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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UN vote on Cuba's resolution against blockade: 189 in favor, 2 against, no absentions

United Nations, November 1 (RHC)-- The United Nations General Assembly passed with 189 votes in favor and only 2 against -- the United States and Isreal -- a Cuban-sponsored resolution on the necessity of ending the blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.

This was the 27th consecutive time, since 1992, that the world body approves such a resolution, urging the U.S. to lift its coercive measure against the Caribbean state.

Prior to the vote on the resolution on the U.S. blockade, the eight amendments introduced by the U.S. government to try to confuse UN member states were rejected, one by one, by the UN member states.  The only three votes in favor of the U.S.-proposed amendments were those of the United States itself, Israel and Ukraine.

In his speech at the UN General Assembly on Thursday morning, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez insisted that the U.S. blockade violates the human rights of the entire Cuban people.

Shortly before the vote, Bruno charged that despite all the pressure exerted on sovereign nations and the amendments introduced by the U.S. government to try to create confusion and boycott the debate and approval of the resolution against the U.S. blockade, he was confident that the resolution would be passed as traditional -- with the support of the vast majority of UN member states, represented at the General Assembly.

Senior representatives of national governments, regional blocs and international organizations and took the floor, during Wednesday's and Thursday's sessions, to explain their vote in favor of the Cuban-sponsored resolution and against the U.S. blockade, urging Washington to listen to the claim of the vast majority of the international community represented at the UN General Assembly, thus correcting this wrong by repealing, once and for all, the economic siege of Cuba.

The rejected the extraterritorial nature of the U.S. blockade and the obstacles it imposes on Cuba's normal economic, trade and financial relations with the rest of the world.

Edited by Ed Newman
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United Nations General Assembly to vote resolution on the US economic blockade

New York, November 1 (RHC)-- The UN General Assembly will vote today on the draft resolution calling for the end of the US blockade against Cuba. Foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla told TeleSur  that once again the document will garner the overwhelming support of the international community.

The minister added that on Wednesday 31 delegations took the floor at the General Assembly Hall to voice their rejection of the hostile measure and called for the end of a policy that violates the human rights of an entire people.

Cuba's top diplomat noted that the United States has tried to distort the nature of the resolution with the addition of eight amendments which seeks to alter its content arguing presumed violations of human rights on the island, in order to obtain  a pretext to further reinforce the blockade.

Rodriguez projected that there will be a rejection of the US amendments, and that like on the 26 previopus occassions, the international community will flattly rejectythe long-standing hostile and extraterritorial measure.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares

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Blockade to Cuba Isolates United States at UN

United Nations, Oct 31 (Prensa Latina) The international community demonstrated on Wednesday at the UN, for the umpteenth time, its rejection of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for almost six decades.

Representatives from all over the world raised their voices in the plenary session of the UN General Assembly to support a draft resolution, presented by Havana, against this punitive policy.

Latin America and the Caribbean denounced the U.S. strategy, which they considered an obstacle to the development of Cuba.

The economic, commercial and financial blockade violates international law and the UN Charter, and constitutes a violation of Cuba's right to interact fully with humanity, declared Venezuela's ambassador to the UN, Samuel Moncada.

Speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Moncada denounced that the direct and indirect damage caused affects all Cuban sectors, including health, nutrition, agriculture, as well as investment, trade, tourism and banking.

Similarly, the Chinese ambassador, Ma Zhaoxu, called for respect for the legitimate right of peoples to self-determination and reaffirmed Beijing's opposition to unilateral sanctions imposed by other countries.

Both Vietnam and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) criticized the blockade for the damage caused to the Cuban people.

On behalf of the G-77 and China, Egyptian representative Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta condemned Trump's government's policy and reiterated the forum's commitment to the UN Charter, in particular the principle of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of states, which must be assumed by all.

As spokesman for the African group, the Moroccan Abdeslam Jasni urged Washington to put an end to this punitive measure, which he considered a stumbling block for the development of the island.

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Despite Blockade, the Revolution Continues, Cuban President Says

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said on Saturday that despite the hostility of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade, the Revolution continues, faithful to its principles.

'Despite the #blockade, hostility, political maneuvers and the actions #the United States carries out to impose a regime change in #Cuba, the #Cuban Revolution is here, alive and strong, firm, faithful to its principles! #NoMasBloqueo #UnblockCuba #SomosCuba,' the president posted on his Twitter account @DiazCanelB. A few days ago, the head of State demanded an end to that genocidal policy that Washington has maintained against Cuba for almost six decades.

'We will continue to demand tirelessly the end to the cruel economic, commercial and financial blockade of #Cuba and just compensation for our people due to the economic and material damage caused in so many years of aggression. #NoMasBloqueo #UnblockCuba #SomosCuba', Diaz-Canel posted.

On October 31, the United Nations General Assembly will vote for the 27th consecutive year on a draft resolution calling for the end of the US siege of Cuba.

Since 1992, the initiative has had a majority support at UN's main deliberative body.

On the last three occasions, 191 of all 193 UN member states supported the resolution. In 2017, only the United States and Israel voted against it.

For 26 years, the international community has supported similar initiatives in the multilateral body, where the US siege has been described as a crime, injustice, a violation of human rights, an obstacle to development and a vestige of the Cold War.

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US Academic Participates in International Forum in Cuba

Washington, Oct 25 (Prensa Latina) The 4th Conference on Strategic Studies that is taking place in Havana is being attended by a US academic who has been interested in the Caribbean island for years: Gary Prevost.

The Minnesota-based researcher and Cuban Professor Carlos Oliva will take part in a panel on US foreign policy that will particularly deal about relations between the Donald Trump administration and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Prevost's participation in the conference is not odd, because, as he told Prensa Latina recently, he has visited Cuba a score of times, either due to his academic interest or to do solidarity work.

He recalled that in 1970, a group of activists invited him to join the second edition of the Venceremos Brigade, the first international initiative of its kind to visit Cuba to express solidarity and challenge Washington's economic, commercial and financial blockade.

At the time, Prevost could not visit Cuba because he was in the US Army's reserve and was training, but a decade later, as a professor of Political Sciences and Latin American Studies, his interest in Cuba increased.

Finally, he traveled to Havana in 1984 to start a research and establish relations with local academics. Since then, he has become more familiar with Cuba and its challenges, he recalled.

His participation in the event organized by the International Politics Research Center, which opened on Wednesday and will end on Friday, marks 'my 18th time on the island', said Prevost, who commented that in some of his trips, he took groups of university students.

The professor emeritus, who has taught at the Saint Benedict College and the University of Saint John, is also a member of the Minnesota Cuba Committee, which organized the conference of the National Cuba Solidarity Network in Minneapolis from October 19 to 21.

Prevost has been a long-standing researcher on relations between the two countries and when he was asked about the current situation of bilateral ties, he noted that there is no doubt that they are at a difficult time.

However, he highlighted the importance of the agreements signed between the two countries 'during the short window' that opened under the Barack Obama administration, in reference to the process of normalization of relations announced in December 2014 by the Democratic statesman and then Cuban President Raul Castro.

It was very significant that when US President Donald Trump asked to review the policy on Cuba, all US agencies said that those agreements had to be maintained in such fields as the environment and law enforcement, due to their national interest, the researcher underlined.

Prevost does not think that a change in the US policy on Cuba will be possible in the near future, but he noted that when that happens, the way will be paved for faster progress in some bilateral matters.

Regarding how solidarity organizations can contribute to objectives like the end to the US blockade or the elimination of the travel bans imposed on US citizens, he said that work is being done at several levels.

He pointed out that at the grassroots level, they are working with community groups and other organizations that are interested in specific matters, in order to connect them with Cuba and establish people-to-people links and among institutions.

A member of our committee worked to link the Minnesota Health Department with the Public Health sector in the Cuban province of Villa Clara, he noted. Prevost added that actions are being taken with local politicians so that they take a stance against the blockade, and underlined the fact that the Minnesota delegation in Congress has a record of opposition to that policy and the travel bans.

This year, the Council of the city of Minneapolis approved a resolution against the blockade and we are working at present with the city of Saint Paul, the state capital, where he expects to have a similar result, he said.

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Alicia Jrapko: “The blockade is genocidal, criminal, irrational, and immoral”

The United Nations General Assembly begins and once again the voice of Cuba will rise against the blockade imposed by the United States on this little island, but while diplomacy does its part in New York, the US people accompanies us from Washington in this fair claim to put an end to the genocide.

Alicia Jrapko, a beloved friend of Cuba, partner of our most urgent causes, talked to CubaSi via email on the Days of Action against the Blockade that the Solidarity Committee organizes in the North American capital.

Would you tell us on the main actions you plan to carry out?

“This is the fourth day against the blockade in Washington DC that our committee develops. The actions include public activities with special guests and visits to the Congress. Although last year’s event focused on healthcare and this year’s on education, the fact is that the blockade affects the daily life of an entire population”.

Why the emphasis on education?

“The goal of the events at DC is to raise awareness on the blockade of the United States, but at the same time, we want that the people reflect on some important questions, for example: why the budget priority of the US government is to increase military spending, rather than granting priority to education? And in contrast: why Cuba, a small and blocked country, gives priority to education from the day-care center to higher education? All these questions help us show the great injustice of the U.S.-Cuba policy. For example, many people are unaware that 32 million adults in the U.S. do not know how to read. And these are the official figures. However, in Cuba, since the triumph of the Revolution not a single school has been closed. Despite the economic difficulties, the blockade, Cuba’s achievements in terms of literacy and education are the admiration of the entire world. Two US graduates from the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) will accompany us and be able to bear witness to the generosity of the Cuban government for offering free education to young Americans from humble families, with the sole condition of returning to their communities and offer healthcare with a global and humanistic vision. They will also be able to talk about how the blockade affects Cubans”.

The screening of documentary “Maestra” (Teacher), by filmmaker Catherine Murphy, is part of the activities.

“One of the main events of this day, on September 26, will take place at a movie theater, where we will show two documentaries: “Maestra”, on Cuba’s Literacy Campaign in 1961, and “Lucha Sí!”, the fight for public education in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Following the screening of the documentaries, we will have a presentation chaired by the filmmakers of both films with the participation of the public, ELAM graduates and a Cuban educator who took part in the National Literacy Campaign, Norma Guillard. The other activities will be at universities, and this year we’ll also have one in a high school in Washington DC”.

Last year, the emphasis fell on Cuba’s achievements as regards health; now, on education. However, many question Cuba’s respect for human rights. What do you think?

“Regarding Cuba’s respect for human rights, my opinion is that the country that violates human rights most is the United States. The right to health, to education, to a decent dwelling are real human rights that Cuba practices with all its inhabitants. That is not the case of this country, where health and education are privileges for an elite, and entire families increasingly shelter under the bridges of the big highways, or sleep in their automobiles, should they have them. That is a real human rights violation. The topic of human rights violation is a great hypocrisy and a big lie, which actually has no valid arguments, a big manipulation from the groups interested in reversing the few positive steps that have been taken to change the U.S.-Cuba policy, something that most of the US people want, including Cuban Americans”.

Why do you continue fighting along with Cuba for the end of the blockade? What motivates you?

“As a Latin American living in United States, I think that solidarity with Cuba is fundamental. Cuba has been an example for Latin America as regards the construction of a supportive society, with very humanistic values, in contrast with consumption societies, where the material thing is the priority. Cuba has played a fundamental role in Latin American integration. I feel a lot of indignation whenever I hear the lies of the media outlets and many people who ignore Cuban reality. Cuba is a supportive country with all peoples in the world, it is the first country to offer aid before natural disasters, and it is an example of what can be done when priority is set on the basic needs of the human being. It’s not perfect, like any society, but I do know that Cubans work together every day to improve it, and that is what U.S. does not want. Cuba’s potential is huge, and if it has achieved so much even blocked, it’s unimaginable what it could have done or might do in a future without blockade. The blockade is genocidal, criminal, irrational, immoral. I live in this country since long ago and injustice hurts me greatly. I know Cuba and the troubles they face every day because of the blockade. I am convinced that what the U.S. does not forgive Cuba is to be independent and sovereign. But I can assure you that there is an increasingly large number of people in this country who love and respect Cuba”.

You are a woman who has been very close to Cuba. How would you define our country and our people?

“I define Cuba as example of a society that is built based on solidarity, and as an alternative to the capitalist world. I define the Cuban people as an educated and dignified people who fight at all costs against injustice, without giving up their principles and “without losing tenderness”. Many people from the United States go to Cuba and return enamored with its culture, its sportspeople, its urban crops, its cooperatives, the respect and affection that Cubans profess one and other. There’s no other explanation than that of a country, which dedicates its daily effort to build a society with deep humanistic values. The fight against the blockade has been very long. Soon, it will be demonstrated at UN once again that the entire world is against the blockade. I am convinced that, sooner or later, Cuba, its people and its government, accompanied by friends from all over the world, will also overcome this injustice”.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

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