News on Cuba - October 23, 2012 Print

Activists of 43 Countries to Attend Colloquium on Cuban Five

Havana, Oct 23 (Prensa Latina) Some 280 delegates from 43 countries have confirmed their attendance to the 8th Colloquium of Solidarity with the Cuban Five, according to organizers.

Traditionally held in Holguin province, in eastern Cuba, the event is expected to gather over 300 delegates from some 50 countries, delegate from the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) in Holguin, Amaury Torno, told Prensa Latina.

The objective of the meeting, scheduled for Nov.28 - Dec.1st, is to coordinate actions for the release and return to Cuba of Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino and Fernando Gonzalez, who were detained in 1998 and given harsh sentences in US prisons for monitoring Miami-based terrorist groups operating against Cuba.

The gathering is also expected to increase solidarity and step up international strategies to spread their case in all possible forums.

The program of the meeting includes an exchange with relatives of The Cuban Five, setting up Tents for Peace and a cycling tournament.

The ICAP delegate said in an on-line message that visitors will also be able to see first hand the running of Cuba’s economic model updating.

 

Cuba Condemns All Terrorist Methods, Actions

Havana, Oct 23 (Prensa Latina) Cuba condemns all terrorist methods and actions no matter who commits them or what their excuses are, including those carried out by states, said Rodolfo Benitez, Deputy Director of Multilateral Affairs of the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.

In an interview granted to Prensa Latina, the diplomat provided specific details of the actions Cuba has carried out to tackle that scourge, such as its passage of Law 93 in 2001, which defines all actions of international terrorism as serious crimes and establishes severe sanctions against terrorists.

Benitez emphasized that Cuba has backed and strictly implemented the resolutions on terrorism approved at the United Nations.

Regarding the inclusion of Cuba on the list of supposedly terrorist countries drawn up by the United States, Benitez considered it an embarrassing and politically motivated decision aimed at trying to justify the continuity of the blockade imposed on the island for more than 50 years.

"Washington’s double standards are proven, given that as long as it includes Cuba in that list, it intends to ignore the fact that our country has been a victim of terrorist actions, probably more than any other country, actions that are mostly financed and organized from U.S. soil," stated Benitez.

According to official reports, nearly 3,500 Cubans have died and more than 2,000 left disabled as a result of terrorist actions promoted by the United States since the triumph of the Revolution.

Benitez also stressed that Washington has not responded to Cuba’s proposal, issued in 2001, to sign a bilateral agreement to fight terrorism.

 

Cuba: Preliminary Results of Sunday’s Elections, Announced

HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 22 (acn) The president of the National Electoral Commission (CEN), Alina Balseiro, described on Monday the preliminary results of Sunday's elections throughout the country as a new victory of the revolutionary process.

During a meeting with the press at Havana’s Central Computing Club, the head of the top electoral body announced that more than eight million 100,000 Cubans exercised their right to vote, which represents 91.9 percent of citizens called to go to the polls.

Balseiro, after stressing that the CEN is presently absorbed in the validation of the election’s data, underlined that, after counts at polling stations during the early hours of Monday, seven million 338,569 ballots were valid, 4.9 percent were blank, and 4.4 percent were declared null.

The official told the press that 14.07 percent of candidates elected on Sunday are young people and 33.57 percent women, which she considers an example of the importance given by the people to these segments of the Cuban population to represent them.

She informed that the second round of the elections of candidates to delegates of the municipal assemblies of the People’s Power, which will take place next Sunday, will include approximately 4,000 electoral colleges, pertaining to 410,000 constituencies.

This second round has been scheduled for constituencies in which candidates obtained less than half of valid votes or ties occurred.

Lastly, after praising the high turnout and discipline of the people on Sunday’s elections, Balseiro pointed out that elections were affected by adverse weather conditions in some areas of the central and eastern parts of the country, which caused delays to count the votes in 14 municipalities.

 

Cuban Legal Changes Strengthen Delivery of Idle Land

Havana, Oct 23 (PL) Legal changes in the delivery of idle land will come into force as of December, Granma newspaper reported.

The changes are based on the application of Decree-Law 259 and statements sourcing from community discussions of the draft program from the Communist Party of Cuba, the daily said.

Another influential factor in the changes is the most recent accounting for land use, the report stated. Decree-Law 300 reflects certain elements in the delivery of idle state lands in usufruct, which led to the repeal of Decree-Law 259 in order to open the opportunity to extend land area to 67.10 hectares (five acres).

That delivery is set for individuals linked to a State Farm with legal status, Basic Units of Cooperative Production (UBPC), and Agricultural Production Cooperatives (CPA).

Such producers, according to the law, should already own land, keep it in full production, and fulfill their legal and contractual obligations, says the Granma article.

To do this, the country authorizes the owners of land to be linked to the aforementioned contract state farms, UBPC or CPA.

Decree-Law 300 and four additional rules, including all released in Official Gazette number 45, are intended to strengthen the delivery of idle land, and ensure sustainability in operation, authorities said.

 

Cuban University Extends Studies on the Island, Caribbean

Santiago de Cuba, Oct 22 (Prensa Latina) The University of Oriente, the second founded in Cuba, will extend its study program here and on the Caribbean, through the sixth edition of a master''s program promoting research on different features of development in the region.

Dr. Heber Perez, academic coordinator for the Cuba-Caribbean Center which sponsors postgraduate courses, told Prensa Latina that more than 120 professionals from the eastern provinces, Camaguey and Sancti Spiritus, have been trained at that institution since 2009.

Perez said that the study program is three years in length and students from Angola, Switzerland, Ecuador and Mexico are among its graduates.

One of the main results of the master's program, said the member of the Cuban History Academy, is the book "Pensar el Caribe" (Thinking the Caribbean), containing five essays about the Caribbean region, along with dozens of other volumes and articles published both in and outside the country.

 

Cuba Hosts International Television Festival

Havana, Oct 23 (Prensa Latina) Television directors from about 30 countries will participate in the International Television Festival "Cuba 2012," starting today through October 25 at the capital''s Conference Center.

We expect to meet 100 delegates from abroad, and 105 of Cuba, from many television specialties, Caridad Rojas, executive secretary of the organizing committee, said at a local television.

According to Rojas, the event aims to exchange and marketing of audiovisual products, and promote cooperation and recognize the artists participating through a national spot contest entitled "Imagen de Cristal".

The member of the organizing committee also stated the holding for a first time of an Expo-Fair, also at the Havana's Conference Center, with the participation of about 23 exhibiting companies.

In remarks to local media, Rojas said that the closing gala will be held on Thursday, October 25, at the Havana's Karl Marx Theater, with figures such as Buena Vista Social Club with Omara Portuondo, Havana de Primera band, and Juan Formell and his group, Los Van Van.

 

Cuba Closed September with over 100,000 Tourists more than in 2011

HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 22 (acn) Cuba received until September a total of 106,277 tourists more than in the same period of the previous year, announced on Monday the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI).

According to the ONEI’s Web site, two million 170,067 tourists arrived on the island during the first nine months of 2012, a figure that represents a 5.1 increase in this period.

Varadero, together with the hotel facilities of Jardines del Rey and the Santa Maria cay continue to be favorites of those coming to Cuba to enjoy its sun and beaches.

 

Sunday’s Municipal Vote Concluded Satisfactorily, Electoral Authorities Say

HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 22 (ACN) Sunday’s round of elections to vote delegates to the Municipal Assemblies of  People’s Power or local governments concluded satisfactorily throughout Cuba, said the vice-president of the National Electoral Commission Rosa Charroo.

At 5 p.m., just one hour before most voting stations closed on Sunday, 7 million 889 thousand 314 citizens had already voted, which stands for 89.61 percent of the over 8 million eligible voters called to the polls.

We are very satisfied with the huge turnout and the enthusiasm of the population, said Charroo, who highlighted the work of electoral authorities, the organization and discipline of voters during the election of those with the best merits and qualities to represent the people at local government offices.

The voting hours were extended in some municipalities in the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey and Ciego de Avila, and in a voting station in Sancti Spiritus due to heavy rains affecting those territories.

Meanwhile, the president of the National Electoral Commission Alina Balseiro said that in some regions communication systems were affected by the bad weather, which forced authorities to resort to alternatives already foreseen in those cases to achieve the appropriate flow of the information.

Where the power system was affected communications were backed by small power generators.

Some 14 537 delegates to local government were elected among over 32 thousand candidates proposed throughout the country in September.

A second round of elections will take place October 28 in those constituencies where none of the candidates got over 50 percent of the valid votes.

 

Fidel Castro Votes in Cuba's Municipal Elections

Havana, Oct 21 (Prensa Latina) The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, exercised his right to vote on Sunday in the elections of delegates to the People''s Power municipal assemblies.

Fidel Castro sent his ballot to polling station 1, in the electoral district 13, in the downtown Havana neighborhood of El Vedado, in Plaza de la Revolucion municipality, where he has voted since 1976.

 

Raul Castro Votes at Municipal Elections

HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 21 (ACN) Cuban President Raul Castro cast his ballot at Cuba’s municipal elections in early morning hours on Sunday. Raul exercised his right to vote at a voting station in the Havana municipality of Plaza de la Revolucion.

The Cuban leader greeted local electoral authorities at the voting station and after casting his ballot he also congratulated the pioneer children guarding the ballot boxes for meeting an important duty.

 

Cubans Vote in Support of Sovereignty and Economic Updating

Havana, Oct. 22 (Prensa Latina) Cubans turned out en masse to vote for some 14,500 representatives, in what is considered a show of support for the island´s socialist project and the socio-economic changes underway.

With only partial results tallied, nearly 8 million Cubans were shown to have voted in the first elections held since the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party held in April 2011 set up guidelines for moving forward with changes meant to result in higher productivity and a more efficient economy.

By 5 p.m., an hour before the close of polling stations, the National Electoral Commission (CEN) reported that 89.61 percent of the 8.5 million citizens registered to vote had already done so, even despite rain which caused polling hours to be extended in certain areas.

Rosa Charroó, Vice President of the CEN said that the vote, held in some 29,585 schools throughout the nation, was a unmistakeable sign of support for the Revolution and Cuba´s democratic system.

CEN statistics show that since 1976 when the first general elections were held, more than 90 percent of the electorate has always participated.

Justice Minister Maria Esther Reus told Prensa Latina that the people´s exercise of their democratic rights is also a sign of their support for the updating of the country´s economic model.

Moreover, she pointed out that voting is entirely voluntary and demonstrates Cubans´ civic-mindedness.

"It´s something we have that people who live in other countries do not; the ability to freely exercise one´s right to vote, without pressure, in order to choose those who we consider best able to represent us," she said.

 

Tree Planted by Che Shelters Asia-Pacific Solidarity with Cuba

Colombo Oct 22 (Prensa Latina) Along with a mahogany tree planted by Ernesto Che Guevara in Sri Lanka 53 years ago, Asia and Pacific participants renewed their vows to foster friendship with Cuba at the end of a regional meeting on Sunday in solidarity with the Caribbean nation.

Under a strong downpour, more than 200 delegates swore by the living symbol to continue supporting the Cuban people's battles, as they had recently made when signing the final declaration of the event.

The mighty tree was planted by the legendary Argentine-Cuban guerrilla fighter in August 1959, when he visited Sri Lanka, as part of an Asian tour.

Fresh flowers placed at the trunk injected new energy into the ties between Cuba and the representatives from 52 friendship associations, political parties, parliaments, and non-governmental, youth, students and women organizations from 22 countries in the region.

Speeches were given by former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, and Dinesh Gunawardena, president of the Association of Sri Lanka-Cuba Friendship and Minister of Water Supply and Drainage.

Sri Lanka hosted successfully the 6th Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba, with a large and combative attendance.

The event also demanded an end to the United States economic, commercial and financial blockade on Cuba, as well the immediate release of five Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly held in the U.S. prisons since 1998 for monitoring terrorist activities by South Florida-based anti-Cuba groups.

 

Preparations for Solidarity Congress with Cuba Begin in El Salvador

San Salvador, Oct 21 (Prensa Latina) The first activities of the 4th Congress of Solidarity with Cuba began on Sunday in the western city of Sonsonate, said organizers of the event, scheduled for October 28. Raul Martinez, president of the Salvadoran Coordinating Committee of Solidarity with Cuba, stated that similar activities in the capitals of the country's departments will be carried out throughout the coming week.

Asked by Prensa Latina, Martinez said a march to support the Cuban people and government is taking place on Sunday in Sonsonate, about 70 kilometers west of San Salvador.

During the pre-congress meetings held in that city, activists will analyze issues such as the struggle for the immediate release of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly held in the United States since 1998.

That demand and the denunciation of the biased trial and injustice committed against Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino and Rene Gonzalez are priorities for the Coordinating Committee, Martinez said.

Other topics to be analyzed are the condemnation and denunciation of the U.S. blockade against Cuba for over 50 years, and other U.S. aggressions on the Caribbean nation.

 

Doctors in Solidarity with Cuban 5 Busy in Peruvian Capital

Lima, Oct 22 (Prensa Latina) Three young doctors who are touring South America by motorcycle will begin two days of intense activity on Monday in the Peruvian capital, discussing the case of the Cuban Five, anti-terrorist fighters who have been unjustly imprisoned in the United States.

The Bolivian doctor Juan Tola, along with Argentinean colleagues Dario Valenzuela and Milco Figueroa, will visit the General Confederation of Workers (CGTP), and meet with leaders there.

They will also hold a press conference and meet with organizations in solidarity with Cuba and with solidarity activists working to free the Cuban prisoners Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino, Gerardo Hernandez and Rene Gonzalez.

The Five were imprisoned 14 years ago in the U.S. while collecting information about attacks being plotted against their country by terrorist organizations tolerated and sponsored by the U.S. government.

The Latin American doctors arrived last night at the town of Puente Piedra, well north of Lima, and were greeted jubilantly by leaders and activists from the Peruvian Committee of Solidarity with the Five and other organizations.

In an interview with Prensa Latina, the doctors expressed appreciation for the welcome and the receptivity expressed by the citizens of Peruvian cities seen in their travels since October 10, when they arrived in Peru from Ecuador.

Tola, Figueroa and Valenzuela, who graduated in Cuba, have named their solidarity tour "Sowing Pathways," inspired by the youthful motorcycle journeys of the Argentine-Cuban revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, throughout Latin America.

So far in Peru they have traveled about 400,000 kilometers and visited the cities of Tumbes, Piura, Sullana, Chiclayo, Trujillo and Chimbote. From Lima they will travel to the south on Wednesday and then on to Bolivia.

 

Canadians Pay Tribute to Che Guevara

HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 18 (ACN) Canadian activists announced a series of activities for November, in Vancouver, to pay homage to Cuban-Argentinean guerrilla fighter Ernesto Che Guevara and in support of the cause of the five Cuban antiterrorists held in the U.S. since 1998.

The coordinator of local communities in Vancouver, Tamara Hansen sent ACN an email message announcing that the 5th International Conference on Che Guevara, the cause of the five Cuban heroes and in support of the Cuban Revolution will open November 2.

Since these actions kicked off in 2008, over 1700 activists have attended sessions focused on 35 Cuba-related issues, including international solidarity with the island.

Guest of honor to the conference for the third year in a row is Che’s daughter, doctor Aleida Guevara, the message reads.

On November 5th, activities will conclude with a forum that will recall the legacy of Che during a year that marked his 85th birthday and the 45th anniversary of his assassination in Bolivia.

Activists in Vancouver, one of the major territories of Western Canada, have expressed their support of Cuba with actions condemning the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba and other acts aimed at violating the island sovereignty.

 

Cuban Families are Owners of 85 Percent of all Homes in the Country

HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 22 (ACN) Cuban families currently own nearly 85 percent of the houses in the country, while only six percent of the housing stock belongs or is linked to state entities.

The rest is under rental system, or are rooms, rural homes and other kinds of places, according to the most recent 2011 report by the Housing Institute.

The housing stock was reported at nearly 4 million homes, with 60 percent of them built after the 1959 victory of the Cuban Revolution. Most of them are houses and apartments.

A fact that tells about the improving of the people’s quality of life is that 75 percent of the total number of homes is located in urbanized areas, with an average occupation of 3.4 inhabitants per every home. However, 63 percent of those housing units are considered as in good technical conditions and 37 percent in regular or bad shape, due to their aging or lack of appropriate maintenance, either by the state or the population.

The situation improved over the past decade, particularly in historic city centers, where vulnerability and risk studies are carried out by the local Environment Agency. These studies contribute to construction projects while bearing in mind the damage inflicted by 10 hurricanes that affected the island between 2001 and 2008, which caused the loss of one million homes.

A decree law adopted 28 October 2011 eased legal actions related to the donation, permutation, sales and purchase of homes.

 

Fidel Castro Denounces Media Deception, Lies

Havana, Oct 22 (Prensa Latina) The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, said today that although many people in the world are deceived by the media which is almost completely in the hands of privileged and wealthy owners who publish garbage, generally speaking, people are less and less taken in by such lies.

"All it took was a message to the graduates from the first course of the Victoria de Girón Institute Medical Sciences to set it off", the Cuban leader said in a note published at the Cubadebate website entitled "Fidel Castro esta agonizando" (Fidel Castro is on his deathbed).

In the article, Fidel also noted that the news agencies "added the most unusual stupidities in their dispatches." Similarly, he stated that Spain's ABC newspaper had reported that a Venezuelan doctor, "residing who knows where," claimed that the Cuban leader had suffered a massive embolism in his right cerebral artery.

Fidel pointed out that the doctor had insisted, "I can say we will not see him again publicly," and added that "nobody likes to be deceived, even the most incorrigible liar who is waiting for the truth to be told."

Fidel Castro pointed out how "in April 1961, everybody believed the news published by the wire services that the Bay of Pigs mercenary invaders were on their way to Havana, when in fact certain of them were struggling to board boats back to the Yankee warships that had escorted them."

The Cuban leader added,"people learn and resistance is growing against the capitalist crises that recur with increasing frequency; no lies, repression or new weapons, will prevent the collapse of an increasingly unequal and unjust system of production."

In another part of his note, Fidel Castro referred to the October missile crisis and how agencies had identified three culprits: "Kennedy, a newcomer to the empire's leadership, Khrushchev and Castro. Cuba had nothing to do with nuclear weapons, nor the needless slaughter at Hiroshima and Nagasaki perpetrated by U.S. President Harry S. Truman, where the tyranny of nuclear weapons was established. Cuba was defending its right to independence and social justice," the revolutionary leader said.

In the final paragraphs of his remarks, the Cuban leader said "I enjoy writing and so I do, I enjoy studying and so I do. There is plenty to do when it comes to knowledge. Never, for example, have the sciences advanced at such astonishing speed."

Fidel Castro stated that he stopped publishing his Reflections "because my role is certainly not to take up space in our press, which is devoted to other tasks required by the country."

"Vultures! I don't even remember what a headache is. As an evidence of what liars they are, I am furnishing some photos along with this article," the Cuban leader stated.

 

Fidel Castro Meets Former Venezuelan Vice President

Havana, Oct 22 (Prensa Latina) The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, met this weekend with former Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua on his visit to the island, national media reported.

After a five-hour meeting on Saturday, October 20, Fidel Castro accompanied the current gubernatorial candidate for the state of Miranda, in Venezuela, to the capital's National Hotel, Jaua told Juventud Rebelde.

According to the politician and leader from Venezuela's United Socialist Party, Fidel Castro "is very well, and quite lucid."

"Commandante Fidel was kind enough to greet us yesterday. We spent five hours talking about agriculture, history, international politics and, well, Fidel is fine," the Venezuelan leader said.

Jaua showed reporters some photos where he is pictured together with the leader of the Revolution.

For his part, National Hotel director Antonio Martinez said Fidel Castro is "very happy, with a constant smile and talking about many things. Fidel will be with us for awhile," he said, quoted by Juventud Rebelde.