Tuesday, November 16, 2010

LPP First Draft...

Easing Sanctions Would Impede Reforms

 Please read the following paragraph from today's Miami Herald very carefully:

Cuba's Raúl Castro says the island "has no alternative" but to embrace the economic changes he has proposed, and claimed they are based on brother Fidel's ideas, according to the Granma newspaper.
Yet, ironically, advocates of unconditionally normalizing relations with the Castro regime have been (counter-intuitively) lobbying for months that the U.S. should encourage economic changes in Cuba by easing sanctions -- in other words, by easing economic pressure.

If even Castro recognizes that economic changes are being proposed solely because the regime has "no alternative," then wouldn't easing sanctions actually become an impediment for the fulfillment of these changes (and for the potential of true reforms in the future)?
That's exactly what occurred in the 1990's -- pursuant to the collapse of the U.S.S.R. -- thanks to the economic lifeline provided to the Castro regime by Canadian and Europeans tourists, and by the (now depleting) oil subsidies of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

Maybe advocates of normalizing relations with the Castro regime really don't want to see true reforms take place.

Regardless, the lesson for the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration -- and other well-intentioned actors -- is clear:

If you would like to see true reforms take place in Cuba, then keep sanctions in place.

Cuba Needs Real Liberalization

Says the first (and thus far, only) political prisoner released within Cuba.

According to EFE:

Cuba will continue in a "situation of stagnation" unless there is a "serious, honest liberalization," freed political prisoner Arnaldo Ramos Lauzurique said.

A day after his release, Ramos Lauzurique, a member of the "Group of 75" dissidents jailed in March 2003, went Sunday to Havana's Santa Rita Church to meet with the Ladies in White, which comprises relatives of the Group of 75.

In a statement to the foreign media, the 68-year-old economist said that his release was "without conditions" and that he proposes to continue with the same activitnt can solve its current problems," he said.

With the freeing of Ramos, 12 members of the Group of 75 are still behind bars, one of whom, Luis Enrique Ferrer, will soon be released but will go to Spain.

The other 11 refuse exile.

The Raul Castro government promised in July to gradually free all prisoners in the Group of 75 as part of an unprecedented dialogue with the Catholic Church that had the support of Spain.

While that group has not been entirely freed, other prisoners have been released on condition that they go to Spain, a condition that has been accepted since July by 47 Cubans and their families.
S: Capitol Hill Cubans

Royal Navy in Cuba for counter-narcotics talks

Via Defense Management:
Type 42 Destroyer HMS Manchester has become the first Royal Navy ship to make an official visit to Cuba since the country’s 1959 revolution.
The ship landed at the Sierra Maestra pier in Havana on 15 November for the beginning of a five-day visit which is expected to include talks on how Cuba and the UK can work together on counter-narcotics and disaster relief operations in the Caribbean.

A Cuban Navy honour guard, carrying both national flags, greeted the ship, and a band played both countries’ national anthems.
Cuban navy chief Rear Admiral Carlos Alfonso Duque Ramos and British ambassador to Cuba Dianna Melrose were welcomed aboard HMS Manchester by commander Rex Cox. The group then visited Cuba’s Armed Forces Ministry.
HMS Manchester has been engaged in counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean for the last six months, and has seized considerable quantities from traffickers it has intercepted.
A US Coast Guard contingent aboard HMS Manchester to prosecute smugglers caught in the Caribbean is understood to have been allowed to take shore leave on Cuba.
(Image: HMS Manchester enters Havana’s bay beside the colonial-era Morro Cabana fortress. Retuers)

Read more at the Realcubablog ...

Yoani Sánchez wins the CEPOS Freedom Award
Nov. 16 - The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is pleased to announce that 2010 Oslo Freedom Forum speaker and Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez was awarded the inaugural CEPOS Freedom Award, in the amount of $50,000, by the independent Danish think tank, CEPOS. Sánchez, author of the world-renowned blog Generación Y, was nominated for the award by HRF President Thor Halvorssen.
The Freedom Award is granted to individuals who demonstrate a principled and steadfast commitment to the values and ideas of individual freedom and basic human rights.
"CEPOS could not have selected a more deserving recipient for this prize,” said Halvorssen. “Sánchez is a remarkable woman who has repeatedly overcome great obstacles and risked daunting consequences to make her voice heard, despite a dictatorship that systematically strangles freedom of expression.” Read the whole story at the realcubablog
Cuba owes Venezuela close to 15 billion dollars. Now they want Uncle Sam to be next
Nov. 15 - According to Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, the outstanding receivables of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) totaled 13.8 billion dollars at the end of the first half of 3E El Nacional (Spanish)
Arnaldo Ramos: "I owe nothing to anybody. I will stay in the country and continue my political activity"
Nov. 1 4 - Just freed after years in prison and refusing to go into exile, dissident economist Arnaldo Ramos has slammed the communist government saying chaos was looming if Cuba did not launch economic and political change.
"I'll be involved in the same activities I did before they sent me to prison, which were not criminal but opposition" in nature, Ramos, 68, told reporters on Sunday.  Read the whole story at the realcubablog
'Call of Duty' blasts sales record
Nov. 13 - "Call of Duty: Black Ops" blasted entertainment records this week by raking in $360 million in its first 24 hours on sale, a dramatic and lucrative indication that video games have cemented their place as mainstream entertainment on a par with movies, books and music.
In one mission, which takes place with John F. Kennedy in the White House before the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, players must shoot their way through Havana to assassinate a young Fidel Castro.
Read the whole story at the realcubablog
Venezuelan citizen ordered to appear in court for wearing an anti-Chávez t-shirt to a baseball game
Nov. 13 - Miguel Angel Hernández, a 49 year old Venezuelan mechanic, has been ordered to appear in court on December 1 for wearing an anti-Chávez t-shirt  to a baseball game.
Hernández attended a baseball game in Margarita Island wearing a t-shirt that said: "HUGO ME CAGO EN TU REVOLUCION" (Hugo, I shit on your revolution).
Hernández has been summoned to appear in court to face the charge of "Offense to the Chiefs of Government."
If found guilty, he could be sent to jail for at least four months.
Welcome to the Socialism of the XXI Century.
Copy of the summons.

Fidel's grandchildren playing Call of Duty - Black Ops, by the inimitable Alfredo Pong
  S: Real Cuba
Cuba frees political prisoner: family  

File picture shows Cuban dissident Arnaldo Ramos ...

File picture shows Cuban dissident Arnaldo Ramos (R) next to fellow dissident Marta Beatriz Roque, at a press conference in Havana. The Cuban government freed Arnaldo Ramos, one of 13 imprisoned dissidents who had refused to leave the country and go into exile, his family announced.… Read more »
(AFP/File/Niurka Barroso)

Cuba launches next phase of African malaria project
16 Nov 2010 09:48:00 GMT
Source: SciDev.Net
Leslie Salgado
Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.
[HAVANA] Cuba has announced plans to build biolarvicide factories in Brazil and several African countries in a bid to tackle malaria and dengue fever. Biolarvicides are biological products that are added to water to kill mosquitoes at the larval stage. Labiofa, the Cuban laboratory in charge of the project, has been producing two biolarvicides, Bactivec and Griselesf, since the 1990s. The products currently have to be imported into Africa, but the new factories mean that the biolarvicides can now be produced on the continent. Jos� Antonio Fraga Castro, director-general of Labiofam, told SciDev.Net that Cuba has been working to tackle malaria in Africa for the past 20 years. Cuban scientists have conducted entomological work, tested biolarvicides and have trained locals in their use. "Angola, for instance, has reduced malaria incidence by 50 per cent, and some areas have seen a 70 per cent fall," said Fraga Castro. He added that, in a district of Accra, the Ghanaian capital, incidence of the disease has decreased by 75 per cent. These figures come from national health reports and can be attributed to both biolarvicide use and local environmental clean-up activities. The new centres will carry on this work and produce both Bactivec and Griselesf. The former is a quick-acting biolarvicide that kills larvae of all mosquito species, whereas the latter kills mosquito larvae more slowly and has no effect on the dengue vector. The Cuban government will oversee the programme, and funding will come from Labiofam as well as national governments in Africa. Final figures have not yet been confirmed. Fraga Castro said that countries will be able to sell their products to their neighbours and that Cuba will also purchase the biolarvicides. He claimed that biological control is the most effective way to fight malaria as it prevents the birth of new mosquitoes and does not pollute the environment or pose health risks. The 15 African delegations present at the First Labiofam International Congress, which took place from 28 September to 1 October, in Havana, proposed for the first time to include biological control as a means of tackling malaria. Ghanaian health minister Benjamin Kumbour welcomed the project and said it would teach Ghana the best practices that Cuba has used to manage the disease and would deepen bilateral relations between the two countries. He added that many traditional methods had been tried and proven unsuccessful.