Cuban artists condemn US blockade

Hundreds of artists and students of art have today condemned the genocidal US blockade against Cuba, on the eve of the 52nd anniversary of Commander Ernesto Che Guevara's death in Bolivia.

From early hours in avenues and important sites of Santa Clara, artists and students are carrying out varied concerts called Supertanquero de las Artes (Supertanker of Arts), alluding to the macabre US decision to block oil tankers to reach Cuba.

In this city, which keeps the remains of Commander Guevara and his companions of the Latin American guerrillas, while settlers are getting ready to pay tribute to the 52th anniversary of Che´s death in Bolivia, hundreds of artists ratify their commitment to the Cuban revolution.

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Cuba Moves Forward with Determination to a Sustainable Development

Despite the worsening of the U.S. blockade, Cuba exhibits social conquests comparable to those of developed countries.

Cuba holds the fifth position among the first 14 countries in the world that have reduced the rate of hunger and malnutrition. This was highlighted on Wednesday by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez in his speech during the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Goals at the UN.

For some it may be a sentence that goes unnoticed, particularly intentionally unnoticed, but for Cubans that and other realities are a source of pride and, more than that, they are an incentive to keep the path taken, even if so much headwinds from the North twists our sails.

But instead of going over the most recent indecencies of the White House against Cuba, these lines attempt to frame some of the results attained by Cuba and that Rodríguez Parrilla highlighted at the aforementioned meeting in the face of The 2030 Agenda.


Cuba keeps at present the lowest infant mortality rate in its history and in the Latin American region: four per a thousand live births, as the Cuban foreign minister highlighted.



As for the topic of public health in particular, among the most important Cuban achievements, Rodríguez Parrilla had given abundant and strong figures last Tuesday 24th at the UN High Level meeting dedicated to universal health coverage.


Cuba registered a life expectancy of more than 78 years and a child mortality rate of 4 per thousand live births, by the end of last year. On top of this there’s an immune level registered of 98%, with the eradication of 14 infectious diseases. Nine of which were a health issue, and 29 were under control.


To attain such results and others in the
​​health sector, Cuba rests on several pillars: a unique public health system free of charge and universal, the State as sponsor of resources for health programs, the training of the necessary human resource to keep these programs working and the support of the people behind those policies at the community level.


The head of Cuban diplomacy explained all this. He also recalled that in the conquest of these achievements this Caribbean nation has not just faced the challenges set by its status as a small developing country, but also and above all the economic, commercial, and financial blockade that the United States has imposed to Cuba for almost 60 years, and which is intensifying today.


The adverse international context in which Cuba has achieved these and other results in its resolve to keep advancing in the achievement of the Sustainable Development goals established by the United Nations cannot be ignored.


When referring to that context, the Cuban foreign minister denounced the unfair international order and the capitalist system that consider - he said - public health as a business and not as a right.



In contrast to this regrettable reality, Rodríguez Parrilla said during his presentation of MEDICC magazine that “For the public health system of Cuba, citizens are not clients, but patients or healthy individuals whose well-being must be protected and promoted with prevention approaches ».



And the humanistic sense of that health care has gone beyond Cuba’s borders to reach a total of 164 countries in the last 60 years. More than 400,000 Cuban health professionals have provided their services worldwide over the last decades. At present, they work in more than 70 countries.


«With a fraction of these resources, with a little less greed and a minimum of solidarity, the health problems that are devastating important parts of the world population could be solved.


«Learning how it’s done is very important. It will require creativity and humility. But what’s essential is to mobilize the moral will that can give way to the political action, ”said the Cuban Foreign Minister.

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Leaders at UN demand end to the US blockade on Cuba

The demand for an end to the US blockade against Cuba was voiced by representatives from all over the world, during speeches at the general debate of the 74th session of the General Assembly, which continues this Friday.

Suriname's President Ashwin Adhin said on Thursday that his country strongly disapproves of 'the economic, financial and commercial blockade of more than 50 years against the Republic of Cuba and its people.'

The vast majority of nations have repeatedly taken a stand against the blockade policy and one may wonder if it is now, finally, the time to understand that the continuation of this mechanism is and will continue to be counterproductive, Adhin stressed.

For his part, President of Sao Tome and Principe Evaristo do Espirito Santo Carvalho once again renewed his support for the Cuban people and called on the international community to make greater efforts to lift the blockade.

He also referred to the importance of normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba.

Meanwhile, Nauru's President Lionel Rouwen Aingimea thanked the Cuban government for strengthening the health sector of that small State in Oceania.

Since 1992, the UN General Assembly has approved 27 resolutions calling on the US government to end, without any conditions, its blockade policy against Cuba.

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Report on impact of US blockade on Cuba will be released on Friday

Cuban minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, will present next Friday the report on the impact caused by the U.S. blockade policy over the last year.

According to an announcement made by the Foreign Ministry on Twitter, Rodriguez will disclose the content of the report to national and foreign media during a press conference announced for 10:30 local time, which will be carried live by Cubaminrex Facebook page.

Every year the report precedes the UN General Assembly vote on the Cuba-sponsored resolution on the “Necessity of Ending the Economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba”, which will be happening for 28th consecutive time.

The international community has overwhelmingly supported the island’s resolution on its demand to see a lifting of the longest blockade ever imposed on a nation in contemporary history.

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Improving trade relations with Cuba

“For 60 years we have been embargoing Cuba and it has not served the people of Cuba or U.S. farmers well,” said Paul Johnson, executive director of the Illinois Cuba Working Group. “We think it is important to allow trade to Cuba.”

Johnson spoke on Aug. 28 at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill. Also speaking in favor of improving trade relations with Cuba was Mark Albertson, interim CEO of the Illinois Soybean Growers, and Rodney Gonzales, commercial attaché for the Cuban Embassy.

Cuba represents a $2 billion market, according to Johnson. “The U.S. is only receiving 10% of that,” he said.

Albertson said, “Every market matters -- at a time when we are struggling to build markets for our crops, opening Cuban markets to U.S. soybean growers would help.”

Albertson noted that Cuba imports 80% of their food.

“They are only 90 miles away and we should be able to sell more products to Cuba,” Albertson added.

Gonzales believes Cuba could be a valuable market for the U.S.

While the U.S. can sell agricultural products to Cuba, Cubans must pay cash upfront.

“If Congress would pass a bill to improve trade with Cuba, U.S. companies could use U.S. banks and establish credit terms like they do for other countries,” Albertson explained. “This year, a lot of our soybeans are sitting in bins. This would be the year to be selling product to Cuba. What’s the difference if we sold product to Cuba and gave them 30-, 60-, or 90-days to pay, we’re not getting anything for our soybeans sitting in the bins.”

Johnson said the bill before the Senate is SB-1447, the Ag Export Expansion Act of 2019. The same bill before the House is HR-1898, the Cuba Ag Exports Act.

“I think if we asked Congress if they wanted to end this embargo, the majority would say ‘yes.’ So, call your congresspeople and ask them to support the bill.”

Johnson said three U.S. representatives from Illinois already support the bill. They are Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. Rodney Davis and Rep. Darin LaHood.

Albertson said another advantage of buying products from Cuba is the ships that transport soybeans there now come back empty.

“The embargo prevents us from getting any two-way trade with Cuba, which adds to the cost of transporting soybeans there,” he said. “It would be nice if we could bring back shrimp, fruit or rice from Cuba.”

Gonzales said the quality of goods shipped from Cuba to the U.S. is higher than those from other countries.

“Because we are so close, our rice, for example, arrives much quicker than rice from other countries.”

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US city of Seattle demands end of the Blockade on Cuba

The US city of Seattle today passed a resolution demanding the immediate end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the US government against Cuba almost 60 years ago.

The document, endorsed by the City Council, also calls for eliminating travel restrictions that prevent US citizens from freely visiting the largest of the Antilles. Likewise, the main city of the northwestern state of Washington urges President Donald Trump to renew negotiations with the Government of the island as initiated in the previous administration of former President Barack Obama (2009-2017), 'to build a new relationship of cooperation between the United States and Cuba '.

In the same way, he asks to restore completely the personnel of the American embassy in Havana and that of the diplomatic legation of the Caribbean nation in Washington DC.

The resolution was introduced this Monday by Councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda, chairwoman of the Committee on Housing, Health, Energy and Workers' Rights of the said city body, and activist Cindy Domingo, who is the organizer of the U.S. association. Women and Cuba Collaboration.

The text recalled that in the 1960s the American government imposed the aforementioned fence, which 'continues to inflict difficulties on the men, women and children of Cuba by creating shortages of food, medicine and financial and commercial opportunities.'

In addition, he recalled that on December 17, 2014, the governments of both countries announced a new era of bilateral ties and agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations, which led to the reopening of their respective embassies the following year.

The resolution said that despite some changes made during the Obama administration, the blockade is still in force, and regretted that the Trump executive has taken steps back to tighten it and bring relations between the United States and Cuba back to the era of the Cold War.

'Pleased to present a resolution to the vote in plenary of the Council to support the end of the embargo (blockade) on the Cuban people,' Mosqueda said in his Twitter social network account.

The council said that with the approval of this Monday, Seattle becomes the twelfth city in the United States to pass a similar resolution.

Previously they had done Detroit (Michigan), Richmond, Berkeley, Sacramento and Oakland (California), Helena (Montana), Minneapolis and Saint Paul (Minnesota), Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), Brookline (Massachusetts) and Hartford (Connecticut).

Miguel Fraga, first secretary of the Cuban embassy in this country, celebrated the resolution on his Twitter account and thanked the city for that step. 'Strong and clear now from #Seattle: #UnblockCuba! (Unlock Cuba) Thank you Seattle! 'He wrote.


US city of Seattle demands end of the Blockade on Cuba

The US city of Seattle today passed a resolution demanding the immediate end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the US government against Cuba almost 60 years ago.

The document, endorsed by the City Council, also calls for eliminating travel restrictions that prevent US citizens from freely visiting the largest of the Antilles. Likewise, the main city of the northwestern state of Washington urges President Donald Trump to renew negotiations with the Government of the island as initiated in the previous administration of former President Barack Obama (2009-2017), 'to build a new relationship of cooperation between the United States and Cuba '.

In the same way, he asks to restore completely the personnel of the American embassy in Havana and that of the diplomatic legation of the Caribbean nation in Washington DC.

The resolution was introduced this Monday by Councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda, chairwoman of the Committee on Housing, Health, Energy and Workers' Rights of the said city body, and activist Cindy Domingo, who is the organizer of the U.S. association. Women and Cuba Collaboration.

The text recalled that in the 1960s the American government imposed the aforementioned fence, which 'continues to inflict difficulties on the men, women and children of Cuba by creating shortages of food, medicine and financial and commercial opportunities.'

In addition, he recalled that on December 17, 2014, the governments of both countries announced a new era of bilateral ties and agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations, which led to the reopening of their respective embassies the following year.

The resolution said that despite some changes made during the Obama administration, the blockade is still in force, and regretted that the Trump executive has taken steps back to tighten it and bring relations between the United States and Cuba back to the era of the Cold War.

'Pleased to present a resolution to the vote in plenary of the Council to support the end of the embargo (blockade) on the Cuban people,' Mosqueda said in his Twitter social network account.

The council said that with the approval of this Monday, Seattle becomes the twelfth city in the United States to pass a similar resolution.

Previously they had done Detroit (Michigan), Richmond, Berkeley, Sacramento and Oakland (California), Helena (Montana), Minneapolis and Saint Paul (Minnesota), Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), Brookline (Massachusetts) and Hartford (Connecticut).

Miguel Fraga, first secretary of the Cuban embassy in this country, celebrated the resolution on his Twitter account and thanked the city for that step. 'Strong and clear now from #Seattle: #UnblockCuba! (Unlock Cuba) Thank you Seattle! 'He wrote.

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Cuban President Receives American actor Danny Glover

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel today received American film actor Danny Glover, who visits the Caribbean nation invited to the graduation of students of the Latin American School of Medicine.

The web page of the Cuban Presidency reported that Glover and the Caribbean president discussed the importance of promoting artistic exchanges between Cuba and the United States, based on existing historical and cultural links.

Díaz-Canel expressed concern about the negative impact in this area as a result of the decline in bilateral ties, the official website said.

The information added that the head of state also reiterated the will to move forward with the broad sectors that in the United States favor links improvement.

Glover, who is UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, was accompanied by the director of Cultural Studies and Communication of the Center for Folkloric Life and Cultural Studies Programs of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, James Early, and others.

The Cuban General Director of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Carlos Fernández de Cossío, and the First Vice President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, Noemí Rabaza, attended the Cuban side.

The famous actor was one of the voices that rose in favor of the release of the Cuban Five Heroes: Gerardo Hernández, Fernando González, René González, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino, who were imprisoned in US prisons for fighting terrorism.

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Cuba Denounces Development Drawbacks Due to US Blockade

The upsurge of the US blockade against Cuba brings about major drawbacks to the national population development policies, according to the Cuban ambassador to the UN, Humberto Rivero.

In a special session of the UN General-Assembly for the 35th anniversary of the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development, Rivero strongly rejected the recent activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act which imposes more hurdles to Cuba.

All Cubans have universal and free access to health care and education at all levels, 100 percent of the population is literate, he said.

The fulfillment of the Cairo Program of Action of the Montevideo Consensus and the 2030 Agenda are ways to solve the existing inequities among nations and within our societies, he stated

However, he uttered, the realization of these Action Programs require a comprehensive and inclusive approach and a real political will, effective international cooperation and a respectful and sincere dialogue.

'They also need developed countries to honor their historic commitments to the developing world forthwith.'

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