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News on Cuba - October 22, 2013 Print E-mail

You and We Are the Five, Cuban Antiterrorist Fighter Says

Athens, Oct 20 (Prensa Latina) The 8th Regional Meeting of Cuban Residents in Europe ended emotional and unexpectedly here today with the words of the antiterrorist fighter Ramon Labañino addressed to the participants from his captivity in the prison in Kentucky, United States.

The voice, heard by telephone, of one of the Five, as they are known in the campaign for their release, sounded amplified at an assembly hall that was in silence and shocked at the unexpected communication, brought to fruition by his daughter Aili, attending the meeting.

"You are also the Five, as we are," said Ramon to his listeners, and expressed gratitude to everyone for the work the international movement of solidarity is carrying out for his release, and the need to stand together to continue fighting for Cuba.

Of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters condemned in the United States since 1998 to prevent terrorist actions organized on American soil against their homeland, only Rene Gonzalez has been capable of returning to Cuba, after 13 years in prison.

Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, and Antonio Guerrero are still serving harsh sentences in prison.

Participants in the meeting unveiled a bust to Jose Marti and laid a wreath. The monument was made by Cuban artist Felix Madrigal Echemendia, and will be located at an Athenian square where other Latin American heroes' sculptures are placed.

Cubans Celebrate National Anthem's 145th Anniversary

Havana, Oct 20 (Prensa Latina) Cubans remember today the 145th anniversary of the National Anthem, an event marking the National Culture Day. That October 20, 1869, hardly 10 days after Carlos Manuel de Cespedes rose up in arms against the Spanish colony, the anthem was sung for the first time in the city of Bayamo.

According to the popular legend, Pedro Figueredo wrote the anthem sitting on his horse, and some moments later, all the people chanted "La Bayamesa," title of the song. A shorter but forceful version of that anthem of combat, has lasted until today.

Former Vietnamese Scholarship Holders Thank Cuba

Hanoi, Oct 21 (Prensa Latina) Vietnamese graduates of study programs in Cuba are forever grateful for the education they were granted, as expressed during a celebration for the 50th anniversary of the graduation of the second group to travel from Vietnam to Cuba.

Of the 35 people who studied in Cuba and returned to Vietnam, only 19 remain alive, gray-haired but with fresh memories of a unforgettable stay that the spoke about at length.

Vietnam's Union of Friendship Organizations held the meeting, organized by Nguyen Duy Cuong (Jose for Cubans), vice president of the Cuban branch and a former scholarship student himself.

Former diplomat Nguyen Anh, who led the group in Cuba, spoke in detail about what the students did when returned to Vietnam and the contribution they were able to make to Vietnam's social and economic development.

Until their retirement, 17 of the former students worked as members of the Central Committee of the Party, as vice ministers, National Assembly deputy, department directors, president of a provincial court and rector of a university.

Others led the VNA news agency, were involved in associations for attorneys and architects, Vietnam's Sugar Corporation and its Research Institute, cattle ranching and construction services, and were decorated by the State.

Rather than speaking about professional experiences, those who took part in the group and some who graduated later spoke about vital experiences like serving as militia guards at Havana seafront and donating blood. They referred with great respect to Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, to the maternal attention provided by Melba Hernandez on behalf of the Solidarity Committee with Vietnam, along with many Cuban mothers, and to their dedicated professors.

Nguyen Dinh Binh, who would be later a member of Vietnam's Central Committee and Foreign Vice Minister, said that as a student he became an interpreter at Vietnam's embassy to Havana, and he accompanied Fidel when he paid his historic visit to Vietnam in 1973.

At the ceremony, led by Vu Xuan Hong, president of the Friendship Organization, the Cuban embassy counselor, Carlos Collazo, highlighted that the seed planted 50 years ago had been the fruitful source of a greater exchange and a strengthening of relations between both countries.

Global Solidarity Energizes Cuban Antiterrorists' Relatives

Athens, Oct 20 (Prensa Latina) Aili Labañino, daughter of one of the Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly condemned in the United States and invited to the 8th Regional Meeting of Cuban Residents in Europe, held here, talked with Prensa Latina after the event ended.

Her participation in this event was not only used to recognize and encourage the Cuban emigres to continue their struggle for the Five, as they are known worldwide, but to bring the voice of her father, Ramon Labañino, who addressed the participants over the telephone from his prison in Kentucky, United States.

How Ramon did to an excited audience, Aili also thanked the international movement of solidarity for the work as "it has filled us an energy that as relatives and individuals we need."

Labañino's eldest daughter said that to have that hope, transmitted by "many people in the world and many Cubans outside Cuba, as foreigners doing for Cuba," which as her dad expressed, "make us think that there is not long to go as the beginning so the four antiterrorist fighters will be released."

As a relative of one of the Five, Aili explained that along with her everyday life, such as any other Cuban, she is " responsibility for representing them wherever we go, and of course the responsibility for being best Cubans, better people and try to be like them from the human and revolutionary viewpoint."

Aili's father, along with Gerardo Hernandez, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, and Rene Gonzalez (The Five), were arrested in 1998, when monitoring to alert their country from terrorist actions planned by anti-Cuban groups in south Florida.

After remaining in jail until October 2011 and completed a half of three years of supervised release imposed on American soil, Rene is now free in Cuba.

Cuba Hosts for the First Time Latin American Pharmacology Congress

HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 21(acn) Cuba will host for the first time the Latin American Congress of Pharmacology and Therapeutics Latinfarma 2013, which opens this Monday in the capital with experts from the region and visitors from other countries.

Doctor René Delgado, president of the organizing committee said that in this twentieth edition of the event, underway at the Havana’s Conventions’ Center until Friday, aims to contribute to the development of this specialty in Latin America.

Delgado, president of the Cuban Society of Pharmacology (SCF) and the American Association of the industry, announced that the meeting will discuss issues related to pharmacology, therapeutics and related sciences, with emphasis on the development of new drugs, optimizing the existing ones and their rational use.

Professionals of the biomedical and pharmaceutical industry of various nations will know Cuba advances in science and medicine in Latinfarma 2013, to be held parallel to the V Ibero-American Congress of Pharmacology.

The event will include simultaneously symposia on the Teaching of Pharmacology, Update on Cancer Therapeutics, Psychiatry, Brain Damage and Neuroprotection , Immunopharmacology and Biotechnology, according to the organizing committee.

More than 300 conferences are included in the scientific program as well as debates, presentations and a similar number of workshops, as well as a trade show, all aimed at professionals who do research and teach these subjects

US Blockade Prevents Cuba from Accessing Competitive Markets

HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 18 (acn).—Cuba is forced to seek the import products it needs at markets much further than normal and at high prices because of the US blockade of the Island, which leads to excessive expenditures that could be used to meet other needs of Cuban people.

A high-level official at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Trade told reporters that the United States persecutes Cuban export opportunities and tries by all means to curtail normal trade ties of the Island with other markets, Radio Havana Cuba reported

Funds that Cuba has to pay in excess because of the US blockade conspires against the satisfaction of needs of the Cuban people that go unresolved by the effects of Washington’s hostile policy.

Cuban Foreign trade has reported losses of nearly four billion dollars as a result of hostile actions by the United States aimed at curtailing normal economic ties between Cuba and its suppliers.

Even a Cuban national that holds an account in dollars in a non-US bank is threatened by US. Financial persecution, the Cuban official said and added that one best example of the US blockade of Cuba is the West German pharmaceutical group Bayer, a company with which Cuba did business before the Cuban Revolution began.

Bayer has moved its headquarters to the United States and automatically has had to stop its so far smooth business relationship with Cuba because under the provisions of the US blockade of the Island it can no longer do it. Thus, Cuba has been forced by the US blockade to stop doing business with Bayer, just because the German drug giant has moved to the United States.

Contracts that had been in effect with the pharmaceutical company have been canceled on US orders; so, Cuba is now forced to seek other providers to replace Bayer's drugs, which will no longer be available to Cuban patients, because of the US. Blockade.

Cuban Jardines del Rey Tourist Pole Reach 3 Million Visitors

CIEGO DE AVILA, Cuba, Oct 16 (acn) More than three million vacationers from all latitudes enjoyed Jardines del Rey tourist destination since its inception 20 years ago.

The resort, north of Ciego de Avila province, formed by Coco and Guillermo Keys, reaches its twentieth anniversary on November 12th with the reaffirmation of its positioning in the international market and a sustained growth in the number of visitors.

Sources of the delegation of the Ministry of Tourism in the territory pointed out that Canada, the UK and Argentina are among the main tourist emitting countries to this destination, in addition to other European and Latin American Southern Cone nations.

Luis Baez, senior specialist of the sector in the province, said to mark the anniversary they are renewing their hotels of more than 5 500 rooms, especially the Colonial Cayo Coco hotel, the first that was inaugurated there.

The project also includes works in the modernization of the Iberostar Daiquiri Hotel, and essential changes in Villa Cojimar, to raise its category from three to four stars.

Baez explained they are also undertaking actions to improve the quality standard, such as repairing walkways, increasing non-hotel services with new excursions, a shopping center and a nightclub associated with cultural options and the improvement of food offers in traditional Cuban cuisine.

Jardines del Rey will launch the winter season with initiatives that place it as an event destination, for example the execution of the 4th International Fishing Tournament, until October 19, and a meeting with tour operators.

This enclave opened to international tourism in 1993 with the inauguration, by the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, of the today Colonial Cayo Coco hotel, and its master plan includes the operation of up to 32 000 rooms, at long term.

Cuban Council of Ministers Meeting Focuses on Economic Issues

HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 22 (acn) Army General Raul Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, led Saturday the Cabinet meeting that focused on issues vital to the country's economy.

As Granma newspaper reported today among the measures approved was the improvement of the Ministry of Agriculture, both in its business area as in the budgeted one.

Leonardo Andollo, deputy chief of the Permanent Commission for Implementation and Development of the Guidelines, this process lasted over two years and began with a thorough diagnosis that revealed the complexity of the problems affecting production and economic results of the sector.

Both the diagnosis and subsequent studies involved directors and officers of the Agriculture Ministry, agricultural, forestry and tobacco labor unions, as well as representatives of various agencies of the Central Government.

The Council of Ministers also discussed the issue of monetary and exchange rate unification, aspect that Granma published an official note with more details.

Official Note on the Process of Monetary Unification in Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 22 (acn) Granma newspaper today published an official note on the monetary unification and exchange process that will take place in Cuba, which we reproduce in full below.

The Guideline No. 55 of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution, approved by the Sixth Congress of the PCC states: "We will move toward monetary unification, taking into account labor productivity and effectiveness of distributive and redistributive mechanisms. Due to its complexity, this process will require careful preparation and execution, both in the objective and subjective aspects".

In compliance with this Guideline, the Council of Ministers agreed to enforce the implementation of a schedule of measures that will lead to monetary and exchange rate unification.

As reported , monetary and exchange rate unification is not a measure that resolves on its own all the current economic problems, but its implementation is essential to ensure the restoration of the value of the Cuban peso and its functions as money, as a unit of account, means of payment and store of value .

This, coupled with the implementation of other policies aimed at updating the economic model, will facilitate the management of the economic environment and consequently the correct measurement of its results.

Cuba will start the process of monetary unification for legal persons and natural persons.

The main changes in this first stage will occur in the field of legal persons, in order to create the conditions for increased efficiency, better measurement of economic events and encouraging the sectors that produce goods and services for export and import substitution.

Cuba will start by a period of preparation of conditions that allow the development of proposed legal rules, the design of the changes in the computer systems responsible for the accounting records and adjustments in accounting standards. It will be an essential step for training also people who should undertake the execution of the various transformations.

Cuban President Raul Castro Ruz in his closing speech at the first regular session of the Eighth Legislature of the National Assembly of People's Power , last July , spoke about the process of implementation of the Guidelines as follows: " I wish to reiterate on this front of strategic significance we have continue moving forward and we can already observe the first encouraging results , although it is true that there is a long and complicated way to update our economic and social model , ensuring the majority of the population support this process , which excludes the use of shock therapies and leaving millions of people homelessness as the adjustment policies implemented in recent years in several countries in the rich Europe have done" .

As has been the practice followed during the years of the Cuban Revolution, no action taken in the monetary field is to harm those who legitimately earn their income in CUC and CUP.

In this sense , the process of monetary unification that respects the principles of trust earned by people who have kept their savings in banks Cuban in CUC, CUP and other international currencies, remains intact and continue to apply the current policy of subsidies at retail prices and people where needed, while the country's economic conditions require it. The CUC and the CUP are Cuban currencies issued by the Central Bank of Cuba and maintain its full support .

From now on they will continue extending the possibility of accepting in stores that sell in CUC, payments made in CUP using debit cards.

Experimentally at selected locations people may make cash payments in CUP for the equivalent calculated at the CADECAs exchange rate of 25 CUP by 1 CUC.

According to the progress of the implementation of the schedule, they will be giving details on the measures that apply at all times, while the entities specialists should be involved in its implementation, along the population.

Cuba Backs up Caribbean Claim at UN on Compensation for Slavery

HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 21 (acn) Cuba endorsed today at the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization (UN) the claim of the countries of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) to their former metropolis for compensation for damage of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Rodolfo Reyes, Cuban permanent representative to the UN, called the demand fair, which includes recognition by the powers that benefited from slavery such as France, Holland and the United Kingdom, of the atrocities resulting from this scourge, Prensa Latina news agency reported.

The ambassador recalled that the industrialized countries and their consumer societies are responsible for the accelerated environmental destruction, and have been the main beneficiaries of the conquest and colonization, slavery and the extermination of the peoples of the South.

They have also profited from the unjust economic order imposed on humanity (...). That rich and wasteful world has technical and financial resources to repay its debt to humanity, Reyes said in the Assembly that today tracks the theme of the celebration of the bicentenary of the abolition of slave trade.

Reyes added that his country claims the special and differential treatment required by the underdeveloped nations, especially in Africa, in their international economic relations.

Cuba rejects shameful selfishness and opulence (of a few) that serve as guidelines to ongoing globalization, he said.

Reyes announced the support and sponsorship of the island to the draft resolution presented annually by Caricom members and the African Group on the subject, as well as other related initiatives in the UN.

It's the least that the international community can do to repair the crimes against humanity committed in the trans-Atlantic African slave trade, Reyes said and added that Cubans are proud of their African roots.


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