|News on Cuba - July 13, 2012|
New US maneuver to hinder Gerardo´s process of appeal
HAVANA, Cuba, July 13 (ACN) The Cuban Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement on Thursday denouncing new arbitrary actions and violations of the rights of Cuban Gerardo Hernandez, one of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the US since 1998. CAN publishes the full statement as posted on the website of the Foreign Ministry:
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
One of the five antiterrorist fighters unjustly imprisoned in the United States, Hero of the Republic of Cuba, Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, has been subject of a new arbitrariness by the authorities of that country, aiming at hindering his legal process.
Last Saturday, July 7th, the Cuban officers who had been already authorized by the State Department to carry out a consular visit to Gerardo, were not able to fulfill it, under the supposed argumentthat the memorandum of the Chief of the penitentiary center Victorville, in California, authorizing their entrance to the prison, was not available at the reception desk. This fact powerfully calls the attention when, in addition to the procedures followed by the Cuban Interests Section in Washington with the State Department to get the authorization for this visit, Gerardo himself had reconfirmedwith the prison´s authorities that everything was in order.
Additionally, last July 9th, lawyer Martin Garbus, member of Gerardo´s defense team, who had scheduled a legal visit to review, together with Gerardo, the documentation related to the current collateral process of appeal, was not able to do it with the same pretext that the memorandum of authorization of the chief of prison was not at the reception desk. Garbus could finally visit Gerardo, thanks to the fact that his name was on the visitor´s list; however, and given the conditions imposed to the type of visit he was authorized to, without a legal character, he could not bring in thedocumentation our Hero should read and sign, and neither met with him under the appropiate conditions.
This is not the first time events like this one occur. They have taken place systematically during every key moment of Gerardo´s legal process.
Just to mention a few examples: in 2010, during thepreparations of the collateral appeal, known as Habeas Corpus, the penitentiary authorities denied Gerardo the possibility to be visited by his lawyer Leonard Weinglass in two ocassions, anddeliberately delayed the delivery of his legal mail, which prevented his participation in the reviewing. In 2003, Gerardo was isolated in a punishment cell prior to the presentations of his direct appeal.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs denounces this new maneuver by US authorities, aiming at hindering Gerardo´s process of appeal, depriving him from one of the few rights he has as a prisoner in the United States. Gerardo has been sent to solitary confinement several times without justification; he´s had repeated difficulties with his personal and legal mail; his wife, Adriana, has not been granted visa to visit him and they have not been able to conceive a child. During his long and unjust imprisonment, on charges for crimes he did not commit and have never been proved, his rights have been violated repeatedly.
Cuba will not stop denouncing to the world these violations and will not cease the efforts to achieve the return to the Homeland of Gerardo and his other four brothers unjustly imprisoned and retained in the United States for almost 14 years.
Puerto Rican Solidarity Brigade Arrives in Cuba
ARTEMISA, Cuba, July 12 (acn) The Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) welcomed the 11th Juan Rius Rivera Solidarity Brigade of Puerto Rico at the Julio Antonio Mella International Camp, in the municipality of Caimito, Artemisa province.
The brigadistas arrived on Thursday motivated by their wish to know Cuban reality, hold exchanges with the people and carry their own experiences back home, without the intervention of the mass media, Milagro Rivera, leader of the contingent, told the press.
Esperanza Luzbert, representative of North America at the ICAP, highlighted the presence of youngsters in this group, among them siblings Diego and Maria Varona, nephew and niece of Rafael Varona (Fefel), a Puerto Rican teacher who was the victim of a US bombing while visiting Vietnam in 1967.
Diego told ACN that, at his 17 years of age, he feels attracted to the example of the Cuban people, its music and customs and its strength in the face of barriers imposed by Washington.
The Puerto Ricans will carry out a program of activities until July 30, which includes meetings with other solidarity groups and Cuban internationalist physicians; agricultural work; and visits to educational centers and historic and cultural places, among others.
Likewise, the will appreciate the celebrations on the island for the 26 of July, Day of National Rebelliousness, and will pay tribute to late Cuban singer-songwriter Sara Gonzalez.
Pastors for Peace Successfully Collect Donations for Cuba
Washington, July 12 (Prensa Latina) The 23rd Pastors for Peace Friendship Caravan continued today its US tour, finding a positive response from the people, who contribute humanitarian aid that is scheduled to be taken to Cuba this month.
According to the Pastors for Peace website, in the past few days the activists have visited Chicago (Illinois), Berkeley (California) and Bloomington (Indiana), where they received donations and support to this philanthropic project.
They also updated the public on the negative effects of the US blockade imposed on Cuba for over fifty years, despite the rejection of the international community for twenty consecutive years before the UN General Assembly.
The donations include items for sports, health and education, who are among the US blockade worst hit sectors.
"We have collected some 100 tons of aid, mainly computers, medicines, school materials and medical equipment. The US blockade prevents Cuba from acquiring any of these products in the international market," a member of the caravan, Manolo de los Santos, told Indiana Daily Student newspaper.
The activists are scheduled to visit at least 90 cities before meeting in McAllen, Texas, on July 19 to cross to Mexico and then take the humanitarian cargo to Cuba.
The 23rd Friendship Caravan includes more than 60 activists from Canada, the United States, Germany, Britain and Mexico.
The initiative was created in 1992 by late Reverend Lucius Walker with the objective to break the blockade and take humanitarian assistance and medicine to Cuba in yellow school buses without asking for federal authorization or license
Activists with the Venceremos Brigade Pay Tribute to Che Guevara
SANTA CLARA, Cuba, July 13 (ACN) Members of the Solidarity-with-Cuba Venceremos Brigade laid a wreath at the Ernesto Che Guevara Memorial in this central Cuban city.
The young of activists are interested in learning about Cuban reality and how the people of this island nation is facing the over-50-year US economic, financial and commercial blockade, which has inflicted direct damage calculated at over 975 billion dollars, according to the latest Cuban resolution overwhelmingly backed by the international community.
Malcom Sacks, who lives in New York, told reporters that he was encouraged by the experiences his parents told him about Cuba, where they visited with the first groups of the Venceremos Brigade.
Sacks, who has come with the 43rd group, said he would like to see the blockade lifted for humanitarian reasons and not with the objective followed by some US congress people, who pursue profits with the elimination of the US measure.
Alda Arias, a Colombian residing in the U.S., said that she was eager to know Cuba and after she came she got a very good impression of the local nature and the people. Arias criticized what she described as the cruelty and injustice of the US blockade of the island.
After touring the memorial treasuring the mortal remains of the Argentinean-Cuban guerrilla fighter and his companions killed in action in Bolivia, the activists visited the site where Che Guevara and his troops derailed an armored train of the former Batista dictatorship, back in 1958.
The group is scheduled to visit the provincial office of the Cuban Friendship Institute and meet with members of grassroots organizations in the city of Santa Clara.
LatAm Musicians to Dedicate CD to Cuban 5
Havana, Jul 13 (Prensa Latina) Musicians from Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Cuba will join their voices and compositions at a CD that will be launched in 2013, in solidarity with the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly held in the United States since 1998.
In remarks to Prensa Latina, Chilean singer and songwriter Ismael Duran, author of the project, stated that the album includes the participation of renowned artists of the region, such as Vicente Feliu, Andres Ordaz Aguilera (Pepe), Isabel Parra, Leon Gieco and Daniel Viglietti, and bands Manguare (Cuba) and Inti Illimani (Chile).
Singers and composers from Spain, the United States and Canada, as guests, and poems written by Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Rene Gonzalez, will be also included in the CD, the musician noted.
Invited in May to the International Festival Cubadisco 2012, Duran described the work as nice and difficult, while each musician will record the music in the country of origin to later send them to Havana, where the final production will take place, at Havana's Abdala studios.
Although different musical styles, such as hip-hop, will be included, the Latin American traditional music will be prominent in the disc. This gender, according to the trova singer, has achieved to survive the hardships caused by musical market and its commercialization, because "art and cultural roots are still alive thanks to the peoples," he said.
About his work relations with Manguare, a band with which he already recorded the two first tracks of the album, Duran said they dated from his first visit to Cuba some years ago.
I had the opportunity to record a couple of songs with this son band in 2010: "Mi sombrerito cubano" (My Small Cuban Hat) and "Guanabacoa bella" (Beautiful Guanabacoa). The latter awarded as the 2011 Best Latin Song, granted by the John Lennon Foundation in the United States, he noted.
The idea to produce a CD on the occasion of the solidarity with the Cuban antiterrorists emerged on April during the activities carried out in the U.S. city of Washington, as part of the campaign "Five Days for the Cuban Five."
Teacher Training Closes Education Congress in Cuba
Havana, Jul 13 (Prensa Latina) The permanent training for teachers with the sight set on diversity care will close today two congresses on preschool and special education in Cuba, with the attendance of almost 300 delegates from 23 countries.
Participants in these two forums will debate on professional development, access for people with disabilities to be trained as professors, and the strengthening of competitions for visually impaired people's access to study at the university.
They also analyze national variants for the comprehensive care of first childhood, which according to experts, is one of the mainstays for the development of students' personality.
The International Congress of Education and Special Pedagogy and the 10th International Meeting of Primary and Preschool Education were being held in parallel since July 10 at the Havana's Conference Center.
Delegates from Angola, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Russia, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela, attend both events.
On July 11-12, participants visited one of almost 30 Havana schools, because the school year already concluded here. Some of them had the opportunity to prove on site the Cuban strategy on that matter.
Cuba and Norway Sign Agreement to Help Haiti
HAVANA, Cuba, July 13 (acn) Cuba and Norway signed on Thursday in this capital a triangular agreement for the implementation of the third program of humanitarian aid for Haiti, a nation devastated by an earthquake in 2010.
The document was signed by Hohn Petter Opdahl, Norwegian ambassador to Cuba, and Marcia Cobas and Ileana Nuñez, the island’s deputy ministers for Public Health and Foreign Trade and Investment, respectively.
The two nations ratified their commitment to increase the quality of health services for the Haitian people, which has also suffered as a result of floods and cholera epidemics, among other evils.
The Cuban officials and Jean Victor Geneus, Haiti’s ambassador to Havana, thanked Norway for its cooperation dedicated to maintain sustainability in order to prevent a devastating epidemic of cholera and of transmissible diseases, as well as strengthening medical assistance services in isolated places.
The agreement will favor the execution of an 800,000 dollar-financing, in order to continue consolidating the work of the Cuban Medical Brigades in these tasks.
Geneus expressed his gratitude towards Cuba for the presence of health professionals in his country, who were also present there in 1998 after the passage of Hurricane George, he stressed.
More Actions in Europe in Favor of the Cuban Five
HAVANA, Cuba, July 11 (acn) A peculiar initiative characterized the Italian capital on Thursday, with posters on the streets calling to solidarity with the five Cuban antiterrorist heroes unfairly condemned in the United States.
Members of the Circle of Rome, of the Italy-Cuba National Friendship Association, suck posters in important arteries of that city and the streets leading to the Rome-Florence highway.
These posters demand justice to be served in the case of Gerardo Hernandez, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Rene Gonzalez.
This is yet another action of the growing international campaign “On the Fifth for The Five,” the www.cubaminrex.cu Web site reported.
Meanwhile, in Scotland, a contemporary art exhibition entitled “Beyond the Frame” was inaugurated in the city of Glasgow, which includes paintingsby Tony Guerrero and caricatures by Gerardo Hernandez, along with works by renowned Cuban and British artists.
The pieces, on display at the El Faro Gallery, were donated by their authors. The money collected will be dedicated to the campaign for the release of these heroes.
Another US Company Fined for Trading with Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba, July 11 (acn) The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury (OFAC) imposed a penalty of one million 347,750 dollars to the Great Western Malting Company for infringing the internationally rejected blockade of Cuba.
This new sanction was applied to the US Company for carrying out several operations so a foreign subsidiary sold barley malt -of non-US origin- to the island, between August, 2006 and March, 2009, informed the OFAC on Tuesday.
So far this year, the aforementioned US Department of the Treasury has fined three US and foreign entities, in line with the strict and extraterritorial regulations of the blockade against the Caribbean country.
Washington continues to ignore the demand of the international public opinion, which demands the end of that siege against Cuba, an illegal policy that seriously violates the rights of its people to subsistence and development.