Why is Cuba in a better position, compared with the “Special Period,” to face present challenges?

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez detailed on Wednesday in a special TV appearance the strengths of the island to overcome the ongoing economic adversities, derive from the aggressive policy of the United States, especially under Donald Trump’s administration, and refuted the idea we are experiencing another Special Period in times of peace.

To face such difficult conditions “we have an economic and social development strategy adopted in the last two Party Congresses,” a conceptualized economic and social model to which we aspire and defend. The foundations are laid to elaborate an economic and social development plan until 2030 and keep moving forward long term.

According to the Cuban President, we are in much better conditions since:

- We approved a new Constitution, which is being implemented already.

- The vast majority of the population support and trust the leaders of our Communist Party.

- Cuba produces 40% of its oil consumption, nonexistent in the Special Period in times of peace and guarantees that our power plants —fundamental core of our electricity generation— can work properly.

- The development attained by tourism, exceeding the 70 thousand rooms despite the blockade, which ensures significant income in convertible currencies.

-We have the export of services, an example of it is the health sector.

-Foreign investment has grown as a dynamic factor in our economy, especially in nickel, in oil, in mining, in tourism, at Mariel Special Development Zone, in the food and the tobacco industry.

-Despite the worsening of the blockade, the main investors in the island have remained.

-An economy which is more present in the international market, where the development tourism and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry are strengths.

-The country now has greater construction capabilities, in hydraulic networks, transportation, and communications. There are also the infrastructure and reserves we have in storage and import substitution.

-Cuba has diversified its economic, commercial and financial relations, with Venezuela, Russia, China, Vietnam, as well as with the European Union, with the entire area of ​​Latin America and the Caribbean, with countries in Africa...

-We have private businesses as complement to state activity, this sector has grown strong.

"Cuba is far from being isolated, we are indeed a country that the world sees with awe and respect," said Diaz-Canel.

CubaSí Translation Staff

Cuba launches anti-Trump signature drive in solidarity with Venezuela

According to Xinhua, signatures collected in Cuba this week will be added to millions of signatures already collected in Venezuela as part of the "No More Trump" campaign to raise awareness about the impact of Washington's sanctions on the economy of the South American country.

"Cubans will join signature drive demanding the end of the brutal aggression on Venezuela," Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said via Twitter.

Consuelo Baeza, a leader of the Workers Central Union of Cuba, said the measure also aims to signal that Havana's close ties to Caracas "will remain unchanged despite the attacks and threats" of the Donald Trump administration.

More than 10 million Venezuelans have signed a letter that will be delivered to the secretary-general of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, denouncing coercive U.S. tactics and claiming the right "to live in peace without foreign interference."

Sanctions barring Venezuela from carrying out trade and financial transactions have made it difficult to import basic foods and medicines.

The White House backs Venezuela's far-right opposition and its bid to oust Maduro from power.

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PM Skerrit calls for removal of blockade against Cuba

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is calling on the United States (US) government to remove the unjust blockade against Cuba.

He was speaking during a ceremony held at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Over 60 Cuban construction brigades were recognized at that ceremony.

They have been on island for the past 14 months to assist in the country’s recovery efforts post Hurricane Maria.

The United States currently imposes a commercial, economic, and financial embargo against Cuba. The United States first imposed an embargo on the sale of arms to Cuba on March 14, 1958, during the Fulgencio Batista regime.

“I will always stand in defense of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cuba,” Skerrit said. “Cuba has a right to self-determination and we will continue to call on the United States government to remove this unjust blockade against the Cuban people and the great people of the Cuban Revolution.”

He continued, “I will do so as a matter of principle and as it is said we can always negotiate words, but we must never negotiate principle.”

Skerrit said Dominica’s commitment to Cuba and its people, its independence and its sovereignty is unquestionable.

“This is why we have always opposed sanctions on countries, because sanctions only bring hardship to the ordinary men and women of countries,” he stated. “But not withstanding the sanctions on the Cuban people, see what they have done to humanity, see the contributions they have made to the world.”

Furthermore, he said the Cubans who have been assisting Dominica for the past 14 months have been exceptional ambassadors of the Cuban Revolution and the Cuban government.

“You have touched the lives of many ordinary citizens in Dominica, who, without you, would have had a difficulty in getting a roof back over their heads in quick time,” Skerrit said.

Meantime, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Chandler Hyacinth said the Cubans have made their mark.

“You have made your mark, 185 homes rebuilt,” she said.”The 14 rooms at the Dominica State College (DSC) that they re-covered and the primary schools that they reconstructed, in particular the Colihaut Primary School and now the Salisbury Primary School and you also did some work at the Dublanc Pre-School.”

She thanked the Cuban team immensely for their contribution to the country’s resilience building efforts.

“In particular, we admire and we give praises to you for the quality of work that you have delivered, the dedication and commitment that you have shown towards the efforts. We have learnt from your commitment and dedication to task,” Hyacinth stated.

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Venezuelans Continue Protests against US Blockade

Caracas, Sep 2 (Prensa Latina) Venezuela is continuing on Monday another day of protests in rejection of the coercive measures signed by US President Donald Trump against this South American nation.

Students, workers and the people in general will gather in the central Simón Bolívar Square to sign a petition against the Washington blockade.

On Sunday, Carmen Zerpa, councilwoman for Libertador municipality in Caracas, highlighted how important is to participate in the signature gathering against the executive order issued by the Trump administration.

'Let's understand how important is for us to call for these sanctions be lifted,' Zerpa told the press.

She expressed gratitude for the will of the Venezuelan people who have participated in this process led by the Bolivarian Government, collecting signatures house-to-house, in major squares and in other areas of the city.

'People were moved, because they understood that it is an outrage, it is of serious harm to the nation and that is why the people have been deployed,' she added.

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Cruise lines sued in the US under law of blockade on Cuba

Five new lawsuits were filed Tuesday in the United States against three cruise lines (Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise and MSC Cruises) under Title III of the controversial Helms-Burton Law against Cuba.

The Seatrade Cruise News website reported that two plaintiffs took that legal step in the southern state of Florida, after a federal judge yesterday rejected a motion requested by another cruise company, Carnival Corp., to dismiss a lawsuit against it, also under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act.

Helms-Burton, which was approved by the US Congress in 1996, codifies the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by Washington against Cuba almost 60 years ago.

Although it entered into force at that time, all administrations since then suspended the application of the aforementioned title, which allows US nationals to sue those who 'traffic' with 'North American properties' on the Caribbean island.

Through this section, that the executive of the Republican Donald Trump decided to activate this year, there is the possibility of promoting legal actions against individuals and entities, including from third countries, that invest in Cuban territory in nationalized properties after the triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1959.

One of the plaintiffs of this Tuesday is Javier García, who also filed in May the aforementioned claim against Carnival Corp. and now takes a similar step against Norwegian Cruise and Royal Caribbean, on the grounds that he owns the port of the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba.

In addition, lawsuits were filed against Norwegian Cruise, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises on behalf of Havana Docks Corporation, a company belonging to Michael Behn that claims to be the 'legitimate owner of certain commercial real estate' in the Port of Havana.

Like Garcia, Havana Docks Corporation also filed a claim against Carnival Corp. on May 2, the same day the Trump administration allowed the activation of Title III as part of its hostile policies against Cuba.

This last cruise line asked Judge James Lawrence King to dismiss García Bengochea's claim, arguing that he had sufficient permission from the Treasury Department to do business in Cuba, but in his ruling yesterday the magistrate said that he was not persuaded.

The decision of the US Government to allow the application of Title III occurred despite the fact that numerous voices inside and outside the United States condemned this resurgent action of the blockade, which is mainly aimed at depriving the Caribbean country of foreign investment.

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French Professor and Writer Warns of US Position against Cuba

The policy of hostility against Cuba by the US government is based on criteria that condemn it to failure, warned French academician and essay writer Salim Lamrani there Thursday.

In an interview with Prensa Latina, Lamrani, a French with experience on studies about Cuba and its society, history and relations with the northern neighbor explained that Washington's position appeals to the confrontation, even with its allies, in the attempt to destroy the Cuban Revolution.

According to the professor at the University of La Reunion, located in the French overseas department with the same name, in the case of the administration of President Donald Trump, the actions against the Caribbean country are framed in their erratic behavior.

In his opinion,the United States continues to demonstrate that 'it suffers from that inability to accept the reality of a free and independent Cuba.'

Since his arrival in the White House, in January 2017, Trump has opted for the resurgence of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed almost six decades ago, with the use of unilateral sanctions and the escalation in the extraterritorial component of the fence.

Particular aggressiveness represents the activation this year of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, section that seeks to prevent the access of Cuba to the necessary for its foreign investment development, within the objective of choking it to achieve the change of regime.

Regarding this, Lamrani said that Washington does not cease to ignore the fundamental principle of the right of peoples to self-determination, and 'the United States must accept that the destiny of Cuba, its system and its orientation are the exclusive powers of Cubans.'

For the academician, another aspect to consider in the analysis of the hostile behavior of the superpower towards the small island is the use of an unbelievable rhetoric to justify it.

'The reality is different: Washington does not accept that a small country decides to take to the letter an inalienable right of humanity, which is to decide its own destiny,' he said.

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British MP Karen Lee opposes the US blockade of Cuba

On 1 July 2019, Cubans in the UK wrote to MP Karen Lee, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cuba, to demand that the British government oppose the implementation of Title III of the United State’s legislation, the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, which enables US courts to enact legal claims against third parties dealing with Cuban entities. This jeopardises all British interests in Cuba, and affects Cubans in Britain. Below we publish Lee’s response.

Dear Mr Acosta,

Thank you for your letter of 1st July regarding the US Blockade on Cuba.

The UK has long opposed the US embargo on Cuba and Karen shares your concerns about the US Administrations intensification of the blockade by ending the suspension on the Title Ill of the Helms-Burton Act on May 2nd 2019.

I am also aware that every president, Democrat and Republican, has waived this part of the Act on a six-monthly basis since it was passed in 1996. I am extremely concerned that the implementation of Title Ill represents an act of economic warfare in an attempt to worsen relations between the two countries.

Prior to the implementation of Title Ill, I raised my concerns with the International Trade Department and Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I specifically referenced the negative effect the legislation will have on thousands of European Companies who trade with Cuba and the restrictions it places on Cuba's export market.

I was reassured by the responding minister, Alan Duncan MP, who asserted that the government views the embargo's extraterritorial effects as illegal and that UK and EU businesses should not abide by it. The UK government has raised its concerns via the UK's Washington Embassy and the US's London Embassy, as well as in coordination with the European Union. The UK Government has committed to continuing to call on the US to reapply the waiver of Title Ill in accordance with the 1998 EU-US Memorandum of Understanding.

As Chair of the APPG on Cuba, I will continue to vigilantly monitor developments and actions taken by the UK and US governments. I work closely with the Cuban Embassy in London and the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and rest assured that I will continue to oppose the implementation of Title Ill and lobby the government to ensure the UK maintains its obligations under international law.

Please let me know if you would like to discuss any of these issues further.

Kind regards,
Karen Lee MP

karen lee

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Cuban Economy Will Not Enter Recession Despite Blockade: Report

Despite the recent tightening of the U.S. economic blockade, Cuba’s economy is showing resilience and will not enter recession, instead will enjoy small growth over the coming year, according to forecasts published by ‘Economic Commission for Latin America and the Carribean’(CEPAL) one of the regions leading think tanks.

Cuba’s economy minister Alejandro Gil Fernandez responded via Twitter on Wednesday to the recent report by CEPAL, saying “Despite the worsening of the blockade, #CEPAL forecasts that the Cuban economy will not decline in 2019 and estimates a 0.5% growth, similar to that of the region. We remain focused on improving the quality of life of the people, which is truly the most important task”.

The CEPAL report predicts slow growth across the region, with South America likely to see just 0.2 percent growth, and 0.5 percent across Latin America.

The figures forecasting modest growth for Cuba come despite new economic sanctions announced by the Trump administration. In April the U.S. began enforcing Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, the legislation that formalized the blockade on Cuba.

Title III allows for Cubans in the U.S., whose companies were nationalized after the revolution, to file lawsuits against those who own or do business with those companies today.

So far the U.S. recognizes 5,000 such claims. The aim is to scare away those who seek to do trade with Cuba and therefore damage the island economically.

One U.S. official said that the law is “‘to encourage any person who is doing business in Cuba to reconsider whether they are trafficking in confiscated property.”

Title III, along with the blockade in general, has been repeatedly rejected at the U.N., with only Israel consistently voting with the U.S. on the issue.

Nevertheless, Cuban lawmakers were pleased that the economy is showing resilience despite U.S. attacks. Lawmaker Gil Fernandez addressed parliament, laying out the country’s economic strategy, which he believes is responsible for its stability in the face of adversity.

Fernandez said the main elements of the plan have been to “defend national production, diversify and increase exports, reduce imports, strengthen state companies, advance towards food sovereignty, promote local development; as well as pursuing a social housing policy and investing in science”

Fernandez ended his address stating that Cuba’s economic strategy means that “we can take advantage of our domestic potential and overcome, successfully, the siege to which we are subjected to by the United States, which will not succeed in forcing us down.”

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