U.S. makes cuts to embassy staff in Havana official

U.S. makes cuts to embassy staff in Havana official
A wire from Associated Press highlights that the announcement makes the U.S. decision last year to withdraw 60 percent of its diplomats from its embassy in Cuba, under the pretext of supposed “sonic attacks” against its personnel, practically permanent

Author: Sergio Alejandro Gómez | informacion@granma.cu
march 2, 2018 16:03:34

 

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From March 5, the United States Embassy in Havana will operate as an “unaccompanied post,” according to an official media note from the U.S. Department of State, published March 2.

The document explains that “The U.S. Embassy in Havana has operated under ordered departure status since September 29, 2017, due to health attacks affecting U.S. Embassy Havana employees. It will reach the maximum allowable days in departure status on March 4.”

Meanwhile, a wire from Associated Press highlights that the announcement makes the U.S. decision last year to withdraw 60 percent of its diplomats from its embassy in Cuba, under the pretext of supposed “sonic attacks” against its personnel, practically permanent.

However, after months of investigations by Cuban and U.S. authorities, no evidence explaining the cause or origin of the alleged health issues suffered by U.S. diplomats has been found.

AP adds that by law, the State department can only order diplomats to leave temporarily for six months before either sending them back or making the reductions permanent.

Meanwhile, the State Department noted that “The embassy will continue to operate with the minimum personnel necessary to perform core diplomatic and consular functions.”

This is exactly how the Embassy has been functioning since September 2017, when the U.S. government withdrew the majority of its staff, paralyzing consular services for Cubans and only maintaining core diplomatic services and functions relating to emergencies.

The measure comes amidst growing calls from different sectors in the U.S. to normalize operations at both embassies and rescind travel warnings to Cuba.

A bicameral delegation of U.S. Congresspeople which visited the island last week described the withdrawal of diplomatic personnel as “a mistake,” noting that the decision affects people on both sides of the Florida Straits and puts collaboration initiatives between both countries since December 17, 2014, at risk.

Meanwhile, On March 1, around twenty tour operators demanded that Washington eliminate travel alerts regarding Cuba, noting that the island is recognized as one of the safest destinations for international travelers by specialist tour agencies and international bodies.

STATE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES HARSH CRITICISM

In Loving Memory ~ Ricardo Prieto

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Ha fallecido el compañero Ricardo Prieto. Su deceso ocurrió el día 9 de Febrero del 2018, a la 1:30 de la tarde en Hamburgo, Alemania.

Junto a su lecho se encontraba su esposa Andrea y su hija Adriana. El compañero fue miembro de Casa de las Américas por muchos años. Ricardo fue ferviente defensor de la gloriosa revolución cubana y todas las causas justas. Siempre estuvo presente cuando se le necesitaba.

Los compañeros de Casa de Las Américas lamentamos tan valiosa perdida. Nuestro mas sincero pésame para su familia y amigos, de parte de los miembros de Casa de Las Américas. Que las fuerzas del universo lo acompañen en su trayectoria por el infinito. Que en paz descanse el compañero Ricardo.

Jaime Mendieta, Presidente
Nancy Cabrero, Vise Presidente
Gilberto Villa, Segundo Vise Presidente
Franklin Flores, Secretario de Organización


Comrade Ricardo Prieto passed away on February 9, 2018, at 1:30 in the afternoon in Hamburg, Germany.

His wife Andrea and his daughter Adriana were at his bedside.

The companion was a member of Casa de las Américas for many years.

Ricardo was a fervent defender of the glorious Cuban revolution and all just causes.

He was always there when needed.

The companions of Casa de Las Américas regret such a valuable loss.

Our most sincere condolences to family and friends.

May the forces of the universe accompany him in his path through infinity.

May Comrade Ricardo rest in peace.

Jaime Mendieta, President
Nancy Cabrero, Vice-President
Gilberto Villa, Second Vice-President
Franklin Flores, Secretary of Organization

President Raúl Castro Ruz, received a delegation from the United States Congress

Raúl receives U.S. Congressional delegation
Affairs of interest to both countries were discussed during the meeting
Author: Granma | internet@granma.cu
february 21, 2018 08:02:13

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Photo: Estudio Revolución

Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, yesterday afternoon received a delegation from the United States Congress, led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont).
The group also included two other Democratic Senators, Ron Wyden from Oregon and Gary Peters from Michigan, and House Representatives James McGovern (D-Massachusetts) and Susan Davis (D-California).
Affairs of interest to both countries were discussed during the meeting.
Additionally present on the Cuban side were Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla and Carlos Fernández de Cossío, the ministry’s general director for the United States.

U.S. congressional delegation reaffirms need to improve relations with Cuba

U.S. congressional delegation reaffirms need to improve relations with Cuba
U.S. members of Congress expressed the need to continue the process, initiated by the Obama administration, toward the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, during a February 21 press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Havana
Author: Redacción Digital | internet@granma.cu
february 21, 2018 16:02:11

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Photo: Prensa Latina
U.S. members of Congress expressed the need to continue the process, initiated by the Obama administration, toward the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, during a February 21 press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.
The group, led by Democrat Senator and Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman, Patrick Leahy, arrived in Cuba last weekend, here to review –together with local authorities – changes in Washington’s policy toward the island since President Donald Trump assumed office in January 2017.
During the press conference, Leahy mentioned the meeting that he and his colleagues held yesterday with Cuban President, Raúl Castro, describing the encounter as extremely frank and pleasant, during which Cuba’s desire to continue improving bilateral relations, despite current circumstances was expressed.
The Senator for Vermont criticized the new direction taken by the Trump administration with regard to Cuba policy, and in particular measures related to the withdraw of diplomatic personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Havana and the expulsion of members of Cuba’s diplomatic corps from its headquarters in Washington.
This is a grave error which harms the interests of both governments and peoples and above all those who need to visit either country for family or business purposes, as well as so many other things that were frozen under the pretext of the health incidents reported by U.S diplomatic staff in the Cuban capital, noted Leahy.
Regarding this issue, the U.S. Senator highlighted the Cuban government’s cooperation in resolving the case and stated that he believes the island’s authorities do not have the slightest intention to harm U.S. citizens who visit Havana.
What is more he noted that not a single one of his colleagues had any fears about travelling to Cuba as they believe the island to be a safe place, and have even travelled here with their spouses, and in Leahy’s case, with his 13 year old granddaughter.
The group, which will return to the U.S. today, February 21, also includes senators Ron Wyden from Oregon and Gary Peters from Michigan, as well as House Representatives James McGovern (D-Massachusetts), Kathy Castor (D-Florida) who was not present during the press conference, and Susan Davis (D-California).
For his part McGovern criticized recent steps by the Trump administration to reduce the number of staff at the U.S and Cuban embassies as well as other changes by the White House which have had negative implications for bilateral relations, as they affect travel by Cuban and U.S. citizens to both countries.
On Monday, February 20, the Congressional delegation held a meeting with Director General for the United States at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Carlos Fernández de Cossio, who thanked them for their efforts to improve relations.
The Cuban official also reiterated that no evidence of the alleged sonic attacks against U.S. diplomatic personnel in Havana exists, as sectors intent on preventing any advance in the normalization of relations between the two countries, are claiming.

Two Wings of the Same Bird – Puerto Rico, Cuba, Hurricanes and Political Prisoners

FEBRUARY 14, 2018      FROMcp5

 

 

Two Wings of the Same Bird – Puerto Rico, Cuba, Hurricanes and Political Prisoners
by DIANA BLOCK
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Photo by Rob Oo | CC BY 2.0
Six months after Oscar López Rivera was released from prison having spent 35 years inside, he traveled to Cuba. “I feel at home, this is a dream come true; for many, many years, I have wanted to come to Cuba and today for the first time I have arrived,” Oscar told Fernando Llort González, the President of ICAP (Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples), who greeted him when he stepped off the plane.
The last time Oscar had seen Fernando was in the cell he shared with him for four years in Terre Haute prison where they became good friends. Their friendship wasn’t surprising. Oscar was in prison because of his participation in the struggle to win Puerto Rican independence from the U.S. while Fernando, one of the Cuban 5, was in prison for his efforts to protect a sovereign Cuban nation from U.S. aggressive interventions. A Puerto Rican and a Cuban freedom fighter sharing a cell was a twenty-first century manifestation of the historical bonds between the two islands, eloquently expressed in the lines that Puerto Rican poet Lola Rodriguez de Tió wrote in 1893:
Cuba and Puerto Rico are
as two wings of the same bird,
they receive flowers and bullets
into the same heart.
When Oscar arrived in Cuba on November 13, 2017, both Cuba and Puerto Rico had recently received bullets into the geographical hearts of their islands. Cuba was hit by Hurricane Irma, a category 5 hurricane, on September 8, 2017. Two weeks weeks later, on September 20th, Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane. In Cuba, the electricity was restored to the entire island within a few weeks. In Puerto Rico, over four months after Maria nearly 40% of the island is still without power. The scandal-plagued response to the hurricane on the part of the U.S. and Puerto Rican governments exposes the operation of disaster capitalism at its worst.

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First Specialist Hospital in Liberia Monrovia Medical specialists from Cuba

Source: frontpageafricaonline
February 6 2018
by Gerald C. Koinyeneh –gerald.koinyeneh@frontpageafricaonline.com

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Partner Liberia, Dr. Oniyama Open First Specialist Hospital in Liberia
Monrovia – The Country Director of Partner Liberia, Joe Daweah, has announced that his entity has entered into an agreement with Dr. Nelson Oniyama to open the first medical specialist Hospital in Liberia.
Making the disclosure to FrontPageAfrica on Monday, January 29, Daweah said that the Oniyama Specialist and Teaching Hospital (OSTH) is an initial 50 beds medical center that will “provide unmatched health care delivery in a seamless, professional and affordable manner.”
Medical specialists from Cuba
The center is located at the old Island Clinic in Bushrod Island and staffed by highly skilled medical specialists from Cuba.

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Why is Cuba developing a new pneumococcal vaccine?

Why is Cuba developing a new pneumococcal vaccine?
The mere fact of being able to tell Cuban families that a new, effective and safe Cuban pneumococcal vaccine will soon be available, work on which has been advancing since 2006, is already more than just “good news.”

Author: Lisandra Fariñas Acosta | lisandra@granma.cu
february 7, 2018 13:02:07

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The new vaccine is another guarantee of the well-being of Cuban children. Photo: Ariel Cecilia Lemus
The mere fact of being able to tell Cuban families that a new, effective and safe Cuban pneumococcal vaccine will soon be available, work on which has been advancing since 2006, is already more than just “good news.”

It’s a comforting thought, “after so many years of development of this vaccine candidate, which includes seven serotypes in a single vaccine and, therefore, it is as if we were developing seven vaccines in one. This singularity has made preclinical demonstrations, the pharmaceutical development and clinical demonstration more complex,” Darielys Santana Mederos, biochemistry graduate and general coordinator of the Finlay Institute’s pneumococcal project, told Granma at the recently concluded Cuban Pediatrics Congress, Pediatría 2018.

According to the expert, following the introduction in the country of vaccines against Haemophilus influenzae and meningococci, pneumococcus is now the fundamental pathogen to cause pneumonia and bacterial meningitis in Cuban children. “Therefore, prevention with a vaccine against pneumococci would have a significant impact on reducing the incidence of bacterial pneumonia and meningitis in this population,” she added.

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Regional Congress of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine concludes in Havana

Regional Congress of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine concludes in Havana
The recently concluded Congress was held as a prelude to the seventh National Congress, which will take place in April in Lebanon

Author: Ernesto J. Gómez Figueredo | internet@granma.cu
january 30, 2018 10:01:01

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Photo: Granma
With a greeting to all progressive and left forces of the Americas, and after two days of work, the Regional Congress of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) concluded yesterday in the Cuban capital.

The gathering was held as a prelude to the seventh National Congress, which will take place in April in Lebanon, and attended by Palestinians from across the American continent.

Topics of vital importance for the Palestinian cause were discussed, the documents pending approval by the Central Congress of the DFLP were debated, and the 12 direct delegates to the national event were selected.

Fahd Suleiman, DFLP deputy secretary-general explained the selection of Cuba as the venue for this important gathering for the Palestinian cause.

“Cuba is a country friendly to the Palestinian people and cause, so it was natural that it be selected to host the meeting,” he said.

“There are a lot of Palestinians living in this continent. We are a people that fight for their national liberation, the restoration of their 1967 borders, the return of refugees to their homeland and precisely in the framework of these conditions it was decided to hold this event in Havana, to send a message from here to U.S. President Donald Trump,” he added.

The official criticized the alliance and cooperation between the United States and Israel, which openly occupies Palestinian land and divides the people by creating settlements.

“The Palestinian territory is the patrimony of its people and Jerusalem is the capital of our state,” he stressed, in reference to the Trump administration’s recognition of the holy city as the capital of Israel.

On behalf of the DFLP, Suleiman also condemned the U.S. decision to move its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“These decisions defy International Law, UN resolutions and human rights, despite public opinion and the rejection of the international community,” he emphasized.

The official stressed that negotiations with the Israeli government have been stalled since April 2014, and noted that the central council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) decided that Washington can no longer act as a mediator between the two states.

Meanwhile, Rosario Pentón, rector of the Ñico López Advanced Studies School of the Communist Party of Cuba, where the Regional Congress met, expressed that this is a crucial moment for the Palestinian people, as they face voracious and rapacious imperialist moves.

Pentón ratified the revolutionary, pro-independence and internationalist vocation of Cuba and the unconditional support of this people for the Palestinian cause.

The closing ceremony was also attended by the Ambassador of Palestine to Cuba, Akram Samhan, the Ambassador of Venezuela to Cuba, Alí Rodríguez, the Deputy Head of the Party Central Committee International Relations Department, Juan Carlos Marsán, and Hero of the Republic of Cuba, Fernando González, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP).

From New York to Havana Equestrian statue of José Martí

Equestrian statue of José Martí officially unveiled
Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, presided during the commemoration of the 165th anniversary of the national hero’s birth, January 28

Author: Madeleine Sautié | informacion@granma.cu
january 29, 2018 12:01:47

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Photo: Jose M. Correa

To commemorate the 165th anniversary of the birth of José Martí, Cuba’s national hero, officially unveiled in Havana’s 13 de Marzo Park was a replica of the equestrian statue sculpted by Anna Hyatt Huntington, that since 1965 honors him in New York City. Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, presided the event, January 28, with the participation of members of the Party Political Bureau and the Council of State, government authorities, representatives from the New York mayor’s office, the Bronx Museum, and U.S. citizens who contributed to the project’s realization.

José Martí saw in necessary death the uplifting and triumph of life, and spoke of the need to die for good, in order to continue living. This was perhaps the aura of the tribute in which Cuba’s most universal citizen was evoked by those who spoke of him as having become immortal given his extraordinary dimensions.

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Raúl attended the ceremony, along with other distinguished Cuban leaders. Photo: Jose M. Correa
Speaking in the name of the Bronx Museum of Art, the prestigious institution that guided the project, and its recently deceased director Holly Block, was the institution’s administrative board chairman Joseph Mizzi, who said it was an honor to attend the ceremony to present the statue to the Cuban people.

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Cuba Wins Excelencias Award as Safest Travel Destination 18-01-2018

From: Bob Guild [mailto:bguild@marazul.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 11:45 AM
To: Martha Honey <mhoney@responsibletravel.org>
Subject: RE FITUR 2018 – Madrid Spain CUBA wins award as Safest Travel Destination at International Tourism Fair

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Cuba Wins Excelencias Award as Safest Travel Destination 18-01-2018

Cuba has won the Excelencias Award as the safest country for tourism at the International Tourism Fair Fitur 2018, which is unfolding in Madrid through January 21.

The award was received by the Cuban minister of the industry, Manuel Marrero, who heads the island’s delegation to that event, reported Gustavo Machin, Cuban Ambassador to Spain, in his Twitter account.

The delegation from the Caribbean country is made up of executives from the main hotel chains, as well as the associates Melia Hotels, Iberostar, Blue Diamond, among others. Also participating are the top business management organizations Viajes Cuba and Cubasol.

Inaugurated this Wednesday by the Spanish monarchs Felipe VI and Letizia, the fair is attended by European and Canadian tour operators and there is a strong presence of Latin American delegations. In total, more than 10,000 companies participate and it is expected that the visits will reach 250,000 people.

The list of exhibitors (from 165 countries) reaches 816, eight percent above the 2017 version, with a 13 percent increase in foreign participation, which represents 54 percent of the total. Source: Prensa Latina

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Defending the Cuban Revolution