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.

Fidel exercises his right to vote

Fidel exercises his right to vote
Around 12:40 this afternoon, the ballot bearing Fidel’s vote arrived at polling station no.1 in the Havana municipality of Plaza’s constituency no.13

Author: Arlin Alberty Loforte | internet@granma.cu
april 19, 2015 16:04:25

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Photo: Alex Castro

Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz exercised his right to vote in the mid-term elections being held today in Cuba to select delegates to Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power, the same day Cuba’s victory over imperialism at Playa Girón is commemorated.

Around 12:40 this afternoon, the ballot bearing Fidel’s vote arrived at polling station no.1 in the Havana municipality of Plaza’s constituency no.13. – placed within an envelope, and appropriately folded, to respect his right to a secret vote.

Fidel was visited at his home by a member of the constituency election board who was responsible for transporting his ballot to the polling station, to be deposited in the ballot box, as is stipulated by the country’s Electoral Law, for those who have the capacity to vote, but whose physical condition makes difficult their attendance at the polling station, whenever the citizen makes the request.

Carmen Llópiz Casadevall, president of the polling station no. 1 electoral board in Constituency no.13, located in the El Carmelo Popular Council district, to whom the ballot was delivered, deposited Fidel’s vote in the ballot box.

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Photo: Alex Castro

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, appears on the constituency’s registry as voter number 13 among members of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution no.13, who exercise the right to vote at this site.

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Photo: Jorge Luis González

President Raúl Castro Ruz, Cuba to participate on an equal footing in 7TH Summit of The Américas

7TH SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
Cuba will continue to defend the ideas for which our people have assumed the greatest sacrifices and risks
Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, thanked the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean for their solidarity, which enabled Cuba to participate on an equal footing in this hemispheric forum, as well as the President of the Republic of Panama for the invitation to attend and the minutes granted for his speech
Author: Raul Castro Ruz | internet@granma.cu
april 14, 2015 09:04:36

Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, thanked the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean for their solidarity, which enabled Cuba to participate on an equal footing in this hemispheric forum, as well as the President of the Republic of Panama for the invitation to attend and the minutes granted for his speech

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(Council of State Transcript)
It was high time I spoke here on behalf of Cuba. I
tough I made a great effort, along with my Foreign Minister, to reduce it to eight minutes, and as I’m owed six summits from which we were excluded, 6 times 8, 48 (laughter and applause), I asked President Varela a few moments before entering this magnificent hall, to allow me a few minutes more, especially after we have been hearing so many interesting speeches, and I am not only referring to that of President Obama, but also that of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, President Dilma Rousseff and others.

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PANAMA.— Given the presence of mercenaries, Cuban delegation abandons Civil Society Forum

 

Before the event began, shouts of “Out, worms out” and “get them out of here,” were heard from the almost 70 Cuban delegates

Author: Sergio Alejandro Gómez | internet@granma.cu
april 8, 2015 18:04:13
PANAMA.— This Wednesday, the representatives of the Cuban delegation temporarily abandoned the Civil Society forum of the 7th Summit of the Americas, given the unacceptable presence of a group of mercenaries, previously denounced by the delegation.

The Cuban delegation left the Civil Society forum with the national flag held high.

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Photo: Juvenal Balán

The Cuban contingent returned to the workshops this afternoon demanding that the accreditation issued to a group of individuals who do not represent true Cuban society and have proven links to terrorists, be revoked.

“Genuine Cuban civil society has left the room as we will not share the space with representatives of an alleged society, which is not our own, which receives financing from others,” explained Delegate to the National Assembly and member of the delegation, Luis Morlote.

For reasons of dignity we can not be asked to share the same roof with these mercenaries, added Morlote, also vice president of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (Uneac).

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Photo: Juvenal Balán

Before the event began, shouts of “Out, worms out” and “get them out of here,” were heard from the almost 70 Cuban delegates.

Enrique Alemán, from the Inter-religious Dialogue Platform, sent a message to President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, alerting him to the presence of genuine terrorists in the Hotel Panamá, headquarters of the forum.

Joel Suárez, from the Martin Luther King Centre and member of the delegation, recalled that the Summit of the Americas and its parallel forums have a dark history, and that since 1994, when the regional event began, the people have always been shut out and repressed.

However, we hoped that this time would be different and meetings were held in Cuba in order to bring a constructive agenda to Panama, noted Suárez.

In a previous incident, almost 20 Cuban delegates had problems securing accreditation for the forum, and were still unable to enter the space minutes before the event was scheduled to start. A dozen Venezuelan delegates also experienced the same situation.

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Photo: Juvenal Balán
A spontaneous protest broke out at the entrance to the forum, to which dozens of people joined in, including other journalists.

The delegations waved Cuban and Venezuelan flags and chanted “We don’t want to be a U.S. colony; yes, yes we want to be a free and sovereign homeland,” “Pin, pon, out, down with the worms” and “Cuba yes, terrorists no.”

Eventually, the organizers of the forum allowed them to enter via the official list, not through the established accreditation system.

Ruben Castillo, Panamanian coordinator of the forum, stated that situation was the result of delays caused by technical problems and denied any type political selectivity.

Fidel Castro appears in public for first time in 14 months

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Fidel Castro appears in public for first time in 14 months
Photographs show former Cuban president greeting group of Venezuelan visitors

Fidel Castro greeting a member of a Venezuelan delegation in Cuba last month. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
Fidel Castro greeting a member of a Venezuelan delegation in Cuba last month. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
Elisabeth Malkin

Former president Fidel Castro of Cuba made a surprise appearance in public for the first time in 14 months, greeting a group of Venezuelan visitors as they toured a Havana school, the Cuban media has reported. The report, which was published in the official Cuban newspaper Juventud Rebelde, was accompanied by four photographs of Dr Castro seated in his van and shaking hands with enthusiastic visitors who reached through the window.

The article said the encounter took place on March 30th but did not explain the publishing delay. It was also the first time Dr Castro (88) had been seen since his brother, President Raúl Castro, and President Barack Obama announced in December that the United States and Cuba would normalise diplomatic relations and loosen many of the economic restrictions Washington had placed on the island.
The agreement was a step toward halting five decades of enmity that has sustained the propaganda defining the Cuban Revolution. But for almost six weeks, Fidel Castro was silent about the dramatic reconciliation, leading to rumours in Havana and Miami that he had died. He finally spoke out at the end of January, when he published a letter in the Communist Party’s official newspaper, Granma, explaining that he supported a peaceful resolution to conflicts but still distrusted US politics.
A few days later, Granma published photographs of Dr Castro in his home looking alert and animated during a meeting with a student leader from the University of Havana.
More photos
More photographs followed in early March when Castro met with five Cuban agents who had spent years in jail in the United States on espionage charges. Granma also published a letter from Castro about the five-hour meeting.
In the latest photographs, Castro was shown from inside his van, dressed in a blue Adidas jacket and a black baseball cap. The article said the encounter lasted 90 minutes as Castro greeted the 33 Venezuelans in the exchange group one by one and discussed political affairs in their country.
He called for people to petition Mr Obama to reverse his declaration calling Venezuela a threat to the national security of the United States.
The declaration last month eroded some of the goodwill in Latin America that the new easing of tension with Cuba had generated for the United States, just weeks before the Summit of the Americas meeting in Panama on April 10th-11th. Mr Obama and Raúl Castro will both attend the meeting.

Cuba and the U.S. to hold talks on human rights

Cuba and the U.S. to hold talks on human rights
The dialogue is scheduled for March 31 and Cuba hopes it will develop in a constructive environment and on a reciprocal basis

Author: Sergio Alejandro Gómez | internet@granma.cu
march 27, 2015 10:03:23
Delegations from Cuba and the United States will meet in Washington to discuss human rights, as agreed in the midst of talks to restore diplomatic relations, Pedro Luis Pedroso, deputy director general of Multilateral Affairs and International Law at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, revealed on Thursday in Havana.

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Pedro Luis Pedroso, deputy director general of Multilateral Affairs and International Law at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, announced that Cuba and the U.S. will hold a bilateral dialogue on human rights. Photo: Alberto Borrego Photo: Alberto Borrego
Speaking at a press conference, Pedroso recalled that Cuba had proposed to hold a bilateral dialogue on this issue in July last year, which was repeated in January 2015 and accepted by Washington authorities.

The dialogue is scheduled for March 31 and Cuba hopes it will develop in a constructive environment and on a reciprocal basis, without conditions or discriminatory treatment, and with full respect for sovereign equality, independence and non-interference in the internal affairs of the parties, Pedroso stressed.

The Cuban diplomat said that the exchange will cover topics of interest to both countries and that the final agenda would be defined over the coming hours.
He noted that Cuba will demonstrate its achievements in the promotion and protection of all human rights, not only of its own people but also those of many nations with which it has cooperated in areas such as health and education.

He added that the country does not consider itself to be perfect and recognizes there remain important goals to achieve. However, he highlighted the recognition received at the last Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council, where the international community praised and commended Cuban achievements in areas such as education, health and access to cultural rights, and the contribution the island has made in those same areas in other countries.

Pedroso noted that the dialogue will also be an opportunity for Cuba to raise its concerns regarding the human rights situation in the U.S. and elsewhere where this country has a direct impact.
”These talks are an indication of Cuba’s willingness to address any subject with the U.S. despite our differences, based on equality and reciprocity,” he said.

“We are conscious of our profound differences with the U.S. government in terms of political systems, democracy, human rights and international law, and at the same time we maintain the unwavering will that both countries interact in a civilized fashion in recognition and respect of these differences,” he added.
Asked aboutthe possiblefrictionson specific topicssuch as politicalrights, Pedrososaid thatCubamaintains thatthere are differentpolitical anddemocraticmodels,and does not accept that a single model be established as a unique reference.

He also emphasized that international law recognizes the right of each country to establish the political system it considers most appropriate in accordance with its conditions, specific characteristics and historical, economic and social history.

Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz at the 9th Extraordinary Alba-TCP Summit, convened in solidarity with the sister nation of Venezuela

Submitted by editor on Wed, 03/18/2015 – 00:00

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Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, at the 9th Extraordinary Alba-TCP Summit, convened in solidarity with the sister nation of Venezuela, held in Caracas, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, March 17, 2015

Esteemed Heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America;
Esteemed Heads of delegations and guests;
Compañeras and compañeros:



ALBA brings us together today to reaffirm our firmest support for the Bolivarian people and government in the face of the latest interventionist measures and threats from the U.S. government against Venezuela.
The facts demonstrate that history can not be ignored. The relations between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean have been marked by the “Monroe Doctrine” and the objective of exercising domination and hegemony over our nations.

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Fidel sends message to President Nicolás Maduro

Fidel sends message to President Nicolás Maduro
The historic leader of the Cuban Revolution emphasizes the heroic attitude assumed by the Venezuelan people, as well as the exemplary discipline and spirit of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces in the face of U.S. sanctions
Author: Fidel Castro Ruz | internet@granma.cu
march 17, 2015 09:03:04

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Honorable President of the BolivarianRepublic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro:
As the press has reported, tomorrow Tuesday March 17, an Alba Summit will take place in Caracas to analyze the outrageous policy of the United States government toward Venezuela and Alba.
The idea of creating this organization came from Chávez himself, wanting to share with his Caribbean brothers and sisters the enormous economic resources with which nature had blessed his native homeland, the benefits of which had however landed in the hands of powerful U.S. corporations, and a few Venezuelan millionaires.Corruption and squandering were the fundamental motivations of the first oligarchy with fascist tendencies, addicted to violence and crime. The violence and crime committed against the heroic Venezuelan people was so intolerable that it can never be forgotten, and a return will never be allowed to the shameful past of the pre-revolutionary era which led to attacks on commercial centers and the murder of thousands of people, the number of which no one can today confirm.

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Defending the Cuban Revolution