Thursday, August 26, 2010

LPP News...


The Chili Salesman

Thursday, August 26, 2010
During an interview from Havana with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson made a very revealing statement:
"I am here not as an administration envoy. I'm trying to sell chili, salsa, green chili to the Cuban government, and I have two more days here in my visit."

Sadly, that absurd statement defines the current Cuba policy debate.

In Cuba, only one entity is allowed to engage in international trade and commerce: the Castro regime (through it's commercial arm named Alimport).

Thus, Richardson is -- only -- looking to sell chilies to the Castro regime.

It's a sad statement that Cuba's dictatorship is so absolutist that it must even control "chilies."

So there are essentially two sides to this debate:
One the one hand: Those that are happy to collude in "chili sales" with the Castro regime and, therefore, foment their absolutist control.

An on the other hand: Those that look forward to freely trading chilies with the Cuban people and stand up to the Castro regime's current absolutism.

Needless to say, we know what side Governor Richardson is on.

It'll be interesting to see how many chilies he sells on this trip, for last year Richardson returned to New Mexico with all his chilies in hand.

Urgent Action on New Arrests

Wednesday, August 25, 2010
From Amnesty International:

URGENT ACTION: PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVISTS ARBITRARILY DETAINED

Five men, all members of a pro-democracy organization in Cuba have been detained in connection with their political beliefs and activities. They have been held by police since 12 August, and have not had access to a lawyer. It is unclear if they have been charged.

They could be facing an unfair trial.

On 11 August, seven men, members of the organization Youth for Democracy (Jovenes por la Democracia), were holding a meeting at the home of one of their members, Nestor Rodríguez Lobaina, in the town of Baracoa, in Guantánamo province. Two of them, Yordis García Fournier and Eriberto Liranza Romero, went to find out about return tickets at the bus station, but were detained by police soon after leaving the house at around midday. They were held without charge until 16 August.

When the rest of the group at Nestor Rodríguez's home found out their two colleagues had been detained, they hung banners and posters outside the house protesting against their detention. Within a few hours, a group of supporters of the authorities had gathered outside the house, shouting insults and throwing stones, some of which hit members of Youth for Democracy. At around 3 pm, four more members of the organization arrived at the house. When they saw the mob outside the house, they decided to go in through the back door. There, they were questioned by state security agents and taken into detention. They were released two days later, on 13 August.

On 12 August, state security officials entered the house and detained all five members of Youth for Democracy who were there: Nestor Rodríguez Lobaina and his brother Rolando, Enyor Díaz Allen, Roberto González Pelegrín and Francisco Manzanet. They are still in detention and have not had access to a lawyer. They have been told that they will be charged with "public disorder" ("desorden público"), but it is not clear if charges have yet been filed against them. Once they are charged, they could be tried within hours. It appears their detention is politically motivated.

Roberto González Pelegrín and Francisco Manzanet have been on hunger strike since 12 August in protest at their detention, and are held at the provincial hospital in Guantánamo. According to relatives of Nestor Rodríguez, at 7 am on 13 August, state security officials returned to the house and searched it, even though they did not have a warrant to do so. They confiscated items including books, laptops and mobile phones. They spent 12 hours in the house.

UPDATE ...


" In defense of fundamental rights on the Internet "

Given the inclusion in the Draft Sustainable Economy Act of legislative changes affecting the free exercise of freedoms of expression, information and the right of access to culture through Internet , journalists , bloggers, users, professionals and Internet creators express our strong opposition to the project and  declare that ...

1.- Copyright can not be above the fundamental rights of citizens,  as the right to privacy , security , the presumption of innocence, to effective judicial protection and freedom of expression.
2.- The suspension of fundamental rights is and must remain the exclusive competence of the judiciary.  Not a close without trial. This bill, contrary to laid down in Article 20.5 of the Constitution, put in the hands of a non-judicial body , a body under the Ministry of Culture , "  the power to prevent Spanish citizens access to any  website.
3.- The new legislation will create legal uncertainty around the Spanish technology sector,  damaging one of the few areas of development and future of our economy, hinder the establishment of business by introducing barriers to competition and slowing its international expansion.
4.- The new proposed legislation threatens to hinder new creators and cultural creation.  With the Internet and the successive advances in technology has democratized extraordinarily content creation and issuance of all types, no longer come predominantly from cultural industries traditional , but a multitude of different sources.
5.- AuthorsLike all workers, have the right to live on his work with new creative ideas , business models and activities associated with their creations. Trying to argue with legislative changes  an obsolete industry who can not adapt to this new environment is not  neither fair nor realistic. If your business model is based on control copies of the works and the Internet is not possible without infringing fundamental rights, should find another model.
6 .- We believe that the  cultural industries need to survive modern alternatives , effective , credible and affordable to suit new uses socialInstead of limitations so disproportionate as to be ineffective in pursuing that claim .
7.- Internet should work freely and without political interference sponsored by groups that seek to perpetuate outdated models business and make it impossible human knowledge remains free.
8.- We demand that the law guarantees the neutrality of the network in Spain,  to any pressure that may occur as a framework for development of a sustainable and realistic for the future .
9.- We propose a real reform of intellectual property rights oriented to an end : to return the knowledge society , promoting  public domain and limit abuses of the managing bodies .
10.- In a democracy the laws and their amendments should be adopted after due public debate and having consulted all parties involved. It is not of receipt to make legislative changes affecting rights fundamental law in a non-organic and other material concerns .

Please broadcast this show on your blog, Twitter, social networks, forums or print it and distribute it .
S: The Tone of Voice / translate LPPNEWS Front Line

LPP Archive...

Miami Spy-Hunting

February 19, 2000 - Miami Herald The FBI's first major cracking of a Cuban spy ring came Sept. 12, 1998 when teams of agents swept through South Florida in the predawn hours and arrested 10 members. Five have since pleaded guilty and turned state's evidence. They are:
Alejandro Alonso, 42, who was sentenced Jan. 28 to seven years in prison. He was assigned to infiltrate Ramon Saul Sanchez's Democracy Movement.
Amarylis Silverio Santos, 39, and her husband, Joseph Santos, 39, sentenced Feb. 4 to 3 1/2 and 4 years in prison, respectively. They had been assigned to infiltrate the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command. They failed.
Nilo Hernandez, 46, and his wife, Linda, 43, who have yet to be sentenced. He counted aircraft at Homestead Air Reserve Base; she monitored activities of Alpha 66.
Five more prisoners from the ring face trial in U.S. District Court. Postponed several times, their latest trial date is May 22. They include:
Gerardo Hernandez, 33, the alleged spymaster who lived in Miami as Manuel Viramontez and is accused of conspiracy to commit murder in the February 1996 Brothers to the Rescue shootdown.
John Doe II, 32, who lived in Broward County under the alias Luis Medina, and with the three following co-defendants is accused of being part of the spy ring that snooped on military facilities and exile organizations in South Florida.
Antonio Guerrero, 42, a former janitor at the Boca Chica Naval Station near Key West.
Rene Gonzalez, 44, a former Brothers to the Rescue pilot who had joined Ramon Saul Sanchez's Democracy Movement at the time of his arrest.
John Doe III, 35, who went by the alias of Ruben Campa.
Four other accused spy-ring members were indicted later, and are now considered fugitives thought to be living in Cuba. They are:
Juan Pablo Roque, a one-time well-known Cuban defector who double-defected back to Havana on the eve of the Brothers to the Rescue shootdown.
Albert Ruiz, who allegedly instructed Roque and Rene Gonzalez to gather information on the Brothers to the Rescue flights. He is believed to have left the United States.
Ricardo Villareal and Remijio Luna, described as spy ring agents who left the United States prior to their indictments.

Richardson presses Cuba to free American contractor

By David Ariosto, CNN
August 26, 2010 3:32 p.m. EDT
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Richardson believes he made "inroads" in trying to win the release of Gross
  • The New Mexico governor is in Cuba on a trade mission
  • He's also working to secure the release of U.S. contractor Alan Gross
  • Gross was arrested in December on suspicion of spying but has not been charged
Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson wrapped up a week-long trade mission to Cuba Thursday, a trip in which he also pursued another goal -- bringing about the release of a jailed U.S. contractor.
"My objective is very clear: See if I can get [Alan] Gross out, or make it easier for somebody else to do it," Richardson told CNN.
Alan Gross, an American contractor, has been held in a Havana jail since December on suspicion of spying, although no charges have been formally brought against him.
President Raul Castro said Gross was illegally distributing satellite communications equipment and has linked him to clandestine U.S. operations on the island nation.
Richardson said his visit to Cuba is primarily a trade mission intended to bolster agricultural sales, but acknowledged that the U.S. State Department has asked him to press the Gross case with Cuban officials.
"What I'm mainly doing is trying to get salsa, nuts, and green chili from New Mexico sold here [in Cuba], but I am pressing. I was asked to do this," he said. "Alan Gross, I believe, is somebody that should be allowed to go home."
Richardson added that he believes he made "inroads" with the Cuban government toward securing Gross' freedom, but is also facing a sensitive investigatory process surrounding his arrest.
The New Mexico governor has often acted as an informal negotiator for U.S. administrations, engaging in high-level talks with North Korea, Sudan and Iraq.
He speaks fluent Spanish and has previously met with former Cuban President Fidel Castro, negotiating the release of three political prisoners in 1996.
Richardson would not confirm whether he planned to meet with the former Cuban leader during this visit.
He is expected to leave Havana on Friday after a series of meetings with Cuban officials, including Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.
In an interview with CNN, Richardson called on the Obama administration to further relax U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba.
"This will help," he said, responding to reports that the Obama administration would "soon" announce new rules on the embargo. "It means more travel by Americans to Cuba... almost the same as the Clinton years when there was quite a bit of travel between the two countries."
Washington severed formal diplomatic relations with Havana in 1961 following a revolution that ousted dictator Fulgencio Batista, nationalized U.S. businesses, and eventually installed a one-party communist government under then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Nearly half a century later, Obama's election in 2008 elicited a sense among many Cubans that they might finally see an end to the resultant trade embargo first enacted during the administration of former President John F. Kennedy -- a blockade that Cuba largely blames for its economic woes.
"I've always felt that travel helps ease relationships," Richardson said, remarking on the potential easing of restrictions. "I don't think the embargo is working."
But Cuba hardliners in Florida and New Jersey warn against the effects of loosening restrictions on travel and economic aid to Cuba, and have asked President Barack Obama to reconsider.
"We are deeply troubled that such changes would result in economic benefits to the Cuban regime and would significantly undermine U.S. foreign policy and security objectives," said U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey; and U.S. Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Florida; Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Florida; and Albio Sires, D-New Jersey; in a letter to Obama.
Richardson's visit coincides with an announcement Monday by the island's Roman Catholic Church that six more Cuban political prisoners would be freed soon.
The group's release would raise to 32 the number of prisoners set free since early July in a deal brokered with the church and Spain's Foreign Ministry.
The prisoners are a part of group of 75 dissidents imprisoned during a government crackdown on political opposition in March 2003.
Richardson called the releases a positive step in normalizing relations between the two Cold War foes.
"The Cubans have been releasing political dissidents and we're considering easing the travel restrictions," he said. "So that helps the atmosphere."

Chavez Visits Cuba, Holds Talks With Castro Brothers

10 hours ago
(RTTNews) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in Cuba on an unannounced visit on Wednesday and held talks with revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and his brother and current President Raul Castro, according to Cuban state media.

During Chavez's five-hour-long private meeting with Fidel Castro, the two leaders reportedly discussed Castro's earlier warnings about the serious risks of an impending nuclear war in the Middle East.

After the meeting, Chavez expressed satisfaction at Castro's "magnificent" health, and acknowledged the Cuban revolutionary's role in "achieving a universal awareness to prevent a conflagration of incalculable consequences to mankind."

Chavez left the island nation on Wednesday afternoon, after holding talks with current Cuban President Raul Castro on improving bilateral relations between the two countries. He was seen off at the airport by the Cuban President.

Chavez has been a close ally of Fidel Castro and had visited him several times during the four years he kept away from public view after a stomach surgery in 2006.

Fidel Castro ceded power to his brother Raul in February 2008, following an emergency stomach surgery in July 2006, and has made very few public appearances since then. However, his essays on Cuban and international politics appear frequently on government websites and state-run news agencies.

Cuba to withdraw cheap cigarettes for elderly

A man smokes a cigarette in Havana - 25 August 2010  
This man will have to pay full price for his cigarettes come September

Cuba's elderly will no longer be entitled to state-subsidised cigarettes, the government has said.
All Cubans 55 or older are allocated four packs of cigarettes a month for about 25% the normal price, but this privilege is being ended in September.
The measure is President Raul Castro's latest attempt to cut the communist state's spending.
The island has been hit hard by the global economic downturn and the long-term US trade embargo.

Related stories

A statement in the government-run Granma newspaper said the move was "part of the steps gradually being applied to eliminate subsidies". The health benefits were not mentioned.
Cigarettes "are not a primary necessity," it said.
Some elderly non-smokers were taking their cut-price cigarettes and re-selling them to boost their meagre pensions, says the BBC's Michael Voss in Havana.
"I'm insulted because it's another thing they are taking away from us," said Angela Jimenez, a 64-year-old who receives a monthly pension of about $10 (£6.50).
She said she will now have to quit smoking because she won't be able to afford the normal price of about $0.33 a pack.
Cigarettes are the latest item to be removed from ration books. Subsidised peas and potatoes were eliminated in November.
Earlier in August Mr Castro said the role of the state would be reduced in some areas, to cut the "overloaded" state budget.
He said more workers would be allowed to be self-employed or to set up small businesses.
S: BBC News


Cuba, DPRK mark 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties

15:51, August 26, 2010


Cuba and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) opened an exhibition here Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.


The exhibition, held at the Museum of the Revolution in Havana, shows books, publications, historic photographs and handicrafts from the DPRK, showcasing the progress of the DPRK's economy and culture.


The establishment of diplomatic ties between Pyongyang and Havana laid a solid foundation for friendship and bilateral cooperation and highlighted Havana's support, Kwon Sung Chol, the DPRK's ambassador to the island country, said.


On the occasion, Juan Jose Leon Vega, vice president of the Cuban Committee for Supporting Korea's Reunification, warned about the tensions caused by the U.S. government on the Korean Peninsula.


After reiterating the mutual support and solidarity between their nations, the diplomats said that the two nations will continue to strengthen their bilateral ties and common positions within the international community.


Cuba and the DPRK maintain deep political and economic ties and support each other in the international arena.


S: Xinhua

Calls Cuban democrats see on his trip to the island...

"Democracy Now" -  Cuba says that the PSOE will not receive

MADRID , Aug. 26 (EUROPA PRESS) -

The platform opposition Cuba Democracy Now! has indicated that it will not finally received by the organizing secretary of the PSOE , Leire Pajin, and  responsible for International Policy , Elena Valenciano, before trip to the island next week and is confident that they have a "hole "in its agenda there to see the "democrats Cubans. "
According to the opposition group , has received the response from the PSOE to request a meeting before the trip to Cuba Pajín and Valenciano . "The PSOE has no place in its agenda for Cuban democrats 'before of August 31, 2010 . " What about the 1 to 3 September? "he asked. These are the dates that are both responsible for the PSOE  island.
In the letter, according to the release of the platform, the Coordinator Secretariat for International Policy and Cooperation, José Antonio Gutierrez Espejo , said: " Sorry to inform you that because of the busy schedule these days of resumption of political activity Spain , there is no possibility of having a meeting. However could meet in the future, if you continue concerned. "
Given this proposal , Cuba Democracia Ya! PSOE asks if when he speaks of "future "means "before the transition or after the transition to democracy in Cuba. " "If it is before transition would be delighted to have this meeting because, as Democrats , we want to have the PSOE in this process, " say.
However, the ruling party remember that " Not really important meeting " that they have requested and may not be "but they should maintain with members of the opposition  peaceful in Cuba in September. "
According to them, a meeting of this type would fit perfectly 'In the normal relationships that our party has with other political organizations, especially in Latin America 'and the  intention to ' show your commitment to Cuban society ' , as  reads the letter sent to us . "
Finally, the opposition group insists qualify " exile "the release of political prisoners who have come to Spain and stresses that "the Cubans were released has commuted the sentence jail for deportation. "
                                                                                   

Las Damas de Blanco stated that " in Cuba there is no better mediator " that the Catholic Church

Moved to Havana to some of the political prisoners and their families who will travel to Spain

MADRID , Aug. 26  -
Laura Pollan , a spokesman for the Ladies in White, has decoupled itself from  criticism that has made dissent inside and outside the island on  the role played by clergy in the release of prisoners Political and considered that "in Cuba there is no better mediator " that Catholic Church as an institution "that does not reflect any political tendency . "
Speaking to Europa Press, Pollan has applauded the management  led the archbishop of Havana , Cardinal Jaime Ortega, interceded with the government of Raul Castro, not only to achieve release of 52 political prisoners in the so-called Black Spring 2003  but also when the Damas de Blanco were being besieged by the state security forces .
"In Cuba there is no better mediator because the Catholic Church other agencies are serving the regime ( Castro ). For example,  What can the CDR ( Committees to Defend the Revolution) ? Nothing, and  that we are aware , "he said by telephone.
Pollan , who for seven years every Sunday to attend Mass a church in the east of Havana in the company of other ladies White, described the Catholic Church as an " ancient institution " has " intervened even in armed conflict, important facts and  decisive in world history . "
A total of 165 dissidents , including some prisoners politicians, last week sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI which criticized the " lamentable " role played by the Catholic Church on the island in " exile "of prisoners to the Black Spring Spain and asked to stop the "political support" that is giving it to Castro regime , which equated with " Satan commissioners Earth. "
The Cuban clergy immediately rejected the " offensive content "of this letter and made clear that his mediation with the Castro government to  the release of 52 political prisoners "is not supported political tendencies, " although he acknowledged that "he knew that this mediation could be interpreted in the most diverse ways. "
In this regard, Pollan found that "families of prisoners politicians "who have been released or that are part of the group of 52, yes thank you to the Catholic Church has succeeded because are now free men or will be free soon. "
EXILE
But negotiations between the archdiocese and the Castro regime  "Have not been as we would have liked, " admitted the spokesman organization comprising the families of the prisoners of Black Spring of 2003.
So Pollán again denounced the "banishment " of the 26 dissidents  who have been released in recent weeks and traveled to Spain  return for his release . " They accepted the proposal of Cardinal Ortega and that it must respect , but we had not wanted to be left free in Cuba , not outside . "
Of the 52 prisoners of the Black Spring remaining in prison and that the Castro government is committed to free , 26 have already traveled to Spain - one of them was later to Chile - and others six could travel in the coming days, so we still remain 20 including five Ortega rejected the proposal .
The concern of the Damas de Blanco is the future of these five  opponents who refused to travel to Spain and that, therefore , were not  released. For the moment , it is unknown when they will be released because " neither the Government nor the Catholic Church has succeeded in giving a answer " on this issue, said Pollan , wife of Hector Maseda, political prisoner who has not yet been contacted by the cardinal.
TRANSFER OF PRISONERS
On Monday , the Archbishop of Havana announced the release  six other opponents who will travel soon to Spain. A few of  have already been transferred to the Combinado del Este prison in La Havana, while their families are being concentrated in site of a former military institution outside the capital.
Alexis Rodríguez Fernández , Alfredo Domínguez Batista and Victor Arroyo Carmona are the three prisoners who have been able to confirm that Pollan been transferred to Havana, as well as their families. Leonel Grave de Peralta Almenares , Prospero Gainza Agüero , Claro Sánchez Altarriba would be taken to the Combined East between now and tomorrow.
Pollan reported that family members and they are by the respective check-ups , and it considers that early dissidents would be leaving for Spain next week " but all that depends on many factors, " such as the issuance of exit permits and get the tickets .
According to the lady in white said , Alfredo Domínguez Batista traveling with eight family members, while Alexis Rodriguez Fernandez  would be accompanied by six people.

S: EP/ simultaneous translations LPPNEWS Front Line

The Cuban church 

asked U.S. Cuban hosting already released in Spain

Cardinal Jaime Ortega mediated in the petition,
Hillary Clinton unveiled a phone call to Moratinos
8/26/2010 | Updated on 8:20 pm |

Madrid. ( EUROPA PRESS ) .- The archbishop of Havana , Cardinal Jaime Ortega,  asked the U.S. authorities in early August that  study the possibility that former political prisoners Cuban found in Spain could travel the country U.S. reported Wednesday a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Havana, Orlando Marquez.



Cardinal Ortega , who traveled to Washington in early August, "he understood that mediation should not  end once they left Cuba, but that if he could do something else for these people , do it. And that's what he did when he met State Department officials , "said Marquez statements Radio Marti.

On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State , Hillary ClintonTelephoned the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation,  Miguel Angel Moratinos , who conveyed the willingness to host your country "within the regulations " to those former political prisoners Cubans are in Spain and want to travel to the USA.

The U.S. State Department , through its  spokesman, Phillip Crowley, said this week that will examine "case by If "the possibility that any of the 26 prisoners of conscience Cubans arriving in Spain to travel to the United States , while acknowledged that the procedure is "more complicated " than if they had been directly into U.S. territory.

Arturo Pérez de Alejo,  a former prisoner , told Europa Press that he had a few days ago received approval from the U.S. Embassy in Madrid travel to the U.S. with his wife and daughter and said he hoped in being able to fly soon. However, still in Spain.

Other  Cuban political prisoners released , Manuel Ubals , which would move on Monday to Sigüenza ( Guadalajara) , preferred stay in Madrid with his wife, children , mother and sister to consider the bid to host the U.S. and ask for more information on U.S. Embassy .

The Cuban government announced in late June its intention to to release 53 political prisoners group called Black Spring of 2003, one of the largest waves of repression against the opposition.

So far 26 of them have been released and moved with his family to Spain.

These  releases are the result of the dialogue that started the Catholic Church Cuba, through the Archbishop of Havana , Cardinal Jaime Ortega, to ease the stance of the regime toward internal dissent and allow the release of at least the political prisoners sick.

The Cuban church announced on Tuesday that six other political prisoners would be released and subsequently transferred to Spain. His arrival will occur next week, though the day is still unknown , said Red Cross.
S: lavanguardia.es / Front Line LPPNEWS results

The Cuban church announces the release of six dissidents ...


Agencias/Rioja2 | 25/08/2010 
A statement from the Archdiocese of Havana has set to be released a new set of six political prisoners who will travel to Spain. These bind to twenty-six already residing in Spanish territory after the Cuban government announced in late July its intention to to release the 52 dissidents arrested during the Black Spring of 2003.

The new dissidents released by the Castro Government as published by the Archdiocese of San Cristobal de la Habana are: Victor R. Arroyo, board member of the All Together, Leonel Grave de Peralta, independent librarian, Prospero Gainza, delegate of the Movement Resistencia Civica, Claro Sánchez, a journalist and two members of Christian Liberation Movement: Alexis Rodriguez and Alfredo Dominguez. All sentences were between fourteen and twenty years.

This news comes hours after U.S. government report that will examine "case by case" the possibility that some of the former Cuban political prisoners arrived in Spain in recent weeks to move to United States (U.S.).

In addition, four of the prisoners released by the Castro regime, and welcomed in Spain will travel to Brussels from 13 to 15 September invited by the Popular Party (PP), to express their rejection of the European Union (UE) changes its position Common to the island until they give "objective conditions and certain" that Cuba is experiencing a shift toward democracy , according to Europa Press said deputy Luis Teófilo PP. The visit will coincide with the debate that foreign ministers will have on what to do with the Common Position on Cuba, which governs the EU's policy towards the island, conditioning the bilateral relationship to progress in democracy and human rights. 
S: rioja2.com / translate LPPNEWS Front Line