a bed, the bench and a small window.

Each of them looked, touched the walls and tried to take an almost photographic image with their own eyes. It was a private moment of reflection. No questions were required.

Then, as they gathered to take a photo, Fernando noted the date: “Today is June 23. In 2001, 14 years ago, the Comandante en Jefe (Fidel Castro) said we would return (to Cuba).” Meanwhile, Gerardo wrote in the guestbook on behalf of the Five: “It has been a great honor to visit this place together with some of the brave compañeros of Nelson Mandela.”

The message continued, “all of them were a source of inspiration and strength for the Five Cubans to withstand the more than 16 years in U.S. jails.”

Gerardo stressed that this was a legacy that “the Five will honor for the rest of our lives.”

CUBAN ANTI-TERRORISTS RECEIVED BY SOUTH AFRICAN PARLIAMENT

CAPE TOWN.—Members of the African National Congress (ANC) in the South African parliament received the Five during their visit to the legislative capital of the country.

The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Lechesa Tsenoli, said that the Five are an inspiration across the world.

In exclusive statements to Prensa Latina, Tsenoli highlighted the example of resistance that these men provided whilst in U.S. prisons, where they remained confined for an extended and unjust period of time.

The legislator also stressed the contribution of Cuban solidarity to the African cause, a sentiment that is continuously repeated.

Since their arrival on June 21, when they were welcomed by ANC Secretary-General, Gwede Mantashe, the Five have had the chance to talk with the leadership of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP).

They were also warmly welcomed by members of the Society of Friendship with Cuba in South Africa (FOCUS) and the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL), who did so much to secure their release.

The visit by Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René will conclude on July 3 and forms part of the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter.

According to their busy schedule, they will travel this Thursday, June 25, to the province of Gauteng to complete their tour of five of the nine South African provinces.

The Five then continue on to Namibia and conclude their tour of Africa in Angola, where three of them (Gerardo, Fernando and René) served as internationalist fighters.

In the assassination of the chavista Deputy Robert Serra former Colombian president, Álvaro Uribe Implicated

President Nicolás Maduro stated that former Colombian city councilor, Julio Vélez, was among the masterminds behind the assassination of the chavista Deputy Robert Serra (pictured) and his assistant María Herrera.

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Photo: www.telesurtv.net Photo: TELESUR
CARACAS.-The capture of Julio Vélez, former city councilor of Cúcuta (Colombia) on June 3, marked an important step forwards for the Venezuelan government in its investigation into paramilitaries operating in the country and their plans for internal destabilization.
Vélez was arrested on charges of having paid the group led by Leiver Padilla that assassinated the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) Deputy Robert Serra and his assistant María Herrera on October 1, 2014.
According to the Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro, all of those detained in relation to the case up until now have pointed to the former councilor as one of the masterminds behind the crime.
Beyond the homicide, Vélez could be key to the Venezuelan authorities in their accusations against former Colombian president, Álvaro Uribe, whom they consider one of the chief promoters of the violence undertaken by paramilitaries against Venezuela.
According to Maduro and other senior officials, Vélez previously acted as Uribe’s right-hand man on the border with Venezuela, an area plagued by contraband and illegal immigration.
This situation can not be separated from the phenomenon of the infiltration of paid criminals in Venezuela, whose objective is to attack the government through targeted killings of political leaders and internal destabilization, according to authorities.
The investigators in Caracas believe the captured former councilor could provide evidence regarding the direct links between Uribe and groups paid to wreak havoc across the country.
Speaking of some of the links between the Colombian detainee and Uribe, Maduro noted that the ex president’s lawyer, Jaime Granados, personally assumed the defense of Vélez in 2010, when he was accused of killing his wife.

The moment Julio Vélez, former city councilor for Cúcuta, Colombia, was detained in Venezuela.

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Foto: www.telesurtv.net Photo: TELESUR
Granados is recognized as a lawyer for those linked to Uribe, the Venezuelan President added.
Meanwhile, at the time of his capture, Vélez owned the Meka Cambio company, used for money laundering and currency speculation of the bolívar (Venezuelan money), in order to weaken it, according to press reports.
These activities are among those identified by Venezuela as part of the economic war it is undergoing, generating increasing discontent among the population.
The investigations relating to Vélez are now aimed at establishing who acted as he accomplices in the country, Maduro explained.
With this determination, the President demonstrated his commitment to the promise made to his compatriots of ensuring those guilty of promoting acts of violence in the streets are dealt with at the highest levels.
Another of Maduro’s pledges in relation to this case is to bring all those involved in the assassination of Serra, the youngest deputy in the history of the National Assembly, to justice.

CELAC-European Union Summit rejects blockade of Cuba and its extraterritorial impact

CELAC-EU Summit rejects blockade of Cuba and its extraterritorial impact
The final declaration of the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the European Union (EU), which concluded June 11 in Brussels, rejected the U.S. blockade against Cuba and its extraterritorial impact.

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Author: Granma International news | informacion@granma.cu
june 12, 2015 16:06:42

The final declaration of the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the European Union (EU), which concluded June 11 in Brussels, rejected the U.S. blockade against Cuba and its extraterritorial impact.
The 2nd CELAC-EU Summit was held over two days in the Justus Lipsius building, headquarters of the European Council, and saw the participation of more than 40 heads of state and government and high level delegations from 61 countries throughout the two regions.

The document highlighted that laws contained within the Helms-Burton Act cause human damages to the Cuban people and negatively impact the development of economic relations between the island, the EU and other countries.
The unilateral coercive measures are a violation of international law, the text added.

The document also acknowledged CELAC’s Special Declaration opposing unilateral measures against Venezuela, adopted January 29, and its statement expressing solidarity with the country, approved on March 26.

Likewise, the final declaration of the Summit praised the declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace and the decision to resolve differences through peaceful means.

Furthermore, it welcomed the announcement made on December 17, 2014, by the Presidents of Cuba and the United States, Raúl Castro and Barack Obama, to advance toward re-establishing bilateral relations. The document noted, “In this context we expect all necessary steps to be taken towards an early end to the embargo [blockade].”

Meanwhile, both the Political Declaration and the Brussels Declaration approved by the delegations representing 61 countries: 33 from CELAC and 28 from the EU, proposed to strengthen relations based on historic bi-regional ties.

According to Prensa Latina, Ecuadoran President and CELAC President pro tempore, Rafael Correa, described the meeting as fruitful and one which served to bring the two blocs closer together, during which issues of bi-regional and global interest were addressed.

The problem of climate change was discussed in depth and we agreed that in the Paris meeting in December we must arrive at agreements related to taking care of our planet, he said.

Correa added that the issue of immigration to Europe, given the lack of opportunities for migrants in their countries of origin, was also broached, a question which requires global solutions.

Another issue on the table was the need for a new kind of cooperation between Latin America, the Caribbean and the EU.

In this sense, Correa stated that the region no longer requires support to construct schools, healthcare centers or rural roads, but to develop human talent, science and technology

Cuban Hero Thanks Brazilians for his Freedom

Cuban Hero Thanks Brazilians for his Freedom

Submitted by editor on Tue, 06/09/2015 – 00:00

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BRAZIL, June 9th, 2015. Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, one of the five Cuban antiterrorists who suffered imprisonment in the United States, thanked here today the solidarity of Brazilian activists who fought for his freedom and that of his other four fellow countrymen.
If it were not for all of you who struggled in an intense campaign for the excarceration of The Five and called the attention of parliaments, presidents and even the United States society, we would still be in prison, affirmed Hernandez the eve in an act with members of political groups and friends of Cuba.
After welcoming the presence of ambassadors of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Countries of Our America (ALBA), he said that several presidents, among them that of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, who defended his excarceration and that of Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino and Rene Gonzalez.
He remembered the resistance of all of them, during 16 years of detainment, in favor of their liberation from prison was inspired in the Cubans´ integrity and the battle of solidarity movements in many countries. even in the United States, undertaken in favor of their excarceration.
We today live an indescribable happiness and great emotions due to the hospitality received from the people of Venezuela and Brazil, he affirmed when pointing that some of his companions had visited other nations, where they were equally warmly received.
When referring to the concluded 22nd Brazilian Convention of Solidarity with Cuba, held in Recife, he said he had felt great emotion when he embraced those who for years participated in actions demanding the freedom of the Five.
We know we can count on you to continue this struggle for the end of the economic, financial, commercial blockade of the United States on Cuba and for the closing and return of the occupied territory of Guantanamo, he added.
The Hero of the Republic of Cuba also stressed that new times are coming for his country, according to the process of negotiations with the government of the United States to reestablish diplomatic relations.
This, however, is not a setback, as Cuba is firm in its principles, in defense of its sovereignty.
The occasion was appropriate to salute representatives of Cuban doctors from all states of Brazil in this venue called “Reunion with Cuba” on occasion of the 56 years of Brazilian solidarity with the Revolution. Present at the meeting were leaders of trade unions, political parties, deputies, social and student movements who spoke to extol the Five, as well as Cuban ambassador, Marielena Ruiz Capote and members of the diplomatic mission. (Cubaminrex-Embacuba Brazil)

U.S. State Department identifies Posada Carriles as planner of 1976 terrorist attack

U.S. State Department identifies Posada Carriles as planner of 1976 terrorist attack
A declassified 1976 State Department document, released June 3, identifies Luis Posada Ca­rriles as the most likely author of a terrorist attack on a Cuban airliner, which took the lives of all 76 passengers. The note, sent by two high level CIA officials to Henry Kis­singer, illustrates the States Department’s concern regarding ties between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and extremist Cuban émigré groups in South Florida

Author: Prensa Latina | internet@granma.cu
june 5, 2015 16:06:09

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The self-confessed terrorist Luis Posada Carriles . Photo: Archivo del Internet

WASHINGTON.— A declassified 1976 State Department document identifies Luis Posada Ca­rriles as the most likely author of a terrorist attack on a Cuban airliner that year which took the lives of all 76 passengers aboard.
The memorandum, released June 3, illustrates the department’s concern regarding ties between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and extremist Cuban émigré groups in South Florida.
The note was sent by two high level CIA officials to then Secretary of State Henry Kis­singer, in reference to Fidel Castro’s accusations of U.S. involvement in the downing of the Cuban aircraft, as it departed Barbados on October 6, 1976.
According to the memorandum, the CIA had ties to three of the persons implicated in the attack, “but any role that these people may have had with the demolition took place without the knowledge of the CIA.”
The document details the CIA’s links with “individuals allegedly involved” in sabotaging the plane – and specifically cites Hernán Ricardo Lozano, Freddy Lugo, Luis Posada Carriles, Orlando Bosch, Frank Castro, Orlando Garcia, Ricardo Morales Navarrete and Felix Martínez Suárez – while specifying that the CIA had only made contact in the past with Posada, Bosch and Martínez Suárez. Martínez Suárez was not involved in the bombing, according to the report.
The document is signed by Harold H. Saunders, director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research and Harry W. Shlaudeman, assistant secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.
A heavily censured version of the memorandum was already on file at the National Security Archives, and was declassified by the State Department’s historian, with a volume of other documents concerning Central America and Mexico, from the period 1973 through 1976.
Cuba has, on multiple occasions, denounced U.S. involvement in the downing of Cubana flight 455, identifying as CIA agents the two Venezuelans, Hernán Ricardo and Freddy Lugo, who placed the bombs inside the aircraft, on the orders of Luis Po­sada Carriles and Orlando Bosch.
Posada was trained by the U.S. Army at Ft. Benning in the 1960s, to undertake military action against Cuba, as part of the CIA’s Operation Mongoose.
He continues to live in Miami, and has admitted his role in the 1976 terrorist attack and been identified as the organizer of a 1997 series of hotel bombings in Havana. (PL)

Cuba removed from list of state sponsors of terrorism, one step in the right direction

Cuba removed from list of state sponsors of terrorism
of Terrorism designation, effective today, May 29 The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry signed the final order to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor

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Author: Prensa Latina(PL) | internet@granma.cu
may 29, 2015 13:05:44
Washington, May 29; a Press Statement by U.S. State Department spokesman, Jeff Rathke, informed of Cuba’s official removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
In the official statement, the State Department spokesman noted that “The 45-day Congressional pre-notification period has expired, and the Secretary of State has made the final decision to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, effective today, May 29, 2015.”

Cuba has been included on the unilateral list drawn up by Washington since 1982.
In the statement he also noted that the “While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation.”
In order to come into effect, the decision must be published in the Federal Register (the daily newspaper of the Federal government), although the diplomatic office has assured that the decision is effective immediately.

 

 

Life expectancy: 78.45 years
The provinces of Las Tunas and Holguín have a life expectancy of approximately 79.5 years, the highest in the country
Author: Orfilio Peláez | orfilio@granma.cu
may 26, 2015 09:05:47

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A rise in the life expectancy of both sexes was recorded in all provinces. Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

At the end of the period 2011-2013, the Cuban population’s life expectancy was 78.45 years, placing the island among the top 25 nations registering the highest figure in this human development indicator.

Juan Carlos Alfonso Fraga MSc. director of the National Office of Statistics and Information’s (ONEI) Center for Population and Development Studies (Cepde), stated to Granma that the cited figure represents a 0.48 increase in comparison to the period 2005-2007, which registered an average of 77.97 years. A rise in the life expectancy of both sexes was recorded in all provinces.
Specifically, the life expectancy of Cuban women is 80.45 years, while it is 76.50 for men. On average, the citizens of Las Tunas, Holguin, Villa Clara and Guantánamo, surpass 81 years; while those born in Artemisa, Camagüey, Havana and Mayabeque fail to reach the age of 80.

 

MID-TERM VOTE, Cuban elections during historic times

MID-TERM VOTE

Cuban elections during historic times

Some 88.3% of eligible voters cast ballots during the first round of mid-term elections, on April 19, to select delegates to Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power
Author: Livia Rodriguez Delis | livia@granma.cu
april 21, 2015 09:04:24

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Photo: Juvenal Balán

This April 19, Cubans participated in another historic event reflective of the times. More than 7.5 million voters, 88.3% of eligible voters, exercised their right to vote to reaffirm their commitment to the future of the Revolution, on a day when the country also celebrated the 54th anniversary of Cuba’s victory over the U.S. backed invasion at Playa Girón, on the Bay of Pigs.
Alina Balseiro, president of the National Electoral Commission (CEN), presented preliminary results to the press, assessing the vote as satisfactory, with 90% of the ballots ruled valid, 4.54% submitted blank and 4.9% considered invalid.
She reported that 11,425 delegates were elected during this first round, having won over 50% of the vote as required, while 1,164 constituencies will return to the polls April 26 for a second round vote, since no candidate reached the necessary percentage.
Balseiro noted that the number of female delegates rose to 34.87% of the total and that 14.95% were youths, while 54.87% of current delegates were reelected.
She emphasized that only 59.24% of those elected to the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power are members of the Communist Party of Cuba, while 6.75% are members of the Young Communist League, saying, “This demonstrates that political affiliation is not required to be a delegate.”
More than 24,600 polling stations were established for the elections, with 20,000 young people serving as observers, of special relevance during the public count of the vote, also witnessed by members of the community, as any interested party has this right.

Raúl casts his vote

Raúl casts his vote
President Raúl Castro Ruz exercised his right to vote on Sunday, April 19, in the elections held across all of Cuba to select delegates to Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power.

Author: Leticia Martínez Hernández | internet@granma.cu

april 20, 2015 09:04:42

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Photo: Estudio Revolución

President Raúl Castro Ruz exercised his right to vote on Sunday, April 19, in the elections held across all of Cuba to select delegates to Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power, a day which served as well to commemorate the 54th anniversary of the country’s victory at Playa Girón on the Bay of Pigs.

Upon arriving at the polling station in the Havana municipality of Playa, Raúl conversed with members of the constituency electoral board, emphasizing the importance of these elections in which Cubans elected their representatives to local governmental bodies, fundamental to the country’s political system.

After voting, Raúl chatted with elementary school students, who guarded the ballot box throughout the day, about their studies, what grade they were in, and what they hoped to do as adults. He asked about the length of their turns guarding the ballot box, and how many years they had to wait before voting themselves. Amidst smiles and joking, several photos of the students with Raúl were snapped.

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Photo: Estudio Revolución

As he left the polling station, the President talked with a group of neighbors waiting to greet him.