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Trump vs CubaUS - Cuba Relations

Cuba rejects Trump’s threat to tighten embargo  1/24/2019 Jamaica Gleaner: "Cuban ambassador to Jamaica, Ines Fors Fernandez, has vowed that threats from the United States to further tighten the long-standing embargo on the Caribbean island nation by activating Title Three of the Helms-Burton Act will only make its people more resilient while praising countries like Jamaica for their firm support over decades."

McKENNA: Canada will be sideswiped if Trump goes for Cuba’s jugular  1/21/2019 The Chronicle Herald: "If the presidential waiver process is terminated, American citizens will be able to take their cases directly to U.S. courts — including those against Canadian companies like Toronto-based Sherritt International. There are roughly 6,000 legal claims (with arguably 200,000 pending) involving those confiscated Cuban properties that have been certified in the U.S. (The collection of any damages, however, would only apply to those foreign companies that have commercial interests in the U.S.) By undertaking such an action, Trump is making a huge mistake — and one that will only backfire in the short to medium term. It is obviously a critical step backward from the Barack Obama-driven U.S.-Cuba thaw of 2014-2016. More importantly, it will likely have significant implications for Canadian businesses and federal politicians."

Trump to put 'game changer' pressure on Cuba, says Mario Diaz-Balart  1/21/2019 Washington Examiner: "President Trump is getting ready to place an unprecedented amount of economic pressure on Cuba’s communism regime and some of the non-U.S. companies that have invested there, according to a leading Republican lawmaker. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has signaled that Americans who decades ago had property stolen by Fidel Castro’s regime and sold to other foreign companies may soon be able to sue those companies to recoup their losses. That will intensify financial pressure on the island government, according to Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, and have ripple effects for authoritarian states around the world. “This is a very, very big deal,” the Florida Republican and Cuban-American told the Washington Examiner. “I think really good things are coming from this. And so, you can't minimize the impact.”

Trump weighs dramatic tightening of US embargo on Cuba  1/17/2019 AP: "The major American companies doing business in Cuba — AirBnB, airlines and cruise companies — could emerge unscathed because the 1996 law contains exemptions for business related to legal travel to Cuba, said Pedro Freyre, a Miami attorney who represents some of the largest foreign companies in Cuba. Still litigation against foreign companies would be a serious blow to a centrally planned economy that’s entering its fourth consecutive year of economic stagnation and struggling to attract badly needed foreign investment."

El desbarre de Trump con un Título de la Helms-Burton  1/17/2019 Juventud Rebelde: "Dentro de 45 días podremos ver cuál será la posición frente al Título III, que abre la posibilidad de demandas civiles de cubanos convertidos en ciudadanos estadounidenses y estas se agregarían a las que la Comisión de Ajuste de Reclamaciones en el Extranjero de Estados Unidos había certificado hasta el 6 de julio de 1972, un tema que —al igual que la demanda cubana por daños y perjuicios provocados por el bloqueo y las agresiones, sabotajes y atentados cometidos por Estados Unidos contra Cuba y los ciudadanos de nuestro país— ha estado sobre la mesa de las conversaciones que tendían a hacer avanzar la normalización de las relaciones."

U.S. considering allowing lawsuits over Cuba-confiscated properties  1/16/2019 Reuters: "“It would cause an enormous legal mess, anger U.S. allies in Europe and Latin America, and probably result in a World Trade Organization case against the U.S.,” said William Leogrande, a professor of government at American University."

Trump’s Cuba policy hurts private sector, new figures say  1/15/2019 AP: "Even as the private sector suffered, U.S. travel to Cuba was growing, from 618,000 in 2017 to 630,000 last year, Tourism Ministry figures say. Most of those travelers came by ship, avoiding the confusing rules on travel to the island with package tours that are guaranteed to comply with the law. The shift to cruises meant the average U.S. stay on the island dropped from six days to three, said Jose Luis Perello, a former University of Havana professor who studies Cuba's tourism industry. That has had a devastating effect on owners and employees of Cuba's 24,185 private bed-and-breakfasts and 2,170 private restaurants known as paladares. They cherished U.S. travelers as heavy tippers who crammed days full of activities like classic car rides and cooking classes that put money into private hands."

Resumption of US Consular Services in Cuba Campaign to Start Soon  1/10/2019 Escambray: "The national coordinator of the Antonio Maceo Brigade, Andrés Gómez, announced Wednesday that they will soon launch a campaign to demand the reopening of U.S. consular services in Cuba. The leader of the Miami-based organization told the press in Havana that Washington’s reasons for making such a decision were invented, and he described the shutting down of the services as ridiculous and harmful to the interests of Cuban families."

Trump administration aims to stop professional baseball deal with Cuba  12/29/2018 Miami Herald: "Major League Baseball officials said they were surprised some politicians oppose an agreement that is designed to end human smuggling and that the alternative is allowing the current system in which players are trafficked to continue. “We’ve been trying to end this practice and provide a safe and legal path for Cuban players to come to the United States for years,” Halem said."

Marco Rubio calls MLB deal with Cuba 'a farce' that needs to be 'overruled'  12/28/2018 Fox News: "Clubs who sign a Cuban player would pay a one-time release fee to the federation between 15 to 20 percent of the contract. The fee would be in addition to the contract, so if a player signs for $1 million, the money would go to the players and an additional $150,000 to $200,000 would be paid as the release fee, according to the Herald."

Title III and a new front in global agriculture trade wars  11/30/2018 usagcoalitionforcuba: " Under consideration is to allow Title III of the Helms-Burton law to go into effect, and thereby to allow Americans and Cuban-Americans whose properties in Cuba were expropriated to sue for damages in U.S. courts. The lawsuits would be brought against parties, both U.S. and foreign, whose business activities in Cuba are connected to those expropriated properties. This right of action was enacted in 1996 but Presidents of both parties have consistently blocked it from going into effect ever since through waivers issued every six months. The deadline for the next six-month suspension is February 1."

Exclusive: U.S. weighs sanctions on Cuban officials over role in Venezuela crackdown  11/21/2018 Reuters: "The potential human rights-related sanctions would target Cuban officials, possibly including generals, who Washington accuses of advising Venezuela’s government on how to monitor opponents and put down street protests, the source said. The number and identities of the potential targets was unclear. No final decision has yet been made on whether and when to impose the sanctions."

The Strange Case of American Diplomats in Cuba: As the Mystery Deepens, So Do Divisions in Washington  11/9/2018 ProPublica: "These are very common symptoms in any neurological clinic,” said Jon Stone, a neurologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. “And, given how common they are, why are we hearing hoofbeats and thinking about zebras? They are talking about the possibility of weapons that no one has ever heard of. But what is the most plausible thing?”

The U.N. voted (again) in support of lifting the Cuban embargo, but this time there was a twist  11/1/2018 Miami Herald: "Before the vote, there was debate on eight amendments proposed by the United States that criticized Cuba’s human rights record and lack of civil liberties on the island. The amendments were all defeated by wide margins with only three delegations — the United States, Israel and Ukraine — consistently voting for them. The Marshall Islands also voted in favor of one amendment."

The Hypocrisy of the United States, Cuba Edition  10/31/2018 Counterpunch: "Certainly, there are countries with worse human rights records than the U.S. But there are many, many whose human rights practices are far superior. It is the height of hypocrisy for the U.S. to criticize any other nation for any alleged human rights violations, when it supports Israel and Saudi Arabia, and holds countless U.S. political prisoners in its own jail cells."

Bloqueo norteamericano obstaculiza a inversión extranjera en Cuba  10/19/2018 TV Santiago: "Por eso, dijo, es necesario un mayor esfuerzo al captar un potencial socio y convencerlo de las oportunidades que brinda el mercado cubano para su inversión, su rentabilidad y los beneficios mutuos que generará el proyecto. Calificó de fructífero el intercambio, en el cual numerosos participantes expusieron sus ideas y las dificultades que afrontan. Como rectores de las inversiones extranjeras es nuestro deber ayudar a crear un clima favorable, no solo para los extranjeros sino también para las empresas nacionales, y también las condiciones para que crezcan en los niveles que hace falta, precisó."

Diplomatic showdown at the UN as Cuba interrupts US meeting  10/16/2018 CNN: "A US event meant to highlight the plight of Cuba's political prisoners was drowned out by the noise of Cuban diplomats banging on tables and voices screaming, "Cuba yes, blockade no" across a large conference room, a reference to the US economic embargo against the island nation. Cuban diplomats were using both hands to slap the rectangular table while others were yelling in Spanish, and although US Ambassador Kelley Currie repeatedly asked for security, officers stood watching the protest without intervening. Why? Because the protesters were accredited UN diplomats from Cuba, and yelling diplomats cannot be physically restrained based on UN security protocols."

Microwaves are ‘main suspect’ in attack on US diplomats in Cuba  9/1/2018 NY Post: "He added the doctors and other scientists who studied the apparent attacks are “increasingly sure’’ the victims sustained brain injuries. Analysts cite the Frey effect, named after an American scientist who discovered that microwaves can make victims think they’re hearing loud noises like ringing and buzzing — or human voices."

U.S. Employee in China Suffers Brain Injury in Case Recalling Cuba Sound ‘Attack’  5/23/2018 Bloomberg: "A U.S. government employee in China reported abnormal sensations of sound and pressure ahead of being diagnosed with a mild brain injury, in a case reminiscent of diplomats who fell ill in Cuba last year. “The medical indications are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications that have taken place to Americans working in Cuba,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at congressional hearing in Washington on Wednesday. “We are working to figure out what took place both in Havana and now in China as well.”"

John Bolton Skewed Intelligence, Say People Who Worked with Him  3/31/2018 Alternet: "Bolton, who was then the State Department’s undersecretary for arms control issues, included a warning about the Cuban threat in a draft of a speech and sent it around the department for the necessary clearance. A biological warfare analyst wrote back that Bolton’s proposed comments overstated what U.S. intelligence agencies really knew about the matter, and, as routinely happens, suggested some small changes. The analyst was summoned to Bolton’s office. “He got very red in the face, and shaking his finger at me, and explained to me that I was acting way beyond my position,” the analyst, Christian Westermann, recalled later during a Senate inquiry. Bolton then demanded that Westermann’s supervisor remove him permanently from the biological weapons portfolio, thundering that “he wasn’t going to be told what he could say by a mid-level munchkin.”

Cuba After the Castros  3/29/2018 Foreign Affairs: "Cuba is about to enter a new era. For the first time in nearly 60 years, the country will be led by someone not bearing the surname Castro. On April 19, First Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel will become president, replacing the 86-year-old Raúl Castro, who took over for his brother Fidel in 2008. Who is Díaz-Canel, and what is his presidency likely to mean for Cuba?"

Trump's new security adviser known for clashes with spy agencies  3/23/2018 Reuters: "Fulton Armstrong, who was the intelligence community’s top Cuba expert, said Bolton and several of his associates in government also tried to have him removed over the biological weapons issue. Bolton “showed every despicable trait of an obsessed policy person who, when frustrated in his attempts to cook the intelligence, lashed out at the person delivering the news,” Armstrong said."

Fear of a Coup at Broadcasting Board of Governors  3/21/2018 Foreign Policy: "Employees fear that if the move is carried out, it could undermine the independent and fact-based reporting of the outlets under the BBG, including Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks."

The Enemy Plan will Be Defeated with More Cubans Defending our Reality  2/26/2018 Periodico 26: "The CIA had their hopes pinned on agent "Pablo." He had an excellent education and knew how to relate to youth and students, the focus of Washington's plans in Cuba. State Security here, however, had full confidence in the man they called "Daniel." In April of 2011, the real identity of Daniel and Pablo as one and the same person was announced; writer and university professor, Raúl Capote. Among the missions the CIA gave their agent in Havana was the recruitment of intellectuals and youth to train as leaders to challenge the Revolution."

Trump nombra a un acólito de George Soros como acusado en La Habana  2/13/2018 Wayne Madsen Report: "Donald Trump nombró a Phillip Goldberg, un archiintervencionista estadounidense y acólito del dogma "cambio de régimen" del magnate de los hedge funds George Soros, como el encargado interino de negocios de la embajada de los Estados Unidos en Cuba. La tarea de Goldberg será iniciar las manifestaciones callejeras inspiradas en Soros en Cuba cuando el presidente cubano Raúl Castro renuncie el 19 de abril de este año."

February 13-14, 2018 -- Trump names George Soros acolyte as charge in Havana, WMR  2/13/2018 Wayne Madsen Report: "Donald Trump has named Phillip Goldberg, an arch-interventionist U.S. diplomat and acolyte of the "regime change" dogma of hedge fund mogul George Soros, as the interim chargé d'affaires of the U.S. embassy in Cuba. Goldberg's task will be to initiate Soros-inspired themed street demonstrations in Cuba when Cuban President Raul Castro steps down on April 19 of this year."

The new U.S. chargé d’affaires in Cuba  2/12/2018 On Cuba: "Government professor of the American University William LeoGrande, an expert on Cuba, commented to Reuters that appointing Ambassador Goldberg to head the U.S. Embassy in Cuba is rather provocative since he was expelled from Bolivia. But, he added, Ambassador Goldberg is a Foreign Service professional and will skillfully represent the policies of the Trump government, time will tell if he has been ordered to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor…or carry out a more hostile policy."

Cuba grants visa to senior U.S. diplomat to lead Havana embassy  2/4/2018 Reuters: "He is likely to spend about six months in the position though the length of his stint is not certain, said the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Goldberg would be the highest ranking U.S. foreign service officer to serve as charge d‘affaires in Havana, said the U.S. official. The fact that Washington selected a diplomat of his rank - one of the senior-most serving career U.S. diplomats - and that Havana accepted him when it could have stalled or rejected him suggests a desire on both sides to maintain links."

La orden ejecutiva que oficializó el bloqueo (+Audio y Videos)  2/2/2018 Radio Rebelde: "La Ley Torricelli promulgada en 1992, reforzó las medidas económicas contra Cuba y brindó sustento normativo a la extraterritorialidad del bloqueo. Cuatro años después, en 1996, se puso en vigor la Ley Helms-Burton, con el objetivo esencial de obstaculizar y desestimular la inversión extranjera en la Isla, así como internacionalizar el bloqueo."

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