Sunday, April 15, 2012

Secret Service incident may not have been first: U.S. lawmaker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Investigators looking into alleged U.S. Secret Service misconduct in Colombia before President Barack Obama's trip there must probe how often this has happened before, the Republican chairman of a House government oversight panel said on Sunday.
Representative Darrell Issa also told CBS' "Face the Nation" program that there may have been more agents involved than the 11 who were sent back to Washington after allegations surfaced that they had brought prostitutes to their hotel in Colombia.
But this was rejected by a Secret Service spokesman, who told Reuters he had no information that more than 11 of the agency's personnel had been implicated.
Agents whose job it is to protect the president and other Cabinet members could be blackmailed by the kind of activity that has been alleged, said Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Issa, a frequent critic of the Obama administration, said he has not decided whether to have committee hearings on the scandal.
"The investigation will not be about the 11 to 20 or more involved, it will be about how did this happen and how often has this happened before," Issa told CBS. "Things like this don't happen once if they didn't happen before."
The Secret Service said on Saturday that it had put 11 agents on administrative leave to investigate their behavior ahead of the Colombia summit, and apologized for the distraction the incident had caused.
Assistant Director Paul Morrissey said in the Saturday statement that the Secret Service replaced the agents after allegations were made on Thursday, in line with the service's "zero tolerance" policy on personal misconduct.
The Secret Service gave no details about what may have occurred in Cartagena, a coastal city hosting the 33-nation Summit of the Americas. Obama arrived in Cartagena for the conference on Friday and was staying through Sunday.
A local Colombian police source said that agents had brought prostitutes back to their hotel.
A U.S. source familiar with the situation told Reuters that it appeared some of the agents allegedly involved had gone to a bar and brought back various friendly women who turned out to be asking for money when they got back to the hotel rooms.
Five military servicemen, assigned to support the Secret Service during Obama's visit, have also been implicated in the incident, which has become a major embarrassment for Washington at the summit.
Issa said incidents like this could pose a danger to the president. "In this particular case, the president may not have been in danger, but that's to beg the whole question of - What happens if somebody, six months ago, six years ago, became the victim of their own misconduct and is now being blackmailed?" he said.
"It's not about whether the president was in danger this time. It's whether or not you need to make changes so the American people can have confidence" in the agency, Issa said.
He wanted to know how they would make changes in discipline, perhaps involving polygraph tests, to prevent a recurrence, he said.
Morrissey said on Saturday that the personnel involved were special agents and uniformed division officers, none of whom were assigned to the presidential protective service. All were interviewed at Secret Service headquarters in Washington on Saturday.
(Reporting By Susan Cornwell; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Eric Beech and Sandra Maler)

Latin America rebels against Obama over Cuba

CARTAGENA, Colombia (Reuters) - Unprecedented Latin American opposition to U.S. sanctions on Cuba left President Barack Obama isolated at a summit on Sunday and illustrated Washington's declining influence in a region being aggressively courted by China.
Unlike the rock-star status he enjoyed at the 2009 Summit of the Americas after taking office, Obama has had a bruising time at the two-day meeting in Colombia of some 30 heads of state.
Sixteen U.S. security personnel were caught in an embarrassing prostitution scandal before Obama arrived, Brazil and others have bashed Obama over U.S. monetary policy and he has been on the defensive over Cuba and calls to legalize drugs.
Due to the hostile U.S. and Canadian line on communist-run Cuba, the heads of state failed to produce a final declaration as the summit fizzled out on Sunday afternoon.
"There was no declaration because there was no consensus," said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. He bristled at suggestions the summit had been a failure, however, saying the exchange of different views was a sign of democratic health.
For the first time, conservative-led U.S. allies like Mexico and Colombia are throwing their weight behind the traditional demand of leftist governments that Cuba be invited to the next Summit of the Americas.
Cuba was kicked out of the Organization of American States (OAS) a few years after Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution and has been kept out of its summits due mainly to U.S. opposition.
But Latin American leaders are increasingly militant in opposing both Cuba's exclusion and the 50-year-old U.S. trade embargo on the Caribbean island.
"The isolation, the embargo, the indifference, looking the other way, have been ineffective," Santos said. "I hope Cuba is at the next summit in three years."
Santos, a major U.S. ally in the region who has relied on Washington for financial and military help to fight guerrillas and drug traffickers, has become vocal about Cuba's inclusion even though he also advocates for democratic reform by Havana.
In an ironic twist to the debate, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went dancing in the early hours of Sunday at a Cartagena bar called Cafe Havana, where Cuban music is played.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, who has insisted without success that Washington recognize its claim to the Falkland Islands controlled by Britain, was one of several presidents who left the summit well before its official closure.
She missed a verbal gaffe by Obama, who referred to the "Maldives" instead of the "Malvinas" when using the name Latin Americans give to the disputed islands.
The leftist ALBA bloc of nations - including Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and some Caribbean nations - said they will not attend future summits without Cuba's presence.
"It's not a favour anyone would be doing to Cuba. It's a right they've had taken away from them," Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said from Managua.
Although there were widespread hopes for a rapprochement with Cuba under Obama when he took office, Washington has done little beyond ease some travel restrictions. It insists Cuba must first make changes, including the release of political prisoners.
Obama told a news conference after the summit he was "puzzled" that nations that had themselves emerged from authoritarian rule would overlook that in Cuba.
"I and the American people will welcome a time when the Cuban people have the freedom to live their lives, choose their leaders and fully participate in this global economy and international institutions. We haven't gotten there yet," he said.
Obama urged Cuba to look at political and economic transformations in Colombia, Brazil and Chile for inspiration.
The prostitution saga was a big embarrassment for Obama and a blow to the prestige of his Secret Service, the agency that provides security for U.S. presidents. It was the talk of the town in the historic Caribbean coastal city of Cartagena.
Eleven Secret Service agents were sent home and five military servicemen grounded after trying to take prostitutes back to their hotel the day before Obama arrived.
Obama said in general his security personnel did an extraordinary job under stressful circumstances but he would be annoyed if the allegations were proven by an investigation.
"We represent the people of the United States and when we travel to another country I expect them to observe the highest standards," Obama said of the reports. "If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I will be angry."
A local policeman told Reuters the affair came to a head when hotel staff tried to register a prostitute at the front desk but agents refused and waved their ID cards.
Locals were unimpressed and upset at the negative headlines.
"Someone who's charged with looking after the security of the most important president in the world cannot commit the mistake of getting mixed up with a prostitute," said Cartagena tourist guide Rodolfo Galvis, 60.
"This has damaged the image of the Secret Service, not Colombia."
The divisive end to the summit added to strain on the U.S.-dominated system of hemispheric diplomacy that was built around the OAS but is struggling to adapt to changes in the region.
"I'm not sure the next summit will even be possible," said Carlos Gaviria, a Colombian politician and former presidential candidate.
Perceived U.S. neglect of Latin America has allowed China to move strongly into the region and become the leading trade partner of Brazil and various other nations.
Regional economic powerhouse Brazil has led criticism at the summit of U.S. and other rich nations' expansionist monetary policy that is sending a flood of funds into developing nations, forcing up local currencies and hurting competitiveness.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called it a "monetary tsunami" that Latin American nations had the right to defend themselves from.
Cheering the mood a bit, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced that a U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement will come into force in the middle of May.
With a presidential election looming, Obama had portrayed his visit to the summit as a way to generate jobs at home by boosting trade with Latin America.
(Editing by Bill Trott)
FIDEL CASTRO, ADIDAS TRACK, attacks the 'Summit of the GUAYABERAS'

Sunday, April 15, 2012 10:52
Havana - Cuba's dictator, Fidel Castro, lashed back against the "despicable" Organization of (OAS), in an article published the same day that Colombia opened at the Summit of the Americas, which he calls "Summit of the Guayabera".


"64 years ago was created reprehensible OAS. You can not go through overlook the grotesque role of this institution, "writes de exgobernante  85 years and retired from power since 2006 - in the latest installment of their "Reflections".
Fidel Castro says that the OAS led in the past half century, "the fury interventionist "in Central America and Caribbean  that "even more serious was his nefarious role" in the field of South America.
Remember that "neoliberalism, as the official doctrine imperialism, gained unusual strength in the 70's when the Richard Nixon decided to thwart the electoral victory Salvador Allende in Chile "and opened" a real step sinister in the history of Latin America. "
"Military coups and repression spread to almost all  neighboring countries, "recalls Fidel Castro, who extends his criticism of United States and stresses that "it would be an endless list of crimes and  terrorist acts against Cuba's economic activities to  Over half a century. "
He also mentions in his article the president of the United States, Barack Obama, referred to as "the first black president" of that country, "without doubt intelligent, well educated and good communicator" and who "made quite a few people think it was a rival of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. "
The article, entitled "The Summit of the guayabera", coincides with the  Opening today in Cartagena de Indias for the Sixth Summit of the Americas to be attended by all the rulers of the continent except Ecuador and Cuba, and the question of whether Hugo will attend the Chavez, pending their physicians authorizing him to travel.
"Now we have the Summit of the guayabera. The river and its Yayabo Indian name, fully vindicated, will be history, "says Castro in his article in reference to Cuban origin that shirt typical of the Caribbean.
Cuba, which has never been to a Summit of the Americas, again be one of the stars of the event, after the countries of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) and other States have claimed the island's participation in this forum.
United States and Canada are opposed to the inclusion of Cuba in the Summit of the Americas for not being a democratic country.
On Friday, Obama said the island remains a State "Undemocratic and authoritarian," adding that what prevents you participate in these events "is not America," but their practices "Contrary" to the universal rights.
In his article on Saturday, Fidel Castro praised the "brave words "of several Latin American foreign ministers at the previous meeting who celebrated yesterday in Cartagena, and the "firmness" with which discussed the dispute over the Falkland Islands, another issue Highlights of the summit.
According to the Cuban leader, Argentina's economy "is brutally beaten to deprive it of valuable energy and maritime of these islands. "

24/7 FrontLine Results - LPPNEWS.The socialist medicine lacks the simplest...

Ainí Martin Valero
Cuba news/ Today  Regla, Havana, (PD) Cuban medicine, despite being free, lacks most of the supplies needed to care for a patient.

In days gone by independent journalist Ivan Pupo Sañudo presented at the Calixto Garcia hospital with a urinary blockage. The Dr. Sandra attended in haste and said: "I put a probe for ten days, but I have a little hose just because there is collection bag. "bolsa-colectora

After  several minutes of draining, the doctor closed the probe tip and said, "Try to get the collection bags, which I warn you not There is no currency in pharmacies. "Then began an odyssey for journalists, as it was necessary to get the bags to all coast.

Nylon bags, bags of yogurt and even condoms  was placed in the drain, even though these products can cause  infection and complicate the health situation has Sanudo.

Many  Cubans say they would prefer to pay rather than go through all the  deficiencies and requirements imposed by the government. For analysis or tests are performed as soon as possible, often Cubans we have to make gifts or to pay.

Hospitals are falling  pieces and clean up is a utopia. Doctors complain about the lack materials to do their jobs and patients suffer whims of a decadent and stubborn, you do not want for anything the  good of its citizens.
For Cuba news / news ainimv@yahoo.comThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Photo: Martin Aini

Two women were assaulted by a pack of eggs

| By Imbert Leannes
HAVANA, April 13 (Imbert Leannes Acosta,  - The shortage of eggs these days strikes the Cuban capital has caused unusual events, but not uncommon, as two women who went to blows while fighting for the last egg carton featuring a clandestine seller.
Around six pm on Thursday, when closed its doors agromercado capital of EJT (Youth Army Work) of 10 October Street and Santa Catalina, a man proclaimed that "he had a single carton of eggs" and urged those present to that "advantage, because they were lost." A carton is a tray with 30 eggs.
At that time two women came interested in the product, but wanted to verify that both the full house, began to dispute it amid insults and shoves.
"I have walked all over Havana for eggs and I'm going now  without them, "said one of the ladies, about 50, in the end was victorious in battle.
In recent weeks, events like this are common in the Havana, where the shortage of eggs, one of the few sources of proteins that has been on the menu of Cubans has become a real pain ... head.

From The White House

Saturday, April 14, 2012
From The White House briefing with Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhoades at the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena, Colombia:

Q. Hugo Chavez, President Ortega, and the President of Ecuador are not here. What does that tell you about the direction the Americas summit is taking and the possibility for future summits if you start having that kind of --

MR. RHODES: Well, first of all, there are -- the vast majority of the leaders of the Americas are here at this summit to deal with a pressing set of issues, from economic integration to energy cooperation and citizen security. So you're talking about a very small number of countries that aren’t attending. Cuba is not attending the Summit of the Americas because they are not in line with the democratic charter of the Americas. They have not taken the necessary steps to respect the rights of their own citizens.

We have said time and again that we welcome the day in which a democratic Cuba could become a full participant in the Summit of the Americas and in the institutions of the Americas. Unfortunately, that day has not yet come.

With regard to President Chavez, who obviously attended the last Summit of the Americas, he has been battling cancer, of course, as well, and it's my understanding that he is not going to be attending.

But again, I think what you have here is leaders from across this hemisphere, north to south, east to west, from different political persuasions and backgrounds, coming together behind a common purpose. And as the President and his counterparts pointed out at the CEO Summit today, you have a remarkable trio of leaders, in terms of President Obama representing the United States, President Rousseff, someone who came out of a movement and sacrificed greatly for Brazil to become a democracy, sitting with President Santos, who has, of course, been such a part of the effort to bring security to Colombia so that they could have the kind of growth that we're seeing right here today.

So we believe that this is a tremendous forum to have conversations about the future of the region. And again, we look forward to the day when a democratic Cuba can fully join the system of the Americas.