Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category

Decomisan munición en buque que iba para Cuba

| March 2nd, 2015 | No Comments »
El Tiempo-01

Un buque con bandera de China que el pasado viernes llegó a Cartagena está siendo inspeccionado por la Policía Antinarcóticos en el puerto de esa ciudad.

El primer reporte arrojó que en 7 de los 14 contenedores hay abundante munición para artillería pesada, que hasta ahora no cuenta con la documentación correcta para ser transportada.

La Policía detectó el buque luego de que este llegara a Cartagena para desembarcar tubos para una firma petrolera, pero con información de inteligencia se alertó de la munición.

Inicialmente la información de inteligencia señalaba que eran armas que llegarían al país. Al revisar la documentación se estableció que el armamento, a nombre de una empresa comercial, tenía como destino a Cuba.

El comandante del buque se opuso en un principio a la inspección, pero la falta de documentación obligó a que la diligencia se realizara.

EL TIEMPO ... Read More

Ammunition was seized from ship headed to Cuba

| March 2nd, 2015 | No Comments »
El Tiempo-01

 A China-flagged ship that arrived to the port of Cartagena in Colombia is being inspected by the narcotics police of that city.

The first report showed that there is plenty of ammunition for heavy artillery, which so far does not have the correct documentation to be carried in 7 of the 14 containers.

Police detected the ship after it arrived in Cartagena to deliver tubes for an oil company, but intelligence alerted of the presence of ammunition.

Initially, intelligence information indicated that weapons were coming to the country. After reviewing the ship’s documentation it was established that the weapons, shipped by a trading company, were bound to Cuba.

Initially the captain of the ship tried to avoid the inspection, but the lack of documentation forced the latter.

Colombian newspaper El Tiempo established that the ship was also scheduled to arrive at Barranquilla and finally Cuba.

Official sources said the Ministry of Defense is handling the case.

Click ... Read More

Red flags in Cuba slow investment

| March 2nd, 2015 | No Comments »
USA TODAY

By Alan Gomez and Rick Jervis

MIAMI — After an initial wave of enthusiasm following President Obama’s decision to re-establish relations and expand trade with Cuba, American businesses are hitting the brakes.

Although companies such as MasterCard, American Express, Netflix and Twitter have announced plans to expand operations in Cuba, they can’t flourish on the island until two essential U.S. industries get on board: banking and telecommunications. And so far, officials in those fields are hesitant to jump into the risky Cuban market.

“Capital doesn’t like to go where there’s risk,” said Alex Sanchez, president and CEO of the Florida Bankers Association. “It’s not going to Iran, it’s not going to Iraq and it probably won’t go to Cuba for a while because of the risk.”

Ever since Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro made their historic announcement in December that they would end 50 years of estrangement, diplomats in both countries have been working to formalize ... Read More

US pressures Cuba to turn over fugitives

| February 26th, 2015 | No Comments »
Sun Sentinel

By William E. Gibson

U.S. officials will continue this week to pressure Cuba to turn over fugitives wanted for Medicare fraud and other crimes in the United States.

Closer cooperation between the two old adversaries could disrupt a criminal pipeline that has funneled ill-gotten gains from Florida to Cuba, an organized crime network disclosed last month by the Sun Sentinel after a year-long investigation.

Some members of Congress are demanding the return of fugitives, hoping to halt Cuban crime rings and discourage scams.

“I would hope that if those who wish to violate American law understand that they can’t hide from prosecution in Cuba, it would help to deter people from ripping off American taxpayers,” said U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat who represents parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties.

The issue will be raised Thursday when Cuba’s alleged links to terrorist groups are discussed at a House subcommittee hearing.

Chairman Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., said Cuban spying ... Read More

Reality sinks in for many Cubans on eve of talks with US

| February 26th, 2015 | No Comments »
UT San Diego

By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN

HAVANA (AP) — The jubilation that greeted the announcement of U.S.-Cuban detente two months ago has faded to resignation for many Cubans who are realizing they’re at the start of a long process unlikely to ease their daily struggles anytime soon.

Dreams of U.S. products flooding Havana stores and easy visits to family members in Florida have dissipated, in part because of a coordinated campaign by Cuban state media and officials to lower expectations and remind people that the main planks of the half-century-old U.S. trade embargo remain in place.

As Cuban officials head to Washington for a second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations Friday, many working-class islanders say they no longer expect immediate changes in their lives regardless of what emerges from the negotiations.

“The great expectations that surged with the news ... Read More

Migrants’ remittances to Latin America grew 4 pct. in 2014

| February 24th, 2015 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Expatriates’ remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean increased 4 percent in 2014 to $62.3 billion, the biggest jump since the global economic crisis in 2009, the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think-tank, said Tuesday.

The largest gains went to Mexico and Central America, while several South American countries saw a decrease in remittances, due largely to the persistent economic crisis in Spain.

The overall advance in remittances to Latin America reflects improvements in the U.S. labor market, new migration patterns and the proliferation of new ways to transfer money, according to the report.

Remittances to Mexico increased 8.8 percent over 2013, while funds sent to Honduras increased 12.5 percent, and to Guatemala, 9 percent.

The Spanish economic crisis, with high levels of unemployment and falling pay, is largely responsible for decreases in remittances to Bolivia, 2.4 percent; Peru, 2.3 percent, and Colombia, which saw ... Read More

Dissidents Say as Many as 200 Arrested in Cuba

| February 24th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

Cuban dissidents say that more than 100 anti-government activists have been arrested and they are awaiting word Monday on how many have been released.

Berta Soler, leaders of the group Ladies in White, said that 53 members of her group and 36 other dissidents were arrested Sunday during the group’s traditional march through Havana after Sunday Mass.

Elizardo Sanchez, head Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, one of the country’s largest human rights groups, said that between 150 and 200 dissidents had been arrested across the country Sunday.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson said on Twitter that the U.S. is “concerned about violent silencing of peaceful voices for change.” She meets with Cuban officials Friday for the second round of talks on re-establishing diplomatic relations.

Click here for original ... Read More

Venezuela and Cuba: Partners in repression

| February 24th, 2015 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Editorial Board

Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro paid a visit to Havana and met with Raúl and Fidel Castro, who have been his patrons and who helped to install him in power after the death of Hugo Chávez. Mr. Maduro’s political situation is desperate: As Venezuelans suffer severe shortages of staple goods and soaring inflation, his approval rating has dropped to 22 percent — and that’s before the full impact of falling oil prices hits a country dependent on petroleum for 96 percent of its hard-currency revenue.

On his return from Havana, Mr. Maduro turned to a familiar tactic. Intelligence agents stormed the residence of the elected opposition mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, and took him away to a military prison. Mr. Maduro then delivered a three-hour rant on television in which he accused the opposition leader of plotting a coup against him with the help of the Obama administration. Needless to say, he had no evidence to support this ludicrous charge.

If this ... Read More

Self-Inflicted Misery and Tyranny among Latin America’s Left

| February 24th, 2015 | No Comments »
Mexi Data

By Jerry Brewer

It is astonishing that with so much focus and dialogue on demands for world freedom, self-expression and human rights, many tend to ignore or simply fail to do their homework on repressive dictatorial-like regimes floundering throughout Latin America and oppressing their citizens.

It was certainly no secret that the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s 14 years in office was a tired precursor to a near failed state in Venezuela today. Chavez spent his entire rule in office working to recruit and support leftist presidential candidates throughout the hemisphere, touting his Bolivarian Revolution – that is quite simply the more exhausted Cuban Revolution that remains in Venezuelan to this very day.

Chavez demolished independence in Venezuela’s institutions, seized control of the economy, militarized the government, and virtually destroyed private enterprise. Death, destruction and insufficiencies in Venezuela remain rampant.

If there was even a modicum of value to add to the history of Venezuela from ... Read More

The Truth About ‘Tourist Apartheid’ in Cuba

| February 17th, 2015 | No Comments »
Yahoo News-01

By Kim-Marie Evans

Contrary to recent headlines, Cuba is not flinging open its doors for tourist travel. Although there have been recent changes in U.S. regulations, it is still technically illegal for an American to be a tourist in Cuba. In fact, during a recent art-buying trip I took to Cuba, I learned there is a term used to describe the visitor situation in the country: “tourist apartheid.” In other words, travelers still remain separate from the general population.

The purpose of my trip was to buy art, but the visit also allowed me to learn more about the lives of “real” Cubans — which is very different from what tourists see and experience. The people I interviewed whispered their answers while glancing over their shoulders. “Who could possibly be listening?” I asked.

The truth is that anyone can be listening.

I took a similar trip ... Read More

Rough Seas for Venezuela

| February 17th, 2015 | No Comments »
The New York Times

BY ENRIQUE KRAUZE

MEXICO CITY — At the University of Havana in 1999, President Hugo Chávez assailed those who would “ask Cuba to follow the path of false democracy” and declared that Venezuela was “moving toward the same ocean as the Cuban people, an ocean of happiness, of true social justice, of peace.” But the recent steep plunge in oil prices has thrown both Cuba and the Venezuela that supplies its oil into a much more turbulent ocean than Mr. Chávez ever imagined.

To emulate Cuba politically was an inexcusable choice, but Mr. Chávez began carefully to do so. In order to distance Venezuela from “false democracy,” he accumulated control over the organs of government and over much of the information media: radio, television and the press. His successor, Nicolás Maduro, has remained on that road but much more crudely — with little attention to nuance or pragmatic pressures. He took over the rest ... Read More

4 Cuba Experts Have Differing Views on Island’s Future

| February 12th, 2015 | No Comments »
Daily Signal-01

BY JOSH SIEGEL

MIAMI—When Sebastian Arcos steps back to evaluate President Obama’s move to normalize relations with Cuba, he tries to forget his own experiences with the Castro regime.

But it’s difficult for Arcos to have a clean perspective because the Cuban government’s imprints are all over his life—he spent a year in prison, and was kicked out of school, for trying to escape repression.

“My experiences have everything to do with the way I feel about it,” said Arcos, now the associate director of the Cuban Research Institute.

“I feel like I have a better grasp of the nature of the regime than the people changing the policy. They don’t know Cuba the way I do. They can look at it more objectively.”

Arcos was one of four experts on Cuba to speak at Florida International University last week at an event hosted by The Heritage Foundation. ... Read More

Obama’s gambit misunderstands Cuban reality

| February 12th, 2015 | No Comments »
AEI

Key Points

President Obama’s new push to normalize relations with Cuba neglects the Cuban dictatorship’s internal oppression, relentless hostility to US interests, and implacable opposition to change. The Obama administration has rushed to facilitate new travel and trade with Cuba, but the Castro regime controls virtually every aspect of the economy, benefits from cash remittances and tourism, and stifles the country’s potential growth. While the Obama administration struggles to justify its unilateral concessions and has yet to press for international help on Cuba, the Castro regime has rejected calls for change and is making new demands to put the administration on the defensive. For Obama to salvage his new Cuba approach, his team will have to develop and implement an actual strategy that measures up to his rhetoric without letting down American interests and ideals.

President Obama’s decision to normalize diplomatic relations with the Castro government after 54 years is certainly ... Read More

Groups, States Supported by Cuba Continue to Spread Terror

| February 10th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon

By Daniel Wiser

U.S. officials are considering removing Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, even as Cuban allies continue to launch military attacks and trade for weapons.

As part of President Barack Obama’s announcement in December that he would normalize relations with Cuba, Obama instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to review Cuba’s terror designation and issue a report in six months.

While reports indicate that the administration is leaning toward removing Cuba from the terror list, such an action would conflict with the Cuban regime’s support for Colombian militants, Iran, and North Korea.

Cuban President Raul Castro and his government have been hosting peace talks since 2012 between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a communist insurgency that has battled the Colombian military since the 1960s in a conflict claiming 200,000 deaths. U.S. diplomatic cables leaked in 2010 revealed that Cuba had harbored ... Read More

For relatives of terror victims, Cuba detente revives painful memories

| February 10th, 2015 | No Comments »
FoxNews.com

By James Rosen

Joe Connor was just a few days past his ninth birthday when the news hit on January 24, 1975: His father, Frank, a financial executive, had been killed that afternoon by a bomb blast at a lower Manhattan restaurant.

He had taken some out-of-town clients to lunch at Fraunces Tavern – the Revolutionary War-era watering hole where George Washington bade farewell to his troops – when someone who has never been identified placed a knapsack with a bomb in it just behind Frank’s chair. He died instantly in the blast, as did one of his out-of-town clients.

That day, the militant Puerto Rican nationalist group FALN issued a communique to the news wire services claiming responsibility for the attack, which killed four and injured five dozen others. The group said it chose the tavern – which was popular with Wall Street types – in order ... Read More

US-Funded News Station Wants to Bring Free Press to Cuba. But Raúl Castro Wants to Shut It Down.

| February 10th, 2015 | No Comments »
Daily Signal-01

By Josh Siegel

MIAMI—Carlos García-Pérez, who heads the U.S. government’s Office of Cuba Broadcasting, is used to his news station being a target.

The Miami headquarters of Radio and TV Martí is protected as if it is one. Located randomly off the side of an expressway, the building is guarded by a barbed-wire gate.

Signage outside confirms the news station as U.S. government property, and visitors are asked by a uniformed guard to not bring their cell phones into the building.

The federal government launched Radio Martí in 1983 and TV Martí in 1990 with the hope to combat communism by exposing Cubans to freedom and democracy, providing uncensored information from Miami to Cuba.

Since the beginning, the Castro regime, notorious suppressors of free press, has worked hard to block the station’s programs.

Today, the Cuban government sometimes successfully jams its transmissions, especially in ... Read More

So How’s That Cuba Deal Going?

| February 9th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY Less than two months after his “historic” outreach to Havana with a promise to “normalize relations,” the U.S. commander in chief is getting the back of Raúl Castro ’s hand.

On Dec. 17, President Obama floated his plan to revise a half-century-old U.S.-Cuba policy by promising engagement. “We intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people,” he said. The trouble is that as his statements in recent weeks have shown, Raúl Castro has no interest in doing things differently.

The message from Havana is that if Mr. Obama wants a Cuba legacy it will have to be on Cuba’s terms. That means he will have to go down in history as the U.S. president who prolonged the longest-running military dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere.

Days before Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs Roberta Jacobson arrived in Havana on Jan. 21 for talks, the Cuban state newspaper ... Read More

A Tally of What Cuba Owes the World

| February 6th, 2015 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01

By CARLOS ALBERTO MONTANER

Cuban leader Raul Castro has presented to U.S. President Barack Obama a set of conditions to re-establish diplomatic relations. Among those conditions, Castro demands compensation for the damages caused to Cuba by the U.S. commercial embargo.

How much are the damages? According to the punctilious economists in the Cuban government, the figure is exactly $116.86 billion. I have no idea how they arrived at such a considerable, but for the purposes of this column, we will accept it as accurate.

This leads us to an inevitable question: How much have the incompetence and the interference of the Cuban revolution cost the world? After all, Cuba’s claim carries an implicit acknowledgment that there exist rights of property and lost profits, and that punitive damages should be levied against those who violate those rights or harm innocent victims.

Let me jot some hurried notes.

First, ... Read More

Cuban dissidents tell Congress they reject Obama-Castro plan to normalize relations

| February 6th, 2015 | No Comments »
FoxNews.com

A portion of the Cuban dissident movement, speaking before Congress on Thursday, rejected the agreement between Washington and Havana to resume bilateral relations and said that as they as they were not included in the dialogue to reestablish diplomatic ties they would not endorse the talks.

Appearing before the House Subcommittee on Human Rights were Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, known as “Antunez,” Berta Soler, the head of the Ladies in White, and another member of that group, Sara Fonseca.

“We’re not going to accept the Cuban opposition being ignored,” said Antunez.

The three dissidents are representatives of a sector of the Cuban opposition that does not view favorably the political about-face toward Cuba by the Barack Obama administration, although within the dissident movement as a whole there is a group that has come out in favor of the reestablishment of ties.

Antunez told lawmakers ... Read More

House members question how new Cuba policy will improve human rights

| February 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY MIMI WHITEFIELD

In an at-times combative hearing, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday questioned whether the United States’ new relationship with Cuba would improve Cuba’s human rights record.

During the hearing on the Obama administration’s “sudden shift” in Cuba policy, Committee Chairman Ed Royce, a Republican from California, said, “This could have been used to leverage meaningful concessions on human rights in Cuba.”

Other members of the committee, including some who favor the new Cuba policy, also pressed Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson on what the United States was doing to get Cuba to respect human rights.

Rep. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat, noted that last year the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, an independent organization, reported 8,899 short-term detentions on the island. That was a 39 percent increase over 2013.

In recent years, there has been a shift in Cuba from long-term detentions to many short-term detentions. But Jacobson said the strategy of short-term detentions ... Read More

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