Mexican Activists Call for US to End Blockade Against Cuba

The solidarity group denounced Trump’s move to reverse a diplomatic opening between the two countries.

The Mexican Solidarity Movement with Cuba demanded the United States lift the blockade against socialist government Saturday, marching to the U.S. embassy in Mexico City.

RELATED:
Morales Expresses Solidarity with Cuba Against Trump's Policies

MMSC denounced U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to reverse a diplomatic opening between the two countries. The group’s leader Jesus Escamilla stated that Mexicans reject the U.S. blockade and demand Trump lift it and move to normalize relations with the Caribbean island.

Members of the movement also pushed for the U.S. government to return Guantanamo Bay to Cuba, which has been occupied without the consent of the Cuban people since before the Cuban Revolution of 1959.

The U.S.’s attempts to tighten the economic, financial and commercial blockade against Cuba and its people is "a failed policy by more than a dozen U.S. administrations," Escamilla explained.

In a speech in Miami on June 16, Trump announced his cancellation of former president Barack Obama’s "completely one-sided deal with Cuba."

He added that U.S. sanctions would not be lifted until Cuba frees “political prisoners” and holds “free elections.”
Under the changes, Washington will tighten rules on individual U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba, who, if visiting the country for non-academic educational purposes, will again be required to only go with organized tour groups run by U.S. companies.

The new policy also bans most U.S. business deals with the military-runned Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group while still allowing airlines and cruise ships to continue services.

  • Published in Cuba

Gold Cup contenders banking on youth

The 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup is all set to begin, with 12 teams vying for regional glory in the United States over the next three weeks. 

The tournament looks set to uncover some new talent, with most sides opting to pack their squads with youngsters, while some of the region’s lesser lights have the opportunity to pick up valuable experience at the highest level. FIFA.com previews the tournament, which starts on Friday 7 July and ends on 26 July.

Group A: Canada, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Honduras
Group B: USA, Martinique, Nicaragua, Panama
Group C: Mexico, El Salvador, Jamaica, Curacao

The format
The top two from each section in the group phase will advance to the quarter-finals, along with the best two third-placed sides. The winners of the four last-eight ties will progress to the semis, with the tournament concluding on 26 July with the match for third place and the final.

Three things you need to know

1 Mexico will be pitching up in the USA with a much-changed squad to the one that appeared at the recent FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017, not that anyone should be mistaken about their intentions. Featuring the country’s most promising players, the Tri squad will not be short of pace and has the ability to trouble any defence. Led by Rodolfo Pizarro and Jesus Gallardo, the young Aztecas will be determined to acquit themselves well and take a big step forward in their careers.

2 Down on their luck lately, Costa Rica are anxious to return to prominence. Beaten quarter-finalists at the last three Gold Cups, Los Ticos are hungry for glory. Coach Oscar Ramirez has picked virtually a full-strength squad, though he will be without keeper Keylor Navas. Can they make up for the absence of the Real Madrid custodian?

3 Since taking charge of Nicaragua nearly three years ago, Costa Rican coach Henry Duarte has injected some belief into their cause. Narrowly beaten by Jamaica in the third round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, Los Pinoleros now have the perfect opportunity to continue their recent improvement, with their goal being to advance beyond the group phase for the very first time in their history.

Players to watch
Rodolfo Pizarro (MEX): A mainstay with Mexican champions Guadalajara, the 23-year-midfielder is in the form of his life and has his sights set on a dream move to Europe. An intelligent, pacy player with an eye for goal, Pizarro will be the cornerstone of this Tri side. His ability to dictate the play will be crucial in channelling the energy of his young team-mates.

Ismael Diaz (PAN): Though only 20, Diaz has picked up plenty of experience already, having represented his country on the FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cup stages. With seasoned campaigners Blas Perez and Luis Tejada both absent, Diaz will be one of the men Panama will be looking to for goals.

Romell Quioto (HON): Spearheading Honduras’ new breed, the 25-year-old attacking midfielder is sure to be one of their trump cards in Group A, having formed part of the side that finished fourth at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016.

Did you know?

  • Panama have conceded no more than one goal in 15 of their last 16 Gold Cup matches. The man charged with maintaining that record in the USA is Jose Calderon, who takes over goalkeeping duties from Jaime Penedo, a veteran of six Gold Cups but absent from this tournament.
  • Published in Sports

An 'Underworld' Discovered Beneath Mexico's Teotihuacan Ruins

The tunnel reinforces researchers' belief that the theme of life and death was constant throughout the Teotihuacan culture.

The National Institute of Anthropology announced its discovery of a tunnel beneath Mexico’s Teotihuacan Temple.

RELATED: ‘Mummified Humanoid’ Found in Peru Raises ‘Alien’ Claims

The INAH stated Tuesday that by using a computerized topographical instrument they discovered a tunnel 10 meters below the pyramid's front plaza.

The group of archaeologists who have been searching since last year for the ancient serpentine passageways deep beneath the pyramid, call it an “emulation of the underworld.”

"We are seeing that underneath the great monuments of the archaeological zone there are previous buildings. We have seen it under the pyramids of the Sun and the Feathered Serpent, why not under the Pyramid of the Moon?" lead archaeologist Veronica Ortega stated.

For years, researchers have found traces of burials and offerings within sacred spaces in the Pyramid of the Moon, which are absent from the other structures such as the Sun and the Feathered Serpent.

“Those of the Pyramid of the Moon have an enormous advantage for our study of symbolism and the function of the ritual spaces: for the first time in the history of Teotihuacan archeology complexes of burials and offerings are detected at the height of a construction of great proportions,” archaeologists Saburo Sugiyama and Leonardo Lopez Lujan wrote.

Anthropologists hope that the discovery of the tunnel may shed some light on the incredible builders who are responsible for some of Latin America’s archaeological treasures such as the pyramids of the Sun, the Moon, Quetzalcoatl, and the Feathered Serpent.

“They are, as always, unknowns, mysteries that archaeologists, detectives of space-time, are slowly revealing,” the pair of researches continued to say.

Up until now, life among the ancient Tenochtitlan tribe who occupied the land between 100 BC to AD 750 was shrouded in mystery. A community of over 100,000 people vanished without a trace, with researches left to speculate at the reasoning for the abandonment of their famous structures. Their customs, rulers, and beliefs all lost completely.

"Almost the entire population of the valley - some 70 kilometers north of present-day Mexico City - lived there in the big city. It was organized like a grid. Most of the population lived in houses well enough built to call them palaces," Hungarian archaeologist Ester Pasztory wrote in a book on the Teotihuacan people. Pasztory has dedicated years studying the subject.

The tunnels running beneath the other pyramids reinforce researchers’ belief that the theme of life and death was constant throughout the Teotihuacan culture.

“The fact that the tunnel was sealed by the Teotihuacans themselves would give them the opportunity to find new evidence of ritual organization, but also sociopolitical, so it will be necessary to make comparisons between this possible conduit and those that run under the Pyramid of the Sun and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, in search of a better understanding of the meaning of the city," Ortega explained.

  • Published in Culture

Tribute to Fidel Castro Concludes in Acapulco

The 1st International Seminar in Honor of Fidel Castro concluded here on Sunday after deepening and expanding the teachings of the philosophical thinking of the leader of the Cuban Revolution.

An exhibition of ten photos of the Cuban leader, taken by one of his sons, Alex Castro, was also held here, as well as an exhibition of books that opened on Friday, among other artistic and cultural events on Cuba.

During the closing session of the seminar, Mexican and Venezuelan representatives who admire Fidel and Hugo Chavez took the floor, as well as revolutionaries from Bolivia, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Vietnam, among other countries.

The paper 'Fidel and Proletarian Internationalism', presented by Evertz Cárcamo, a member of Nicaragua's Sandinista National Liberation Front, was one of the most highly acclaimed studies at the seminar.

Cárcamo lauded Fidel's loyalty for his people, Latin America, the world revolutionary movement, his friends, comrades and family, and assured that the Nicaraguan Revolution is the daughter of the Cuban Revolution.

Guatemalan Guerrilla Commander César Montes recalled that thanks to Fidel, Cuba's statistics are not like Guatemala's.

As an example, he said that more than 12 million people, perhaps 17 million, live in poverty in Guatemala, every 60 seconds a minor migrates to the United States through the Mexican border and there is 100 percent of impunity, among other evils eradicated by Fidel in Cuba.

The great friend of Fidel's and the main Mexican facilitator of the Granma expedition, Antonio del Conde, 'El Cuate', noted that he decided to accompany Fidel always due to his faith, security and confidence to overcome adversities, his discipline and his loyalty to his men.

Fidel is a man of all times who we must never forget, said Rafael Arestegui, one of the organizers of the seminar.

He lauded Venezuela's decision to leave the Organization of American States (OAS) and noted that Fidel was wise when he pointed out that the continental body was a big colonial ministry at the service of Yankee imperialism.

Mexico was always and is at present a country close to Fidel Castro and the great Cuban revolutionaries Jose Marti, Julio Antonio Mella, Raúl Castro and many other Cubans, Arestegui stressed.

In another moment of the program, the secretary of culture of the state of Guerrero, Mauricio Leiva, said that the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution is still alive in Guerrero.

  • Published in Cuba

Is Trump’s Wall Tilting?

The republican senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz (Texas) proposed last Tuesday a wild idea: that the Wall be financed with the money confiscated to Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán.

The Spanish state agency EFE reported that Trump won't be able to meet ideas announced for the beginning of this border plan.

Therefore, the approval of the transitory budget, theoretically before Saturday has now been extended until September.

“It’s good for the country that Trump withdraws the financing of the Wall from these negotiations", said the leader of the democratic minority of the Senate, Chuck Schumer.

"Now the negotiators of both parties may carry on in high-priority issues", he added.

The new link forced Sean Spicer, White House spokesman to clarify that they will continue that work.

Analysts remembered that, in his presidential campaign, Trump promised to build a 3,100-kilometer long wall in the Mexican border that “would put an end to illegal immigration.”

He even dared to say that the Mexican government would be paying for the expenses of the building.

However, last Tuesday, once again, high-ranking Mexican officials denied the validity of such unrelenting statement.

It was this time the Foreign Affairs Minister for Mexico, Luis Videgaray who denied such beliefs.

What did he say? At a meeting with legislators he assured that “we won't pay a cent” for Trump’s wall.

He went even further when he qualified this project as a hostile act against his country.

It’s not just a bad idea, but also an "unfriendly and hostile" act, against us, Videgaray remarked.

Lastly he sentenced: “it will hardly serve its ultimate purpose.”

Earlier, Trump had requested the Congress of Washington the granting of federal funds to begin the construction of the wall.

Observers alerted that on Monday he gave hints of preferring “to freeze” that intention until next September.

Meanwhile, chancellor Videgaray added another annoying question to the process.

He assured that his government “would consider” to reduce the security cooperation with the United States if the bilateral dialogue on immigration and trade doesn't go well.

He also noticed, without giving details that they are evaluating to charge North Americans entering their territory.

It’s a clear indicator how far Trump’s Wall rarifies important matters in the area when the Mexican government –far from being a left-wing government – dares to take such stance against the United States.

It’s even more significant, because this is a keystone of his yet uncertain administration.

Cuban beach volleyball pairs win tournament in Mexico

Cuban pairs of Karell Peña - Daisel Quesada and Leila Martínez - Lidianis Echeverría won La Paz Beach Volleyball Tournament in the Mexican state of Baja California.

Peña-Quesada, the unbeaten leader of Group C, with three wins, defeated Sunday in the final 2-1 Lombardo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen, Mexico B, with scores of 21-13, 17-21 and 15-8.

Meanwhile Martínez-Echeverría, undefeated in Group A, also with three wins, beat 2-1 (21-19, 19-21 and 15-13) Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson, from Canada.

According to the NORCECA website, Peña and Quesada won 2-0 in the semi-finals over Jon Mesko and Skymar del Sol (21-13 and 21-11), if the United States A team, while Martinez and Echeverria beat Betsi 2-0 Flint and Kelly Larsen (21-17 and 21-17), also from United States A.

The bronze medal for the men went to Jose Rubio and Josue Gaxiola of Mexico A, defeating Mesko and Del Sol 2-1 (21-18, 17-21 and 15-8).

The winning duos (m and f) garnered 200 points for the NORCECA ranking, while the second, third and fourth places received 160, 120 and 100, respectively.

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  • Published in Sports

Venezuela's Maduro to Mexico: We're Not Your Enemy. The US Is

"I extend my hand so that together we can fight for solidarity and support for all Mexican migrants in the United States," Maduro said.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday night called on his Mexican counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto to stop supporting aggressive measures against the South American country.

RELATED: Venezuelans Respond to OAS with Massive March

Commenting on attempts by the Organization of American States, OAS, to revoke Venezuela's membership, Maduro said Nieto's administration should instead fight the policies of the U.S. government.

"I extend my hand, President (Enrique) Peña Nieto, so that together we can fight for solidarity and support for all Mexican migrants in the United States," Maduro said at a televised meeting,

"We should denounce the wall that Washington wants to build on the border of both countries."

On Tuesday, the OAS organized a meeting aimed at suspending Venezuela from the regional organization for alleged "human rights abuses."

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During the meeting, Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray Caso expressed "concern" about Venezuela's political and economic situation. Videgaray, siding with the Canada and the U.S., sponsored calls for regime change against Maduro's democratically-elected government.

The countries sponsoring the efforts to expel Venezuela also include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.

Videgaray had urged his regional counterparts "to not remain indifferent," adding that the bloc wants to "restore democratic normalcy," as reported by Expansion, a CNN partner.

ANALYSIS: Chavez' Legacy in Venezuela: Transforming Millions of Lives

When Mexico announced plans last week to support regime change in Venezuela, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez described Videgaray's actions as "servile" to U.S. imperialism.

"Chancellor Caso builds walls with Latin America instead of defending and serving the sovereign interests and rights of its people," Rodriguez posted on Twitter Thursday.

"He attacked Venezuela to ingratiate himself with his imperial owners. He believes that the Mexican people will forget their betrayal."

A third of the 35 OAS member countries would need to vote on applying the charter to trigger Venezuela's suspension. The vote, however, has not yet taken place.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio threatened dissenting countries that if they did not vote in favor of expelling Venezuela by invoking the Democratic Charter, it would be difficult to defend the continuation of U.S. aid to their people.

  • Published in World

Mexican Police Caught Handing Over Youth to Armed Group

The video showed a group of police officers in a busy street hand over the handcuffed youths to a group of armed men. 

Policeman in Culiacan, the capital of Mexico’s notorious Sinaloa state, were filmed arresting eight young men before handing them over to what was believed to be an organized crime group, in an incident that echoes the circumstances that led to the disappearances of 43 students at Ayotzinapa teachers' college which sparked outcry more than two years ago. 

RELATED: Cuban Migrants File Abuse Complaint Against Mexican Officials

The video shot by neighbors on Wednesday night shows how the group of youths, bound with handcuffs, were arrested by agents on a busy street outside a restaurant. As the lights of the police car flashed, the youths were then put into the vehicles of the armed men, who were presumed to be part of one of the state's notorious criminal organizations. A number of people were seen walking around the area with large weapons.

Head of public security in Sinaloa, Victor Hugo Sanchez Mendieta, confirmed to media that police filmed in the video were municipal agents, who had actually admitted to handing over the arrested youth because they were threatened by the criminal group. 

Sanchez Mendieta said that the police involved in the incident had already been arrested and that an investigation would be initiated. It was thought that the incident could have been part of a “clone” operation where police members wear plain clothes and pose as members of organized crime groups.

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Sanchez Mendieta also encouraged citizens to denounce similar dishonest behavior by police. The identity and the current location of the youths that were handed over by the police remains unknown.

RELATED: Mexico 'Paramilitary Police' Accused of Torture, Killings: UN

Collusion between police and criminal organizations in Mexico is not rare. The incident in Culiacan bears a concerning resemblance to the infamous Ayotzinapa disappearances from 2014, which still remain unsolved. 

In the state of Guerrero, police from the town of Iguala pulled over 43 students from Ayotzinapa teachers' college on their way to attend a protest in Mexico City. 

Several independent investigations have uncovered evidence which not only challenges the official government claim that the students were murdered by a local drug gang, but also points to high levels of state involvement in the disappearances, including accusations that police handed the students over to criminals.

  • Published in World
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