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Cuban acts a top draw in Vegas 12/31/2004 Miami Herald: "Tropical Passions, a show with a cast of mostly Miami expats, is based on Havana's nightlife in the 1950s and features the Grammy-nominated Tropicana All Stars. It's at the Las Vegas Hilton through Sunday. Havana Night Club: The Show recently made headlines when all 50 cast members sought asylum. It's at the Stardust until Jan. 11. Ticket sales for both are brisk… Said Tropical Passions singer Ivette Viña: ``I think it's important to educate people about what was happening in Cuba in the '50s. You want to make sure when people leave the theater, they have a positive image of Cuba.''
(Viña, by the way, called Havana Night Club a cliché, with focus on drawing an arc from the time slaves were brought from Africa to Cuba to Havana's reggaeton of today.) "
The Cuban-born Merida, who oversees the third-largest Hispanic chamber in the Southwest with 1,200 members, said that Hispanic visitors from other states call him asking about Latin acts."
Colombian cocaine suspect in Cuba, out of U.S. reach 12/27/2004 Miami Herald: "Even as Colombia extradites a record number of drug traffickers to the United States, one reputed capo is eluding capture and extradition in an unusual way: He is being held in Cuba on a charge of using a false passport. Havana has been slow to move on the charge against Hernando Gómez, and Colombian authorities say they have no news on their request for is extradition to Bogotá to face charges here. Now, some of Gómez's associates have told The Herald that they suspect that Gómez may have bribed his way into an extended stay in Cuba so he could avoid a Colombian prison and later possible extradition to the United States."
Homage And Lesson Learned From Mr. Charles W. Cherry's Death 12/25/2004 AfroCubaWeb
Swiss company inaugurates a website for sending money to Cuba 12/24/2004 Granma
Cubans complete defense drills against a potential U.S. attack 12/20/2004 Miami Herald
Rush's Judgment 12/19/2004 Cigar Afficionado: "And I don't care what anybody says. I know it's a matter of taste, but as far as I'm concerned, this is something that not even the Communists have been able to screw up. It's the best tobacco in the world. There's no comparison. This is not to put anybody else's down. I've looked into it. I've studied it. It's like Bordeaux grapes. You can try growing them in California, but they're not the same. They've taken Cuban seed to Jamaica and Honduras, but it just isn't the same.''
Cuba steps up wargames in warning to US 12/15/2004 AFP: "The second day of the "Bastion 2004" exercise went ahead as the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies said Cuba has increased defence spending for the first time in many years in "a reflection of growing tensions between Washington and Havana."
Cuban regular troops are also taking part in the exercises, heavily covered by the communist nation's official media.
Trucks towing armored cars and officers armed for battle were mobilized on the streets of Havana. Massive underground shelters where planes, tanks and heavy artillery are housed were opened to combat troops."
U.S. Ignores Cuba's Christmas Warning 12/15/2004 AP
Rethink Position On Cuba Says Jamaican Minister To U.S. 12/15/2004 HardBeatNews: "Jamaica’s Foreign Minister, K.D Knight, is urging the George Bush administration to rethink its policy on Cuba.
Knight, according to the Jamaica Observer, made the suggestion to Ambassador John Maisto, the U.S.’ permanent representative to the Organization of American States, during a meeting on Monday."
Softening of EU stance toward Cuba suggested 12/15/2004 Miami Herald
Take down holiday decorations, U.S. told 12/15/2004 Miami Herald: "A sign among holiday decorations outside the U.S. Interest Section in Havana referring to imprisoned dissidents has irritated the Cuban government, which wants the decorations removed."
President Hugo Chávez arrives in Cuba to be received by Fidel 12/14/2004 Granma
Democrat threatens to disrupt Treasury nominations over Cuba trade 12/8/2004 AP: "A Senate Democrat threatened Wednesday to block the president's Treasury Department appointments as the Bush administration reconsiders a rule for companies that sell food and agricultural products to Cuba.
Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said a potential revision threatens to obstruct trade and "takes this administration's dangerous obsession with Cuba to a whole new level."
"I will not sit idly by if the Treasury Department attempts to rewrite legislation Congress intended to facilitate trade with Cuba," he said."
Couple face $10,000 U.S. fine over Cuba trip 12/7/2004 Sun Sentinel, FL
Cuban Parliament Leader Denounces Terrorism on Cuba, Venezuela 11/28/2004 Prensa Latina: "The case of the assassination of Attorney Danilo Anderson in Venezuela has caused statements in Miami by people of Cuban origin, ex Venezuelan militaries and politicians who have justified the terrorist action, the official remarked."
Cuba has sound second rung of leaders' 11/26/2004 New Kerala, India
Cuba Turns to Asia for Friends and Capital 11/26/2004 Reuters: "China's state-owned Minmetals Corp. agreed to invest $500 million in Cuba's nickel industry with Chinese government finance and investment guarantees.
Chinese appliance king Haier will produce television sets, refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners in Cuba."
U.S. exporters to Cuba say cash blocked 11/25/2004 AP: "Some companies that sell food and agricultural products to Cuba are reporting that payments are not being credited to their bank accounts in the United States, according to a representative of a group that tracks business between the two countries.
John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council Inc., said Tuesday that fewer than half a dozen companies have contacted his organization recently about such problems.
He said banks have confirmed receipt of payments from Cuba but have not credited the accounts of exporters on instructions from the U.S government.
A spokeswoman for the Treasury Department said its Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces the economic embargo against Cuba, is looking into the matter. OFAC, she said, has been asked to clarify the government's policy regarding payments. She wouldn't say who requested the clarification."
Only in Miami 11/23/2004 AfroCubaWeb: by Alberto Jones - "I can only imagine how busy Mr. Eig and his ilk may be at this time, gathering names and addresses in Fallujah or Samarra and diligently writing lawsuits against citizens of these communities, who he assumes, may have hurt a coalition member."
ENCUENTRO EUROPEO DE SOLIDARIDAD
CON CUBA EN LUXEMBURGO 11/22/2004 Jiribilla
LA MAFIA CUBANA Y LA MUERTE DE KENNEDY 11/22/2004 Jiribilla
A FAILED WITCH HUNT 11/21/2004 AfroCubaWeb: by Alberto Jones - "ON OUR KNEES, ONLY TO HONOR OUR DEAD"
Assata Shakur: Flight from justice 11/21/2004 New York Daily News
DaimlerChrysler fined for breaking Cuba embargo 11/17/2004 AW Knowledge
44 in Cuban dance troupe defect - Seek US asylum; cite fear of not being allowed to perform 11/17/2004 Boston Globe: but as of 11/28, they still do not have any contract in the US!
Defectors face future together 11/17/2004 Miami Herald: "Falk, an international trade attorney and professor at City University of New York, described a series of events that veered from the absurd to the dramatic in her two-year attempt to obtain permission from Havana and Washington.
At one point, she found herself having to convince bureaucrats in D.C. that the cha-cha-cha is indeed Cuban, since the troupe had to be offering something ''culturally unique,'' Falk said.
At another, she trotted out 800 pages of financial records -- ''phone calls, receipts, everything,'' she said -- to prove to the State Department that the group was the rare independent group in Cuba that earns no money for Castro's government."
EU agrees to rethink Cuba dissident invitations 11/16/2004 CNN: "Representatives of the EU's 25 member states have reviewed policy towards the Caribbean Communist island at the request of Spain's new Socialist government, keen to end the row.
No decision was taken on Tuesday on whether to continue inviting dissidents to official receptions, so the policy remains unchanged for the moment, a spokesman for the EU's Dutch presidency said. ..."The concrete result this morning is that chiefs of mission in Havana have been asked to come up with proposals to make this dialogue with dissidents and civil society in Cuba more effective," the spokesman for the presidency said.
Envoys will report back next month and the recommendations will have to go to EU foreign ministers for any policy change.
One Brussels diplomat said the EU was divided between a group including Spain, France, Britain and Italy which wanted to take the initiative to improve ties with Havana, and others such as Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic which argued Cuban leader Fidel Castro should make the first move by releasing political prisoners."
Members of Cuban Troupe Say They Will Seek Asylum 11/15/2004 NYT: "In what appears to be the largest mass defection of Cuban performers to date, 44 dancers, singers and musicians, here to stage a revue, plan to seek political asylum in the United States, troupe members said on Sunday.
Most of the artists intend to deliver their applications for asylum personally on Monday morning at the Federal Building here, the performers said in interviews in an auditorium at the Stardust Resort and Casino, where their "Havana Night Club" revue is booked for a three-month run." [See
“Chavitos”, Cuba’s new convertible currency 11/11/2004 MercoPress: "The Cuban Convertible Peso, CUC, or “chavitos” as they are called locally became effective this Monday substituting the widely circulated U.S. dollar, with the Central Bank stating that control over the nation's money circulation underlines sovereignty and helps order money liquidity."
The euro option 11/11/2004 Progresso Weekly: "Cuban President Fidel Castro's decision to replace the dollar with the euro and other hard currencies may have been a smart move.
On Nov. 8, less than a week after George W. Bush's reelection, the dollar suffered a record loss against the euro, when the European currency rose to US$1.2986. One day later, the dollar improved ($1.2955 per euro) but foreign-exchange experts expect the euro to gain considerably in the future."
First ecological gas factory inaugurated in eastern Cuba 11/11/2004 VNA
Propaganda War Against Cuba - The Prague Summit 11/9/2004 Znet
La secta Abakuá hace votos por la recuperación de Castro 11/6/2004 AFP: "''Lo admiramos por ser un hombre valiente, decidido e inclaudicable'', dice el mensaje firmado por el presidente del Consejo Supremo de la Asociación Abakuá de Cuba, Angel Freyre Fernández (Iyamba Potencia Erumé Efó)." [This is actually from the Buro Abakua, a State institution which has little to do with the real Abakua potencias, which maintain their independence to this day.]
Cuba fires back in duel with US 11/6/2004 IOL, South Africa: "Cuba on Saturday batted back at the United States, calling it the world's worst human rights offender, two days after Washington denounced Fidel Castro's government for persistent human rights violations… In a reply on Saturday, Cuba's foreign ministry said the detainees were "mercenaries that receive orders and money from the North American government to carry out illegal actions inside Cuba".
As "the world's worst violator of human rights", Washington has no moral authority to attack Cuba, the ministry said in statement published in the official daily Granma.
US President George Bush "has fiercely intensified, to unprecedented levels, this hostile and aggressive policy, in his obsession to destroy the Cuban revolution", the statement said.
"Just two days after the North American elections, strangely, he has rapidly resumed his attacks on Cuba," the statement said."
U.S. embargo of Cuba a failure for decades 11/6/2004 The Republican, MA
Communist Cuba extends deadline for dollar exchange 11/5/2004 AP: "Because of the huge demand to dispose of the U.S. dollars that were legal tender in communist Cuba for a more than a decade, the Central Bank said Thursday that people will have an extra week to exchange their America money for a local currency.
The need to extend the two-week transition period indicated that economic planners here underestimated how many U.S. dollars had accumulated on the island…"
The Cuba Bashing Begins 11/5/2004 HardBeatNews
Havana: International Meeting on UNESCO's Slave Trade Archives Project 11/4/2004 UNESCO: "Meeting of archivists from 11 countries to discuss perspectives for the consolidation and extension of UNESCO’s Slave Trade Archives Project" on 11/22/04
American entrepreneurs criticise US embargo against Cuba 11/4/2004 Viet Nam News: "Meanwhile, Robert Weinstein, Director of the Robert M. Weistein and Associates group, considered Cuba an impressive and safe market because Cuban traders are reliable when it comes to payment.
About 250 entrepreneurs from 125 American food companies participated in this fair. The Food Import Company of Cuba signed contracts worth over 10 million USD to buy dairy cows and food from two American companies. The American enterpreneurs said that if the embargo was lifted, trade between the two countries would increase several times."
Vermont signs contract to sell cows to Cuba 11/4/2004 WCAX, VT