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Cuba in the News

State higher ed board blocks opening for university research trips to Cuba  4/29/2015 Miami Herald: "The Florida Board of Governors recently advised FIU that the state’s educational travel ban won't be completely lifted until the United States renews diplomatic relations with Cuba — which is still up in the air. “In addition to being removed from the list, the United States also has to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba before faculty or students can engage in scholarly activities in Cuba,” the board’s communications director wrote to her counterpart at FIU in a recent email."

Five Things That Went Under-Reported at the Summit of the Americas  4/20/2015 Cuba Si: "Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Meets with Cuban President Raul Castro – Canadian Media Not Advised"

Cubans to open talks about US fugitives as ties warm  4/15/2015 AP: [Cuba has long been open to returning criminals and have done so on a number of occasions. She will not return Assata or Morales, depsite what Mssrs Weissenstein and Lee might daydream about.]

Cuba’s Removal From Terrorism List  4/15/2015 Counterpunch: by Code Pink - "It was President Ronald Reagan who put Cuba on the terrorism list. He sought to blacklist Cuba’s support for leftist movements in Central and South America, movements that challenged US hegemony in the region. And after denouncing Cuba as a sponsor of terrorism, Reagan pursued his own campaign in Central and South America—funding the extreme right, conducting covert military actions, brokering illegal arms deals, and attempting coup d’etats."

Cuba’s Coming Out Party at the Summit of the Americas  4/13/2015 Counterpunch: by Medea Benjamin - "“Half our delegation got here only to find that they couldn’t get the credentials they were promised, and were shut out of the meetings,” said Gretchen Gomez Gonzalez of the Cuban Federation of University Students, “while dissident Cubans who don’t represent anyone but themselves were given credentials to represent Cuban civil society.” Pro-government Cubans confronted the dissidents in the streets and at the meetings, calling them mercenaries for taking US money and carrying photos showing some of them embracing convicted terrorist Jose Posada Carriles. They also say that former CIA operative Felix Rodriguez, blamed for killing revolutionary hero Che Guevara, was at the Summit working with the dissidents."

Barack Obama says his first meeting with Cuban president Raul Castro is a 'turning point'  4/13/2015 Independent: "In his speech to summit leaders, Mr Castro recalled the slights against his nation and the revolution begun by his brother, Fidel, but admitted admiration for Mr Obama, saying he had read both his memoirs. “I have told President Obama that I get very emotional talking about the revolution and the sanctions that followed,” he said. “I apologise to him because President Obama had no responsibility for this.”

The Americans are coming: Cuba prepares for an invasion of art dealers  4/13/2015 Independent: “Most of us are expecting that for the Biennial there will be an explosion of American collectors coming to buy,” explains Mario González. “It should be a stampede.”

Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances  4/10/2015 Congressional Research Services 

Solidarity-with-Cuba Groups Thwart Provocation of Terrorists in Panama  4/10/2015 Cuba Now: "Solidarity-with-Cuba groups of Panama City, thwarted a provocation organized by Félix Rodríguez, known for his involvement in the assassination of Che Guevara in Bolivia, who would turn up in front of a park near the Cuban Embassy, ??supposedly to place some flowers by a bust of José Martí. As soon as the news was known, Panamanian union members and members of social networks, participants in the People's Summit that began on April 9 in Panama City, showed up at the Belisario Porras Park, in front of the Cuban diplomatic mission, where there is a bust of José Martí and another one Antonio Maceo, the Cuban News Agency reported."

Can I independently enroll in classes at the University of Havana?  4/10/2015 Havana Times: "After some looking around it seems the best bet will be starting with UniversiTUR SA, a state company that coordinates independent study for foreign students. Phone in Havana is (53 from outside Cuba) 7261-4939, agencia@universitur.com. Calle 30 No. 786 between Calle 41 y Ave Kohly. Other options would be to look for programs at individual Cuban Universities. The CUJAE (a comp. science and engineering univ.) and Santa Clara University Marta Abreu are good places to start."

Ministerio de Salud cubano desesperado por éxodo de profesionales  4/10/2015 Havana Times: "Actualmente, los ingresos generados por los servicios médicos constituyen la fuente de divisas más importantes para el presupuesto cubano. Este renglón sufre una amenaza severa, en la forma del éxodo de los profesionales responsables de generar tales servicios."

The Price of State Classifieds in Cuba  4/10/2015 Havana Times: "We could conclude that a normal ad could easily cost between 10 and 20 CUC, that is to say, the monthly wages of a regular Cuban worker. That is the offer made by AIN, which, in addition to operating this juicy business, will also sell a printed version of the magazine at 3 Cuban pesos."

Hartas del acoso sexual  4/10/2015 Negra Cubana: "Recientemente la reconocida periodista y feminista cubana Marta María Ramírez relataba en su muro de Facebook su última experiencia con el acoso en las calles de La Habana: “‘No te hagas la seria, que eres tremenda puta’, me lanzó hoy en medio de La Habana y en tono violento un desconocido…"

Israel’s Unsavory New ‘Allies’  4/7/2015 Consortium News: "Indeed, in 2013 Michael Oren, then Israeli ambassador to the United States (actually he grew up in West Orange, New Jersey), told the Jerusalem Post, “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” A year later, Oren was at an Aspen Institute Conference and declared that Israel would prefer the victory of ISIS to the continuation of an Iranian-backed Assad. Nor have the Israelis been shy about acting on this preference. They have established a non-aggression pact with an al-Qaeda Syrian affiliate called the al-Nusra Front, cared for al-Nusra wounded in Israeli hospitals, and mounted attacks on the Lebanese and Iranian forces opposing al-Nusra."

Opportunity Knocks at Cuba's Door  4/3/2015 #CubaNow: "Following last month’s news that direct calls between the U.S. and Cuba would resume for the first time in years, another entry into the Cuban marketplace stands to boost Cuban entrepreneurs in a major way. Airbnb, a U.S.-based website that allows people to rent their homes, announced this week that they would be expanding into Cuba. As we write in today’s blog post, this move is bigger than you might think: “One of the other more positive effects is the increased demand this will create for expanding Internet service in Cuba. While some might have initially scoffed at the idea of a streaming service like Netflix expanding to the Island, services like these will better allow Americans to engage with the Cuban people while building pressure for the kinds of investments that will bring Cuba into the 21st century."

Kean University Cancels Common’s Appearance As Their Graduation Speaker  4/1/2015 All Hip Hop: "State Police union president Chris Burgos said that having the Chicago rapper as a speaker is a “slap in the face” because Shakur, born Joanne Chesimard. is portrayed as the victim when she was in fact the killer. “What is troubling here is that a state university that is subsidized with state taxpayer funds, is once again being questioned on their decision-making at the highest levels,” Burgos said in an emailed statement to NorthJersey.com"

Fox News Latino: How a Hashtag Helped Thaw U.S.-Cuba Relations  3/25/2015 #CubaNow: "At LabMiami, a technology business incubator located in Miami’s trendy Wynwood neighborhood, Ric Herrero wages a national campaign using traditional and social media that has played a significant role in thawing frosty relations between the United States and Cuba. As executive director of #CubaNow, Herrero is the public face of an organization backed by prominent Cuban-American businessmen in Miami who want to end the embargo…"

¿Conoces a otros blogs LGBT cubanos?  3/24/2015 En 2310 y 8225: "En nombre de la objetividad, Sheila me ha obligado a responder a mi también, y me sorprende ¡cuántos blogs LGBT tengo indexados! Hace tiempo que solo busco, catalogo y hago crecer el blogroll de Proyecto Arcoiris en Cubava, pero no los contaba. Son blogs personales y colectivos, de activistas y gente fuera del armario... ¡La mitad no radica en La Habana! WOW."

Regresan a Cuba médicos que combatieron el Ébola en Liberia y Sierra Leona  3/23/2015 Radio Angulo: "Unos días antes, las autoridades y los responsables de la OMS de los dos países africanos, habían homenajeado a los brigadistas. El ministro de relaciones exteriores de Liberia, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, en entrevista exclusiva para el equipo de prensa de Cuba que reporta el hecho, enfatizaba: "A los médicos cubanos no les importó el riesgo, decían que eran hermanos del otro lado del océano y vinieron a ayudarnos como hermanos"."

Cuba: Pink to Pink | Led by Alberto Jones - October 10, 2015 - October 17, 2015  3/22/2015 Holbrook Travel: "Advances in knowledge have increased the number of cancer survivors, many of whom need our moral, psychological, and material support to improve their quality of life. Our group will be visiting healthcare facilities and meeting with survivors in Havana, Cienfuegos, and Trinidad, which will give us an opportunity to learn how the Cuban healthcare system works and is able to serve its people with limited resources. We can bond, share experiences and mitigate the suffering."

5 Things Cuba Can Do to Speed the Normalization of Relations With the United States  3/21/2015 On Cuba: "...there a number of things Cuba can do to move the normalization process forward without compromising its sovereignty. The steps below flow directly out of the 18 months of secret talks between Washington and Havana. Except for the last, they are things to which Cuba has already agreed in principle but has not yet done."

The Americans Are Coming!  3/21/2015 On Cuba: "Cuba faces the imminent challenge of increased tourism from the United States, one of its closest and most profitable markets. It is estimated the inflow of US tourists that are to visit Cuba in the coming years could double the total number of tourists currently traveling to the island. These are demanding people who must be handled with “silk gloves”, if the country wishes to see them return. Failing this, this market will have been ruined in a few years and the country will lose a historic opportunity to make a leap forward in the industry."

Black Students at UC Berkeley Want a Hall Renamed After Assata Shakur  3/20/2015 The Root: "The Black Student Union at Berkeley would like Barrows Hall to be renamed “Shakur Hall.” “We want the renaming for someone—Assata Shakur—who we feel … represents us as black students,” Cori McGowens, spokesman for the school’s black student union, said. “We’re at a crisis on campus.” McGowens says that black students at Berkeley are isolated and marginalized."

Peloteros que desaparecen: ¿Qué pasa con ellos?  3/19/2015 Deportivas sin Censura: "De Malas explica, al respecto, que los peloteros cubanos que abandonan el país de manera ilegal recalan mayormente en República Dominicana, y agrega que: Una vez allí, esos muchachos, en dependencia de su pedigrí, edad, salud, relaciones y hasta suerte, son “adoptados” por empresas (llamémosle representantes) que se ocupan de cuidarlos, alimentarlos, darles techo y conseguirle los famosos show cases. Y es precisamente allí donde radica el problema, pues de Malas añade que: Sin embargo, estos representantes tienen un control enorme sobre sus pupilos, a tal extremo que no pueden conceder entrevistas a NADIE y mucho menos dar su paradero."

It's A New Era For Afro-Cubans  3/19/2015 Essence: "Leslie Aldama, 44, a Realtor associate who grew up in Guantánamo Bay and came to Miami in the late 1980’s, says her Black Cuban parents voted Republican for decades because they believed in the GOP’s position: that the embargo would take down the notorious Castro. But now, Aldama says, even some members of the older exile commu- nity are changing their stance: “My parents voted Democrat in the past two elections. They’re starting to understand that the embargo hasn’t changed anything.”"

Cuba: the urgent dialogue with its diaspora  3/19/2015 On Cuba: "And Martí speaks to me, to my brother, speaks to us all and said that Cuba, this enormous entity that contains us and that is above governments, policy, left and right, will call us again. It will build with all hands that urgent bridge has to take us back. All, all, because they set the numbers, it imposes this time, and as Martí predicted, are new or newest pines with which our country, because it needs and wants, will count on."

Denuncian gays acosos y redadas policiales contra ellos en Varadero y Matanzas  3/18/2015 Proyecto Arcoiris: "9 de marzo No puedo entrar a Varadero sin que la policía me pida el carnet de identidad, me tire por la planta, y aunque la comprobación de negativa, me montan en la patrulla y me detengan durante horas. Me dice Alberto González Alfonso quien trabaja como auxiliar de enfermería en el policlínico José Antonio Echevarría, de Cárdenas."

Sociedad civil cubana aborda retos de gobernabilidad y participación ciudadana  3/17/2015 Granma: "Los retos para el perfeccionamiento del sistema político y económico cubano, así como las garantías en el ejercicio integral de los derechos humanos, centran este martes los debates de un variado grupo de representantes de organismos, instituciones y proyectos no gubernamentales de todo el país."

USA prioritizes opening embassy in Cuba  3/17/2015 On Cuba: "The State Department wants to give its Interests Section in Havana the title of embassy ASAP. Preferably it wants it done before the Summit of the Americas in Panama. A senior official of the State Department expressed it in a conference call where he answered questions from the press, prior to the third meeting in Havana between a Cuban delegation and the one headed by Roberta Jacobson."

It's time to be realistic about Cuba  3/16/2015 Caribbean Intelligence: "For the most part there is little realism, understanding, or any appreciation of the extent to which Cuba will continue to manage and control the process, seeking balanced relationships that also recognise those nations or organisations that been supportive when times were difficult. For this reason, some of the concerns being expressed in the Caribbean in recent weeks about the possible economic threat posed by a changed Cuba-US relationship seem ill founded; saying more about the fragility of most of the economies of Caricom and their dependence on tourism."

Cubans hopeful U.S. embargo will end, pastor finds  3/11/2015 Winston-Salem Chronicle: "Williams, pastor of Diggs Memorial Church, went on a trip to the Cuban capital of Havana with pastors from around the nation. It was sponsored by the Progressive National Baptist Convention, whose general secretary, Rev. Dr. Tyrone Pitts, helped organize and participated in the trip. The trip, which lasted from Jan. 30-Feb. 9, was part of the 25th anniversary celebration of a Cuban Baptist church organization, La Fraternidad de Iglesias Bautistas de Cuba. During that time, the pastors worshipped, preached and took communion with Cuban congregations."

Everglades To Be Killed This October by Florida's Own Koch Brothers  3/4/2015 Alternet: "Time magazine has called them the "First Family of Corporate Welfare" John Ellis Bush (JEB), Rick Scott, and other GOP politicians kowtow to this family like no other. They were a top donor for W. And they are almost singlehandedly destroying our Everglades. Welcome to Keeping up with the Fanjul family of Palm Beach. The Fanjul family is synonymous with the term "Big Sugar" here in Florida. They control 1/3 of our nation's raw sugar. "

Americans Can Go to Cuba  3/4/2015 CounterPunch: "On a recent CODEPINK trip to Cuba with a 150-person delegation, we found the island crawling with Americans taking advantage of the relaxation of US travel restrictions and the historic thawing of US-Cuban relations."

Chomsky on Cuba: After Decades of U.S. Meddling & "Terrorism," Restoring Ties is Least We Could Do  3/4/2015 Cuba Si: Amy Goodman interviews Noam Chomsky.

How to Beggar One’s Neighbor: Cuba in 2015  3/3/2015 CounterPunch 

Conan O'Brien in Cuba: 'All I want to do is try and make these people laugh'  3/3/2015 KPCC: "When you first floated this idea to the bosses at TBS, what did they say? We didn't actually tell them. We sort of kept it on the down low. Then we told one guy, pretty much, that we were thinking about doing it and he said that sounds cool. We decided if we told too many people, either A) it'll get out, or B) someone will give us a really good reason why we can't or a legal reason why we can’t. So we decided better to beg forgiveness than ask permission."

Cuban Delegation on Round Two of Talks with the USA  2/28/2015 Havana Times: "While many other issues will be on the table in future talks (extradition treaty, Cuban Adjustment Act, the US embargo, the Guantanamo Naval Base, human rights, property expropriations, etc.) there seems to be agreement that the official restoring of relations and the opening of embassies is the first order of business. This with an eye to making considerable progress before the Summit of the Americas on April 10-11 in Panama, when presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama will be on the same venue. Parralel to that, Cuba continues to press that it be taken off the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism and the US State Department says it is reviewing the designation to make a recommendation to Congress. The following is the press release issued by the Cuban Delegation following the talks on Friday."

Inaugurarán nuevas salas de acceso público a Internet en Santiago de Cuba Read more about Inaugurarán nuevas salas de acceso público a Internet en Santiago de Cuba | Periodico Sierra Maestra by Jose Roberto  2/28/2015 Sierra Maestra: "Cinco salas para el acceso al servicio público a Internet y la creación de cuentas de correo electrónico internacional (nauta), serán puestas a disposición de la población santiaguera a partir de hoy por la Dirección Provincial de los Joven Club de Computación y Electrónica, de conjunto con la División Territorial de ETECSA. Según información ofrecida por directivos de la empresa de Telecomunicaciones, las nuevas salas se ubican en los municipios de San Luis, Contramaestre, Mella, Guamá y II Frente."

Communism is an Aspiration - The Future of Cuba  2/27/2015 CounterPunch: by ALEJANDRO CASTRO ESPIN and LASONAS PIPINIS VELASCO

Cuba: the Weight of a Long History  2/27/2015 CounterPunch: "During the 1930’s and 40’s, the ambition to control Cuba’s destiny continued—if somewhat more subtly and without troops. The U.S. sent Sumner Welles as a special envoy to Cuba in the 1930’s to ensure that the outcome of a populist insurrection against Gerardo Machado, then Cuba’s dictator, did not steer the island away from U.S. tutelage. This intervention gave rise to the U.S. support for Fulgencio Batista, which lasted until his overthrow in 1959 by the Revolution. As our ambassador to Cuba at the time, Earl T. Smith, asserted during a Senate hearing in 1960: “Until Castro, the U.S. was so overwhelmingly influential in Cuba that the American ambassador was the second most important man, sometimes even more important than the Cuban president.”"

Josefina Vidal: El respeto fue la clave del éxito que condujo a los anuncios del 17D  2/27/2015 CubaDebate: "La Directora General de Estados Unidos de la Cancillería cubana trae la sonrisa fresca, la calma con la que ha hablado unos minutos antes en el Departamento de Estado. De pie, en el salón de la Oficina de Intereses de Cuba acondicionada como sala de prensa -la primera vez que ocurre en muchísimos años-, contesta ahora todas las preguntas que nos hacíamos en esta jornada, y aquellas que surgieron al calor de la conversación con la que cierra nuestra presencia en Washington."

Cien Damas de Blanco piden cambios en la organización  2/26/2015 Cuba Encuentro: "Exigen la reincorporación de varias activistas separadas del grupo, y que le permitan la participación en la toma de decisiones a quienes se encuentran en el exilio"

Comienza en FIU conferencia de estudios cubanos  2/26/2015 Marti Noticias: "En la Universidad Internacional de la Florida, la décima conferencia de estudios cubanos abordó el tema de las implicaciones que tiene el futuro de Cuba" [ningun mencion de lo afro]

End the US Blockade of Cuba and Military Occupation of Guantanamo Bay! An Interview with Manolo De Los Santos  2/25/2015 Black Agenda Report: "I’m here in Cuba, first of all studying. I’m a student of theology at the Evangelical Seminary in Matanzas. I am also here as a staff person for IFCO (Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization) Pastors for Peace working as a liaison between IFCO and the US medical students studying at the Latin American School of Medicine, which has been an amazing opportunity for hundreds of young people from the US, from communities of color, poor communities, to actually be able to study medicine for free here in Cuba."

Cuban Ballplayers Still Punished by the Embargo  2/25/2015 CounterPunch 

The Cuba Diaries: the Last Days of the Caribbean Derek Jeter, Carlos Tabares  2/25/2015 VICE: "Despite all the excitement I sense for impending changes in Cuba, I begin to also realize an entire generation exists that will miss out on the progress. For the most part, these people, aged approximately 40-50 years old, are entrenched in their lives, and there's little that can happen now to drastically alter whatever future they have left. There may be improvements—perhaps they will get to leave the country for the first time on vacation—but realistically, these people will remain in Cuba living a similar version of the life they've always led. This group could be called the in-between generation, too young to have experienced the glory years of the revolution, but also now too old to fully appreciate the changes that are undoubtedly coming."

CUBAN ENTREPRENEURS CAN SELL EVERYTHING FROM SHOES TO SOAP IN THE UNITED STATES  2/23/2015 The Cuban Economy: "The State Department says its new rules will encourage private Cuban entrepreneurs to develop products for export. While all live animals and animal products are prohibited, raw hides, skins, leather, furs, saddlery and harnesses, handbags, and travel goods are allowed. So are paper products, plastics and rubber articles, ceramics, glass and glassware, articles of stone, plaster and cement; footwear, hats, umbrellas, toys and games, artificial flowers and feathers. Independent entrepreneurs who make soap, cosmetics, candles, waxes and polishes, perfume or photographic or cinematographic goods are also in the clear. Jewelry makers, including those who work with pearls and precious and semiprecious stones, also got a green light as did producers of cutlery and tools."

Lebanon FM signs 'historic agreement' with Cuba  2/21/2015 Daily Star: "Cuba’s foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla highlighted his country’s solidarity with Lebanon, and its keenness to see an end to Israel's efforts to destabilize the country. “We express our support to the Lebanese and Arab causes, especially to the Palestinian cause,” Parilla said after meeting with Bassil… He hoped that the Lebanese community in Cuba, which is estimated to be comprised of about 30,000 people, will help the bonding process between the two countries and their citizens, especially in terms of economic and cultural relations."

NAFDAC partners Cuban company on new technology for malaria eradication  2/19/2015 Premium Times, Nigeria: "The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has said it is set to partner with Labiofam, a Cuban-based pharmaceutical company, to promote the adoption of biotechnology for malaria eradication in Nigeria. NAFDAC’s Director-General, Paul Orhii, made the disclosure when he received a delegation from the company in Abuja on Monday. He said the adoption of biotechnology, which used biolarvicides in the eradication of malaria, could boost Federal Government’s planned malaria eradication programme."

Discuten en Cuba política de Internet  2/17/2015 Observatorio Critico: "Distintos medios de prensa informan de la próxima celebración en Cuba del el 1er Taller Nacional de Informatización y Ciberseguridad donde, especialistas del sector participarán en la definición colectiva de la política que adoptará el país al respecto."

Conan O'Brien Films Episode of Conan in Cuba  2/16/2015 Miami New Times: "First comes Netflix; then comes Late Night. In the latest example of the loosening travel restrictions with Cuba, longtime comedian and TV host Conan O'Brien is filming an episode of his TBS show in Havana. Deadline reports O'Brien's show flew to Havana last Thursday, taking advantage of the time off for Presidents' Day to film an upcoming episode of Conan on location. Though news crews have made their way to the island over the past two months to report on the normalizing of relations between the United States and Cuba, Conan is the first American late-night show to film on the island since the U.S. embargo began in 1962."

Cuba-USA Try to Skirt Dead Ends  2/12/2015 On Cuba: "Some politicians from the Cuban émigré community demand that Havana hand over fugitives from US justice like Joanne Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur, an African-American woman who was a Black Panther leader and is sought by US authorities for the murder of a police officer in the 1970s. They seem to be unaware of the fact that an extradition agreement is reciprocal and would force the United States to deport many Cuban exiles accused of crimes, including Luis Posada Carriles, sought for the bombing of a Cuban commercial airliner that killed 73 people."

The Cuban economy and Obama’s new policy  2/12/2015 On Cuba: "Even without eliminating the embargo, the announced measures could begin to gradually benefit the Cuban economy. Some effects will be more direct and tangible and will be appreciable in tendencies of tourism, remittances and goods and services that arrive in Cuba from the United States, while other effects will be more indirect, depending on what kind of signal is sent to the international economic and financial community and the restoration of U.S.-Cuba relations."

Video Showing Arrest of Cuban Reggaeton Musician Leaked  2/10/2015 Havana Times: "Though the announced re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States opens the possibility for the US to demand the extradition of fugitives from justice, it seems unlikely Martinez will be handed over to US authorities. The cases of the dozens of fugitives from US justice living in Cuba after committing acts of million-dollar Medicare and car insurance fraud have been brought to the discussion table and constitute issues to be addressed during bilateral negotiations, but no short-term solution is yet in sight. Some charged with Medicare fraud have voluntarily returned to the United States to settle their debts with justice."

Cuba and USA Today: Miscellaneous  2/10/2015 On Cuba: "In short lines, we present some news about the path that is taking the process of restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States"

Cuba demands return of relatives of Cuban doctors in Brazil  2/10/2015 On Cuba: "Doctors describe as absurd to have allowed “having sex with a Brazilian inclusive wedding him or her, (but) living here with my lawful wife of 20 years for over a month is a fault to discipline according to the Minister of Health of Cuba”. They explain “Bringing our family is not illegal nor by Cuban law nor by the Brazilian, is only illegal for our public health minister that imposes on us this without giving a reason, because if we don’t send our family before next Sunday February 1st we will be withdraw from the mission “."

Conexion Miami / Florida farming fears Cuba  2/10/2015 Progreso Weekly: "“Forty-nine state farm bureaus support the lifting of the embargo, but Florida does not,” William Messina, University of Florida agricultural economist, told The Palm Beach Post. The explanation: Florida has a lot to lose if Cuba begins sending fruits, vegetables and sugar here where the same crops are grown. Cuba and Florida have similar subtropical climates and both produce sugar cane, fruit and winter vegetables. Goes to show you… We’re of the belief that a little competition is good."

Castro: End US embargo, normalize Cuba relations  2/10/2015 The Militant: "“Our U.S. counterparts should not plan on developing relations with Cuban society as if there were no sovereign government,” he continued to applause."

Nat Turner’s fraught economic rebellion in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward  2/8/2015 Al Jazeera: "Almost home and still empty-handed, Thomas stops at an urban garden launched in 2006 by Nat Turner, named for the legendary leader of an 1831 slave uprising in Virginia. This Nat Turner taught social studies and debate at New York’s Beacon High School and drew media attention after a row with school authorities following a trip with his students to Cuba. The trip nearly cost him his job, were in not for what he says was the support of the teacher’s union and his attorneys."

US, Cuba Relations 2015: End of Cuba Embargo May Bring Lawsuits, Competition to Miami's Tobacco Industry  2/8/2015 Latin Post 

Russian diplomat in Cuba for talks on investment projects  2/8/2015 Progreso Weekly: "Among the projects discussed were the construction of four power plants with a total output of 800 megawatts, improvements to the José Martí iron-and-steel works in Havana, and the participation of the Russian oil giant Zarubezhneft in the offshore exploration for crude. The commission will meet again in April in Kazan, Tatarstan, to discuss those projects further, the Russian visitor said."

Obama’s Policy Reforms: The Congressional Counteract Begins  2/6/2015 Cuba Central: "Ms. Soler’s answer — no, it didn’t happen that way — was not the response Senator Rubio was looking for. But the advice that followed would be well-taken for someone considering a run for the presidency. At another juncture, Mr. Rubio asked the panel if they all supported a continuation of the Helms-Burton program that gives financial assistance to dissidents in Cuba, some of whom benefit from U.S. support and still denounce the Obama policy. To his apparent surprise, two of the witnesses — Miriam Leiva and Rosa María Paya — didn’t agree with him on that question either."

Cuba cancela visita de congresistas de EEUU a la isla  2/5/2015 Café Fuerte: "Según la información, los viajes de los congresistas fueron pospuestos hasta al menos mediados de abril. Obama y Raúl Castro deben encontrarse a mediados de abril en Panamá durante la Cumbre de las Américas a la que ambos han confirmado ya su asistencia. Un portavoz de la Oficina de Intereses de Cuba en Washington DC negó la versión de AP, y dijo que está prevista la visita de algunas delegaciones en los próximos días. Pero eso no es lo que creen Morán y Flake. Moran dijo que la delegación estaba compuesta por senadores republicanos que “tienen la mente abierta sobre cambiar la relación con Cuba” y quieren entender mejor los asuntos que afectan al país. El senador cree posible reprogramar su visita a la isla."

EEUU preocupado por aumento de balseros; 890 cubanos se lanzaron al mar desde octubre  2/5/2015 Café Fuerte 

La nueva política hacia Cuba revitaliza a donantes anticastristas de la Florida  2/5/2015 Café Fuerte: "Pero los nuevos documentos presentados ante la Comisión Federal de Elecciones (FEC, la agencia independiente que regula el financiamiento de las elecciones a nivel nacional), que cubren el período en el que Obama anunció su nueva política, muestra que el US-Cuba Democracy PAC, el más prominente comité de cabildeo que representa a la comunidad anticastrista, vio un salto significativo en donaciones."

Cuba-US in time of changes: criteria on the Cuban side  2/5/2015 On Cuba: "Nearly a week after Cuba and the United States began to officially dialogue in Havana, entrepreneurs, bloggers, filmmakers and Cuban intellectuals gathered in Washington for two days (January 27 and 28) to exchange with US and Cuban American politicians, diplomats, journalists , businessmen and academics, in a meeting organized by the Possible Cuba Project and the Cuba Research Center."

The heroism of America's black troops  2/4/2015 Republican American: "When the Spanish-American War began, these "Buffalo soldiers" were sent to Cuba. Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders never would have survived their reckless charge up San Juan Hill if the black soldiers of the 10th Calvary and 24th Infantry Regiment had not come to their rescue."

Sen. Marco Rubio Pushes Against Obama's Cuba Changes In Hearing  2/3/2015 NBC 

Cuba–US Talks and the Fate of Assata Shakur and Nehanda Abiodun  2/2/2015 Havana Times: "Unlike Assata (whose whereabouts are unknown and is believed to be at a secret location, owing to the US police effort to capture her), since the 90s Nehanda has organized a series of campaigns in her home to encourage the creation of a black and Afro-Cuban awareness movement. Her home has become a center for cultural and socio-political projects and the venue of Cuba’s first hip hop gatherings. She has also organized debates on contemporary issues and African history which have seen the participation of activists and artists, such as the Cuban rap band Anonimo Consejo."

Goodbye to Radio and TV Martí?  2/2/2015 On Cuba: "In presenting her proposal to the Capitol, the lawmaker said that in the last three decades stations have spent over 770 million dollars. Each year, the US government provides thirty two million and in 2014, its activities were covered with nearly 27 million. However, contrary to the intention of cutting costs and budgets for Radio and TV Martí, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) the US government signed over 100 contracts worth almost a million dollars for their transmissions to Island since last December 17, when the government announced that both sides begin to renew diplomatic ties."

U.S. Editorial Says Law Favoring Cuban Arrivals Is Challenged  2/2/2015 Radio Havana 

US Lawmakers proposed a Freedom to travel to Cuba Act  1/31/2015 On Cuba: "Eight Democratic and Republican senators introduced this week to Congress a bill to lift the restrictions imposed in a 2000 and 1996 on travel to Cuba by US citizens and residents, as reported by AFP. The project, known as the Law of Freedom to travel to Cuba, would alleviate the effects of the US blockade against Cuba from 1962 to also allow banking transactions related to these movements."

Free trade with Cuba  1/29/2015 Amsterdam News: by Rep Charles Rangel - "The United States Chamber of Commerce is one of the strongest supporters of ending the embargo, which estimates it could create 6,000 American jobs and restore $1.2 billion annually to the U.S. economy. The economic embargo stifles an extra $250 million in potential annual exports of fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides and tractors. Ultimately, ending the embargo will, in addition to creating an estimated 6,000 American jobs, generate billions of dollars in revenue."

Take Cuba off the Terrorist List  1/29/2015 CounterPunch: by MEDEA BENJAMIN

Cuba Détente  1/28/2015 CounterPunch: by ROBERT SANDELS and NELSON P. VALDÉS - "Until now only agricultural and some medical and educational materials could be sold to Cuba. The new regulations allow for an increase in the kinds of goods that Cuba can import from the United States such as construction and agricultural tools and machinery. However, these can only be sold to non-state sectors such as co-ops and private entrepreneurs. Thus, certain sectors of the U.S. corporate world will be given preferential treatment. OFAC is also giving Cuban entrepreneurs in the private sector an advantage over the state, but the Obama administration also wants U.S. information technology corporations to invest in Cuba’s telecommunications infrastructure, which means selling services, software and equipment to the Cuban government."

Leave a Little Light On for Me  1/27/2015 CounterPunch: by Fidel Castro - "Well, setting aside these perplexing problems, it is astonishing to recall that the University of Havana, during the days when I entered this beloved, prestigious institution almost three fourths of a century ago, was the only one in Cuba. Of course, fellow students and professors, we must remember that it is not just one now, but rather more than 50 institutions of higher learning distributed across the entire country."

AmEx plans to begin activities in Cuba  1/27/2015 Progreso Weekly: "Last week MasterCard announced that it would allow its cardholders to use the credit card in Cuba. This as a result of President Obama’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with the island after more than 50 years of animosity. The latest economic giant to jump into the fray is American Express which said it could begin operations in Cuba. No specifics as to dates, etc. were offered."

Fidel Castro chimes in on shift in Cuba-U.S. relations  1/27/2015 USA Today: ""I don't trust the policy of the United States, nor have I exchanged a word with them, but this does not mean I reject a pacific solution to the conflicts," he wrote in a letter directed at a student federation at the University of Havana that was also published in Spanish in the Communist Party newspaper Granma. "We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all the people of the world, including with our political adversaries."

South Florida Democrats walk fine line on Cuba  1/26/2015 Sun Sentinel: "South Florida's Democratic members of Congress are caught between a rock (President Barack Obama) and a hard place (their Cuban-American congressional colleagues) when it comes to rapidly changing U.S. policy toward the island nation."

Republican senators want Tupac Shakur's aunt back from Cuba  1/23/2015 Local 10, Miami: "During the two days of U.S.-Cuba diplomatic talks in Havana this week, the issue of human rights was a cause for friction. "They [U.S. diplomats] have views about the exercise of human rights in Cuba," said high-ranking Cuban diplomat Josefina Vidal, who was leading the Cuban delegation. She added that the U.S. doesn't have the authority on human rights problems, as the country is currently dealing with a wave of police brutality. And that she said is "something you never see in Cuba."

What is the Real Reason Behind Obama’s New Cuba Policy?  1/21/2015 Black Agenda Report: "Obama is reacting to occurrences that pose a significant geopolitical challenge to American hegemony in the Western hemisphere. The Russians and the Chinese have come knocking on America’s back door. From July 11 to 17, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled through a multi nation Latin American tour ending with a summit of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) in Fortaleza, Brazil. These nations are among the fastest developing economies in the world, and their combined efforts have been posing significant geopolitical challenge to America and its European allies all over the globe. This is particularly the case since the 2008 economic crash."

Cuba-U.S.: Between candy and salty water  1/19/2015 Cuba Now: "This group of aged enemies of Cuba is led by doubly small Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Marco Rubio and Mario Díaz-Balart. Once again, they represent the outmoded promoters of bitter hatred against independent Havana. But they are confronted by those who dismiss such behavior and prefer to achieve their goal without aggressiveness."

An Incomplete Reform of Travel  1/19/2015 Havana Note: "Instead, by the time the regulations came from OFAC on January 15th, the bold promise had shrunk to a general license only for the organizations that send travelers -- not for the travelers themselves."

Rep. Barbara Lee Is Angling To Be Ambassador To Cuba  1/18/2015 SFIST: "Alameda County Congresswoman and hero to Bay Area liberals Barbara Lee is said to have a "gentlewoman's agreement" with President Obama to become our new ambassador to Cuba, should that actually become an open position before Obama's term ends next year. As the Chron's mustache twins Matier & Ross report, Lee has been a frequent traveler to the island nation, making at least 21 trips to Cuba over the last 20 years despite the federal ban on travel."

Travel to Cuba E ases, but Airlines Will Miss Initial Rush  1/16/2015 NYT: "But before airlines can schedule direct flights to Havana and other airports, the two countries must still negotiate a new air service agreement. Until that happens, travelers will have to rely on charter flights booked through specialized travel agencies, and that is not expected to change for the next 12 to 18 months, according to travel experts and industry officials. The timeline could be further complicated by opposition in Congress as well as the presidential election next year, which could delay matters in unpredictable ways."

New measures of the United States to Cuba become effective  1/15/2015 OnCuba: "The Obama administration made known last Thursday the entry into force of several of the measures announced on December 17, 2014, for the easing of relations with Cuba. Jacob Lew, US Treasury Secretary, said “these regulations, along with those issued by the Department of Commerce, will implement policies for relaxation of sanctions related to travel, remittances, trade and banking.”"

United States Cuba Relations: The Genie Is Out Of The Bottle  1/15/2015 US Cuba Politics: "FACT SHEET: Treasury and Commerce Announce Regulatory Amendments to the Cuba Sanctions"

9 Key Questions about New Cuba Regulations What Do They Mean for Trade, Travel, Americans, and Cubans?  1/15/2015 WOLA 

Namibia: Ngurare Urges African Youth to Support Cuba  1/13/2015 All Africa: "The Swapo Youth League (SPYL) secretary, Dr Elijah Ngurare, has called on African youth movements to stand in solidarity with Cuba until the 50-year US embargo is fully lifted."

How Obama Could End The Cuban Embargo  1/12/2015 CounterPunch: "So to undo the embargo Congress would seemingly have to repeal the Helms-Burton Act, otherwise the President’s hands would be tied. Except in reality the regulations the President is ordered to enforce are not valid, and should not be legally binding on him. This is because there is no legal merit for the regulations against Cuba, which are written based on the application of enemy status to Cuba. But Cuba does not meet the definition of an enemy. According to the TWEA, an “enemy” is defined as “any individual” or “the government of any nation with which the United States is at war.” The act specifies that the “beginning of the war” is “midnight ending the day on which Congress has declared or shall declare war or the existence of a state of war.”"

Beyond the Rhetoric: What the U.S. Can Learn from Ole Cuba  1/12/2015 Thy Black Man: "Cuba has some of the best civil engineers and construction managers in the world. I have witnessed some of their projects being built on every continent of the world. Their work is excellent, affordable and reliable. It would be great if many of our Black businesses would joint venture with them and take on projects around the world as they do. There is nothing we could not build. As our new relationship builds, such activity can become a reality. This would build Black business capacity in this nation and create jobs by the millions. Yes, Cuba could greatly help us to get around the racial adversity that we face in this current economy."

No Internet in Cuba? For some, offline link to world arrives weekly  1/9/2015 McClatchy: "The vast majority of Cubans have no access to the Internet or cable television, but that doesn’t mean they’re out of touch with the wider world. Many stay connected through an offline system that operates in the legal shadows. It’s called the “weekly packet,” and it’s an alternative to broadband Internet that provides tens of thousands of Cubans, and perhaps many more, with foreign movies, TV shows, digital copies of magazines, websites and even local advertising. Cubans obtain the packet by toting empty portable computer hard drives to clandestine distributors who load them with an array of the latest movies, television episodes and music videos. Then the hard drives are taken home, where they’re viewed on computers over the next week."

The Return of the Cuban Five - The Hour of Triumph  1/7/2015 CounterPunch: by Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, who has served as Cuba’s UN ambassador, Foreign Minister and president of the National Assembly.

McCaskill to travel to Cuba, says lifting embargo would benefit Missouri agriculture  1/7/2015 KC Star: "Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri announced on Wednesday that she will take a trip to Cuba next month to explore how farmers and other businesses in her state might benefit from opening Cuban markets to U.S. agriculture products."

Defeating the Tyranny of Failed Ideas - How to Break the Embargo on Cuba  1/6/2015 CounterPunch: "The normalization of relations with Cuba – a long-delayed measure – offers the opportunity to lift the embargo on the island that so many negative consequences has had for the Cuban people. An initial measure could be to open the medical communication channels between American and Cuban doctors."

Letra del Año para el 2015 de la Asociación Yoruba de Cuba  1/1/2015 CubaDebate 

Spy wars: a wilderness of mirrors in U.S.-Cuba swap  1/1/2015 Miami Herald 



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