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News on Cuba - February 24, 2012 Print E-mail

Cuban President Meets with U.S. Senators

Havana, Feb 24 (Prensa Latina)  Cuban President Raul Castro met in this capital with two U.S. senators and exchanged viewpoints on issues of interest for the two countries.

Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont and chairman of the Senate's Judiciary Committee, and Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama and minority leader of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, are visiting Cuba, as part of a delegation of Senators and Representatives of the U.S. Congress.

According to an official press release published in Havana, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez attended the meeting on Thursday.


Seychelles Vice President Says Visit to Cuba Was Fruitful

Victoria, Feb 24 (Prensa Latina) Seychelles' vice president, Danny Faure, described his recent visit to Cuba as fruitful, and highlighted the cooperation prospects between the two countries.

In statements published in The Nation and The Rising Sun newspapers, Faure noted that he had the chance to analyze with top Cuban officials issues related to bilateral collaboration in such areas as health and education.

The close cooperation between both insular states was highlighted when Faure met with First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura. He reiterated the Cuban government's willingness to continue supporting us in those fields, as well as to identify new forms of cooperation, the dailies reported.

The newspapers added that Faure also signed an agreement with Deputy Health Minister Marcia Cobas to expand training programs to Seychelles' physicians and experts in Cuba.

When visiting the Havana-based Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center (CIGB), the vice president followed up on to previous talks about imports of pharmaceutical products, particularly Heberprot-B, a drug to treat ulcers in diabetic patients.


Cuba Ratifies Sahrawi People's Self-Determination Wish

Havana, Feb 24 (Prensa Latina) Negotiations with Morocco are being fostered through formal and informal ways, but the Sahrawi people put their wish to self-determination first, Malainine Etkana, ambassador of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), stated in this capital.

Prior to the celebration of the 36th anniversary of the proclamation of that state on February 27, the diplomat expressed the Sahrawi people's interest in going ahead with a free and democratic referendum to show the popular wish.

Etkana recalled that since 1976, the SADR government has had to face Moroccan occupation in most of the territory, because only one third of the country has been liberated.

Interviewed by Cuban television, Etkana stated that for 37 years, an important part of the Sahrawi population has lived in refugee camps, while another important group does it on the occupied territories, always in difficult conditions.

Since 1991, a year in which the ceasefire was proclaimed under the auspices of the United Nations, many roundtable negotiations have held, but Morocco's intransigency and the support of many Western powers have always been present."

The problem with the referendum is the lack of Morocco's willingness to reach an accord to exercise the right to self-determination, because they only propose a possible autonomy, the ambassador said.

Cuba has always expressed solidarity with the SADR's independence, in addition to being the only country that has trained Sahrawi students, many of whom are holding posts in the government, Etkana said.


Ricardo Alarcon: We Need a Jury of Millions for the Cuban Five

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 22 (acn) The president of the Cuban Parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, said on Tuesday that a jury of millions is necessary so that U.S. president Barack Obama releases the Cuban antiterrorists who remain unjustly imprisoned in the United States.

Speaking during the closing session of the Seventh Congress of the National Association of Cuban Jurists held in Havana, Alarcon added that “we should not be satisfied with what has been done for the release of Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez “—internationally known as the Cuban Five.

“I’m convinced that jurists will play a decisive role in this complex stage of our struggle,” Alarcon noted as he highlighted the work done in favor of the Cuban Five by late American lawyer Leonard Weinglass.

The Cuban Five were unjustly incarcerated in the United States in 1998 for trying to prevent terrorist actions against the Caribbean nation. Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez remain unjustly in prison, while Rene Gonzalez was released on parole in October 2011, but he was forced to stay in U.S. territory for three years.

Referring to other topics, Alarcon said that the struggle against corruption has to become a daily battle against a scourge that has to be eradicated.

“It is not enough to pass new laws or to update our regulations. We have to promote a legal culture among the people, because this kind of criminal offense can also be eliminated appealing to their sense of shame and letting them play leading roles in this struggle,” added the Cuban legislator.


Mother of Tony Guerrero Appreciates Expressions of Love and Solidarity

MATANZAS, Cuba, Feb 22 (acn) Mirta Rodriguez, mother of Antonio Guerrero, expressed in this city her appreciation for the expressions of love and solidarity with the cause of the five Cuban antiterrorists condemned in the United States, received from around the world.

Rodriguez participated on Wednesday in a tribute to these five heroes and explained that although Rene Gonzalez was released from prison after serving his sentence and is now under supervised release following a regulation of Miami judge, Olga Salanueva, his wife, has been repeatedly denied permission to visit him.

I’m anxious to know the new place where my son is, she expressed, and recalled that Tony was transferred in January to the prison in Marianna, Florida, in the southern part of the United States.

The book El dulce abismo: cartas de amor y esperanza de cinco familias cubanas, a selection of letters between Tony, Rene, Gerardo Hernandez, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino and relatives, with a prologue by Nancy Morejón, was presented at the Cuban Association of Artisans and Artists (ACAA), within the framework of the inaugural ceremony in this city of the 21st International Book Fair.

Luis Octavio Rodríguez, president of the ACAA in Matanzas, commented the text and highlighted the human sensitivity, values and hope shown in the letters, postcards and poems by The Five included in the volume, and called upon participants to multiply solidarity with the just cause of these heroes.

"El dulce abismo...,” named after a song by troubadour Silvio Rodriguez, was published for the first time in 2004 and reprinted in 2011 by the Jose Marti publishing house, with a presentation by renowned African-American writer Alice Walker, the winner of a Pulitzer Prize.


Greek Activists Arrested for Demanding Justice for the Cuban Five

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 22 (acn) The Greek-Cuban Association for Friendship and Solidarity condemned on Wednesday in Athens the conduct of the police against seven of its members, arrested for demanding justice for five Cubans, condemned in the United States in 1998 for fighting terrorism.

This organization and the Greek Committee of International Democratic Solidarity separately issued similar declarations in which they denounce Monday’s events in front of Washington’s embassy in Athens, the Prensa Latina news agency reported.

That day, Nikos Karandreas, president of the Association, arrived at the diplomatic mission heading a group of members of that entity, to hand over a resolution in which they demand the return of the five Cuban heroes to their homeland.

Rena Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez were condemned in Miami, in a biased trial (2001), to harsh sentences ranging from 15 years to two life imprisonments plus 15 years.

They were monitoring the activities of Miami-based, anti-Cuban criminal groups, in order to warn the Cuban people about their actions.

Rene finished serving his sentence on October 7, but was given an additional punishment of three years of supervised release in US territory.

The request of the Greek activists joins the demands made throughout the world for the return home of The Five, so they can reunite with their families.

Appearing on the list of the signatories of a document asking US President Barack Obama for justice to be served are 10 Nobel Prize winners, a large number of politicians and international intellectuals and artists, as well as parliamentarians from around the globe.


Spanish Goverment Called to Be Stronger Against Cuban Blockade

Madrid, Feb 24 (Prensa Latina) The coalition Izquierda Unida (IU) called the government to adopt a stronger attitude conducive to the cessation of the prolonged U.S. blockade on Cuba.

The demand is included in a series of questions to the Conservative administration of Mariano Rajoy, registered with the Bureau of the Deputies Congress (lower house) by IU Deputy Jose Luis Centella.

In Centella's opinion, in addition to economic damage and suffering caused to the Cuban people, the 50-year U.S. blockade is a violation of international law and a measure harmful to the entire world.

Centella believes it is time to break the wall of silence regarding this persistent policy of hostility against Cuba.

Centella, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of Spain, called the Partido Popular government to take a firmer position against the contempt shown by the USA to the successive United Nations resolutions demanding an end to the blockade.


Cuba Marks Anniversary of Uprising for Independence

Santiago de Cuba, Feb 24 (Prensa Latina) Flowers laid at the tomb of National Hero Jose Marti at Santa Ifigenia cemetery on Friday show the tribute of Cubans to mark the 117th anniversary of the Armed Uprising for Independence, of which Marti was the main architect.

The wreaths were placed in the name of historical leader Fidel Castro, President Raul Castro, the Councils of State and Ministries, and the Cuban people, during a deeply earnest and serious ceremony held each February 24.

Baire town, located about 80 kilometers of this city, turned its carnival that Sunday of February 24, 1895, into a key page in the national history when marking the beginning of the necessary war for independence, led by Saturnino Lora.

A month after the uprising, known as Grito de Baire, Marti and Maximo Gomez signed The Cuban Revolutionary Party manifesto, mostly known as The Montecristi Manifesto, in Dominican Republic.

The pages of the manifesto reveal the reasons and goals of the new effort for independence, which gave continuity to the one carried out by Carlos Manuel de Cespedes 27 years before at La Demajagua sugarmill, in the now Granma province.


Chinese University Students Graduate in Cuba

Beijing, Feb 24 (Prensa Latina) Some 24 Chinese youths on Friday received their diplomas of B.A. in Spanish Language from the University of Havana (UH), as a result of a collaboration program that began in 2006.

The graduation formalized the conclusion of a career that turned them into messengers of friendship between the two nations, as highlighted in the ceremony, held at the University of International Studies of Sichuan, in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing.

The graduates studied four years in Cuba and another group studied in China, with professors from the Caribbean country, participants in the ceremony told Prensa Latina via telephone.

UH Deputy Rector Hilda Leon, the rector of the University of International Studies of Sichuan, Li Keyang, and authorities from the Chinese Ministry of Education attended the ceremony.

On February 27, 25 students will receive their diplomas in the University of Xi'an, province of Shaanxi, the sources reported.


US Group Promotes Support in Case of Cuban Five

Havana, Feb 23 (Prensa Latina) The Cuba Research Trip group, consisting of 43 Americans interested in the reality of the island, on Thursday held an exchange with relatives of the five Cubans imprisoned in U.S. jails since 1998.

Visitors learned about the current state of the case of Gerardo Hernandez, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino and Rene Gonzalez, sentenced from 15 years to double life imprisonment penalties for monitoring the actions against Cuba by violent groups based in Florida.

During the meeting, held at the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), Olga Salanueva, wife of Rene Gonzalez, thanked them for their interest in the cause and asked for help in reporting the case to the U.S. population.

We pin all our hopes on solidarity and the outpouring of support we receive from around the world, because we know we cannot expect any supporting action to Cuba by U.S. administrations, said Salanueva.

For us this exchange with you is very important, precisely because you live there and can do much to spread the reality of this injustice, Salanueva told the group, whose members come mostly from New York.

Santos Crespo, president of a union of public workers of that city, said that last year his organization, composed of 25,000 members, adopted a resolution requiring the release of the Cuban Five, as they are known internationally.

Crespo said to Prensa Latina that in June 2012, during a scheduled union convention in California with representatives of 1.4 million public workers nationwide, he will present a similar proposal for the cause of the Five.

If this resolution is approved, the issue will be included in the agenda of the National Assembly during the next two years and will give greater visibility to the issue among members of our organizations, Crespo stated.

The visit, held despite travel restrictions to Cuba imposed by the U.S. government to citizens of that country, and carried out under stringent measures by the US that limit the activities of the group, started last Saturday and will last until February 25.


Cuban Residents in USA to Meet in April

Havana, Feb 23 (Prensa Latina) Washington will host the 1st National Meeting of Cuban Residents in the United States on April 28, convened by the Cuban Interest Section in that city.

The event will bring together representatives of Cubans who reside in the United States and are linked to their country respectfully, aware of the urgency to defend sovereignty and national identity, says a press release published by the Cuban diplomatic section in Washington.

According to the information, posted on Cubadebate website, participants in the event will receive a call and a form of accreditation timely.

The meeting is part of the irreversible normalization of relations between emigres and their homeland, which the Cuban government began implementing during the "1978 Dialogue" and continued with the "Nation and Emigration" Conferences, held in Havana, the document says.

The event will be an opportunity to examine what we have done and the ways and means to continue working together in favor of the normalization of relations between Cuba and its emigres.

It will also discuss the effects of the U.S. hostile policy, the blockade on Cuba and the manipulation of the migration issue, as well as the situation of the "five Cuban antiterrorist fighters" unjustly held in U.S. prisons, concludes the text.


Cuban Armed Forces Commemorated 94th Anniversary of the Red Army

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 24 (acn) Army Corps General and Vice Minister of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), Joaquin Quintas Sola, presided over a ceremony to commemorate the 94th anniversary of the Red Army in Havana on Thursday.

The military ceremony took place at the Mausoleum of the Internationalist Soviet Soldier located in the west of the Cuban capital, where six floral wreaths were placed on behalf of the embassies of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, as well as on behalf of the Cuban people and the Havana-based Cuban Friendship Institute (ICAP).

According to Granma newspaper, the Russian ambassador to Havana, Mijail Kaminin, highlighted the traditional friendship ties between Cuba and the peoples of those nations that used to be part of the former Soviet Union.

Cuban Brigade General Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez praised the historic tradition of today’s Russian Armed Forces and highlighted their contribution to world peace.

The mortal remains of 67 young military soldiers and officers from several regions of the former Soviet Union, who died in Cuba due to different causes during the early years of the Cuban Revolution, rest in the Mausoleum.


Cuban Therapeutic Vaccine against Lung Cancer to Be Tested in China

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 23 (acn) Cuban and Chinese specialists are coordinating the beginning of the clinical evaluation in China of a Cuban therapeutic vaccine —Cimavax-EGF— against advanced lung cancer, which was developed at Havana’s Center of Molecular Immunology and which has had favourable statistic results during clinical trials in the Caribbean nation.

Dr. Agustin Lage, director of the Center of Molecular Immunology, announced in a press conference in Beijing that this will be another step in the bilateral cooperation between the two countries, and he gave details of the work of the Cuban-Chinese company Biotech Pharmaceutical Ltd (BPL) and its expansion plans.

Lage noted that Cimavax-EGF, the only one of its kind in the world, received the authorization from the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) to begin clinical trials in the Asian nation.

The Cuban specialist added that another purposes of his visit to China is to assess the results obtained there with the monoclonal antibody Nimotuzumab for the treatment of different types of cancer, which has benefited nearly 10,000 Chinese patients and whose demand has forced BPL to raise its production capacity.

Lage pointed out that new investments will allow the company to increase the production of the antibody and to begin producing others, the first of which will be the abovementioned Cuban vaccine.

Regarding the treatment of cancer with monoclonal antibodies and therapeutic vaccines, which have anti-tumorous effects and very low toxicity, he said that it is very necessary for Cuba and China because these countries have aging populations where the incidence of cancer tends to be higher.

This strategy, Lage added, has been discussed during meetings with authorities of the Chinese ministries of Health, and Science and Technology, of the SFDA, of the Academy of Sciences, and of other medical institutions.


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