Gente de Zona, the Blockade and the Hysterical Babbling of Miami

The Cuban reggaeton duo Gente de Zona has become the last victim of neo-fascist intolerance which, for decades, has set the pace of cultural terrorism policy in Miami.


A week ago, the mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, asked that Cuban musicians be excluded from the list of participants of the traditional New Year's Eve concert organized by the reggaeton singer Pitbull in Miami.

According to Suarez, he assured to El Nuevo Herald, that he had asked organizers to "analyze the participation of these artists and the history of Gente de Zona with the Cuban regime (...)".


In reality, the reasons given by the mayor on duty to ban the artists are nothing more than false excuses to follow the policy of blockade against Cuba exacerbated by the current Trump administration.

In a memo signed by the president and sent to the State Department early in November, it was announced that “the United States will not provide non-humanitarian or trade-related assistance, nor will it allow officials or employees of the governments of Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Syria and Russia participate in educational and cultural exchange programs for fiscal year 2020”.


It’s striking how during the so-called thaw of relations between Cuba and the United States in the Obama era, cultural terrorists in Miami haven’t realized the "history of Gente de Zona with the Cuban regime." In those years, even the now censored duo was given the keys to the city of Miami.


Trump's new policy regarding the so-called "cultural exchange", however, can no longer agree with the intolerant spirit of the anti-Cuban mafia regarding Cuban artists. Miami, the city of hatred, has stood out "culturally" "for the burning of paintings, bomb threat to concerts, crushing of CDs and acts of rejection against anyone who doesn’t give up their roots and homeland.

 

Besides the duo Gente de Zona, the campaign against Cuban artists unleashed on social networks by the followers Pérez Ruora and Ninoska Pérez, now disguised as clowns on YouTube, have made the target of their injudicious defamation other artists like Micha and Haila María Mompié. The first one was excluded last November from a Thanksgiving concert and the second, for the same mental retardation of the Miami mayor, was declared non-grata person.


The dirty machine activated against Cuban artists by the new Mafia spokesmen, rather than against the artists is aimed against the entire Cuban people. It’s the media justification of another of variant of the blockade.

It’s no secret to anyone that, like El Nuevo Herald said, when announced Trump's anti-cultural memo: "The cultural exchange between Cuba and the U.S. has been the target of harsh criticism by sectors of the Cuban exile that consider this to be a way of currency income to the island government. " Everything else is just hysterical babbling.

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Cuba: Humans with Rights

The smile of children, the joy of the young, the peacefulness of the elders, the participation in the economic and social life of the country of women and men, are a mirror of the citizen peace of a nation that builds its future every day.


Human rights in Cuba - broadly reflected in the new and modern Constitution of the Republic - are a tangible reality, criticized, and harassed by the enemies of the Revolution, who attempt to minimize the achievements of a process that placed human beings at the center of its public policies.


Those who dare to deny it don’t know the true essence of this social project which, since its beginnings, took into account and move forward along blue collars, workers, farmers, and students.


Health for Everyone


Cuba shows health indicators parallel to those of developed countries, displaying encouraging results in this sector. Among them could be mentioned the full coverage of healthcare, through the Family Doctor and Nurse Program; a life expectancy of 78.45 years (80.45 for women), and a population aging of 20.3%, as a result of the work carried out during all these years.


Without forgetting the huge healthcare infrastructure created by the Revolution throughout the island (150 hospitals, 449 polyclinics, 111 stomatological clinics and 12 institutes). It must be highlighted the progress made regarding the training of human resources: 57.4% of health workers are professionals, and there are 8.5 doctors per thousand inhabitants.


Even when the enemies of the Revolution insist on discrediting them, Cuban doctors have the love and admiration of millions of people worldwide. In the picture, a group of them on their return home, after Cuba decided not to continue participating in the More Doctors program in Brazil. We don’t offer what we have to spare, but we share what we have.

At first glance, statistics are overwhelming. However, there are rights - perhaps not fully valued – like for example, that in this small country the children of farmers can be trained as doctors; Hospital care is equally for everyone, regardless of each person's economic situation, and surgical interventions - difficult as they may be – they are performed for free.


On the other hand, the State invests substantial resources for the development and acquisition of technologies for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, in order to find drugs against cancer and other diseases that endanger people's lives.


Another fact is that of 761 products included in the basic table of medicines, 273 are imported, and 488 are produced by the national industry. The blockade against Cuba imposed by the United States for almost 60 years heavily impacts the production of such drugs.


Education without exclusion


Our education is also an achievement and a paradigm for many regions of the planet. Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, historical leader of the Revolution, envisioned since the beginning that without literacy for the people it would be impossible to carry out the plans that would guarantee the development of the country.


Following this premise, the Literacy Campaign was developed in 1961, and in the 1970’s, the follow-up plans were introduced, with the famous struggles (at that time) to reach sixth and ninth grades.

Since then, Cuba has become a great school, giving high priority to this area. Each September, more than 10,000 educational institutions of general education open their doors to receive more than a million schoolchildren, since early childhood to college as well as technical and professional schools. They have guaranteed the minimal key resources to begin their studies.


A teacher for one, two, three students. They are called multigrade teachers, because they teach several grades lessons. The one in the photo, for example, lives in a remote place from Artemisa, between mountains, by a river, where he has his little school so that no Cuban child is left without learning to read and write. Are we talking about human rights? Here’s a good example!


Besides the successes attained abroad, based on solidarity and educational literacy agreements, the country has been developing for some years now the Third Improvement Process, in order to keep and raise quality, objective of highest priority for this field.


Likewise, at the beginning of each academic year, universities (50), all public, welcome thousands of students, just on the basis of their intellectual skills. This may seem like a dream for many countries in the region.


On top of that, on the path to universalize education, 122 Municipal University Centers are currently operating, which means that in every last corner of the national territory there are Higher Education centers, where professionals are trained, according to the characteristics and needs of each place.


A relevant fact is that today 50% of scientists in Cuba are women, and they are the 67% of their qualified technical force.

 

Devotion to full dignity


Many other aspects related to human rights in our country must be mentioned. The list would be endless because the Revolution was made to build a dignify man, woman, and achieve - as our Golden Law reads – Jose Marti´s deep desire, finally attained: “I want the First law of our Republic to be the cult of the Cubans to the full dignity of man.”


This December 10th - when commemorating Human Rights Day - I preferred to arrange the words differently to approach it to our context, hence highlighting that in Cuba we have humans rights, the first of them, to life, to education, to health, to work. The essence was bequeathed by Fidel for posterity in his concept of Revolution: "It’s to be treated and treat others as human beings."

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The Need to Keep the Tax on the U.S. Dollar

While Cubans rush in crowds to the stores opened in the capital to acquire various items, using magnetic cards backed by bank accounts in USD, among other currencies, the question or doubt remains on why the Cuban government keeps the decision to tax the US dollar a 10%.

To those doubts or questions Granma newspaper answered with a wide explanation in its front page.



It was necessary to apply this measure in response to the bans of operating with such currencies in foreign banks, measures that are intensifying today and cause significant damage and create serious risks for the normal exercise of international financial affairs.



Cuba's determination to face the pressures and blackmails of the US while defending its economic and social model, guarantee the path of development and well-being for the entire population.



The United States has declared a unique war on Cuba, -without light, medium or heavy caliber weapons - other kinds of weapons, but just as lethal, after all, in trying to suffocate and starve a country, through limitations of all kinds to have a country give in its sovereignty and independence.

It must be said aloud over and over again: the blockade is an act of war, and the defense to resist it, a legitimate right.



On that principle is based the sovereign decision through which, in 2004, the Cuban Government established a 10% tax on US dollars in cash that entered the national banking system, in response to the banning of operating with such currencies in foreign banks.



To explain the degree of validity of the measure taken in 2004 and the reason why this mechanism still protects commercial operations from additional risks, a synthesis of the questions and answers provided by the Central Bank of Cuba is offered here.



Which causes triggered the government measure to establish the tax on US dollars (usd) in cash?



The Government of the United States increased the pressures and threats to foreign banks to prevent Cuba from depositing USD abroad in cash. This money was acquired through the payments made by the population and foreign visitors paid in the establishments which, at that time, operated in foreign currency.



The Deposits of North American dollars in foreign banks are essential to meet any country's commercial obligations, because the imports of products are not paid in cash, but through bank operations.



When dollars are received in bills, in order to be used in international transactions, Cuba must send them abroad and have banks that want to receive them, which implies high risks and additional costs.



In response to such actions, in 2004 the Cuban Central Bank issued Resolution No. 80 of October 23, with the fundamental objective of discouraging the entry of USD in cash to the Cuban banking and financial system.



When taxing the bills that would enter the country, two objectives would be met: to compensate for the costs and risks associated with their physical transfer abroad after the escalation of the blockade, and to motivate economically those who wish to enter money into the country, to do it using banks or through the use of other currencies (foreign currencies).



Why are only US dollars taxed in cash?



To discourage the entry of cash only from this specific currency.



Are bank transfers in USD received from abroad subject to taxes?

They are not subject to tax because bank transfers are not associated with the aforementioned costs and risks for the physical manipulation of USD in cash.



Are international card transactions taxed?


The operations associated with magnetic cards are not taxed with 10%. In Cuba, Visa or MasterCard cards not issued by US banks are accepted.

Why is it necessary to keep the validity of the tax to USD in cash?

In recent years, the U.S. Government has intensified its economic war against the people of Cuba, dictating new measures that cause significant damage and create serious risks for the normal exercise of international financial activity.



Therefore, the tendency to refuse operations with Cuban banks is increasingly growing by foreign banking and financial institutions.

The Cuban Central Bank reiterates that the tax established for operations in US dollars in cash has been and continues to be a subject of evaluation and permanent attention of the banking system and authorities from the Cuban Government.

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The World against the Blockade and Defeat of the New U.S. Acolytes


As it has been happening since 1992, Cuba achieved again a blasting victory at the UN during the presentation of the draft Resolution to End the U.S. Blockade against Cuba before the General Assembly of that organization. A total of 187 countries voted to end the genocide that, for almost sixty years, the United States has perpetrated against the Island.

The novelty this time, however, was that to the votes of the United States and Israel it was added that of Brazil, while Ukraine and Colombia chose to abstain.


To justify Brazil’s position, which for 27 years invariably voted in favor of Cuba, the current president of that country, Jair Bolsonaro, said yesterday:

“It’s the first time that Brazil accompanies the United States in the matter of the embargo on Cuba. (...) We are in favor of the embargo against Cuba; After all, isn't there a dictatorship?


Likewise, the current Foreign Minister of that country, Ernesto Araújo, defended the change in the historical position of the Brazilian diplomacy as a "defense of the truth."


Servile submission to the current U.S. administration aside, the truth is that the current Brazilian president, more than once has expressed his desire to reinstate a military dictatorship similar to the one that ruled that country after the coup d'état to João Goulart , in 1964.


Bolsonaro has more than once praised as national heroes the military who, in the dictatorial period from 1964 to 1985, were responsible for governing the country. The very ones who put into practice repressive methods such as kidnappings, private prisons, torture, murder and concealment of corpses.


According to the Human Rights Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic, during Lula da Silva’s time in office, 475 people died or disappeared for political reasons in those years, a figure that may be bigger, if the territorial extension of Brazil is taken into account, the absence of statistical studies, the high number of requests for compensation, the non-inclusion of some people in the missing persons list, or the refusal to include those whose relatives did not report.

Likewise, at the vote yesterday at the UN it was striking how Ukraine as a North American satellite joined in. As it’s known, that country now plays a leading role in the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump. According to witness statements, Trump conditioned, through blackmail, the delivery of U.S. aid in exchange for Ukraine to publicly investigating Joe Biden, Trump's political adversary, Biden's son and other Democrats.


We’d need to see this time, in exchange for what the United States obtained the abstention of that ex-Soviet republic.


Equally significant was the debut of Colombia, a nation that, if the United States really were interested in defending human rights somewhere in the world, would have long since blocked.

According to a report prepared by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the UN High Commissioner released yesterday, in the matter of killings of human rights activists in Latin America, Colombia is the country that accumulates the most crimes, with a total of 63 cases.


These figures, says the same source, are lower if compared to those handled by other institutions within that country.


The UN Office for Human Rights not only keeps record of these crimes, but also advances the "verification process" of another 43 murders "where it’s presumed that the victim was a human rights defender. The cases occurred in 19 of the 32 departments of Colombia and correspond to the period between May 1st and September 30th” says ANSA.

Anyway, as the vote in favor of Cuba demonstrated, the lies defended by the United States UN ambassador, Kelly Craft cannot fool anyone. The overwhelming Cuban victory, receiving the support of the large majority of countries in the world, was inversely proportional to the defeat of the United States and the new acolytes of the current world fascist dictatorship.

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Cuba rejects US lies in imposition of the blockade to the island

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez rejected the lies used by the United States in imposing the blockade against his country today, and denied that this policy is intended to benefit the people of the island.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly debate on the resolution presented annually by the Caribbean nation to condemn that siege, he said that year after year the US delegation in that forum expresses, with high doses of cynicism, that its Government supports the Cuban people

Can anyone believe such a statement ?, the Foreign Minister questioned, and accused the US administration of lying and falsifying the data 'on alleged licenses for operations of sales of medicines and food to Cuba, which hardly ever come to fruition'.

The delegation of the United States should explain in this Assembly the conditions that it imposes on Cuban purchases: there is no access to credits, neither official nor private, it must be paid in cash when the merchandise arrives at the port, the banks that handle our transactions, you cannot use Cuban vessels, he detailed.

Who trades in the world under these conditions ?, added the head of Cuban diplomacy, who said that the successful and effective Cuban social model ensures its citizens equal opportunities, equity and social justice, despite hostility and coercion .

In his speech at the multilateral agency, Rodríguez mentioned specific cases of people who in the greater part of the Antilles are directly hit by the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by Washington almost 60 years ago.

As a consequence of that policy, Bryan Gómez Santisteban, 16; and Leydis Posada Cañizares, 19, does not have stents (internal prostheses) that are extensible, but fixed, so they have to undergo frequent surgeries to replace them, the chancellor said.

Rodríguez pointed out that the impossibility of accessing these extensible prostheses is due to the fact that they are produced by the American company Stryker.

Likewise, the encirclement makes it impossible to access novel medicines for the treatment of cancer, added the owner, who mentioned the case of Mayra Lazus Roque, 57, a renal cancer patient, who could not be treated with the optimal drug, the Sunitinib, only produced by the American company Pfizer.

The blockade causes incalculable humanitarian damage, constitutes a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of human rights, said the Cuban minister.

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US ignores the international community's rejection of blockade against Cuba

The United States again ignored the calls of the international community to lift the economic, commercial and financial blockade that it has imposed against Cuba for almost 60 years.

The US Ambassador to the multilateral agency, Kelly Craft, acknowledged Thursday that, once again, the General Assembly will almost unanimously approve the resolution presented each year by Cuba to condemn that policy.

Despite this, she said her country would once again vote against the Cuban resolution, arguing that the United States has the right to decide who to trade with.

In her speech before the UN General Assembly, where dozens of delegations have called to lift the blockade, the diplomat said she considers it worrying that the international community continues to challenge Washington's policy.

Craft did not refer to the extraterritorial nature of the blockade imposed by the US government, which not only prevents bilateral trade, but pressures and sanctions other countries to also hinder their economic ties with Cuba.

It is precisely this extraterritoriality that has been denounced continuously by UN member states who have intervened in the debate on the resolution presented by Cuba, particularly criticizing the activation in May of Title III of the controversial Helms-Burton Act, which allows for lawsuits to be filed before US courts to sue those who invest in properties that were nationalized on the island.

As is usual from the Trump administration, in order to justiify the maintenance of the blockade, Craft cited alleged human rights violations in the Caribbean country, without mentioning the fact that it is this US policy that violates the human rights of the Cuban people.

Yet again, the ambassador attacked Cuban medical missions abroad, one of the most internationally recognized solidarity programs of the island, and for which several delegations expressed their gratitude.

Claiming that Cuba refuses to import millions of dollars of agricultural and medical products authorized by the US government, Craft failed to explain the conditions imposed by Washington on purchases by the island, which include cash payments, in advance and without access to credit.

She also criticized Cuba's solidarity with Venezuela and tried to hold Havana responsible for the crisis in the South American country, without recognizing that the difficult conditions of that nation are motivated by the sanctions imposed by the United States.

We will vote no to the resolution, the diplomat remarked, to confirm once again that Washington disregards the vast majority of the world.

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Cuba denounces at the UN the resurgence of hostile US policy

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez denounced today at the UN General Assembly the resurgence of the hostile policy of the United States against the island and the onslaught of the Donald Trum padministration.

In recent months, he explained, Washington has begun an escalation in its aggression towards Cuba, with the application of unconventional measures, to prevent the supply of fuel to the country from various markets through sanctions and threats against tankers, shipping companies and insurance companies .

Its goal, in addition to impacting the economy, is to damage the living standards of Cuban families, he stressed.

In April of this year, he continued, the filing of lawsuits before US courts by US and third-country entities against Cuba and companies operating there was authorized, under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act.

The persecution of Cuba's banking transactions and financial relations with the rest of the world intensified, remittances were restricted to Cuban citizens, the granting of visas was reduced and consular services were limited, the foreign minister stressed.

An agreement between respective national baseball federations was canceled, individual trips by US citizens were canceled, cruises and direct flights to Cuban airports were banned, he added.

The leasing of airplanes with more than 10 percent of US components and the acquisition of technologies and equipment in similar conditions were also prevented, while commercial promotion activities, cultural and educational exchanges ceased.

The US government has aggressively intensified the extraterritorial application of its blockade policy against Cuba, persecuting third countries, their companies and citizens, Rodriguez stressed.

Nor does it hide its purpose of economically stiffling the country and increasing the damage, deprivation and suffering of its people, he stressed.

Washington has proposed to sabotage the international cooperation that Cuba provides in the field of health with a campaign of slande. US politicians and officials attack a program based on genuine concepts of South-South cooperation, which also has the recognition of the international community, he denounced.

In response to the statements of the permanent representative of the United States to the United Nations, the Cuban foreign minister stressed that the US government is responsible for such damages.

He also outlined the incalculable humanitarian damage caused by the blockade, which constitutes a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of human rights and qualifies as an act of genocide. "There is no Cuban family that does not suffer its consequences," he remarked.

Due to the blockade, the island suffers limitations in health services because it cannot access US medical equipment and prostheses, which especially affects Cuban children.

The blockade also makes it impossible to access new drugs for the treatment of cancer, only produced by US pharmaceutical companies, explained the Cuban minister.

The UN General Assembly on Thursday votes on the draft resolution 'Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba', which has received majority support from the international community since 1992.

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The world demands an end to the US blockade against Cuba

Countries from different continents raised their voices on Wednesday at the UN General Assembly to call for an end to the US economic blockade against Cuba, which with its extraterritorial nature affects many nations.

The permanent representative of Vietnam to the UN, Danh Dinh Quy, stressed that this policy is a violation of Cubans' human rights and also transgresses international law.

For his part, the Mexican Ambassador to the United Nations, Juan Ramon de la Fuente, expressed his rejection of unilateral measures against Cuba, such as the US blockade.

Syrian representative Bashar Al Jaafari condemned the unjust US policy against Cuba, whose effects go beyond that country's borders.

The Ambassador of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Inga Rhonda King, denounced that the US blockade is a unilateral measure that represents an affront to all the principles on which international relations are based.

In addition, she highlighted the example and spirit of solidarity of Cuba in areas such as health and humanitarian assistance.

This Wednesday and Thursday, for the twenty-eighth consecutive occasion, the draft resolution 'Necessity to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba' is being presented to the UN General Assembly.

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