All posts by JaimeM

Chavez is Gone, but Chavismo is Here to Stay


Chavez is Gone, but Chavismo is Here to Stay By: Federico Fuente


President Chávez, the founder of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV)

Published 3 August 2015

Despite all the opposition’s attempts to overthrow Chavez, this political force is rooted in Venezuela’s poor majority, mobilized within the state and on the street to defend the Bolivarian revolution and advance its revolutionary aims.
Had Hugo Chavez not passed away in 2013, the former Venezuelan president would have turned 61 on July 28. However, even though Chavez is gone, his indelible imprint on Venezuela’s political landscape endures.

On December 6 Venezuelans will go to the polls for the 20th time since Chavez was first elected president in 1998. The December election for the National Assembly is shaping up to be another critical battle between forces that for 15 years either supported or opposed Chavez.

For the Chavista forces, victory is vital to defending and deepening their “Bolivarian revolution”.

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Cuba finishes fourth at the 2015 Pan American Games


Cuba finishes fourth at the 2015 Pan American Games
The Cuban delegation finished fourth in the medal count at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games in Canada, with a total of 36 gold, 27 silver and 27 bronze medal

Author: Granma |
july 29, 2015 18:07:35









Boxer Andy Cruz (left) took the gold medal in the 56kg category. Photo: Ricardo López Hevia

The Cuban delegation finished fourth in the medal count at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games in Canada, with a total of 36 gold, 27 silver and 27 bronze medals.
The boxing saw the biggest gains for the island with six titles, won by Andy Cruz, in the 56 kilogram division, Lázaro Álvarez (60kg), Arlen López (75kg), Julio César la Cruz (81kg), Erislandy Savon (91kg) and Lenier Peró (91+kg).

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The July 26 commemoration in Santiago

Santiago has shown that, without losing its hospitality, it remains rebellious and heroic
As the July 26 commemoration in Santiago concluded, after the central remarks made by José Ramón Machado Ventura, President Raúl Castro Ruz shared a few words. Machado Ventura recalled that the July 26 commemoration is held not only to honor the past, but to reaffirm that the heroic 1953 actions were not in vain, that the seeds sown have borne fruit.
Author: Redacción Nacional |
july 26, 2015 09:07:33










Foto: Jose M. Correa

“I could not pass through here without saying something to you. Three or four words. I am leaving confident and hopeful that Santiago will always continue to be Santiago,” said Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, as the commemoration of the assaults on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrisons in Santiago concluded.

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Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla Cuban Foreign Minister meets John Kerry U.S. Secretary of State

Cuban Foreign Minister meets U.S. Secretary of State
Rodríguez Parrilla insisted that the definitive lifting of the blockade is essential to the normalization of relations, and emphasized that, in the meantime, President Obama can continue using his executive powers to significantly reduce the blockade’s impact.

Author: Granma |
july 21, 2015 09:07:53







Yesterday afternoon, July 20, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuba’s minister of Foreign Affairs, was welcomed at the U.S. State Department in Washington by his counterpart, John Kerry.

The heads of Cuban and U.S. diplomacy discussed the current state of relations between the two countries, as well as progress achieved since the announcements made on December 17, 2014, including Cuba’s removal from the list of States sponsors of terrorism; the historic meeting between President Raúl Castro and President Barack Obama in Panama; the expansion of official exchanges on issues of common interest; the re-establishment of diplomatic relations; and the re-opening of embassies.

Acknowledging the appeal made by President Obama to the U.S. Congress to definitively lift the blockade, as well as the steps which have been taken to modify aspects of its implementation, Minister Rodríguez Parrilla insisted that the lifting of the blockade is essential to the normalization of relations, as is the resolution of other problems which have accumulated over more than fifty years.

He emphasized that, in the meantime, President Obama can continue using his executive powers to significantly reduce the blockade’s impact.

The Cuban Minister reiterated the Cuban government’s willingness to move toward the normalization of relations with the United States on the basis of respect and equality – without compromising the island’s independence or sovereignty.

Both parties reiterated their interest in normalizing bilateral relations, recognizing that this will be a long and complex process that will require the willingness of both countries.

This is the first visit paid to the United States by a Cuban foreign minister since the triumph of the Revolution. The Cuban minister is in Washington leading the delegation which attended the re-opening of the Cuban Embassy in this country.

Cuba’s flag waves in U.S. capital Cuba’s diplomatic mission in the United States was officially re-inaugurated this morning, July 20.

Cuba’s flag waves in U.S. capital
Cuba’s diplomatic mission in the United States was officially re-inaugurated this morning, July 20. The Cuban Interest Section in Washington is now the country’s embassy.



Author: Sergio Alejandro Gómez |
july 20, 2015 12:07:02

WASHINGTON.-For the first time in half a century, the Cuban national anthem was heard in this capital and the lone star flag raised to re-inaugurate the country’s embassy in the United States.
The two countries, without formal relations since January 3, 1961, now have embassies in the respective capitals, as a result of an agreement reached last December between Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro.
More than a hundred persons, flanked by dozens of television and press reporters gathered outside the diplomatic mission located on 16th Street for the historic event.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, becoming the country’s first official to make a state visit to the country, held a press conference immediately following the inauguration ceremony, attended by the U.S. State Department’s Roberta Jacobson, assistant secretary for Western Hemispheric Affairs. Rodríguez Parrilla will be received by Secretary of State John Kerry later today.

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Message from President Raúl Castro Ruz and Fidel Castro Ruz to Prime Minister of Greece

Message from Raúl to Prime Minister of Greece
The President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba congratulates compañero Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece, on the ‘NO’ victory achieved in the nationwide referendum held July 5, 2015
Author: Granma |
july 6, 2015 09:07:24
Havana, July5, 2015







Esteemed Prime Minister:
I extend to you my most sincere congratulations on the ‘NO’ victory achieved in the referendum held in Greece, July 5, 2015
This result demonstrates the majority support of the Greek people for the courageous policy of the government over which you preside.
I reiterate the assurance of my highest consideration.

Raúl Castro Ruz
President of the Councils of State and Ministers
of the Republic of Cuba
Compañero Alexis Tsipras
Prime Minister
Hellenic Republic









current situation facing the country

Author: Fidel Castro Ruz |
july 7, 2015 09:07:51
Hon. Mr. Alexis Tsipras
Prime Minister of Greece:

I warmly congratulate you for your brilliant political victory, details of which I followed closely through the channel TeleSur.
Greece is very familiar among Cubans. She taught us Philosophy, Art and Sciences of antiquity when we studied at school and, with them, the most complex of all human activities: the art and science of politics.
Your country, especially your courage in the current situation, arouses admiration among the Latin American and Caribbean peoples of this hemisphere on witnessing how Greece, against external aggression, defends its identity and culture. Nor do they forget that a year after Hitler’s attack on Poland, Mussolini ordered his troops to invade Greece, and that brave country repelled the attack and drove back the invaders, forcing the deployment of German armored units towards Greece, diverting them from the initial target.
Cuba knows of the bravery and the fighting capacity of the Russian troops, which, together with the forces of their powerful ally the People’s Republic of China, and other nations of the Middle East and Asia, always try to avoid war, but would never allow for any military aggression without an overwhelming and devastating response.
In the current political situation of the world, where peace and the survival of our species hangs by a thread, every decision, more than ever, must be carefully thought-out and applied, so that no one may doubt the honesty and seriousness with which many of the most responsible and serious leaders struggle today to confront the calamities that threaten the world.
We wish you, esteemed compañero Alexis Tsipras, the greatest of success.

Fidel Castro Ruz
5 July, 2015
8:12 p.m.

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

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 |
july 3, 2015 12:07:33






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







Author: Granma |
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



Author: Deisy Francis Mexidor |
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.”


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.







Photo: 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.







Foto: 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.