News on Cuba - June 4, 2012 Print

Gerardo Hernandez, Birthday behind Bars

HAVANA, Cuba, June 4 (ACN)—Gerardo Hernandez, one of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in US prisons since 1998 turns 47 years old on Monday in a cell of the California-based Victorville federal prison.

On the occasion of Hernadez’s birthday, his countryman, Antonio Guerrero—also serving an unfair sentence in Florida’s Mariana federal prison-- denounced the unjust incarceration of his compatriot, in a letter published on Cubadebate website.

Guerrero says that there are no words to describe the nobility and integrity of Gerardo, who was convicted on no proofs or grounds to two life terms plus 15 years during a biased trial.

“In that cell there is a man; his strength makes his jailers tremble and frustrated…” Guerrero writes in his message.

Born in the City of Havana on June 4, 1965, Gerardo Hernandez graduated in 1989 in International Political Relations from the Higher Institute of International Relations of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Gerardo is a cartoonist whose drawings have been published in the Cuban media and displayed in exhibitions in various galleries. A book containing his work was published in Cuba.

On September 12, 1998 Gerardo was arrested by FBI agents and on December 12, 2001 he was sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years of imprisonment for the charges of General Conspiracy, Conspiracy to commit espionage, Conspiracy to commit murder, False Identity and Conspiracy to act as a non-registered foreign agent.

After the trial, Gerardo was transferred to Lompoc U.S. Penitentiary in California, and later to Victorville USP, where he is serving his sentence at this moment.

US authorities have repeatedly denied his wife, Adriana Perez, the visa permits to visit him in prison.

Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino and Fernando Gonzalez were arrested in the United States and given extremely long sentences after they monitored Florida-based ultra-right groups that planned and carried out terrorist actions against Cuba over the past 50 years.

 

Ceremony to pay homage to the Chinese slain in the war of independence

As part of the celebrations held marking the 165 anniversary of the arrival of the first throng of Chinese people to Cuba, a floral wreath was laid at the stand of the monument raised to the memory of the Chinese slain during the war of independence. The monument is located on the corner of Linea Street and L Street, in the capital municipality of Plaza.

The laying of the floral wreath was placed by the Embassador of the People's Republic of China, Zhang Tuo, and the Vice-president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People (ICAP), by its acronym in Spanish, Alicia Corredera.

 

Centennial of the Foundation of The Communist Party of Chile

The Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples was the venue for the celebration of the centennial of the foundation of The Communist Party of Chile. To the commemorative event attended José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera, member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and also Head of the Department of International Affairs; and Kenia Serrano, President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples

Alex Sosa Orellana, Political leader, and coordinator of the Communist Party of Chile recounted the history of the political mass organization, which is currently involved in the battle for the Union of the revolutionary forces of its country and for the changes seeking for a better World.

 

Mother of Italian Tourist Killed in Cuba Dies at 85

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 2 (acn) Ora Bassi, mother of the Italian tourist killed in a terrorist attack in 1997 in Havana, Fabio Di Celmo, passed away in Italy at 85. Ora Bassi died of a heart attack in Genoa, and will be buried next to her son in that city.

Fabio, the youngest son of Miss Bassi and Giustino de celmo, died at the Copacabana Hotel in Havana city when a bomb planted by a mercenary at the service of the CIA blew off, as part of a terror campaign launched against the Cuban tourism industry.

The Italian mother dies, without seen justice served, as so many other mothers of victims of Luis Posada Carriles, a world known terrorist that lives with total impunity in the United States.

Questioned on the death of Fabio Di Celmo, Posada Carriles, without the slightest remorse said: “That Italian was in the wrong place at the wrong time”

 

Cuban Doctors Return from Haiti after Successful Work

HAVANA, Cuba, June 4 (ACN)—Following a successful internationalist mission in Haiti, 119 Cuban medical workers returned to Cuba.

During a ceremony in the capital Port-au-Prince, the head of the Medical Brigade in the sister Caribbean nation, Dr. Lorenzo Somarriba acknowledged the work of the specialists, who assisted the Haitian population during the most difficult times faced by their country over the past two years, Granma daily newspaper reported.

The group of medical workers, who arrived in Haiti in February 2010, in the aftermath of a deadly quake, also fought a cholera outbreak that has affected over half a million people.

Deployed in remote areas, in the country’s ten departments, the Cuban workers guaranteed immediate medical assistance after the quake and on the heels of the epidemic outbreak, in community healthcare centers, and other medical facilities.

The Cuban internationalist personnel carried out screening work for Cholera diagnostics, and boosted a promotional and educative program aimed at preventing the lethal disease, as well as other activities, which were part of the medical mission  over the past two years in Haiti.

 

Mayor of Richmond, Gayle McLaughlin, Joins Cuban Five Campaign

HAVANA, Cuba, June 4 (ACN)— The Mayor of Richmond, California, Gayle McLaughlin joined the international campaign for the release of the five  Cuban antiterrorist fighters held in US jails by sending President Barack Obama a letter requesting their release.

“Mr. President, (…)  I join with thousands of people from the United States and from around the world who write to you on the 5th of each month and ask you for this humanitarian approach, well within your power, in returning the five Cubans to their country and their families,” reads the letter posted on the website of the National Committee for the Release of the five heroes.

In her message, the Mayor of Richmond asks Obama to consider starting negotiations with President Raul Castro, based on an atmosphere of mutual respect, to resolve the issue of the “Cuban Five.”

Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, and Fernando González were arrested in 1998. Rene Gonzalez was released in October 2011 after serving his sentence but he has to remain in the U.S. for three more years under supervised probation, Mayor McLaughlin explains.

“For a long time, a number of personalities, members of Congress, religious, prestigious jurists, artists, intellectuals and large labor unions in the United States have raised their concerns about the unjust incarceration of these five Cuban men and are advocating for their freedom.”

“A humanitarian solution to this case will be a clear message to the world and will constitute an important foundation for the improvement of relations between the two countries. It will also demonstrate that we are a humane people with compassionate hearts,” the letters reads.

 

Cuban Anti-terrorist Transferred to New US Prison

HAVANA, Cuba, June 1 (ACN)—Fernando Gonzalez, one of the five Cuban antiterrorists serving unjust sentences in the U.S. since 1998, was transferred to an Arizona penitentiary on Friday, according to a release by the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five.

Gonzalez has now been transferred to the SAFORD Federal Correctional Institution, in Arizona, reads the release.

Gonzalez, along Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Rene Gonzalez and Antonio Guerrero were arrested in 1998 and given unfair sentences for having monitored terrorist groups in US territory.

The Cuban Five, as they are known around the world, were submitted to a biased Miami trial in 2001, where Fernando Gonzalez was sentenced to 19 years of imprisonment for the charges of General Conspiracy, Conspiracy to act as a non- registered foreign agent and False Identity.

Initially, Fernando was sent to a prison with fewer restrictions, but he was reclassified and sent to Oxford Federal Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, with far more difficult incarceration conditions.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons and the authorities at Oxford FCI never registered his mother and wife on the official list of visitors he is allowed, because they don’t recognize his true identity, Fernando is known in the prison system as Ruben Campa.

In September 2007, Fernando was moved to FCI Terre Haute in Indiana, and in December 2009  he was resentenced to 17 years.

 

Surveys Favor Hugo Chavez Electoral Victory

HAVANA, Cuba, June 4 (ACN)—Most surveys carried out in Venezuela indicate that Hugo Chavez will win October 7 presidential elections by overwhelming majority of votes.

Journalist and former vice-president Jose Vicente Rangel said that the voting intention for Chavez reached 54.8 percent last May, while opposition candidate Henrique Carpriles only got 26.3 percent, according to a poll by the Venezuela’s Data Analysis Institute (Ivad), Rangel told Venezuelan television, PL news agency reported.

The analyst explained that the people’s trust in the head of state was as high as 64.5 percent and their positive evaluation reached 75.7 percent.“These figures reveal that Chavez has 28.5 percent advantage over Capriles,” said Rangel.

The position of Chavez consolidates, while the opposition is heading to a resounding defeat said the journalist, who noted that a major problem facing the Venezuelan opposition is disregarding the fact that the people has changed as they now consider values quite different from those established by the right-wing circles.

 

Cuba Reiterates in Geneva Solidarity with the Syrian People

HAVANA, Cuba, June 1 (acn) Rodolfo Reyes, Cuba’s permanent representative to Geneva, expressed on Friday his country’s solidarity with the Syrian people, while addressing participants in the 19th special session of the Human Rights Council.

Cuba closely follows the situation with regard to Syria and its international repercussion, aware that most information available is partial, imprecise and the object of frequent manipulation, he stated.

In line with the island’s stance of condemning terrorism in all of its forms and expressions, Reyes also condemned the attack perpetrated against that nation.

The diplomat declared his country’s solidarity with the victims and relatives of the massacre carried out in the locality of El-Houlah, and said that the most elementary sense of justice should prevent that responsibilities are attributed from simple claims of parties interested in promoting destabilization and foreign military intervention in Syria, he pointed out.

In addition, Reyes called to real dialogue and negotiation, and reiterated Cuba’s rejection of any attempt to undermine Syria’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and condemned the pretensions of the United States and other NATO members to impose a change of government on that nation.

 

Cuba Awarded Prize of Spain’s Major Tourist Magazine

HAVANA, Cuba, June 4 (ACN)—Cuba took the first place in the “Country that Best Receives Tourists” category of the 20th edition of the Travelranking  awards, granted by Spain’s Agenttravel Magazine.

Cuban ambassador to Madrid Alejandro Gonzalez and the director of Spain’s Tourist Information and Promotion Office, Iyolexis Correa, received the  award during a ceremony held at the Melia Castilla hotel, in the Spanish  capital.

The ceremony was presided over by the general director of Spain’s Tourism Institute Manuel Butler, according to a press release by the Cuban Tourism Ministry.

The Award ceremony granted prizes in 27 different categories, including  gastronomic, lodging and airline services.

The prizes are granted based on considerations by thousands of travel  agents, which are published monthly in the specialized Spanish magazine.  Agenttravel is the major Spanish tourist publication promoting Cuba as a  destination in Spain, one of the most important tourist sources for the Caribbean island.

Spain was Cuba’s fourth source of tourists in 2010, with 104 952 visitors, according to the National Statistics and Information Office.

 

Passage of Venus in Front of the Sun Visible in Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 4 (ACN) The passage of Venus in front of the Sun, which is an infrequent astronomical phenomenon, will take place on Tuesday June 5th, according to Dr. Ramon Rodriguez Taboada, Director of the Geophysics and Astronomy Institute of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment.

The expert told the official Granma daily that the unique event will begin at 6:04pm and if weather permits could be seen at sunset in Cuba.

 

Children’s Day, a Party All over Cuba

María Elena Alvarez Ponce

Convinced that neither world crisis nor imperial blockades will ever erase the smile from the face of its children, Cuba celebrates Children’s Day every June 1, making it an unforgettable day for them, full of joy and tenderness.

First proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, on the day chosen by every country, Children’s Day was established to encourage all countries to institute a day, firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children, and secondly to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world's children. Cuba decided to observe it on June 1.

Cuba can celebrate; the reasons exist. We will never be grateful enough for the infinite work of love, justice, respect, and protection toward its children, and which the Revolution has defended at all cost.

Obvious thing to say? Apology? Gift of the gab? Not at all. The truth must be told and reiterated, even more when the pressure of life and taking things for granted make us disregard the reality that everything will be the same in the world a day like this, with millions of children deprived of their basic rights.

Instead of celebrating, the world would be crying of pain, rage, and shame for all the dead children, for all those who are dying now and those at risk of dying from bombs, hunger, slave labor, sexual exploitation, pollution, drugs, preventable and curable diseases, or organ trade.

The tragedy of millions of human beings robbed or deprived of their childhood causes a mixture of feelings ranging from rage to relief among Cubans.

We feel safe, as if we were in an oasis in the middle of a dessert, with the peculiar privilege we have to even more increase the quality of the rights guaranteed to everyone alike, even before we are born.

“Cuba is the paradise of children, and the world should focus more on this country, from which it has a lot to learn," José Juan Ortiz Brú, the UNICEF representative in Cuba, has reiterated.

We are proud of what we have built for our children and of the efforts made to protect that golden age that is childhood. This is an authentic feeling, especially because this paradise is not in the cultured Europe or the rich North America, but in a poor, small, besieged country of the South.

But, we must be attentive not to be led by this degree of satisfaction and think that since the State works, solves, guarantees, and watches over us, we can simply leave it all in its hands, and sleep the sleep of the dead; because, fist of all, we all are the State in socialist Cuba, each of us is the Revolution.

Everyone must take an interest in the education of children, their care, growth, and material and spiritual wellbeing: the family, the school, the community, the society and its institutions, and each of us; because after all, we all exert certain influence and an even tip the balance for a good move or not.

So, let’s celebrate this June 1, because we have many reasons to do so in this bastion of conquered hope and protected childhood. But we must also reflect and work together to make true the attainable dream of a better, fairer, and more friendly and complete society for every boy and girl.