Havana.- Ana Luz Porzecanski, director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, highlighted that her institution is interested in increasing ties with its similar in Cuba as regards to research, educational and museum programs.
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What will happen with Posada Carriles admirers?
Hot debated swirls around the case of an outlaw of Cuban origin who defends the most atrocious terrorist symbol on earth. It calls itself Islamic State (ISIS), when it’s not either of them.
Its fervent supporter is named Miguel Morán Díaz, but strikingly they call him Azizi al Hariri.
Which is the great interest that raises that situation among sectors of Miami and other places?
To what extent it renews - or not - the case of the continental terrorist Luis Posada Carriles who lives happily in that city for years.
Furthermore, closely related to this, what hint of blame falls on the enthusiastic admirers of Posada?
In order to answer that it would be necessary to make a brief synthesis of what happened in the last six months.
A New Herald journalist, Alfonso Chardy, informed this Monday that the case started by late January, when FBI agents discovered a Facebook profile where Morán Díaz called himself Azizi al Hariri.
According to Chardy, this sympathetic public of terrorism will be judged in that city the next July 27th.
Who will take this cause? The federal judge of the district Joan Lenard, the same that imposed brutal sanctions to Five Cuban antiterrorists.
Their names are well-known worldwide: Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando, and René.
Chardy commented now that when judge Lenard passes a sentence in the case of Morán Díaz, she will close a chapter that drew the attention of international media.
"An exam of the Facebook profile of Díaz revealed several articles related to ISIS, as well as a recent publication that shows him posing with a weapon", commented the journalist.
Also, reported the same source, he trusted one of his concealed men that with only one sniper he could set chaos in a city for seven days or more, "until they catch him".
About a month ago, on May 27, Morán Díaz was found guilty for possessing an illegal firearm, after "in 2005 he was caught with cocaine."
He is 46 years old, denied bail and judge Chris McAliley ordered to keep him incarcerated until trial because he is "a danger for the community."
The official also mentioned: his interest in the Islamic State, possession of a sophisticated rifle, intention of buying more weapons, their surveillance on a building of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as objective for a "possible terrorist attack."
In spite of everything, Alfonso Chardy commented, they didn't link him to any charge for terrorism.
His record, not being the same, reminds us of Luis Posada Carriles whose long criminal sheet can’t fit in simple journalistic articles.
Hence only 18 days away from the sabotage to a Cuba civil airplane in midflight, off the coasts of Barbados 73 people died, The New York Times said on October 24, 1976:
"The terrorists, who launched a wave of attacks in seven countries, during the last two years, were products or instruments of the CIA."
To support its argument, the Times pinned the cases of Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch Ávila who since their arrival in Miami in 1960 joined that espionage agency.
With these records, among many other in stock, the Venezuelan judge in charge, Delia Estava Moreno, passed an arrest warrant against Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch.
Proven accusations? Homicide, production and use of weapons of war and use of fake documents.
In late November 2010 there was a meeting of Cuban far-right members outside restaurant Versailles, in Miami.
Their agenda: to create a so-called Legal Fund Luis Posada Carriles to financially help the terrorist in his activities.
After that they orchestrated a large and noisy public homage in the streets of that Floridian city, something they repeated with Orlando Bosch Ávila.
Undoubtedly, the cases of Posada Carriles and Miguel Morán Díaz go hand in hand, although we must cross out a tiny difference.
The second one already has date for his trial, but the first has not, only his admirers support - until today – that infamous delay.
- Published in Now
Cuban President, Raul Castro, is attending today the Plenary Session of the Fifth Ordinary Period of Sessions of the Parliament Eighth Legislature, at the Convention Center of this capital.
After three intensive working days by commissions, legislators have discussed important problems of the Caribbean island's reality.
They monitored the population's statements in their neighborhood meetings of the delegates with voters, and their corresponding responses in each district of the country.
The sessions also included a joint analyzis on the supervision and control of the production of construction materials, housing and credits to the population.
The Parliament assessed the issues related to the behavior of the plan of the economy in the first half of 2015, and the report on the 2014 budget settlement.
A special moment of debates occurred in the International Relations Committee, where participants confirmed that Cuba will continue defending the just causes in the world, but the struggle against the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States is a priority.
Now the fight against this policy already exceeding 50 years is in first level, the president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, Kenia Serrano, said.
We need for this stage to have a more effective work through international solidarity, which in addition to plan it against the blockade we can offer support spreading the truth about the Caribbean island, a especially achievements on human rights.
Friends of the Caribbean nation can also report the subversive plans implemented by the United States, said Serrano.
In the debate on the economic blockade, the legislators agreed in using similar initiatives carried out during the struggle for the return of the five Cubans who were held in U.S. prisons for fighting terrorism since 1998.
- Published in Cuba
This volume makes emphasis on education, as a way to implement the Bolivarian dream.
- Published in Culture
In a moment that defined his visit to the Middle East last year, Pope Francis bowed in prayer as he touched the “separation wall” between Israel and the West Bank, sending a silent message against the divisive symbol and conflict.
When the pontiff goes to Cuba in September, before his back-to-back visits to New York, Washington and Philadelphia, he’ll be watched for similar actions – as much for what he does as what he says, one church expert said.
The pope is visiting Cuba on the heels of a historic thaw in relations with the U.S. that he and the Vatican played a key role in engineering, holding talks between the two countries in Rome last year. He wrote letters to President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro, initiating the dialogue, and assigned the archbishop of Havana to act as an intermediary.
Obama has since called for lifting the embargo on trade with Cuba after more than 50 years, and some steps have been taken toward that end, in addition to a loosening of travel restrictions to the island.
In North Jersey, Cuban-American Catholics welcomed the pope’s visit, but were mostly skeptical that lifting of economic sanctions would do much to influence the Castro regime. They said they hoped Pope Francis would address the Cuban peoples’ grievances with their government, including restricted civil liberties, its holding of political prisoners and the extreme influence of its military.
While many North Jersey Cuban-Americans interviewed last week would like Pope Francis to chastise Castro for his oppressive regime and expose a host of domestic problems, as a diplomat, his message is likely to be guarded, said the Rev. Claudio M. Burgaleta, a Jesuit scholar and associate professor of religion at Fordham University. During his visit to three Latin American countries last week, Pope Francis was generally silent on sensitive local issues that many activists had hoped he would address, opting instead to speak in general terms about freedom and environmental protection.
“It bears underscoring that Francis is going as the leader of the Catholic Church, but Francis is also going as a head of state – Cuba has diplomatic relations with the Holy See. I don’t think we can expect on an official state visit, that he’ll insult his host,” Burgaleta said last week.
But, Burgaleta continued, “He’s also a pope who’s rather unpredictable in his gestures. There’s an excitement in, ‘What is this guy going to do apart from the official schedule?’ ”
Pope Francis’ 2½-day trip to Cuba, his first as pope, will include a Mass in Havana’s Revolution Square, where his two immediate predecessors also held services. The pope will visit with Castro after the Mass. He’ll also meet with families and bishops and bless the city of Holguin from the highly symbolic Cross Hill – for Burgaleta, an unusual inclusion in the papal visit and possibly the site for an important gesture.
“A very important battle in the Cubans’ war for independence was fought there,” he said, referring to Holguin and its role in the 19th-century Cuban wars. “It will be interesting.”
Before he became pope, Francis wrote a book about Pope John Paul II’s speeches in Cuba, which focused on the importance of families and open dialogue, both issues Pope Francis has championed on the world stage. Burgaleta said he expects to hear some of those messages in Cuba, which has a high divorce rate and low birth rate, as well as increasing pessimism among young people and ongoing tensions between Cubans on and off the island.
The pope will leave Cuba for a five-day visit to the U.S., which includes a meeting with Obama and the first-ever address by a pope to a joint session of Congress. Burgaleta said that speech could include a reference to the Cuba embargo, which only Congress has the authority to end. But there, too, the pope may prefer to use more “coded language,” he said.
However he’s able to do it – in words or actions – many North Jersey Catholics of Cuban descent said they would like the pope to spur changes in the government’s responsiveness to the needs of its people, something they’re not confident ending the U.S. embargo will do – a position held by, among others, Cuban-American U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Marco Rubio of Florida.
Mendendez’s office declined to comment on the pope’s trip. A spokeswoman for Rubio referred to comments he made in May at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations, defining his own position as being in the interest of U.S. national security, whereas Pope Francis was seeking world peace.
“His desire is peace and prosperity,” Rubio, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, said of the pope. “He wants everyone to be better off … there are many Roman Catholics on the island of Cuba, and he desires a better future. And anything he can do to open up more opportunities for them, he’s going to pursue.”
Rubio said his own point of view is rooted in “the belief that it is not good for our country nor the people of Cuba to have an anti-American dictatorship 90 miles from our shores. A nation that harbors terrorists. A nation that harbors fugitives from American justice. A nation that harbors advanced intelligence-gathering facilities for China and Russia.”
Local parishioners also were concerned with Cuba’s repressive government and hoped the pope would address it.
“They’re being oppressed – men forced into the military and not having the right to speak their mind,” said Frank Velasco of Bogota, a former youth minister at St. Michael’s Parish in Union City. “If he can by a miracle happen to find a way to convince the Cuban government it’s completely not right, not Christian-like, that would be great. That would be a bigger move than anything ongoing between the U.S. and Cuba. That would be the biggest miracle.”
Velasco has faith that, while Pope Francis is in Cuba, “he’ll be able to speak his mind out more than any other previous pope. He might be able to forge some openness with the Cuban government and the rest of the world: releasing political prisoners, starting some open dialogue in terms of basic human rights, giving back to the people.”
Others were more skeptical of the pope’s possible impact, including Fernando Alonzo, a parishioner at St. Joseph’s Church in Oradell and staunch opponent of ending the U.S. embargo.
“Will Cuba change?” he asked. “So far all negotiations have brought no change in the way the Cuban government treats its people.”
Hugo Jimenez, a former councilman in Ridgefield, said he’d like to hear Pope Francis “promote freedom in general.”
“I just hope the progress continues,” he said. “I have a little bit of reservation it will continue in a positive way with Raul Castro being president.”
But if anyone can move Castro, it might be Pope Francis. Burgaleta, the church expert, noted comments Castro made during his visit to Rome in the spring, telling the press he was so enamored with the pope that he might return to the Catholic Church. “If the pope continues this way, I will go back to praying and go back to the church, and I’m not joking,” Castro said.
The Rev. Cesar Infante, a priest at St. Joseph’s of the Palisades Church in West New York, a city of many Cuban immigrants, said he believes the pope will, at the very least, be effective with the people in Cuba. Infante, who’s from Colombia, said he has noticed that Latin Americans have taken to his practical style and tangible examples.
Infante says some parishioners are “inspired by how [Pope Francis] addresses the people, his way of living. He’s reachable to people.”
- Published in Now
Visual arts are part of the cultural events of the summer, with some echoes of 12th Havana Biennal that just recently finished, along with new exhibitions, workshops and guided tours.
- Published in Culture
Viengsay Valdés, prima ballerina of Cuba's National Ballet Company (BNC), will perform the pas de deux of Don Quixote and Le Corsaire at the Music Center of Los Angeles, U.S.A., on July 13 and 14.
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The market-oriented reforms in Cuba and its improved ties with the United States have made the Caribbean country an attractive destination for business delegations from Europe and China in the past few weeks.
Spain's minister for industry, energy and tourism Jose Manuel Soria, and Italian vice minister for economic development Carlo Calenda visited Cuba this week with business groups, following delegations from France, the Uk and the Netherlands. A delegation from China's Shenzhen city visited the island from June 30 to July 1.
Soria, who was here to boost his country's trade and investment in Cuba in various sectors, said that the economic reforms launched by Cuban president Raul Castro is "marking the correct path."
Raul Castro introduced measures to reform the national economy soon after taking office in 2008, in a bid to build Cuba into a "prosperous and sustainable socialist nation."
Cuba's Council of Ministers agreed to "extend the experiment to private sectors" at a meeting in June.
The aim of the Spanish minister's visit, together with 75 business representatives, was to support Spanish companies interested in establishing themselves in Cuba.
"A new era full of opportunities is beginning in Cuba and Spanish companies can contribute their accumulated experiences in various fields such as industry, tourism, energy, telecommunications and infrastructure," said Soria.
In June, the Spanish Company of Financing and Development (COFIDES) decided to provide Spanish companies with €40 million (US$44 million) before 2017 for them to invest in Cuba and more fund will be available in the future, said Jaime Garcia Legaz, Spain's Secretary of State for Trade, who came together with Soria.
Spain is Cuba's third largest trading partner after Venezuela and China and has around 200 enterprises mainly in the island's tourism sector.
Italy, also aspiring to explore business potential in Cuba, sent a delegation of 150 businessmen to Cuba earlier this week, led by the country's Vice Economic Minister Carlo Calenda.
It is the largest group of Italian entrepreneurs to have ever visited Cuba, Cuban news agency Prensa Latina (PL) cited Calenda as saying.
Like Europe, China also holds an optimistic view as to the potential of the Cuban economy.
For China, Cuba is not only a market full of opportunities, but also essential to a greater Latin American market given Cuban's geographical location, said Chinese Ambassador to Cuba Zhang Tuo.
A Shenzhen delegation led by Mayor Xu Qin visited Havana earlier this month to further strengthen cooperation in several key fields, including investment, biotechnology, public transportation and infrastructure.
During the visit, Shenzhen-based battery maker and electric vehicle producer BYD won its biggest order since it entered the Cuban market last year: 719 gasoline-powered cars.
The delegation also met with Carlos Manuel Gutierrez Calzado, president of BioCubaFarma, the biggest biotechnology and pharmaceutical group in Cuba, to discuss the details of further cooperation.
Preceding the Shenzhen delegation, Chinese vice premier Wang Yang visited the island late June, when he called for strengthened planning in cooperation between the two countries on infrastructure, bio-tech, agriculture and renewable energy, as well as efforts to explore industrial and investment cooperation potentials.
- Published in Now