Cuban First Vice President Visits State Markets in Havana

Cuban First Vice President Salvador Valdes on Sunday visited several state agricultural markets in this capital, which are essential to supply food to the population.

According to a message from the Presidency on Twitter, during the tour, Valdes spoke with local people and showed interest in the prices and quality of products. He insisted on making a better classification of goods before sale.

In statements to reporters, Valdes, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, pointed out that production levels are insufficient, and noted the need to further improve the quality of agricultural products, according to another tweet from the Presidency.

The vice president's tour is part of the current leadership style of the Cuban government.

On Saturday, Valdes visited workers' social clubs in Havana, where he met with people and showed interest in food, security and the state of facilities, because the people deserve the best, he added.

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Raúl and Díaz-Canel receive Vice President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, and Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, yesterday afternoon received the Vice President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, on an official visit to our country.

During the amicable meeting, the leaders discussed the deep bonds of brotherhood that unite the two peoples, parties, and governments, as well as their countries’ respective experiences in the construction of socialism. They likewise discussed the excellent state of bilateral relations and the implementation of agreements reached between Vietnam and Cuba, along with a number of topics on the international agenda.

The distinguished guest was accompanied by Nguyen Quoc Cuong, deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, and Nguyen Trung Thanh, ambassador to Cuba.

Also participating on the Cuban side were Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Political Bureau member and Foreign Minister; and ambassador in Vietnam, Lianys Torres Rivera.

As part of her agenda on the island, the distinguished visitor also met on July 8 with Salvador Valdés Mesa, first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, among other activities.

Additionally, along with authorities from Cuba’s Ministry of Agriculture, the Vietnamese Vice President toured areas of the Los Palacios agro-industrial combine, in the province of Pinar de Río, in particular those involved in the cooperation project her country sponsors to support the development of rice production here.

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Electoral Bill Presented in Parliament

Cuban lawmakers on Thursday learned some details of the draft Electoral Law that will be submitted to legislators in territorial meetings from June 21 to 26 in order to encourage debate.

The document proposes new aspects in relation to the current Law No.72 of October 29, 1992, Electoral Law, as of the Electoral Reform and the promulgation of the new Constitution of the Republic this year.

Upon presenting the text, Jose Luis Toledo, president of the Commission on Constitutional and Legal Affairs at the National People's Power Assembly (Parliament), said that the variation in the amount of the State Council members highlights among the new features.

The document will be made up of 21 members, including its leadership, which is a change taking into account that the Council of State is so far composed of 31, the official said.

According to Toledo, during the ceremony in which the National Assembly will be constituted, the President of the Republic takes possession of his post and acts according to what is provided by the parliament.

After the text is presented to legislators and regional authorities by videoconference from the National Capitol in the presence of the president of the Cuban Parliament, Esteban Lazo, the document recognizes two periodic elections: the municipal ones, to elect the delegates to the municipal assemblies of the People's Power, its President and Vice President; and the national ones.

The latter includes the election of legislators to the National Assembly of People's Power, its President, Vice President, Secretary, other members of the Council of State, and the President and Vice President of the Republic, keeping the same principles as those in force for its implementation.

The document also modifies the proportion established in the current law for the election of legislators. One legislator is elected for every 30,000 inhabitants of a municipality or fraction greater than 15,000, and in case the number of inhabitants in that municipality is 45,000 or less than that number, two legislators are always elected.

The new text -which is available since June 19 on the Parliament's website- is made up of 16 titles, 45 chapters, 32 sections, five special provisions, six transitory provisions, two final provisions and 290 articles in total.

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Six Years After the Death of Chávez, Venezuela Defends itself with Courage

The world is a unique witness of a Venezuela challenged by imperial aggressions and still goes ahead with dignity. We will keep carrying the flag of the free peoples that raise their voice against the imperial meddling, said President Nicolas Maduro in Tweeter this Monday.

"Despite the media campaigns against Venezuela, we face with courage and rebelliousness the mean violations of the United States. We have the solidarity of the peoples of the world", he wrote.

That is the case of countries like China, Cuba, Bolivia, Iran and Turkey, among others that keep supporting Maduro’s Government. In addition, the Russian Prime Minister, Dmitri Medvedev, denounced early this week the resume on behalf of the United States of an open politics to bring down Latin American governments that are a nuisance to them, like in the case of Venezuela.

"From Washington are heard statements admitting a military intervention and provocations take place on the borders", said the Prime Minister, when commenting events that have occurred in the South American country.

Trump has found the support of some countries to military intervene in Venezuela using the "Monroe Doctrine" from 1823: "America for North Americans", that is, to them the entire Western Hemisphere belongs to the United States like a “backyard”.

On the other hand, Maduro has tirelessly denounced the inquisitional process of the world far-right against the Bolivarian Revolution with the objective of seizing the South American country and its resources at any cost necessary.

We just have to revise history to realize the great cut Washington wins in this dirty game. Let’s remember the excellent business it represented for the Power Elite in the United State and especially large companies, World War II.

As Jacques R. Pauwels explained brilliantly in his time, thanks to the victory in World War II, "the United States industry recovered intact its investments in Germany and captured the Nazi scientists and their technology."

Yankee companies took advantage of the opportunity and in 1945 they began to recreate the world with the American way.

Today, the Imperial Elite, trapped in domestic contradictions, at the threshold of the next elections, needs a successful military adventure as well as an enemy that raises the horror and hatred of manageable people: the Satanized "socialism."

Six years after Hugo Chavez's disappearance the best homage that Venezuelan can offer is to keep on building Socialism and keep his legacy alive with the unconditional support to President Nicolas Maduro, the leader for which they voted in elections in May of last year.

The people recognizes that those who were behind the coup-d’état of 2002 against Chávez are the same who at present attempt against this revolutionary government. Just like then, in less than 48 hours, they went on out in the streets and put Chávez again in his office, today they will defend their rightful and constitutional President because Venezuela belongs to Venezuelans.

Chávez closed his eyes on March 5th, 2013 but he opened the eyes of millions in Latin America. Nobody thinks he’s gone forever...

Local Elections in Cuba a Success

There were two more hours to go before the polling stations closed.

Despite a complex election day for heavy rains in municipalities of the central and eastern regions, Balseiro said communication links and transportation worked well, and reports were sent on time.

Polling stations closed by 19:00 local time and vote counting began right after. Voters were invited to witness the process.

CEN noted that for this first round of elections for delegates to the municipal assemblies more than 24,300 polling stations were opened, and more than 8 million Cubans were summoned to the polls to elect 12,515 municipal councillors.

Of the 27,221 candidates in the ballots, women made up 35.40 percent, while young people, 19.49.

For December 3 the runoff vote is scheduled in those constituencies in which none of the candidates obtained more than 50 percent of the valid votes.

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Ecuador's Correa: 'Neoliberalism Has Failed, Not Socialism'

For President Correa, the success of socialism can be seen in the reduction of inequality and poverty in Ecuador.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa rejected the notion that the leftist and revolutionary governments in Latin America have failed and instead posited that the real failure in the region has been the neoliberal economic model.

Socialism vs. Neoliberalism: Ecuador’s Correa Debates Opposition      

“Inequality in a poor country means misery, generalized misery. We must seek out other forms of developing ourselves that are distinct from those fantasies of trickle-down theories,” said President Correa in an interview Sunday.

In the region, that has meant the pursuit of a development model known as “socialism of the 21st century,” which has been heavily disparaged in recent times due to the economic crisis in Venezuela.

For Correa the negative press regarding Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador—all led by governments that are proponents of socialism—is partly driven by the political agenda of private media outlets, which have been historically hostile to leftist regimes.

As an example, Correa mentioned that the “ideological and propagandist (media) apparatus” ignores that the country that has experienced the most economic growth in the region is Bolivia.

Like Bolivia, one of the tenets of the Ecuadorean model of socialism has been economic growth that is redistributive in nature.

“Growth is important … but not just any kind of growth, it must be quality growth, growth that favors the poor, growth with social justice, growth with equity,” said Correa.

For the president, the successes of socialism of the 21st century can be seen in the reduction of inequality and poverty experienced in the aforementioned countries.

Correa concedes that the region is experiencing economic turbulence, and in Ecuador he says the country is experiencing a “perfect storm” of external factors that are driving the negative economic indicators in the country.

Ecuador, unlike its neighbors, does not have its own currency, as such it cannot devalue its currency, which is traditionally the primary instrument used to boost exports and increase income. This combined with the economic slowdown of its trading partners, chiefly China and Russia, has led to a recent contraction of the economy.

Ecuador is also an oil-exporting country and the dramatic drop in the price of oil has greatly reduced the country's income. The country has also experienced a number of natural calamities, with the Cotopaxi volcano having shown signs of activity in 2015 and the 7.8 earthquake that struck the coastal provinces in April.

A recent report by the U.N.'s Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean confirmed that South America is set to experience economic contraction this year.

Correa argues that, despite the so-called perfect storm, his country has weathered the challenges well.

He points to the economic calamity experienced by the country in 1999, when the country was under conservative rule, where millions lost their savings after the banking crisis led to the collapse of major financial institutions.

Then, like now, the country was forced to endure a number of external economic factors, such as a drop in the price of oil, that crippled the country's finances.

Correa said that, unlike previous governments, the weight of the crisis has not fallen on the poor, with the state maintaining its social investments and programs.

“Let's compare the situation to 1999, where the external shocks were less than we've received in these last two years, they made the economy crash. They made the economy contract 6 to 8 percent, two million Ecuadoreans emigrated, unemployment (was) above 14 percent,” stated Correa.

The Ecuadorean president argued that the neoliberal economic model pursued by those conservative administrations are the real failures.

“Neoliberalism is what failed, not socialism of the 21st century, on the contrary, socialism of the 21st century is what has us firmly on our feet, withstanding all of these difficulties,” argued Correa.

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