Spain Calls for End of US Embargo against Cuba

By EFE

Spain considers it “necessary to end the trade, economic and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the United States” since it “violates the basic rules of international trade,” the Spanish government said in response to a question posed in Parliament. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government was responding to a question posed last week in Parliament by United Left, or IU, spokesman Jose Luis Centella.The government’s written response noted that the U.S. embargo against Cuba “has been condemned on different occasions by the United Nations General Assembly.”

IU included the government’s written response in a statement.

Rajoy’s government also noted that Spain has “unequivocally” supported condemnations of the embargo at the U.N. and other forums.

Centella said he was satisfied with the government’s clear “and forceful” response, adding that he expected “greater activity” at the European Union and United Nations to end the embargo on the basis of “the international legality broken by the blockade.”

Cuban official talks about Alan Gross



Josefina Vidal of Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, clarifies issues regarding Alan Gross, and the Cuban Five
CNN Interview of Thursday, May 10
on “The Situation Room”

Dear Friends of the Cuban Five:

The U.S. government and media have distorted the facts surrounding the case of Alan Gross, who was arrested in Cuba in December 2009 while carrying out destabilization efforts inside Cuba, as an employee of the CIA-front organization U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Gross is serving a 15-year sentence.

After Wolf Blitzer of CNN conducted a May 9 telephone interview with Alan Gross, in which false claims were made against Cuba, Cuba’s ambassador to the United States in Washington DC, Jorge Bolaños, issued a letter calling for an opportunity for Cuba to state its position, as well as Cuba’s willingness to dialogue on all issues with the U.S. government.

On Thursday, May 10, Josefina Vidal, director of the North American department of Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, was interviewed on CNN’s Situation Room, by Wolf Blitzer. Vidal’s answers to Blitzer’s questions on various themes related to U.S.-Cuba relations, are enlightening and informative.

Written by National Committee To Free The Cuban Five

 

U. S. government’s Radio and TV Marti call Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega a lackey

By William Booth, Published: May 5

MEXICO CITY — Criticism of the leader of the Catholic Church in Cuba, who has been negotiating with the communist government to expand religious and political freedom, intensified last week when the head of Radio and TV Marti called the archbishop of Havana a lackey who is colluding with an oppressive regime.

The stinging editorial against Cardinal Jaime Ortega — signed by Radio and TV Marti’s director, Carlos Garcia-Perez — is significant because Marti is a U.S. government agency, with its board of directors appointed by the White House and its policies coordinated with the State Department to direct messages to Cubans.

Some analysts said the editorial could undermine Ortega’s position in Cuba and they wondered whether it signaled a lack of support for the Church’s delicate position on the communist-run island.

Marti broadcasts, according to spokeswoman Lynne Weil, “are editorially independent, although supported by U.S. taxpayer dollars. Their editorials, unless otherwise stated, represent the views of the broadcasters only and not necessarily those of the U.S. government.”

Weil said she did not know when the State Department saw the editorial or whether there was any discussion of its content.

“I would suggest that this is equivalent to a U.S. government statement and that people may conclude, rightly or wrongly, that this is a U.S. government position,” said Phil Peters, a Cuba analyst at the Lexington Institute.

The cardinal has been hailed by some for his role in the freeing of political prisoners and for creating a small but relatively safe space for citizens to complain about the Cuban government, including its tight immigration and economic policies. Cuba’s Catholic magazines contain some of the most lively, as well as pointed, criticism of the government.

But Ortega has been hammered in the Cuban exile community and by members of the South Florida congressional delegation, who say he is an appeaser who enables the Castro brothers and prolongs their rule.

Many activists voiced disappointment that Ortega did not publicly push for human rights or defend dissidents during the recent visit to Cuba by Pope Benedict XVI.

Ortega also came under fire for statements he made at an April 24 Harvard University panel, where he described the 13 dissidents who sought to occupy a Havana church a few days before the pope arrived as “criminals” and “people of low culture.”

The dissidents, who included a mentally ill person, had said they hoped to push the church to engage the pope on human rights issues. Ortega had state security officers remove them.

Guillermo I. Martinez, a columnist with the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, recently called Ortega a bootlicker. The popular Cuban American blog Babalu called Ortega “a truly despicable man.”

Ortega has said that he gets attacked from all sides.

“Perhaps this takes time and is a sort of martyrdom all Christians, including myself as pastor, must undergo,” the cardinal said at Harvard. “That is what it means to give your life for the sheep.”

In his editorial, aired on Radio and TV Marti and published on the broadcaster’s Web site, Garcia-Perez, a Cuban-American lawyer from Puerto Rico, accused Ortega of speaking with “scorn and arrogance” of the 13 dissidents.

“This attitude of Ortega just goes to show his political collusion with the government and his willingness to follow the official line,” he wrote. “This lackey attitude demonstrates a profound lack of understanding and compassion toward the human reality of these children of God.”

El Nuevo Herald in Miami contacted several of the 13 dissidents, who denied they had criminal records.

“I can only say that the 13 are a perfect reflection of Cuban society, in which there is everything,” Havana human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez told the newspaper.

Jorge Dominguez, the Harvard professor who invited the archbishop to speak, said: “Cardinal Ortega is a good man. Calling him a lackey is beyond belief.”

Dominguez added, “It is amazing that this comes from a U.S. government broadcaster.”

The professor noted that as a young priest, Ortega was sent to a reeducation camp and forced to do manual labor, as the church struggled in a state that had declared itself officially atheist.

“Who freed the political prisoners in Cuba? Not the European Union. Not the U.S. government. And not Radio and TV Marti. It was Ortega who convinced Raul Castro to let them out,” Dominguez said.

He added, however, that Ortega’s condemnation of the dissidents was unfair. “A lot of people have criminal records in Cuba, but you have no way of knowing if they have records simply because the state has targeted them for their political activities,” he said.

Entrevista con Olga Salanueva y Elizabeth Palmeiro

En marzo de 2012 después de más de 20 años de ausencia, René González, el primer liberado de “Los Cinco” cubanos presos en EE. UU., pudo al fin ir a Cuba para un periodo corto. La esposa de René González, Olga Salanueva y Elizabeth Palmeiro, la esposa de otro de “Los Cinco”, Ramón Labañino, en exclusiva para RT nos relatan los detalles de la visita

The Nobel Peace Prize winner

I will hardly refer to the Cuban people, who one day rid their country of the United States domain, when the imperialist system had reached the height of its power.

Men and women of different ages paraded on May Day down the most symbolic squares in all provinces of the country.

Our Revolution emerged where it was least expected by the empire, in a hemisphere where it was used to act like an all-powerful master.

Cuba came to be the last country to get rid of Spanish colonialism and the first to shake off the heinous imperialist tutelage.

Today I am thinking particularly about the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its heroic struggle against the ruthless plunder of the resources with which Nature has endowed that noble and self-sacrificing people who one day sent their soldiers to faraway places in this continent to bring the Spanish military power to its knees.

Cuba has no need to explain why we have been in solidarity not only with all the countries of this hemisphere but also with many others in Africa and other regions of the world.

The Bolivarian Revolution has also been in solidarity with our homeland. Its support was transcendental during the years of the Special Period. That cooperation, however, in no way came up at Cuba’s request. Neither did we demand any condition from any of the peoples that required our educational or medical services. We would have offered Venezuela our maximum support no matter the circumstances.

For revolutionary Cubans, to cooperate with other poor and exploited peoples has always been a political principle and a duty towards humanity.

I feel great satisfaction to watch, as I did yesterday, through Venezolana de Televisión and Telesur, the profound impact that the adoption of the Labor Organic Law enacted by the Bolivarian leader and president of the Republic, Hugo Chávez Frías, caused among the people. I had never seen anything like that in the political landscape of our hemisphere.

I paid attention to the huge crowds that gathered in the squares and avenues of Caracas, particularly the spontaneous comments made by the citizens who were interviewed. I had hardly –ever, perhaps- seen the level of emotion and hope that transpired in their statements. It became evident that the overwhelming majority of the people are humble workers. A true battle of ideas is being powerfully waged.

Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador, courageously stated that we are living through a change of times rather than through times of change. Both Rafael Correa and Hugo Chávez are Christians. But, Obama, what is he? What does he believe in?

One year after the murder of Bin Laden, Obama is competing with his rival, Mitt Romney, to justify that action which was perpetrated at a facility close to the Military Academy of Pakistan, a Muslim country allied to the United States.

Marx and Engels never talked about murdering the bourgeois. According to the old bourgeois concept, the judges were the ones who judged and the executioners were the ones who executed.

There is no doubt that Obama was a Christian; one of the facets of that religion helped him to learn the trade of conveying his ideas, an art that meant a lot to him during his meteoric rise to the upper echelons of his party.

The principled declaration of Philadelphia of July of 1776 stated that all men were born equal and free and that they were all endowed by their Creator with certain rights. As far as we know, three quarters of a century after independence the black slaves, with their wives and children, continued to be sold at public squares; and almost two centuries later, Martin Luther King, a Nobel Peace Laureate, had a dream, but he was murdered.

The Oslo Nobel Committee awarded Obama his prize, and he almost became a legend. However, millions of persons must have watched the images. Nobel Laureate Barack Obama traveled hurriedly to Afghanistan as if the world ignored the mass murders, the burnings of Muslims’ sacred books and the desecration of the corpses of murdered persons.

No honest person will ever assent to the perpetration of terrorist actions. But, has the US president any right to judge or kill, to become both the judge and the executioner and commit such crimes in a country and against a people on the opposite side of the planet?

We watched the US President in shirtsleeves, running up a steep staircase, walking at quick pace down an overhead corridor and stop to give a speech to a large military contingent that applauded unwillingly the words of the illustrious President. Those men were not all American-born. I thought about the colossal expenses this meant, whose burden is being borne by the world. After all, who is bearing the burden of that huge cost which exceeds already 15 trillion dollars? That is what the illustrious Nobel Peace Laureate offers humanity.

Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro Ruz

May 3, 2012

7:50 p.m.

Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies

Center for Human Rights

MAY DAY

 

GRANMA INTERNATIONAL
Havana. May 3, 2012

MAY DAY
Cuban workers celebrate May Day, united and determined to defend the Revolution and perfect socialism in Cuba

Massive demonstrations of support for the Revolution and commitment to socialism took place on May Day in all of Cuba’s 15 provinces. Workers and the entire people carrying banners and posters filled Plazas and avenues across the country.

President Raúl Castro presided during Cuba’s national May Day march in which 500,000 participants celebrated International Workers’ Day, in Havana’s José Martí Plaza de la Revolución.

The march began with a speech by Salvador Valdés Mesa Secretary General of the Cuban Workers Federation (CTC) and a member of the Party’s Political Bureau. He described the mobilizations across the country as genuine expressions of the workers’ and the people’s support for the Revolution and their commitment to socialism.

He said, “We are celebrating a day of reaffirmation and commitment to the fulfillment of the Social and Economic Policy Guidelines approved at the 6th Communist Party of Cuba Congress.”

Valdés added that workers and the trade union movement are the principal protagonists in efforts to perfect Cuba’s economic model, acknowledging that the current economic battle is not without obstacles and hardship. He called for increased production, improved discipline on the job and greater productivity.

Workers from the health sector carrying an enormous banner reading `Preserve and perfect socialism’ led the march, in which leaders of the Party, government and mass organizations also participated.

Health workers were awarded the honor of leading the march this year in recognition of the importance of their work to the country and the role they play in Cuba’s international collaboration, currently working in 66 nations around the globe.

Workers and communities were organized into 23 blocks, each assigned a place within the march, and carried an incredible variety of banners, posters and photographs of Fidel, Raúl, Che and revolutionaries from around the world, including Karl Marx and Lenin.

Most evident were images of the Cuban Five, unjustly convicted for their anti-terrorist activities in the United States: Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González. Posters and banners called for their immediate release and definitive return to Cuba.

Witnessing the event from a tribunal in the Plaza were 1,900 special guests, trade unionists and members of solidarity groups from 117 countries.

CarlosMuniz

RECORDANDO A CARLOS MUÑIZ VARELA

El documental revela los intrincados detalles de este asesinato político ocurrido en Puerto Rico, en abril de 1978. Carlos encabezaba un esperanzador movimiento por la reunificación de Cuba y el cese de la agresión de Estados Unidos contra la Antilla MAyor..

RECORDANDO A CARLOS MUÑIZ VARELA from 80grados on Vimeo.

Sabotage in Miami

Fire guts Miami offices of Cuba travel firm

Reuters By David Adams | Reuters – Fri, Apr 27, 2012

MIAMI (Reuters) – State and local officials were investigating a suspicious fire on Friday that gutted the Miami offices of a travel agency specializing in flights to Cuba.

Fire rescue officials responded to a fire at Airline Brokers before dawn. The ground floor suite of offices was destroyed and an acrid smell hung in the air as police cordoned off the street outside. Investigators searched through the ashes assisted by dogs that are trained to detect accelerant.

“There is an investigation currently underway,” said Deborah Cox, a spokeswoman for the state Fire Marshals Office. She said no details were being released because the probe was ongoing.

The FBI is also working with local police “to determine how the investigation will proceed,” said the FBI’s Miami spokesman, Michael Leverock.

Airline Brokers owner Vivian Mannerud said she suspected arson by Cuban exile militants upset over her role in organizing a special charter flight for 340 Cuban-American pilgrims who went to Cuba last month for the visit by Pope Benedict XVI.

“I’m afraid it was intentional, because of the indignation over the pope’s visit,” Mannerud said. “But we can’t conclude anything until we see the results of the investigation. Maybe it was electrical.”

Mannerud said she had not received any recent threats to her business, but she said she was targeted in the early 1990s by Cuban exile extremists.

“If it was intentional, that would be a big blemish on the city. I thought we had moved past the era of terrorist acts,” she added, referring to attacks on Cuban exile moderates in previous decades.

For decades after Cuba’s 1959 revolution, Miami was the scene of politically motivated arson attacks and car-bombings targeting perceived Cuba government sympathizers and people doing business with the island.

The fire destroyed the contents of the office, Mannerud said, raising the suspicion that an accelerant might have been involved. “It looks like an atomic bomb exploded. It’s pulverized and the furniture is ashes. There’s not even a leg of a desk,” she said.

None of the company’s 18 employees were in the office when the fire started.

Airline Brokers is one of a number of charter companies that fly to Cuba from airports in Miami, as well as a growing number of other U.S. cities, including Tampa, New York and Los Angeles, under special Treasury Department licenses.

Mannerud said her company has seven flights a week from Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Despite losing all the office computers, she said she planned to continue taking bookings, adding that the company’s Cuba flight schedule would not be affected.

(Editing By Tom Brown and Stacey Joyce)

Defending the Cuban Revolution