Thursday, May 20, 2010

APNewsBreak: US and Cuba Hold Talks on Oil Spill

U.S and Cuban officials are holding "working level" talks on how to respond to the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill that is believed to be dumping some 5,000 barrels of crude a day into the Gulf of Mexico, two State Department officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The talks add to signs of concern that strong currents could carry the slick far from the site of the spill, possibly threatening the Florida Keys and the pristine white beaches along Cuba's northern coast.
They are also a rare moment of cooperation between two countries locked in conflict for more than half a century.
"I can confirm that they are ongoing and going on at the working level," State Department Spokesman Gordon Duguid told reporters in Washington. "It is incumbent upon us to inform all of our neighbors, not just the islands, but those countries that could be affected by disasters that happen within our territorial waters."
Duguid said that the U.S. Interests Section in Havana also delivered a diplomatic note Wednesday informing the Cuban government about the spill and what is known about its projected movement. Washington maintains the Interest Section in Cuba instead of an embassy.
"We provided background related to the cause of the spill, stressed that stopping the oil leak is our top priority and explained the projected movement of the spill," Duguid said. "We also communicated the U.S. desire to maintain a clear line of communication with the Cuban government on developments."
It was not clear if the U.S. has offered assistance to Havana in the event the oil hits Cuban beaches, or if officials here would accept. In 2005, then-President Fidel Castro offered the U.S. medical assistance after Hurricane Katrina, including sending Cuban doctors to treat storm victims. The State Department declined the offer.
There was no immediate comment from Cuban authorities on the oil spill talks.
Also Wednesday, the Bahamian government said it would seek to recover costs from BP PLC — the oil giant that owns a majority interest in the blown well that caused the disaster — if the crude spill spreads to Bahamian waters and a clean-up operation is required.
"Any money that is spent in a possible clean-up the government would be looking to be reimbursed, and the entire exercise being paid for by BP," said Commander Patrick McNeil, head of the Bahama's National Oil Spill Contingency team.
Relations between the United States and Cuba are at a low, despite optimism that President Barack Obama would usher in a new spirit of cooperation. Still, the two countries have pushed to improve cooperation in dealing with natural disasters and fighting drug trafficking, and have resumed twice-yearly conversations on immigration.
Coast Guard officials from the two countries maintain regular contact on a variety of maritime issues.
Scientists have expressed increasing worry that the oil will get caught up in the so-called loop current, a ribbon of warm water that begins in the Gulf of Mexico and wraps around Florida. Some say the current could even draw the crude through the Keys and then up Florida's Atlantic Coast, where it could wash up around Palm Beach.
Yonggang Liu, a researcher at University of South Florida's College of Marine Science, told AP on Wednesday that if the oil is in the loop current, Cuba's north coast — some 480 miles (775 kilometers) southeast of the blown Deepwater Horizon platform — could also be endangered.
"The Florida Strait is very narrow," said Liu. "The local wind effect could bring the oil across the strait to Cuba."
Other USF marine researchers think there's also a possibility that the oil could flow directly to Cuba's northern shore before flowing back up to the Florida Keys.
The island's cash-strapped economy relies heavily on tourists, and most come for a chance to bask in the sun at white-sand beach resorts like Varadero along the northern coast. A loss of any of that income could be devastating, as Cuba is already reeling from the damage done by three 2008 hurricanes, as well as the effects of the global economic crisis.
Cuban state media has reported daily on the oil spill — and Fidel Castro decried the ecological disaster in an opinion piece as evidence the world's capitalist governments are in thrall to large corporations.
But authorities have been remarkably quiet about what effect the spill might have on the island.
Orlando Rey, an Environment Ministry scientist, said on May 5 that the spill did not appear to be a threat to Cuba, despite early reports the oil might get caught up in the loop.
But there has been no update since then, despite the growing alarm coming from U.S. scientific circles.
The government has not responded to a request from The Associated Press for more information, and officials at several Cuban maritime and meteorological institutes have said they have no further information.
Associated Press reporter Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg, Florida, Matthew Lee in Washington and Megan Reynolds in the Bahamas contributed to this report.

Cuba: Homosexuality continues to be "contrary to socialist morality"

pink-homosexuals-badge-nazi-concentration-camp-zHomosexuality in Cuba continues considered "a bourgeois state contrary to socialist morality," said  Alberto Roque yesterday, contributor to the National Sex Education Center  (CENESEX), directed by Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raul Castro. The Homosexuality was a crime in the island's Communist regime even until 1997, when it was decriminalized, however, said Roque, "the harassment by law enforcement continues. " Roque proposed developing a training plan for a group of policemen put  end to such behavior, proposed applauded by hundreds of gay and  lesbians who gathered at the Cine La Rampa in the capital.
Also, in this day Cuban homophobia, inaugurated by Mariela Castro, underwent a request that the statutes of the Cuban Communist Party (CCP) prohibit discrimination against homosexuals, which remain besieged by police.
Mariela Castro, who on reaching the official act out of the car with a big rainbow flag, recognized "This fight is difficult" because "thoughts coexist Advanced and also the most backward. "
"We are celebrating the third Cuban Day International Day Against Homophobia in many cities in this country and as we have seen this fight is difficult, " Mariela Castro said.
Homosexuality is pursued by Cuba's communist regime for decades, which even forced  intellectuals and artists away from universities and circles cultural island.
In 1997 scandal was eliminated as Public Criminal Code.
In 2008, the government approved sex change surgery, 20 years after being suspended following a first and only, which in turn generated much controversy.

Gay today called on Cubans government, during the day against homophobia, that they allow association and have their own spaces. "Homosexuals also we are children of the revolution. It would be good to start thinking about the meaning  group, "he said at a symposium Felix Perez, who was" president of a fledgling organization "of gays established in 2001 in Havana did not recognized by law. They met once a month on the street, where were chatting, until they were evicted by police. "We  a space. Although give it to us destroyed, we will build " ANSA said Perez.
Mariela Castro, director of the National Center Sex Education (CENESEX), said at the symposium, held at headquarters of the National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC), which "Fortunately this country's creativity allows being created specific areas, legal or illegal.
"Intelligently institutions should be legitimacy, "he added.
Creation gay and lesbian organizations will take place "when they arrive convincing proposals, "said the daughter of President Raul Castro, noting receipt of a proposal funded organization from Miami.
"Until they create new spaces or partnerships,  CENESEX is training activists, "he said. DFB

Monday, May 17, 2010 14:08 Ansa S: La Nueva Cuba - Cuban First Independent Newspaper on the Internet


Cuba suspends a baseball tournament for "high cost" economy

The announcement to hold a truncated series fans had claimed were done again this season
Fanáticos de béisbol discuten sobre su deporte favorito en La 
Baseball fans discuss their favorite sport in Havana.
The Cuban Baseball Federation (BCF) announced Wednesday suspension of the "Selective Series" by the high cost involved for  the national economy,''the conclusion of this tournament, which was to return this season after fifteen years unfulfilled.
That decision was motivated by "the reorganization that is taking place in the country''and lead to "a logical reduction of expenses related to baseball,''according to a note by the National Information Agency (AIN).
The so-called''Selective Series was held in Cuba in 1975 and 1995 and was a championship between teams from different regions of Cuba.
In 2010, upon completion of the National Series and before the claim of fans, it was announced they would return to organize the selective, which is truncated as announced on Wednesday.
The sports authorities of the island also justify the decision coincidence in timing with the World Cup South Africa 2010, as "a low profile obtained information on population'', and with other international tournaments such as baseball Harleem, Holland, Japan and the World University 2010.
Harleem The tournament is scheduled from 9 to 18 July and the World  University from July 30 until August 9 next.
They further indicated that the decision to suspend the tournament "Will focus the resources available''to the redevelopment in electric light towers of the stadium 'Latin' of the Havana, one of the headquarters of the Cuban baseball series, to be enabled for the upcoming National Series.
S: cubaencuentro