Brigade defies U.S. travel ban on Cuba

Twenty-two courageous U.S. citizens, members of the 45th Venceremos Brigade, crossed the Peace Bridge from Erie, Ontario, Canada, into Buffalo, N.Y., on Aug. 3, proudly declaring that they had defied their own government’s ban on travel to Cuba. Along with groups of supporters, they held demonstrations on both sides of the border, confronted U.S. customs ­officials and asserted the importance of challenging the decades-old U.S. blockade of Cuba.

The Venceremos Brigade is a U.S.-based anti-imperialist educational work project that organizes travel to Cuba annually, breaking the travel ban to stand in solidarity with Cuba and allowing thousands of U.S. citizens the opportunity to see Cuba for themselves.

The Brigade was welcomed to Cuba this year by Fernando González, who, along with Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and René González, was arrested in 1998 in the U.S. All five were given harsh and unfair sentences for monitoring Miami-based terrorist groups operating against Cuba. They are known as the Cuban Five. René González and Fernando González are back in Cuba after serving their full prison sentences, and both of them are fighting for the return of their other three comrades to their families in Cuba.

As the brigadistas marched back into the U.S. with fists and voices raised, they chanted over and over, “It’s time to end the damn travel ban!” The solidarity rally that greeted them picked up the chant, holding banners that demanded, “End the blockade against Cuba!” and “Free the Cuban 5!”

  • Published in Cuba

US legislators criticise subversive USAID plan against Cuba

US legislators and health activists have criticized the recently exposed US plans to use an HIV-AIDS campaign in Cuba to carry out political activism, saying that such covert operations put US health programs at risk in all parts of the world.

The program, which was financed and supervised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), included sending a dozen Latin American youngsters to Cuba to recruit leaders and encourage a rebellion on the island.

Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, who heads a commission that supervises USAID’s budget, said on Monday that the situation would be worse than irresponsible if the agency planned to design an HIV campaign with political aims.

Meanwhile, members of InterAction, an alliance for international assistance, said that the use of a group of people to do espionage under the umbrella of an HIV action is unacceptable and that the US administration should never put at risk health or civic programs for the sake of doing espionage against any targets.

According to documents prepared for the USAID-sponsored program, cited by the Associated Press (AP) news agency, the HIV workshop was the perfect excuse to carry out political activity.

Leahy said that perhaps the USAID contractor found benefits with the idea, but it translated into a black stain on the long background of the agency as a leader in global health issues.

Meanwhile, AP gave more details on Tuesday about the disclosure of the subversive plan led by USAID.

Over the past two years, USAID sent to Cuba a dozen inexperienced youths from Venezuela, Costa Rica and Peru, reportedly to strengthen political opposition against the Cuban government. The Peruvian citizens, hired by USAID to boost political actions at universities, were led by two university students from Lima, one of them being the current advisor to the Peruvian minister of education.

Felipe Valencia Dongo and Jose Galves were well aware of the covert and illegal mission, which was cancelled following several security problems and because they were not able to achieve their goal, according to documents obtained by AP.

For USAID danger was evident, and also for the Latin American youths because one of the subcontractors on the payroll of USAID was Alan Gross, who had just been arrested in Cuba by the time the plan was launched. Gross is serving a 15-year prison term on the island.

For its subversive program USAID hired the Washington-based services of Creative Associates International, which was also the cornerstone to create a Twitter-like anti-Cuba social media platform called ZunZuneo, the existence of which was also exposed by AP in April. This plan aimed to send SMS messages to hundreds of thousands of Cubans to encourage political dissent.

Creative Associates member Irving Perez told Galves and Valencia Dongo during a conversation on Skype on September 3, 2010, that total discretion was crucial for the mission, which had been launched a year before. Valencia Dongo, who is now an official with the Peruvian education ministry, also passed the message to Pérez.

The collapse of the two-year operation led by the two men is extensively detailed in a report made by Perez for USAID on March 15, 2011, according to AP. Valencia Dongo’s mother, Bernarda Quintanilla, was the legal representative of Strendia, a company that her son and Galvez set up to receive funds from USAID.

  • Published in Cuba

An Impregnable Shield against Subversion Statement by the Cuban Youth

We don’t blame those young people recruited. They are also victims in a world that the empire has made ever more unfair and selfish.We don’t blame those young people recruited. They are also victims in a world that the empire has made ever more unfair and selfish.

Recent revelations in the press have been giving details of the subversive actions that the U.S. Government arranged and paid for as part of their flagrant campaign to overthrow the Cuban Revolution, which has been undefeated for more than 56 years in spite of constant aggressions and plans which have always been condemned to fail.
Now, under the belief that Cuban youth could be handing over the inherited achievements without fighting, they secretly sent Latin-American young people who under the justification of carrying out health and civic programs came to Cuba to provoke political destabilization with the financial support of the USAID, which was specially aimed to promote actions by the young people against the revolutionary process.

They do not know the Cuban youth at all. We are a generation that acts with intelligence and analyses the reality of the world where we live, that in spite of the lack of resources and limitations, has been growing up sheltered by the Cuban State that is been doing everything possible to protect us, educate us, and inculcate the most honorable ideas and values to us, those young people who money could never buy.     

We don’t blame those young people recruited. They are also victims in a world that the empire has made ever more unfair and selfish. For sure that when they were walking along Cuban streets and universities and they were witnesses of the collective effort carries out by the Cuban youth to go ahead and overcome adversities without stopping being supportive and happy, they understood that they were mere mercenaries in a dirty war, whose only merit was to fill the pockets of those who became rich squandering the money that the richest country in the world should invest in many people in the world to reach the health and education rates that Cuba; a small country suffering a permanent blockade and forced to live in a tough and unequal war, has.

Cuban Youth rejects and condemns these maneuvers and raises, as an impregnable shield the strength of those who throughout history have been able to understand the need to be consistent, and thanks to whom we are here today.

They couldn’t defeat us. We know well the price of freedom, and we know perfectly well the evilness and hate of our enemies.

  • Published in Cuba

Schedule announced, stage set for 15U Baseball World Cup 'Super Round Robin'

The opening round of the 2014 15U Baseball World Cup has concluded, with six of the eighteen participating National Teams advancing to the 'Super Round Robin', which starts tomorrow (6 August) at Teodoro Mariscal Stadium in Mazatlán.

The most elite selection of 15-year-old baseball players in the world have been competing for their countries in the II 15U Baseball World Cup -- the highest level of competition in baseball for this age group -- which began on 31-July across Sinaloa, Mexico in the cities of Culiacan, Los Mochis and Mazatlán.

After an Opening Round-Robin that consisted of forty-give games in five days, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, United States and Venezuela have emerged from group-play as the six nations that will compete for a place in the gold medal final on Sunday, 10 August. (See Final Opening Round-Robin Group Standings.)

Chinese Taipei won Group A, registering a record of 5-0 versus Brazil, Czech Republic, Italy, Guatemala and host Mexico. Mexico (4-1) defeated Brazil (3-2) in a key heads-up battle on the final day (4 August) of the Round Robin to join Chinese Taipei as the two nations moving out of Group A to the Super Round Robin semifinal.

The United States (5-0) defeated Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Panama and South Africa to win Group B with a perfect record of (5-0). World No. 13 Panama (4-1) triumphed over No. 2 Japan (3-2) on the final day of the round-robin to earn a place in the Super Round Robin.  

Cuba defeated the defending 15U World Champion, Venezuela -- in addition to Argentina, Australia, Hong Kong, Lithuania -- to finish atop Group C. Venezuela (4-1) rebounded, defeating Australia (3-2) in a decisive match-up to earn Group B's final ticket to the Super Round Robin.


World No. 1 USA versus World No. 3 Cuba will highlight Day 1 of the 'Super Round Robin' (6 August); No. 4 Chinese Taipei will play No. 13 Panama, while No. 10 Venezuela takes on No. 12 Mexico.

Opening round head-to-head contests (i.e., CUB vs. VEN -- MEX vs. TPE -- and PAN vs USA) will carry over and not be repeated, meaning CUB, USA and TPE will start the Super Round Robin with a record of 1-0. MEX, PAN and VEN will start the Super Round Robin with a 0-1 win-loss record and have to play perfect baseball to make it to the gold medal final.

The top two finishers in the 'Super Group', after four days of competition will play for the gold medal on Sunday at 18:00.

A bronze medal match will also be played at 10:00 on Sunday.

Over the next four days in Culiacan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Italy and Japan will compete against each other to determine 7-12th place classification.

Czech Republic, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Lithuania, New Zealand and South Africa will be grouped in Los Mochis to compete for 13-18th place.

  • Published in Sports

US: Cornel West Calls Obama a War Criminal

Cornel West, civil rights activist and member of the Democratic Socialists of America, denounced President Obama this week as a war criminal at a demonstration in support of Palestine in Washington, D.C.

  • Published in World
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