By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Cuba produces, consumes and exports substantial amounts of Havana cigars and rum, products that enjoy a lot of prestige and are in high demand in international markets.
It is somehow perplexing that a nation which –according to United Nations specialized agencies– contributes greatly to the prevention and cure of ailments through the medical assistance offered by its scientists in many countries, is likewise an important supplier in the world market of products that are harmful to health, such as alcohol and tobacco.
The inhabitants of the islands that make up the Cuban archipelago took control of their destiny after a bloody liberation struggle. By then, the humble and exploited Cuban peasants and workers had managed to develop –with sweat and tears resulting from strenuous capitalist exploitation– cultivation techniques, handicraft and manufacturing techniques which, together with climatic and agricultural conditions specific to parts of the Cuban archipelago, had placed the island at the head of the world in these product which make it proud today.
Cuba had always been denied democratic paths. It had to achieve its independence, in the decade of the 1950’s, through an armed struggle waged by a rebel vanguard at the cost of thousands of lives.
But when the popular revolution won and the Cuban people became owners of the country’s destiny, the new government was forced to limit the scope of its social welfare goals.
This was because of the need to defend against the counter-revolutionary actions of the oligarchy, already displaced from the government but supported by the United States superpower.
After the proclamation of Cuba’s independence from Spanish colonial rule, the US played the same hegemonic role that Spain had exercised previously.
Not all the big companies that were nationalized by the revolution reacted in the same way.
Virtually all non-US foreign companies accepted the path of negotiation and resolved the matter sensibly, without further conflict. Several of them, over the years, have returned to have investments in Cuba at much higher levels.
For more than sixty years, US companies nationalized in Cuba were not allowed by the US blockade laws against Cuba (euphemistically called “embargo”) to sit down and normally discuss compensation issues.
Everything had to be done in an organized manner, and the inevitable impact had to be treated carefully to minimize violent effects, always in the hope of future understanding and tolerance.
In the case of Bacardí, the former owners of the firm opted for making a legal war against Cuba.
Shortly after the triumph of the revolution, they registered the Bacardí Company in Bermuda and fought a legal battle in the International Court of The Hague for the ownership of the brand.
They managed to maintain the right to the Bacardi brand and the bat as its symbol, but they were denied the right to identify their rum as Cuban or originally from Havana.
In 1999, thanks to their political links and the blockade, Bacardi managed to get the US Congress to approve a provision that would allow it to seize the Havana Club brand within the US territory.
The World Trade Organization condemned the action, but allowed Bacardi to market, within the United States, the fake Havana Club rum made in Puerto Rico.
Through bizarre legal maneuvers, Bacardí allegedly had acquired from an industrialist named José Arechabala, the property of a small rum factory called Havana Club. This had been his property since 1934 until its nationalization in 1960. In truth, those rights were non-existent, because they belonged to the Cuban state.
Despite the blockade, Cuba has regularly renewed the Havana Club brand with the US Patent Office since 1976.
The brand was given to the rum Cuba produces that in the past had been named Bacardí. Cuba has continued producing the Havana Club rum with total international legal backing. Obviously, because of the US blockade, the Havana Club brand could not be registered in the United States.
Since 1994, the production of Havana Club rum and its worldwide distribution, except in the United States, has been done by a joint venture of the French Pernod Ricard and the Cuban Ron Cuba. This is a measure of defense against the intense harassment of the blockade against the Island.
In a short time, the Cuban Havana Club rum quality has captured the preference of rum drinkers from around the world who have stopped consuming Bacardi (manufactured in Puerto Rico). Drinkers of the best rum in the world, including Americans, do not settle for the fake that Bacardí is today.
February 6, 2018
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The multiple crises affecting Donald Trump’s administration from the day the real estate multi-billionaire entrepreneur arrived at the Oval Office of the White House has not spared the State Department.
An article by journalist Gardiner Harris, correspondent for the The New York Times at the White House, discusses the serious situation the diplomacy of the superpower has been going through since that day. He predicts it will tend to grow more serious in tune with the vices inherent in Trump’s administration, even when, in this case, it is Secretary of State, Rex W. Tillerson, the first-acting figure.
Harris describes what has been happening in the upper ranks of the State Department as “a parade of dismissals and early retirements”. Tillerson’s intense campaign to clean out the State Department has called upon each office of the Department to contribute to this goal.
The guarded optimism that greeted the arrival of Rex Tillerson to the post of Secretary of State soon gave way to concern about the lack of communication between the boss and his subordinates.
By midyear, Tillerson’s reiterated focus on issues such as inefficiency and the need to reorganize foreign policy provoked increasing anger and concern about his performance within the department.
Now, the estrangement is in the open. Diplomats going out the door are making their feelings known and a number of members of Congress have raised questions about the impact of these firings and resignations on US foreign policy.
In a recent message addressed to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Democratic members of the House Foreign Relations Committee of Representatives, citing what they said was the “exodus of more than 100 Senior Foreign Service Officers of the State Department since January “, expressed concern about what “appears to be the intentional hollowing out of our senior diplomatic ranks.”
Tillerson, a former chief executive of the EXXON corporation and a supporter of fundamentalist capitalism, has made no secret of his belief that the State Department is a bloated bureaucracy. He regards much of the day-to-day diplomacy that lower level US diplomats conduct (and he now leads) as unproductive.
Even before Tillerson’s appointment was confirmed by the Senate, his team of assistants fired 6 of the State Department’s top career diplomats, including some who had been appointed during governments headed by Republican presidents. None were given any reasons for their dismissals.
Secretary Tillerson announced a reorganization to be carried out in the following months. He stressed that this would be the most important action that he would do while in office. He hired two consulting companies to lead the process.
Since he announced, before arriving at the State Department, that he would slash its budget by 31%, many in the Department have always seen the reorganization as a smokescreen for drastic cuts.
Tillerson has frozen most hiring and offered $25,000 buyouts, hoping to get about 2,000 career diplomats and civil servants to leave their positions by October 2018.
His small group of assistants has managed to fire some diplomats and gotten others to resign by refusing them the assignments they wanted, or taking their duties away altogether.
Among those fired or sidelined there is a high proportion of Latino and African-American diplomats, as well as women. These were important to maintain the Department’s troubled diversity balance.
Gardiner Harris quotes Nancy McEldowney, a career diplomat and former ambassador who retired last June after 30 years as a US Foreign Service Officer, “There is a vacuum throughout the State Department and the junior people now working in these top jobs lack the confidence and credibility that comes from a presidential nomination and a Senate confirmation.”
An example of the trend being followed in the State Department was seeing during the farce against Cuba about “sonic attacks” (which never existed and were probably the result of Senator Marco Rubio’s initiative to promote his image as the probable future Republican president). One of the episode’s first outcomes was the reduction of the staff at the US Embassy in Havana to such an extent that it practically brought to a standstill the consular relations between both sides of the Florida Strait.
January 23, 2018.
By Agustín Lage Dávila
March 23, 2016
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
“Viva Cuba Libre” on a street in Havana, March 22, 2016.
I had the opportunity to participate in several meetings with the delegation that accompanied Obama and to listen to the President’s three speeches. Now I feel obliged to share with my colleagues what I understood of what was said and of what was not said, because in politics what is left unsaid is often as important as what is said.
There are two complementary ways of thinking to interpret this visit and the whole process of trying to normalize relations: to interpret what it means for an assessment of the past, and to interpret what it means for a projection into the future.
Looking to the past it is evident that the recently-begun process of normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States should be interpreted as a great victory of the Cuban revolutionary and socialist people, their convictions, their resilience and sacrifices, their culture, their ethical commitment to social justice; as well as a victory of Latin American solidarity with Cuba.
There are a few things that are so obvious to us Cubans that sometimes we forget to emphasize them:
I do not think there is anyone fairly lucid and well-informed in the world who can interpret this ongoing normalization process as anything other than a victory for Cuba in its historical dispute with the United States.
Looking to the past, that is the only possible interpretation.
But looking to the future, things are more complex; and there are at least two possible extreme interpretations, as well as intermediate variations:
On the streets of Cuba both are discussed today. I alert the reader at this point that, for now, I will not argue for or against one of these two hypotheses, or their various combinations. Future events will take care of it, and each person will draw “their own conclusions” in this “passage to the unknown” [a reference to the closing sentence of the host of Cuban TV show Pasaje a lo Desconocido or, Passage to the Unknown]
Those who adhere to the hypothesis of the evil conspiracy read the words of President Obama as a false promise or a subtle deception that follow a plan designed to open the doors to US capital and the influence of US media; to allow expansion in Cuba of an economically privileged sector, which eventually would evolve into the social foundation for capitalist restoration and the renouncing of our national sovereignty. These would be the first steps for a return to the Cuba of rich and poor, dictators and gangsters that we had in the ’50s.
Cubans who think like that are entitled to do so: there are many facts in the common history that justify this enormous distrust. These are known and I do not need to list them here.
Many people remember the famous phrase attributed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt when he said of Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza: “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch“.
Certainly neither President Obama, nor the current generations of US Americans of good will (there are many) are to blame, as individuals, for the early stages of this historical trajectory. But it is also undeniable that the history is there, and it imposes constraints on what they can do, and on how we interpret what they do. Historical processes are much longer than a human life, and events that occurred many decades ago influence our choices today, because they condition collective attitudes that have an objective existence, relatively independent of the ideas and intentions of the leaders.
Even distancing President Obama from the aggressive and immoral policies of previous administrations, which organized invasions, sheltered terrorists, encouraged assassinations of Cuban leaders and implemented the attempt to starve the Cuban people; even establishing this distinction, we cannot forget that Obama alone is not the political class in the United States. There are many other components of power there. They have always been present: are present today, will be present when Obama’s term ends within a few months, and will be present in the foreseeable future. We are seeing them in the current election campaign.
To be honest with everyone who reads this note, I must admit that President Obama did not give the impression here of being the articulator of an evil conspiracy, but of being an intelligent and educated man who believes in what he says. What happens then is that the things he believes in (he has every right) are different from those we believe in (also with every right).
That is the second hypothesis: divergent conceptions about human society. These were very evident in every moment of President Obama and his delegation’s visit to Cuba, in all that was said, and in what was left unsaid.
It was very clear that the main direction of the US relationship with Cuba will be in the economic field and within this field the main strategy will be to relate to the non-state sector and support it.
It was very clear in the speech and symbolic messages, that they would distance themselves from the Cuban socialist state economy, as if “state property” meant property owned by an alien entity, not the property of all the people as it really is.
On the need for the existence of a non-state sector in the Cuban economy, we have no differences. In fact, the expansion of the space of the self-employed and the cooperatives is part of the implementation of the Guidelines of the 6th Party Congress. The divergence lies in the role that such non-state sector should have in our economy:
Taking the path of civilized coexistence “with our differences” means that all the Cuban people must know very well where these differences are to prevent –seemingly rational– ad hoc decisions for tactical economic problems lead to strategic errors; and worse, that others push us to these through the things that are said and left unsaid.
We knew how to avoid those mistakes in the beginning of the Special Period, after the disappearance of the European socialist bloc and the rise of the neoliberal ideological tide of the 90s. We will know how to do it now, even better.
Civilized coexistence certainly leads us away from the dangers and barbarities of war (military and economic), but does not spare us from the battle in the realm of ideas.
We need to win the battle of ideas to win the economic battle.
The economic battle of the Cuban 21st Century will occur in three main areas:
The battle of ideas means to consolidate thinking and consensus on where we want to go, and on the concrete ways to get there.
The waters of the Straits of Florida should not be a field of war, and it is very good for everyone that they are not so; but those waters will continue separating for a long time two different conceptions of human coexistence, of the organization of people for social life and work, as well as the distribution of its fruits. And it is also very good that this is so.
Our ideal of human society is rooted in our historical experience and the collective soul of Cubans, masterfully synthesized by the thought of José Martí. He studied and understood US society better than anyone else in his time and said: “Our life does not resemble theirs, nor should it resemble it in many ways.”
The basic belief of capitalism, even of those who so honestly believe in it, is the construction of material prosperity based on private property and competition. Ours is based on the creativity driven by the ideals of social equity and solidarity among people, including future generations. Our concept of society is the future, and although the future is delayed, stuck in the objectives of the present constraints, it remains being what we must fight for.
Private property and competition are the past; and although that past continues, of necessity, existing within the present, it remains being the past.
We must always see the concepts behind the spoken words, and the arguments behind the words unuttered.
The battle for our ideal of human coexistence will be in the hands of the present generation of young Cubans. In their times, they will face challenges different than those of the revolutionary generations of the twentieth century. But their challenges will be equally large and momentous, and also more complex.
In analyzing the complexity of their challenges I confess I would wish to join the Union of Young Communists again. Its card (Nº7784, 1963) I have on my desk right now. I’m still a communist, but I have to accept the fact that I can no longer be considered “young”. But I can share with young people the analysis of what is being said today, and the unveiling of what is not said. And I can build with them the intellectual tools we need for the battles to come.
José Martí wrote in April 1895: “Of thought is the greatest war that is being made against us: Let us win it by thought“
Viva Cuba Libre”, en en una calle de La Habana, este 22 de marzo de 2016. Foto: Desmond Boylan/ AP
Tuve la oportunidad de participar en varios encuentros con la delegación que acompañó al Presidente Obama y escucharlo en tres intervenciones; y siento ahora el deber de compartir con mis compañeros lo que interpreté de lo que se dijo, y también de lo que no se dijo, pues en política lo que se deja de decir suele ser tan importante como lo que se dice.
Hay dos direcciones complementarias de pensamiento para interpretar esta visita y todo el proceso de intento de normalización de las relaciones: interpretar lo que significa para una valoración del pasado, e interpretar lo que significa para una proyección hacia el futuro.
De cara al pasado es evidente que el proceso de normalización recién iniciado en las relaciones entre Cuba y los Estados Unidos hay que interpretarlo como una victoria mayúscula del pueblo revolucionario y socialista cubano, de sus convicciones, de su capacidad de resistencia y sacrificio, de su cultura, de su compromiso ético con la justicia social; así como también como una victoria de la solidaridad con Cuba de América Latina.
Hay cosas que nos resultan tan evidentes a los cubanos que a veces olvidamos subrayarlas.
No creo que haya nadie medianamente lúcido e informado en el mundo que pueda interpretar este proceso de normalización en curso como otra cosa que no sea una victoria de Cuba en su diferendo histórico con los Estados Unidos.
De cara al pasado es esa la única interpretación posible.
Ahora bien, de cara al futuro las cosas son más complejas, y hay al menos dos interpretaciones extremas posibles, y sus variantes intermedias:
En las calles de Cuba se discute hoy sobre ambas. Alerto al lector en este punto que no voy a argumentar por ahora a favor o en contra de una de estas dos hipótesis, o de las combinaciones diversas de ambas. Los acontecimientos futuros se encargarán de hacerlo, y cada cual sacará “sus propias conclusiones” en este “pasaje a lo desconocido”.
Quienes se adhieren a la hipótesis de la conspiración perversa ven las palabras del Presidente Obama como una falsa promesa o un sutil engaño que responde a un plan concebido para que abramos las puertas al capital norteamericano y a la influencia de sus medios de comunicación; para que permitamos la expansión en Cuba de un sector económicamente privilegiado, que con el tiempo se iría transformando en la base social de la restauración capitalista y el renunciamiento a la soberanía nacional. Serían los primeros pasos del camino de retorno hacia la Cuba de ricos y pobres, dictadores y mafiosos, que teníamos en los años 50.
Los cubanos que piensan así, tienen derecho a hacerlo: hay muchos hechos en la historia común que justifican esa enorme desconfianza. Son conocidos y no necesito enumerarlos aquí.
Mucha gente recuerda la famosa frase atribuida al Presidente Franklin D. Roosevelt cuando dijo del dictador nicaragüense Anastasio Somoza: “Tal vez Somoza sea un hijo de puta, pero es nuestro hijo de puta”.
Ciertamente ni el Presidente Obama, ni las actuales generaciones de norteamericanos de buena voluntad (que hay muchos) tienen la culpa, como personas individuales, de las primeras etapas de esa trayectoria histórica. Pero también es innegable que esa historia está ahí, y que impone condicionamientos a lo que ellos pueden hacer, y a nuestra manera de interpretar lo que ellos hacen. Los procesos históricos son mucho más largos que una vida humana, y eventos ocurridos hace muchas décadas influyen en nuestras opciones de hoy, porque condicionan actitudes colectivas que tienen una existencia objetiva, relativamente independiente de las ideas y las intenciones de los líderes.
Aún distanciando al Presidente Obama de las políticas agresivas e inmorales de administraciones precedentes, que organizaron invasiones, cobijaron terroristas, estimularon asesinatos de líderes cubanos e implementaron el intento de rendir por hambre al Pueblo Cubano; aún estableciendo esa distinción, no se puede olvidar que Obama solo no es la clase política de los Estados Unidos. Hay muchos otros componentes del poder ahí, que siempre han estado presentes, lo están hoy, y lo estarán cuando termine el mandato de Obama dentro de algunos meses, y en el futuro previsible. Los estamos viendo en la campaña electoral en curso.
Para ser honesto con todo el que lea esta nota, debo reconocer que el Presidente Obama no dio aquí la impresión de ser el articulador de una conspiración perversa, sino la de ser un hombre inteligente y culto, que cree en lo que dice. Lo que sucede entonces es que las cosas en las que él cree (con todo su derecho) son diferentes a las que creemos nosotros (también con todo nuestro derecho).
Esa es la segunda hipótesis, la de las concepciones divergentes sobre la sociedad humana, las cuales fueron muy evidentes en todos los momentos de la visita a Cuba del Presidente Obama y su delegación, en todo lo que se dijo, y también en lo que se dejó de decir.
Fue muy claro que la dirección principal de la relación de los Estados Unidos con Cuba estará en el campo de la economía, y dentro de este, la estrategia principal será relacionarse con el sector no estatal y apoyarlo.
Fue muy claro, en el discurso y en los mensajes simbólicos, en tomar distancia de la economía estatal socialista cubana, como si la propiedad “estatal” significase propiedad de un ente extraño, y no propiedad de todo el pueblo como realmente es.
En la necesidad de que exista un sector no estatal en la economía cubana no tenemos divergencias. De hecho la expansión del espacio de los cuentapropistas y las cooperativas es parte de la implementación de los Lineamientos surgidos del 6º Congreso del Partido. Donde está la divergencia es en el rol que debe tener ese sector no estatal en nuestra economía:
Emprender el camino de la convivencia civilizada “con nuestras diferencias”, implica conocer bien a fondo y por todo el Pueblo Cubano, dónde es que están esas diferencias, para poder evitar que decisiones puntuales aparentemente racionales ante problemas económicos tácticos, nos puedan llevar a errores estratégicos; y peor aún, que otros nos empujen a ello, a través de las cosas que se dicen y las que no se dicen.
Supimos evitar esos errores en los inicios del periodo especial, ante la desaparición del campo socialista europeo y la marea ideológica neoliberal de los 90. Sabremos hacerlo mejor ahora.
La convivencia civilizada ciertamente nos aleja del riesgo y la barbarie de la guerra (militar y económica), pero no nos exonera de dar la batalla en el plano de las ideas.
Necesitamos vencer en esa batalla de ideas para poder vencer en la batalla económica.
La batalla económica del Siglo XXI cubano se dará en tres campos principales:
En esos campos se decidirá el Siglo XXI de los cubanos.
La batalla de ideas consiste en consolidar pensamiento y consenso sobre hacia donde queremos ir, y sobre los caminos concretos para llegar.
Las aguas del estrecho de La Florida no deben ser un campo de conflicto bélico, y es muy bueno para todos que así sea, pero esas aguas seguirán separando por mucho tiempo dos concepciones diferentes de la convivencia humana, de la organización de los hombres para la vida social y el trabajo, y de la distribución de sus frutos. Y también es muy bueno que así sea. Nuestro ideal de sociedad humana está enraizado en nuestra experiencia histórica y en el alma colectiva de los cubanos, sintetizada magistralmente por el pensamiento de José Martí. Él estudió y entendió mejor que nadie en su tiempo la sociedad norteamericana y dijo: “nuestra vida no se asemeja a la suya, ni debe en muchos puntos asemejarse”.
La creencia básica del capitalismo, incluso en los que así lo creen honestamente, es la construcción de prosperidad material basada en la propiedad privada y la competencia. La nuestra se basa en la creatividad movida por los ideales de equidad social y solidaridad entre las personas, incluidas las generaciones futuras. Nuestro concepto de sociedad es el futuro, y aunque el futuro se demore, atrapado en los condicionamientos objetivos del presente, sigue siendo el futuro por el que hay que luchar.
La propiedad privada y la competencia son el pasado, y aunque ese pasado siga existiendo necesariamente dentro del presente, pasado sigue siendo.
Hay que saber siempre ver los conceptos que están detrás de las palabras que se dicen, y las razones que están detrás de las palabras que no se dicen.
La batalla por nuestro ideal de convivencia humana estará en las manos de las actuales generaciones de jóvenes cubanos, que enfrentarán en su tiempo desafíos diferentes a los de las generaciones revolucionarias del Siglo XX, pero igualmente grandes y trascendentales, y también más complejos.
Al analizar la complejidad de sus desafíos les confieso que quisiera ingresar otra vez en la Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas, cuyo carnet (Nº7784, de 1963) tengo ahora mismo sobre mi mesa. Sigo siendo comunista, pero he de aceptar que ya no puedo seguir siendo “joven”. Pero si puedo compartir con los jóvenes el análisis de lo que hoy se dice, y la develación de lo que no se dice, y construir junto con ellos las herramientas intelectuales que necesitamos para las batallas que vienen.
José Martí escribió en abril de 1895: “De pensamiento es la guerra mayor que se nos hace: Ganémosla a pensamiento”.
June 20, 2016
A Google translation. Revised by Walter Lippmann.
The next phase of change in Cuba’s relations with the United States will come in the form of coffee.
The Swiss company Nespresso, Nestle SA group, announced Monday that Cuban coffee will be sold in the US as of the end of this year. The long-banned coffee (as a result of the blockade), will be sold in a limited edition called Cafecito de Cuba, in stores, online and telephone trading.
Guillaume Le Cunff, President of Nespresso USA, said it is good to be the first company to provide Cuban coffee to the US market. He noted that Nespresso is very interested in developing a long-term agreement to ensure an adequate supply of Cuban coffee to US customers and improve the living conditions of the Cuban producers.
“We are not thinking of a short-term outcome,” said Le Cunff on Sunday. “This is the point nicial an initiative long term. We are very optimistic to manage and build the project. We want consumers in the US can experience this amazing coffee and enjoy them now and in the years to come. “
Nespresso it allied with TechnoServe, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, assisting coffee growers in Colombia. South Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia. David Browning, vice president for strategic initiatives TechnoServe, recently visited Cuba to meet with government officials and visit the small farm where the Cuban coffee grows.
Most of the agricultural land in Cuba are managed by cooperatives of small private farmers. They sell their products to the government, which distributes on the island or export around the world. Nespresso begin their experiment buying Cuban coffee beans to European importers, toasting them, then packaging it and selling it in the United States.
Browning said the two companies discussed the new regulations approved by the US government and saw the opening they needed. “It was necessary that lawyers would ensure us that was totally understandable what the US government was trying. Everything was very clear, “he said.
According to USA Today, the next phase for Nespresso and TehcnoServe will help Cubans farmers improve their production process, helping get new agricultural equipment for harvesting plantation, something not clear how they would be implemented.
In a dispatch today, Reuters explains that in April, the US State Department added to coffee and other products to its list of eligible Cuban imports produced by independent producers.
The regulatory change made it easier Nespresso began sales in the United States of Cafecito de Cuba -a premium roasted espresso in their cafeteras- during this fall.
Cuba produces around 100,000 60-kg bags Arabica year, according to the International Coffee Organization. Although this volume is about five times the annual output of Jamaica, it is just a fraction of the 13.5 million bags waiting Colombia, the world’s largest producer of high quality Arabic washing, for this year.
(With information from Reuters and USA Today)
Cuba and exporters of products such as coffee can not yet directly access the US market. In a statement last May 5, the National Association of Small Farmers declared:
On April 22, the State Department announced the decision to include coffee in the list of Cuban products produced by the non-state sector, which would be imported into that country. With this action continuity to a measure adopted by the government of the United States in February 2015, allowing very limited Cuban exports, which excluded all goods and services produced by state enterprises was given.
He did not say the State Department is that the fact of having deprived unilaterally to Cuba – after decreed the lock- treatment of most favored nation, which rightfully ours as State Founder of the World Trade Organization, any product Cuban to be exported to the United States has to pay higher customs tariffs, which makes it practically impossible to import into that country.
It also ignores the Agrarian Reform Law, enacted after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, did own the land more than 200,000 peasant families, and that the Cuban State has implemented since a program for productive, economic development and social peasantry of our country and ensured the production assistance, access to credit, secure market for their products and other social benefits.
No one can think that a small farmer can export directly to the United States. To make this possible must participate Cuban foreign trade enterprises and financial transactions have to occur in dollars, which so far have not been able to realize.
We are aware that the objective of these measures is to influence the Cuban peasantry and separate it from our state.
If the government of the United States really wants to contribute to the welfare of Cubans, what it has to do is definitely lift the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed for more than 50 years, which is the main obstacle to the development of Cuba .
20 junio 2016
By Iroel Sanchez
June 17, 2017
July 30 is a day of national mourning in Cuba. On that date, each year, the streets of Santiago de Cuba are filled with a spontaneous pilgrimage; rose petals fall from the balconies, and people walk in silence towards the cemetery.
This yearly pilgrimage is a remembrance of the popular reaction of the city in response, in 1957, to the murders of young Frank País and Raúl Pujol by the police of Fulgencio Batista. It is also a remembrance of all the many who were victims of similar actions.
It was the son of one of Frank and Josue’s murderers whom the US President Donald Trump chose for the storytelling in the speech he delivered in Miami June 17. A violin in the hands of the offspring played –out of tune– the notes of the US national anthem.
In a theater that bears the name of one of the invaders that –under the orders of the CIA– suffered an embarrassing defeat at Playa Girón [Bay of Pigs], a politician many consider a “loser”, promised more of the same the whole world –and even his predecessor in office– recognized as doomed to failure.
The audience –mostly elderly Miamians who have not set foot in Cuba in decades– shouted, “USA, USA,” while the president announced that citizens of “the land of the free” will continue to be banned from engaging in tourism in Cuba. If they travel to the island they must do so in a group and with a detailed and auditable logbook, so that Big Brother can adequately confirm if they fulfill the mission that their government has given them: to overthrow the “regime” that has made sure that crimes such as those of December 30, 1957, never happen again o n the island.
The same President, who signed a $100 billion contract for arms sales to the Saudi Arabian monarchy less than a month ago, signed another in the presence of people who practiced terrorism. The objective: to prevent a single US penny from reaching the Armed Forces of the Republic of Cuba. He also promised to prevent trade and investments that do not exist today.
With the balance of his campaign promises showing more debits than credits and threatened by a congressional investigation following his pressure on former FBI director James Comey, Mr. Trump seems to have found among the Cuban-American ultra-right in Miami a way to show he is true to his word and to be applauded.
But rhetoric cannot conceal a reality: 73% of Americans and 80% of Cuban-Americans support the end of the blockade of Cuba, and Trump’s announcements this Friday will only increase that rejection. Time will tell. The day before the speech, Trump managed to make the analysts of The Miami Herald agree with those of The New York Times.
South of the Florida straits we did not have long to wait. The first results of Trump’s show in Miami are already perceptible in Cuba: there is more talk about politics. In social networks many young people, who do not usually discuss these issues, express their indignation with the Miami speech of the American President. Since the kidnapping of Elian Gonzalez, Cubans had not seen such a clear image of the Jurassic Park that would be ruling Cuba if there was no Revolution.
A sample of what some of the most renowned American caricaturists post about the politics of Donald Trump
June 17, 2017 23:02:29 CDT
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
Instead of the accustomed texts, the three of Sunday arrive with the vision that some of the most renowned American caricaturists publish in the media on domestic and foreign policies developed by Republican President Donald Trump, or his way of leading that nation .
Cuban spy Gerardo Hernandez spent 16 years imprisoned in the US and was amnestied in the process of rapprochement.
Former Cuban spy in the US believes that Havana has won the tug-of-war with Washington.
Havana, 03/19/2016 02:45 h.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Gerardo Hernandez (Havana, June 4, 1965) is the son of a Canary Islands woman who came to Cuba when she was fifteen. He does not have a Spanish passport and considers himself a Cuban patriot. He is the man of the moment on the island. Convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage in the United States, he spent more than fifteen years in prison there.
On December 17, 2014 he was amnestied as a gesture of good will in the process of rapprochement between Cuba and the US. El Español has spoken with him under the watchful eye of the Alma Mater statue at the University of Havana days before the historic visit of Barack Obama to the island, which begins this Sunday. His words are echoed, and heavily so, throughout Cuba in this crucial moment for the largest of the Antilles.
Why were you sent to jail and why where you amnestied?
I was sent to jail because I was doing intelligence work for Cuba in the United States. For many years, groups that were sometimes paid and other times tolerated by the United States had been coming to attack Cuba, planting bombs in hotels, blowing up planes … The US never did anything to stop it, so Cuba was forced to send people over there to uncover their plans and send information over here.
We were arrested and tried in Miami without the minimum guarantees of impartiality. In my case, I was sentenced to two life sentences plus fifteen years of imprisonment. After sixteen years in prison, as part of the ongoing process of rapprochement, the two countries reached an agreement, a part of which was the release of three of the five of us who were still in prison.
Is it correct to say that you were a spy?
Look, there are people who defend us and who take offense by the term. I tell you that the term is wrong, but I do not take offense. Legally it does not apply to us because according to US law, we were not accused of spying, but of conspiracy to commit espionage. But I do not feel offended by the term, as I said. I was an intelligence officer and a spy is something that people talk about in the movies and such.
Fidel Castro talks to Hernandez and Ramon Labañino, another of the prisoners.
Photo: Cuban government
Looking ahead, do you see yourself returning sometime to the US, or do you think of the country holding a grudge?
I hold no grudge whatsoever. I took up a responsibility when I agreed to carry out my mission and I have no problem with that. While we did have the unpleasant experience of hearing people say that they wanted to lynch us, and of having had an unfair trial that lasted more than six months, there were also people, including political and religious officials, who were able to see that our cause was just; also there were actors like Danny Glover, who supported us.
Generally speaking I have no negative feelings toward the US people, but I do not see myself going back because one of the conditions imposed for our release was that we could never go back to that country.
I’m going to ask you to be critical of the Revolution and tell me what it has done wrong in these decades, and if you understand that it is time to seriously consider holding multi-party elections in Cuba.
I think that we do have options in Cuba. I guess you mean the fact that there is a single party. That is the result of historical factors: José Martí founded a single party to make it the party of the Cuban nation. Over time, the Communist Party of Cuba has opened up to other sectors such as the religious. Our goal is to make it even more participatory; but we firmly intend to maintain unity.
Our people, 90, 80 or 75 per cent of it support their Revolution.
Throughout our history we have paid dearly on account of disunity. If they manage to divide us, we will be in trouble. You cannot analyze Cuban reality without emphasizing that we are a small country only ninety miles away from the most powerful nation in the world, one that has been determined to prevent Cubans from choosing our own destiny. Our people, 90, 80 or 75 per cent of it support their revolution. You can rest assured that the day when Cubans do not support the revolution, this could not hold. If we are standing today, it is because we have the majority of Cubans with us. It is not a perfect society, but we want to make it ourselves.
Raul Castro has already announced that he resigns this year. There is talk about Vice President Miguel Diaz Canel, the Minister for Economy Marino Murillo, even about a son of Raul’s…
This is not a monarchy. In Cuba, the succession that occurred was because Raul was our vice president and there was no one else more apt or loved by the people. The [National] Assembly [Parliament] met and he was elected.
This is not a monarchy. In Cuba succession happened because Raul was our Vice President
My personal opinion is that it should be comrade Miguel Diaz Canel, who has a great performance record. But everything depends on the will of the Cuban people.
You speak of the will of Cubans and the possibility of it being expressed under the current regime. When you were in prison, the late dissident Oswaldo Paya collected signatures –as contemplated in the law– in what was known as the “Varela Project”. He demanded freedom of expression and assembly, entrepreneurial freedom, democratic elections and amnesty for political prisoners. He was ignored, but eventually some of his proposals have been adopted. What do you say to that?
Actually I was in prison then. I do know that there have been many projects financed from abroad. For less than that, in the United States you get accused of being an agent at the service of a foreign power, for which I got a fifteen-year sentence. I am sure that in Spain anyone who tries to change the government while being paid by a foreign power would go against Spanish law. If this happens in Cuba, other countries applaud. And, well, if we have taken measures that were in that project, let them be welcome.
The bottom line is: in Cuba do people really have the possibility to make decisions about the political system within the current framework?
Cuba’s current system is not perfect, just like all others. But I’ll give you an example: in the last election of the People’s Power, people who are openly against the Government were nominated. There was a vote and they had their chance. The only requirement in our system is that you get elected at the grassroots; you do not have to be a Party member. It is enough to have a base that supports you.
Yoani Sanchez is primarily a media phenomenon created by the Grupo Prisma, and she is better-known abroad than inside.
We can continue modifying aspects of the system to make it more participatory, but the possibility already exists. What happens is that these dissidents, who sometimes are better known outside Cuba than inside, do not have a base of social support. These are cases artificially created from abroad for a reason. And I’ll give you the case of Yoani Sanchez, a media phenomenon created primarily by the Grupo Prisma, who is better known outside than inside. She can stand here at any corner and nobody knows her.
Nor do the Cuban media give her any coverage…
Sure, she hasn’t deserved it either. The Cuban media would give coverage to a woman who may be having a hard time trying to push her family forward. But I do not see any merit in this person to promote her, and we are not going to waste any money of our media to do so.
There is a great expectation with Obama’s visit. Everyone in Cuba surmises that a new stage is about to begin, but no one gives a name to it. Perhaps it is an economic opening without altering the political system, as in China, or something else. What is your perception?
I don’t have a crystal ball to tell you how Cuba will look like in a few years. What I can tell you is what most Cubans want: a country that solves the problems that still affect us, but also that it does not resemble the Cuba of the past when it was necessary to make a revolution.
What would you demand from the United States so that it doesn’t stop at a policy of gestures; what specific measures would you like to see?
Just what we have demanded for more than half a century, since the triumph of the Revolution: For the US to recognize our right to exist as an independent and sovereign nation, to recognize that we are not their backyard. For them to understand that Cuba is a nation that decided its own destiny; and that we Cubans have the right to resolve our own problems without foreign interference.
In relation to the many Cubans who reside in the United States, conflicting versions circulate. The state newspaper Granma argues that this is not so and that they will do anything to prevent the Castro regime from receiving a life-line. What do you think?
For many years now a lot of surveys have been performed by respectable firms, some of which are not at all friendly to Cuba. Even surveys by the US government itself recognize that the vast majority of Cubans living in the US want a normal relationship with their country. Now then, that vast majority of Cubans do not yet have enough economic and political clout to push for more rapid measures.
Cuban power in the US is held by a minority segment –increasingly so– of powerful Cuban families who have found their way into Congress.
The political and economic power there is held by a minority segment –increasingly so– of Cubans who left this country. They belonged to powerful families and in recent years have come to hold seats in Congress. Up until this week, there were two aspiring candidates for the US presidency of Cuban origin [Republicans Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio who has withdrawn from the presidential race]. That segment is increasingly small, but unfortunately it is the one that controls the banks and the media. The majority is on the other side, but unfortunately many still do not vote and have no power to raise an opinion.
If Ted Cruz wins, would it be good or bad news for Cuba?
I think it would be very bad, because they are people who have lived off the hatred industry for many years. Hatred against Cuba has given them a modus vivendi like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for example, Lincoln Diaz-Balart … members of Congress who for many years have not had a well-defined program other than hatred against Cuba. They have objected to everything that might have benefited the Cuban people. For instance, when hurricanes have devastated the Island and the Red Cross has wanted to seek help from the United States, they have even opposed that. Their preaching has always been: we will destroy the Government of Cuba; we will recover Cuba at any price. They have motivated a generation of old Cubans who know nothing but that message of hatred. That will change with the new generations of Cuban immigrants, especially starting in the eighties, who went to that country to advance economically and help their families.
If the US puts on the negotiation table the need for free elections in Cuba before discussing Guantanamo and the blockade, would it be acceptable?
Of course not. If we talk to them it is because they have recognized that it is impossible for Cuba to accept preconditions. For many years they said they had nothing to negotiate while the Castros were in power, the country was Communist and had a single party; Cuba always remained firm and said that if we ever sat down to negotiate, it would be on equal terms without preconditions. Finally they had to accept.
If we talk with the US it is because they have recognized that it is impossible for Cuba to accept pre-conditions
Do you think Cuba is the winner of this tug-of-war?
I think that Cuba has already won in the sense that we have not given up any of our principles to sit down and negotiate. They are the same since 1959. The United States has said for decades that it would never negotiate while the Castros were in power and yet, Raul Castro is our president, Fidel is alive and is our guide. And they are negotiating with us. It is a victory for Cuba that they have sat down to negotiate without conditions.
EX HUMORIST AND FATHER ‘BEHIND BARS’
Before joining the Cuban intelligence services, Gerardo was a cartoonist. Throughout his years behind bars he claimed he had not lost irony as a weapon of defense. “You can put humor into sixteen years in prison; it is something that helps a lot. We humorists have a particular way of seeing life, and is not that what we take everything lightly, but I do not know any embittered person who can be a humorist. In my case, my optimistic nature helped me a lot. All along the years that we spent in prison, the five of us often laughed at our own misfortunes. That helped us. “
In prison, the five of us often laughed over our own misfortunes
Gerardo has recently become a father. The numbers don’t add up for a period of normal pregnancy, since his daughter was born a few days after he was released. The explanation: “We always wished to have our child; we had asked for conjugal visits for prisoners, something that happens in Cuba but not in the United States, at least in federal prisons. My wife Adriana asked an American senator for help and he knocked on the right doors to allow me to make a donation after my wife had her eggs frozen. It was a process of in vitro fertilization”. The little girl is called Gema and she was born on January 6, 2015.
DANIEL PINILLA La Habana
19.03.2016 02:45 h.
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo (La Habana, 4 de junio de 1965) es hijo de una canaria que llegó a Cuba cuando tenía quince años. Él no tiene el pasaporte español y se considera patriota cubano. Es el hombre del momento en la isla. Condenado por conspiración para cometer espionaje en Estados Unidos, ha permanecido más de tres lustros en la cárcel allí.
El 17 de diciembre de 2014 fue amnistiado como gesto de buena voluntad dentro del proceso de acercamiento entre ambos países. EL ESPAÑOL ha hablado con él bajo la atenta mirada de la estatua del Alma Mater de la Universidad de La Habana en los días previos a la histórica visita de Barack Obama a la isla, que se inicia este domingo. Sus palabras tienen eco, y mucho, en toda Cuba en este momento trascendental para la mayor de las Antillas.
¿Por qué fue encarcelado y por qué ha sido amnistiado?
Fui encarcelado porque estaba en Estados Unidos haciendo labor de Inteligencia para Cuba. Durante muchos años, grupos a veces pagados y otras tolerados por Estados Unidos han estado viniendo para agredir a Cuba, han puesto bombas en hoteles, derribado aviones… EEUU nunca hizo nada para impedirlo, así que Cuba se vio obligada a mandar gente a ese país para descubrir sus planes y mandar información para acá.
Nosotros fuimos arrestados, se nos hizo un juicio en la ciudad de Miami sin las mínimas garantías de imparcialidad. En mi caso se me condenó a dos cadenas perpetuas más quince años de privación de libertad. Después de haber cumplido dieciséis años en prisión, como parte del actual proceso de acercamiento, los dos países llegaron a un acuerdo, parte del cual era la libertad de los tres de los cinco que quedábamos encarcelados.
¿Decir que ejerció de espía es correcto?
Mira, hay personas que nos defienden y que se ofenden con ese término. Yo te digo que el término es incorrecto, pero yo no lo tomo como una ofensa. Legalmente no nos aplica porque las propias leyes de EEUU no nos acusaron de espionaje, sino de conspiración para cometer espionaje. Pero no tomo ofensa con el término, ya te digo. Yo era agente de Inteligencia y lo de espía es algo que dice la gente por las películas y demás.
Fidel Castro habla con Hernández y Ramón Labanino, otro de los encarcelados. Gobierno cubano
Mirando al futuro, ¿se ve regresando en alguna ocasión a Estados Unidos o piensa en el país con rencor?
No hay rencor ninguno. Asumí una responsabilidad cuando acepté cumplir mi misión y no hay problema. Si bien tuvimos la desagradable experiencia de escuchar a personas decir que nos querían linchar y de haber estado en un juicio sin garantías que duró más de seis meses, también hubo gente, incluso funcionarios políticos y religiosos, que supieron ver que nuestra causa era justa; también actores, como Danny Glover, nos apoyaron.
En sentido general no tengo ningún sentimiento negativo respecto al pueblo estadounidense, pero no me veo regresando porque una de las condiciones que se impusieron para nuestra liberación era que no podíamos regresar más a ese país.
Le voy a pedir que sea crítico con la Revolución y me diga qué ha hecho mal en estas décadas y si entiende que ha llegado el momento
de que se valore seriamente celebrar elecciones plurales en Cuba.
Pienso que en Cuba sí hay alternativas. Supongo que te refieres a que hay un único partido. Eso responde a factores históricos; José Martí fundó un único partido para que lo fuera de la nación cubana. Con el paso del tiempo, el Partido Comunista de Cuba se ha ido abriendo a otros sectores como el religioso. Nuestra meta es que sea aún más participativo, pero tenemos el firme propósito de mantener la unidad.
Nuestro pueblo, en un 90, 80 ó 75% apoya su Revolución
A lo largo de nuestra historia hemos pagado cara la desunión. Si logran dividirnos, estaremos en problemas. No puedes analizar la realidad cubana sin destacar que somos un pequeño país a sólo noventa millas del más poderoso del mundo, que se ha empeñado en impedir que los cubanos escojamos nuestro propio destino. Nuestro pueblo, en un 90, 80 ó 75% apoya su Revolución. Puedes estar convencido de que el día en que los cubanos no apoyen la Revolución, esto no podría sostenerse. Si estamos en pie es porque tenemos con nosotros a la mayoría de los cubanos. No es una sociedad perfecta, pero queremos hacerla nosotros.
Raúl Castro ya ha anunciado que este año renuncia a su cargo. Se habla del vicepresidente Miguel Díaz- Canel, del ministro de Economía Marino Murillo, incluso de un hijo de Raúl…
Esto no es una monarquía. En Cuba la sucesión que se dio fue porque Raúl era nuestro vicepresidente y no había nadie más capacitado ni querido por el pueblo. Hubo una asamblea y fue elegido.
Esto no es una monarquía. En Cuba la sucesión que se dio fue porque Raúl era nuestro vicepresidente
Mi opinión personal es que debe ser el compañero Miguel Díaz- Canel, que tiene una gran trayectoria. Pero todo depende de la voluntad de los cubanos.
Habla de la voluntad de los cubanos y de la posibilidad de que se exprese en el régimen actual. Cuando usted estaba en prisión, el
disidente ya fallecido Oswaldo Payá recogió las firmas como plantea la ley en lo que fue conocido como ‘Plan Varela’. Pedía libertad de expresión y reunión, libertad empresarial, elecciones democráticas y amnistía para los presos políticos. No se le hizo caso, pero con el tiempo se han adoptado algunas propuestas que proponía. ¿Qué opina?
Realmente yo estaba entonces en prisión. Sí sé que ha habido muchos proyectos financiados desde el exterior. Por menos de eso, en Estados Unidos te acusan de ser agente al servicio de potencia extranjera, por lo que yo tenía quince años de condena. Estoy seguro de que en España cualquiera que pretenda modificar el Gobierno siendo pagado por una potencia extranjera iría contra la ley española. Si esto ocurre en Cuba, en otros países lo aplauden. Y, bueno, si tomamos medidas que eran de ese proyecto, bienvenidas sean.
La cuestión de fondo es: ¿en Cuba existe realmente la posibilidad de que la gente tome decisiones sobre el sistema político en el marco actual?
El sistema actual cubano no es perfecto, como todos. Pero te pongo ejemplo de que en el último ejercicio de elección del Poder Popular fueron postuladas
personas que son abiertamente contrarias al Gobierno de Cuba. Se votó, tuvieron la posibilidad. El único requerimiento en nuestro sistema es que te elijan en la base, no tienes que formar parte del Partido. Basta con que haya una base que te apoye.
Yoani Sánchez es un fenómeno mediático fundamentalmente creado por el Grupo Prisma, que es más conocida dentro que fuera
Podemos continuar modificando aspectos del sistema haciéndolo más participativo, pero la posibilidad ya existe. Lo que ocurre es que estas personas de la disidencia, que a veces son más conocidas fuera de Cuba que dentro, no tienen una base de apoyo social, son fenómenos creados artificialmente desde afuera con algún propósito. Y te pongo el caso de Yoani Sánchez, un fenómeno mediático fundamentalmente creado por el Grupo Prisma, que es más conocida dentro que fuera. Aquí se puede parar en cualquier esquina y nadie la conoce.
Tampoco le dan cobertura los medios cubanos…
Claro, tampoco lo ha merecido. Los medios cubanos le dan cobertura a una mujer que esté pasando trabajo para sacar adelante su familia. A esta persona no le veo ningún mérito para promoverla y no vamos a gastar dinero en nuestros medios para hacerlo.
Existe una gran expectación con la visita de Obama. Todo el mundo en Cuba intuye que se va a entrar en una nueva etapa, pero nadie le pone nombre. Quizás se trate de una apertura económica sin alterar el sistema político, como sucedió en China, o de algo más. ¿Cuál es su sensación?
No tengo una bola de cristal para decir cómo va a ser Cuba de aquí a unos años. Sí te puedo decir lo que queremos la mayoría de los cubanos: un país que resuelva problemas que todavía hoy nos afectan, pero igualmente que no se parezca a la Cuba del pasado en la que fue necesario hacer una revolución.
¿Qué le demandaría a Estados Unidos para que no se quede en política de gestos, qué medidas concretas desearía?
Lo mismo que llevamos demandando más de medio siglo, desde el triunfo de la Revolución. Que reconozcan nuestro derecho a existir como nación independiente y soberana, que reconozcan que no somos el patio trasero de ellos. Que entiendan que Cuba es una nación que decidió su propio destino y que los cubanos tenemos el derecho a resolver nuestros propios problemas y hacerlo sin injerencias extranjeras.
En relación a los muchísimos cubanos que residen en EEUU circulan versiones contrapuestas. En el diario estatal Granma sostienen que no es así y que harán lo que sea para evitar que el régimen castrista reciba un balón de oxígeno. ¿Qué opina?
Se vienen haciendo muchas encuestas desde hace ya muchos años por parte de firmas respetables y algunas de ellas nada amigables con Cuba. Incluso encuestas del propio Gobierno norteamericano que reconocen que la gran mayoría de los cubanos que residen en EEUU desean una relación normal con su país. Ahora bien, esa gran mayoría de cubanos todavía no tiene el poder económico y político suficientes para impulsar que se tomen medidas más rápidas.
El poder cubano en EEUU lo tiene un segmento cada vez más minoritario de cubanos de familias poderosas que han llegado a congresistas
El poder político y económico allí lo tiene un segmento cada vez más minoritario de cubanos que se fueron de este país, que pertenecían a familias poderosas y que en los últimos años han llegado a ocupar puestos de congresistas. Hasta esta semana había dos aspirantes a la presidencia de Estados Unidos de origen cubano [, los republicanos Ted Cruz y Marco Rubio, que se ha retirado de la carrera presidencial]. Ese segmento es cada vez más reducido, pero desgraciadamente es el que controla los bancos y los medios de comunicación. En el otro lado está la mayoría, pero lamentablemente muchos todavía no votan ni tienen poder para levantar opinión.
Si Ted Cruz ganara, ¿sería una buena o una mala noticia para Cuba?
Pienso que sería muy malo, porque son personas que han vivido muchos años
de la industria del odio. El odio contra Cuba les ha dado un modus vivendi y pongo por ejemplo a Ileana Ros, Lincoln Díaz Balart… congresistas que por muchos años no han tenido un programa definido que no sea el odio contra Cuba. Se han opuesto a cuanto beneficio pudiera haber para el pueblo cubano.
Por ejemplo, cuando los ciclones han devastado la isla y la Cruz Roja ha querido ayudar desde Estados Unidos, ellos se han opuesto hasta a eso. Su prédica siempre ha sido: vamos a destruir al Gobierno de Cuba, a recuperar Cuba al precio que sea. Así han movido a una generación de viejitos cubanos que no conocen otra cosa que ese mensaje de odio. Eso va a cambiar con las nuevas generaciones de emigrantes cubanos, sobre todo a partir de los ochenta, que fueron a ese país para mejorar económicamente y ayudar a sus familias.
Si EEUU pone encima de la mesa de la negociación la exigencia de unas elecciones libres en Cuba para hablar de Guantánamo y el bloqueo, ¿sería admisible?
Por supuesto que no. Si conversamos con ellos es porque han reconocido que es imposible que Cuba acepte condiciones. Durante muchos años dijeron que no tenían nada que negociar mientras los Castro estuvieran en el poder, el país fuera comunista y hubiera un único partido; Cuba se mantuvo firme siempre y dijo que si alguna vez nos sentáramos, sería de igual a igual sin condiciones previas. Finalmente lo han tenido que aceptar.
Si conversamos con EEUU es porque han reconocido que es imposible que Cuba acepte condiciones
¿Piensa que Cuba es el ganador de este pulso?
Yo pienso que Cuba ya ha ganado en el sentido de que no hemos renunciado a ninguno de nuestros principios para sentarnos a negociar. Son los mismos desde el año 59. Estados Unidos ha dicho durante décadas que nunca negociaría mientras estuvieran los Castro en el poder y, sin embargo, Raúl Castro es nuestro presidente, Fidel está vivo y es nuestro guía. Y ellos están negociando con nosotros. Ha sido una victoria para Cuba el que se hayan sentado a negociar sin condiciones.
Antes de enrolarse en los servicios de Inteligencia Cubanos, Gerardo era humorista. Durante toda su estancia tras los barrotes asegura no haber perdido la ironía como arma de defensa. “Se le puede meter humor a dieciséis años en la cárcel, es algo que te ayuda mucho. Los humoristas tenemos un modo particular de ver la vida, y no es que lo tiremos todo a relajo, pero no conozco a ninguna persona de carácter amargado que pueda ser humorista. En mi caso me ayudó mucho el tener un carácter optimista. A lo largo de los años que estuvimos en prisión, los cinco nos reímos muchas veces de nuestras propias desgracias. Eso nos ayudó”.
En prisión, los cinco nos reímos muchas veces de nuestras propias desgracias
Gerardo ha sido padre recientemente. Haciendo números, no sale un periodo de embarazo normal, puesto que su niña nació pocos días después de haber sido puesto en libertad. La explicación: “Siempre tuvimos el anhelo de tener nuestro hijo; habíamos pedido la visita conyugal para los presos, algo que se da en Cuba pero no en Estados Unidos, al menos en las prisiones federales. Mi esposa Adriana solicitó ayuda a un senador americano, quien tocó las puertas necesarias para que yo pudiera hacer una donación después de que mi esposa hubiera congelado sus óvulos. Fue un proceso de fertilización in vitro”. La pequeña se llama Gema y nació el 6 de enero de 2015.
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
EL HERALDO GROUP sarahnes@ …
“THE FEELING OF FULFILLING THE MOST SACRED OF THE DUTIES,
TO FIGHT AGAINST IMPERIALISM WHEREVER IT IS”
There is an expectation among a good number of people, especially in Cuba and in Miami, about what Trump might say in relation to our island in the declarations he is about to make in the near future in the city of Florida.
Some wish that these statements would provoke Armageddon and that everything that has advanced in the relations between the two countries will be without effect and we will return to the time in which hostility is the main reason that governs our relations.
Others, whom I believe have a more objective approach, suggest that there will be some changes in what Obama has established, but many issues will remain as they have been until now, especially those that could affect business profits, jobs, immigration policy, and campaigns against Cuba, such as those related to religious freedom, so-called political prisoners, human rights and ideological-political subversion.
It should not be surprising, according to the rumors running on Calle 8, that some issues be added to U.S. claims, among which may be to demand that people who are considered to have debts with justice be delivered to the United States, impose sanctions and visa limitations on certain Cuban officials and act against the entry into the United States of Havana Club rum. The problem with the claims is another one that has also been considered to be included in Trumps’s speech , that if it includes all that is desired by some in Miami, it will last about three hours.
In relation to something on Radio Bemba in Miami, we could also say that also in the United States people who have debts with Cuban justice, many of them for having committed acts of terrorism, in or against the island and its citizens, I do not think there is any interest in sending those terrorists to Cuba to be tried. The main interest of the government of the northern country lies in Joanne Chesimard [Assata Shakur], a woman, a militant of an organization that fought for the rights of blacks. She was accused unjustly of having committed a crime, and whom they say is in Cuba.
As to limitations and sanctions, it is possible that again and have been so many times raised that the food that Cuba buys and if it manages to buy medicine in that country, they can not go to military installations. As for tourism, they say they are thinking of banning business with Gaviota, because they consider that MINFAR (the Ministry of the Armed Forces) runs this company, hence it could be deduced that the visa limitations and sanctions would be to civil servants who now occupy positions in our government, but they come from the Armed Forces.
That of Havana Club rum is a business problem, as the Bacardí firm feels strongly affected and is precisely the one that delivers large amounts of money to the electoral campaigns of US politicians of Cuban origin. This is the time to pay off that debt, and business people understand that politicians have enough influence on Trump to do something about it, if that were possible.
The financial demands between the two countries could be another issue touched on by Trump. It is true that this is a long-term problem, because the United States demands $8 billion from Cuba and we demand $120 billion from them. The Miami speech could give Trump the opportunity to argue that those Cubans whose property was nationalized, and who traveled to the “land of democracy” and became US citizens, will be included in the claims they present.
Many of these issues, as discussed in this article, are rumors, which stakeholders put into the possible pronouncements that Trump could make to try to reach their ears and take them into consideration. Those in charge of trying to do this are the Representatives of Cuban origin who have been closer to Trump lately.
There are other elements that can not be left out of the analysis. The first is Trump himself, who is quite difficult to predict. The second, in my opinion, is Greenblatt, that of the Cuban grandfather. According to him, the number two person of the Trump Corporation, appointed as presidential negotiator, the third is Sonny Perdue, recently named by Trump as Secretary of Agriculture. On several occasions Purdue has mentioned the benefits which would be obtained from agricultural trade with Cuba.
Trump, as always, may surprise us. He may say that his policy will maintain everything that implies economic benefits for the United States, increasing jobs, increasing trade possibilities (which would reduce the United States’ negative trade balance), maintaining a system to ensure orderly immigration of people and the exchange between civil entities of both countries.
Other matters of interest (such as Havana Club rum) should be analyzed more deeply, which will be reported to the extent that he has decided what to do.
He will maintain US support for what they are fighting for in Cuba for the “liberties”, the “human rights” and the liberation of “political prisoners”. He will demand the sending to the United States of fugitives of justice who may be refugees in Cuba. Above all this, he will order an immediate start to talks with the Cuban government.
The latter he will leave until the end, as a good communicator that is, to leave a good impression on the audience, who must be pleased with the proposal to maintain a degree of hostility towards Cuba.
I could be wrong. To err is human and especially of humans who say what they think will happen.
The one who does not bet does not lose, but does not win either.
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann
Exclusive to the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico. Http://manuelyepe.wordpress.com/
In recent days, a book written by a Cuban who has been a mercenary in the service of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been published in the United States and has played dissimilar roles in that criminal organization’s actions not only in the Washington battle against his Home country, but also to other infamous plans of the agency in other parts of the world and in the United States, including the latter, to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
The American magazine Newsweek, in its May 28, 2017 issue, publishes a review by journalist Jefferson Morley on the book “Trained to Kill: The CIA Secrets about His Plans Against Castro, Kennedy and Che,” written by his ex Operative agent Antonio Veciana.
The terrorist “exploits” of this mercenary were widely known in Cuba and recognized by the American press, but the value of the infamies confessed by Veciana is that he adds elements to the multiple versions of the CIA’s leading role in the assassination of Kennedy .
According to Veciana, in 1960, he worked as an official of the Cuban government when, having already tried to subvert it from within, he stole official funds and used the money to finance attacks against government offices, factories and warehouses.
Two years later, he used his position in the government to distribute propaganda falsely announcing that the government planned to take custody of school-age children with the purpose of provoking panic in Cuban families and having some send their children to the United States , Where they would be welcomed by the Catholic Church in South Florida. The operation was called Peter Pan, separated 14,000 Cuban children from their families and was described in the press as “a disinterested effort to rescue the victims of communist oppression.”
Controller of Veciana for the operation was “Maurice Bishop” whose real name was David Atlee Phillips, who would become Head of the Division of the CIA for the Western Hemisphere until his retirement in 1975.
After the failure of Bay of Pigs, at Playa Girón, Phillips expressed his contempt for Kennedy, explains Veciana. After JFK’s peaceful conclusion to the missile crisis, Phillips created Alpha-66, a terrorist organization to attack Cuban targets that became a CIA instrument to pressure Kennedy with his actions.
In March 1963, Veciana and his group attacked a Russian merchant ship headed for Cuba, generating headlines around the world. Phillips sought to humiliate the Russians and embarrass JFK to take more aggressive action against Cuba. But Kennedy downplayed the issue and “Castro’s enemies, including Phillips, became even more furious,” Veciana says.
Veciana confirms how she met Kennedy’s alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, in the lobby of the Southland Center, the tallest building in Dallas, where he was introduced by Bishop.
“That was full of people, but Bishop, standing in a corner, was talking to a young man, pale, insubstantial. When he introduced me, I do not remember if he did it by his name (he might have said, ‘Tony, this is Lee. Lee, this is Tony.) But what I’m sure of is that Lee did not say anything. “
Following the assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963, Oswald was arrested, and his face was broadcast on television. “I recognized him immediately,” writes Veciana. “He was, without a doubt, the same pale, insignificant young man he had seen eleven weeks before” in the company of Maurice Bishop. “
Veciana recalls that early in 1964 the agency man asked if a cousin of his who was a Cuban intelligence officer would be willing to state that he had conspired with Oswald before JFK was killed. Phillips offered to pay for such testimony, but Veciana replied that his cousin was communist and could not be bought.
A decade later, in 1975, when the JFK investigation was reopened, a congressional investigator, knowing that Veciana had worked for the CIA, approached him to learn more about how the agency collaborated with Cuban exiles. Veciana told her the story of her work with Bishop, including meeting with Oswald. Arrangements were made for an artist to draw a picture of Bishop based on Veciana’s description and the result was a portrait that closely resembled Phillips. Veciana was then taken to Washington for a meeting with Phillips, but he pretended not to know Veciana who, out of fear of reprisals from the CIA denied that Bishop and Phillips were the same person. “A lie that I have maintained until today”, emphasizes Veciana.
Certainly, in the confessions of this bloodthirsty terrorist there are elements that contribute data to the clarification of some half truths and manipulations in the criminal history of the USA.
June 5, 2017.
Por Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusivo para el diario POR ESTO! de Mérida, México. http://manuelyepe.wordpress.com/
En días recientes se publicó en Estados Unidos un libro escrito por un cubano que hizo carrera como mercenario al servicio de la Agencia Central de Inteligencia (CIA) y desempeñó disímiles papeles en acciones de esa organización criminal vinculadas, no solo a la batalla Washington contra su país natal, sino también a otros planes infamantes de la agencia en otras partes del mundo y en los propios Estados Unidos, incluyendo entre estos últimos, al magnicidio de John F. Kennedy.
La revista norteamericana Newsweek, en su número de 28 de mayo de 2017, publica una reseña del periodista Jefferson Morley sobre el libro “Entrenado para matar: Los Secretos de la CIA sobre sus planes contra Castro, Kennedy y Che”, escrito por su ex agente operativo Antonio Veciana.
Las “hazañas” terroristas de este mercenario eran ampliamente conocidas en Cuba y reconocidas por la prensa estadounidense, pero el valor de las infamias que confiesa Veciana radica en que agrega elementos a las múltiples versiones acerca del papel rector de la CIA en el asesinato de Kennedy.
Según Veciana, en 1960, él trabajaba como funcionario del gobierno cubano cuando, teniendo ya como proyecto subvertirlo desde dentro, robó fondos oficiales y utilizó el dinero para financiar ataques contra oficinas, fábricas y almacenes del gobierno.
Dos años más tarde, utilizó su posición en el gobierno para distribuir propaganda anunciando falsamente que el gobierno planeó tomar la custodia de niños en edad escolar, con el propósito de provocar pánico en las familias cubanas y hacer que algunas enviaran a sus hijos a Estados Unidos, donde serían acogidos por la Iglesia Católica en el sur de la Florida. La operación fue llamada Peter Pan, separó a 14 mil niños cubanos de sus familias y fue descrita en la prensa como “esfuerzo desinteresado para rescatar a las víctimas de la opresión comunista”.
Controlador de Veciana para la operación era “Maurice Bishop” cuyo verdadero nombre era David Atlee Phillips, quien llegaría a ser Jefe de la División de la CIA para el Hemisferio Occidental hasta su retiro en 1975.
Tras el fracaso de Bahía de Cochinos, en Playa Girón, Phillips manifestó su desprecio por Kennedy, explica Veciana. Luego de la conclusión pacífica abogada por JFK para la crisis de los misiles, Phillips le creó Alpha-66, organización terrorista para atacar objetivos cubanos que se convirtió en instrumento de la CIA para presionar a Kennedy con sus acciones.
En marzo de 1963, Veciana y su grupo atacaron un buque mercante ruso que se dirigía a Cuba, generando titulares en todo el mundo. Phillips buscaba con ello humillar a los rusos y avergonzar a JFK para que tomara acciones más agresivas contra Cuba. Pero Kennedy restó importancia al tema y “los enemigos de Castro, incluyendo a Phillips, se pusieron más furiosos aún”, dice Veciana.
Veciana confirma cómo conoció al supuesto asesino de Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, en el vestíbulo del Centro Southland, el edificio más alto de Dallas, donde le fue presentado por Bishop.
“Aquello estaba lleno de gente, pero Bishop, de pie en un rincón, hablaba con un hombre joven, pálido, insustancial. Cuando me lo presentó no recuerdo si lo hizo por su nombre (podría haber dicho: ‘Tony, este es Lee. Lee, este es Tony’). Pero de lo que estoy seguro es de que Lee no dijo nada.”
Tras el asesinato en Dallas el 22 de noviembre de 1963, Oswald fue arrestado, y su rostro transmitido en la televisión. “Lo reconocí inmediatamente,” escribe Veciana. “Era, sin lugar a dudas el mismo hombre joven, pálido e insignificante que había visto once semanas antes” en compañía de Maurice Bishop”.
Veciana recuerda que, temprano en 1964, el hombre de la agencia le preguntó si un primo suyo que era oficial de inteligencia cubano, estaría dispuesto a declarar que él había conspirado con Oswald antes de que JFK fuera asesinado. Phillips le ofreció pagar por tal testimonio, pero Veciana le respondió que su primo era comunista y no podía ser comprado.
Una década más tarde, en 1975, cuando la investigación JFK se reabrió, un investigador del Congreso, sabiendo que Veciana había trabajado para la CIA, se acercó a él para conocer más sobre cómo la agencia colaboraba con los exiliados cubanos. Veciana le contó la historia de su trabajo con Bishop, incluida la reunión con Oswald. Se hicieron arreglos para que un artista hiciera un dibujo de Bishop basado en descripción de Veciana y el resultado fue un retrato que se parecía mucho a Phillips. Veciana fue entonces llevado a Washington para una reunión con Phillips, pero éste fingió no conocer a Veciana quien, por miedo a represalias de la CIA negó que Bishop y Phillips fueran la misma persona. “Una mentira que hasta hoy mantuve”, subraya Veciana.
Ciertamente, en las confesiones de este sanguinario terrorista hay elementos que aportan datos al esclarecimiento de algunas medias verdades y manipulaciones en la historia criminal de EEUU.
Junio 5 de 2017.
By Guillermo Almeyra
August 8, 2009
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The Cuban Revolution is going through its hardest period ever, mainly because of an international situation marked by capitalism’s current crisis, which is bound to last for at least two more years. Even a slight recovery will still mean that imported goods such as food and oil will go up in price, and hopefully the latter won’t go so high as to prevent Venezuela’s aid from increasing. At the same time, global warming has reached such levels that the whole Caribbean region is doomed to suffer the devastating effects of hurricanes and droughts on a regular basis.
Throw in the fact that the way U.S. policy on Latin America has evolved –suffice it to mention the role played by the State Department and the Pentagon in the coup d’état in Honduras, the threat posed by the IV Fleet hanging over the region like the sword of Damocles, and the seven military bases in Colombia that constitute a direct threat to Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Brazil, just to mention a few examples– reveals that Obama’s intentions and views carry a lot less weight with the Establishment than the big business and the U.S. government’s imperialist nature. Therefore, Cuba must keep improving its preparedness, so much so now that it has fewer resources than ever to provide for people’s needs and well-being.
There’s also the fact that youth, especially in the cities, have known nothing but crises and special periods, and what’s worse, they have witnessed the sharp contrast between their austere and difficult life and the frenzied consumerism of foreign tourists. Unacquainted with pre-Revolution Cuba, they are fully aware that it was a terrible mistake to model their system on a Soviet bureaucracy they believed eternal and reliable, only to be left stranded in the end with no aim or sense or purpose. The Cuban Government is thus relying on a negative consensus, that is, the decision made by the vast majority of Cubans, whether or not they agree with the official policy, that Cuba will be neither another Puerto Rico nor a new addition to the Stars and Stripes. Not exactly small potatoes, but more is needed to lift their spirits and boost their confidence enough for them to undertake a project that will only bear fruit in the medium or long term and demand therefore their courage, patience and creativeness while they live their life without consumer items.
Truth is, Cuba can be dependent on the brain drain no more than it can rely totally on oil imports, especially at a time that its Venezuelan friends are in Washington’s sights. It must work hard instead to produce a variety of quality foods and share them out effectively in the short term, even for reasons of internal political security, which the Cuban Government knows only too well. Now, an effective agricultural production calls for skilled, non-improvised labor and incentives to make up for the first rough encounter with rundown land overrun by thorny shrubs, essential tools and consumables –since hoes and machetes are not enough– seeds and water. In other words, investments, a system of extensive agriculture and even the shock experience of an agreement with China, for instance, to set up model farming camps in some regions of Cuba to be manned by landless Chinese and Cubans.
Yet, producing is not enough: there must be an effective, affordable system in place to distribute the most urgently needed foodstuffs, some of which –say, meat and dairy products– must be sufficiently profitable for the producers who invested their time and money in the project. Lenin saved his country with a new economic policy, that is, a market policy implemented in agriculture and trade together with plans to manufacture clothes, machinery and equipment for the new farmers’ market. How much does the island pay for a tourist industry bound to bring less and less hard currency in the coming years as it turns to cheaper destinations with less demanding moral and legal standards? Instead of funding great hotel chains empowered to buy expensive goods and foods, wouldn’t it be better to skim some money off that stock and use it to prod domestic production and design a more fair and equitable plan to distribute foods and services?
Why not consult the population about their needs and ideas to meet them? Why leave everything in the hands of a state apparatus made up of bureaucrats and technocrats who mean well but whose perception differs from John Q. Public’s and tend to solve things through managerial channels, using military labor rather than the working class’s energy and ingenuity? Why not hold people’s assemblies for production and self-improvement where the citizens can directly discuss, propose and resolve things? If the Party Congress has been put off –which further confirms that it neither has a life of itself nor does it control the State, but rather depends on a bunch of government leaders– why not turn this extraordinary conference into a forum for open, free, on-the-job debate where workers can make proposals? The techno-bureaucratic option is a fake option. Socialism cannot be built without the conscious involvement of the Cuban people. Cuba is in a state of emergency it can only overcome through the participation and will of all its workers and intellectuals.