Cuba Expects Over Four Million Tourists despite Blockade

Cuba expects to close the year with the arrival of 4,300,000 tourists, Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero announced Friday.

It is a lower figure than the original plan, particularly because of the tightening of the U.S. blockade against Cuba, which includes new bans on visits by citizens, cruise ships, sailboats and airplanes from the northern country, the official said. Before the MPs of the National Assembly of People's Power and in the presence of President Miguel Diaz-Canel, the Minister of Tourism said that these measures caused a reduction in tourism activity of 20.33 percent in June.

In 2018, 4,732,280 tourists arrived, so the goal for 2019, after Washington's bans, will be cut by 10 percent.

He said the country intended to receive one million cruise ship passengers this year. At the moment we don't have any ship operating in Cuba,' he said.

There have been 2, 468 023 visitors and the year should end with more than four million tourists despite the effects of the blockade, Marrero assured.

He added that in 2019 Cuba will have 4,000 new rooms, while the investment process advances for the renovation and construction of hotels as well as for extra hotel activities.

Marrero pointed out that the conditions are being prepared for the construction of the country's first theme park, and the number of dolphinariums is increasing.

He emphasized the safety conditions of the Cuban destination, one of the reasons expressed by visitors to choose Cuba.

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US Blockade Affects all Cuban Sectors

The rector of the University of Havana (UH), Miriam Nicado, said Friday that the US blockade against Cuba affects all sectors of society , even the academic.

'The confrontation goes beyond the ideology, it extends very strongly towards the academic side', denounced the Cuban MP in a meeting with the members of Pastors for Peace, who visited the University.

After thanking the presence of the North American group of solidarity with Cuba, Nicado recalled the continuous visits of Lucius Walker to the Caribbean nation in front of such a noble project, with which, he affirmed, he won the affection of the people of the island.

'Having her daughter here (Gail Walker) makes you feel that the story has not stopped and (...) is an example of the continuity of their work and solidarity,' she said.

Nicado praised the Pastors for Peace as patriots for their unequaled defense of collaboration and respectful relations between the Cuban and US people.

Similarly, the rector said that the new measures of the United States Government hinder academic exchange and, therefore, affect professionals at the University of Havana.

She added that every day the Cuban people feel more strongly the negative effects of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by Washington for almost 60 years, which she considered an attempt of isolation and homicide against the Cubans.

Gail Walker thanked the caravan members, who come from the United States, Mexico and Canada; and many of them are for the first time in the Caribbean nation, she said.

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Tampa Citizens ask Trump to Revert Travel Restrictions on Cuba

The city of Tampa has called on the administration of Donald Trump to reverse the recent restrictions on travel to Cuba, the ambassador of the Caribbean country, José Ramón Cabañas, who visits that American city, said today.

The diplomat posted on his Twitter account that during his stay in that city in the southern state of Florida,the City Council passed a resolution on June 13 asking the federal government to reverse these measures.

Such document defended the freedom of Americans to visit the neighboring nation, and referred to the historical relationship with Cuba 'as longer and richer' than that of any other American city with the island.

The text recalled that the National Hero of Cuba, José Martí, spent time in Tampa in the 1890s, when he obtained support for the independence struggle of his country against Spain and gave some of his most famous speeches.

He also stressed that the city has a historic opportunity to restore commercial, family and cultural ties with Cuba, and stressed that direct flights and cruises to that territory created hundreds of jobs in Tampa.

The resolution mentioned as positive the way in which the visits of North Americans boosted the growth of the private sector in Cuba, and regretted that the new travel restrictions can harm local companies, cause the loss of jobs in the city and make entrepreneurs Cubans lose their savings.

That document adopted by the local council was a reaction to the measures adopted by the administration of Donald Trump on June 5 that prevent Americans from going to the island on group educational trips known as people to people.

So far that was the most used route for Americans to go to the neighboring nation, since they are prohibited from visiting it as tourists and to go to that territory must be included in any of the 12 categories of travel authorized by the federal government.

At the same time, the Trump executive vetoed the departure to Cuba of some aircraft and boats, including cruises, the means of transport of more expansion among the citizens of this country to address the West Indian.

During the visit to Tampa, which will continue tomorrow, the Cuban ambassador spoke with Councilman Bill Carlson, with whom he said he had held a conversation about the historical ties between the city and Cuba, and about how to strengthen bilateral ties.

In addition, the diplomat reviewed with the president and executive director of the Florida Aquarium, Roger Germann, the progress made in the collaboration between that institution and the National Aquarium of Cuba during the last three years, after the signing of a joint memorandum.

Cabañas also paid tribute to the National Hero of Cuba in the Friends Park of José Martí, located in the Ybor City neighborhood.

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Global Organizations Continue Rejecting US Hostility against Cuba

Havana, June 22 (Prensa Latina) The hostility of the United States Government against Cuba with the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, which tightens the blockade, is still being condemned by world organizations.

In Rome, political and solidarity organizations with Cuba held a protest against the intensification of U.S. policy towards the Caribbean nation.

The participants expressed their support to Cuba in the face of the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton and other measures, while highlighting the bravery and determination of the Cuban people in the face of successive attacks by the White House administration.

This week Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel reiterated that Washington's economic blockade of his country will never block the principles, convictions and patriotism of his people.

In a message on Twitter he pointed out that the financial and resource consequences of the intensification of the blockade with the more severe application of the Helms-Burton Law, after its Titles III and IV were activated, will not affect the independence and sovereignty of the country.

In Havana, on the occasion of an economic forum with about 120 businessmen, the European Union condemned the extraterritorial, unilateral and contrary to international legislation applied by the United States against Cuba.

At the same meeting, Hugo Beteta, Director of the Subregional Office in Mexico of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, pointed out that Helms-Burton, with its abusively extraterritorial character, prohibits the right to trade and investment among nations and is an attempt against multilateralism.

The most recent incident of the Trump government against Cuba is the inclusion of the country in a report on human trafficking, which was rejected by the Cuban authorities, who described it as arbitrary and unilateral.

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USA: Witches on the loose against Cuba

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin informed on Tuesday they further tightened up the strong siege on Cuba.

They imposed it (the blockade) in early February 1962 and then had only introduced changes to make it more harmful.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) began its rejection with 59 votes and has remained with the vote of almost all of its members.

Now, Mnuchin announced that the educational and cultural group trips of Americans to the Caribbean nation were banned.

They also banned visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, and private and corporate aircraft.

“Cuba plays a destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere, provides a foothold in the region,” added Mnuchin.

But the Secretary of the Treasury didn’t stop, he went on to say:

“Cuba props up U.S. adversaries like Venezuela and Nicaragua, fomenting instability and undermining the rule of law”.

Then he commented: “This government has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions on Cuban regime”.

And he concluded repeating an old script:

“These actions will help keep US dollars out of the hands of Cuban military, intelligence and security services”.

In addition, they restricted the so-called “people-to-people” travels, why are they trying to reduce them to the minimum?

The fact is that such dinosaurs as Trump, John Bolton, Elliot Abrams and Marco Rubio are unable to resist any exchange of ideas.

The links between Havana and Venezuela upset them a lot, but they idolize the bonds they keep with two sinister figures, ruling Brazil and Argentina.

And what to say about the vast scorn that, in general sense, comes up towards the private sector in Cuba?

They confirm it now by banning the sale of private vessels to their Antillean neighbor.

In short, the witches lurking around the White House are on the loose, they do not understand they only exacerbate hatred and the spirit of resistance against them.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

Russia will provide assistance to Cuba as one of its main regional allies — official

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov met with Vice President of the Cuban Council of Ministers Ricardo Cabrisas on Tuesday

Cuba is one of Russia's main allies in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Moscow will provide assistance to Havana in the conditions of US sanctions against the island nation, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said on Tuesday at the meeting with Vice President of the Cuban Council of Ministers Ricardo Cabrisas.

"Our relations are traditionally friendly, and we consider Cuba as one of our main allies in Latin America and the Caribbean" Borisov said.

He noted the difficult situation in Cuba because of the US sanctions against Havana and pledged Russian help. "We will support you in every way," he stressed.

Borisov and Cabrisas are co-chairs of the Russian-Cuban inter-governmental commission on trade-economic and scientific-technical cooperation that held a session in Moscow earlier on Tuesday.

The Russian deputy prime minister noted that Moscow actively participates in energy and transport projects that are important for the Cuban economy.

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Borisov added that bilateral trade turnover stood at less than $200 mln but "now we can talk about significant increases in trade turnover."

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We Cubans do not give up

On April 17, 1961, Cuba was invaded by a brigade of Cuban-born counterrevolutionaries, organized, trained and equipped by the CIA and the Pentagon. The day before, aircrafts bombed the tiny revolutionary aviation on the ground without achieving their goal. The invaders were defeated and arrested, mostly, in less than 72 hours of constant and bloody combats, including heroic air actions of the pilots of the revolutionary air force. Hundreds of thousands of Cuban men and women, full of patriotic and political awareness, took up arms and, as Fidel once said, we could have simultaneously defeated several landings like that. In April 1961 we were already much better human beings thanks to the revolutionary practice and reading, linked to the exceptional teaching of Fidel’s speeches.

The White House chose the anniversary of its failed invasion of the island so its mediocre Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and criminal National Security Adviser John Bolton announce new sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. They do not want to leave a single independent government standing in our America. Pompeo informed that as Helms-Burton Act (HBA) Title III establishes, Americans are allowed to file lawsuits at courts of their country to claim compensation for their properties confiscated in Cuba. In an act of supreme illegality within a really colonialist legislation like the Helms-Burton Act, contrary in all its content to the international law, Cubans who did not have US citizenship at the time of the nationalizations are authorized to sue too.

From Clinton to Obama, every six months the acting president waived activation of the lawsuits. It was not gratuitous. It was due to a protest of the governments of the European Union and Canada for the harm that those claims could cause to their companies on the island. Apparently Trump has decided to ignore that deal. It is already usual that he kicks Europeans out and does not care about them, except to demand from them bigger contributions to NATO, or accept Washington’s actions that harm them. But there’s despair to frighten off foreign capital from Cuba behind what would seem another diplomatic swindle of the United States. Nothing new, because the blockade has been based on that logic for six decades: to attack incomes so Cubans rebel against the government.

Individuals and companies from U.S. could have reached compensation agreements with Cuban authorities but Washington refused to talk. It was already preparing the invasion of Cuba and figured out that a stooge government in a few months would again be installed on the island that would return their properties back. Since then, there have been 58 years of constant and failed attempts to put an end to the Revolution with different tactics, from terrorism to the ever hardened blockade. The best evidence that the compensation could have been viable lies on the satisfactory agreements reached by the island’s government with companies and citizens from Spain, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom, which received their compensation years ago.

Bolton chose Miami to make his announcement, protected by veterans of the great defeat at Playa Girón and of decades of terrorist actions against Cuba. The defeatist vocation of the American imperialism’s Cuba policy is strange. By the way, if Bolton managed to count on that beaten audience it was thanks to Havana, because after capturing the invaders of their homeland, it respected their physical and psychological integrity and also facilitated an agreement with Washington that allowed their quick comeback to Miami in exchange for several tons of food and medicines.

Bolton "was pleased to announce" they would reinforce the application of the Helms-Burton Act Title IV. That is, many fewer Americans will get visas to travel to Cuba. Also, that Cuban Americans, who had no limits in the amount of remittances to their relatives on the island since the Obama administration, now can only send $1,000 per quarter. Strangely, this measure greatly hits the emerging private sector on the island, although it is frantically carried out hoisting antisocialist banners.

As a whole, between these measures and the previous ones adopted by Trump, Cuba will be deprived of billions of dollars in revenues, vital for the importation of food, raw materials and medications. They take these steps at the same time that the so-called Lima Group miserably slanders Havana for its fraternal solidarity with Venezuela.

Faced with these criminal actions of Washington, the response from Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel was fast: “Nobody is going to take away from us, neither by allurement nor by force, the Homeland that our forefathers won us standing. The attitude towards those holding the sword against us will not change. We Cubans do not give up…

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

President Diaz-Canel Denounces the Blockade Impact on Cuba's Economy

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel denounced on Sunday the impact of the US blockade on Cuba's economy and the resurgence of this hostile policy at the National Assembly of Popular Power.

The blockade is present and has intensified with the current administration, he warned at the Economic Affairs Committee of the parliament, in which its deputies analyzed the fulfillment of the Plan of the Economy this year and the projections for 2019.

Diaz-Canel pointed out actions framed in the blockade as the financial persecution of the operations that have to do with Cuba, translated, among other aspects, in pressures and fines to foreign banks.

In this scenario, he described as meritorious the anticipated increase in 2018 for the Gross Domestic Product of the country, which will close the year slightly higher than one percent, although below the expected two percent.

It is a discrete growth, which still does not impact as we need in the lives of people, but it is meritorious given the complexities we face, he said.

According to the statement made by the Minister of Economy and Planning, Alejandro Gil, in addition to the US blockade and its resurgence, Cuba suffered significant damage due to the impact of weather events, including Hurricane Irma, at the end of 2017, and the rains associated with the subtropical storm Alberto.

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