Posts Tagged ‘Cuba’

Restrictions to freedom of expression create climate of fear in Cuba

June 30, 2010

Amnesty International, June 30, 2010

Cuba has tried to justify its failure to protect human rights by  blaming the US embargo

Cuba has tried to justify its failure to protect human rights by blaming the US embargo

© Lode Rummens

Cuba’s repressive legal system has created a climate of fear among journalists, dissidents and activists, putting them at risk of arbitrary arrest and harassment by the authorities, Amnesty International said in a report released on Wednesday.

The report Restrictions on Freedom of Expression in Cuba highlights provisions in the legal system and government practices that restrict information provided to the media and which have been used to detain and prosecute hundreds of critics of the government.

“The laws are so vague that almost any act of dissent can be deemed criminal in some way, making it very difficult for activists to speak out against the government. There is an urgent need for reform to make all human rights a reality for all Cubans,” said Kerrie Howard, Deputy Americas Director at Amnesty International.

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Release of Cuban prisoner of conscience is long overdue

June 26, 2010

Amnesty International, June 24, 2010

Darsi Ferrer was convicted on spurious charges of receiving  illegally obtained goods

Darsi Ferrer was convicted on spurious charges of receiving illegally obtained goods

© Private

The release of a Cuban prisoner of conscience who spent almost a year in pre-trial detention at a maximum security prison after organizing protests critical of the government is long overdue, Amnesty International has said.

Darsi Ferrer was convicted on Tuesday on spurious charges of receiving illegally obtained goods and “violence or intimidation against a state official”.

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Fidel Castro: Cuba sends doctors, not soldiers

January 26, 2010
Morning Star Online,  January 25, 2010

Fidel Castro

Two days after the catastrophe in Haiti which destroyed that neighbouring sister nation, I wrote: “In the area of health care and others the Haitian people has received the co-operation of Cuba, even though this is a small and blockaded country.

“Approximately 400 doctors and health-care workers are helping the Haitian people free of charge. Our doctors are working every day at 227 of the 237 communes of that country. On the other hand, no less than 400 young Haitians have graduated as medical doctors in our country.

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Anti-Empire Report: The American elite

January 11, 2010

By Blum, William, ZNet, Jan 11, 2010
William Blum’s ZSpace Page

Lincoln Gordon died a few weeks ago at the age of 96. He had graduated summa cum laude from Harvard at the age of 19, received a doctorate from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, published his first book at 22, with dozens more to follow on government, economics, and foreign policy in Europe and Latin America. He joined the Harvard faculty at 23. Dr. Gordon was an executive on the War Production Board during World War II, a top administrator of Marshall Plan programs in postwar Europe, ambassador to Brazil, held other high positions at the State Department and the White House, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, economist at the Brookings Institution, president of Johns Hopkins University. President Lyndon B. Johnson praised Gordon’s diplomatic service as “a rare combination of experience, idealism and practical judgment”.

You get the picture? Boy wonder, intellectual shining light, distinguished leader of men, outstanding American patriot.

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Obama’s Promises and Policies

November 4, 2009

George Barnsby, The Barnsby Blog No. 966, Nov 4, 2009

Once again I have turned to the Website of the only man who can save the world, Barack Obama who forty days ago amazed and delighted the world with his statement that he would abolish all nuclear weapons, but who since has reneged on that promise and today keeps the most warlike company of those who want to conquer Iraq and Afghanistan  and other places for their oil, and precious metals while puppet governments in Asia and elsewhere are quite willing to give their assets to the Western Neo-Coms, but find it necessary to deceive their own people and the rest of the world by fulsome false promises that they are not serving their own material interests but are patriots serving the interests of their countries.

In the meantime Obama has his own problems with his ‘allies’ notably NATO and the European Union and the basic trio of Nuclear Maniacs – Bush, Blair and Brown are now desperately trying to defy the Human Rights authorities who are chasing them for Crimes against Humanity and they will eventually suffer the same fate as did the Nazi genocidists at Nuremburg in 1946.

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US faces pressure to lift Cuba blockade

October 29, 2009
Morning Star Online, Thursday 29 October 2009

The UN general assembly voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to condemn the US blockade on Cuba and for the 18th consecutive year, urged Washington to lift it.

The 192-nation assembly voted 187-3, with two abstentions, to adopt yet another resolution calling for the US embargo to be struck down.

US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice and the representatives from Israel and Palauwere the only three members to vote against the non-binding resolution.

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Honouring Comandante Juan Almeida

September 15, 2009

Granma, Sep. 14, 2008

GENERAL of the Army Raúl Castro Ruz, president of the Councils of State and Ministers, led the tribute given yesterday by the Cuban people to Commander of the Revolution Juan Almeida.

Raúl heads tribute of the peopleTogether with Almeida’s family, those present included members of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba, its Central Committee, and other high-ranking Cuban leaders who, visibly moved, placed flowers in front of a photo of the Hero of the Republic of Cuba, surrounded by wreaths and a display of they many decorations he received during his revolutionary career.

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Castro to US – Cuba will stay communist

August 3, 2009

Times Online, Aug 3, 2009

Tim Reid in Washington

Raul Castro at National Assembly meeting


Raul Castro speaking at the Cuban National Assembly

Raúl Castro, the Cuban President, vowed to a standing ovation in parliament yesterday that the country would never give up communism, in what appeared to be a direct response to the Obama Administration’s calls for reform.

Mr Castro, the younger brother of the ailing Fidel Castro, also defended impending austerity measures amid a sharp economic downturn in the country. He announced that Cuba would cut spending on education and healthcare and called state spending “simply unsustainable”.

The Government would reorganise rural schools and scrutinise its free healthcare system in search of ways to save money, he said.

Nevertheless, the political ideology of the regime was not in question, Mr Castro declared.

“I wasn’t elected President to return capitalism to Cuba, or to surrender the revolution,” he said, referring to the armed uprising led by his brother that toppled the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista half a century ago. “I was elected President to defend, build and perfect socialism, not destroy it,” he said.

President Obama has been trying to engineer a thaw in relations between the United States and Cuba. Hillary Clinton, his Secretary of State, said recently that Washington wanted to see economic and social reforms in Cuba before the Washington Administration would do more to improve bilateral relations.

Mr Castro reiterated his willingness to improve relations with America and acknowledged “a decline in the aggressiveness and anti-Cuban rhetoric” since Mr Obama took power in January.

The Cuban President made an unusual mention of the mortality of his 82-year-old brother Fidel, something top officials in Cuba almost never do in public.

He scoffed at those who thought that Cuba’s political system would crumble after “the death of Fidel and of all of us”.

He added: “If that’s how they think, they are doomed to failure.”

Galeano: On Fidel Castro

July 27, 2009

Eduardo Galeano | Havana Times, July 26, 2009

Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, photo:  Mariela De MarchiUruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, photo: Mariela De Marchi

July 26 – His enemies say he was a king without a crown, and that he confused unity with unanimity.

And in that, his enemies are right.

His enemies say if Napoleon had had a newspaper like “Granma,” no Frenchman would have ever learned of the disaster at Waterloo.

And in that, his enemies are right.

His enemies say he exercised power speaking a lot and listening little, because he was more accustomed to echoes than to voices.

And in that, his enemies are right.

But his enemies do not say that he was posing for history when he exposed his chest to the bullets when the invasion came; that he confronted hurricanes on equal terms, from hurricane to hurricane; that he survived six hundred thirty-seven assassination attempts; that his contagious energy was decisive in transforming a colony into a homeland, or that it was not due to a Mandinga spell or a miracle from God that the new homeland could survive ten presidents of the United States, who had each tucked in their napkins to serve it up as lunch, with knives and forks.

And his enemies don’t say that Cuba is an odd country that doesn’t compete in the World Cup of Doormats.

And they don’t say that this revolution, having grown up under punishing conditions, is what it could be and not what it wanted to be.  Nor do they say that, to a great degree, the wall between desire and reality was being made higher and wider thanks to the imperial blockade that drowned the development of a Cuban style democracy, that forced the militarization of society and turned it over to the bureaucracy, which has a problem for each solution – the alibis it needs to justify and perpetuate itself.

And they don’t say that despite all the grief, despite the aggressions from abroad and the inconsistencies from within, that this suffering but insistently persevering island has generated the least unjust society in Latin American.

And his enemies don’t say this feat was the work of the sacrifice of his people, but it was also the work of the stubborn will and the old-fashion sense of the honor of this gentleman, who always went to bat for the losers, like that famous colleague of his from the fields of Castilla.

*From the book “Espejos, una Historia casi Universal” (Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone)

A Havana Times translation of the original published in Spanish at the website: ( )

Che Guevara’s daughter recalls her revolutionary father

July 23, 2009

Aleida Guevara talks about having to share her ‘Papi’ with the world – and her dislike of the commercialisation of his image

Fidel Castro with Che Guevara and his daughter AleidaA two-year-old in the arms of Fidel Castro, and her father, Che, holding a cigar. Photograph: IMAGNO/Austrian Archives/Getty Images

Aleida Guevara was four and a half when her father left Cuba. Ernesto “Che” Guevara, iconic Argentine guerrilla leader, Marxist theorist and second-in-command of the Cuban revolution, departed the island for Africa in 1965 after falling out of political favour with Fidel Castro. She saw him only once again, before his execution by the CIA-backed Bolivian government two years later.

Castro granted the visit on condition that it was clandestine. Guevara, concerned that the children’s chatter about “Papi’s” re-appearance might endanger his family, arrived back in Havana heavily disguised. He was introduced at supper as a friend of their father.

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