Monday, July 5, 2010

Cuba: Hunger striker may die

HAVANA - CUBA warned on Saturday that dissident hunger striker Guillermo Farinas was in danger of dying from a blood clot in his neck and may have reached the limits of medical treatment after more than four months without food.
He has rejected entreaties that he eat to save his life and will not be force fed, because medical ethics forbid it, said his lead doctor, Armando Caballero, in an interview in Granma, the newspaper of Cuba's ruling Communist Party.
'Today the patient has a dangerous potential of death, because it depends on the outcome of that clot,' said Dr. Caballero, who is head of intensive care at the hospital in the central city of Santa Clara, where Mr Farinas is being treated. 'I hope it disappears,' he said. The clot is being treated with antibiotics and anti-coagulants.
Dr. Caballero said the 48-year-old psychologist also has another in what has been a series of infections, which may make further intravenous feeding impossible.
'We are at the limits,' Dr. Caballero said. 'We are almost unable to feed him through another catheter because other complications could appear.' The Granma article appeared aimed at defusing international criticism if Mr Farinas died and perhaps signaling to him and his family that his situation is grave.
Farinas is in the 129th day of a hunger strike demanding the release of ailing political prisoners, but has been fed nutrients and liquids intravenously since entering the hospital on March 11 after collapsing at his home. -- REUTERS

Demolition Agenda Common Position : Moratinos to Cuba Garatinzar Deportation of Political Prisoners

moratinos-raul-castro-2007-zSpain, France and Italy , ready to welcome  dozens of convicts . Miguel Angel Moratinos traveled to Cuba today  with the objective of the authorities to finalize the details Castro the release of dozens of political prisoners more than 200 that exist in the country. The operation was designed in recent weeks in close contact with the Vatican and France and according to  Italy, which , together with Spain , would host much of the released , according to ABC sources known solvents.  This measure is to be referring to the Spanish Foreign Minister when the June 24 announced at a meeting with leaders of the PSOE would have a "Surprise "in the summer , which would make the Cuban question out  successful semester Spanish EU presidency .
To date eight
Moratinos will remain on the island until the next day 8 and will likely received by President Raul Castro. In addition, hold a meeting with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, and will meet with Cardinal Jaime Ortega , archbishop of Havana, whose contacts with Castro authorities have allowed the release of prisoners Ariel Sigler consciousness and Darsi Ferrer and the approach to prisons near their homes a dozen other opponents jailed.
For some time , the Spanish Government  maintains contacts with the Catholic Church to promote improved human rights in Cuba and advised , at the time, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone , when in late February 2008 he traveled to the island On 10 June, the Cuban question was present at the discussions after the visit to the Pope, by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, held in Rome the chief executive and Spanish Moratinos , with the proper Bertone, Vatican secretary of state , and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti , head of external relations of the Holy See, which soon after went to Cuba.
The date of 10 June was the key appears in the search for a gesture by the Castro regime  to try to clean up their image before Europe. That same morning , before moved to Rome , Moratinos had met in Paris with his Cuban colleague to try to convince him of the need to take some  initiative that would convince the more reluctant members that need to change the European Common Position .
That could rise to the idea of granting  parole to a large number of prisoners of conscience that are in Cuban prisons , many of them since they were  detained in the so-called Black Spring of 2003. In return, Cuban authorities have asked these people out of Island
Good response

The Spanish Government was a participant in the idea to the governments of France and Italy, who were willing  to host some of the dissidents who would be expelled , if they  accepted. The case was tried that day, not only in the Vatican but also in the talks for the first Zapatero Italian premier, Silvio Berlusconi. In fact , the very Zapatero, a somewhat cryptic, without giving details , he spoke of future joint actions in foreign policy with Italy.
Thus, by maintaining the project in the coming weeks Cuba could release a substantial  number of political prisoners is even talk of 60 or 70 - which apportioned by Spain , France and Italy. The formula put prisoners released on condition they leave Cuba and was used in  February 2008, when Spain hosted four of them , following Moratinos' efforts , but planteea some problems for the future of these persons in the host countries .
S: La Nueva Cuba - Cuban first independent newspaper in the Internet / translate LPPNEWS
Conrad 's father favors the " Charter 74 "and is hopeful dialogue with Raul Ortega

Written by Stated in the field   
Monday, July 5, 2010 9:54

The priest Jose Conrado Rodriguez , one of the most Catholic figures   criticism of the Cuban government , said talks between the ruling Raul Castro and the hierarchy of the Church gives a hope on  conditions of political prisoners .

By JUAN CARLOS CHAVEZ This email address is protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view

" I do not want to anticipate the results , but certainly I express my joy and cautious hope that all this effort achieved that, in order that arises is realized ,''said Conrad on Friday  El Nuevo Herald.
Conrad, 58, pastor of the Church of St. Therese of Child Jesus, in Santiago de Cuba, received the Award on Saturday in Geremek  the Polish city of Krakow. The prestigious award is given by civil society and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland  personalities who are known for their commitment to peace and citizen participation.
Conrad also welcomed the initiative of the Spanish Minister Foreign Affairs, Miguel Angel Moratinos , who will arrive to Cuba Monday to advocate for prisoners of conscience, and find new  ways to solve the crisis of human rights on the island.
"I think it makes me happy. The ethical issues that link human needs are the responsibility of everyone,'' said Conrad. "There is not an international issue when it touches human rights issue and the solution of problems affecting  people .''
The Catholic Church and the Cuban government began a dialogue on 19 May when Raul Castro met with Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino , archbishop of the Archdiocese of Havana, and President  Catholic Bishops Conference of Cuba, Monsignor Dionisio Garcia  Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, to address the issue of prisoners politicians.
As a result of the meetings , 12 prisoners have been transferred  to jails closer to their places of origin and was released Ariel Sigler Amaya , who is paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair.
"The Church is the most serious and firm attitude of helping ,''said  Conrad.
In February 2009 Conrad sent an open letter to Castro advocating for changes that put an end to the plight of the island. In September 1994 also addressed the then ruler Fidel Castro calling for discussion spaces and the holding of a referendum election .
Conrad said he hopes that the dialogue that now flows to higher  Level generate more releases of prisoners .
" I pray a lot for this situation to find a way out than for  good of everyone,'' he said. "We can not pass by that reality. The Church supports families and has provided support to prisoners in as they have opened the possibilities of visits and accompany them spiritually .''
However, many dissidents on the island believe that the fruits this dialogue should be more abundant and quickly. In turn, criticize dissent was not included in the negotiations.
On June 17 , the dissident Oswaldo Payá , Co-ordinator   Christian Liberation insisted in a statement entitled Transparency for the opposition in Cuba deserves to be heard and that  although Cuban Catholicism has matured in circumstances poverty and persecution, "no one should pretend to be a political actor the Church .''
Conrad rejected arguments that suggest that the Church has not been inclusive in this approach , while noting that " are not only spaces but are made .'' He said he had to be whereas patients is starting something,'' where before there there was nothing.''
"The Church is promoting understanding and initiating a process. No  easy in a situation like Cuba, where there is no official recognition to these organizations and intermediate groups ,'' said. "The Church is aware that is not the only one that will dialogue because that would supplant the real protagonist is  to be the people.''
Conrad said that the problems facing Cuba should be addressed and resolved ,'' according to proficiency levels everyone can contribute and offer .''
"The State is not going to solve everything because it obviously can not and is oversized ,''he said . " And finally, just for failing to resolve anything.''
He also said he decided to support the letter recently sent a group of 74 Cuban dissidents to the United States Congress demanding the release of trips made Americans to the island and the easing of the embargo.
The letter indicated that a shift in U.S. foreign policy  accelerate a transition and to sensitize public opinion the need for change .
"More than a precise and concrete manifestation was a way of saying that anything that helps open or participation, individuals and international law, must be supported ,''said Conrad.
The claim did not fail to cause controversy. Hundreds of dissidents and former political prisoners immediately asked Washington to keep restrictions , noting that opening only benefit ruling elite.
Conrad added that in these difficult times the ultimate goal is to support situations that will benefit most for  overcome the economic crisis and the daily hardships .
"We can not abandon that responsibility ,''he said .

S : Cuba Libre Digital / translation LPPNEWS -Last updated on Monday, July 5, 2010 9:59

Pizarro : They can not be two views on Fariñas

President of the Senate supported efforts of Government to end the hunger strike by Cuban dissident .
' No euphemisms used to disguise or camouflage a situation, " he said.

Should advocate for open spaces "for  dissent in Cuba that can be expressed as it is , " said.
The Senate President Jorge Pizarro DC,  supported the  work being done by the Government to end strike hunger of the Cuban dissident Guillermo FarinasAnd asked to put attention on the reasons for the demonstration.
ImagenIn conversation with El Diario de CooperativaPizarro clarified that what has been said " management is a front view Cuban government itself , which raises the concern first by Fariñas life and the need to seek ways of enabling Farina stop his hunger strike . "
" What you need to analyze is the more fundamental issue , why Fariñas is on hunger strike , and that happens by the existence in Cuba of prisoners who are detained by the regime to think differently and that's which I think is necessary to involve governments democratic " Pizarro said .
Thus, we must advocate for open spaces "so that the dissent Cuba can be expressed as it is democratically and peacefully, " and therefore " I feel good that Chile is constantly worried about what the rights human in any situation that is generated . "
Regarding the support of the Coalition for the efforts , said "When  there are issues that have to do with the lives of people with people's fundamental rights can not be two positions,  in this case not the euphemisms used to disguise or camouflage a situation. "
The bench of the Socialist Party , headed by Sergio Aguilo, also appreciated the efforts of the Government on ensuring Fariñas all you can do the current government "or other governments around the world for that is for us a very positive development . "
In matters of foreign affairs, said Pizarro so far has tried "to give continuity to what was Chile's foreign policy during the administrations of the Concertación and why it is right because it conforms a state policy external field is critical, " and the nuances may " be produced some differences in approach " to its existence .
On ratification of the treaty with Unasur in particular " I have the impression that the Government is a bit different visions , that the right has a slightly different visions and there must be reach an agreement that defines what will be the position of the country, "he said.
S: / translate LPPNEWS

Moratinos traveled to Cuba to accompany the "dialogue" regime and the Church but not see Fariñas

  • He will meet with the head of the Church Cuban Foreign Minister
  • There is no fixed agenda , but the main theme will be political prisoners
  • Calls to dissident to abandon their hunger strike 
  • F. SEVILLA ( Special Envoy  Cuba) / A. FERNANDEZ 05/07/2010 - 11:54 h
    A  content but officially visit without political content, is say, nothing is mentioned previously but is a series of gestures aimed at the liberation of Cuban political prisoners.
    Diplomatic sources insist that the goal is not Moratinos accompany another , that is the word used in the process mediation initiated by the Cuban Catholic Church with the Government to improve the situation of political prisoners with a view to their release.
    "I 'm going to work , to accompany the efforts and to obtain results, " stressed Moratinos in Madrid before departing for the Havana , to where it will depart this afternoon.
    Moratinos will meet both with the church hierarchy led by Cardinal Jaime Ortega and his counterpart , Bruno Rodriguez and is expected to is received at any time by President Raul Castro.
    The head of Spanish diplomacy comes at a time delicate state of health of dissident Guillermo Farinas on hunger strike for four months.
    Physicians who attend a Santa Clara hspital ensure  which can produce fatal.
    Fariñas is hunger strike for the deaths of fellow dissident Orlando Zapata who also staged a hunger strike, and requires the Government Cuban also release political prisoners with health problems .

    Moratinos called on to leave the Fariñas strike

    Moratinos has confirmed that it will meet FariñasBut embassy staff remains in contact consistent with its mother, the last time during this weekend .
    The  Foreign Minister has asked the dissident to leave their strike Hunger in finding that "has already achieved its goal of mean the situation of political prisoners in Cuba"Something therefore, in his view, "should feel satisfied. "
    Moratinos has also made a passionate defense of his policy of dialogue towards the island , although it has failed to change the common European position  during the Spanish Presidency .
    "There results not sufficient , but results"He stressed after recalling  that 17 of the 75 political prisoners arrested in 2003 have been released during the years he has headed the ministry.
    S: / Translation LPPNEWS

Cuba reports dissident near death, fails to mention hunger strike

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Cuba reports dissident near death, fails to mention hunger strike AFP/File – Cuban opposition activist Guillermo Farinas lies on a couch at his home in Santa Clara, Cuba in March …
HAVANA (AFP) – In unprecedented coverage of a dissident's protest, the Communist Party daily Granma reported Saturday Guillermo Farinas could soon die -- without mentioning his hunger strike urging that all political prisoners be freed has left him near death.
Farinas' mother, Alicia Hernandez, confirmed to AFP her 48-year-old son's delicate condition, but said he was "standing firm" and would continue his hunger strike, now 130 days on, until Cuba frees ailing jailed dissidents.
The Granma report cited a doctor as saying Farinas had a blood clot in his jugular vein. It was rehashed in a shorter version on the official television news, again without the context of why Farinas was at death's door.
The Americas' lone one-party Communist regime, Cuba has been politically embarrassed by dissidents' recent hunger strikes. They have drawn international criticism and greater scrutiny of its human rights situation.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera meanwhile said his government would approach Cuba and the US-based Organization of American States "to try to save the life of Guillermo Farinas."
Armando Caballero, head doctor at the Santa Clara hospital in central Cuba, where Farinas has been treated with an IV drip since March 11, told Granma the patient's health was deteriorating fast.
"Today, the patient is potentially at risk of death because his life depends on how the blood clot progresses," he said, adding that Farinas was getting "adequate treatment."
The interview, carried in part on national television, was unusual in that Cuba never issues public reports on political prisoners -- indeed the Cuban government only admits to jailing people it calls "mercenaries in the pay of foreign governments."
The interview only mentioned Farinas' health and omitted the reasons for his hunger strike, not mentioning that he is a prominent opposition figure.
The head of Cuba's dissident Human Rights Commission, Elizardo Sanchez, said Granma's report and interview was "a premeditated move by the regime" to lessen the blow of international criticism should Farinas die in their hands.
President Raul Castro has stated in the past that his government would never give in to hunger strikes used as "blackmail." But in May he scrambled to negotiate with Roman Catholic Church officials seeking to mediate in the Farinas controversy.
Sanchez said that despite the government's ploy, if Farinas were to die "only the government is guilty."
Pinera said in a speech in Santiago that by intervening in the Farinas case, he was trying to avoid "a repetition of the sad story of Orlando Zapata," a leading Cuban dissident who died February 23 after an 85-day hunger strike.
Farinas, an Internet journalist and a veteran of 22 hunger strikes since 1995, took up Zapata's cause and launched his hunger strike the day after his death. Initially, he was seeking the release of 26 sick, jailed dissidents.
The international outcry over both hunger strikes and pressures from the Roman Catholic Church led the Castro regime last month to free a paraplegic dissident and transfer 12 other prisoners to jails closer to their homes.

BP costs for oil spill response pass $3 billion

An oil cleanup worker rakes the sand along the beach in Dauphin 
Island, Ala., on Sunday, July 4, 2010. Workers nearly outnumbered 
tourists on the beac AP – An oil cleanup worker rakes the sand along the beach in Dauphin Island, Ala., on Sunday, July 4, 2010. …
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NEW ORLEANS – BP's costs for the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill climbed nearly half a billion dollars in the past week, raising the oil giant's tab to just over $3 billion for work on cleaning and capping the gusher and payouts to individuals, businesses and governments.
London-based BP PLC, the largest oil and gas producer in the Gulf, released its latest tally of response costs Monday. The total of $3.12 billion was up from $2.65 billion a week earlier. The figure does not include a $20 billion fund for Gulf damages BP created last month.
As BP continued drilling relief wells that are the best hope for plugging the blown-out well, a giant new oil skimming vessel was tested in the Gulf. But lousy weather means it may be longer than first hoped before officials know if it can work full-time sucking crude from the sea.
The Taiwanese skimmer dubbed "A Whale" has been able to show off its maneuverability during a weekend test in a 25-mile-square patch of water just north of the site where an April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workers and started the worst oil spill in Gulf history.
TMT, the shipping firm that owns the vessel, had hoped to test a containment boom system designed to direct greater volumes of oily water into the 12 vents or "jaws" that the ship uses to suck it in, according to spokesman Bob Grantham.
But lingering bad weather in the form of stiff winds and choppy seas has made that impossible, and prevented a flotilla of smaller skimmers from working offshore along the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.
"As was the case yesterday, the sea state, with waves at times in excess of 10 feet, is not permitting optimal testing conditions," Grantham said in an e-mail Sunday.
The skimmers, which have been idle off the coasts since a spell of bad weather last week kicked up by Hurricane Alex, were on the water along the Louisiana coast over the weekend. Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard are waiting for the weather to improve before sending them out elsewhere.
"We've got our guys out there and they're docked and ready, but safety is a huge concern for us, especially with the smaller vessels," said Courtnee Ferguson, a spokeswoman for the Joint Information Command in Mobile, Ala.
On Sunday, huge barges used to collect oil from skimming vessels were parked at the mouth of Mobile Bay, waiting for conditions to subside as waves rose to about 5 feet high miles offshore.
The current spate of bad weather is likely to last well into next week, according to the National Weather Service.
"This should remain fairly persistent through the next few days, and maybe get a little worse," meteorologist Mike Efferson said.
On the shore, beach cleanup crews were making progress on new oil that washed up thanks to the high tides generated by last week's bad weather.
In Grand Isle, about 800 people were removing tar balls and liquid oil from seven miles of beach, Coast Guard Cmdr. Randal Ogrydziak said.
"In a day or two, you wouldn't be able to tell the oil was even there," he said.
By Wednesday, Ogrydziak said they should have a machine on the beach that washes sand where the oil washed ashore.
Crews have also been working to put containment boom thrown around by the storms back into place, he said.
So far, weather has not slowed drilling on two relief wells meant to finally plug the spill. BP officials have said they're running slightly ahead of schedule on the drilling, but expect weather or other delays.
Early to mid-August is still the timeframe for the completion of the drilling.
Along with the drilling, the capture and burning of oil and gas at the site of the leaking well has gone on without interruption from the weather. But the choppy seas have delayed the operation of another vessel that officials say will roughly double the amount of oil being collected or burned.
The Helix Producer is supposed to connect with the leaking well by a flexible hose that will help it disconnect and reconnect quickly if a hurricane or other major storm forces an evacuation of the site.
Coast Guard officials say they're hoping to have the Helix Producer connected to the well and collecting oil by Wednesday.
Associated Press Writer Jay Reeves in Dauphin Island, Ala. contributed to this report.