Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Statement by Peter J. Kahn, Lawyer to Alan P. Gross
WASHINGTON, DC – Peter J. Kahn, counsel to Alan P. Gross, today released the following statement on the approaching one year anniversary of Alan's imprisonment by the Cuban government.
"Alan's incarceration for a year without clarity of the legal process he will face or its timing is a travesty. It violates every international standard of justice and due process. We continue to urge the Cuban authorities to release Alan immediately based on humanitarian grounds, as well as the fact that he has already served one year in a Cuban prison.

Alan has suffered tremendously while incarcerated. He has lost almost 90 pounds and his health has deteriorated significantly. He has had to endure the irreparable pain of being an absent father to his 26-year old daughter, who is fighting breast cancer, and being away from his family for an entire year."

Alan P. Gross was arrested and imprisoned in Havana on December 3, 2009. He was in Cuba to do the international community development work that he has done in more than 50 countries for the past 25 years. In Cuba, he was assisting the island's small Jewish community gain access to the Internet so that they can communicate with each other and other Jewish communities around the world.

Cuba Provides Refuge to Narco-Terrorists

Colombian narco-terrorists from the FARC and ELN "enjoy periods of rest and recuperation" in Cuba, according to a 2009 State Department cable revealed by WikiLeaks.

The Castro regime "allows these groups to enjoy R&R [rest and recuperation] in Cuba and receive medical care and other services (NFI). Reporting also indicates that the GOC is able to influence the FARC. The Cuban Communist Party International Department (PCC/ID) has close relationships with the Clandestine Communist Party of Colombia (PCC) which serves as the political wing of the FARC, and to some extent the ELN as well," the cable reads.





S: Capitol Hill Cubans


Protesting students destroy a theater in Santa Clara
Dec. 1 - Several hundred Cuban students smashed seats in a theater and chanted anti-government slogans after the cancellation of the transmission of the football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid, according to several dissident sources who contacted El Nuevo Herald.
The strong response of the security forces and senior officials of the regime and the Communist Party in the city of Santa Clara emphasized how strong was the protest which took place on Monday, they added.
Guillermo Fariñas, one of the dissidents who spoke with El Nuevo Herald, said that 60 to 80 youths were arrested and later released. Their parents were later summoned to meetings in their schools with state security agents.
Fariñas and Filiberto del Sol, another independent journalist in Santa Clara, told El Nuevo Herald that about 1,500 young people had paid three Cuban pesos to watch the Barcelona-Real Madrid game at the Teatro Camilo Cienfuegos in the center of the city.
Instead, they put a Cuban documentary, while the parishioners of the nearby Bar El Tope who paid the equivalent of about US$5.50 were able to watch the game on a widescreen TV.  Read the whole story at the realcubablog
 
 Cuban spies in Venezuela have direct access to Chávez
Nov. 30 - Cuban intelligence agents have deep involvement in Venezuela, according to a 2006 US diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks.
Then-US Ambassador William Brownfield wrote that Cuban spies had "direct access" to President Hugo Chavez.
Another cable sent in 2010 said Cuban agents controlled spying operations against the US embassy in Caracas.
The secret diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks were published by the Spanish newspaper, El Pais.
Read the whole story at the realcubablog
 
At least 25 people are dead in Venezuela because of the rain
Nov. 30 - Venezuelan newspapers are reporting that at least 25 people have died in as a result of mudslides and flooding.
The Chávez government declared a state of emergency in Falcon state where thousands of families have been displaced.
Jacqueline Faría, head of the Capital District, said on state television on Tuesday morning that landslides destroyed homes in Caracas overnight, killing two people and blocking some roads leading to the capital.
Classes have been suspended for the next 10 days.
In December of 2000, mudslides in Vargas state left thousands of people dead.
 
Yoani Sánchez: Cuba's Joint Venture Phone Company, In Bed With The Censorship
Nov. 30 - Dark night, a blackout in the vicinity of the Buena Vista neighborhood in Playa. The dilapidated shared taxi I’m taking stalls, and with an exhausted snort refuses to start again. A passenger and the driver are trying to fix it, while on both sides of the street we see people are sitting outside their houses, resigned to the power outage. I look in my wallet for my mobile, wanting to tell my family I’m delayed so they won’t worry about me. It’s an ugly picture: we are in the midst of the darkness, in an area where crime isn’t child’s play, and to top it off my cell phone doesn’t work. Every time I try to dial a number I get the message, “Call Failed.” Finally, the car is purring again and we manage to advance, but the telephone service is not restored to the useless gadget and I feel like throwing it out the window. When I get home I discover that Reinaldo can’t call from his, either, and that my blogger friends can’t even receive text messages.
Read the whole story at the realcubablog
 
Freedom By the Pound
Nov. 29 - Our friends at BabaluBlog went to former Cuban prisoner of conscience Ariel Sigler Amaya's home and were able to film him during one of his workouts. His recovery has been nothing short of miraculous, and to show the world and the Cuban dictatorship how freedom can heal a man, they made this short film they made titled Freedom by the Pound (English) and here in Spanish
 
The Castro regime will release the remaining 11 prisoners and allow them to stay in the island
Nov. 29 - The Castro regime will release 11 jailed dissidents to complete a July agreement to free 52 people jailed since a 2003 crackdown – and it may happen before Christmas.
Speaking in Madrid, Havana Archbishop Jaime Ortega said the 11 will be allowed to remain in Cuba but that at least one of them may travel to the U.S.
He did not say exactly when the release would take place. Ortega spoke after meeting 15 former Cuban prisoners now living in Spain.
One of the ex-inmates, Juan Carlos Herrera, said the cleric had told them the final 11 would be released by Dec. 25, but this could not be confirmed. Read the whole story at the
realcubablog
  S: Real Cuba

Fidel Castro: WikiLeaks Proves Osama bin Laden Works for the US Government

Updated: 95 days 20 hours ago

David Knowles
AOL News Surge Desk
(Aug. 27) -- Is Osama bin Laden -- figurehead of al-Qaida and the most wanted terror suspect in the world -- secretly working for the U.S. government? Former Cuban President Fidel Castro thinks so, and he says that WikiLeaks has the proof.


Today, Cuba's daily Communist Party newspaper published remarks made by the ailing 84-year-old socialist leader in which he accused the George W. Bush administration of hiring bin Laden to act as a kind of phantom bogeyman to scare the American people into going along with Bush's policies.


"Any time Bush would stir up fear and make a big speech, bin Laden would appear threatening people with a story about what he was going to do," Castro told state media, according to The Associated Press. "Bush never lacked for bin Laden's support. He was a subordinate." The AP reports that Castro did not elaborate on where he derived this assessment save for that it came from WikiLeaks.

Leaked Documents Discuss Cuban Spies, US Concerns


CARACAS, Venezuela — Cuban intelligence agents have deep involvement in Venezuela and enjoy direct access to President Hugo Chavez, the U.S. Embassy said in a 2006 diplomatic cable that was classified as secret.
The document was among several posted online Tuesday by the newspaper El Pais of Spain as a growing list of sensitive U.S. government messages were released by WikiLeaks.
The Jan. 30, 2006, cable from then-U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield said that "Cuban intelligence officers have direct access to Chavez and frequently provide him with intelligence reporting unvetted by Venezuelan officers."


Leaked documents...

Cuban intelligence agents have deep involvement in Venezuela and enjoy direct access to President Hugo Chavez, the U.S. Embassy said in a 2006 diplomatic cable that was classified as secret.
The document was among several posted online Tuesday by the newspaper El Pais of Spain as a growing list of sensitive U.S. government messages were released by WikiLeaks.
The Jan. 30, 2006, cable from then-U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield said that "Cuban intelligence officers have direct access to Chavez and frequently provide him with intelligence reporting unvetted by Venezuelan officers."
Similar claims have been raised previously by Chavez's critics, but U.S. officials have not publicly aired such concerns.
"The impact of Cuban involvement in Venezuelan intelligence could impact U.S. interests directly," the report said. "Venezuelan intelligence services are among the most hostile towards the United States in the hemisphere, but they lack the expertise that Cuban services can provide. Cuban intelligence routinely provides the (Venezuelan government) intelligence reports about the activities of the USG."

Foreign Relations: The Cuba Debate

 Friday, Oct. 12, 1962

If the Soviet military buildup in Cuba has done nothing else, it has given rise to a significant and intensifying U.S. debate —one that might even lead to effective action some day.
For the Administration, Secretary of State Dean Rusk was last week's chief spokesman. At an "informal'' Washington meeting, he earnestly urged 19 Latin American foreign ministers and representatives to recommend that their countries cut off all remaining trade with Cuba, take self-defense measures to combat Communist aggression or subversion from Cuba, restrict travel of their own citizens to Cuba for possible Communist indoctrination, and encourage "Cuban national liberation'' groups in their nations.
At a White House luncheon, President Kennedy added to the argument. Said he to the Latin American ministers: "The American republics must act now to contain the expansion of Communism from Cuba, and also take those steps which will lead to the liberation of Cuba. The Communist Party seeks to establish a springboard for an attack on the entire hemisphere by subversion, by infiltration, by all the other rather obvious apparatus that the Communist system uses so effectively. Communism can be the death of this hemisphere."
After the luncheon, the ministers promptly plunged into their own debate—not over what they really should or could do about Cuba, but mainly over whether or not they should try to issue a communique. Although one was finally produced, it was hardly calculated to cause even one grey hair in Castro's beard. It recognized the obvious—that "the Sino-Soviet intervention in Cuba is an attempt to convert the island into an armed base for Communist penetration of the Americas and subversion of the democratic institutions of the hemisphere.''

More from Wikileaks...

Associated Press

Leaked documents discuss Cuban spies, US concerns

By IAN JAMES , 11.30.10, 10:18 PM EST


CARACAS, Venezuela -- Cuban intelligence agents have deep involvement in Venezuela and enjoy direct access to President Hugo Chavez, the U.S. Embassy said in a 2006 diplomatic cable that was classified as secret.
The document was among several posted online Tuesday by the newspaper El Pais of Spain as a growing list of sensitive U.S. government messages were released by WikiLeaks.
The Jan. 30, 2006, cable from then-U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield said that "Cuban intelligence officers have direct access to Chavez and frequently provide him with intelligence reporting unvetted by Venezuelan officers."
Similar claims have been raised previously by Chavez's critics, but U.S. officials have not publicly aired such concerns.
"The impact of Cuban involvement in Venezuelan intelligence could impact U.S. interests directly," the report said. "Venezuelan intelligence services are among the most hostile towards the United States in the hemisphere, but they lack the expertise that Cuban services can provide. Cuban intelligence routinely provides the (Venezuelan government) intelligence reports about the activities" of U.S. government officials.
The embassy cable also said Venezuela's DISIP domestic spy agency "may be taking advice from Cuban intelligence on the formation of a new intelligence service." The DISIP has since been replaced by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service, named after independence hero Simon Bolivar - the inspiration of Chavez's socialist-inspired Bolivarian Revolution movement.

"Cuban intelligence officers train Venezuelans both in Cuba and in Venezuela, providing both political indoctrination and operational instruction," the report said, without citing sources. The cable said U.S. officials believed Cubans were training and advising Chavez's military security detail, but said American diplomats at the time had "no credible reports of extensive Cuban involvement in the Venezuelan military."
It also said there were reports that Chavez's brother Adan, then the Venezuelan ambassador to Cuba, "may profit illicitly from the loan process" while Venezuela was financing food imports through a Havana branch of the Industrial Bank of Venezuela.
There was no immediate reaction from the Venezuelan government to the leaked documents.
Chavez, who has welcomed thousands of Cuban doctors to Venezuela along with military advisers, has made no secret of his close ties to Cuba's communist government. He has said his mentor Fidel Castro once told him that the thousands of Cubans in Venezuela would come to his defense and fight if ever needed.
Before the latest files were released, Chavez said Monday that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should resign over the WikiLeaks revelations and that the documents show the U.S. government is a "failed state."
He praised WikiLeaks for exposing espionage and back-stabbing tactics by American diplomats. "The empire was left naked," Chavez said.
The latest documents posted online by El Pais reveal meticulous reporting by American diplomats on subjects from Venezuela's health care system to the government seizure of several banks.
They also describe U.S. officials' concerns that embassy staff were being spied on.
A secret memo dated Jan. 28, 2010, discussed a biannual counterintelligence meeting "to review current threat levels and countermeasures." It says that the embassy faced a high espionage threat and that officials discussed the need for strict security policies, including in the use of BlackBerry phones.
The memo said U.S. officials believed tht Venezuelan intelligence agencies "are controlled by the Cuban Intelligence Service" and that they "have the capability, means and desire to monitor and target Embassy staff."
In other released documents, U.S. diplomats said they believed there are leftist rebels in Cuba belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. And they said that in one private conversation in November 2009, Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim "all but acknowledged presence of the FARC in Venezuela."
According to an earlier memo from the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia in February 2008, Jobim told then U.S. Ambassador Clifford Sobel "that the Brazilian government shared the Ambassador's concern about the possibility of Venezuela exporting instability."
It added that Jobim "believed that President Chavez has been saber rattling to distract from internal problems," but he also advised the U.S. diplomat "that isolating Venezuela would lead to further posturing from Chavez and a greater risk of spreading instability among neighboring countries."
In Venezuela, meanwhile, U.S. diplomats were working to improve the image of the United States. A classified 2008 report describes a "strategic communications plan," in which the embassy requested support from the Department of Defense to "influence the information environment within Venezuela."
"The strategy's goal is to counter the active and deliberate campaign by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (BRV) to instill in the population a negative perception of the US," the report said, noting that the image of the U.S. among Venezuelans had fallen from a pre-Chavez level of 65 percent approval to a historic low of 31 percent.
American diplomats also attempted to provide a detailed portrait of Chavez's personality and motivations. One 2004 confidential cable reported on a conversation with Chavez's former lover Herma Marksman.
"Marksman stated that Chavez is loyal to no one and does not have true friends. If he has a problem, he will only confide in his brother, Adan, whom she characterized as a communist, and Cuban leader Fidel Castro," the cable said.
It concluded that "Chavez's unwillingness to trust others ... likely contributes to his government's failure in executing many of his initiatives." S: Agencies/traslate LPPNEWS FrontLine Results simultaneous

WikiLeaks: Cuban Spies Have Chávez's Ear

Published December 01, 2010
| Associated Press
Recent classified documents released by WikiLeaks show Cuban Intelligence officials have direct access to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Former U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield said in a Jan. 30, 2006 diplomatic cable that the Cuban intelligence officers “have direct access to Chávez and frequently provide him with intelligence unvetted by Venezuelan officers.
The document was among several posted online Tuesday by the newspaper El Pais of Spain as a growing list of sensitive U.S. government messages were released by WikiLeaks.
Similar claims have been raised previously by Chávez's critics, but U.S. officials have not publicly aired such concerns.
"The impact of Cuban involvement in Venezuelan intelligence could impact U.S. interests directly," the report said. "Venezuelan intelligence services are among the most hostile towards the United States in the hemisphere, but they lack the expertise that Cuban services can provide. Cuban intelligence routinely provides the (Venezuelan government) intelligence reports about the activities" of U.S. government officials.
The embassy cable also said Venezuela's DISIP domestic spy agency "may be taking advice from Cuban intelligence on the formation of a new intelligence service." The DISIP has since been replaced by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service, named after independence hero Simon Bolivar - the inspiration of Chavez's socialist-inspired Bolivarian Revolution movement.
"Cuban intelligence officers train Venezuelans both in Cuba and in Venezuela, providing both political indoctrination and operational instruction," the report said, without citing sources. The cable said U.S. officials believed Cubans were training and advising Chávez's military security detail, but said American diplomats at the time had "no credible reports of extensive Cuban involvement in the Venezuelan military."
It also said there were reports that Chávez's brother Adan, then the Venezuelan ambassador to Cuba, "may profit illicitly from the loan process" while Venezuela was financing food imports through a Havana branch of the Industrial Bank of Venezuela.
There was no immediate reaction from the Venezuelan government to the leaked documents.
Chávez, who has welcomed thousands of Cuban doctors to Venezuela along with military advisers, has made no secret of his close ties to Cuba's communist government. He has said his mentor Fidel Castro once told him that the thousands of Cubans in Venezuela would come to his defense and fight if ever needed.
Before the latest files were released, Chávez said Monday that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should resign over the WikiLeaks revelations and that the documents show the U.S. government is a "failed state."
He praised WikiLeaks for exposing espionage and back-stabbing tactics by American diplomats. "The empire was left naked," Chávez said.
The latest documents posted online by El Pais reveal meticulous reporting by American diplomats on subjects from Venezuela's health care system to the government seizure of several banks.
They also describe U.S. officials' concerns that embassy staff were being spied on.
A secret memo dated Jan. 28, 2010, discussed a biannual counterintelligence meeting "to review current threat levels and countermeasures." It says that the embassy faced a high espionage threat and that officials discussed the need for strict security policies, including in the use of BlackBerry phones.
The memo said U.S. officials believed that Venezuelan intelligence agencies "are controlled by the Cuban Intelligence Service" and that they "have the capability, means and desire to monitor and target Embassy staff."
In other released documents, U.S. diplomats said they believed there are leftist rebels in Cuba belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. And they said that in one private conversation in November 2009, Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim "all but acknowledged presence of the FARC in Venezuela."
According to an earlier memo from the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia in February 2008, Jobim told then U.S. Ambassador Clifford Sobel "that the Brazilian government shared the Ambassador's concern about the possibility of Venezuela exporting instability."
It added that Jobim "believed that President Chávez has been saber rattling to distract from internal problems," but he also advised the U.S. diplomat "that isolating Venezuela would lead to further posturing from Chávez and a greater risk of spreading instability among neighboring countries."
In Venezuela, meanwhile, U.S. diplomats were working to improve the image of the United States. A classified 2008 report describes a "strategic communications plan," in which the embassy requested support from the Department of Defense to "influence the information environment within Venezuela."
"The strategy's goal is to counter the active and deliberate campaign by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (BRV) to instill in the population a negative perception of the US," the report said, noting that the image of the U.S. among Venezuelans had fallen from a pre-Chávez level of 65 percent approval to a historic low of 31 percent.
American diplomats also attempted to provide a detailed portrait of Chávez's personality and motivations. One 2004 confidential cable reported on a conversation with Chávez's former lover Herma Marksman.
"Marksman stated that Chávez is loyal to no one and does not have true friends. If he has a problem, he will only confide in his brother, Adan, whom she characterized as a communist, and Cuban leader Fidel Castro," the cable said.
It concluded that "Chávez's unwillingness to trust others ... likely contributes to his government's failure in executing many of his initiatives."

Cuba begins public debate of key economic overhaul

Cuban government urges citizens to weigh in on economic changes ahead of make-or-break summit

, On Wednesday December 1, 2010, 1:48 pm
HAVANA (AP) -- Cuba on Wednesday began a public debate over landmark plans to lift the island's struggling economy by liberalizing some private enterprise, streamlining its vast state bureaucracy by laying off a half-million workers and repaying billions of dollars in debt.
The sweeping changes, which also would end the country's unusual dual-currency system and create new ways to buy and sell private property, were announced earlier this year and outlined in a 32-page document circulated among party leaders ahead of an all-important Communist Party Congress scheduled for April -- the first since 1997.
From December until the end of February, Cuban citizens are encouraged to weigh in on the proposals through party organizations, union meetings and neighborhood and workplace gatherings nationwide, according to an editorial published Wednesday in the state newspaper Granma.
"Nobody should remain with an unexpressed opinion, much less be prevented from expressing it," the editorial read. "The Party demands the maximum transparency from all its organizations, the greatest clarity in analysis, the clarification of all doubts and anxieties we may have within the bosom of the Revolution."
"At stake is the future of the Cuban nation," Granma said.
Although the Communist Party is the only political party allowed in Cuba, officials point to street-level forums held to discuss issues and nominate candidates for local office as evidence that the nation is more democratic than most.
It was not clear how much input ordinary people will actually have on the shape of the economic reforms, since many of them have already been announced and the document released last month was extremely detailed.
Nevertheless the Granma article said all Cubans will have "the opportunity to present their judgment, without hindrance, disagreeing if that's what they think."
Cuba traditionally holds a Party Congress every five years to announce major policy changes, but the sixth has been delayed repeatedly as the country underwent a change in leadership and grappled with a serious financial crisis.
The document that circulated last month gave a merciless assessment of the current economic situation, saying the country suffers from "inefficiency," a "lack of capacity in both production and infrastructure" and an aging population.
Cuba also owes billions of dollars to foreign companies that have done business with the island, many of them in Europe.
Still, the document stressed that there will be no change in Cuba's one-party, socialist political system.
"Only socialism is capable of overcoming the current difficulties and preserving the victories of the revolution," the document reads.