U.S. Companies will Participate in Trade Fair FIHAV Despite Blockade

United States companies will participate in the 36th International Havana Fair (Fihav 2018) -starting on October 29-, despite the strengthening of the blockade on Cuba by the present U.S. administration, according to organizers of the event.

Their presence will be similar to the previous edition, despite the difficult bilateral economic relations bwetween both nations, due to the strengthening of restrictions hindering those links, said Cuban minister of Foreign Trade and Investments, Rodrigo Malmierca.

In a press round, the also president of the Organizing Committee of the Fair, commented the recent creation of a USA-Cuban joint venture in the Special Development Zone of Mariel to produce therapeutic vaccines against cáncer, showing the interest of U.S. entrepreneurs in doing business with Cuba.

This also represents a recognition of the development achieved by genetic engineering and biotechnology of the island in that sphere, he said.

Malmierca stressed that despite mentioned difficulties, over 60 countries will be represented in Fihav 2018, in an area of 25 thousand square meters of Expocuba fair grounds, the largest in Cuba, located in the outskirts of the capital.

The visit of some 20 official delegations are expected, headed by high officials, in another demonstration that the world is with us and the blockade isolates the United States, he emphasized.

Venezuela, Russia, China, Brazil, Spain, Italy and other trade partners of Cuba, are represented and Spain is traditionally the most represented with five pavilions.

In the central pavilion, will be exhibited Cuban products and services of some 350 enterprises grouped in 120 exhibitors, indicated the president of the Trade Chamber of the Republic of Cuba, Orlando Hernandez.

The president of Business Group Palco and member of the organizing committee, Abraham Masiques, estimated that over 2500 foreign businesspeople will exhibit at the fair, without counting those coming portfolio in hand to contact Cuban companies and those of other countries.

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Cuban Mission at UN Warns over US Blockade's Damage on Culture

Despite the increasing interest in cultural exchange between Cuba and the United States, the blockade currently hinders any interaction in that and other spheres, warns Cuba''s mission to the UN.

Since the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, cultural policy has been a priority for the Cuban Government and this was demonstrated in the events held at the Kennedy Centre in Washington last May, according to a press release.

But from April 2017 to March 2018, the Cuban cultural sector has suffered the slap of the North American fence.

Last year, 497 musicians and professionals from the United States would participate in presentations and events in Cuba. Due to the tightening of the blockade, these artists could not participate in the agreed program, according to the statement.

Besides, in 2017 and at the beginning of 2018, 15 U.S. groups cancelled their visits to Cuba, including nearly 300 people.

On the other hand, the US blockade hampers the commercialization and promotion of music, visual and performing arts and literature: in most cases, Cuban groups traveling to the United States cannot receive income from their performances.

The record company Bis Music contacted several U.S. music distribution and publishing companies interested in Cuba. However, for fear of being sanctioned due to the blockade regulations, these companies did not complete the process.

Cuban groups such as Revolution, Rakatan and Havana Queen were also unable to sign direct contracts with U.S. businessmen.

In 2016 and 2017, the Havana International Book Fair (FILH) hosted the first and second meetings of Publishers, Distributors and Literary Agents from Cuba and the United States, where actions of rapprochement and cooperation began.

However, as a result of the new measures adopted by Washington, it was not possible to hold the third meeting during the 2018 FILH.

Moreover, due to the conditions imposed by the blockade, it is impossible for the Animation Studios of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Arts and Industry to obtain necessary software licenses.

Similarly, they cannot directly access one of the most important events in this area, the American Film Market.

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Cuba's President Addresses Bilateral Ties with U.S. Lawmakers

Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel met on Monday with Republican and Democrat members of the United States Congress, to whom he ratified the will to promote the advancement of bilateral relations.

During the meeting, held at the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the UN, the President also referred to the willingness to take advantage of the potential of cooperation based on equality and mutual respect.

Before Senators and Representatives, Diaz-Canel affirmed that the setback in relations and the persisting blockade are harming the interests of both nations.

He also said that in this context obstacles to the economic development of Cuba are also extended.

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The Cuban leader thanked the effort of the lawmakers attending the meeting to facilitate a rapprochement between the two countries and urged them to keep up the work to that purpose.

Diaz-Canel also referred to Cuba's political priorities, especially the constitutional reform process in which the population is participating broadly.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, one of the attendees, called the meeting a very good and constructive discussion, and expressed interest in promoting economic activities favorable to both countries.

'It will be a challenge with Donald Trump's administration, but I think the next Congress will have new people who support trade between the United States and Cuba,' he added.

Wyden, who referred to the midterm elections next November, said that counting on more lawmakers for that end would have very positive effects.

For his part, Congressman Gregory Meeks, in response to a question from Prensa Latina, considered unfair the restrictions Americans face to travel to Cuba.

This makes no sense, Cuba is not a threat to the United States, it is only 90 miles away, and it would be favorable and helpful for both countries to ensure that relations improve and that the travel ban disappear, said the Democrat lawmaker.

According to the senator, most U.S. citizens want the travel ban and the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by Washington more than 55 years ago end.

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Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa and Kiev hit the streets to demand: Hey Trump! Lift the Blockade on Cuba Now!

For over 56 years, the Cuban people have been enduring an unjust U.S. blockade, which has negatively impacted their daily lives. One example of the cruel effects of the blockade is the damages caused to the Cuban healthcare system. In this sector alone, the monetary damage is estimated at more than $87 million just in one year.

Despite all these challenges and obstacles by the Unitec States, Cuba is world renowned for its universal health care system, which has achieved a lower infant mortality rate than many first world countries, including the United States and Canada!

On December 17, 2014, former U.S. President Barack Obama and former Cuban President Raul Castro made the historic announcement that they would be moving towards normalizing relations. Although positive first steps were made towards lifting the U.S. blockade on Cuba, this progress was stalled under the Obama administration. Now the Trump administration has made efforts to turn back completely the progress made.

Here in Vancouver, after the 2014 announcement Cuba solidarity activists mobilized to protest the U.S. blockade, knowing that a big push of public opinion was needed to keep this momentum going in the right direction. Friends of Cuba Against the U.S. Blockade – Vancouver (FCAB-Van) was formed and started organizing monthly picket actions in front of the U.S. Consulate in downtown Vancouver. Vancouver is now joined by Ottawa and Montreal, Canada and Kiev, Ukraine in united and coordinated monthly actions against this criminal and unjust blockade and demanding that the U.S. return the U.S. occupied territory of Guantanamo to Cuba!

In Vancouver on August 17, 2018, Cuba solidarity activists and their supporters marched in front of the U.S. consulate holding picket signs high and chanting “Hey Trump, Lift the Blockade!” and “Return Guantanamo to Cuba Now!”. Between rounds of picketing, the protesters gathered together to hear from local speakers, as well as to hear a phone message of solidarity from Ottawa Cuba Connections, who also protested that day in front of the U.S. Embassy.

To wrap up the action, protesters gathered together for a photo in front of the U.S. Consulate doors, proudly holding a banner reading “End the Blockade of Cuba!” This photo was shared on Twitter and Facebook around the world to spread the word that supports for Cuba and protest against the blockade is alive and well here in Vancouver!

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Cuba Calls for Massive Twiting and Web Forum againt US Blockade

The Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) today called for a world message action through Twitter and a forum debate via Internet to reject the economic, commercial and financial blockade the United States imposed on the island almost six decades ago.

These activities will be held on Monday, September 17, between 10:00 and noon, local time in Cuba, under the title 'The world against the blockade'.

The initiative to invite Internet users to reject a siege condemned in the five continents is part of the event 'Tenemos Memoria (We have Memory): Solidarity vs. Blockade and Terrorism', taking place from September 4 to October 6.

This event also takes place in the context of preparations for a new vote, on October 31, at the UN General Assembly on a draft resolution aimed at demanding the lifting of unilateral and extraterritorial measures applied by Washington to suffocate the Caribbean nation.

Since 1992, the international community has strongly supported similar texts at the General Assembly, the main UN deliberative forum, claiming that in the last three years, 191 of 193 member states of the multilateral organization have supported it.

Some few days ago, the Cuban government published its annual report on the impact of the U.S. blockade on many sectors of society and its extraterritorial scope, a siege to which damages are valued at $933.6 billion USD, taking into account the depreciation of the dollar against the value of gold on the international market.

Official sources denounced here the U.S. pressures to try to minimize votes in favor of the draft resolution similar to that adopted in the last 26 years by the Assembly plenary session.

The administration of President Donald Trump, since he took office in January 2017, has worsened the application of a blockade that Washington has never left aside, not even in 2015 and 2016, when his predecessor, Barack Obama, admitted the failure of that policy and promoted a bilateral approach in search for the normalization of relations with Cuba.

Another feature of the new U.S. government is the escalation in its aggressive diplomacy, which includes threats within the UN to those who do not join their positions of imposition, unilateralism and hegemony, scenario present in issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Cuban Mission at UN Warns of US Blockade's Damage

Cuba''s diplomatic mission at UN stressed how the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States, which is now intensifying its actions, is a brake on achieving sustainable development.

That siege is the main obstacle to the development of all Cuban economy's potentialities, the diplomatic representative said through a press release.

The blockade is the main obstacle to the development of the economic, commercial and financial relations between Havana and Washington, and due to its extraterritorial nature, Cuba with the rest of the world, it also stressed.

This policy, which is still in force after 56 years, is a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of the Cuban people and is described as an act of genocide, in accordance with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted in 1948, the Cuban mission said.

At the same time, it ignores the 26 resolutions adopted by the international community within the framework of the UN General Assembly and that dictate the end, without any conditioning, of its actions on Cuba.

This is also reflected in the most recent report on the damage caused by the blockade on Cuba, a mechanism that violates the Charter of the United Nations and International Law, and represents an obstacle to cooperation.

According to that report, only from April 2017 to March 2018, that hostile policy has caused losses to Cuba valued at $4.32 billion USD.

This is so far the most unjust, severe and prolonged system of unilateral sanctions that has been applied against any country, since it was instituted on February 3, 1962, by John F. Kennedy, who served as the 35th president of the United States.

The increase in the negative effects of the worsening of the blockade on the state economy and the non-state sector of the island are evident as of the serious setback in the bilateral relations, imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump and embodied in the memorandum signed on June 16, 2017.

In November 2017, the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Treasury and State issued new regulations and provisions that strengthened the extraterritorial application of the blockade and intensified the persecution of financial transactions and banking and credit operations with Cuba globally.

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First Cuban on Mount Olympus Sent Message against Blockade

A Cuban climbed to the top of Mount Olympus where he displayed a flag of his country as well as a message of condemnation and rejection of the U.S. blockade against Cuba.

Jose Oriol Marrero Martinez, Counselor of the Embassy of Cuba in Greece, thus becomes the first Cuban to reach the top of the mythical mountain, second in height in the Balkans, reports a note of that diplomatic mission.

Today he said that he dedicated that feat to his country and to the anniversary of the 150th anniversary of the War of Independence and the 60th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

Sources from the Cuban embassy highlighted the extraordinary effort made by Marrero due to the difficulties of the path, considered by specialists long and fraught with dangers, to the point that, according to statistics, less than 50 percent of those who undertake it manage to reach the cusp.

Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece and second in the Balkans, with an altitude of 2,922 meters.

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US Blockade on Cuba Is Unfair, WHO Says

The blockade imposed by the United States government on Cuba is unfair, Cristian Morales, representative in Havana of the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization (WHO/PAHO), said today.

Therefore, we join the majority position of the countries at the time of the historic vote at the UN General Assembly, Morales told Prensa Latina in this capital.

That policy damages the development and health of the Cuban people, and forces national authorities to make double and triple efforts to keep the equipment running and guarantee medicines that are needed, he said.

Two thirds of those medicines consumed are produced in Cuba, but sometimes that amount needs raw materials coming from abroad, sometimes becomes a hindrance to this blockade, the UN official said.

There are some medications that are not produced on the island and need to be imported, but instead of being brought from Latin America, or the United States itself, they have to be purchased from China or Europe, he stated.

Also, those companies that sell them, have to make sure they do not have any U.S. component, because they can be subject to sanctions, he said.

In this way, the country is affected, including its health system, because it has to pay more for the same, the PAHO/WHO representative concluded.

The Cuban government will denounce on October 31 the worsening of the blockade at the UN General Assembly.

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