How one Cuba scoop led to another

While the so-called Cuban dissidents, like Yoani Sanchez make hundreds of thousands of dollars to repeat the editorial policy of the media campaigns from the U.S. government against Cuba, the AP staff of journalists who revealed the USAID’s conspiracy to send young people as missionaries of subversion to Cuba only earned a reward of 500 dollars.

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Brigade defies U.S. travel ban on Cuba

Twenty-two courageous U.S. citizens, members of the 45th Venceremos Brigade, crossed the Peace Bridge from Erie, Ontario, Canada, into Buffalo, N.Y., on Aug. 3, proudly declaring that they had defied their own government’s ban on travel to Cuba. Along with groups of supporters, they held demonstrations on both sides of the border, confronted U.S. customs ­officials and asserted the importance of challenging the decades-old U.S. blockade of Cuba.

The Venceremos Brigade is a U.S.-based anti-imperialist educational work project that organizes travel to Cuba annually, breaking the travel ban to stand in solidarity with Cuba and allowing thousands of U.S. citizens the opportunity to see Cuba for themselves.

The Brigade was welcomed to Cuba this year by Fernando González, who, along with Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and René González, was arrested in 1998 in the U.S. All five were given harsh and unfair sentences for monitoring Miami-based terrorist groups operating against Cuba. They are known as the Cuban Five. René González and Fernando González are back in Cuba after serving their full prison sentences, and both of them are fighting for the return of their other three comrades to their families in Cuba.

As the brigadistas marched back into the U.S. with fists and voices raised, they chanted over and over, “It’s time to end the damn travel ban!” The solidarity rally that greeted them picked up the chant, holding banners that demanded, “End the blockade against Cuba!” and “Free the Cuban 5!”

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Cuban Vice-president awarded with Medal for Merit in Colombia

The medal, handed over in a ceremony held in Bogota, was awarded to praise her work and results while heading Cuba´s audit entity.

On behalf of Cuban people and government, Gladys Bejerano detailed the history of Cuba´s Comptrollership as well as its goals and missions.

Likewise, Bejerano noted we must keep on working hard to ensure greater efficiency in the audit work, especially now with the economical update carried out in the island.

Bejerano is in Bogota to attend the inauguration of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in his second term.

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Russian Duo Wins Top Prize at Circuba 2014

Russian Spirin duo won the Grand Prize of the 13th Summer Circus International Festival, Circuba 2014, after the presentation of its act Shadows, which was full of control, strength and balance.

  • Published in Culture

US legislators criticise subversive USAID plan against Cuba

US legislators and health activists have criticized the recently exposed US plans to use an HIV-AIDS campaign in Cuba to carry out political activism, saying that such covert operations put US health programs at risk in all parts of the world.

The program, which was financed and supervised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), included sending a dozen Latin American youngsters to Cuba to recruit leaders and encourage a rebellion on the island.

Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, who heads a commission that supervises USAID’s budget, said on Monday that the situation would be worse than irresponsible if the agency planned to design an HIV campaign with political aims.

Meanwhile, members of InterAction, an alliance for international assistance, said that the use of a group of people to do espionage under the umbrella of an HIV action is unacceptable and that the US administration should never put at risk health or civic programs for the sake of doing espionage against any targets.

According to documents prepared for the USAID-sponsored program, cited by the Associated Press (AP) news agency, the HIV workshop was the perfect excuse to carry out political activity.

Leahy said that perhaps the USAID contractor found benefits with the idea, but it translated into a black stain on the long background of the agency as a leader in global health issues.

Meanwhile, AP gave more details on Tuesday about the disclosure of the subversive plan led by USAID.

Over the past two years, USAID sent to Cuba a dozen inexperienced youths from Venezuela, Costa Rica and Peru, reportedly to strengthen political opposition against the Cuban government. The Peruvian citizens, hired by USAID to boost political actions at universities, were led by two university students from Lima, one of them being the current advisor to the Peruvian minister of education.

Felipe Valencia Dongo and Jose Galves were well aware of the covert and illegal mission, which was cancelled following several security problems and because they were not able to achieve their goal, according to documents obtained by AP.

For USAID danger was evident, and also for the Latin American youths because one of the subcontractors on the payroll of USAID was Alan Gross, who had just been arrested in Cuba by the time the plan was launched. Gross is serving a 15-year prison term on the island.

For its subversive program USAID hired the Washington-based services of Creative Associates International, which was also the cornerstone to create a Twitter-like anti-Cuba social media platform called ZunZuneo, the existence of which was also exposed by AP in April. This plan aimed to send SMS messages to hundreds of thousands of Cubans to encourage political dissent.

Creative Associates member Irving Perez told Galves and Valencia Dongo during a conversation on Skype on September 3, 2010, that total discretion was crucial for the mission, which had been launched a year before. Valencia Dongo, who is now an official with the Peruvian education ministry, also passed the message to Pérez.

The collapse of the two-year operation led by the two men is extensively detailed in a report made by Perez for USAID on March 15, 2011, according to AP. Valencia Dongo’s mother, Bernarda Quintanilla, was the legal representative of Strendia, a company that her son and Galvez set up to receive funds from USAID.

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With Jorge Gutierrez in limited role, Mexico defeats Cuba to advance to CentroBasket Finals

With a minor shoulder injury --and three games in three days-- Jorge Gutierrez played limited minutes Wednesday night as Mexico advanced to the Finals of the FIBA CentroBasket tournament by beating Cuba, 85-70. He played only 14 minutes and attempted only three shots, finishing with no points and two assists. Mexico plays Puerto Rico on Thursday night for the championship. On Tuesday night, Gutierrez led Mexico to a win over Puerto Rico, scoring 24 points.

In an interview, Gutierrez said the Nets have supported his participation in the Central American tournament and the World Cup, which opens August 30. Gutierrez is only of five Nets currently playing for their national team in FIBA competition, the most of any NBA team. As of now, he said, he's focused on winning Thursday.

"At the moment I'm not thinking about that right now (in the next NBA season), what I want is to play well, get ready for the World Cup and finish the Centrobasket," he told Media Tiempo.

Meanwhile, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and Gutierrez announced that the FIBA Americas tournament next summer will be held in Monterrey, Mexico.

"Bringing international events helps us because we compete at home, with our people and facilities against the best in the world. This allows us to generate better preparation and a winning mentality when we go abroad, "Gutierrez said. "Our goal is to win," said the NBA player.

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Revelations by Agent Daniel on the Travelers Program

About the new findings published by the AP involving USAID and its contractor Creative Associates International on shipping secretly to Cuba, since 2009, Latin American youths using the coverage of civic and health programs to promote subversive activities, Juventud Rebelde talks with Raúl Capote, former agent Daniel, Pablo to the CIA; who was in contact with these groups in their early days.

Raúl Capote, writer and university professor, former agent "Daniel" of Cuban security and "Pablo" for the Central Intelligence Agency-the CIA- still keeps fresh in his mind the day–at the end of 2009- on which Rene Greenwald, the CIA official who he worked with, and Marc Wachtenheim, in Cuba for the Pan American Development Foundation, talking about the idea of a project like the one that is being reported now, and asking him to support a group of young people coming to the island to search for and identify political activists and leaders within the universities.

Capote's experience as a CIA agent in the Genesis project, which sought to train "activists" through scholarships abroad and upon return to become leaders within their schools, and even take responsibilities within the UJC and FEU- would serve the interests of these young 'travellers' of the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, with little experience in the subject of Cuba.

"They needed me to give them guidance on how to reach out to our youngsters, who could be recruited and trained with the aim of promoting among young Cubans a new kind of political opposition. This has much to do with Genesis, which was exactly what they wanted, creating a counter revolutionary leadership in Cuba in the intellectual field, which had social bases and support in an important sector of the population.

"But from 2008, when the most important phase of Project Genesis began, they were going to start the scholarship scheme to train" leaders" in European and North American universities - they began to shuffle the idea of "contractors" -actually mercenaries- coming to Cuba -now we know that they could be from Creative Associates International-able to "prepare" college students in the field."

Between 2009 and 2010 some of those people began to arrive in Cuba. "I remember in 2009 a Honduran and a Guatemalan, -you can even see me walking with them in the material Manufacturing a Leader in Reasons of Cuba- and we go to the University of Havana, do a tour, precisely on Student's Day, and see my participation in all the activities they had planned," he recalls.

"It was an ordinary day, as always, a big fiesta; but they wanted to see close up what was happening in the University environment. I made up a story and they fell for it with a set of three totally opposite historical moments, because we were talking about what Student Day meant in Cuba, but also the famous confrontation in Prague of the Czech students against Nazism and that day also marks the fall of socialism in Czechoslovakia, therefore, I put out the idea that many of these youngsters knew that this day was celebrating the fall of socialism in Czechoslovakia and some, influenced by the Genesis project, were celebrating at the same time as Student Day and it had to be done covertly," recalls Capote narrating his adventures.

"The thing that amazed me –and also in my contact with the CIA agents- is how little they know about Cuba, they have such a closed idea of what happens in the country that when they come and see students of the faculty of Philosophy are doing a culinary competition and when they appear in the dining room with a tray as part of the exhibition of dishes with a fried egg, a few peas, they see that as an act of dissidence, rebellious, a challenge to the " regime ", great stuff.

"At another time of that day, recalls Capote, they went to see Clytemnestra, a play prepared by the students, and when the energetic actress screams "Freedom!" that girl who was with me "her hair stood on end" thinking about the possibilities that exist with these students for their purposes. The culmination of that day was when they got to listen to the songs of a group of troubadours, very young, little known in the media and the songs were quite critical about everyday things that happen in their college or Cuban society and that they understood as the beginning of the end of the Cuban Revolution."

For former agent Daniel, that profound ignorance the enemies of Cuba have of our society is what makes them fail: "They confuse the dissent of revolutionaries, human beings by nature, with opposition to the system and that is the great mistake because they have never been able to find that person who might be leader of the change they seek."

Memory and the five CUC

According to documents and stories revealed by the AP, Latin American youths, recruited by USAID to subvert the order of the country from the universities, began arriving in Cuba In 2010,. Among the anecdotes of Raúl Capote is one about the Costa Ricans who wanted direct action at the University of Havana.

"The "ticos" came with a mission to gather information about what was happening in academia and identify who that they could come to and subvert, and even came with flash drives that brought in a manual prepared especially for young Cubans to overthrow the Revolution and the task of going to the University of Havana and distributing the flash memories and giving five CUC to each student, and there I came in to deter them."

The simple arguments of Capote put paid to the idea: "Look, if you arrive and you hand it to the youngsters on the steps they are going to use the money for a fiesta or spend it on the corner and they will delete the manual and eventually that will not get you anywhere. Also it seems very risky and not serious."

Then came a Colombian, who was much more professional and -he told us- linked to the work of USAID and the Pan American Development Foundation visiting the University with me, also with the aim of finding ways to prepare for the arrival of the 'travellers' in Cuba and setting up this type of element.

At that time, agent 'Pablo' of the CIA had precise instructions from his contact, Rene Greenwald, to prepare a group of these Latin American youngsters now known as the 'travellers' program.

"They asked me to keep a low profile, not to raise suspicion, help the "travellers" in everything that could to make their work succeed. They even trained them to know the names of teachers of the Latin American School of Medicine, ELAM, they were given a white coat, a stethoscope to carry in their bag, medical books; everything needed if someone asked them at some point, or anywhere in the country, simply respond that they were foreign students at ELAM and what they sought was with other students."

A different collar?

The clock is ticking against the American government plans to overthrow the Cuban Revolution with unconventional warfare strategies; if before it was with the application of extraterritorial laws and the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, for some years they have been doing it by means of subversion, but with the same purpose, to overthrow socialist Cuba.

USAID began promoting scholarships abroad, but it was cumbersome to achieve, then they endeavoured to teach online courses in the Interests Section in Havana, later came on site courses to train their opposition leaders in power. Now immigration policy has changed in Cuba and they are beginning to exploit the use of scholarships abroad to prepare their "leaders", but it doesn't change anything in the strategy?

For Raúl Capote "all those plans were hastily driven by the American government in order to have a trained favourable leadership that took power in the time of generational change in Cuba. But to date, they lack the necessary basis, with activists to act on what they call the "generational change" which they're told is very close."

The sum of plans against Cuba continues, but the goal is the same: "The Genesis project in leadership training, the program of 'travellers' reported by AP, ZunZuneo," the Cuban Twitter "; Piramideo, and others, is the same, attempts are part of a grand scheme to overthrow the Cuban Revolution through subversion," he stresses.

In Cuba, the CIA and USAID envoys have only found people looking to make money, and subversion has become a business to benefit personally and often counter-revolution activists are "fighters" for a visa to travel abroad. That's the kind of human material with which they have encountered."

Just before we parted, Raúl Capote, who cannot shake his trained vocation, sums up: "They need another type of person in order to fulfil their plans against Cuba, people with other human qualities, skilled people with a social base, with conviction, and that it is very difficult; precisely because each time you are a leader or a person with that ability that they are looking for, it is a revolutionary, trained in the best values of the nation; people with more qualities in our universities, and those who will never betray their country."

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"Cuban Five" Receive Nelson Mandela Award

The award will be part of the struggle to release the three anti-terrorists that remain imprisoned. 

The Geller Foundation, which is based in Philadelphia, granted the Nelson Mandela Award Wednesday to the “Cuban Five”, three of whom are still prisoners in U.S. jails.

The group has been hailed as heroic in Cuba because they were defending their country from terrorist attacks financed by the U.S. government. They were unjustly convicted in the U.S. in May of 2001.

The award ceremony was headed by the director of the Center for Cuban Studies, Sandra Levinson, who highlighted the granting of this award to the Cuban Five and explained that this distinction is bestowed upon those who best exemplify the legacy of Mandela's struggle.

During the ceremony held at the headquarters of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) in Havana, Fernando Gonzalez, one of the antiterrorists released last February, thanked the Geller Foundation for granting him the award. 

“We accept this award as part of our commitment in the battle to bring back Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino and Antonio Guerrero," he said.

Gonzalez also said the amount of the prize - which has not been revealed - will go to the legal battle to free his colleagues so they can return to Cuba.

Meanwhile, Rene Gonzalez, the other anti-terrorist released, said that he was honored by this award and called to fight for the real legacy of Mandela's life.

“In that spirit, we have to keep fighting against the injustices that still exist, which are many and brutal like the Israeli aggression that is perpetrated these days against the Gaza Strip," he said.

The ceremony was also attended by Mirtha Rodriguez, Antonio Guerrero's mother, who expressed her gratitude for this award "to the nobility of the cause of the Five." She also expressed her appreciation and endearment to these men for the "fair and just cause they defend."

The Cuban Five were unjustly imprisoned in the United States after being arrested by the FBI on September 12, 1998 and convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami in 2001, in a political prosecution by the U.S. government.

However, their  actions were never directed at the U.S. government and they never engaged in nor planned any conspiracy.

They never harmed anyone nor did they ever possess or use any weapons on their mission. Their objective was simply to protect the Cuban people from U.S.-backed terrorism.

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