All posts by JaimeM

Trump Cuba Policy: What Will Happen in Coming Months?

Trump Cuba Policy: What Will Happen in Coming Months?

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According to the June 16 White House Fact Sheet on Cuba Policy, the Treasury and Commerce Departments will begin the process of issuing new regulations in only 30 days.

According to the June 16 White House Fact Sheet on Cuba Policy, the Treasury and Commerce
Departments will begin the process of issuing new regulations in only 30 days.

By: Arnold August
Published 17 June 2017

His policies cannot take effect until the new regulations are established, a process that, according to the Fact Sheet, “may take several months.”
The official June 16 statement was barely uttered when the majority nationwide opposition to the Trump Cuba policy was once again reignited.

Indeed, it was already extremely active and vocal before the Little Havana, Miami venue and date were announced on June 9. By stage-managing the event in Little Havana, Trump was preaching to the choir, one that does not even include the rest of Florida, where the majority of Cuban-Americans oppose the blockade, or at least the Obama policy of making the blockade somewhat more flexible. Trump’s trademark manner of hand-picking events to spread the word across the country will not work. His Cold War rhetoric will not detract the forces that want to increase trade and travel to Cuba.

However, Trump’s policy is not yet set in stone. According to the June 16 White House Fact Sheet on Cuba Policy, the Treasury and Commerce Departments will begin the process of issuing new regulations in only 30 days. His policies cannot take effect until the new regulations are established, a process that, according to the Fact Sheet, “may take several months.” A lot can happen within this time frame.

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Danzón: Cuba’s national dance

Danzón: Cuba’s national dance
The Havana International Danzón Festival pays tribute to this Cuban musical genre and its main figures in the country’s youngest provinces, Artemisa and Mayabeque, this year June 21 – 25

Author: Ricardo Alonso Venereo | cultura@granma.cujune 13, 2017

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Danzón dancers in Cuba. Photo: Ricardo Alonso Venereo
Each new edition of the Havana International Danzón Festival, organized by the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) and its Association of Musicians, since 2004, recognizes and pays tribute to the history of this Cuban musical genre and its main figures in the youngest of the country’s provinces: Artemisa and Mayabeque.

As such Danzón Habana 2017, to be held June 21 – 25, in the capital and other nearby provinces, will be dedicated to the towns of San Antonio de los Baños, in Artemisa, and Madruga and Santa Cruz del Norte, in Mayabeque.

Maestro José Loyola Fernández, founder and president of the event, announced that as part of the International Festival outside the capital, these three Cuban towns will see an important series of activities surrounding the figures of the brothers Raimundo and Pablo Valenzuela, of San Antonio de los Baños, and José Urfé and Antonio María Romeu, from Madruga and Santa Cruz del Norte, respectively.

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Statement by the Revolutionary Government of Cuba on Trump’s roll back of Presidents Obama’s Cuba initiative

Statement by the Revolutionary Government of Cuba
Submitted by editor on Sat, 06/17/2017 – 16:04

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On June 16, 2017, US President Donald Trump delivered a speech full of hostile anti-Cuban rhetoric reminiscent of the times of open confrontation with our country in a Miami theater. He announced his government’s Cuba policy, which rolls back the progress achieved over the last two years since December 17, 2014, when Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama announced the decision to re-establish diplomatic relations and engage in a process towards the normalization of bilateral relations.

In what constitutes a setback in the relations between both countries, President Trump, gave a speech and signed a policy directive titled “National Security Presidential Memorandum”, which provides the elimination of private educational “people-to-people” exchanges and greater control over all travelers to Cuba, as well as the prohibition of business, trade and financial transactions between US companies and certain Cuban companies linked to the Armed Revolutionary Forces and the intelligence and security services, under the alleged objective of depriving us from income. The US president justified this policy with alleged concerns over the human rights situation in Cuba and the need to rigorously enforce the US blockade laws, conditioning its lifting, as well as any improvements in US-Cuba bilateral relations to our country’s making changes inherent to its constitutional order.

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SILENT VIGIL demanding continued travel and engagement with Cuba.

New York – New Jersey CubaSi

Contact: Joan Gibbs – 718-789-1801 joanpgibbs2012@gmail.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York 14 June 2017… On Thursday, June 15th hundreds of New Yorkers will gather at 4:30PM in front of Trump Tower – 725 5th Avenue at 56th Street –In a SILENT VIGIL demanding continued travel and engagement with Cuba.

On Friday President Donald Trumo is expected to announce his administration’s new “Cuba Policy” and has promised to overturn the moves toward full normalization with our closest neighbor to the South.

Late last month the conservative blog The Daily Caller reported that Trump was planning to make good on his campaign promise to “terminate” the Obama administration’s opening of engagement with Cuba. Just over two and a half years after the United States finally took steps to end more than half a century of hostility and restrictions on trade and travel, Trump wants us to go backwards.

Polls and statistics show that the majority of Washington policy-makers, as well as Cuban-Americans and U.S. Citizens at large, favor engagement with Cuba. So today we ask: Is it really “America First?” or Trump and the small power-hungry Cuban-American right wing FIRST?

We don’t want to return to the outdated, antiquated and cruel cold war policies of the past. We need friendship and peace in our hemisphere.

WE CANNOT SIT STILL!!!

Join us this Thursday – outside Trump Tower – at 4:30 PM – Let our legislators know we want to continue the path towards normalization with Cuba..

End the Travel Ban!!! End the Embargo!!!

Cruise industry committed to Cuba

Cruise industry committed to Cuba
In 2017, the island expects to receive three times more cruise passengers than last year

Author: Katheryn Felipe González | informacion@granma.cu
june 7, 2017 11:06:21

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Cuban port authorities are very conscientious of the loading capacities of each destination. Photo: Kimani Hernández.
Many experts define cruises as an exploratory form of tourism that, through short stays in each port, allows travelers to visit and learn about various destinations. Undoubtedly, it is a modality that at the very least is effective and solvent.

A particular feature of the Cuban tourist boom of recent years has been the increased arrival of cruise ships to the island. Of the more than four million tourists who visited Cuba in 2016, 112,000 arrived aboard cruises.

In fact, the cruise industry has been gaining in popularity globally. According to data from the World Tourism Organization, there are increasing numbers of cruise ships and other recreational vessels visiting the most diverse ports around the world.

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Cienfuegos is one of the Cuban ports offering international departures. Photo: Julio Martínez Molina
According to these figures, cruises are among the tourist modalities that have grown the most in Cuba and the Caribbean over the last five years. While the region receives an annual average of 50,000 vessels of all kinds, it also welcomes about 60% of the cruise ships operating on the planet Continue reading

More than 50 senators support eliminating restrictions on travel to Cuba

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MAY 26, 2017 12:27 PM
More than 50 senators support eliminating restrictions on travel to Cuba
BY NORA GÁMEZ TORRES
ngameztorres@elnuevoherald.com

As the Cuba policy review reaches its final stage, politicians, companies and organizations that support the policy of engagement are making an extra effort to send this message to Donald Trump: Mr. President, don’t eliminate opportunities to travel to the island.
Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) reintroduced a bill Thursday to eliminate all prohibitions on travel to Cuba. The bill, which had only eight cosponsors when first filed in 2015, now has the support of 55 senators from both parties.
“As the administration is finalizing its Cuba policy review, it is important to show that a bipartisan majority in the Senate supports not only not rolling back the measures that President Obama took to expand travel, but to go even further and remove all restrictions,” James Williams, president of Engage Cuba, told el Nuevo Herald. Engage Cuba is a coalition of companies and organizations that lobby to eliminate sanctions on Cuba.
The bill would remove all restrictions for U.S. citizens and residents on travel to Cuba, and will authorize associated banking transactions made by travelers. A similar proposal was presented in the House but with fewer sponsors.
Even if the bill is not discussed on the Senate floor, said Williams, it sends a strong message to the White House that there is support for the current policy of engagement.
In a separate move to push the agenda forward, another piece of legislation was introduced on Friday to lift the trade embargo. The Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2017 was introduced by Sens. Leahy, Flake, Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming).

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Cuba celebrates its African roots

Cuba celebrated Africa Day this Thursday, May 25, with an event held in Havana, attended by members of the Party Political Bureau, Salvador Valdés Mesa, a vice president of the Council of State; Esteban Lazo Hernandez, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power; and Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, minister of Foreign Affairs
Author: Darcy Borrero Batista | informacion@granma.cu
may 26, 2017 15:05:48

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Photo: Jose M. Correa
“Africa will always be able to count on Cuba,” Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra stated this Thursday during a political-cultural act in Havana, on the occasion of Africa Day.
Presided by members of the Party Political Bureau, Salvador Valdés Mesa, a vice president of the Council of State; Esteban Lazo Hernandez, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power; and Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, minister of Foreign Affairs, the event was an opportunity to recall the shared history of Cuba and Africa.
In addition to thanking African nations for their position against the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on the island, Sierra highlighted Cuba’s support for the continent, which represents almost a third of UN member states and is currently the second fastest growing region of the world.
The deputy minister recalled the words of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro when he stated that Africa does not need interference, but rather the transfer of financial resources.
Sierra also emphasized that some twenty African delegations accompanied the tributes to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution following his death last November; and stressed that Havana is one of the global capitals with the largest African diplomatic presence, after the opening of the embassies of Niger, Kenya and Seychelles.
“Some 6,000 Cubans are collaborating today in Africa; and more than 29,000 Africans from 54 countries have graduated in Cuba,” he noted, while emphasizing that Cuba is committed to contributing to Africa’s development.
He added that Africa Day, which marks the founding in 1963 of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) – today the African Union (AU) – offers an opportunity to recall Fidel’s tours of the continent 45 years ago. The OAU was the cornerstone of institutional strengthening and African cooperation, he noted.
Meanwhile, Guinean representative to the AU, Hawa Diakité Kaba, whose country currently holds the pro tempore presidency of the organization, recalled Fidel’s strong ties with African revolutionaries such as Neto, Mandela and Lumumba.
On behalf of the AU, Diakité sent greetings from the president of Guinea to Army General Raúl Castro, and described the relations between the bloc and the island as profound and historic, expressed since the 1960s through Cuban support for the liberation movements of Angola, Ethiopia, Congo, among other nations.
Speaking before Cuban Foreign Ministry, Party and government officials, and members and heads of mission of the diplomatic corps accredited in Havana, as well as African students on the island, Diakité expressed her gratitude for Cuba’s assistance in areas such as health and education, an example of South-South cooperation.

Message from Army General Raúl Castro to Oscar López Rivera

Message from Army General Raúl Castro to Oscar López Rivera

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The Cuban President expresses his congratulations to the fighter for Puerto Rican independence, who was finally released yesterday from U.S. custody

Author: Raúl Castro Ruz | internet@granma.cu
may 19, 2017 09:05:07
Havana, May 18, 2017

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Dear compañero Oscar,
Accept my fraternal congratulations in the name of the Cuban Party, government, and people, who share the joy of your liberation.
History will not forget your determination and loyalty to the cause of Puerto Rican independence, which is essential to Our America.
We await you in Cuba, with all the honors and affection you deserve, whenever it may be possible for you.
An embrace,
Raúl Castro Ruz

10TH CUBAN DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA

For schools free of discrimination
The 10th Cuban Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which will see a range of activities held in different parts of the island May 3-20, is this year dedicated to the prevention of bullying and harassment in school spaces
Author: Lisandra Fariñas Acosta | lisandra@granma.cu
may 4, 2017 10:05:34

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Cenesex Director Dr. Mariela Castro Espín speaking during a press conference alongside Chilean transgender actress and singer Daniela Vega. Photo: Alejandro Ernesto/EFE
The 10th Cuban Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which will see a range of activities held in different parts of the island May 3-20, is this year dedicated to the prevention of bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual and gender identities in school spaces.
Once again, Cuban activities to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT, May 17), will be an opportunity for raising awareness and debating the prejudices that persist within society.
Speaking during a press conference, Dr. Mariela Castro Espín, director of the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex), noted that it is a question of promoting a change of mentality and attitude among people who exclude, reject and isolate those with non-heteronormative sexual orientations or gender identities.
Under the theme: “For Schools without Homophobia and Transphobia: I Include Myself,” this 10th edition of the event will address an issue that has been identified in social, legal and medical sciences research in Cuba. “We are not engaged in this battle because it is a huge problem, but because it is a problem, and therefore it must be made visible. The biggest obstacle is that there is not enough awareness that these issues exist, nor the knowledge to identify at what point this type of phenomena are expressed and their various manifestations, from the most explicit to the most subtle. Today it is a challenge for Cuban institutions to further these types of studies,” the Cenesex director explained.

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No to the blockade, Yes to socialism

On May 4, the Bloguerías de Mayo #UnblockCuba space was inaugurated, as part of traditional celebrations held over these days in Holguin

Author: Madeleine Sautié | informacion@granma.cu
may 5, 2017 10:05:57

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Photo: Facebook
Holguin.– On May 4, the Bloguerías de Mayo, #UnblockCuba space was inaugurated, as part of traditional celebrations held over these days in the City of Parks, during which participants in the annual Romerías cultural festival raised their voices in opposition to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the Unites States on Cuba for over five decades.
The Alex Urquiola provincial library played host to the event, which kicked off with a conference by historian and essayist, Ernesto Limia.
The event, which was attended by Liliem Aguilera, president of the AHS in Holguin, and Alexis Triana, a member of the event organizing committee, together with social network activists, was a moment of intense exchange, during which Limia referred to the need to investigate country’s true history in the face of the United States’ unrelenting campaign of intervention waged since the triumph of the Revolution.
According to Limia, in its actions against Cuba, the U.S. only extols those who play by the rules of the market and their societies; marked by unbridled individualism. “The most important thing is to share the truth and that’s what this people in Revolution are doing. A better world is not only possible, but is also what we are currently building,” she insisted.