Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spanish Artists for a Free Cuba

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
According to the AFP:

Spanish artists launch 'platform for democracy' in Cuba
MADRID — Spanish artists and intellectuals, including Oscar-winning film-maker Pedro Almodovar, Wednesday launched an initiative to press for democracy in Cuba.

"The Platform for Spaniards for the Democratization of Cuba" aims to defend "the basic and essential human rights" of the people of the communist-ruled island and help them choose between "democracy and totalitarianism."

"We Spaniards well know that nothing can justify lack of freedom," the manifesto said, referring to the 1939-75 dictatorship in Spain of Francisco Franco.

The initiative came just days before an EU-Latin America summit in Madrid during which the question of Cuba will be discussed.

Signatories to the platform called on the Spanish government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to drop its policy of rapprochement with Cuba, which they said had led to "no result."
Spain, which holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU, has been at the forefront of efforts to boost relations with Cuba, a former Spanish colony.

Spain's Socialist government wants the EU to modify its 1996 common position on Cuba, which links dialogue to freedoms and human rights on the island, arguing it has yielded few results.The EU suspended ties with Cuba after a major roundup of 75 dissidents in March 2003, but resumed aid cooperation in 2008. Spain and Cuba renewed ties in 2007.

Besides Almodovar, other celebrities signing the manifesto were Spanish-Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa and Spanish actress Victoria Abril.

The new platform "may seem like a small gesture but for those who resist the dictatorship in difficult, even heroic, conditions, it is something very important," Vargas Llosa told a news conference called to launch the initiative.

May 12, 2010

Spain's Repsol reportedly ready to resume oil exploration of Cuba's northern waters

The Spanish oil company Repsol-YPF will again explore the waters off Cuba, after suspending a previous survey six years ago, the e-zine reported Wednesday.
(logo) Repsol has leased a platform from the Italian oil company Eni to make some deep-water perforations, said. The rig is being built in China.
In 2004, Repsol and the state-owned Cupet did some exploration and found good-quality reserves but did not go forward with extraction.
The U.S. Geological Survey believes that Cuba's offshore fields contain about 4.6 billion barrels of crude and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
At present, the island obtains half of its oil needs from land-based wells and gets the rest from Venezuela at favorable prices.
Cuba has 59 exploration blocks in the Gulf of Mexico, of which 17 have been leased to companies including Repsol, Malaysia's Petronas, Brazil's Petrobras, Venezuela's PDVSA, and PetroVietnam.
Posted by Renato Perez at 04:48 PM in Economy & Trade, The World, Venezuela
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May 11, 2010

Florida refunds Cuba charterers $364,500 for costs incurred fighting Rivera bond bill

The state of Florida last week paid a total of $364,500 to 13 travel agencies that provide charter flights to Cuba.
(fot2) The money was paid as reimbursement for legal expenses the agencies incurred while challenging – and eventually defeating – legislation that would have forced them to pay a substantial amount in safety guarantees.
Federal judge Alan S. Gold ordered the payment two months ago, after finding that certain amendments to the law that regulates flights to Cuba were unconstitutional. The amendments, introduced by state representative David Rivera (photo at top), required the agencies to post a one-time bond (fot1) ranging from $100,000 to $250,000 for flying to Cuba, because Cuba is on the State Department's list of nations that sponsor terrorism. The current deposit is $25,000.
Judge Gold ruled last year that "the state of Florida is not entitled to adopt a foreign policy under our Constitution or interfere with the exclusive prerogative of the United States to establish a carefully balanced approach to relations with foreign countries, including Cuba."
Ira Kurzban, the (fot3) agencies' attorney, said that some "legislators are doing things for the wrong political reasons and that's costing [Florida] a lot of money.
In a state that clearly lacks funds to educate its children, those legislators are out of control."
For more, in El Nuevo Herald, click here.
Posted by Renato Perez at 04:16 PM in Travel, U.S.-Cuba relations
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S:Cuban Colada 
Penn postpones trip to Cuba planned to premiere "Milk"
Sean Penn with his Oscar award

HAVANA - U.S. actor Sean Penn visited Cuba in  About two months after excuse to attend the presentation of the film "Milk" on the day against homophobia which celebrates the island, said Tuesday sexologist Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raul Castro.
"I  said that within two months he returned to Cuba, because (for now) is working with a foundation in Haiti, "said Mariela Castro, III inaugurated on Tuesday the National Day Against Homophobia, which develop for a week.
The director of the Center also National Sex Education (CENESEX) said he regretted that Penn can not attend the May 18 release of "Milk" starring, of filming commitments in America, but when traveling to Cuba "We put the movie and make a discussion" with his presence.
"I  said returning to the United States to film, and (...) that when return was interested in contact to see what Cenesex we can think of each other. We'll see! "He said sexologist, 47.
To the  Cenesex front and the back of his father, Mariela Castro leading a crusade against homophobia and for the rights of homosexuals, who were marginalized in the 1960s and 1970s  the communist island.
The actor was last October to meet with Cuban leader Fidel Castro and write a story for Vanity Fair on how it has affected Cuba's government U.S. President Barack Obama.
Penn, who won his second  Oscar in 2009 for his portrayal of Harvey Milk, a recognized leader  U.S. gay community, interviewed in November 2008 Cuban President Raul Castro.
The interview, which lasted for about seven hours, was later published in the United States  by the magazine "The Nation" and had great international repercussion.

In the Box...

foto Cuba Debate

U.S. grants visa to Silvio Rodriguez
Shows - Wednesday, 12 May (13:25 hrs.)

  • The Cuban singer made his first tour in 30 years several cities in North America

The online Financial
Miami, May 12 .- The United States granted a visa to songwriter Silvio Rodriguez for his first tour in 30 years several cities in this country, local media reported Monday.
"They approved the visa Silvio's wife, daughter and some members group, "he told El Nuevo Herald, Bill Martinez, a lawyer based in  San Francisco, responsible for visa processing.
Rodriguez, 63, does not visit the American Union since 1980, when he made a "tour" with colleague Pablo Milanes, also founder of the Nueva Trova.
The singer is scheduled to perform June 4 at Carnegie Hall in New York. The musician first performed there in 1978.
Rodriguez, considered "The Voice of the Revolution" Cuba, but in Sometimes criticism made about the reality of the country, also has scheduled to perform in San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as Puerto Rico, where he gave a "show" in 1997.
Last year the U.S. government did not respond in time a visa petition Rodriguez, for a presentation in a tribute American musician Pete Seeger for his 90 years in New York.
Rodriguez said later in a newspaper Cuban feel "as locked and discriminated against by other governments, "U.S..
Before Rodriguez's trip to Miami (capital of Cuban exiles) have  raised some voices like Alina Brouwer, daughter of award-winning composer Leo Brouwer, who sent a letter to Secretary of State U.S. Hillary Clinton in criticizing those trips that have become frequent in the administration of President Barack Obama.
The ballerina Alicia Alonso, director of the National Ballet, has received an invitation to a tribute on June 3 at the American Ballet Theatre in New York for his 90th birthday.
Last year, the legendary singer Omara Portuondo received the visa for the Latin Grammy ceremony in Las Vegas, which won the category of Best Tropical Album of Music. (With information Notimex / MCH)

Cuba police detain 30 women at Havana protest

About 30 ''Ladies in White'' were stopped on the march in Havana
Cuban police have detained wives and mothers of political dissidents at a demonstration in the capital, Havana.
About 30 members of the "Ladies in White" were stopped as they marched alongside the mother of a prisoner who died last month after a hunger strike.
They were demanding the release of some 50 government critics who are still being held after mass arrests in 2003.
The BBC understands that most of the women detained in Havana were released shortly afterwards.
Orlando Zapata Tamayo was the first Cuban activist to starve himself to death in protest in nearly 40 years.
The case of Zapata, declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, drew international condemnation and calls for the immediate release of all Cuba's detained dissidents.
Cuba's authorities have gone on the offensive, both at home and abroad, since the international outcry, the BBC's Michael Voss reports from Havana.
Ladies in White
Wednesday's protest was the third held this week by the Ladies in White (Las Damas de Blanca) to mark the anniversary of the crackdown in the one-party Communist state seven years ago.
Government supporters heckle the Ladies in White (17 March 2010)
Government supporters heckled the women at the beginning of the march
The women were heckled by hundreds of government supporters as they left a church in the Parraga neighbourhood with Reyna Luisa Tamayo, who alleges that her son was tortured in jail and that his death amounted to premeditated murder.
Police officers and interior ministry agents later asked the women to end their march and take shelter in two government buses. After they repeatedly refused, several female officers moved in and put them on to the buses by force.
The Cuban government describes the dissidents as common criminals who were paid by the US to destabilise the country.
Thursday is the anniversary of the mass arrests in 2003, our correspondent notes.
The majority of those detained remain behind bars. The anniversary would probably have passed unnoticed but for the death of Zapata, he adds.
When the European Parliament voted last week to condemn his death, Cuba responded by launching a counter attack on the EU.
Highly critical articles have appeared on the front page of the official newspaper Granma almost every day since then.
Police brutality in Europe was the latest headline, while racism, unemployment and poverty in Europe were others, our correspondent says.
The EU had pushed for a policy of engagement and dialogue with the communist-run island, in contrast to the US trade embargo.
For the moment that approach appears to have run into a brick wall, our correspondent says.

In the Box...

BE THE accused of complicity with drug "traffickers",   Los Zetas and Espionage
(5-12-10-5:20 PM)
The Cuban Boris Alonso del Valle, a former adviser Security the present municipal administration Municipality of Benito Juarez,  in Quintana Roo and currently an inmate of a prison high security, had access and control of information obtained with intervention countless phone calls performed in three centers of intelligence.
 With reason for the extradition of former Governor of Mexican State Quintana Roo Mario Villanueva (Pictured at left), States United, is back in Mexico to uncover the madhouse that the Cuban tyranny has been trying desperately to keep covered, distributing money to  hands full, it is undeniable that the Cuban regime has sunk to the neck with this famous case of drug trafficking, the main accused, several months was a fugitive from Mexican justice, hiding in Cuba.
From the March 6 past añ 2009, has been detained in Mexico, Cuba Boris Alonso Valley, better known as "Boris" the woman's nephew  of major tyrant of Cuba, Dalia Soto del Valle and agent of the Security and Cuban intelligencePlaced in Mexico through contacts between the Cuban tyranny and the then Governor of Quintana Roo, Mario Villanueva.
This was the statement published by the Federal Attorney of the Republic of Mexico at the opportunity:
Makes statement SIEDO Boris Alonso del Valle (A) "THE Boris "
Friday, March 6, 2009 | Press
Statement 242/09
Attorney General's Office
Mexico City

Derived from a location and order rotated presentation by the prosecutor of the Federation of Unit Specialized Research of Crimes Against Health, the Attorney-General Special Investigation into Organized Crime (SIEDO), was achieved  the arrest and made available by elements of the Army and personal Federal Police, the Valley Boris Alonso (a) "Boris", who is served as adviser to the municipality of Benito Juárez, Quintana Roo.
It is determined that Del Valle is Alonso related with the criminal group known as "Los Zetas", since along with Francisco  Gerardo Velasco Delgado (a) "The Viking", former director of Public Safety Benedict Juarez, Quintana Roo, providing protection and information to members that organization also is known that "Boris" has made various financial movements in European countries.
The AMPF SIEDO continue the proceedings concerned and determined in the coming hours the situation Legal Boris Alonso del Valle, under the terms established by law.
Source: General Directorate of Social Communication. Attorney General's Office (PGR).
For Cuban tyranny then did not speak of the other activities the nephew of confidence of the Cuban tyrant's wife, who related to other financial activities and intelligence which resulted from enormous   benefits to the tyranny of his uncle, but now, stirred  the crap, it begins to break through the truth of the activities of this spyware and Castro agent in Mexico.
Now read the new information supplied by the newspaper "This" of Quintana Roo, in its issue of last April 25:
"CANCUN, MX .- The Cuban Boris Alonso del Valle, a former security advisor present municipal administration and currently an inmate of a prison high security had access and control of information obtained with intervention countless phone calls being made by three intelligence centers, whose fate has been linked to organized crime. Even would have been the one who led the operation of such centers in its infancy.
Boris Alonso Valley currently is subject to the investigation of the espionage network, according to federal reports  which is linked directly to José Manuel Vera Salinas, indicated as the main operator, and who designed the spy apparatus against hundreds of affected people whose claims are part of the research such intelligence centers. 
Boris  of Alonso del Valle was part of the mayor's staff with license Gregorio Sanchez Martinez (pictured), who appointed him as adviser   City public safety.
By Thus, Alonso Valley had a close relationship with Francisco Velasco Delgado "Viking" and constantly visited the premises of Public Safety and  prison of this city. According to federal reports after discovery three houses that served as centers of espionage, Boris Alonso del Valle   was responsible for making the purchases of equipment used for intervention phone calls.
Of there could to turn the investigation initiated by the Attorney General  of (PGR), as it has been proven that intelligence centers had operating time and through them, it is believed that General Mauro Enrique Tello Quinones was involved in telephone communications.
With the telephone taps, location and general movements and  their conversations with his superiors in Mexico City, were known   perfectly through espionage centers were operated by  José Manuel Vera Salinas and other elements of Public Safety, with José Manuel Vera who reported Salinas Valley Boris Alonso.
The morning February 2 last year, the General was executed Tello Quiñones  together with two of his associates and by the way in which the three were "Raised" First, the criminal group that committed the triple execution knew perfectly General movements and people close
It previous as was evident when the body of General Tello Quinones was found, had a cut on his forearm (he had nowhere else such cuttings), almost surgically fact, this section was where he was staying chip   satellite locator, which carried by its hierarchy Tello Quiñones (And risk of the mission he had commissioned on the mafia that operates in Public Safety) in the Ministry of National Defense, and that knowledge probably on the chip was obtained through the interception calls General Tello Quinones with high-level people in the area of security.
By Thus, addition to the offense of interception of private communications, PGR could add organized crime.
Boris  of Alonso Valle was arrested in March 2009, by elements of   Army and Federal Police International Airport City Mexico.
He was then taken to the Federal Public Ministry assigned to  the Deputy Attorney Specialized Investigation of Crime Organized (SIEDO) who had issued an order of location and presentation.
Days  then the PGR announced that a federal judge granted the protective measure hold for 40 days against Alonso Del Valle, to be investigated by crime organized crime, to health and those that result.
To the be fulfilled 40 days of arraignment, Del Valle Alonso was referred to a judge federal and then formally declared a prisoner. Currently is under process in the maximum security prison "The Corner" on Tepic Nayarit.
After  have been arrested in the capital's airport, the PGR said that according to Research by the SIEDO by the implementation of General Tello Quinones, Del Valle was established that Alonso was linked with group "Los Zetas" and together with Francisco Velasco Delgado (a) "The Viking" (In photo left), former director of Public Safety offered protection and information to members of that organization.
But also in this research also surfaced that "Boris" had been several movements financial European countries.
Boris Alonso Valle (a)  "The Boris "was also in charge of the operation of the prison Cancun in the hands of Marco Antonio Mejía López by direct connect with Martin Vazquez Villanueva (a) "Black."
Sources inside the criminal revealed that although physically only twice recall having seen Cuban-Mexican criminal offices, the former governor had contact direct with him by Francisco Velasco Delgado (a) "The Viking" which reached the detention center on the pretext of supervising their elements guard prison. 
This is confirmed that power granted by the mayor, Gregorio Sanchez Martinez,  its security adviser, named Boris Alonso del Valle, was beyond simple suggestions of what to do and what not to improve safety in Cancun.
Both Public Safety  as jail were obeyed the orders of the Cuban-Mexican, much more above principals of both areas.
The sources of the center prison who were consulted about what kind of relationship had the ex Marco Antonio Mejia governor Boris Lopez del Valle Alonso revealed that remember having seen this character only in two occasions in of criminal and that the first was only when the director took possession relieve post after Juvenal Reyes Marrufo.
However, they argue that who else came to the prison was Francisco Velasco Delgado (a) "The Viking", which met with the director, Marco Antonio Mejia, although these "meetings" only were at a few minutes and which also featured Martin Villanueva.
With the discovery of the centers spy now investigating whether these movements were part of the financial shopping technological equipment of Israeli origin for action communications it is known that Alonso Del Valle was in charge of such purchases"
Research   Action taken by New show that it Boris Alonso Valle (a) "Boris" was in charge of the operation of the prison of Cancun in the hands of Marco Antonio Mejía By Lopez direct connect with Martin Vasquez Villanueva (a) "The Black"(In the photo left).
Sources inside the prison, found that  although physically only twice remember having seen the Cuban-Mexican the offices of the criminal, the former governor had direct contact with him through Francisco Velasco Delgado (a) "The Viking" coming to downtown seclusion under the pretext of supervising its elements guarding the prison.
This confirms that the power granted by the mayor, Gregorio Sánchez Martínez, his advisor concerning security, nephew of the wife of Fidel Castro, went beyond simple suggestions of what to do and what not to improve security in Cancun. Both Public Safety in prison as they obeyed the orders of the Cuban  much more above the heads of both areas.
The sources of the prison that were consulted about what kind of relationship did the former warden Antony Mejía Boris Lopez del Valle Alonso, revealed that this character remember having seen him only twice within the prison and that first them was only when the director took office after relieving  to Juvenal Reyes Marrufo.
However, most say that whoever came the criminal Velasco was Francisco Delgado (a) "The Viking", which met with director, Marco Antonio Mejia, although these "boards" were only for a few few minutes and which also featured Martin Villanueva.
Another thing not mentioned in the Mexican press charges or current is the fact it was through this nephew of Fidel Castro that achieved the arrangement between the Zetas and the Cuban government to use boats Fast and drug routes to smuggle Cubans Island, paying a good Gavela (Part Three) Castro officials. Also is silent, an element that is handled between the Mexican intelligence, that part or all data from a Mexican politicians and personalities through listening system installed by the offender, went to Cuba, for benefit of the Cuban intelligence agencies, and also ensures  that part of the equipment purchased high-tech listening to Israel went to ended up in Cuba to be used against the Cuban opposition and even against gerontocracy own leaders enslaving the Cuban people.
This information gathered by the research team of New Action shows again reach of their tentacles and Intelligence agencies Cuban espionage in other countries like the U.S. ignored Olympian these serious incidents.
S: New Action /

LPP News Frist Draft...

In Cuba, Russian Tourists Peer Into Soviet Past

May 12, 2010
Audio for this story from Morning Edition will be available at approx. 9:00 a.m. ET
Tourists sit 
outside a bar in Old Havana
Javier Galeano/AP
Tourists sit outside a bar in Old Havana. The number of Russian tourists to the former Soviet Union's communist ally is expected to reach an all-time high of about 45,000 in 2010, with two direct flights added from Moscow and St. Petersburg. 

May 12, 2010
Communist Cuba once relied on the Soviet Union for its food, cars, oil and, of course, missiles. Now, as relations with Moscow warm up again, the island is angling for a new Russian export: tourists.
It's offering them a glimpse of a society that some Russians view with nostalgia.
When Russian tourists land in Havana, says translator Anice Rubio, they often start to cry. Not because they have been sitting on a plane for 12 hours, but because they are so sentimental about the Soviet Union's old Caribbean ally.
When they arrive at the airport, Rubio says, they often begin to sing: "Cuba, you are my love, you are like the red color."
Rubio grew up mostly in Moscow, but her parents are Cuban. She has been working in Cuba's tourism industry since the early 1990s, and this year, the number of Russian visitors is expected to grow to an all-time high, with two direct flights added from Moscow and St. Petersburg.
At a recent trade fair in Havana, Russia was the guest of honor. Held on the grounds of an 18th-century Spanish colonial fortress overlooking the city, the fair featured live Russian folk music and free shots of Stolichnaya vodka. Travel posters on the wall promoting Siberian forests and Russian snowboarding looked a little out of place on a tropical island that restricts its own citizens from traveling, just as the Soviets once did.
Anna Martynova, an official with Russia's Ministry of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy, says the number of Russian visitors to Cuba is projected to grow this year to 45,000 from 30,000 in 2009.
"Frankly, Cuba doesn't have shopping. Cuba doesn't have ... five-star, all-inclusives and everything. But Cuba offers a different thing," Martynova says.
Tourism companies in both countries are targeting Russians who like a little socialist melancholy with their sun and sand. Martynova says Russians want to experience a part of their own history that's still a bit unsettled.
"In a way, because there [are] not so many Russians who are nostalgic for the socialist stuff, but they just want to get a glimpse maybe from times long past and feel something inside, some bittersweet stuff," Martynova says.
U.S. travel restrictions still limit the number of American visitors. But those who do come often remark on the 1950s nostalgia of seeing old Chevrolets still cruising the streets of Havana, and classic hotels once favored by American mobsters.
The phenomenon is similar for Russians.
For some Russians, it's the sight of familiar Cuban products they remember from childhood, or the uniforms of smiling Cuban schoolchildren identifying them as communist "pioneers." Other elements, such as Cuba's ration-card system, aren't such fond memories.
Russian tourist Alexander Gureev, a bear-shaped saxophone player, says that as a child he studied the history of the Soviet Union and learned about its ally, Cuba.
"Now, I can look by myself, and it's a great pleasure for me," he says.
Flush-faced and sweating heavily in the tropical heat, Gureev had only been in the country for four days, but he says Cuba didn't seem nearly as grim as the Soviet system he was born into.
It's a warm place, near the United States, Gureev noted: "It's a good place for a fantastic rest."
Another visitor from Moscow says it's not that Russians want to go back to their Soviet system. But she says her compatriots now seem so consumed with earning money that there is little time for anything else. In Cuba, that is definitely not a problem.

Cuba / Public Health...

Cuba: 69 dead flu

Cuba reported 69 dead swine flu since the beginning of the epidemic and has vaccinated more than a million people to prevent the disease from spreading.

Havana, May 10 / AP / The Cuban weekly Workers circulating on the island on Monday reported that authorities recorded 1243 also confirmed cases.
Cuba reported so far at the Pan American Health 69 deaths from the H1N1 virus in the country.
The Cuban authorities released the April 1 campaign H1N1 influenza vaccination, encompassing 1.2 million people  selected because of their greater vulnerability.

The vaccine was donated by the World Health Organization and was provided free.


Vargas Llosa and Almodovar, campaigning for democracy in Cuba

More than 50 representatives from the world of culture participate in this initiative shows that arises after condemned the killing of dissident Orlando Zapata
Tuesday May 11, 2010 - 2:13 pm
Madrid (DPA). After online publication of the manifesto "I accuse the Cuban government after death of dissident Orlando Zapata personalities from the world of culture as Pedro Almodovar Mario  Vargas Llosa Jorge Semprun and prepare to give life to Spanish platform for democratization in Cuba.
As reported today in Madrid developers, the platform will presented in the Spanish capital tomorrow.
The goal is "to spur the mobilization of Spanish society to support the process of democratization in Cuba " said in a press release.
The platform will initially be composed of more than 60 representatives from the worlds of culture, among them the writer  Rosa Montero, Singer Alaska actor Imanol Arias and Concha Garcia Campoy journalist.
The manifesto "I accuse the Cuban government was signed in March by  More than 5,000 people, including singers Ana Belen and Victor Manuel, who demanded to Raul Castro regime that respects the rights  human on the island and immediately release the imprisoned dissidents.
The initiative was launched after the death of dissident Cuban on hunger strike Orlando Zapata, 23 February.
The manifesto condemned the death of Zapata, "wrongfully imprisoned  and brutally tortured in Castro's prisons "and" dead hunger strike to denounce these crimes and the lack of rights and democracy in their country. "