Venezuelan FM Denounces in Russia Criminal Blockade Imposed by US

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has denounced on Monday the criminal blockade imposed by the United States Government and called on it to allow the opposition to hold an national political dialogue in Venezuela.

After the recent failed coup d'etat in Venezuela, the White House became desperate. It was a CIA plan to overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro to seize Venezuela's wealth, Arreaza said.

'We call on US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to talk, because they failed and have not achieved their goals by any means, so let's talk,' said the Venezuelan diplomat.

For Arreaza, the opposition does not want any conversation with the Venezuelan government because it lacks Washington's permission, but it is time for dialogue, for diplomacy, he added.

We began a campaign against the US blockade on April 24, because it is about Venezuelan people's resources, that's why it is criminal what the US government does by freezing funds and imposing financial restrictions', he declared.

We are going to insist on diplomacy and dialogue, to unblock the Venezuelan economy', he stated.

The Russian government has been the strongest in calling for an end to the criminal policy against Venezuela, Arreaza remarked.

  • Published in World

Why Havana Club is Unique and Why in Miami Mojitos are not Sold

A BBC report of the last year affirms that there are two versions of the Cuban rum Havana Club: “one which is for sale in the United States and another that is sold in the rest of the world.”

However, Yahima del Pilar Rodríguez Alvarez, communication specialist for San José rum distillery, where Havana Club made in Cuba is produced, the one which is commercialized in “the rest of the world”, assures that there’s only one and she explains some features of the process that makes it unique:

To obtain the base liquor “the raw material, the first ones which are water and the molasses, have to be authentic. The molasses is a by-product of the Cuban sugar industry, must be diluted in water and we add something that from the know-how point of view, or technology is only property of Havana Club, any other producer, even if it’s Cuban can use it which is the yeast.”

I say, those who produce Havana Club and sell it in 8th Street, for example, do they import the molasses from Cuba? Well, no. This would be a Puerto Rican Havana Club, fruit of those brother sugar plantations, but foreign anyway.

On top of that the recipe of the Cuban rum is very demanding, Yahima herself told us other details that differentiate it from the rest of domestic and foreign light rums:

“The yeast in the interaction process contributes certain compounds like ethers needed to obtain a liquor of unique quality and then the structure of the distillation column complete the unique taste of the sugarcane liquor that serves as base for our Havana Club rum.”

There are other important data: “The aging is natural, there is no control of temperature, neither control of humidity, it’s the exchange between that liquor, the oxygen that penetrates through fibers of the barrel and the barrel itself.”

“The natural aging distinguishes the light Cuban rum, in the case of Havana Club, it’s identified completely by a natural aging, in barrels of white oak that have already aged whisky before, that is part of the tradition that has become a law, that is, it’s part of the regulations established by Cuba Ron which is the Cuban party to which we belong. The aging must natural, full, and continuous, those are the characteristics we try to preserve in order to give the client that rum of quality.

So patiently, and with a lot of care “it’s obtained a dynamic system of rum bases and with different formulas, in different proportions, the rum master is able to tell apart one product from another, creating a taste profile for all dark rums of Havana Club trademark, beginning with the Especial, the Especial Plus, the Ritual, the Reserva, after that come the age markers, as in the case of the 3-year and the 7-year aged rums…”

Of course also the exquisiteness of the rum master and the taste judges put some spice in the process: “The rum bases have a minimum age which is that of the rum being produced, but more difficult than having the correct bases is to attain the same taste profile in each edition of the product, rum masters also contribute to that, because it’s them who make the adjustments to the formula to find the exact taste profile.”


It’s not like we don’t want to make a toast with a Mojito…

The recipe of the drink includes peppermint, sugar, and lemon in short that any bartender anywhere could fix the drink, but it clarifies: Cuban rum. Then I understand why in the United States, regrettably, mojitos cannot be sold.

It’s even clearer in times of a fundamentalist administration in the White House and systematic return to badly conceived plans like the Helms Burton Law, created to separate two towns, even families, like seas haven’t been able to do it. The blockade forbids raising a toast, each one in their side, with the same drink:

“We are present in more than 120 countries around the world, we work approximately with 60% of the total demand of rum worldwide, because the 40% appears in the United States and we don't have access to the North American market”, says Yahíma. Her colleague Venus Carrillo, Communication and Public Relations Specialist of Havana Club International S.A. adds:

“On the data collected through visitors from the North American market we know the rum Havana Club has good acceptance therefore sales would be guaranteed. The masters themselves have publicly said that Havana Club rum has today the capacity to cover the North American market, for both the pleasure and the production, but we cannot sell due to the limitations of the blockade.”

The hindrances of the blockade to our Havana Club began earlier: “Aging barrels are made from white American oak, they are imported, the U.S. manufacture them, we don’t have direct access to the North American market, then we buy them from Ireland or Scotland, after they are used to age Jameson, Chibas, we buy them from these producers already used, to give a bit, but not so much, because if they were new it would be whisky what we obtain. Undoubtedly just the transportation would reduce the costs, although they are trademarks commercialized by Pernod Ricard, and the negotiation among partners lowers the price, the distance increases”, Yahíma explains.

Venus shares eloquent figures, those that opened eyes wide: “Despite that, we are in 120 countries, we are today the number one in Premium and Super Premium rums, is the world trademark, although Pernod Ricard, to which we belong, is second as for commercialization, we have a very good position regarding rums.”

According to the BBC report, the litigation has been long and expensive, those “condemned” assure that they have “the recipe”, the owners have demonstrated they have the origin, the raw material and also, the recipe (you have tasted it). I tell you we have the molasses as thick as our will and of course, when the blockade is lifted, not the embargo as the BBC timidly names it, we will have a toast with mojito.

By the way, we’ll do it in our homes, using the Havana Club rum born in sugar cane factories, our factories… if we defend the mojito with such strength, imagine how it will be with our homes and land, with the freedom and the principles…

Cuba: The President’s 500 Tweets

Since last October 10th the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, began in Twitter, his tweets have already reached more than 500. Number 500 was posted this Wednesday on March 20th, at 7:41 a.m.

The piece of news is not just simple math, but the consolidation, through that media of thousand of messages, of the new type of communication in the Cuban political environment that the Cuban president has started in the Island.

The President’s 500 tweet

Although the topics in the tweets have been dissimilar, all are characterized by the same super objective explicit on the hashtag #SomosCuba, #SomosContinuidad and #FidelCastro.

Hence, from the systematicity, the transparency and commitment, the presidential agenda is on the hand of all residents and anyone interested worldwide.

Next to the Cuban flag and the royal palm as symbols he intentionally repeats, the President has made of his micro blogging a unique engine that drives leaders and institutions to join this contemporary way of doing which are a way to stay in touch with the people they respond to.

With every tweet, Díaz-Canel ratifies his respect to the citizenship that voted for him, his commitment to democracy and to “man's full dignity” validated in the Constitution by which he voted among the first ones.

His exhortations and arguments in favor of the new Constitution put the #YoVotoSí in Twitter.

What does the President talks about?

The order here below does not sets priorities, the Cuban President has talked about his journeys through the country and the contact with the people, about meetings held at the Council of Ministers, about science, computerization, History, about the Cuban economy and associated to it the Blockade, the commerce, the innovation, the production and efficiency, as well as imports and exports.

His tweets have also touched health, education, culture, family, students, youth in general and the Cuban woman.

There have also been present topics like Havana and its 500 years, the disaster and recovery soon after passing of the tornado, the press, the laws, the new constitution and especially, about Fidel Castro as example and guide next to Raúl.

He has also approached in his topics the foreign affairs, particularly the United States actions regarding Cuba and Latin America. In this topic of foreign affairs, the message on January 23rd, at 6:52 p.m., on the support of Cuba to Venezuela, he received the largest amount of “Likes” among all tweets, as indicate index engines for that social network.

Indexes also revealed that January was in fact the month in which the President was more active in Twitter, with 99 messages.

The so-called online government, the electronic government, and specifically the contact with leaders at the bottom, those who work in municipalities and provinces, have been rules in the President’s mandate and have equally feedback in his Tweeter profile.

Another of the peculiarities that distinguishes his tweets, marked by their reach, passion, feeling and strength, it’s how many of them highlight the worth of Cubans, their self-esteem and feeling of belonging.

When the president congratulates one specific Cuban, either a famous personality or somebody little known, when he equally stimulates with one of his messages to a group of workers or an entire sector like that of lawyers or the written press, he is also motivating the will of improvement every day.

Praising in those people or groups features like dignity, decency, human solidarity, the selflessness, the working spirit and the commitment to Homeland, he is implicitly setting examples to follow, stressing the “Yes we can” of Raúl, ratifying that #VamosPorMás.(#WeWantMore)

US Seeks Excuses to Intensify Blockade against Cuba

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez has reiterated today that the US Government is seeking pretexts to increase confrontation and intensify the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on the island for almost six decades.

He who speaks about alleged deliberate acts against US diplomats in Cuba blatantly lies. There is not the slightest evidence or scientific explanation. The US is always manipulating for political purposes. The US is always finding out excuses to increase confrontation and intensify the blockade, the FM wrote on his Twitter account @BrunoRguezP.

Cuban Government ensured yesterday that there was no evidence of acoustic or other attacks against US diplomats.

No possible authors have been identified, nor any people with motivation, intention or means to execute this kind of actions, stressed Lieutenant Colonel Roberto Hernandez who attended yesterday a press conference at the Foreign Ministry.

The General Director of the US Office in the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, said again that the island guarantees the security of all people, including diplomats accredited here.

Fernandez de Cossio expressed that Cuba has not questioned the existence of sick staff. The truth is that based on the research done and existing evidence, nothing indicates that the disease they may suffer or the symptoms reported are the result of their stay on the island.

Meanwhile, Mitchell Valdes, director of the Neurosciences Center of Cuba, summarized the work done by the committee of Cuban experts and the Academy of Sciences of the island on the alleged health incidents reported by US diplomats.

Washington insists on using the term attacks for the alleged health problems experienced by its diplomats, a position that Havana frames in the interest of the current administration in the White House in reversing the steps taken toward improving relations by previous administration of Barack Obama.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban Churches Also Blockaded by the U.S.

The Cuban United Lutheran, Baptist and Evangelical churches have denounced in Havana the innumerable impacts caused in relations with other religious institutions by the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on the island.

In statements to Prensa Latina, Antonio Santana, President of the Cuban Council of Churches, pointed out that the blockade carried out by the White House administration affects the delivery of biblical material to Cuba from solidarity entities of other nations.

The reverend also indicated that within the U.S. territory a large number of devotees are pressing for the elimination of the blockade against Cuba, which has been in force for almost 60 years.

Santana stressed the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the United States, however, he regretted the decline in ties.

Havana and Washington re-established their diplomatic ties in July 2015, leading to high level visits and the signing of some 20 agreements, but Donald Trump's inauguration at the White House in January 2017 represented an escalation in hostility towards the island.

'We present our declaration against the blockade and its essentially pastoral mission emphasizes the comparison of life with death and the damages this U.S. policy causes to society in Cuba', Ismael Laborde, bishop of the United Evangelical Cuban Church, told Prensa Latina.

He added that relations with North American religious institutions are always carried out through third countries, making procedures and twinning with these difficult.

In this regard, Laborde emphasized the heavy visa processes faced by U.S. Lutheran pastors and the obstacles to sending books and materials essential to church activities.

The United Nations General Assembly approved on November 1, for the twenty-seventh consecutive time since 1992, a resolution demanded the end of the blockade against Cuba.

The text was supported by 189 of the 193 member states of the multilateral organization.

  • Published in Cuba

U.S. to Ban More Cuban Entities from Transactions

The U.S. government will expand the list announced almost a year ago of Cuban entities with which U.S. citizens are prohibited from making transactions, national security advisor John Bolton reported.

During a speech given in Miami, Florida, about the increased pressure from the Donald Trump administration on Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, the adviser announced more than twenty new institutions subjected to that measure.

The aforementioned list was released on November 8, 2017 as part of additional limitations imposed by Washington on travel and trade with the neighboring nation, and included about 180 entities allegedly linked to the island's defence sector and national security.

That relationship includes the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, five business groups, 83 hotels, two travel agencies, five marinas, 10 stores of different types, among other organizations of various kinds.

According to Bolton, the Presidential Memorandum of National Security on strengthening U.S. policy toward Cuba, signed by Trump in June 2017, is just the beginning of his efforts to put pressure on this country.

Although Cuba has expressed its willingness to engage in a bilateral dialogue on a basis of respect, without conditioning or impositions, the adviser said they will only approach a Cuban government that 'is ready to undertake necessary and tangible reforms.'

  • Published in Cuba

U.S. Companies will Participate in Trade Fair FIHAV Despite Blockade

United States companies will participate in the 36th International Havana Fair (Fihav 2018) -starting on October 29-, despite the strengthening of the blockade on Cuba by the present U.S. administration, according to organizers of the event.

Their presence will be similar to the previous edition, despite the difficult bilateral economic relations bwetween both nations, due to the strengthening of restrictions hindering those links, said Cuban minister of Foreign Trade and Investments, Rodrigo Malmierca.

In a press round, the also president of the Organizing Committee of the Fair, commented the recent creation of a USA-Cuban joint venture in the Special Development Zone of Mariel to produce therapeutic vaccines against cáncer, showing the interest of U.S. entrepreneurs in doing business with Cuba.

This also represents a recognition of the development achieved by genetic engineering and biotechnology of the island in that sphere, he said.

Malmierca stressed that despite mentioned difficulties, over 60 countries will be represented in Fihav 2018, in an area of 25 thousand square meters of Expocuba fair grounds, the largest in Cuba, located in the outskirts of the capital.

The visit of some 20 official delegations are expected, headed by high officials, in another demonstration that the world is with us and the blockade isolates the United States, he emphasized.

Venezuela, Russia, China, Brazil, Spain, Italy and other trade partners of Cuba, are represented and Spain is traditionally the most represented with five pavilions.

In the central pavilion, will be exhibited Cuban products and services of some 350 enterprises grouped in 120 exhibitors, indicated the president of the Trade Chamber of the Republic of Cuba, Orlando Hernandez.

The president of Business Group Palco and member of the organizing committee, Abraham Masiques, estimated that over 2500 foreign businesspeople will exhibit at the fair, without counting those coming portfolio in hand to contact Cuban companies and those of other countries.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban Mission at UN Warns over US Blockade's Damage on Culture

Despite the increasing interest in cultural exchange between Cuba and the United States, the blockade currently hinders any interaction in that and other spheres, warns Cuba''s mission to the UN.

Since the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, cultural policy has been a priority for the Cuban Government and this was demonstrated in the events held at the Kennedy Centre in Washington last May, according to a press release.

But from April 2017 to March 2018, the Cuban cultural sector has suffered the slap of the North American fence.

Last year, 497 musicians and professionals from the United States would participate in presentations and events in Cuba. Due to the tightening of the blockade, these artists could not participate in the agreed program, according to the statement.

Besides, in 2017 and at the beginning of 2018, 15 U.S. groups cancelled their visits to Cuba, including nearly 300 people.

On the other hand, the US blockade hampers the commercialization and promotion of music, visual and performing arts and literature: in most cases, Cuban groups traveling to the United States cannot receive income from their performances.

The record company Bis Music contacted several U.S. music distribution and publishing companies interested in Cuba. However, for fear of being sanctioned due to the blockade regulations, these companies did not complete the process.

Cuban groups such as Revolution, Rakatan and Havana Queen were also unable to sign direct contracts with U.S. businessmen.

In 2016 and 2017, the Havana International Book Fair (FILH) hosted the first and second meetings of Publishers, Distributors and Literary Agents from Cuba and the United States, where actions of rapprochement and cooperation began.

However, as a result of the new measures adopted by Washington, it was not possible to hold the third meeting during the 2018 FILH.

Moreover, due to the conditions imposed by the blockade, it is impossible for the Animation Studios of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Arts and Industry to obtain necessary software licenses.

Similarly, they cannot directly access one of the most important events in this area, the American Film Market.

  • Published in Culture
Subscribe to this RSS feed