US Seeks Excuses to Intensify Blockade against Cuba

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez has reiterated today that the US Government is seeking pretexts to increase confrontation and intensify the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on the island for almost six decades.

He who speaks about alleged deliberate acts against US diplomats in Cuba blatantly lies. There is not the slightest evidence or scientific explanation. The US is always manipulating for political purposes. The US is always finding out excuses to increase confrontation and intensify the blockade, the FM wrote on his Twitter account @BrunoRguezP.

Cuban Government ensured yesterday that there was no evidence of acoustic or other attacks against US diplomats.

No possible authors have been identified, nor any people with motivation, intention or means to execute this kind of actions, stressed Lieutenant Colonel Roberto Hernandez who attended yesterday a press conference at the Foreign Ministry.

The General Director of the US Office in the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, said again that the island guarantees the security of all people, including diplomats accredited here.

Fernandez de Cossio expressed that Cuba has not questioned the existence of sick staff. The truth is that based on the research done and existing evidence, nothing indicates that the disease they may suffer or the symptoms reported are the result of their stay on the island.

Meanwhile, Mitchell Valdes, director of the Neurosciences Center of Cuba, summarized the work done by the committee of Cuban experts and the Academy of Sciences of the island on the alleged health incidents reported by US diplomats.

Washington insists on using the term attacks for the alleged health problems experienced by its diplomats, a position that Havana frames in the interest of the current administration in the White House in reversing the steps taken toward improving relations by previous administration of Barack Obama.

  • Published in Cuba

China Denounces Human Rights Violations in US

China on Thursday denounced the constant violations and lack of protection of human rights in the United States in 2018, in response to a document published by Washington that criticizes Beijing for alleged abuses in that matter. The document, published by the Information Office of the Council of State (Cabinet), mentioned the threats against women in terms of sexual harassment and assault, as well as the lack of personal security.

It referred to the increase in women's discontent about their positions in society, labor discrimination and the wide wage gap regarding men, because they earn only 80.5 percent of what their male colleagues make.

On the other hand, the so-called 'Human Rights Record of the US in 2018' said that the country has the highest rate of income inequality in the West and nearly half of the households are affected by financial difficulties.

It added that the low-income population lacks medical insurance and there is a high number of homeless people, deaths due to drug overdose and suicides. The report made emphasis on the uncontrolled use of weapons, the situation of abuse of power by public officials and the frequent cases of criminal violence, which rose to 1.24 million with a high number of deaths.

Regarding the freedom of the press, the document noted that it was dealt an unprecedented blow, and the reporters' legitimate rights to interview were violated.

'According to a report from the non-lucrative international organization Article 19, published on May 2, 2018, the atmosphere for the press in the United States has further deteriorated and journalists were victims of attacks, search, arrests, interceptions on the border and restrictions to publish public information,' the Chinese government said in its report.

The 'Human Rights Record of the US in 2018' also referred to an increase in intolerable opinions on religion and that online surveillance by the US government violated individual privacy.

Among other matters, it pointed out that unjust judicial sentences resulted in erroneous convictions and public officials used violence abusively.

China responded in those terms to a report published by the United States a few hours ago, and criticized Washington's double standard, because as it self-proclaims a human rights champion, it has a domestic record of deficiencies and violations in that matter.

  • Published in World

Cubanisms: North American Band with Deep Cuban Musical Roots

The echoes of Jazz Plaza still bounce in Cuba. Every year the festival becomes a true musical bridge among groups of different formats that defend various sounds, going hand in hand with the countries they represent and the roots or musical influences they have.  

The story in this article speaks about the band Cubanisms, a North American jazz band from Kansas City but with the Cuban tres guitar and the fusion with different sounds of our country build up the essence of its musical arrangements, even the primary source for inspiration of its leader and musical director Michael McClintock.  

This multiethnic band is sounding since 2015, last year 2018 they earned according to the newspaper Pitch the “Best local Band”; the nomination as “Best performer” went to McClintock; and its vocalist, Fedra Cooper, received a nomination for “Best vocalist”.  

They have been trying to come to Cuban for a while now as a group and participate, after in 2017 they launched their first album: “Cuban accent”, where songs like El cuarto de Tula, Inolvidable, and Aguanile stand out. The group also has interesting song arrangements of Flor Palida, of Polo Montañez, and other icon songs of the Cuban music besides Michael already works in the writing of his own songs thinking of the second album. Without renouncing to the essence of their proposal so far.  

Going back to their presence at Jazz Plaza Festival, they took an important step when they were in Cuba in January 2018. They promoted their disk here in Cuba, McClintock had the chance of being invited as tres guitar player to play with different Cuban bands, and that opened him the doors to come in 2019. Besides, the band’s debut album competed in the category of International Prize in Cubadisco 2018.  

Of course whenever asked about the drive of this special opportunity he always asserts that it’s his wife Dálida, Cuban through and through and whom he met precisely here in one of his previous trips to take tres guitar lessons.  

“She has a huge energy and an organizational capacity that I’ve never seen in anyone. She takes my musical career more seriously than me. She is my manager, consultant, main promoter, she gives ideas, and what’s essential, inspiration source. I am blessed to have met her and have her by my side", said the musician.  

He decided to establish a romance with the Tres guitar after listening Barbarito Torres (Buena Vista Social Club) for the first time, Mc Clintock deepened: "The Tres guitar is basically an accompanying instrument, essential when defending Cuban traditional music. What I think is interesting in our proposal is that the arrangements and proposals of Cubanisms are not bounded to traditional music: we shift in styles like jazz, flamenco, bossa nova and other Brazilian rhythms. All that merged with the Afro-Cuban rhythms.  

We are extremely happy, because Jazz Plaza was the first international performance for Cubanisms, and the first time the band was in Cuba complete. It was an honor for all of us to be able to perform in one of the most important musical festivals of this country.  

In fact, we are working in our first DVD with the footage of the concerts in Bertolt Bretch and at Fábrica de Arte, a place simply incredible, where people connect with one in a very natural way.  

That is something that all my musicians praised here and that it differs when we perform in Kansas City or anywhere within the United States: the way in which the public connects and gets involved with our music. I believe is in the blood of Cuban that musicality.  

The essence of what we seek with Cubanisms is that when people listen to our music they can identify us right away. I personally love Cuban rhythms and the fusion with other sounds of different countries. We are working so that the second album, with most of the songs written by me, it comes the as near as possible to that objective", he said.  

An interesting element is that Cubanisms is more than a musical band. Since it started wants to become a cultural project that also includes the organization of trips to Cuba to be deeply involved with culture, the traditions and different institutions, besides working as bridge in the relationships between our country and the United States. A bridge spread by music, love and respect to our people and its culture.

Cuban Activist Warns about Danger of Foreign Military Bases

The president of the Cuban Movement for Peace and the Sovereignty of Peoples, Silvio Platero, said today that it is important for the media to warn of the danger of foreign military bases in the world.

Speaking to Prensa Latina, Platero referred to the role of media and social networks in spreading the threat to peace these enclaves entail.

According to the activist, there are more than 800 US military bases and about 200 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the world.

It is vital that the world knows this danger, argued Platero, who participates in the National Council of the Cuban Association of Social Communicators scheduled until tomorrow at the Havana Convention Center.

He also highlighted the work of social communicators in Cuba in regard to the need to know that 'peace is not just absence of war.'

He also considered it appropriate to disseminate the proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace, adopted in Havana in 2014 during the II Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

The Cuban Movement for Peace and the Sovereignty of Peoples works in the articulation of efforts with organizations and individuals on the island and abroad interested in contributing to the global campaign for the peaceful coexistence of states or nations.

The non-government organization works with fighters for peace in the world and has established a wide coordination with other entities whose work objectives are in favor of it, without distinction of ideological, political or religious positions.

  • Published in Cuba

Contradictions in Lula's Sentence, According to Brazilian Justice

The Federal Public Ministry of Brazil informed that there are omissions and contradictions in the sentence for corruption ruled by Judge Gabriela Hardt against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been in prison for 325 days.

Hardt, who replaced Judge Sergio Moro en the anticorruption operation Lava Jato, sentenced the ex-workers leader to 12 years and 11 months in prison for active and passive corruption, and money laundering, in the Atibaia case.

The judge considered that Lula benefited from works worth some 273,000 dollars that three companies did in a country house in the municipality of Atibaia, in Sao Paulo.

The house belonged to the entrepreneur Fernando Bittar, a friend of the former leader who gave it to Lula in 2010 for the enjoyment of his family.

Although that fact was verified, the judge claimed that the former president benefited illegally from the repair works on the building by the companies Odebrecht, OAS and Schain.

An investigation into Odebrecht's tip payment system, which was submitted by Lula's defense lawyers to Moro, demolished the accusation that the contractor had granted any amount of money to the former union leader to reform the house. The defendant denies having committed any irregularities.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, Lula was accused of ten crimes of passive corruption. 'Some items of the sentence mentioned the practice of the crime of active corruption by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.'

As it is just a material error, 'the Federal Public Ministry demands that the contradiction be rectified, so that it becomes a crime of passive corruption.

The prosecutors noted 'an omission in the sentence'. The sentence handed over to Lula by Judge Hardt is longer than the one ruled by Moro. In July 2017, the then Lava Jato judge sentenced Lula for other alleged cases of corruption to nine years and six months in prison, a sentence that was extended later to 12 years and one month by a regional federal court.

  • Published in World

Why is the Campaign #YoVotoSí of Cuba Annoying?

More than one report published by foreign agencies accuses the Cuban government of deploying a strong propaganda for the passing next February 24th of the new Constitution.

"In buses, in supermarkets or in television: in Cuba, the socialist government's slogan #YoVotoSí for the new Constitution to be voted next February 24th, appears everywhere and it generates critics in the social networks", said AFP.

It’s curious that it raises concern for the campaign of the #YoVotoSí and absolutely no concern for that of #YoVotoNo, launched by the U.S. against the constitutional referendum to try to influence the results.

Some say that an electoral campaign has been launched, but they forget that this popular consult on the constitutional draft project that began since August 13th until November 15th and it was approved by the National Assembly in last December, it is not that sort of campaign because it was not carried out in favor of any candidate running for a position and it’s neither banned by the law.

Apparently it unsettles that the Cuban government has been able to run a democratic, communicative, and transparent process, something unthinkable right now in countries like France, where the yellow vests movement has three uninterrupted months of protests against Emmanuel Macron, to whom Saturday after Saturday they demand for social justice, to reform the Constitution seeking a full democracy and carry out national referendums on relevant issues.

The truth is that, regardless who hurts, in our country an exercise of profound debate was developed which in turn gave way to a Constitution that is the outcome of a collective construction, shaped to the country we live in and we want. A Constitution that leads the way, not just in Latin America, but also worldwide, due to the rights that it comprises and the warranties of those rights.

But why does the campaign #YoVotoSí annoys anyone?

Well, perhaps it annoys because with that firm Yes we reassure that, after 60 years of the victory of a Socialist Revolution, Cubans have historical memory, and that neither Obama with his actor charms, neither Trump with his evident stupidity can make us give it up.

Those who are annoyed with this Revolution should get really mad and try to imitate us or surpass us regarding democracy. Why Donald Trump doesn't organize a national referendum of his politics, instead of financing imperialistic coups against the sister Venezuela and Anti-Cuban campaigns?

The Constitution we Cubans will approve this Sunday is the Constitution of our people; it’s the Constitution of our youths; it’s the Constitution of our students. We wrote together and we will defend it together.

  • Published in Specials

Russia Denounces Deployment of US Forces near Venezuela

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday denounced the deployment of special commandos and military equipment from the United States near the border with Venezuela, and the preparations for a provocation, according to the most demanding rules of ''the military manual''.

Special forces and military equipment have been deployed near Venezuelan territory, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted.

She also referred to plans by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to supply weapons and ammunition to Venezuelan opposition.

The purchase of weapons and ammunition will take place in an Eastern European country and includes big-caliber machineguns, grenade launchers and portable antiaircraft systems, the spokeswoman denounced.

The military equipment will be supplied to Venezuela in early March, in several batches that will be delivered on a territory near the border of that country by cargo planes from an international company, Zakharova noted.

For that action, planes manufactured by the Ukrainian company Antonov are expected to be used, she clarified.

Zakharova pointed out that a large-scale provocation is expected on Saturday, as Washington has called and promoted a convoy of humanitarian aid that will try to cross the Venezuelan border, she stated.

That action might cause a clash between opponents to and supporters of the Venezuelan government, and would be aimed at creating a pretext for an action of force in order to oust Venezuela's legitimate president, Nicolas Maduro, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman warned.

  • Published in World
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