President Raul Castro Welcomes Cuban Delegation

Cuban President Raul Castro welcomed on Monday in Havana the Cuban delegation that headed Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez to the 8th Summit of the Americas recently held in Lima, Peru.

On board were also representatives of the Cuban Civil Society, youth, deputies and business executives that participated in the Summit’s parallel forums.

Accompanying Raul Castro were members of the Political Bureau, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party; Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, First Vice President; and Esteban Lazo, President of the National Assembly of the People’s Power.

The Cuban President also welcomed a group of intellectuals, artists, athletes, among others that participated in the alternative Summit of the Peoples held last Tuesday to Saturday in Lima, Peru.

President Raul Castro Welcomes Cuban Delegation to the 8th Summit of the Americas

President Raul Castro Welcomes Cuban Delegation to the 8th Summit of the Americas

By Jorge Leganoa Alonso

  • Published in Cuba

Cuba, Vietnam Favor More Cooperation between Vaccine Producers

Vaccine Institute (IFV) in Cuba and its Vietnamese counterpart, Vabiotech, signed a memorandum of understanding in this capital to boost cooperation relations.

The document establishes the access to new technologies and products in an advanced stage as a key aspect, as well as new markets and possibilities of development, IFV Deputy Director Yury Valdes told Prensa Latina.

As part of an ongoing negotiation, Valdes and his colleague, Nivaldo Linares, the IFV director of Clinical Research, visited the headquarters of the Vietnamese vaccine producing company and verified its high scientific and technological level, in addition to exploring future possibilities of cooperation.

The memorandum was signed by Valdes and Vabiotech President Do Tuan Dat, in the presence of Cuban Ambassador Lianys Torres; Vietnam's Deputy Minister for Science and Technology, Pham Cong Tac; and the vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Doan Duy Khuong.

Vabiotech is one of Vietnam's major vaccine producers and, according to Valdes, its relations with the Cuban institute have borne fruits.

This time we share the objective of consolidating those ties by identifying new possibilities of mutually advantageous collaboration, including the exchange of technologies, products and expanded markets.

Valdes and Linares traveled to Hanoi to represent one of 27 Cuban companies attending the 27th International Trade Fair of Vietnam.

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Cuba to Begin Session to Elect New President a Day Early

Cuba is bringing forward the start of the national assembly session where a new president will be selected to succeed Raul Castro.

Cuba is bringing forward the start of its national assembly session where a new president will be elected to succeed Raul Castro, Cuban state-run Radio Rebelde said Monday. The new assembly, selected in a March vote, had originally been set to meet Thursday but will now start its "constitutive session" at 9 a.m. local time Wednesday, April 18.

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“The State Council of the Republic of Cuba, making use of its conferred faculties, agreed to begin the Constituent Session of the 9th Legislature of the People's Power National Assembly Wednesday April 18, 2018, at 9 a.m. in the Convention's Palace in Havana.

The decision was made to facilitate the development of the steps that a session of such importance requires," Radio Rebelde said on its website. The report doesn't specify if the session will last only one day or if it will extend until Thursday.

The 605 representatives recently elected on the March 11 elections will meet to choose the next president, first vice president, five vice presidents and 23 members of the State Council.

The 86-year-old Raul Castro said he will step down as president at the next assembly session, after completing two successive five-year mandates.

Cuba's ruling Communist Party has yet to name any formal candidate, but several party offcials are seen as potential runners for the presidency. current First Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, 57, is seen as a likely candidate. 

Diaz-Canel would be the first president born after the 1959 revolution that ousted dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Other possibilities include Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, the party's second secretary, who fought with guerrillas in the Sierra Maestro during the Cuban Revolution; and Ramiro Valdes, another former guerrilla who currently serves as vice-president of the State Council and Council of Ministers.

Cuba's 168 Municipal Assemblies of People's Power have held extraordinary sessions across the island to approve candidate selection for provincial delegates, according to Granma.

Castro, who was formally elected to the presidency 10 years ago after the end of Fidel Castro's term in 2008, will remain head of the Cuban Communist Party until the next congress in 2021.

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Cuba, Norway Say Colombia-FARC Peace 'Living Difficult Moments'

Recent developments, including the killings of former FARC fighters and arrest of its future representative Jesus Santrich, have put the process at stake.

The Cuban and Norwegian governments, which sponsored the talks and the subsequent peace agreement between the Colombian government and the former insurgent group FARC, expressed their concerns about the current state of the implementation of the peace process in the country amid the persecution and killing of former members of the former guerrilla group as well as the recent arrest of congressmen-elect Jesus Santrich.

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“We express our concerns about the recent events related to the peace process,” said a statement signed by both governments, which also called on Colombian authorities to “guarantee the protection of the final agreement... and secure the strict observance of the deal, including the provisions related to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, designed to guarantee truth, justice, repairment and non-repetition.”

The Alternative Revolutionary Forces of the Common, the new political face of the FARC, back tracked on their presidential campaign as their leader Rodrigo Londoño “Timochenko” suffered from health issues and the party decided the government wasn't providing the party members with the ideal security conditions.

The situation escalated when Jesus Santrich, a former FARC commander, was arrested on drug trafficking charges by DEA's order, who accused him of taking part in a business network intending to export 10 tons of cocaine into the United States, and may now face extradition.

"With the capture of our comrade Jesus Santrich, the peace process is at its most critical point and is threatened to be a true failure," said Ivan Marquez, future representative and number two of the FARC, said at a press conference in Bogota last week. He also demanded Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos "keep his word" regarding the peace process.

Interpol's red alert accuse Santrich of participating in the drug trafficking network between June 2017 and April 2018. His defense filed an Habeas Corpus appeal but it was rejected by Bogota's Superior Tribunal.

Also, the activities of groups claiming to be FARC dissidents who oppose the peace agreement and have refused to demobilize, are being used to discredit the peace agreement despite FARC leadership distancing itself from them and rejecting their actions.

One of those groups, the Oliver Sinisterra Front led by Guacho, recently kidnapped and murdered three Ecuadorean journalists reporting on the violence situation on the border between both countries.

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Added to that, some in the Colombian government claim that the former insurgent group wasn't honest about their assets and accused it of running a money laundering chain of stores, which sparked riots and looting in several cities of Colombia. FARC leadership flatly reject such accusations and said they have made all their assets available and have welcomed any government audits.

According to the communique by Cuba and Norway, the peace process is “living difficult moments,” and reminded that “is important that the involved parties and the international community reaffirm their support to the process and the enforcing and observance of the agreement.”

They also recommended speeding up the actions aimed at guaranteeing the full reintegration and reincorporation of FARC's former fighters into civil society and reiterated their compromise to reach a stable and lasting peace in Colombia.

Gloria Ospina, director of the Colombia in Peace Fund, was dismissed from office on April 9 after being accused of irregularities in managing the economic resources provided by the international community for the peace process.

The peace process has been heavily politicized and is one of the main discussion points for all candidates in the May 27 presidential elections. Most of them support the continuance of the process, including leftist Gustavo Petro, but the right-wing protegee of Alvaro Uribe, Ivan Duque, has said the agreement needs serious restructuring.

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Canadians Nusbaum and Plantinga reach semifinals defeating Cuba

Canadians Aaron Nusbaum and Mike Plantinga upset top seeded Karell Peña and Dasiel Quesada of Cuba with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) victory to reach the men’s semifinals of the first stage of the 2018 NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Mike Plantinga’s high blocks and Aaron Nusbaum’s effective defense took the Cuban pair by surprise, limiting their performance to a lower standard than usual.

Another surprise was Josué Gaxiola/José Angel Cardenas of Mexico advancing into semifinals with a steady performance while beating Canada-B of Fiodar Kazhamiaka/ Sergey Grabovsky 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) in quarterfinals. Gaxiola has earned one silver and two bronze NORCECA medals and Cardenas is a NORCECA newcomer; together they finished fifth last year at the FIVB U-21 World Championship.

United States-A of William Reid Priddy and Troy Field had to use all their energy to beat resilient Rubén Mora/Dany López of Nicaragua coming from behind 2-1 (25-27, 21-15, 15-11). Mora and López had a spectacular performance while Priddy and Field seemed to enjoy the challenge.

Eric Zaun and Edwin Ratledge of United States-B won their quarterfinal match with no problems  to young Dominicans Jamel Alessandre/Victor Castillo by 2-0 (21-15, 21-15).

Plantinga/Nusbaum (CAN) will meet Gaxiola/Cardenas (MEX) in semfinals. The other semifinal features Priddy/Field against fellow countrymen Zaun/Ratledge.

Men’s semifinal matches are scheduled for 10:30 am (local time) and the gold medal match at 5:30 pm.

Men Results Saturday:

Pool-Play: Pool A: Karell Peña/ Dasiel Quesada (CUB) d Jamel Alessandre/Victor Castillo (DOM) 2-0 (21-13, 21-11); Pool B: Eric Zaun/Edwin Ratledge (USA-B) d Aaron Nusbaum/ Mike Plantinga (CAN-A) 2-1 (21-91, 15-21, 18-16); Pool C: Fiodar Kazhamiaka/ Sergey Grabovsky (CAN-B) d Luis García/Erick Garrido (GUA) 2-0 (21-19, 21-18); William Reid Priddy/Troy Field (USA-A) d Germán Osuna/Leonel Garza (MEX-B) 2-0 (21-15, 21-11); Pool D: Josue Gaxiola/José Angel Cardenas (MEX-A) d Rubén Mora/Dany López (NCA) 2-0 (21-15, 21-14); Yasutaka Sanay/Franky Hernández (MEX-C) d Jesse Parham/Casey Santamaria (CAY) 2-0 (21-9, 21-13); Loser’s Play-Off: Germán Osuna/Leonel Garza (MEX-B) d Yasutaka Sanay/Franky Hernández (MEX-C) 2-0 (18-21, 21-19, 16-14);  Luis García/Erick Garrido (GUA) d Jesse Parham/Casey Santamaria (CAY)  2-0 (21-7, 21-10); QF1: Aaron Nusbaum/ Mike Plantinga (CAN-A) d Karell Peña/ Dasiel Quesada (CUB) 2-0 (21-15, 21-15); QF2: Josue Gaxiola/José Angel Cardenas (MEX-A) d Fiodar Kazhamiaka/ Sergey Grabovsky (CAN-B) 2-0 (21-15, 21-18); QF3: William Reid Priddy/Troy Field (USA-A) d Rubén Mora/Dany López (NCA) 2-1 (25-27, 21-15, 15-11); QF4: Eric Zaun/Edwin Ratledge (USA-B) d  Jamel Alessandre/Victor Castillo (DOM) 2-0 (21-15, 21-15).

  • Published in Sports

Nicaraguan Women´s Soccer Team beat Cuba in Second Game of the Friendly Match

Nicaragua women's soccer squad beat 2-1 Cuba in the second and last friendly match these two sides held at Havana´s Pedro Marrero stadium.

The visitors opened the score at the 25th minute when Cuban goalkeeper Katherine Montesinos couldn´t keep a header and right winger Yensi Aguirre took the rebound and sent the ball home from close range.

At 45´, left winger Sheyla Flores starred a magnificent play when dribbling past two local defenders to then beat Montesinos through a tremendous shot, thus setting the score 2-0.

In the second half, the Cuban coach Reiniel Bonora made some substitutions as he had lined up several not-regular players and his team noted the improvement and at 75´, Nicaragua´s defender scored an own goal, but the visiting side didn´t collapse, as in the first match, and managed to maintain the score 2-1.

Last Tuesday, Cuba won 4-2 the first of these two matches after starring a tremendous comeback in the second half as they were losing 1-2 at half time.

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Cuba says won't accept US threats or pressures

Cuba on Saturday slammed U.S. policy towards Latin America, calling it a return to a past of "domination and impositions," adding that Havana won't accept threats or pressure from Washington to modify its political system.

"Cuba won't accept threats or pressures from the United States. It doesn't want confrontation, but will not negotiate or cede one millimeter in its socialist principles," Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said in remarks at the ongoing eighth Summit of the Americas.

Rodriguez, who was leading the island country's delegation to the meeting, highlighted that the thawing ties between Washington and Havana were maintained since 2015 until Donald Trump assumed the U.S. presidency and decided to roll back the detente.

"The U.S. economic blockade and the financial persecution continue, but at the same time Washington is further isolated when it comes to their policy towards Cuba," he said.

According to the foreign minister, Cuba is currently in the presidential election process that will last until April 19, 2019 when Cubans decide a new president to succeed incumbent Raul Castro, younger brother and fellow revolutionary of Communist Cuba's founder Fidel Castro.

In addition, Rodriguez said that the younger generations in Cuba are closely linked to the ruling Communist Party, and that they will "firmly" commemorate the Fidel-led revolutionary troops' victory in defending the island against a U.S.-masterminded aggression in the early 1960s.

He was referring to the failed Playa Giron -- literally Bay of Pigs -- invasion of Cuba in April 1961 by U.S.-sponsored mercenaries comprised of mostly Cubans traveling in exile to the United States after Fidel Castro overthrew the U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.

"Cubans, especially the younger generations, closely linked to the (Communist) Party, founded by (Jose) Marti and Fidel (Castro), together with Raul (Castro), will commemorate firm, secure and optimistic victory against the mercenary aggression in Playa Giron," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez warned of Washington's aspiration to re-establish its "imperialist domination" in Latin America, imposing Cold War era policies and a return to the "Monroe Doctrine," a 19th century strategy to control the region for political and economic purposes.

"Now the objective is to restore imperialist domination, destroy national sovereignties with unconventional interventions, overthrow popular governments, reverse social achievement and restore continental neo-liberalism in a continental scale," he said.

The Cuban diplomat said Washington has returned to the "use of force" and the "imposition of unilateral coercive measures" in its policy towards the region.

"We will only advance through integration and unity within the diversity that led to the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Recent events show that the Organization of American States (OAS) and especially its secretary general are mere instruments of the United States," he said.

The official also expressed the island country's solidarity with Venezuela, saying the exclusion of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from the summit was a "historic setback" imposed by the United States.

The diplomat also condemned Saturday's missile strikes on Syrian government facilities by the United States, Britain and France.

Suspended for decades by the OAS, Cuba only returned to the Summit of the Americas in 2015 when the seventh version of the gathering was held in Panama.

  • Published in Cuba

Philippine Authorities Highlight Cuba's Educational System

Philippine Education Minister Leonor Briones was paid a courtesy visit by Cuban Ambassador Ibete Fernandez, with whom she assessed the possibility of starting relations of collaboration in the educational field.

The Cuban diplomat told Prensa Latina that the minister repeated the intention to implement the best and more applicable practices of Cuba's educational system and, above all, to learn from the process to build values among students.

Briones recalled that last year, the general director of Education of the Philippines visited Cuba, and she thanked the ambassador for the welcome he was given.

The official expressed her admiration for the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and underlined that although his physical departure was a great loss for humankind, his legacy remains.

  • Published in Cuba
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