tagged w/ Embargo
Iran has threatened to stop oil exports to europe if new sanctions are introduced. 70 Europeans refineries depend on Iranian oil and any lowering of exports from Iran will certainly cause the price of energy to skyrocket.
Iran should wait. Wait until refineries are expecting a delivery, in the coldest part of the winter, then shut the taps in.
http://rt.com/news/iran-stop-oil-export-sanctions-072/Iran has threatened to stop oil exports to europe if new sanctions are introduced. 70... more
A heatwave in Washington, even in 1940.
When your wrong, your just plain wrong!
The U.S. government’s half-century campaign to discredit and destroy Cuba’s experiment with socialism has had many ruthless aspects, but perhaps none more so than efforts to disparage and damage the Caribbean island’s widely admired health-care system
by William Blum
In January, the government of the United States of America saw fit to seize $4.207 million in funds allocated to Cuba by the United Nations Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for the first quarter of 2011, Cuba has charged.
The UN Fund is a $22 billion a year program that works to combat the three deadly pandemics in 150 countries. [Prensa Latina (Cuba), March 12, 2011]
“This mean-spirited policy,” the Cuban government said, “aims to undermine the quality of service provided to the Cuban population and to obstruct the provision of medical assistance in over 100 countries by 40,000 Cuban health workers.”
Most of the funds are used to import expensive AIDS medication to Cuba, where antiretroviral treatment is provided free of charge to some 5,000 HIV patients. [The Militant (US, Socialist Workers Party), April 4, 2011]
The United States sees the Cuban health system and Havana’s sharing of such as a means of Cuba winning friends and allies in the Third World, particularly Latin America; a situation sharply in conflict with long-standing US policy to isolate Cuba.
The United States in recent years has attempted to counter the Cuban international success by dispatching the U.S. Naval Ship “Comfort” to the region.
With 12 operating rooms and a 1,000-bed hospital, the converted oil tanker has performed hundreds of thousands of free surgeries in places such as Belize, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Nicaragua and Haiti.
However, the Comfort’s port calls likely will not substantially enhance America’s influence in the hemisphere.
“It’s hard for the U.S. to compete with Cuba and Venezuela in this way,” said Peter Hakim, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a pro-U.S. policy-research group in Washington. “It makes us look like we’re trying to imitate them. Cuba’s doctors aren’t docked at port for a couple days, but are in the country for years.” [Bloomberg News, Sept. 19, 2007]
The recent disclosure by WikiLeaks of U.S. State Department documents included this little item: A cable was sent by Michael Parmly from the U.S. Interests Section in Havana in July 2006, during the run-up to the Non-Aligned Movement conference.
Parmly notes that he is actively looking for “human interest stories and other news that shatters the myth of Cuban medical prowess.”
Michael Moore refers to another WikiLeaks State Department cable: “On Jan. 31, 2008, a State Department official stationed in Havana took a made-up story and sent it back to his headquarters in Washington. Here’s what they came up with: [The official] stated that Cuban authorities have banned Michael Moore’s documentary, ‘Sicko,’ as being subversive.
“Although the film’s intent is to discredit the U.S. healthcare system by highlighting the excellence of the Cuban system, the official said the regime knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.”
Moore points out an Associated Press story of June 16, 2007 (seven months prior to the cable) with the headline: “Cuban health minister says Moore’s ‘Sicko’ shows ‘human values’ of communist system.”
Moore adds that the people of Cuba were shown the film on national television on April 25, 2008. “The Cubans embraced the film so much it became one of those rare American movies that received a theatrical distribution in Cuba. I personally ensured that a 35mm print got to the Film Institute in Havana. Screenings of Sicko were set up in towns all across the country.” [Huffington Post, Dec. 18, 2010]
The United States also bans the sale to Cuba of vital medical drugs and devices, such as the inhalant agent Sevoflurane which has become the pharmaceutical of excellence for applying general anesthesia to children; and the pharmaceutical Dexmetomidine, of particular usefulness in elderly patients who often must be subjected to extended surgical procedures.
Both of these are produced by the U.S. firm Abbot Laboratories.
Cuban children suffering from lymphoblastic leukemia cannot use Erwinia L-asparaginasa, a medicine commercially known as Elspar, since the U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck and Co. refuses to sell this product to Cuba. Washington has also prohibited the U.S.-based Pastors for Peace Caravan from donating three Ford ambulances to Cuba.
For the rest of the story go to the link provided:When your wrong, your just plain wrong! The U.S. government’s half-century... more
CARACAS, Venezuela – A specialized ship has arrived in Venezuela carrying enough fiber-optic cable to connect the South American country to Cuba, and will soon begin laying the cable along the sea floor to establish a link expected to dramatically improve telephone and Internet service for Cubans.
The French-flagged ship Ile de Batz was anchored on the Venezuelan coast and will begin rolling out the cable across the Caribbean Sea in the coming days, said Jose Ignacio Quintero, a manager for Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent SA, which is carrying out the project.
He said in a telephone interview Tuesday that the ship brought the cable from the French port of Calais, and reached Venezuela on Sunday. He said the cable is scheduled to be functional in July, spanning about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from Camuri in Venezuela to Siboney in eastern Cuba.
Cuba is the only nation in the Western Hemisphere that is not linked to the outside world by optical fiber. Instead, it relies on slow, expensive satellite links because the U.S. government's embargo has prevented most trade between the island and the United States and has made companies in other countries shy away from doing business with Cuba.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a staunch supporter of Cuba's communist government, has said he plans to be there to inaugurate the project, which is one in a growing list of joint efforts by the two countries.
In a speech on Saturday, Chavez called the telecommunications link a step toward greater independence, and he condemned the U.S. government's trade embargo against the island.
Quintero said no U.S. entities or American citizens are participating in Alcatel-Lucent's project so that they would not be "exposed in any way to any type of sanction." While Alcatel-Lucent was formed by a 2006 merger involving Lucent Technologies of the United States, it is incorporated in France.
President Barack Obama's administration loosened some embargo restrictions in 2009, opening possibilities for cooperation with Cuba in telecommunications.
A Florida company called TeleCuba Communications Inc., founded by Cuban-American Luis Coello, wants to lay its own fiber-optic cable from Key West to Cuba. It would stretch about 110 miles (177 kilometers), much shorter and cheaper than the cable from Venezuela.
However, the project is stalled because U.S. regulators have balked at the Cuban government's demand that companies connecting calls to Cuba pay the Cuban phone company 84 cents per minute. The U.S. government has approved a maximum of 60 cents per minute.
That means calls from the U.S. to Cuba have to go through other countries, which relay the calls at the Cuban rate, so U.S. customers end up paying 91 cents or more.
TeleCuba has asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to pay Cuba 84 cents per minute, saying that would make a direct link possible for the first time in decades, improving call quality and reducing the price.
But the fiber-optic connection from Venezuela looks set to be finished first, driven in part by the strong political alliance between Caracas and Havana. The cable is dubbed "ALBA 1," after the Bolivarian Alternative bloc that includes Venezuela, Cuba and other left-leaning allies.
A China-based subsidiary of the company, Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell, signed the contract to do the work for Telecomunicaciones Gran Caribe, a Cuban-Venezuelan joint venture owned by the countries' state telecommunications companies, Quintero said.
Cuban officials have said the project is expected to cost about $70 million. Quintero declined to comment on the projected cost.
After the cable reaches Cuba, a second segment of about 150 miles (245 kilometers) is to extend from the island to nearby Jamaica.
The cable's takeoff point on Venezuela's coast is at a crossroads for other international telecommunications cables, including one that stretches from Brazil to Florida, Quintero said.
Alcatel-Lucent will lay the optical fiber over varying terrain including an area off the Cuban coast that drops to a depth of about 19,000 feet (5,800 meters), Quintero said.
He said the 460-foot (140-meter) ship is equipped with a remote-controlled submarine robot that allows the crew to keep watch over the work while the cable is laid on the sea bottom.
When finished, the cable will be capable of handling about 80 million simultaneous phone calls, though some of that bandwidth will serve the Internet, Quintero said.
Having the connection will mean that callers to or from Cuba will no longer have to wait for an available line, he said. "Users are going to have a much better experience than they have today."CARACAS, Venezuela – A specialized ship has arrived in Venezuela carrying enough... more
The Victorino Noval Foundation, founded by Victor Noval, aka Victorino Noval Jr, sent an open letter to President Barack Obama today calling for the passage of H.R. 4645, a bill that will end restrictions for Americans wishing to travel to Cuba as well as allowing for the sale of agricultural commodities to Cuba.
Noval launched the Victorino Noval Foundation, headquartered in Beverly Hills, in the memory of his father to improve relations between Cuba and the United States. He hopes that through lobbying and media attention the government will end the trade and travel embargo against Cuba. H.R. 4645 is the next step in accomplishing this goal.
Last year, President Obama lifted restrictions on Cuban Americans wishing to travel home to Cuba. Noval contends that this is not enough. Within the letter Noval states, “The country of Cuba deserves to be treated with the same diplomatic consideration as other non-democratic or former adversarial countries such as Vietnam, China, Russia and Iran.”
H.R. 4645 would also improve trade relations with Cuba, affording the United States new economic opportunities. The letter explains, “According to the chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an organization that has been energetic and outspoken about the need to remove the embargo, U.S. corporations want the embargo to be lifted. Americans want to trade with Cuba.”
The ever-present need to find new oil reserves is also a reason to pass this important legislation. Noval states, “Cuba’s recent massive oil finds (20 billion barrels), could easily equal today’s U.S. reserve… Lifting the embargo and partnering with Cuba could be like doubling access to oil supplies.” Cuba has given signs that it is interested in such a deal!
On a humanitarian level, Noval urges the government to consider that Cuba has already created countless medicines that U.S. citizens do not have access to. By soliciting the support of President Obama, the Victorino Noval Foundation hopes that H.R. 4645 will pass without incident, paving the way for an end to the Cuban Embargo.
About the Victorino Noval Foundation:
The Victorino Noval Foundation was created in memory of Victorino Noval Sr., who was born in Asturias, Spain, and died Los Angeles, California, May 7, 2010. Victor Noval, aka Victorino Noval Jr., runs the foundation in loving memory of his father and to carry on his father’s dreams and legacy to improve Cuban-American relations.
For more information, and to read Noval’s letter, visit the Victorino Noval Foundation at www.VictorinoNovalFoundation.com.
Source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/11/prweb4754354.htmThe Victorino Noval Foundation, founded by Victor Noval, aka Victorino Noval Jr, sent... more
September 17, 1994 - Court Ordered Embargo of a Menudo Concert by Puerto Rico Court Marshalls.
Teleonce Television News Coverage of the confiscation of money and merchandise as ordered by the Superior Court of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The order was a result of a $250,000.00 dollar judgement against Menudo and it's management by former music producer of the band Pedro "Papo" Gely.September 17, 1994 - Court Ordered Embargo of a Menudo Concert by Puerto Rico Court... more
It now appears he wasn't there on any Jewish humanitarian mission.
Have you ever heard of a Cuban Cowboy?
Directed by Tomás Hernández
Jorge Navarro - The Cuban Cowboys - sings this haunting tune. The United States and Cuba are separated by ninety miles of water. El Danzón de Noventa Millas speaks to the politics dividing Cuban Nationals and Cuban Americans, by casting bitterness and betrayal as a stylized, nuanced ninety mile dance.
Similar to other dances in the Caribbean and Latin America, the danzón was initially regarded as scandalous, especially when it began to be danced by all classes of the society. The slower rhythm of the danzón led to couples dancing closer, with sinuous movements of the hips and a lower centre of gravity.
Eat your heart out ELVIS.Have you ever heard of a Cuban Cowboy? Directed by Tomás Hernández... more
At the very least let both our peoples visit each other while the politicians work through the details. I mean how stupid is it that I, as a Free American Citizen ... can't go to Cuba ... ???
Besides humanitarian reasons for lifting the embargo, it also makes good business sense.
1. Cuba has oil and natural gas - Brazil, Russia, Canada, and others are making deals, we should be there as well.
2. Normalizing relations means American jobs ! In times like today, need one say more ?
3. We've embargoes them for over 50 years now. Exactly how long have we embargoed N. Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia (birthplace of almost all 9/11 hijackers), Russia, Afghanistan, or China ? It is truly disgusting and idiotic that none of these nations has ever been remotely treated as we treat this small island in the Caribbean.
Enough, please God, enough.At the very least let both our peoples visit each other while the politicians work... more
Maybe you heard the Internet hubbub last Friday when The Hollywood Reporter broke a review embargo for James Cameron's Avatar. Most of the Internets were gobsmacked that a trade, not a filthy blog, would dare shake a stick at the 800-lb gorilla that is Fox.
And then everyone rushed their reviews out as fast as they possibly could. The shocking part? Fox said nothing about it and let the praise stream out. Except when it is a bad review. Then the embargo's on.
Sean Burns, a critic for the Philadelphia Weekly, did not like Avatar. In fact, it was "tacky," to say the least. This lead to one of the first public notices that Fox had finally come back on its' previous embargo. Now, the biggest kicker?
Avatar, as of writing this, has screened in New York, Los Angeles and Boston for critics. Burns lives in Boston. The Philadelphia Weekly is in a city that is very much not like Boston. A number of New York critics have written about it without complaint: Glenn Kenny liked it.
Armond White thought it was "the corniest movie ever made about the white man’s need to lose his identity and assuage racial, political, sexual and historical guilt."
So, why did Armond write that without having hellfire and brimstone rained upon him from 48th Street? Because he was in New York. He still writes for a (technical) alt-weekly, but he didn't have an axe hovering over his head.
The same use of embgo politics affected Now Playing, a movie review show on WOCC-TV. Doesn't sound familiar does it? Well, it would if you lived in Columbus, Ohio. Disney had informed Mark Pfeiffer that Princess and the Frog couldn't be reviewed on a December 8th episode, as the embargo was until December 11th.
Mind you, Frog was in special release in New York and Los Angeles for exorbitant prices. Outlets in both cities ran their reviews on day of release, as well as blogs and other online sites that geographically fall within those locations. While the embargo is one of a PR firm's best tools at keeping critics and outlets in check, it ultimately serves as a general reminder that if you dare not suffer in "The Big City," you'll be damned to whatever overtly caffeinated whims a guy under a guy under a guy has to suffer when the two folks above him break out the rakes with hot coals duct taped on.
Prior to this entire mess, Ryan Stewart was dead on. Except it wasn't his dream team theory of /film, AICN, Cinematical and Film School Rejects--it was a Trade with basis in a city that Fox gave way to. I don't mean to get on a soapbox--said the scruffy idiot savant as he adjusted his milk crate--but I can see the purpose of embargos. Without them, the AICN model could've have theoretically evolved into something much worse.
Instead, it transitioned itself into the format for which many sites and blogs function today. It's not secret that some publications seem more like the A.V. Club's mutated brother screeching "FFFFFFIIIRRRSTIES REVIEW. FFFFFFFFIIIIIIRRRSTIES" while waving club-shaped arms in the air. But that's shifted into a workable system. Same reason why people attend film festivals and then bank material for the future.
So I can completely understand the embargo. What I can't understand is why Fox has decided to play some twisted game of God when it comes to a negative review in an alt-weekly in Philadelphia, or why Disney is scared of a movie review show in Columbus, Ohio. But then again, I guess Columbus' entire population is avid readers of THR. So who needs local reviews when you have the genius that is Kirk Honeycutt and his completely fucking inept reviews.
So that's why the Avatar embargo is a Great Moment in Public Relations.
edit: As Mark tweeted after I published, "FYI, we tape our show every 2 weeks, so FROG isn't being reviewed until 12/21 due to the embargo. Got ARMORED airtime instead." Maybe you heard the Internet hubbub last Friday when The Hollywood Reporter broke... more
Big day in Cuba news today. The United Nations will, as it does every year, vote to condemn the US embargo on the island nation. However, this will be the first time they've done so since Obama was elected President. The Obama Adminsitration has promised engagement and a shift in relations, but so far that change has come incrementally (and has been at times oddly obtuse).
Also, Sean Penn is reportedly flying to Cuba to interview Fidel Castro for Vanity Fair. User bansheewail clipped this story that Penn, who has already interviewed Castro's brother Raul was traveling to the island on assignment.
While Cuba might be a big coup for a celebrity-turned-journalist like Penn, it's no better for local journalists as user UrbanGypsy points out with this article from the Generation Y blog: Cuban Journalist Jose Alejandro is Silenced. Jose Alejandro, a Cuban journalist, posted a long diatribe condemning "the demons of kidnapped information", which only lasted online a few hours before it was pulled down.
If you haven't had a chance to check out last week's Vanguard show Cuba: Waiting for a Revolution - you can watch the whole thing online now. And tonight there's a new episode of Vanguard coming your way: Forest of Ecstasy - about how ecstasy production is driving deforestation in Cambodia. Tune in tonight to Current at 10pm ET / 10pm PT.
Recently on the Current News Blog:
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- One fifth of Californians are 'underemployed'Big day in Cuba news today. The United Nations will, as it does every year, vote to... more
[Translated from Spanish by UrbanGypsy]
"Without a direct and lively debate which includes all the parties that constitute it, without dialogue, and by dialogue, I mean inside and outside Cuba, our culture is incomplete" said Cuban writer and winner of the 2003 National Prize for Literature Reinaldo González in the inauguration of the Havana Book Fair in front of an audience that included Raúl Castro and the Russian Chancellor Sergei Lavrov.
"The necessity for an effort to erase these differences has won force in many of us, for the good of a culture that beats with the art and works of all Cubans" said the writer, in defense of finding concordance. "If that dialogue were to occur, without doubt, just as naturally as fragments of metal gravitate towards their magnet, we would need to bring down the obstacles that block it; real or imagined. This would not be the first time that the nation insists of the union of both of its separate parts."
But the signal of resistance to this was given by none other than General Raúl Castro. Earlier before González had come historian María del Carmen Barcia who was also honored during the book fair and of whom Castro had mentioned of their common Galician ancestry that "We can say we might even be family" after which he lauded the historian with praise. However, González was greeted with indifference before being gestured to go up to speak.
"Even though the official news sources on the island have since silenced or changed the meaning of the words of what Reinaldo González actually said, the writer publically challenged and addressed Cuban society, and in particular, its leadership which under the guise of state sovereignty has in the last 50 years not shown any regret in instilling fear in the soul of every Cuban to the point of dependency, if not to the point of paralysis or paranoia. If we were to look at the recent news coming out of the Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas (Union of Young Communists) we would be quick to ask ourselves what has happened to the Cuban youth, who's apathy, cynicism with the government and who's sense of culture has been eroded." said a sociologist who over the last 50 years has dedicated himself to the study of generational comparison.
Perhaps the answer to those questions comes from Reinaldo González himself: "In difficult times, those in the center, up top and in the periphery are all tested. It is our job to maintain our intellectual and artistic honesty and independence without having to resort to useless slogans or without having to hide behind a fake mask of indifference. Perhaps this is the real meaning behind the word 'dedication' [to art and literary work]. Dedication really means facing risk and actively participating in art as citizens, both [risk and participation] combined with the honest observation of rigorous questioning and criticism and followed with the same conviction with which we must follow our right to be heard."
"But if the conviction of erasing barriers and differences [with Cuban exiles] has indeed won a following among intellectuals in Cuba, the conservatism and resistance to change by those who have held the reigns of the country for more than half a century, even if with different clothes, remains as reluctant to the idea as when they first rejected some of the previous writers and artists who came with these ideas since the beginning. There is little point in talking if you are not going to be heard" said a young writer who is presenting his first ever book in the Havana Book Fair.
That his words were paid little or no attention in the state controlled national media in Cuba is of no surprise. Known are the relations between subjects and masters, but in this case, what was not mentioned is more important than what they did say about him.
If artists from Cuba are able to come to the United States to stage concerts and win prizes, then why prohibit Cuban writers and artists living in the US from going to Cuba to bring their art to the island? Why? Because the regime is afraid to confront different ideas. That is why they manipulate and censor.
Should Cuban artists in the US be allowed to go to Cuba to show their art just as Cuban artists from Cuba sometimes come to the United States?[Translated from Spanish by UrbanGypsy] "Without a direct and lively debate... more
Where Was America Before The Earthquake When Haitian Kids Were Slaves & Eating Mudcakes To Survive ?This is one of the very first post that I ever did on Current a couple of years ago. I got very little response from it, and of course I got some criticism from it too. It's a short film on Haitian people having the eat "MUD COOKIES " as a way of life, just to survive. One of the responses that I got back then was someone calling them "ignorant" for doing so. The truth of the matter is, most of us don't know what we'll eat to stay alive if we've been living in starvation since we were babies.
There's a hand full of true humanitarians on this website. Most of us are just trying to make the "Front Page". Where were you before the topic of Haiti became a popular issue to talk about. Haiti was the 1st. slave colony in the Western Hemisphere to gain their independence from French control over 150years ago and they've been paying for it since. They've been under a blockade since then. These people have been living in sub-human conditions for over 100 years.Now everybody is crying.
I don't just go with the flow. I don't know how, so I never have and I probably never will.
It should have to not take a natural disaster to take place for us to pay attention to, and do something about suffering that is going on in our own backyard.
Let this be a wake us call for all of us to try and stay awake and pay attention to human rights abuses that are taking place as we speak all over the planet Earth.
Peace and Justice for all of us, not just some of us.This is one of the very first post that I ever did on Current a couple of years ago. I... more
So. Variety's Todd McCarthy and Newsweek's David Ansen have gone ahead and ignored a studio-imposed embargo and reviewed Clint Eastwood's Invictus , which opens in less than two weeks. This breach of etiquette—perpetrated by old-media types, who were supposed to be good for such courtesies, yet!—of course has much of the film blogosphere in a huff, and Jeffrey Wells has gone and posted something like four different sort-of considerations of Invictus in the wake of said breach.
http://somecamerunning.typepad.com/some_came_running/2009/11/text-and-subtext-in-eastwoods-invictus.htmlSo. Variety's Todd McCarthy and Newsweek's David Ansen have gone ahead and... more
[President Obama responds to 7 questions posed to him by Yoani Sanchez from her blog in Cuba]
Thank you for this opportunity to exchange views with you and your readers in Cuba and around the world and congratulations on receiving the Maria Moore Cabot Prize award from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism for coverage of Latin America that furthers inter-American understanding. You richly deserve the award. I was disappointed you were denied the ability to travel to receive the award in person.
Your blog provides the world a unique window into the realities of daily life in Cuba. It is telling that the Internet has provided you and other courageous Cuban bloggers with an outlet to express yourself so freely, and I applaud your collective efforts to empower fellow Cubans to express themselves through the use of technology. The government and people of the United States join all of you in looking forward to the day all Cubans can freely express themselves in public without fear and without reprisals.
QUESTION #1. FOR YEARS, CUBA HAS BEEN A U.S. FOREIGN POLICY ISSUE AS WELL AS A DOMESTIC ONE, IN PARTICULAR BECAUSE OF THE LARGE CUBAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY. FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, IN WHICH OF THE TWO CATEGORIES SHOULD THE CUBAN ISSUE FIT?
All foreign policy issues involve domestic components, especially issues concerning neighbors like Cuba from which the United States has a large immigrant population and with which we have a long history of relations. Our commitment to protect and support free speech, human rights, and democratic governance at home and around the world also cuts across the foreign policy/domestic policy divide. Also, many of the challenges shared by our two countries, including migration, drug trafficking, and economic issues, involve traditional domestic and foreign policy concerns. Thus, U.S. relations with Cuba are rightly seen in both a foreign and domestic policy context.
QUESTION 2: SHOULD YOUR ADMINISTRATION BE WILLING TO PUT AN END TO THIS DISPUTE, WOULD IT RECOGNIZE THE LEGITIMACY OF THE RAUL CASTRO GOVERNMENT AS THE ONLY VALID INTERLOCUTOR IN THE EVENTUAL TALKS?
As I have said before, I am prepared to have my administration engage with the Cuban government on a range of issues of mutual interest as we have already done in the migration and direct mail talks. It is also my intent to facilitate greater contact with the Cuban people, especially among divided Cuban families, which I have done by removing U.S. restrictions on family visits and remittances.
We seek to engage with Cubans outside of government as we do elsewhere around the world, as the government, of course, is not the only voice that matters in Cuba. We take every opportunity to interact with the full range of Cuban society and look forward to the day when the government reflects the freely expressed will of the Cuban people.
QUESTION 3: HAS THE U.S. GOVERNMENT RENOUNCED THE USE OF MILITARY FORCE AS THE WAY TO END THE DISPUTE?
The United States has no intention of using military force in Cuba. The United States supports increased respect for human rights and for political and economic freedoms in Cuba, and hopes that the Cuban government will respond to the desire of the Cuban people to enjoy the benefits of democracy and be able to freely determine Cuba’s future. Only the Cuban people can bring about positive change in Cuba and it is our hope that they will soon be able to exercise their full potential.
[rest of questions provided below][President Obama responds to 7 questions posed to him by Yoani Sanchez from her blog... more
[By award winning blogger Yoani Sánchez ] Generation Y Blogger, written on location from Cuba.
I was only fourteen and everything was happening too fast around me. The material shortages were severe and in the shops of my city it was already difficult to find the magazines with many colors but few truths that came from the USSR. We had seen the television show of General Ochoa’s trial*, and my parents lost the illusion watching how the law folded before the olive green uniforms.
News of what happened in Poland came in those same days. We didn’t understand anything, because until then the European socialist block seemed to us something designed for eternity. A distant cousin told us of her apprehensions after a short stay in Moscow, but we still believed that the COMECON, the Warsaw Pact and the Robotron typewriters would survive us all.
The word Solidarity had suddenly become fashionable and several schools in my city were still named People’s Republic of Poland. Although my Marxism-Leninism teacher was making an effort to idealize the East, something inside him snapped when he learned what was happening on the streets of Warsaw. If the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 had been difficult for our leaders to justify, the rebellion of the “Polish working class” left more than one without answers.
I grew up, had a son and he also came to repeat the slogan, “Pioneers for communism, we will be like Che.” Today he is the same age I was in that tumultuous 1989, when my doubts began, when I knew that everything they’d drilled into me might not be true.
General Arnaldo Ochoa, a member of Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement, a prominent general in the Cuban army and a “Hero of the Revolution”, was arrested on June 12, 1989 and charged with corruption, drug trafficking (in alliance with Pablo Escobar) and treason. His trial was broadcast on Cuban TV (the films, subtitled in English, are available on line). Ochoa was executed on July 12, 1989.[By award winning blogger Yoani Sánchez ] Generation Y Blogger, written on... more
HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- Cuba will not rejoin the Organization of American States, even though the multinational organization has lifted the 47-year-old suspension of the country's membership, a Cuban official said Thursday.
Ricardo Alarcon, president of the National Assembly, made the announcement to reporters. Former Cuban President Fidel Castro had said earlier this week that Cuba had no interest in rejoining the 35-nation group.
Cuba was suspended in 1962 as a result of efforts led by the United States at the height of the Cold War. The United States had broken diplomatic relations with the communist island nation in 1961 and established an economic embargo the next year.
Although the OAS lifted Cuba's suspension Wednesday, Latin American leaders did not automatically welcome the nation back. Instead, the organization set up a mechanism by which Cuba could rejoin. Much of the dialogue would have centered on human rights.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "pleased" with that decision, which came on a voice vote with no opposition.
The United States had sought to obtain concessions from Cuba this year in exchange for readmission to the OAS.
In particular, the United States wants greater political and personal freedoms for the island's 11 million citizens.
Cuba had rejected any preconditionsHAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- Cuba will not rejoin the Organization of American States, even... more
Jugs of daiquiri mix. Gourmet nuts. Rolls of newsprint. Not exactly humanitarian aid, but still among the items sold to Cuba under an agricultural waiver carved out of the decades-old U.S. trade embargo.
American businesses are raking in more than $700 million a year selling these and other products to the Cuban government under the waiver, which was passed by Congress partly on humanitarian grounds and signed in 2000 by President Bill Clinton.
Backers said the measure would expand U.S. markets and help the communist country feed its people. And the waiver has accomplished that, with huge shipments of grain, chicken and other products.
Some of the goods, though, wind up in a select group of supermarkets where few Cubans can shop, or in the island's exclusive resorts and hotels, which most Cubans can't visit.
As President Barack Obama calls for a fresh start in U.S.-Cuban relations, sales of high-end treats and other seemingly nonessential items highlight the inconsistencies in the current American policy.Jugs of daiquiri mix. Gourmet nuts. Rolls of newsprint. Not exactly humanitarian aid,... more