Monday, September 19, 2011

Don Fidelone and his brother closed another Canadian trading company
Sept. 16 - When you do "business" with criminals like the Castro brothers' Mafia, you need to understand that it is OK to deal in stolen properties and to exploit underpaid and overworked slaves, but you cannot cut the Godfather out of the deal or you are in deep trouble.
Here is a report of another Canadian trading firm closed in Cuba by order of the Mafioso-in-chief:
Cuba has shut down one of the most important western trading companies in the country as an investigation into alleged corrupt import-export practices broadened to a second Canadian firm, foreign business sources said on Friday.
State security agents on Friday watched who entered the building in Havana's Miramar Trade Center where Ontario-based Tokmakjian Group, one of the top Canadian companies doing business on the communist-run island, has its offices.
The company offices on the fourth floor were sealed with a notice that it had been closed by Cuban State Security.
"We received notice on Monday from the foreign ministry and the Council of State, which is the procedure in such cases, to stop all dealings with the Tokmakjian Group," said an employee of a Cuban company that does business with the firm.
Like other people who spoke to Reuters about the clampdown on the company, she asked that her name not be used.
Tokmakjian Group is estimated to do around $80 million in business annually with the Caribbean island, mainly selling transportation, mining and construction equipment.
The company is the exclusive Cuba distributor of Hyundai, among other brands, and a partner in two joint ventures replacing the motors of Soviet-era transportation equipment.
Company officials were not immediately available for comment.
Cuban authorities shut down Canadian firm Tri-Star Caribbean on July 15 and arrested company president Sarkis Yacoubian. The company, considered a competitor of Tokmakjian Group, did around $30 million in business with Cuba.
"Apparently Tri-Star Caribbean was just the beginning. They brought in more than 50 state purchasers for questioning, arrested some of them and broadened the investigation from there," a western businessman said.
"As far as I know up to now just Canadian firms are involved, but you can bet every state importer and foreign trading company in the country is on edge," he said.
Raul Castro has made fighting corruption a top priority since taking over for his ailing brother Fidel in 2008, and in the past year a number of Cuban officials and foreign businessmen have been charged in graft cases.
Tri-Star Caribbean did business with around half of the 35 Cuban state companies authorized to import, from tourism, transportation and construction to the nickel and oil industries, communications and public health.
The whereabouts of the man who founded the family business, Cy Tokmakjian, of Armenian heritage, born in Syria and educated in Canada, was not clear on Friday.
He was last seen by Reuters a week ago, the day after his offices were sealed, but another western businessman said he had been detained by Cuban authorities.
"They picked up Cy on Saturday and I heard his wife and at least one of his kids flew in to see what they could do," he said.
Cuba's state-run media rarely reports on corruption related investigations until they are concluded and those charged are sentenced.
Read more

Bill Richardson was authorized to offer certain concessions to Castro in exchange for Gross
Sept. 16 - Bill Richardson had chits to offer Cuban officials in Havana this week if they released Alan Gross, the American contractor serving a 15-year sentence for distributing satellite telephone equipment.
Mr. Richardson, who has negotiated prisoner releases from Cuba to North Korea, had State Department approval to present at least two things, said four people with knowledge of the negotiations. One was a process for removing Cuba from the list of states sponsoring terrorism. The Obama administration was also willing to waive probation for one of the “Cuban Five,” as a group of Cuban agents accused of espionage in the United States are known on the island, so he could go home after he leaves prison next month.
But it was not enough. Mr. Richardson was not even allowed to see Mr. Gross, and when he left Havana on Wednesday, he was angry and disappointed, concluding that elements of the Cuban government “do not seem to really want warmer relations.”
That brand of bitterness is once again the modus operandi for United States-Cuba relations. American officials and experts say that Mr. Richardson’s failed trip was just the latest in a series of misunderstandings, missteps and perceived slights showing that both countries, after a moment of warmth, have slipped back into a 50-year-old pattern of cold distrust.
“Neither side has shown the slightest interest in learning from experience and have demonstrated repeatedly the tragic way in which both sides are condemned to repeat their mistakes,” said Robert A. Pastor, a professor at American University who advises former President Jimmy Carter on Latin America. “It’s not just the Obama people. It’s the new people under Raúl Castro.”  The New York Times
Magnitude 6.0 earthquake hits about 25 miles of Cuba’s coast; no tsunami warnings issued
Sept. 15 - A strong earthquake struck off the southeastern coast of Cuba on early Thursday morning, seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
The 6.0-magnitude earthquake at 4.43 a.m. local time (0843 GMT) was centered about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of Cape Cruz, a cape in Granma Province. It struck about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
While there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, the USGS estimated that some 151,000 people living along the coast near the epicenter may have felt moderate shaking which could result in very light to light damage. It said casualties were unlikely.
Although the region near Cuba frequently experiences very small earthquakes, strong earthquakes are unusual. In May 1992, 40 people were injured and more than 800 buildings were damaged when a powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck off Cuba's southeastern coast. Read more

Republican presidential candidate criticizes Cuba and Venezuela...

Notimex Sunday, September 18, 2011 (Latest News)
On Venezuela, said that the country "is a threat because we hates his anti-American sentiment insists , insists  on planting chaff. "
The presidential candidate of the United States, Jon Huntsman
Washington .-  The aspiring presidential candidate for the U.S. GOP, Jon Huntsman, accused of trying to Cuba and Venezuela destabilize the region, in an interview Sunday with the string  Univision Spanish. He said no one can compare the blocking  U.S. to Cuba with the good relations that the country China, despite the Asian giant is also a dictatorship and Washington faces charges of rights violations humans.
However, Cuba is on the list prepared Washington on countries that sponsor terrorism, said the applicant president, who urged the Cuban government to release the political prisoners and allow greater democratic openness to forces  of the opposition.
"Cuba is 90 miles from our shores, works directly to destabilize this hemisphere, working with  guys like (Venezuelan President) Hugo Chavez, who has flights Direct to Iran and working to destabilize other nations in Central and South America, "he said.
"I think it is a cancer metastasized and that is something that should not be rewarded, that behavior You have to reward, "said Huntsman, who accused Havana trying to "export its revolution" to neighboring countries.

September 17, 2011 18:10

The U.S. justice denied a request that one of the five Cubans imprisoned in that country on charges of espionage may return to Cuba when I leave the prison on 7 October this year, reported Today the press in the Caribbean country.

Judge Joan Lenard, the Southern District of Florida, yesterday rejected a motion that the Cuban René  Gonzalez happens in Cuba three years of probation that U.S. courts imposed for when you leave prison, Cubadebate website reported.

The motion had been filed  to defend Gonzales on 16 February this year and challenged by U.S. government on 7 March.

Lenard argued that the motion is premature because no parole period begin until the individual gets out of prison and need to Spend some time before the Court is able to evaluate in appropriate characteristics of the accused.

Gonzalez was sentenced to 15 years in prison plus three years probation include conditions such as a ban on approaching to or visit specific locations are known to frequent or individuals or terrorist groups.

He was arrested in Miami along with four other and the five Cubans were convicted of espionage. Two of  They imposed a life sentence.

The Cuban government argues that the five are heroes because they met operations surveillance to thwart terrorist actions against Cuba by exiles.

In Cuba, Evo and Chavez visits for therapy...

HAVANA (AP). The president of Bolivia,  Evo Morales, began yesterday a two days official visit to Cuba, where is also his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, to receive the fourth cycle of chemotherapy for cancer being treated.

ABC Digital
En Cuba, Evo de visita y Chavez para terapia
Cuba's President Raul Castro (d), receives his colleagues from Bolivia, Evo Morales (i), and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez (c). EFE
The  Cuban President Raul Castro received at the airport in Havana two leaders, who came together from Caracas, where Morales issued a brief visit to inquire about health status Chavez.

The Cuban media (all officers) reported a picture and television footage of the reception with no audio in the  you see when Castro dressed in military general to door greeting  Hugo Chavez, also in uniform, and Evo Morales.

In their headlines yesterday, the press of the island defines the two leaders as "presidents friends."

It  expected that during his stay in Havana Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez hold working meetings with Raul Castro and is also interview with his brother, former President Fidel.

About Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez said on Saturday in Caracas that "is dedicated to the  scientific research, "so he decided to stop writing" by a  time ", referring to speculation that arose last few  weeks on the health of Cuban leader.

Plus these meetings, the president of Bolivia will receive today at the University  Ph.D. in Havana "honoris causa" in Political Science and then give a lecture.

According to official program of the visit, Evo Morales will leave most of the West Indies this afternoon for New York to attend the Assembly General of the UN. Bolivia's president did not visit Cuba since 2009,  year they traveled to the island twice, first in June on a trip officer and then in December to attend a summit of the Alliance Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).

"I want to apologize to Cuban people, their commanders, not long ago that the visit, "says the Bolivian president in his home country before traveling to Caracas and Havana.

Although Evo Morales has been two years without traveling to the island, the governments of La Paz, and Havana, allies politicians, have numerous contacts during this period. This same  years Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, Morales was received by La Paz, while the Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, and  Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Bolivia, Admiral Armando Pacheco, carried out a field visit to Cuba.

In 2009 the Bilateral trade exceeded seven million dollars, but the cooperation between Cuba and Bolivia has developed mainly in areas of health and education, within the framework of ALBA.
September 19, 2011 00:00