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Indignants of OWS Support Release of The Cuban Five

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 18 (acn) With a call to support the campaign for the release of political prisoners in the United States, the US movement Occupy Wall Street (OWS) also supported on Friday the cause of the Cuban Five, condemned in that country.

Members of Occupy Oakland (California), one of the branches of the group spread throughout the nation, convened for Monday, February 20, a National Day of Occupation for Prisoners, in the area around Saint Quentin, the prison located north of the city of San Francisco, the www.cubaperiodistas.cu Web site reported.

The National Committee to Free The Cuban Five urged all people in solidarity with this cause to join the protest under the slogan: “Freedom for the Five Cubans and all Political Prisoners.  Put an End to Massive Imprisonment. NO to Death Penalty.”


International Book Fair Cuba 2012 Concludes Havana Stage

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) The Havana stage of the 21st International Book Fair Cuba 2012 concluded on Sunday at the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress, which was visited by nearly 270,000 people during the ten days that the Cuban capital hosted the event.

According to Granma newspaper, the sale of more than 600,000 book copies and the nine-hour meeting between the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and more than 100 guests from 22 countries, were some of the highlights of the book fair, which was also attended by more than 400 intellectuals from all over the world.

On Sunday, Pablo Armando Fernandez, a winner of the Cuban National Prize of Literature, announced the main awards granted during the cultural event. In the competition of stands, Ediciones Union publishing house took the first prize, while the second spot was for Arte Cubano, Ediciones, of the National Council of Plastic Arts.

The closing remarks were delivered by Zuleica Romay, president of the Cuban Book Institute, in the presence of Cuba’s Culture Minister Abel Prieto and his Venezuelan counterpart, Pedro Calzadilla. Also present were renowned personalities, artists and intellectuals such as Puerto Rican singer Danny Rivera.

The Book Fair will resume on February 22 in the western provinces of the country —including the Isle of Youth Special Municipality. Afterwards, it will travel eastwards and it will conclude on March 4 in Santiago de Cuba.


Ignacio Ramonet Denounces Media Silence on the Cuban Five

Havana, Feb 13 (AIN) “It is a huge injustice that the mainstream media make total silence on the subject of the Cuban Five,” the prestigious journalist Ignacio Ramonet told Trabajadores newspaper.

Ramonet, at the launching of his latest book in the 21 International Book Fair under way in Havana, said that silence is an added punishment on the five Cubans unjustly incarcerated in the United States for fighting terrorism against Cuba.

He added that hadn’t been for the mobilization of solidarity groups with Cuba and the Five, people could never hear about them referring to Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez and Rene Gonzalez.

He said that this manipulation about the Cuban heroes shows the bad faith with which the mainstream press addresses issues related to the Caribbean nation.

Imposing the truth is a battle, and in this regard he stated that most people who try to tell the truth about Cuba, essentially disrupting the lies, have suffered reprisals.

In his case, he recalled that it had cost him his position at the University, and as he published his book One Hundred Hours with Fidel, they took away from him a cultural space in the radio and many works as a correspondent in major newspapers like El País and La Voz de Galicia, both in Spain.

Ramonet defined his defense of the Cuban Revolution because its achievements are made out of a humanistic rapprochement to society, and described as great the theoretical contribution of this historic leader, Fidel Castro, to the fight to be carried out by progressive intellectuals.

Now, about the Cuban Five, he praised the battle to gain information for the cause of their liberation, and reported that there are concentrations in Germany to protest against the cruel treatment they suffer, while three weeks ago the Social Forum Porto Alegre was the site of intervention in their favor.

There the writer Fernando Morais presented his enlightening book The last soldiers of the Cold War, which Ramonet described as a major contribution, because many people are genuinely confused about this terrible injustice, he said.

The Cuban Five were young professionals who decided to dedicate their lives far from home to fight against terrorism in the city of Miami, home base for the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), the Council for Freedom of Cuba ( CLC), Brothers to the Rescue, the Democracy Movement, Alpha-66 and many other organizations of known criminal record.

These heroes were arrested in 1998 and taken to a biased trial in the completely hostile city of Miami, where it was impossible to conduct a fair and impartial trial, consistent with the very laws of the United States and international law.


Cuban Jurists Debate Current National Issues

Havana, Feb 20 (Prensa Latina) The role of jurists in updating the country''s economic model is on the table at the 7th Congress of the National Association of Cuban Lawyers, taking place in this capital as of Monday.

Delegates will also analyze issues such as the strengthening of institutionality, ethical behavior of jurists and their professional and ideological development, members of the organizing committee stated at a news conference held at the headquarters of that prestigious institution.

The congress, to conclude on Tuesday, is being held at the Pedagogical Conference Center in Cojimar, east of Havana, and the closing ceremony will take place at Havana’s Conference Center.

Today's agenda includes a speech by Division General Leonardo Andollo, and a panel about the current situation and goals of the judicial sector by top officials from General Attorney's Office of the Republic and Cuba's People's Supreme Court, among other figures.

One of the commissions will debate the report of the National Council, including issues such as the contribution of lawyers to people's judicial culture and the computerization of the the sector.

Also on the list is a statement in which participants in the congress will demand the return of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters who have been serving harsh sentences in U.S. prisons since 1998, the source stated.

Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino, Rene Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez informed on terrorist plans by anti-Cuba groups in South Florida.

On October 7, Rene Gonzalez was released on probation and the decision of a judge in Miami has forced him to spend three years of "supervised release" in the United States after completing his sentence.

Such situation puts his life at risk and is an additional punishment for him and his relatives, his defense lawyer said.


Cuba Appoints New VP of Council of Ministers

Havana, Feb 20 (Prensa Latina) The Council of State, at the request of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba(PCC), has appointed Adel Yzquierdo, the current minister of Economy and Planning, as vice president of the Council of Ministers, it was reported on Monday.

According to the press release, Yzquierdo will maintain his responsibilities as a minister, a post he has held since March 2011.

Yzquierdo, an engineer by profession, has held different posts, including the management of important companies and the leadership of Planning and Economy at the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR).


Cuban Ballet in Print, a Fascinating Encyclopedia

Havana, Feb 20 (Prensa Latina) The history of ballet in Cuba, from its first traces in the late 18th century to date, dances in a book launched here recently, as part of rigorous research, grace and good writing.

The book was presented last weekend at the Dulce María Loynaz Center, during the International Book Fair Cuba 2012, which is now traveling across the country. Hundreds of dance students, critics, journalists, writers and fans of the art attended the launch of the book.

The author of this fascinating adventure, Miguel Cabrera, the historian of the National Ballet of Cuba, directed by prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso, recorded with an accurate pulse the first hints of classical dance in Havana, which was visited by John Guillet, a dance teacher of French or Catalonian origin.

Guillet was the first to establish the rules for classic dance. He arrived in Cuba on July 10, 1800, to work in a theater under construction, a rustic wooden coliseum with a thatched roof, set on the grounds of what today are the Fraternity Park and the National Capitol.

Two months later, on September 28, the first ballet show would take place in Cuba. It was the choreography "The Loggers", a pantomime dance, which details remain in the mist.

Cabrera, who confessed that he can be three days awake, if necessary, to check over and over again a detail, walks with ease through the 360 pages of the book, in which he writes about happy discoveries, like the premier of the complete version of Giselle in 1849 in the former Tacon Theater in Havana.

From the colonial period to the Alicia Alonso Ballet, today the National Ballet of Cuba, the author guides readers on a journey in which scholarliness, in arms of the amenity, attracts both specialists and ordinary people.


Caribbean Ambassador Calls for Mutual Cultural Knowledge

Havana, Feb 19 (Prensa Latina) The Third World needs to know our culture, so the decision to dedicate the Cuban Book Fair to the Caribbean cultures was successful, said the Ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Saturday.

Dexter E. M. Rose told Prensa Latina that since his student years in Cuba during the 80's, he always dreamed of the idea that Cubans know better the history and work of the countries of our region, because the Caribbean is one, the diplomat highlighted in Havana.

He added that this approach comes at a moment of excellent political relations between Cuba and the Commonwealth of Caribbean States (CARICOM).

The diplomat made reference to the influence of the music "from the North" and how expensive it is to create and record an album without the support of the US record companies.

Regarding the roots that link the Cuban and Caribbean music, Rose assured that the swearwords and double meaning are common elements, and acknowledged that Cuba is the center of culture in the region, thanks to the revolution that has dedicated great efforts to develop education and art.

So, Caribbean governments should learn from this process that has been able to raise the cultural level of its citizens in all fields, the ambassador said.

In this regard, St. Vincent and the Grenadines runs a program to achieve a renaissance in learning and implementing the Steel Band, an instrument invented in the early last century in Trinidad and Tobago, he said.


Cuba: Biotechnology Conference Havana 2012

Havana, Feb 19 (Prensa Latina) A new edition of Biotechnology-Havana 2012 will session from March 5 to 9 in the Convention Palace of the capital, a conference dedicated this time to medical applications of this science.

Reports released in the digital site of the event (http://biomed.cigb.edu.cu) show a complex scientific agenda, including issues such as infectious diseases, cancer biology, proteomics, pharmacogenomics, and bioinformatics, aimed towards finding new drugs.

This four-day scientific conference will provide an opportunity for researchers and professionals from around the world to share and discuss the results and experiences related to issues of great interest.

Participants will also discuss about neurodegeneration, and two work shops devoted to important therapeutic advances in cardiovascular diseases, and autoimmune diseases and inflammation are planned.

Also important are satellite meetings on dengue vaccines, and also vaccines against HIV and its therapies, according to the program.

Professionals from the United States, Mexico, UK, Belgium, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Israel, Portugal, Switzerland, Holland, Argentina, among others are expected to attend.

For Pope’s Visit Santiago de Cuba Renovates Religious Institutions

Santiago de Cuba, Feb18 (Prensa Latina) The constructive bustle of the Archdiocese headquarters is now one of the signs of the preparations of this city to welcome Pope Benedict XVI, who will begin his visit to Cuba on March 26 .

The works go beyond the Archdiocese building, close to Mars Square, to benefit neighboring institutions such as the School of Nursing at the Medical University and local homes.

The Antonio Maceo Revolution Square and surrounding roads are also been renovated, because a mass will be held on Monday 26 at this place.


Alan Gross: Neither Fool nor Innocent

Havana.- (PL) After months during which the U.S. government tried to silence Cuba's reasons to arrest U.S. citizen Alan Gross on charges of acts against the country's independence, and avoided to admit his responsibility in the case, the truth has made headlines in world media.

Hundreds of media organizations, both printed and digital, many of them from the United States, this week published, totally or partially, a lengthy article from the U.S. Associated Press (AP), which shows that Gross is not a "trusting fool", as he described himself at his trial.

The article, entitled "USAID Contractor Work in Cuba Detailed", by journalist Desmond Butler, was published by more than 100 media organizations, as well as articles by other media on the subject, according to an impact graphic on Google.

The AP news corroborates that all the time, Gross was aware of the illegalities he was committing, while he was equipped with technology that, according to experts, it is provided most frequently to the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to avoid the electronic detection of telephone signals".

Reports on the agent's five trips to Cuba, to which the U.S. news agency had access, show that "he knew his activities were illegal in Cuba and that he worried about the danger, including possible expulsion".

One of the documents obtained by the AP says that one of the persons who collaborated with Gross "made it abundantly clear that we are all 'playing with fire.'"

On another occasion, the article adds, Gross said, "This is very risky business in no uncertain terms" and "detection of satellite signals will be catastrophic."

Alan Gross was sentenced to 15 years in prison in March 2011, after it was proved that he had illegally introduced telecommunication equipment in Cuba to create internal networks, as part of a program sponsored by the U.S. government to promote destabilizing actions and subvert constitutional order in Cuba.

In August, the defendant and his lawyer challenged the sentence from the provincial court that tried him, but the People's Supreme Court rejected the appeal.

However, the Cuban government has informed the incumbent U.S. administration about its willingness to find a humanitarian solution to Gross' case on a reciprocal basis.

So far, U.S. media had presented Gross as a harmless 62-year-old man who was unjustly sentenced in Cuba and whose purpose was to set up satellite Internet service for Cuba's small Jewish community.

However, the AP article reveals that Jewish leaders have said that they were unaware of Gross' connections to the U.S. government and that they already were provided Internet access.

In fact, the synagogues were provided Internet access long before Gross' visit.

"Of course, this is covert work," said Robert Pastor, President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser for Latin America and now director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University in Washington.

Quoted by the AP, Pastor said that he was aware that Gross' work in Cuba was "about regime change."

The operation was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), established in 1961 to provide, according to Washington, economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of U.S. foreign policy goals.

Gross, however, identified himself as a member of a Jewish humanitarian group, not a representative of the U.S. government, to operate in Cuba, says the AP article.

According to the article, Gross' company, JBDC Inc., which specializes in setting up Internet access in remote locations like Iraq and Afghanistan, had been hired by Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), of Bethesda, Maryland, which had a multimillion-dollar contract with USAID to operate in Cuba.

The reports, made available to the AP by a person familiar with the case who insisted on anonymity because of the documents' sensitivity, show details of the agent's trips to Cuba in 2009 and his efforts to escape Cuban authorities' detection.

To avoid airport scrutiny, the article says, Gross enlisted the help of other American Jews to bring in electronic equipment a piece at a time.

He instructed his helpers to pack items, some of them banned in Cuba, in carry-on luggage, not checked bags.

"He once drove seven hours after clearing security and customs rather than risk airport searches," adds the article.

On his final trip, he brought in a "discreet" SIM card - or subscriber identity module card - intended to keep satellite phone transmissions from being pinpointed.

The AP makes it clear that the type of SIM card used by Gross is not available on the open market and is distributed only to governments, according to an official at a satellite telephone company and a former U.S. intelligence official who has used such a chip.

"The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the technology, said the chips are provided most frequently to the Defense Department and the CIA, but also can be obtained by the State Department, which oversees USAID," notes the article.

Asked how Gross obtained the card, USAID spokesman Drew Bailey said only that the agency played no role in helping Gross acquire equipment. "We are a development agency, not an intelligence agency," he said.

Even before he delivered the special SIM card, Gross noted in a trip report that use of Internet satellite phones would be "problematic if exposed."

Cuba says that Gross' work as an agent for the U.S. government is part of Washington's strategy to subvert political and social order in the country.

That design contains the so-called Bush Plan or the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, created by former Republican President George W. Bush on August 6, 2004.

The Plan includes, among its ingredients, the tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade, the promotion of internal and external counterrevolution and propaganda against Cuba, among many other measures, funded with millions of dollars every year.

According to U.S. officials familiar with the contract, Gross was paid a half-million dollars as a USAID subcontractor, the AP article says.

Gross' first trip to Cuba in April 2009 focused on getting equipment in and setting up the first of three facilities with unrestricted Internet access.

"The helpers were supposed to pack single pieces of equipment in their carry-on luggage. That way, Gross wrote, any questions could best be handled during the X-ray process at security, rather than at a customs check. The material was delivered to Gross later at a Havana hotel," reports the AP.

The equipment he brought on his fourth trip included three Internet satellite phones known as BGANs, in addition to other equipment whose import is prohibited by Cuban authorities.

"Gross wrote that he smuggled the BGANs in a backpack. He had hoped to fool authorities by taping over the identifying words on the equipment: "Hughes," the manufacturer, and "Inmarsat," the company providing the satellite Internet service," says the report by the U.S. news agency.

Despite all his efforts to deceive Cuban authorities and the evidence against him, Gross did not admit his conscious and premeditated actions.

"I am deeply sorry for being a trusting fool. I was duped. I was used," he claimed. However, DAI spokesman Steven O'Connor said in a statement that Gross "designed, proposed, and implemented this work" for the company.


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