Caribbean Businesses Invited to Explore Opportunities in Cuba

Businesses in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean are being encouraged to explore opportunities for trade and investment with Cuba.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Cuba, Rogelio Sierra Diaz, said his Government is seeking to widen cooperation with countries in the region under its foreign investment law.

“We are now promoting trade cooperation between the Caribbean Community and Cuba. This is strengthened by the approval of a new foreign investment law in Cuba that was approved a few years ago,” he said at a press briefing at the Embassy of Cuba in Jamaica.

The Deputy Minister was on a three-day visit to Jamaica as part of a tour of several Caribbean nations, including Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, aimed at strengthening the bonds of friendship and cooperation within the region.

Diaz met with senior Government officials to discuss and identify areas to increase relations between the countries. He said the trade and foreign investment promotion policies in Cuba will encourage the participation of Caribbean nations.

“The Cuban authorities are highly interested in receiving investments from the Caribbean companies. The Caribbean business persons will have the same facilities that any other business person may receive and will be warmly welcomed,” he pointed out.

Diaz pointed specifically to Jamaica, saying that it has a lot to offer Cuba.

“Jamaica has significantly large businesses, which can become investors at some point in Cuba and from that could derive business benefits but could also provide services and products for the Cuban market,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Cuban minister said his country values its longstanding ties within the region and is committed to strengthening the bonds of friendship and understanding.

“We (want) to express to our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean that the Cuban foreign policy will remain the same and that within this policy the relationship between Cuba and the Caribbean hold for us a priority,” he said.

The Deputy Minister added that the existing bilateral relationship between Jamaica and Cuba “provides the appropriate framework” to further develop the bond between the two countries.

“We believe that it is not necessary to establish new agreements but to strengthen and update the ones we already have,” he noted.

He indicated that priority will be given to cooperation in the areas of disaster management and climate change and teaching of the Spanish language.

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Western Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico on alert for possible tropical storm late this week


A tropical low could strengthen into the second named storm of the 2018 Atlantic Basin tropical season late this week.

All eyes will be on the western Caribbean later this week, an area that looks to have the right conditions for a new tropical system to brew.

"A tropical low is expected to develop north of the Nicaraguan coast around midweek," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.

As the week progresses, the system looks to lift northward through the western Caribbean Sea, and eventually could reach the Gulf of Mexico. Depending on the exact conditions at the time, this low could become the next tropical depression or tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin.

"Water temperatures in both the Caribbean and the Gulf are more than sufficient for tropical development and possible strengthening," added Rossio.

If the system reaches tropical storm strength, it will be given the name Beryl.

However, the atmospheric conditions across the Western Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico this week are not that simple.

Some pockets of wind shear, as well as drier air in the western Gulf of Mexico, could inhibit any rapid intensification or organization of the system as it moves northward.

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Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Commences Caribbean Tour to Strengthen Relations

Cuba's Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra Diaz arrived Wednesday at Trinidad and Tobago, the first Caribbean nation he is set to visit on his tour to the Caribbean nations to strengthen diplomatic relations.  

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Cuba Leader Praises Maduro in 'Solidarity' Visit to Venezuela

Apart from Suriname, Sierra Diaz's itinerary includes traveling to Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica, where Cuba established diplomatic relations on Dec. 8, 1972, along with Suriname. 

As part of his tour, Sierra Diaz will hold meetings with Caribbean counterparts, along with the Cuban residents and Cuban state mission personnel in those countries. 

Through the trip that ends June 16, the Cuban minister aims to reaffirm the historic bilateral relations with the region; exchange ideas on topics of mutual interest and reaffirm Cuban solidarity to continue cooperation with the region.  

Sierra Diaz, who is holding a meeting with the leader of the Movement for Social Justice Party's David Abdulah, thanked him for his constant solidarity with Cuba. He will also be holding working meetings with executives of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). 

For his part, Abdulah reiterated to the Cuban vice-minister, the support of the Trinidadian social movements of Cuba's international struggle of seeking to lift the U.S.-imposed blockade against Cuba.  

At the headquarters of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), Sierra Diaz who met ACS Secretary General, June Soomer, affirmed Cuba's commitment to the organization and its support for the revitalization process taking place in the ACS, the official note read.  

The Cuban vice minister's visit to the countries of the region, that ends June 16,  will also include Suriname, Barbados, Guyana, and Jamaica, and will be accompanied by the director of Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jorge Luis Mayo. 

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Cuban President Raúl Castro Calls for Greater Caribbean Unity and Integration

Saint Mary's, December 8 (RHC/Prensa Latina)-- President Raul Castro called Friday for unity in diversity, integration and genuine cooperation among Caribbean states to face common challenges and problems of the region and the world.

During a speech at the 6th Cuba-CARICOM Summit, Raul Castro also warned of the dangers looming over humanity. “How can we face the challenge of moving towards development in the midst of the deep economic, social, political and environmental crisis besieging this hemisphere and the world,” he asked.

The dangers for survival of the human species increase, noted Raul, adding that concepts not universally accepted, like 'humanitarian intervention' and 'responsibility to protect,' are being used to disguise interventions and aggressive actions that threaten international peace and security.

Situations like this, said the Cuban president, point to the need for the upholding of international law and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.'

Raúl Castro said Caribbean countries should come together in demanding fair action by industrial nations in order to mitigate and deal with the effects of climate change, particularly by providing financial resources and the transfer of technology.

“I reiterate Cuba's invariable position of supporting, in all circumstances, the right of small island states and developing nations to receive special and differential treatment in access to trade and investment,” said Raul.

He noted that Caribbean nations should agree on how to address the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and, especially, how to collectively face the mechanisms of domination imposed by an unjust international financial system.

In his address before leaders of the 14 member-nations of CARICOM, President Raul Castro renewed Cuba's determination to consolidate ties with its neighbors.

“We will continue to receive Caribbean students in our universities. There are 5,640 young people of the Caribbean who have completed training in Cuba, and 695 others currently study in Cuban universities, he stressed.

Raul Castro also said there are more than 1,700 Cuban experts working in cooperation programs in the CARICOM countries, over 1,400 of whom are health specialists.

Edited by Pavel Jacomino
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Fidel Castro: A Latin American Legend

The Cuban revolutionary remained influential in Latin America and across the world for half a century.

Fidel was born in 1926 during a period when then-President Gerardo Machado was cutting off the traditional elite from its long-held power and defending the island’s sovereignty from the United States.

As a child, Fidel was sent to live in Santiago de Cuba, where he excelled more in sports than academia.

His youth was marked by turbulent politics: Fulgencio Batista became president in 1940 and ruled the country until 1944 before returning to power through a coup in 1952. With the blessing and material support of the United States, he ruled Cuba with an iron fist until 1959 in what even John F. Kennedy once referred to as “one of the most bloody and repressive dictatorships in the long history of Latin American repression.”

While studying law at the University of Havana, Fidel became increasingly involved in anti-imperialist activism. After traveling to the Dominican Republic and Colombia, Fidel sharpened his leftist politics and led protests against right-wing governments in both countries.

Upon returning to Cuba, Fidel used his legal training to oppose the Batista regime while founding an underground revolutionary socialist group called “The Movement.”

Armed Struggle

The Movement staged a failed attack on the Moncada barracks, and many—including Fidel—were arrested.

Prison was a time of learning for Fidel, who devoured authors ranging from Marx, Lenin and Marti to Freud and Shakespeare. It was during this time that Fidel made one of the most famous speeches in history, “History Will Absolve Me,” as part of his own defense in court.

Millions of Cubans hailed the anti-imperialist movement to oust U.S. imposed dictator Fulgencio Batista | Photo: File

Released in 1955, Fidel left Cuba for Mexico, where he met and soon befriended the Argentine Ernesto "Che" Guevara. The Movement ultimately survived and reorganized in Fidel’s newfound country, eventually assuming the name “26th of July Movement” in honor of the Moncada attack.

IN PICTURES: The Victory of Fidel Castro's Revolution

Fidel began his takeover of Cuba the next year, sailing to the island aboard the Granma. The few fighters soon multiplied and despite initial defeats against Batista forces, Fidel’s strategizing and sustained guerrilla attacks eventually resulted in the country being taken over piece by piece.

Despite U.S. attempts to stop him, on Jan. 1, 1959, Fidel officially declared victory in what would be the final nail in the coffin of the Batista regime.

Putting Words Into Action

Fidel transformed the country from one terrorized by torture, killings and dispossession to one radically committed to wealth redistribution, education and universal health care.

Domestically, he built his legacy on agrarian reform, establishing one of the world’s most ambitious literacy campaigns and developing a free, world-class health care system. He went on to nationalize companies, refineries and land and would serve as head of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1965.

Fidel parades through the streets of Havana 56 years ago celebrating the triumph of the Cuban Revolution | Photo: File

In Washington, he is known for opposing U.S. aggression, most prominently the CIA’s Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, and being a major player in the 1962 Missile Crisis that marked the peak of the Cold War with the USSR. He is also believed to have survived at least 638 assassination attempts as well as countless attempts to destabilize the small Caribbean country.

ANALYSIS: 5 Times Fidel Proved He Was a True Internationalist

In Latin America, Fidel built the groundwork for a tight partnership between left-wing governments of the Caribbean and South America. Along with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, he helped found ALBA, a socialist bloc opposed to privatization and liberalization which offers a vision of post-neoliberalism rooted in principles of social welfare and mutual economic aid.

For the Global South, Fidel is a revolutionary icon who has consistently supported principles—and policies—of internationalism. He was a key figure in the Non-Aligned Movement, winning the respect of leaders across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, where thousands of Cuban troops, doctors, agricultural specialists and teachers have helped on humanitarian missions.

Fidel’s Dawn

On April 19, 2016, at the final session of the Cuban Communist Party’s 7th Congress, Fidel addressed his audience. “This may be one of the last times that I speak in this room,” he said, “but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain as proof that on this planet, by working with fervor and dignity, we can produce the material and cultural wealth that humans need."

A photograph of Fidel being installed in preparation for his 90th birthday in Havana, Cuba, August 12, 2016 | Photo: Reuters 

It was a rare public appearance for the 90 year old, who still nonetheless penned letters and articles on global issues, influencing strategic decisions in Cuba with his moral weight. His behind-the-scenes diplomacy has also helped establish peace between the FARC and the Colombian government, and now the U.S. and Cuba through the normalization of diplomatic relations.

Suffering from an undisclosed digestive illness in July 2006, Fidel announced the transfer of presidential duties to his brother, Raul, who was vice president at the time.

On Nov. 25, 2016, his brother and fellow revolutionary Raul Castro announced that Fidel had passed at the age of 90.

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Tropical Storm Nate Prompts Gulf Coast Hurricane Warnings Ahead of Weekend Landfall; Hurricane Threat For Cancún Tonight

The center of Tropical Storm Nate is churning over the Caribbean Sea north of Honduras.

Nate will make its closest approach to Cancún and Cozumel Friday night, where a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning is in effect.

Preparations should be rushed to completion in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Nate will then make landfall along the northern Gulf Coast late Saturday night or early Sunday as either a hurricane or a tropical storm.

Hurricane and storm surge warnings and watches have been issued for the U.S. northern Gulf Coast.

Nate will produce a swath of heavy rain from the Gulf Coast to the Appalachians and possibly parts of the Northeast.

Torrential rain will also trigger serious flash flooding and mudslides in much of Central America the next few days.

Tropical Storm Nate has is gaining strength over the warm water of the northwest Caribbean Sea, poised for a strike on Cancún and Cozumel tonight, then on the northern Gulf Coast Saturday night and Sunday, where hurricane warnings have now been posted.

This is a developing weather story, for the latest forecast on Nate, including expected impacts along the U.S. Gulf Coast, check out our latest forecast article here.

 

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Irma: A name never been so mentioned before

My neighbor Irma never figured out that her name would be - at some point in her life - so mentioned, but in a "terrifying" way. Irma has become an informational event in recent days, as it always happens when it is about an atmospheric phenomenon of such magnitude.

Comments have gone through several stages in social networks, some - very peculiar to Cubans - original and funny, like the one recently written on Facebook by colleague Elias Argudin and that encouraged several people to share it: "What is the name of the hurricane that threatens us Irma or Trump? "


However, as the hours have passed (of course) the complexity of the issue has been reflected in the texts. Calls for caring human lives and preservation of material goods fill the networks.

From the eastern province of Las Tunas, local Jorge Perez calls "for a miracle", whereas Eric Yanes, cameraman from Ciego de Avila’s TV station –not without concern– points out that the reservoirs of this territory, very affected by the drought, are ready to receive the rainfalls from Irma; "Let it leave us water and let it go right to the north."

At midst the uncertainty that a cyclone always causes, and furthermore when it is known how powerful and strong it is, Cubans wondered where renowned meteorologist José Rubiera was. His sapience and wisdom manifest themselves every year by this time and many calmed down after he finally appeared on the 8 o’clock TV news to offer us his report about Hurricane Irma. Although his excellent students, as Rubiera himself called them, did not do a bad job in his absence.

Journalist Jorge Legañoa, from the Cuban News Agency, had already calmed some via Facebook stating that "the knight of hurricanes" was not in Cuba at this moment (he wrote on the eve), but he would arrive on Thursday.

Hours have passed and Irma has already ravaged some Caribbean islands.

Yurien Portelles reports that according to the prime minister of Barbuda, “the island is unsuitable for life”. Meanwhile, Cubans continue to follow step by step the mischiefs of Irma, a name that had never been so mentioned before.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

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Irma’s and her Granparents’s Bad Omen

Secrets on why this hurricane is so destructive as well as revelations on similar phenomena that hit Cuba.  

Irma has already hit the Cuban eastern region, happily a bit weakened because its sustained top winds dropped to 250 km/h and now ranks on the verge of a Category-4 Hurricane.

But since it appeared in the proximities of Cuba it had very peculiar features.

Generally hurricanes keep category-5 in the Saffir-Simpson scale for only a few hours. This hurricane still keeps that terrible condition for about three days.

This is because warm waters are the "fuel" of those phenomena and Irma has remained among waters with temperatures that surpasses between 0,7 and 1 degree Celsius the usual heat. This Thursday, for example, the waters it whirled with fury had a temperature of 30degrees and more.

It so happens that hurricanes need that the water to be at least 26 degrees Celsius and the top stage in the hurricanes season in the Atlantic is right between mid-August and Mid-October.

Besides hot, waters where Irma has been are deeper than usual and on top of that the winds at great altitude which are those that can dissipate the hurricane, are not strong enough to do so.

While on Tuesday it remained on the Atlantic Ocean, winds about 297 km/h of this phenomenon had already reached a record in the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Mexican Gulf because only hurricane Allen, in 1980, could rival it with winds of 305 km/h.

Damned Lineage

Since these phenomena started to be tracked via satellite, about 40 years ago, this is the second time in which sustained winds of 297 km/h have been registered for more than 24 hours, said Philip Klotzbach, outstanding meteorologist from Colorado University.

Previously, the satellite had detected bearing similar characteristics the sinister typhoon Haiyan which in 2013 took the life of more than six thousand people in the Philippines.

Other hurricanes with terrible winds were Wilma, in 2005; and Gilberto in 1988.

Since year 1851 began a record of these phenomena, top winds reached by Irma have been the highest registered in the Atlantic since the 80’s, next to those of 305 km/h of hurricane Allen, which crossed the Caribbean, went through the Yucatan peninsula and the south of Texas, leaving a toll of 269 dead and billionaire losses.

Along the history of hurricanes, Wilma had been the most intense and Hurricane San Calixto the most deadly. The latter took place in 1780, also known as The Great Hurricane, and possibly the one with the highest death rate; nearly 22 thousand after hitting the Caribbean.

The largest of registered hurricanes was Sandy which in 2012 reached 1 520 kilometers of diameter.

By the time I a finishing these lines, Irma had already surpassed the record of maximum energy generated by a hurricane in 24 hours.

Hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel, from the Massachusetts Institute Technological (MIT), calculates that Irma has about 7 trillion watts: almost twice the energy of all the bombs used in World War II.

Amilkal Labañino Valdés / Cubasi Translation Staff

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