Wednesday, January 20, 2010

LPP Update...

Haiti Earthquake: Fault Visible from Space

Stress had Built Underground for Decades; Estimating the Damage It Caused




It is not as if the earthquake in Haiti was a surprise to the world's seismologists.

PHOTO This perspective view of the pre-quake topography of the area clearly shows the fault that is apparently responsible for the earthquake as a prominent linear landform immediately adjacent to the city.
A magnitude 7.0 earthquake occurred on January 12, 2010, at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with major impact... Expand
(NASA)

They had known for decades about the fault line that caused it, and some geologists, including Eric Calais of Purdue University and Paul Mann of the University of Texas, had warned as recently as 2008 that when the fault gave way, the result could be a quake of up to 7.2 magnitude.
"Such studies should be considered high priority in Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, given the seismic hazards posed by the fault," they wrote at the time.
The Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault, as it is known to geologists, appears as an almost straight cut in the earth in radar images from the space shuttle Endeavour, recorded 10 years ago on the STS-99 mission in February 2000.

Related

See the arrows in the false-color image of Haiti above (NASA has a large version posted HERE).
You are looking eastward in this picture. The Plantain Garden fault shows as a straight, sharp cut in the mountains. Elevations in this computer-generated image are exaggerated by a factor of two.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the fault probably caused a major earthquake in Jamaica in 1907, and written descriptions suggest it caused powerful quakes in 1860, 1770, 1761, 1751, 1684, 1673, and 1618.

Tension Built Underground

But in recent decades the two sides of the fault line had been locked in place as they ground against each other and stresses built up in the ground.
"This fault was locked in a way that it didn't produce a lot of small quakes," said Art Lerner-Lam of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in Palisades, N.Y.
Without those small quakes as a reminder of the greater threat, people in the area put up cheap buildings, made from cinderblock and tin.
U.S. scientists say they understand: Haiti was so poor it could barely deal with day-to-day concerns, much less the long-term threat of an earthquake.
Seismologists emphasize that they are still very far from predicting earthquakes, since the ground beneath our feet is by nature chaotic. But last week's earthquake in Haiti had a reported magnitude of 7.0, so the warning by Mann, Calais and their colleagues of a 7.2 quake was not far off.

Earthquake in Haiti: The View from Above

How to assess the damage? Many of the numbers so far are estimates from the Haitian government, or what is left of it. A California-based firm, EQECAT, which provides damage estimates for insurance companies, plugged the Haitian earthquake into a computer model.

Related

"In light of the considerable humanitarian aid needed for recovery, in addition to the cost of reconstruction, EQECAT's updated estimate of economic damage is in the low-single-digit billions of dollars," the firm said.
By U.S. standards, that's cheap. The earthquake in Northridge, Calif., on Jan. 17, 1994, did an estimated $20 billion in damage -- in 1994 dollars. It would be closer to $29 billion when inflation is factored in.
But the difference is in the death toll. Haitian officials say more than 200,000 people have died, compared to 72 after Northridge.
Since Haiti has enough trouble burying its dead, to say nothing of counting them, we may never know the final numbers.


New 6.1-quake hits Haiti, people flee into streets

Earthquake survivor Hotteline Lozama, 26, smiles as she was pulled out from the AP – Earthquake survivor Hotteline Lozama, 26, smiles as she was pulled out from the rubble by French aid …
 
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The most powerful aftershock yet struck Haiti on Wednesday, shaking more rubble from damaged buildings and sending screaming people running into the streets eight days after the country's capital was devastated by an apocalyptic quake. The magnitude-6.1 temblor was the largest of more than 40 significant aftershocks that have followed the Jan. 12 quake. The extent of additional damage or injuries was not immediately clear. Wails of terror rose from frightened survivors as the earth shuddered at 6:03 a.m. U.S. soldiers and tent city refugees alike raced for open ground, and clouds of dust rose in the capital. The U.S. Geological Survey said Wednesday's quake was centered about 35 miles (60 kilometers) northwest of Port-au-Prince and 6.2 miles (9.9 kilometers) below the surface — a little further from the capital than last week's epicenter was. "It kind of felt like standing on a board on top of a ball," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Steven Payne. The 27-year-old from Jolo, West Virginia was preparing to hand out food to refugees in a tent camp of 25,000 quake victims when the aftershock hit. Last week's magnitude-7 quake killed an estimated 200,000 people in Haiti, left 250,000 injured and made 1.5 million homeless, according to the European Union Commission. The strong aftershock prompted Anold Fleurigene, 28, to grab his wife and three children and head to the city bus station. His house was destroyed in the first quake and his sister and brother killed. "I've seen the situation here, and I want to get out," he said. A massive international aid effort has been struggling with logistical problems, and many Haitians are still desperate for food and water. Still, search-and-rescue teams have emerged from the ruins with some improbable success stories — including the rescue of 69-year-old ardent Roman Catholic who said she prayed constantly during her week under the rubble. Ena Zizi had been at a church meeting at the residence of Haiti's Roman Catholic archbishop when the Jan. 12 quake struck, trapping her in debris. On Tuesday, she was rescued by a Mexican disaster team. Zizi said after the quake, she spoke back and forth with a vicar who also was trapped. But he fell silent after a few days, and she spent the rest of the time praying and waiting. "I talked only to my boss, God," she said. "I didn't need any more humans." Doctors who examined Zizi on Tuesday said she was dehydrated and had a dislocated hip and a broken leg. Elsewhere in the capital, two women were pulled from a destroyed university building. And near midnight Tuesday, a smiling and singing 26-year-old Lozama Hotteline was carried to safety from a collapsed store in the Petionville neighborhood by the French aid group Rescuers Without Borders. Crews at the cathedral recovered the body of the archbishop, Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, who was killed in the Jan. 12 quake. Authorities said close to 100 people had been pulled from wrecked buildings by international search-and-rescue teams. Efforts continued, with dozens of teams hunting through Port-au-Prince's crumbled homes and buildings for signs of life. But the good news was overshadowed by the frustrating fact that the world still can't get enough food and water to the hungry and thirsty. "We need so much. Food, clothes, we need everything. I don't know whose responsibility it is, but they need to give us something soon," said Sophia Eltime, a 29-year-old mother of two who has been living under a bedsheet with seven members of her extended family. The World Food Program said more than 250,000 ready-to-eat food rations had been distributed in Haiti by Tuesday, reaching only a fraction of the 3 million people thought to be in desperate need. The WFP said it needs to deliver 100 million ready-to-eat rations in the next 30 days, but it only had 16 million meals in the pipeline. Even as U.S. troops landed in Seahawk helicopters Tuesday on the manicured lawn of the ruined National Palace, the colossal efforts to help Haiti were proving inadequate because of the scale of the disaster. Expectations exceeded what money, will and military might have been able to achieve. So far, international relief efforts have been unorganized, disjointed and insufficient to satisfy the great need. Doctors Without Borders says a plane carrying urgently needed surgical equipment and drugs has been turned away five times, even though the agency received advance authorization to land. A statement from Partners in Health, co-founded by the deputy U.N. envoy to Haiti, Dr. Paul Farmer, said the group's medical director estimated 20,000 people are dying each day who could be saved by surgery. "TENS OF THOUSANDS OF EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS NEED EMERGENCY SURGICAL CARE NOW!!!!!" the group said in the statement. It did not describe the basis for that estimate. The reasons are varied: • Both national and international authorities suffered great losses in the quake, taking out many of the leaders best suited to organize a response. • Woefully inadequate infrastructure and a near-complete failure in telephone and Internet communications have complicated efforts to reach millions of people forced from their homes. • Fears of looting and violence have kept aid groups and governments from moving as quickly as they would like. • Pre-existing poverty and malnutrition put some at risk even before the quake hit. Governments have pledged nearly $1 billion in aid, and thousands of tons of food and medical supplies have been shipped. But much remains trapped in warehouses, or diverted to the neighboring Dominican Republic. Port-au-Prince's nonfunctioning seaport and many impassable roads complicate efforts to get aid to the people. Aid is being turned back from the single-runway airport, where the U.S. military has been criticized by some of poorly prioritizing flights. The U.S. Air Force said it had raised the facility's daily capacity from 30 flights before the quake to 180 on Tuesday. About 2,200 U.S. Marines established a beachhead west of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday to help speed aid delivery, in addition to 9,000 Army soldiers already on the ground. Lt. Cmdr. Walter Matthews, a U.S. military spokesman, said helicopters were ferrying aid from the airport into Port-au-Prince and the nearby town of Jacmel as fast as they could. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the military will send a port-clearing ship with cranes aboard to Port-au-Prince to remove debris that is preventing many larger aid ships from docking. The U.N. was sending in reinforcements as well: The Security Council voted Tuesday to add 2,000 peacekeepers to the 7,000 already in Haiti, and 1,500 more police to the 2,100-strong international force. "The floodgates for aid are starting to open," Matthews said at the airport. "In the first few days, you're limited by manpower, but we're starting to bring people in." The WFP's Alain Jaffre said the U.N. agency hoped to help 100,000 people by Wednesday. Hanging over the entire effort was an overwhelming fear among relief officials that Haitians' desperation would boil over into violence. "We've very concerned about the level of security we need around our people when we're doing distributions," said Graham Tardif, who heads disaster-relief efforts for the charity World Vision. The U.N., the U.S. government and other organizations have echoed such fears. Occasionally, those fears have been borne out. Looters rampaged through part of downtown Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, just four blocks from where U.S. troops landed at the presidential palace. Hundreds of looters fought over bolts of cloth and other goods with broken bottles and clubs. USGS geophysicist Bruce Pressgrave said nobody knows if a still-stronger aftershock is possible. "Aftershocks sometimes die out very quickly," he said. "In other cases they can go on for weeks, or if we're really unlucky it could go on for months" as the earth adjusts to the new stresses caused by the initial quake. ___ Associated Press writers contributing include Paul Haven, Michael Melia, Jonathan M. Katz, Michelle Faul and Vivian Sequera in Port-au-Prince; medical writer Margie Mason in Hanoi, Vietnam; Charles J. Hanley in Mexico City; Lori Hinnant in New York; Tales Azzoni in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations; and Seth Borenstein, Pauline Jelinek, Anne Flaherty and Jennifer Loven in Washington.

Rights situation remains poor in Cuba, say dissidents

Havana, Jan 20 : The state of human rights in Cuba did not improve last year and is unlikely to get better in 2010, a dissident organisation said, though noting that the number of political prisoners declined from 205 to 201.

"Unless a miracle happens, the situation of civil, political and economic rights in Cuba will remain the same or worse in the course of 2010," the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation said Tuesday in a statement distributed to the press by its chairman, Elizardo Sanchez.

"Nothing indicates that the current governors are ready to initiate the judicial, economic and political reforms the country needs," the document said.

Some in Cuba and abroad had hoped that the transfer of power from the ailing Fidel Castro to his younger brother would bring an easing of the Communist Party's grip. But while Raul Castro has encouraged more open debate within official forums, he has shown no inclination to relinquish the government's media monopoly.

In its report on 2009, the human rights commission attributes continuing repression to fear on the part of a "minority within the top nomenclatura (leadership) that continues exercising totalitarian power".

That minority, according to the commission, is afraid that loosening the reins would be tantamount to opening a "Pandora's box" of the communist regime's past crimes.

The report cited an increase in authorities's tendency to "replace political repression based on prolonged incarceration with other procedures, equally illegal but less costly from the political viewpoint, such as brief arbitrary detentions, threats and other forms of intimidation".

One of those tactics involves the deployment of government supporters to verbally harass and - sometimes - physically accost dissidents as they try to mount peaceful protests.

A total of 869 government opponents were detained in 2009, some of them more than once, the commission said, frequently on the charge of "pre-criminal social dangerous", an offence unique to the Cuban penal code.

Last year's reduction in the total number of political prisoners was due largely to detainees completing their sentences, the commission said.

"Particularly disturbing" are the cases of Santiago Padron, Ihosvani Suris and Maximo Pradera, "radical anti-Castro opponents" who have been held without trial since 2001, the report said.

The commission also noted that while it is almost two years since the Cuban government signed two major UN human rights conventions, Havana has taken no steps to ratify or implement the accords.
--IANS
S:NewKerala.com


HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba ended 2009 with slightly fewer political prisoners but continues to have the worst human rights in the Western Hemisphere with no improvement in sight, a rights group said on Tuesday.
The Cuban Commission on Human Rights said there were 201 dissidents behind bars, down from 208 at mid-year, but it charged that the communist government had stepped up harassment of opponents with brief detentions and physical intimidation.
The independent commission said Cuba "continues to have the worst record on fundamental rights in the Western Hemisphere," with nothing "to indicate the current leaders are inclined to initiate reforms."
"Unless a miracle happens, the situation of civil rights, politics and economics in Cuba will continue being the same or worse throughout 2010," the commission said in its year-end report.
The Cuban government views dissidents as mercenaries working for the U.S. government, which has openly supported members of the Cuban opposition.
The commission said it documented 869 detentions of dissidents in 2009, which it described as part of a change in government policy to keep opposition in check without imposing long prison sentences that have prompted an international outcry in the past.
The switch to detentions accounted for the decline in prisoners, it said.
DETAINED BLOGGER
Among those briefly detained were dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, known internationally for her critical reports on daily life in Cuba, and her husband, Reinaldo Escobar.
The commission said the government increased physical and verbal intimidation of dissidents in the last months of 2009.
Commission leader Elizardo Sanchez, a former political prisoner, cited an attack against the opposition group Ladies in White as they staged a small march on December 10, United Nations Human Rights Day.
"The general picture for 2009 is very negative, with a worsening toward the end of the year," he told Reuters.
The commission listed about a dozen dissidents who are not behind bars, but under house arrest, and two El Salvadorans condemned to die for bombing Cuban tourist destinations in the 1990s.
Cuba's official position is that it has no political prisoners because all have received a legal trial.
But President Raul Castro, who replaced ailing brother Fidel Castro in February 2008, has suggested that Cuba exchange the prisoners for five Cuban agents jailed in the United States.
U.S. President Barack Obama has eased the long-standing U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and taken other steps to improve relations but said further changes will depend on Cuban releasing political prisoners and improving human rights.
(Additional reporting by Esteban Israel; Editing by David Storey)

Cuba performing state-sponsored sex change surgery

  • 0 votes
HAVANA – Cuba has begun performing state-sponsored sex-change operations after the government lifted a longtime ban on the procedure in 2007, President Raul Castro's daughter said Tuesday. A sexologist and gay-rights advocate, Mariela Castro runs the Center for Sex Education, which prepares transsexuals for sex-change operations and identifies Cubans it deems ready for the procedure. Speaking to reporters during the fifth Cuban Conference on Sexual Education, Orientation and Therapy, Castro said surgeries began in 2008 but would not specify exactly how many have been performed or how much they cost. She said only that Cuban doctors working with Belgian counterparts have gotten to "less than half" of the 30 islanders approved to undergo the procedure. Cuba identified 122 people who wanted to have sex changes in 1979 and performed the first successful operation nine years later, but subsequent sex-change procedures were prohibited, Castro added. The operations are covered by Cuba's universal health care system, even though some have protested the decision to allow them — either because of general opposition to the procedure or due to its high costs for a developing country with economic problems. "We schedule a certain number per year based on economic circumstances," Castro said, adding that, because of budget constraints, sex changes are not offered to foreigners who travel to Cuba for medical care. Castro also said Tuesday that she plans to prepare a letter to the leadership of Cuba's Communist Party urging authorities to draft a measure directing that homosexuals not be barred from joining the party. Such a decree would be similar to one approved in the 1990s expressly allowing Cubans of all religious affiliations to join. Gays are not technically banned from the Communist Party, but Castro said such a measure would help better cement their role in politics. Castro also said her center will continue to push the single-party government to rewrite civil codes and recognize same-sex unions, though not full gay marriage. However, she said the group has stopped pushing for same-sex couples to be allowed to adopt children, saying Cuba's legal code provides no means for such a move.

Happy Martin Luther King Day


Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King

On November 2, 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.  It was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986. The bill established the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission to oversee observance of the holiday, and Coretta Scott King was made a member of this commission for life by President George H. W. Bush in May, 1989.
King´s main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the United States, which has enabled more Americans to reach their potential. As we celebrate MLK Day, The Americano wants to remember the famous “I have a Dream” Speech in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. At the end of the text we are including some video footage of the speech. Happy MLK Day!

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.
We cannot turn back.
There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”2
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

See the video footage of the speech

ShareThis

S:The Americano




Los cubanos no creen más en la sonrisa de Obama

19 de Enero de 2010, 04:34pm ET

LA HABANA, 18 Ene 2010 (AFP) -

Cuando Barack Obama entró en la Casa Blanca, Matilde, de 73 años, casi bailó ilusionada creyendo que al fin habría un cambio en la relación con Cuba; un año después, cree que "la fajazón" con Estados Unidos "no tiene arreglo", un sentir muy extendido entre los cubanos.
"Yo estaba muy esperanzada. Vino con buenas intenciones, pero no gobierna solo, tiene que ajustarse. Su cara no es la misma. No ha hecho nada para que le dieran el Premio Nobel de la Paz, es pura fanfarria", dice a la AFP esta educadora jubilada.
Aunque contenta porque Obama levantó algunas restricciones del embargo, no espera mucho más. "Con Cuba empezó bien, pero se paró, también porque aquí el gobierno no cede. Todo va a seguir igual. Mucha ilusión y la realidad es otra", añadió.
Desde canales estadounidenses captados en sus televisores con antena ilegal o en algunos hoteles o centros nocturnos, con TV cable, muchos cubanos como Matilde siguieron la histórica llegada de un negro a la presidencia de Estados Unidos, undécimo inquilino de la Casa Blanca que Cuba ve en 50 años de revolución.

La isla estaba volcada con Obama. Hasta el líder comunista Fidel Castro tomó partido cuando disputó las elecciones, lo elogió, y Washington y La Habana, sin relaciones diplomáticas desde 1961, dos años después del triunfo de la revolución, iniciaron una muy corta luna de miel.
Tres meses después de asumir el poder, Obama se ganó más aún simpatías cuando anunció una "nueva era" en la relación con Cuba y eliminó las restricciones al envío de remesas a la isla y a los viajes del millón y medio de cubanos que viven en Estados Unidos, sobre todo en Florida.
Washington quitó una pantalla de noticias en su misión diplomática en La Habana que irritaba a las autoridades cubanas. En correspondencia, el gobierno retiró el centenar de grandes banderas negras que puso para cubrirla.
Pero en los últimos tiempos, la confrontación volvió a subir de tono. Fidel lo acusó de "hipocresía" y "cinismo, y su hermano Raúl, que lo relevó en 2006, de no renunciar "a destruir la revolución" y generar un cambio de régimen en la isla.
"Ha demostrado que no es el presidente del cambio. Su discurso no juega con sus acciones. Su sonrisa parecía sincera, pero no se le ve un interés verdadero en mejorar las relaciones con Cuba", dijo Claudia Aguilar, que pronto ingresará a la universidad.
Desempleado de 43 años, Rogelio es también pesimista. "Relaciones nunca van a existir, a ellos aquí y a allá les conviene esta guerrita de amor. A estas alturas solo deseo que alivie la crisis por allá, así mi familia puede seguir ayudándome".
Julio, de 39 años, quien trabaja en un puesto de meriendas en el popular barrio del Cerro, simplifica en cubano: "¿Qué coño ha hecho? Es negro de piel pero blanco de alma. No me hables de Obama".
La opinión de José Miguel, un afilador de tijeras de 63 años, está al día. "No me explico cómo dará 100 millones de dólares a Haití cuando está invirtiendo para la guerra, ni cómo le da participación en un fondo de ayuda a (el ex presidente George) Bush, que tuvo una política criminal. Todo es una farsa", comentó.
Para Irene, médica alergista de 59 años, hay que entender que Obama "tiene que ir contra grandes monstruos" en su país. "Había en Cuba mucha expectativa, pero yo vivo con los pies en la tierra", aseguró.
"Yo no veo voluntad ni con Obama ni con Raúl. Ya llevan en esto 50 años y van a seguir así hasta que venga la juventud y diga basta. Esta fajazón no tiene arreglo", agrega Matilde.
"Fajazón" es una guerra amor-odio. Y eso es lo que parece definir la visión de Estados Unidos que se tiene en Cuba, donde el "american way of life" entra no solo por la antena ilegal, sino también por la televisión estatal, con series como "Grey's Anatomy", y en cuyas calles se ve a gente en camisetas con la bandera del "imperialismo" o uniformes de equipos de las Grandes Ligas de béisbol.

F:Univisión

Difícil arranque nuevos lazos entre EEUU y América Latina
 
 


Barack Obama. (Foto Ansa)
WASHINGTON.- El presidente de Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, tardó poco tiempo en enviar un mensaje de reconciliación a los países de América Latina, pero la crisis de Honduras, junto a los vaivenes de la relación con Cuba, bloqueó los intentos de la Casa Blanca por acercarse en mejores condiciones al resto de la región.
A mediados de abril último, pocas semanas después de haber entrado a la Casa Blanca -adonde llegó el 20 de enero del 2009-, Obama fue el centro de atención de la Cumbre de las Américas en Trinidad y Tobago. Allí, el entonces flamante presidente prometió poner en marcha "un nuevo comienzo" de las relaciones con América Latina, dañadas por los ocho años de unilateralismo político de su predecesor, el republicano George W. Bush.
Pero poco después, el derrocamiento en junio del presidente de Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, volvió a tensar duramente las relaciones de Washington con las capitales latinoamericanas.
Obama tardó poco en condenar el golpe de estado en Tegucigalpa, pero se cuidó de calificarlo como una asonada militar, por lo cual las sanciones contra el país centroamericano fueron leves.
Luego, la ambigua danza diplomática de Estados Unidos alrededor de las condiciones para desatar la crisis en Honduras terminó de demostrar que Washington no estaba todavía listo para un cambio drástico de sus relaciones con el subcontinente.
En esas mismas semanas, Estados Unidos logró renovar un acuerdo con Colombia para utilizar bases militares en ese país sudamericano, despertando las iras de Venezuela, el desaliento de Brasil y la desconfianza del resto del Cono Sur.
F:LaJornada/ANSA

Alerta: Breaking News...

New 6.1-quake hits Haiti, people flee into streets

Earthquake survivor Hotteline Lozama, 26, shakes hands with a rescuer as she was AP – Earthquake survivor Hotteline Lozama, 26, shakes hands with a rescuer as she was pulled out from the …
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A powerful new earthquake struck Haiti on Wednesday, shaking buildings and sending screaming people running into the streets only eight days after the country's capital was devastated by an apocalyptic quake. The magnitude-6.1 temblor was the largest aftershock yet to the Jan. 12 quake. It was not immediately clear if it caused additional injuries or damage to weakened buildings. Wails of terror rose from frightened survivors as the earth shuddered at 6:03 a.m. The U.S. Geologic Survey said the quake was centered about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of Port-au-Prince and was 13.7 miles (22 kilometers) below the surface. Last week's magnitude-7 quake killed an estimated 200,000 people in Haiti, left 250,000 injured and made 1.5 million homeless, according to the European Union Commission. A massive international aid effort has been struggling with logistical problems, and many Haitians are still desperate for food and water. Still, search-and-rescue teams have emerged from the ruins with some improbable success stories — including the rescue of 69-year-old ardent Roman Catholic who said she prayed constantly during her week under the rubble. Ena Zizi had been at a church meeting at the residence of Haiti's Roman Catholic archbishop when the Jan. 12 quake struck, trapping her in debris. On Tuesday, she was rescued by a Mexican disaster team. Zizi said after the quake, she spoke back and forth with a vicar who also was trapped. But he fell silent after a few days, and she spent the rest of the time praying and waiting. "I talked only to my boss, God," she said. "I didn't need any more humans." Doctors who examined Zizi on Tuesday said she was dehydrated and had a dislocated hip and a broken leg. Elsewhere in the capital, two women were pulled from a destroyed university building. And near midnight Tuesday, a smiling and singing 26-year-old Lozama Hotteline was carried to safety from a collapsed store in the Petionville neighborhood by the French aid group Rescuers Without Borders. Crews at the cathedral recovered the body of the archbishop, Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, who was killed in the Jan. 12 quake. Authorities said close to 100 people had been pulled from wrecked buildings by international search-and-rescue teams. Efforts continued, with dozens of teams hunting through Port-au-Prince's crumbled homes and buildings for signs of life. But the good news was overshadowed by the frustrating fact that the world still can't get enough food and water to the hungry and thirsty. "We need so much. Food, clothes, we need everything. I don't know whose responsibility it is, but they need to give us something soon," said Sophia Eltime, a 29-year-old mother of two who has been living under a bedsheet with seven members of her extended family. The World Food Program said more than 250,000 ready-to-eat food rations had been distributed in Haiti by Tuesday, reaching only a fraction of the 3 million people thought to be in desperate need. The WFP said it needs to deliver 100 million ready-to-eat rations in the next 30 days, but it only had 16 million meals in the pipeline. Even as U.S. troops landed in Seahawk helicopters Tuesday on the manicured lawn of the ruined National Palace, the colossal efforts to help Haiti were proving inadequate because of the scale of the disaster. Expectations exceeded what money, will and military might have been able to achieve. So far, international relief efforts have been unorganized, disjointed and insufficient to satisfy the great need. Doctors Without Borders says a plane carrying urgently needed surgical equipment and drugs has been turned away five times, even though the agency received advance authorization to land. A statement from Partners in Health, co-founded by the deputy U.N. envoy to Haiti, Dr. Paul Farmer, said the group's medical director estimated 20,000 people are dying each day who could be saved by surgery. "TENS OF THOUSANDS OF EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS NEED EMERGENCY SURGICAL CARE NOW!!!!!" the group said in the statement. The reasons are varied: • Both national and international authorities suffered great losses in the quake, taking out many of the leaders best suited to organize a response. • Woefully inadequate infrastructure and a near-complete failure in telephone and Internet communications have complicated efforts to reach millions of people forced from their homes. • Fears of looting and violence have kept aid groups and governments from moving as quickly as they would like. • Pre-existing poverty and malnutrition put some at risk even before the quake hit. Governments have pledged nearly $1 billion in aid, and thousands of tons of food and medical supplies have been shipped. But much remains trapped in warehouses, or diverted to the neighboring Dominican Republic. Port-au-Prince's nonfunctioning seaport and many impassable roads complicate efforts to get aid to the people. Aid is being turned back from the single-runway airport, where the U.S. military has been criticized by some of poorly prioritizing flights. The U.S. Air Force said it had raised the facility's daily capacity from 30 flights before the quake to 180 on Tuesday. About 2,200 U.S. Marines established a beachhead west of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday to help speed aid delivery, in addition to 9,000 Army soldiers already on the ground. Lt. Cmdr. Walter Matthews, a U.S. military spokesman, said helicopters were ferrying aid from the airport into Port-au-Prince and the nearby town of Jacmel as fast as they could. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the military will send a port-clearing ship with cranes aboard to Port-au-Prince to remove debris that is preventing many larger aid ships from docking. The U.N. was sending in reinforcements as well: The Security Council voted Tuesday to add 2,000 peacekeepers to the 7,000 already in Haiti, and 1,500 more police to the 2,100-strong international force. "The floodgates for aid are starting to open," Matthews said at the airport. "In the first few days, you're limited by manpower, but we're starting to bring people in." The WFP's Alain Jaffre said the U.N. agency hoped to help 100,000 people by Wednesday. Hanging over the entire effort was an overwhelming fear among relief officials that Haitians' desperation would boil over into violence. "We've very concerned about the level of security we need around our people when we're doing distributions," said Graham Tardif, who heads disaster-relief efforts for the charity World Vision. The U.N., the U.S. government and other organizations have echoed such fears. Occasionally, those fears have been borne out. Looters rampaged through part of downtown Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, just four blocks from where U.S. troops landed at the presidential palace. Hundreds of looters fought over bolts of cloth and other goods with broken bottles and clubs. USGS geophysicist Bruce Pressgrave said nobody knows if a still-stronger aftershock is possible. "Aftershocks sometimes die out very quickly," he said. "In other cases they can go on for weeks, or if we're really unlucky it could go on for months" as the earth adjusts to the new stresses caused by the initial quake. ___ Associated Press writers contributing include Paul Haven, Michael Melia, Jonathan M. Katz, Michelle Faul and Vivian Sequera in Port-au-Prince; medical writer Margie Mason in Hanoi, Vietnam; Charles J. Hanley in Mexico City; Lori Hinnant in New York; Tales Azzoni in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations; and Seth Borenstein, Pauline Jelinek, Anne Flaherty and Jennifer Loven in Washington.                                                                                   
Una réplica de magnitud 6.1 sacude Haití
PUERTO PRÍNCIPE — Un fuerte seísmo de magnitud 6.1 sacudió este miércoles a Haití, ocho días después de que la ciudad fuera arrasada por un terremoto más fuerte. El terremoto se registró a las 06H03 (11H03 GMT), a 59 kilómetros al oeste de Puerte Príncipe y a una profundidad de 9,9 kilómetros, informó el Instituto Geológico de Estados Unidos. En la capital se sintió primero una leve vibración seguida por un fuerte temblor. Los periodistas de AFP en Puerto Príncipe no constataron nuevos daños o víctimas, pero oyeron un crujido que sugería el derrumbe de alguno de los edificios que resultaron dañados en el primer temblor. En la cercana ciudad de Petionville, el personal de AFP dijo que el temblor se sintió durante diez segundos. El terremoto del 12 de enero tuvo una magnitud 7,0 y se calcula que mató de 100.000 a 200.000 personas.
Un haitiano mira a la cámara durante la llegada de marines estadounidenses a Leogane.
Mapa