Thursday, December 2, 2010

December 01, 2010

November 29, 2010

Exhumation of Zapata's remains is delayed

The exhumation of the remains of Orlando Zapata Tamayo has been delayed until his mother, Reina Luisa Tamayo, is certain that she and other family members will be able to leave Cuba for the United States.
Sra. Tamayo said she and her family are not in a hurry to leave the island, and that it is up to the Castro dictatorship to resolve the hang-ups in the process.
The regime last month offered Sra. Tamayo a chance to leave Cuba, but she said she would not emigrate without being able to take her son's cremated remains with her.
Radio Martí and Cuban Democratic DIrectorate have the story.
Here is my video tribute, produced earlier this year, to Zapata and to his mother:

Cuba begins public debate on economic reforms

People walk past a poster of Fidel Castro on a bookshop window in Havana  
What do the Cuban people think?

Related stories

Cuba has launched a public debate on plans to transform its socialist economy by reducing the role of the state and boosting private enterprise.
Ordinary Cubans are being encouraged to discuss the changes so their views can be taken into account at a ruling communist party congress next April.
The government says everyone should have a free say on the future of Cuba.
But it also insists that the "socialist character" of Cuba's political system will not change.
Under the headline "It is the people who decide", the official Communist Party newspaper Granma said everyone in Cuba should take part in the economic debate
It urged people to discuss the changes through Communist Party organisations, trade union meetings and community groups.
"Nobody should remain with an unexpressed opinion, much less be prevented from expressing it," it said.
"At stake is the future of the Cuban nation."
However, Granma also stressed that the "socialist character" of Cuba's political and social system was "irrevocable."


Cuba is entering a period of potential social upheaval.
Half a million workers are due to lose their jobs in the coming months as the government attempts to overhaul the island's struggling state-run economy.
President Raul Castro is also encouraging people to become self-employed or set up small businesses to help take up the slack.
The government has publicly released a 32-page report listing in detail the proposals, and this is intended to form the basis of the discussions.
These debates will not touch on the political shape of Cuba's one-party state nor on replacing the centrally-controlled command economy with a return to capitalism.
Economic problems
The three-month debating period is presented as the opportunity for the public to participate in decisions to be taken at the ruling communist party's sixth congress in April, the first to be held in 14 years.
President Raul Castro called the congress in November, saying it would "concentrate on solving problems in the economy and updating the Cuban economic model."
But many details of the economic changes have already been announced, so it is not clear how much influence the public debate will really have.
In September, President Castro announced plans to lay off around up to a million state employees - about a fifth of the workforce - and encourage them to find work in the private sector.
Half of those posts are to go by the end of March, just weeks before the planned congress.
Restrictions on private enterprise are being eased, with small businesses allowed to employ staff, borrow money, and sell services to government departments.
They will also have to pay tax.
Thousands of Cubans have already been given licences to set up private businesses, and more are registering every week.
Since taking over from his brother Fidel in 2006, Raul Castro has taken steps to reduce the state's almost total control of the economy, which has has been gripped by a severe crisis in recent years.
It has suffered from a fall in the price for its main export, nickel, as well as a decline in tourism.
Growth has also been hampered by the 48-year US trade embargo.

Cuba Jewish groups deny work with jailed American

HAVANA – The leaders of Cuba's two main Jewish groups both denied having worked with a jailed American contractor whose family says he was on the island to hand out communication equipment to Jewish organizations.
Cuban authorities have accused Alan Gross of espionage, though they have not pressed charges despite keeping him in custody since he was detained last Dec. 3.
Adela Dworin, president of Havana's Temple Beth Shalom and Cuba's largest Jewish organization, the Jewish Community House, told The Associated Press on Wednesday it's possible Gross came to the center as one of "hundreds" of foreign visitors it receives each year. But she said she doesn't remember meeting him and he certainly was not doing any work with her group.
Dr. Mayra Levy, president of the Hebrew Sephardic Center of Cuba, said the same thing: "I never saw him. He never came here."
Cuba's tightly knit Jewish community is believed to number about 1,500 people, most of whom live in Havana and belong to one of those two groups. While it is possible Gross was working with one of the other Jewish groups scattered across the island, the other organizations represent very small numbers of people.
"As far as I know, none of the three synagogues (in Havana) authorized any such activity," Dworin said.
Gross' wife, Judy, has denied that her husband was a spy and says he is a veteran development worker who was helping members of Cuba's Jewish community use the Internet to stay in contact with each other and with similar groups abroad. Communications equipment he brought with him was intended for humanitarian purposes, not for use by the dissident community, she said.
Dworin said many visitors bring donations — medicine for a community pharmacy, books, DVDs, computer games, food for religious festivals — but she stressed that the group would not accept any contraband equipment, or even have need for it.
"We have all the necessary media to communicate with the entire Jewish world," Dworin said. "We are able to communicate freely."
"We respect the laws of the country where we were born," she added.
The detained man, a native of Potomac, Maryland, was working for a firm contracted by USAID when he was arrested. Senior Cuban leaders including President Raul Castro have accused Gross of spying.
Cuba and the United States have been at odds since shortly after Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution, and the U.S. has maintained an economic embargo on the island for 48 years. Havana criticizes USAID for seeking to promote democratic change in Cuba, saying it uses millions of dollars to bankroll opposition activity.
In August, Cuba allowed Judy Gross to visit her husband for the first time since his arrest.
U.S. diplomats insist Gross was not doing anything wrong and have said his continued detention makes it difficult to improve relations.
Gloria Berbena, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, which Washington maintains instead of an embassy, said consular officials last visited Gross in jail Nov. 16. She said that "unfortunately," she knew of no new developments in his case.
The Cuban government did not respond to requests for comment on the case. Officials have said previously the case is working its way through the legal system and there is nothing unusual about the long period Gross has spent in jail without charge.
Also Wednesday, a group of Cuban religious leaders who traveled to the United States last week for a religious conference said Washington officials asked them for help in Gross' case.
The leaders said the matter was raised during meetings with Peter Brennan, counselor for Cuban affairs in the State Department, and Dan Restrepo, President Barack Obama's point man on Latin America at the National Security Council.
Rev. Oden Marichal, secretary of the Council of Cuban Churches, an umbrella organization encompassing non-Roman Catholic Christian churches and the Jewish community, said the visitors agreed to help but would not intervene as negotiators.
"What we made clear to them is that the Jewish community in Cuba ... told us: 'We never had ties with that gentleman, he never brought us any kind of equipment,'" Marichal said.
The leaders also presented a petition seeking the release of the "Cuban Five" — five Cuban agents convicted of spying and sentenced to long jail terms in the United States.
Cuba maintains the men were not a threat to the U.S. and were only keeping watch on anti-Castro groups that it accuses of a number of violent acts, including a 1990s hotel bombing campaign in Havana.
Associated Press writer Andrea Rodriguez contributed to this report.

LPP Archive...

Cuba: from communist to co-operative?

Fidel Castro's admission that Cuba isn't working doesn't mean a change to capitalism – far from it

Fidel Castro's wry comment to US journalist Geoffrey Goldberg that Cuba's economic system isn't working has become an aside that has echoed round the world as columnists and commentators have seized upon it as the confession of a man preparing to meet his maker.
However, as it is wont to do with Cuba, the world's media (especially that which is vehemently opposed to socialism) is perhaps reading a little too much into the comment. Fidel is a keen media watcher himself and seeing the attention his remark has received will surely be clarifying his views in the days to come, but you can be sure it will not be to say that capitalism is the answer. (Indeed, elsewhere in the Goldberg interview he told his interlocutor that he was still very much a dialectical materialist.)
So what exactly did the old man say? To be specific: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore," was his answer to being asked if he believed it was something still worth exporting. That is hardly an admission of total failure. He clearly thinks it worked once, and since he does not elaborate on the reasons why he thinks it doesn't work now, it is premature to assume that he is chucking in the towel.
Nor can the statement be interpreted as him saying that socialism per se has failed – merely that Cuba's current model of it no longer fits the times. He has consistently held the view that there are as many models of socialism as there are countries that try it out. As a Marxist he believes that the particular circumstances of each society and the peculiarities of their histories affect the character of whatever politics they might have – be they communist or capitalist.
What the statement really means is that he agrees with his brother that the way the Cuban system is currently configured has to change, but watch the space carefully – this does not automatically imply that free-market capitalism is the answer – far from it.
Since being handed power by his brother in 2006, Raúl Castro has taken measures to reform the economy, including using some market mechanisms and allowing more citizens to work for themselves. In order to shrink the state (and the deficit – Cuba is in the same boat as the rest of us), something like a million government workers are set to lose their jobs in the coming months.
The government has recently handed out more than 2.5m acres of land to individuals and co-operatives, in order that they produce more food, and has accordingly loosened controls that prohibit Cubans from selling fruit and vegetables. In an effort to build a modern tourism infrastructure it has eased property laws to give lease periods of up to 99 years for foreign investors.
However, at the same time the government has announced that workers will be encouraged to take over the ownership of the companies in which they work. In a move that the government has actually called a deepening of socialism, the Cubans are about to launch what could potentially become the biggest co-operative project the world has ever seen.
The government is saying that the old centrally planned Soviet-style of socialism has finally hit the buffers – a new form of socialism is required, in which the state ceases to be the administrator of economic activity but the regulator. That's a different model of socialism – it may not work either – but it is not capitalism.

Putin angered by U.S. dishonorable statements

Declassified diplomatic notes show arrogance, rudeness and lack of ethics in Washington, said.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Putin indignado por declaraciones deshonrosas de EE UU
Moscow.- Is furious with the United States. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin,  Tuesday expressed dissatisfaction with the way the U.S. has characterized the  leading authorities of his country in secret diplomatic notes State Department released the website Wikileaks.
In an interview with journalist Larry King, CNN'sPutin Putin said that statements by U.S. diplomats in one of the cables that he is "Batman"And President Medvedev is Dmitriv"Robin"Are" todishonor"One of the two.
"To be honest, we did not expect that this would be so arrogant, so much so rude and unethical"Said Putin, who nevertheless felt that the leak of more than 250.000 diplomatic cables"is not a catastrophe”.
S: LPPNEWS CopyRights FrontLine Results

It was just a story ... never had "Cuban heritage"

For lying, cancel in Spain Spanish brand of cigars Cuban Heritage, who boasted to be "grown in Cuba Cuban snuff"

EFE MADRID, Dec. 1 .- The Tribunal Supremo (TS) of Spain reversed the Spanish brand of cigars "Cuban Heritage," which was billed as "snuff-grown Cuban Cuba "when in fact it was not.
Thus, the TS has ruled in favor of the corporation in that country which has the exclusive to market abroad the snuff produced on the island.
The Civil Division of the High Court has admitted and the appeal released today that the company Habanos SA Cuban filed against the decision of the Audiencia Provincial de Las Palmas  Gran Canaria, which decided not to cancel the trademark, registered by a society of that island off the northwest coast of Africa.
Habanos SA Corporation argued that had the exclusive marketing of snuff out of Cuba under a Cuban procurement and distribution contract with Cubatabaco, integrated entity Group Snuff Companies in that country.
In its appeal, it also recalled that Spain and Cuba had signed a trade agreement in 1979 banning the use of adjective to identify in Spain Cuban cigars, cigarettes and provided snuff products were not really originating  that country.
According to the corporation, the record "Cuban Heritage" could induce mislead the consumer about the geographical origin of the product when  it was she who held the exclusive right of use of Appellations of Origin "Cuba" and "Cuban" to designate products tobacco in the country.
The SC considers that the word "Cuba" used by the Canarian society applied to products made from snuff "suggests idea that they are from the Caribbean island and therefore have the quality and reputation in the market linked to that source. "
S: Simultaneous translations LPPNEWS CopyRights FrontLine Results