News on Cuba - June 12, 2012 Print

The Return of The Five to Cuba Demanded from Greece

HAVANA, Cuba, June 11 (acn) In a letter to US President Barack Obama, some 20 Greek university professors, scientists and politicians demanded the immediate return to Cuba of the Five Heroes, condemned in Miami for monitoring the activities of terrorist groups.

Nikos Houdis, deputy of the European Parliament, and Kostas Isyjos, head of Foreign Policy of the Radical Left Coalition, are among those who denounce the arbitrary acts committed against these patriots.

The promoters of the camping told the Prensa Latina news agency that their aim is to continue collecting signatures of personalities throughout Greece and send them to Obama on the 5th day of every month, when the World Solidarity Campaign “On the 5th for The Five” is activated.

In this way, they will update with new messages the lists of signatures, until justice is served in the case of Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez.

The Five -as they’re known internationally- were arrested in 1998 and condemned in 2001 to harsh sentences ranging from 15 years to two life imprisonments plus 15 years.


Dutch Bank ING a New Victim of the US Blockade against Cuba

Washington, June 12 (Prensa Latina) Dutch ING bank became a new victim of the US blockade against Cuba in the wake of a fine of 619 million USD imposed by the US Treasury Department for facilitating commercial transactions with Cuba.

This is the highest fine applied so far by the US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control, the body in charge of monitoring the enforcement of sanctions against Cuba and other countries, according to a press release issued by OFAC.

The ING bank is also required to conduct an internal revision of its operations, policies ands practices to show Washington that this type of conduct will not happen again, adds the text.

This is not the first time ING is hit for this reason. In 2010, the Dutch bank was subject to legal investigation on the grounds of suspicions of having commercial relations with Cuba, Iran and Syria, nations under strict commercial US siege.

Two years ago, OFAC punished four banks for a total of over 502.72 million USD, mainly the ABN Amro Bank, also from the Netherlands, which was issued a fee of 500 million USD for "unauthorized" financial transactions in which Cuba and Cuban nationals had interests.

An these are only a few in a long list that shows the extraterritorial dimension of the US blockade, which has been tightened despite the change in the politics towards Havana so much announced by President Barack Obama.

The United States has maintained an economic, commercial financial blockade on Cuba for over 50 years, in violation of the UN Charter and international law. It has cost Cuba over 975 billion USD.

For over 20 years, the international community has condemned this US policy against Cuba in successive UN votings.


Friends of Cuba Society Bid Farewell to the Cuban Ambassador

Cape Town, June 5.- The leadership of the provincial chapter of the Friends of Cuba Society (FOCUS) in the Western Cape bid farewell to the Cuban Ambassador Angel Villa.

The Chairperson and the Secretary General of FOCUS Cape Town, comrades Bheki Mvovo and Bram  Hanekom, respectively, highlighted the importance of the frequent exchange with the Cuban diplomat and ratified their commitment to continue working in building solidarity with Cuba.

The well known jazz musician Roberto Fonseca and his group were also in attendance alongside other members of FOCUS in the Western Cape.

Denounce in favour of the release of the Cuban Five

Durban, June 6.- A vibrant denounce in favour of the release of the Cuban Five took place within the framework of the nine congress of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA).

In presence of the Secretary General and of the President of NUMSA, the delegates established their commitment to continue fighting to put pressure on the US to release the Cuban Five.

The audience cheered and sang revolutionary songs in solidarity with Cuba during the last part of the international session of the event.


The Region’s History: the Focus of the Caribbean Documentary Traveling Exhibition

CIENFUEGOS, Cuba, June 12 (acn) Documentaries focusing on the history and traditions of  Caribbean countries make up the 4th edition of the Film Traveling Exhibition of that region, shown in this city until June 15.

Standing out are Catch a fire: in the name of freedom, a Barbados-United Kingdom production directed by Menelik Shabazz, which focuses on Paul Bogle, leader of the Morant Bay rebellion of 1865. This documentary has won important prizes at several Anglo-Saxon festivals, as explained by Arelis Marrero, a specialist with the Provincial Cinema Center.

Likewise, the documentaries The Black Mozart in Cuba, by director Steve Stephanie James, on Joseph Boulogne, a great composer of classical music and a violin virtuoso; and Yo soy tumbero, by Bilko Cuervo, dedicated to the Tumba Francesa of Bejucal, are being shown.

The official Web site of the Traveling Exhibition refers that, as part of it, over 30 materials began to be screened in May at several of the island’s movie theaters, and that the cycle will end in July in Havana, from where the Exhibition will travel to other countries in the region.

Dedicated to the Caribbean Diaspora, the Exhibition has been visiting Cienfuegos since June 8, where it has the Luisa Movie Theater as its main venue.


Foreign Companies Can Count on Expert Advice in Cuba, says Official

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 12 (acn) Foreign companies interested in investing in Cuba have now access to high quality advice services which will enable them to achieve greater efficiency in their introduction to the Cuban market.

The Business Executive Directorate of the Economic Consulting Agency belonging to the National Association of Economists and Accountants (CANECSA) provides advice on legal, financial and economic issues to foreign firms wishing to work with Cuba.

Its director, Alberto Betancourt Roa, in an interview to ACN news agency said that, in correspondence with the country's economic guidelines, the main task of the Directorate is to support those companies who make a first approach to the Cuban commercial and business sectors.

Among the services they offer are included feasibility and market studies, legal process management necessary for such firms to start their business in the country, and the introduction to possible business partners.

Betancourt Roa added that so far this year, their Business team has sgned more than 40 contracts, and aims to finish 2012 with revenues of about half a million dollars.

Among the companies that have used their services, the manager mentioned Quiu Huan, a Chinese company that is in charge of the expansion of the refinery in Cienfuegos, and the Spanish Joma, that specializes in sports shoes.

CANEC SA promotes its services abroad through the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment, and the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba.

It also takes advantage of the opportunities offered by business events as the International Fair of Havana (FIHAV) to identify potential customers.

In FIHAV 2011, the Directorate established contacts with over 80 foreign entities, Betancourt Roa said.

At 20 years of its foundation by the National Association of Economists and Accountants of Cuba (ANEC), the Economic Consulting Agency has a highly qualified scientific personnel and extensive experience in management and business management.


Cuban Timba to be Enjoyed in New York

HAVANA, Cuba, June 12 (acn) Renowned Cuban orchestras, like Los Van Van, NG La Banda and Manolito Simonet, will take their contagious rhythms to New York on June 16, when they’ll perform in the First Cuban Timba Festival.

With the Copacabana Cabaret as its venue, the Festival will also be attended by the groups Bamboleo and Pupy y los que Son Son, and singers Tania Pantoja and Pedrito Calvo, all of them also from the Caribbean island, the Web site reported.

Heading the delegation, known as Team Cuba, will be musician Lazaro Valdes.

Cuban timba was first performed in November, 1989, by composer, arranger and orchestra director Jose Luis Cortes and his NG la banda group, who established a new musical concept, style and sound.


Cuban Juantorena Nominated to the World Athletics’ Hall of Fame

HAVANA, Cuba, June 12 (acn) The nomination on Sunday of Cuban Alberto Juantorena to the Hall of Fame of World Athletics fills the island’s sports movement -of which he’s one of its most genuine champions- with satisfaction.

This Hall will be inaugurated in 2012 with a ceremony for the incorporation of its first 24 members -17 of them known so far- all of them selected by a rigorous panel this year, when the centennial of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is celebrated.

The solemn ceremony has been scheduled for November, the Granma newspaper reported.

Olympic history registers as an unprecedented event the double victory of this Cuban athlete in the 400 and 800 meters sprint (including a world record of 1:43.50) in the Montreal 1976 Games.


Cuba Presents at the UN Advances against HIV-AIDS

HAVANA, Cuba, June 11 (acn) There’s no mother-child HIV transmission in Cuba and contagion by way of blood is under control, explained on Monday at the UN Oscar Leon, acting permanent representative of the island at that organization.

These are just some of the achievements in the field of health and in the struggle against the AIDS virus in the country, in spite of the blockade imposed by the United States, which prevents access to new medicaments and technologies, the Prensa Latina news agency reported.

During his address in New York, in a session of the General Assembly on this illness, Leon underlined the low prevalence of the disease in 15-49 age bracket, in pregnant women, and in persons with sexually transmitted infections.

He referred that, on the island, there’s a multi-sectorial program for the prevention and control of HIV-AIDS; medical services are free of charge and guaranteed to the entire population; there’s universal access to antiretroviral treatment; and infected patients enjoy full exercise of all social and political rights.

The diplomat said that, for Cuba, the enjoyment of the highest level of physical and mental health possible is an inalienable human right, no matter what the person’s nationality, race, sex, belief, religion or sexual orientation may be.

Among scientific results in this field, he mentioned the production of six antiretroviral medicaments and ongoing research works to achieve others that are more efficient and a vaccine.


Teo´s Last Round

By Marcos Alfonso

I still have fresh in my memory the images of the last super heavyweight world title won by Teofilo Stevenson Lawrence (Teo). He had four victories in a row in the tournament held in the US city of Reno, Nevada, beating for the gold host Alex Rodriguez.

At that time (1986), Alcides Sagarra and the technical group of the Cuban School of Boxing, bet on the Titan and had to face countless misunderstandings and disagreements, especially by those who felt that Teo should have retired after his defeat in Cuba at the hands of his countryman Osvaldo Castillo, a much lesser rival.

The prevailing argument on the part of journalists and the public itself, about the necessary retirement of the idol, was to avoid the possible debacle in the perfect record of the great Cuban champion, who remained for more than two decades in the national team.

But the trainers, who understood his inner self, knew that Teo had ample qualities to succeed in any elite confrontation and that was later evidenced. With little preparation, his awesome and devastating punch with both hands, led her rivals to profess great respect within the 12-string rings and they avoided as much as possible to exchange blows with him.

Those, like me, who knew Teo, defeated in his last fight, this time against ischemic heart disease, knew of his simple and straightforward character, which made him look like a big kid who was always noble. And also temperamental.

Teofilo Stevenson was the first Cuban to become three-time Olympic champion and the second boxer in the world to achieve such a feat, after the Hungarian Laszlo Pap. He won his three titles in a row: Munich (1972), Montreal (1976) and Moscow (1980). In those three competitions he had 12 bouts, ten of which he won by KO or RSC and only two, in the latter one, by decision.

His record shows 322 combats: 307 victories and 15 defeats. He was born in Las Tunas (Puerto Padre) on March 29, 1952.

He began boxing in 1966 in his hometown. He quickly climbed the rungs on the national boxing system. His most resounding triumphs always caught up in the top division. In his first major international confrontation, the Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia (1971), Teo lost in the semi-finals in a controversial 3-2 decision to American Duane Bobick.

Outside the rings Teo was a witty and jovial person, was always welcome to any place that he arrived. His simplicity and modesty, enemy of flattery, made him earn the friendship and respect of people. A people’s man, as we say in good Cuban.

Some time ago, during the presentation of a book by Jorge Alfonso, another great sportsperson but on the other side of the court, journalism, without being expected, Teo showed up. When we finished the presentation, he asked to speak.

His oratory, far from any scholarship, using the language of the people, summarized what was done by the Revolution in the Cuban sports universe.

And he was saying it from the site for which we sprout the most beautiful things, the heart, that that just played him.

But the muscle stopped fighting physically. Because Teo is and will always be, the eternal champion of friendship and simple things.