U.S. Rep. Castor Meets with Cuban President, Stresses Importance of Continued Dialogue and Engagement

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) released the following statement after meeting with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel during his visit to the United Nations General Assembly today:

“For the first time in nearly six decades, the world is seeing Cuba without a Castro at the helm. For the United States, this is a new opportunity for improved relations with our neighbor just 90 miles off the Florida coast – one we cannot afford to let slip by. During the meeting, I stressed the importance of continued dialogue and engagement between the U.S. and Cuba to benefit the citizens of both countries. President Díaz-Canel expressed the hope for normal relations between the two countries as well.

“I shared the desire of Tampa families and businesses for greater opportunities in education, trade, health care, agriculture and more. The Cuban government has sent mixed messages and not followed through on some shared business plans during the most significant transition of power that occurred over the past couple of years. Cuba’s new leader has the opportunity to usher in a number of positive changes on the island and we encouraged him to focus on improving the everyday lives of Cubans including increased access to the internet and support for the Cuban private sector.

“Now, with the Trump Administration’s return to Cold War policies toward the island, it is more difficult to build trust and successfully push for improvements in family travel and human rights. At a time of historic transition in the leadership of Cuba and revision to its constitution, Trump has practically shut down the American embassy and America’s presence on the island including political officers that monitor human rights and promote American interests. This is unfortunate and unwise.

“Our wide-ranging conversation included a bipartisan and bicameral group of members of Congress and ranged from renewable energy, human rights, agriculture, travel, Venezuela, Colombia, telecommunications and even Major League Baseball. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, director general of the United States Department at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Carlos Fernández de Cossío, and Cuban Ambassador to the United States José Cabañas also were in attendance, as well as President Díaz-Canel’s wife Lis Cuesta Peraza.”

U.S. Rep. Castor visited Cuba in 2013, and upon her return she called for lifting the Cuba embargo and sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary Kerry outlining the changes, challenges, and opportunities she saw for modernizing relations with the island. Since then, she has brought Cuban Ambassador Jose Cabañas to Tampa to discuss greater engagement and economic reforms, held Tampa/Cuba forums to educate the Tampa Bay region’s families and businesses on the evolving landscape, attended the opening of the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C. and filed bipartisan legislation to lift the Cuba embargo to end the status quo in Cuba and make real progress on human rights. U.S. Rep. Castor revived the House bipartisan Cuba Working Group to build broader support in Congress for greater engagement with Cuba and has led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to the island to survey progress and examine travel, trade, jobs, internet access, human rights and agriculture. She has been critical of President Trump’s decision to reinstate failed isolationist policies towards Cuba.

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Cuba Condole Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s Death

Tributes to the former UN chief, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, also poured in from Cuba with President Miguel Diaz-Canel describing Annan as a “symbol of persistence and dignity” in a condolence message addressed to current UN chief Antonio Guterres.

With Annan’s death, “the international community loses one of its most prominent diplomats, a symbol of persistence and dignity because of his origin and his work,” the message said, Cuba’s state television reported.

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Annan served as the UN secretary-general from 1997-2006 and received the Nobel Peace Prize along with the UN in 2001.

He passed away in a hospital in Switzerland on Saturday after a short illness, his family announced on Twitter.

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In the 92nd Anniversary of his Birth: Fidel, a World Paradigm

He is outstanding for his exemplary conduct and intelligence, firmness and dedication to work, his ethical, human and solidary behavior, his vision of the world.

That afternoon of August 13th, 2016 a collective question rose at Karl Marx Theater: Will the Commander in Chief arrive? It was his 90th birthday and the children company La Colmenita had organized a great party in his honor.

Only a few more minutes before the beginning of the when the entire audience began to chant watchwords about his figure. Maybe he thought - in the simplicity and modesty he always showed - that it would have been disrespectful not to thank a gesture like that to the young artists.

Accompanied by Raúl, president Maduro and his wife Cilia, Fidel appeared smiling, proud of that childhood for whose rights he had always fought.

Today, exactly after two years, and for many is still among us the undefeated Commander in Chief, the man who rallied multitudes seeking a dream, woke up the conscience of a people and led it to the final victory.

In Fidel are reunited the freedom ideas of the martyrs of the Homeland, from Varela, Luz y Caballero, Maceo, and Martí. In the lives of each of these men – as well as so many others who even gave up their lives – is the root and foundation of everything he did for a nation free and sovereign.

His personal example and intelligence, his determination and dedication to work, the ethics, human and solidary behavior, his vision of the world, made of him a world paradigm.

For those who dreamt a different Cuba after his decease, the current road and domestic development is the expression that when ideas and principles are fair, they last in time. Consequently the current historical continuity of the Revolution.

His long speeches are astonishing and later his deep reflections. The climate, the grounds, agriculture, health, education, culture, politics. What didn’t Fidel know about? His wisdom was, truly amazing and, at the same time, he knew that it was necessary to speak to the people, to explain and support any idea, regardless how insignificant it seemed.

For all that, a better date could not have been chosen to begin in Cuba the process of popular consultation for the Draft of the Constitution of the Republic, approved last July 21st and 22nd, during the First ordinary meeting of the National Assembly in its IX Legislature.

In the Main Report to the First Congress of the Party, which Fidel presented in his condition as first secretary of his Central Committee, as far back as year 1975, appeared essentials on the new Constitution, the one which was later approved in February 1976.

"Today we need a socialist Constitution that meets the characteristics of our society, with the social conscience, the ideological convictions and goals of our people. A Constitution that reflects the general laws of the society we build, the deep economic, social and political transformations done by the Revolution and the historical achievements conquered by our people. A Constitution in short that summarizes what we are today and that helps us reach what we want to be tomorrow."

The strength of such words leads us to ratify the foresight of his ideas, his experience and political commitment. On top of that idea we must place his concept of Revolution, a worthy legacy for the everyday life of all Cubans.

The idea "I am Fidel", was born in the heat of a collective feeling, he is present in each Cuban that admires his spotless behavior and personal example. The historical leader planted ideas and principles that right now have the duty and responsibility of pushing forward.

The President of the Councils of State and Secretaries, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, has inherited the ideas of Marti, and Fidel, revolutionary and patriot, and the Cubans who today trusts that he would know how to lead our nation explicitly, convinced of the legitimacy and fairness of the cause for which the youths of the Generation of the Centennial fought lead by Fidel.

“We will be faithful to Fidel Castro's legacy, historical leader of the Revolution, and also the example, value and teachings of Raúl Castro, current leader of the revolutionary process", highlighted Díaz-Canel during his first speech before the National Assembly of People’s Power, when assuming the presidency of the Republic in April this year.

August 13th the undefeated Commander in Chief won't be physically among us. For that reason our best homage - indeed - will be to participate and intervene with solid arguments in the scheduled meetings to carry out the popular consultation on the Draft of Cuba’s New Constitution, in an attempt to improve what has been achieved in all these years of Revolution, what was his greatest work.

Shanghai Party chief meets Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana

Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang met Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana on Tuesday.

Li sent President Xi Jinping’s regards to Diaz-Canel and congratulated him on the newly-elected leadership of Cuba in April. Li said the same ideology binds China and Cuba closely together.

In the new era of Sino-Cuba relations, China will unfalteringly carry out win-win cooperation with Cuba and advance the Sino-Cuba relations, Li added.

Diaz-Canel said that Sino-Cuba relations have reached its historical best, and Cuba is working hard to further renew the model of its social and economic development. Cuba is willing to carry out overall cooperation with the Communist Party of China and learn the experience in developing socialism from China.

From July 14 to 17, Li headed a delegation to visit Cuba. During his visit, Li met Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, general secretary of Worker’ Central Union of Cuba, and Jose Ramon Balaguer, head of the International Relations Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.

Li also attended the 24th Sao Paulo Forum and delivered a speech; visited Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology; and attended the Picture Exhibition of Shanghai’s 40-year Achievements of Opening-up and Reform with leaders of the Communist Party of Cuba.

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Cuban President Diaz-Canel Attends Sao Paulo Forum

The President of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, is attending today in this capital the closing day of the 24th Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum.

At the Convention Center, the leader participates in a plenary session dedicated to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, one of the promoters of the Forum which was created in 1990 to promote the unity of the progressive and leftist forces of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The heads of state of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, Bolivia, Evo Morales, and El Salvador, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, as well as personalities and representatives of political parties and organizations, are also at the meeting to honor Fidel Castro.

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More than 600 delegates from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe are participating in the twenty-fourth edition of the Sao Paulo Forum, which was held on the island after the meetings of 1993 and 2001.

The unity of the left and the progressive sectors centered the debates of the meeting in a context marked by the offensive of the regional right and the escalation of the hegemonic positions of the United States government.

The Sao Paulo Forum is expected to adopt here a declaration aimed at outlining strategies to relaunch the left and counter the onslaught of the defenders of neoliberalism.

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Cuban President Receives PM of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The President of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, received in Havana today the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves.

After the Protocolary Ceremony at the Palace of the Revolution, the two leaders held official talks.

Previously, Gonsalves, accompanied by the Cuba Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rogelio Sierra, honored the National Hero of Cuba, Jose Marti, at the base of the monument which bears his name.

The Prime Minister has visited Cuba several times, within the framework of good relations between the two member countries of the integrationist bloc Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America.

Gosalves became political leader of the Unity Labor Party on December 6, 1994.

He has been Prime Minister since 2001 and has been consecutively re-elected in the general elections of 2005, 2010 and 2015.

Comrade Ralph, as he is also known, has researched, written and published on the Caribbean, Africa, trade unionism, comparative political economy and general development issues.

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Cuban President congratulates new President of Mexico

The Cuban president, Miguel Diaz Canel, sent a congratulation message to the president-elect of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Pedro Nunez Mosquera, Cuban ambassador to Mexico, reported the news in his Twitter account.

Diaz Canel joined other heads of state who congratulated the candidate of the coalition Juntos Haremos Historia. Lopez Obrador celebrated a resounding victory in his tenacity for the presidency.

Lopez Obrador’s first words, after the National Electoral Institute confirmed his irreversible superiority in the voting, were headed to the leaders and international organizations that congratulated him.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

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Reply Message to Kim Jong Un from Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez

Kim Jong Un, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, received a reply message from Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, president of the Council of State and president of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, on June 28.

The message expressed sincere thanks to Kim Jong Un for expressing profound condolences and close solidarity in the period during which Cuba feels pain over the tragic passenger plane accident which occurred on May 18, on behalf of the people and government of Cuba and the bereaved families of the victims.

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