Cubans in the US to celebrate Havana's 500th anniversary

Members of the Alianza Martiana, which brings together Cuban emigree organizations in Miami, United States, will travel to Havana to participate in celebrations to mark the city's 500th anniversary.

According to a press release from the organization, 35 of its members will leave tomorrow for the Cuban capital to join 'these festivities of national and popular pride.'

They will also show their support for the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, and demand the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against the island, and the end of travel restrictions on US citizens, the text added.

The blockade has been imposed for over 55 years and has been condemned by the vast majority of the international community, as demonstrated by the most recent vote in the United Nations General Assembly on a Cuban resolution demanding an end to this hostile policy.

The visitors' program in Havana includes a meeting with the President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, Fernando Gonzalez, and the Director of Consular Affairs and Cuban Residents Abroad of the Foreign Ministry, Ernesto Soberon.

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Trump and failure as a reward for his Cuba policy

"We’re going to get Cuba worked out properly, not the way Obama did, which was a disaster that I reversed. We’re going to get Cuba taken care of,” assured the President of the United States, Donald Trump, when asked during an interview for Hispanic TV channel Telemundo, if he was looking for the Latin vote.

"We’re going to get Cuba taken care of, Venezuela… Who’s gonna be tougher with Venezuela and with Maduro than I am? Something terrible is happening in Venezuela and you know who’s causing the problem?
Mostly, Cuba. They’ve got 25,000 troops,” the president added.

And as proof that nobody has been tougher with Cuba than him, he added: “We’re sanctioning Cuba. I just stopped cruise ships from going to Cuba.”

The statements of the US president were made —by chance?— on the same day that the US government decided to include Cuba in its human trafficking blacklist, among other reasons, “for forcing doctors to be part of international missions.” According to the report released by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Cuba cancelled its Mais Medicos (More Doctors) mission in late 2018, after then President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, known as the Brazilian Trump, described it as human trafficking.

In short, apparently, Trump intends to get Cuba straightened out through a despicable policy that allows them to justify the blockade on the island. To such lies as the alleged sonic attacks against their diplomats and that there’s no food nor water in Venezuela because of the “Cuban empire”, they add now the manipulation on the doctors of the island who have fulfilled missions in around 70 countries and have saved millions of lives with their selfless and supportive service.

But the leader of the current administration does not care about the welfare or the fate of Cuban doctors, a lot less, the life or health of any poor person in this world. With regard to Cuba, he only cares about, as he clearly said in the interview with Telemundo, the Latin vote.

"I love the Cuban people from Miami and elsewhere,” said Trump in Telemundo on Thursday.

What Miami people did the president refer to? To the tens of thousands of Cubans from that city who have been forced to the family separation, after the violation of the migratory treaties, for the pretext of the alleged acoustic attacks? To most of those who emigrated after the 1990s, many of them for the shortages caused by the blockade, and who wish to have a normal relationship with their country? To the Cubans in Miami who know that he’s shamelessly lying to please, in his race towards the re-election in 2020, an anti-Cuban mafia expert on electoral frauds?

And so there were no doubts as to what “Cubans in Miami” he was talking about, he added:

"The people in Miami gave me the Bay of Pigs award before the election because they loved how I am handling Cuba issue. The Cubans gave me the Bay of Pigs award, did you know that?”

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

US Disregards Negative Impact of New Measures on Cuban People

The U.S. administration has tried this Tuesday to justify the new travel restrictions to Cuba with the argument that they are measures against the government, despite the warnings of their negative effects on the people.

Republican President Donald Trump, who has considerably increased hostility against Cuba, announced Tuesday that he will prohibit citizens of this country from going to Cuba under prior authorization known as people-to-people educational group trips.

In addition, according to a statement from the State Department, 'will no longer allow visits to Cuba through passenger and recreational boats, including cruise ships and yachts, and private and corporate aircraft.

With these controversial steps, the federal agency said it seeks to prevent U.S. travelers from 'enriching Cuba's military, security and intelligence services.

In its statement, the State Department once again linked the measures against Cuba with the solidarity it maintains towards Venezuela and the constitutional government of Nicolas Maduro, which Washington insists on disregarding despite having been re-elected in May 2018 with 68 percent of the vote.

Trump's administration will continue a failed 60-year policy that harms the Cuban people and denies Americans their freedom,' Engage Cuba coalition President James Williams wrote on Twitter after the new limitations spread.

When National Security Advisor John Bolton announced on April 17 that new restrictions would apply to non-family travel, different groups and legislators also referred to the impact on Cubans.

The announcement of the administration of new hard-line restrictions causes pain to families and affects the growing Cuban private sector, said then Florida Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor.

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Eminent Threat of the Vermin against Venezuela

On the wide spectrum of criteria on the matter it’s worth turning the eye to one in particular that was published last Sunday in Miami by the New Herald.

The name of the article:”How likely is a military intervention of the United States in Venezuela?

The author, Andrés Oppenheimer, an Argentinean born journalist more pro-Yankee than Donald Trump himself.

He begins, “although speculations on a military intervention of the United States in Venezuela are escalating, I think believe it’s very unlikely.”

However, he clarifies, after hearing from diplomatic sources that North American officials consider to summon the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance of 1947 (The Rio Treaty).

He said that he is less convinced than before that there won't be a military foreign action.

On the following line he explains his arguments.

Firstly, Donald Trump and his men go further in their discourse after the attempt of April 30 “to reestablish democracy.”

They were beyond their usual statements, all options are on the table, and the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said “a military action is possible.”

Secondly, in the White House there are some who fear that Trump is not longer taken seriously if he doesn't impose the force to overthrow Maduro.

His promises that he will overthrow Maduro “could begin to sound as his empty threats that “Mexico will build the wall.”

Oppenheimer, a famous “gossiper” of the White House, thinks that Trump’s greatest interest in Venezuela resides in that he wants to win Cuban-American and Venezuelan votes in Florida for the 20220 elections.

But it’s not discarded, and observers alert, also that the leader could be talked into using the military option in that country by some of his collaborators.

Thirdly, Latin American diplomats tell him that there are private discussions within the OAS to summon the Rio Treaty.

Who are the members of the Rio Treaty? The governments from the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Peru, that is, the rotten extreme right.

In his article, when he asked Trump’s special correspondent for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, (a Medieval figure) if there were secret discussions about summoning the Rio Treaty, he didn't confirm it neither denied it.

In spite of him, even Oppenheimer was forced to acknowledge that practically all countries of Latin America have already opposed a foreign intervention in Venezuela.

Cornered, the journalist tried to save his image when saying, but it’s unclear what would happen if more Venezuelans moved to neighboring countries.

He therefore gave credit to the hope that cynically keep depositing in the effects of the vicious attack of Washington against the South American nation.

The truth is that, as it has been defined for good, the vermin from Washington can’t be trusted a bit.

Why Havana Club is Unique and Why in Miami Mojitos are not Sold

A BBC report of the last year affirms that there are two versions of the Cuban rum Havana Club: “one which is for sale in the United States and another that is sold in the rest of the world.”

However, Yahima del Pilar Rodríguez Alvarez, communication specialist for San José rum distillery, where Havana Club made in Cuba is produced, the one which is commercialized in “the rest of the world”, assures that there’s only one and she explains some features of the process that makes it unique:

To obtain the base liquor “the raw material, the first ones which are water and the molasses, have to be authentic. The molasses is a by-product of the Cuban sugar industry, must be diluted in water and we add something that from the know-how point of view, or technology is only property of Havana Club, any other producer, even if it’s Cuban can use it which is the yeast.”

I say, those who produce Havana Club and sell it in 8th Street, for example, do they import the molasses from Cuba? Well, no. This would be a Puerto Rican Havana Club, fruit of those brother sugar plantations, but foreign anyway.

On top of that the recipe of the Cuban rum is very demanding, Yahima herself told us other details that differentiate it from the rest of domestic and foreign light rums:

“The yeast in the interaction process contributes certain compounds like ethers needed to obtain a liquor of unique quality and then the structure of the distillation column complete the unique taste of the sugarcane liquor that serves as base for our Havana Club rum.”

There are other important data: “The aging is natural, there is no control of temperature, neither control of humidity, it’s the exchange between that liquor, the oxygen that penetrates through fibers of the barrel and the barrel itself.”

“The natural aging distinguishes the light Cuban rum, in the case of Havana Club, it’s identified completely by a natural aging, in barrels of white oak that have already aged whisky before, that is part of the tradition that has become a law, that is, it’s part of the regulations established by Cuba Ron which is the Cuban party to which we belong. The aging must natural, full, and continuous, those are the characteristics we try to preserve in order to give the client that rum of quality.

So patiently, and with a lot of care “it’s obtained a dynamic system of rum bases and with different formulas, in different proportions, the rum master is able to tell apart one product from another, creating a taste profile for all dark rums of Havana Club trademark, beginning with the Especial, the Especial Plus, the Ritual, the Reserva, after that come the age markers, as in the case of the 3-year and the 7-year aged rums…”

Of course also the exquisiteness of the rum master and the taste judges put some spice in the process: “The rum bases have a minimum age which is that of the rum being produced, but more difficult than having the correct bases is to attain the same taste profile in each edition of the product, rum masters also contribute to that, because it’s them who make the adjustments to the formula to find the exact taste profile.”


It’s not like we don’t want to make a toast with a Mojito…

The recipe of the drink includes peppermint, sugar, and lemon in short that any bartender anywhere could fix the drink, but it clarifies: Cuban rum. Then I understand why in the United States, regrettably, mojitos cannot be sold.

It’s even clearer in times of a fundamentalist administration in the White House and systematic return to badly conceived plans like the Helms Burton Law, created to separate two towns, even families, like seas haven’t been able to do it. The blockade forbids raising a toast, each one in their side, with the same drink:

“We are present in more than 120 countries around the world, we work approximately with 60% of the total demand of rum worldwide, because the 40% appears in the United States and we don't have access to the North American market”, says Yahíma. Her colleague Venus Carrillo, Communication and Public Relations Specialist of Havana Club International S.A. adds:

“On the data collected through visitors from the North American market we know the rum Havana Club has good acceptance therefore sales would be guaranteed. The masters themselves have publicly said that Havana Club rum has today the capacity to cover the North American market, for both the pleasure and the production, but we cannot sell due to the limitations of the blockade.”

The hindrances of the blockade to our Havana Club began earlier: “Aging barrels are made from white American oak, they are imported, the U.S. manufacture them, we don’t have direct access to the North American market, then we buy them from Ireland or Scotland, after they are used to age Jameson, Chibas, we buy them from these producers already used, to give a bit, but not so much, because if they were new it would be whisky what we obtain. Undoubtedly just the transportation would reduce the costs, although they are trademarks commercialized by Pernod Ricard, and the negotiation among partners lowers the price, the distance increases”, Yahíma explains.

Venus shares eloquent figures, those that opened eyes wide: “Despite that, we are in 120 countries, we are today the number one in Premium and Super Premium rums, is the world trademark, although Pernod Ricard, to which we belong, is second as for commercialization, we have a very good position regarding rums.”

According to the BBC report, the litigation has been long and expensive, those “condemned” assure that they have “the recipe”, the owners have demonstrated they have the origin, the raw material and also, the recipe (you have tasted it). I tell you we have the molasses as thick as our will and of course, when the blockade is lifted, not the embargo as the BBC timidly names it, we will have a toast with mojito.

By the way, we’ll do it in our homes, using the Havana Club rum born in sugar cane factories, our factories… if we defend the mojito with such strength, imagine how it will be with our homes and land, with the freedom and the principles…

Edmundo García in Havana: «What’s Bad is to be Afraid of Fear»

After living almost twenty years in Miami, where he defended Cuba and its Revolution, Cuban journalist Edmundo García decided that Havana should be the core of his life and work.

«I returned to reside here as a cornerstone of my life and work in Cuba, but my goal is to transmit the issues of immigration, which the great majority is in Miami, from anywhere, from Cuba, from Spain... that doesn’t mean that I will go into exile from Miami. I will keep travelling to Miami when they invite me to participate in any debate», he said in conversation with CubaSí which we transcribe here below:

MHL: Let’s speak of the news. The New Herald has just given you a full column. I don't recall they mention you before...

Edmundo García: The New Herald mentioned me and Diario de Cuba, Cibercuba and a group of similar media follow suit, they all wanted to mention me. I posted in my Facebook that: who understands the media of Miami, because when I was there the only one who dared to invite me over, with all the wrongs and grief of sharing a TV studio with María Elvira, because she always assumed the position against my opinions, I must acknowledge that she was the only one who dared. The other ones didn't dare to debate neither to invite me. And now they want to publish my laundry receipts. They are willing to do everything or anything with me. There is even a newspaper of Miami offering money for an exclusive interview, but come to think of it, I give you the exclusive interview for free. Do you here in CubaSí pay?

MHL: No, we don't pay...

Edmundo García: I don't get it. What it does prove is that they listened to me; it’s that although they didn't invite me, they were indeed aware of my existence, of my opinions, because they have referred to them and, therefore, they listened to me...

MHL: Could it be considered the publication of a photo where you appear next to the Five Heroes as an act of intimidation?

Edmundo García: On my side?

MHL: On their side...

Edmundo García: I don't know that... Well, later I published one with Raúl Castro. Look I am not afraid of fear. What’s bad is to be afraid of fear. I am a transparent man and, supposedly, they should understand that I move among the standards of journalism and the life of a free man. I don't know why all the fuss. Although, in the end of the bottle, as Lezama Lima would say, it does create some intimidation.

MHL: You are a very peculiar émigré. You were first an economic émigré who was later politicized. You are the opposite of the old émigrés of Miami who are political émigrés. You were politicized in Miami taking Cuba’s side.

Edmundo García: Firstly, it’s good to clarify that I was always an economic émigré. I never had any problem with my ideas around the Revolution, around the history of Cuba, and I ended up in Miami for personal reasons. Now, there is no doubt that Miami gets into you. Even people who don’t have it in them the public attitude because they are not journalists, because they don't have media, I believe they are awakening. I get many messages telling me that, what it meant for them to hear and see the attitude that somehow I kept, unwavering, without hesitations. Miami is a Ñico López. Here there is a school for the Communist Party named Ñico López. Because when you hear the extreme right of Miami refers to Cuba... we must remember that they began hating Fidel and Raúl... and ended up hating the people of Cuba. If you have a shred of patriotism, ideologies aside, you don't have to be communist neither socialist, you can be more capitalist than Wall Street itself, but if you have a shred of patriotism, you will reject the extreme right of Miami. They hate the Cuban people. Let’s not forget the attitude of the Cuban–American congressmen, their celebration and boasting, when the measures against the Cuban families were passed when George W. Bush was in office that limited the travel of Cubans to once every three years and limited migrant remittances and so on; let’s not forget the celebrations those sectors had.

I remember he was very confused Lincoln Díaz-Balart, because I was working for Univision—everybody knows what’s channel 23—, and at a press conference he asked me if I wasn’t going to ask any questions. It seems that I had caught Lincoln’s eye, a bit of my irreverence already showed. And I told him: Look, congressman, when I hear you speak I feel a strong desire to return to Cuba and become a militiaman. That left him very confused.

MHL: And speaking of measures: the fabricated story about the acoustic attacks and the closing of embassies, consulates, employees... How does the ordinary Cuban of Miami see all that?

Edmundo García: Look, I believe is common knowledge that all that is a hoax. What’s the gain for Cuba in doing that? Do they want to raise enmity with the United States? It has never been in Cuba’s will to have enmity. Cuba is indeed a sovereign country. It’s mutual respect. Cuba doesn't have a budget for that or Task force whatsoever to undermine the North American politics. That topic is really to please... This is Trump’s commitment with Brigade 2506, with Marco Rubio, and the followers of people like Ninoska Lucrecia Pérez Castellón, Armando Pérez Roura, those oral clowns of Miami. The scientific community has disproved that. Cuba has always been very respectful. In Cuba there was always a concept of integrity, and still is, respect to the Vienna Agreements regarding diplomatic relationships. In Cuba there has always been a strict ethics in the treatment to diplomatic offices, and this comes since Fidel Castro until the President Díaz-Canel. The rumor that there is a sector of far left in the Cuban services is really an attempt to fool people...

MHL: And do people let themselves be fooled?

Edmundo García: I think that people know that it’s not true. Who benefits from what you do? When you do something, somebody obtains a benefit...

MHL: There must be a motive...

Edmundo García: And which is the motive? I think that is horseplay. I am sure that within the very FBI know that that is horseplay. My personal opinion, I can’t prove it—if I had how to prove it, I were Superman—, but in my personal opinion, this is a CIA operation. Let’s not forget who was the former CIA director, the person who now works as Secretary of State. Let’s not forget his relationship with senator Marco Rubio and let’s not forget the triangle with Donald Trump’s presidency. You can’t be deceived. You can be anti-Castro all you want, you can be also anticommunist, and now if you wish you can leave this part out, but from there to be an asshole, there’s a long stretch.

MHL: Did you participate, being there, in the summoning made to Cubans to participate on the debate of the Constitution Draft?

Edmundo García: I was aware of the debate on the Constitution Draft. I was aware through internet of the participation of Cubans. I think is very interesting and useful that Cubans participate. And I connect that with the topic of repatriation again. I believe that Cuban emigration should have greater presence inside Cuba. More sense of normalization, better communication. The repatriation doesn't force you to return to live in Cuba. You can live where you wish, however, you start having certain rights, including the right to vote. And also, it’s to settle the belonging to the roots, to strengthen the trunk to the roots.

MHL: While you have been here, did you see the debates on television...

Edmundo García: I don't know any process in the world, in the so-called democracies, and in the championships of «democracy», I don't know any referendum as the one Cuba is making in the topic of the Constitution. Summoned by Cuban authorities beginning with the first secretary of the Communist Party, the Army General Raúl Castro, to the common citizen. If anyone knows, I would like, if there has been a similar process since the Greece of the democracy until today please tell me, because in my illiteracy I don't know it.

MHL: And The Afternoon...

Edmundo García: The Afternoon Moves (La tarde se mueve) is the project I want to continue developing. Me, as presenter, my expertise is Cuban emigration. And that can be broadcasted from Cuba, from Miami, from Madrid. What I want is for my headquarters to be in Havana, but I can also spend time in Miami. Go to Miami and shoot programs, and participate in debates. I am a free electron; I am not bound to a specific geographical location. Ah, that Cuba is the natural scenario to address the emigration, of course is the best, because what I want is to magnetize the emigration with its origin. And we’ll see how we can guide again The Afternoon Moves, but my main topic is emigration. And, of course, that city that I won't say that it’s an illegitimate province, because I believe there are a lot of good people in Miami, most people are good, but with the attention in particular to that city, because I know it and because it really has a specific weight in the politics of the United States towards Cuba.

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Fish in Miami Hand Net: Duke, the Darner

Ivan Duque has expressed again on his taking command that he seeks to be the president who united Colombia, and to this purpose he will repair the wrongs of the previous magistracy, as if a real change of power had occurred. As if the true interests that prevail sympathize with the large number of beggars almost naked and children half dead sleeping outside the gates of millionaires, owners of the true power.

Although he has had to soften the style of his speech, his intention of changing what could had been a historical peace agreement between the former government and the Revolutionary Armed forces of Colombia, to please military bosses who were opposed to some of its terms has not wavered. I don't know why so much anger, when the event actually disarmed a guerrilla of more-than-half-century old, limit it to areas where military forces don't obstruct and collaborate with paramilitary forces that commit atrocities and kill former guerillas fighters and social leaders with impunity.

He says he will amend mistakes of the previous administration, but the truth is that in the way he seeks to govern in today’s Colombia is like darning or poorly patching the holes that will survive and will get even bigger over time.

Remember, the gathering of right-wing forces, including the supposed presidential enemy, Juan Manuel Santos, rendered unnecessary the usual stealing of votes to give him a historical voting of more than ten millions for a second round, although it was also suggestive that the left-wing supported Gustavo Petro with eight millions. Petro is at present concentrated on a national march to keep alive the peace agreement half-torn by the extreme right.

Honestly, there’s a part of Colombia where social issues are minors, there are huge profits from commercial resources that range from emeralds to flowers, passing through millionaire incomes from the seven bases granted to the United States and the growing drug trafficking that enriches large state owners and provides private armies mainly ran by gangsters who operate within North American territory.

Perhaps we still have on sight that wonderful Colombia seen at the Games of Barranquilla, with its hospitality and good treatment, with an excellent performance exhibit by the host country, only overcome by the final effort of Cubans and the surprising performance of Mexicans.

Duque, whom I believed, I confess, poor speaker, knows how to address the people who he convinces regrettably in many aspects, like when he said that he will govern without the Uribe’s shadow – as he is accused with justice - and will adopt an independent style.

But where he first celebrated his victory, next to Uribe, he was in Miami, next to Cuban and Venezuelan opposition, he promised them that he won't tolerate "a dictatorship in Venezuela", before that the now former leader Santos announced that Maduro’s days were numbered, apparently knowing the killing attempt on the Venezuelan President, where drones and organized mercenaries were used in Colombian territory.

From darner Duque there will more to write about, and let’s not find it weird that despite the cares of the Empire, he falls through one of those holes impossible to stitch.

End of U.S Blockade Against Cuba is Demanded in Streets of Miami

Washington, July 9 (Prensa Latina) The Martiana Alliance coalition, which gathers various organizations of Cuban emigrants in the U.S. city of Miami, Florida, called today for a new protest against the U.S. blockade imposed on the island.

It also called for a full normalization of relations between the two peoples and governments, and an end to restrictions on Americans traveling freely to Cuba.

With these purposes in mind, the Martiana Alliance plans to hold a caravan of cars next Saturday along important avenues in Miami.

We cannot sit idly while our families and the rest of the Cuban people suffer the consequences of these cruel and arbitrary policies by the administration of President Donald Trump,' said Andres Gomez, national coordinator of the Antonio Maceo Brigade, a member of that entity.

He also criticized the position of the Cuban extreme right wing allied with the government in the city.

On March 10, a caravan similar to the one planned became a way of protesting against Washington's decision, days before, on its embassy in the Caribbean.

The initiative was then valued as very good and timely by Damien Diaz, president of the Martiana Alliance.

There were no provocations by right-wing and anti-Cuban groups against our cars, and we felt the positive support of many people during the tour, Diaz told Prensa Latina.

We even heard shouts of Long Live Cuba! and Long Live the Revolution! as we travel down busy avenues in Southwest and near the University of Miami, he added.

As they have done on other occasions, the participants in the two-hour caravan also expressed their rejection of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba more than 55 years ago.

The U.S. State Department announced on March 2 that it will continue indefinitely to reduce staff at its embassy in Havana, despite calls from various groups to allow the return of diplomats and officials.

The number of people in the legation is similar to the level of emergency maintained after the September 29 departure order when Washington withdrew more than half of its officials citing health incidents reported by them.

A few days after such a move, the United States expelled 17 diplomats from the island's embassy in Washington.

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