Almost all former inmates of Cuban prisons are employed

Havana, January 22 (RHC)-- Ninety-eight percent of former inmates and people on supervised release were employed last year in Cuba, according to the annual stock-taking meeting of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS).

According to Juventud Rebelde newspaper, the report of that meeting states that of the 14,274 people in this category, 13,999 were employed, most of them in the private sector.

in recent years, authorities have paid special attention to the employment status of certain groups, such as young people released from active military service, persons with disabilities and graduates of special education schools.

The paper noted how the full dignity of humankind and human improvement is not only the essence of the Cuban Government's political will but also an undeniable reality of the Revolution.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares
  • Published in Cuba

Five Years of Cuba-US Relations and Trump's Jump Backwards

Only five years after the former presidents of Cuba, Army General Raul Castro, and the United States, Barack Obama, announced the restoration of diplomatic relations, the deterioration of the situation between the two countries has reached such extent that experts don’t rule out a setback in that regard.

Cuba doesn’t want the rupture of relations with the United States, but that reality can’t surprise us, if it happens, warned Carlos Fernández de Cossío the general director for the U.S. of the Cuban Foreign Ministry on Monday in Havana.

The diplomat said to the press that the Cuban government believes there should be bilateral relations with Washington, and works in favor of their existence. That is also the interest of most of the North American people, but a group of powerful people in the U.S. intends to break the relations.

The date of December 17th, 2014, many described it as miraculous, because of the coincidence of the announcement with the national festivities for Saint Lazarus Day, which include processions, altars with offerings of sweets, clothes, and jewels, there were candles and thanking prayers for his intervention in these worldly matters.

For a short period of time the world found meaning in optimism. In just over two years the embassies of both countries were reopened, 22 agreements were signed in several sectors and more than half a million North Americans traveled to Cuba.

The millions of dollars for subversive programs, the Cuban adjustment law, the occupation of the Guantanamo naval base and that gigantic political dinosaur that is the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba remained untouched.

Washington's policy change towards Havana did not answer to the recognition of Cuba’s achievements, but to a change in the strategy to obtain the same dominant objectives of destroying the Cuban social project.

Now with president Trump, whom for many is a bull at a china shop within the North American political tradition, he returned almost immediately to the bravado and atmosphere of the Cold War.

By February 3rd, 2017, the former White House spokesman, Sean Spice, announced that Washington would review all policies towards Cuba. A few months later, on June 16th, Trump signed a presidential memorandum announcing the annulment of the approach initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama (2009-2017) and ordering new restrictions on individual travel and commerce.

Only in 2019, that administration has passed more than twenty unconventional measures, to prevent the supply of fuel from various markets through sanctions and threats to ships, shipping companies and insurance companies.

As the Minister of Foreign Affairs denounced at the U.N. General Assembly last November, unilateral measures include the authorization of the filing of lawsuits before U.S. courts of law against Cuban, North American and third-country entities, under the Title III of Helms-Burton Act .

Remittances were restricted to Cuban citizens, the granting of visas was reduced and consular services were limited, an agreement between baseball federations was canceled, individual trips of U.S. citizens were canceled, denounced the Cuban Foreign Minister.

During this time, cruise ships and direct flights to Cuban airports were also banned, except for Havana; the leasing of airplanes with more than 10% of U.S. components and the acquisition of technologies and equipment in similar condition were prevented; commercial promotion activities, cultural and educational exchanges were terminated.

In an exercise in rhetoric and cynicism, the current North American president has affirmed more than once that his actions are aimed at helping the Cuban people, when this procedure has been the main cause for human rights violation of Cubans.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize that while he is cornered by the impeachment and the race for the 2020 elections begins, the Cuban subject has become a wild card for the republican president, who has been characterized by showing an ambiguous concern towards the course that must follow the relations between Washington and Havana.

On December 17th, thousands of Cubans will pilgrimage again to El Rincón Church to pay their promises to San Lazaro. In houses and town halls there will be ceremonies with drums and ancient rites that came centuries ago from Africa.

There will be those who will ask for more private matters such as healing or a clear path for personal and professional projects. But perhaps there will be a candle to ask the also called Babalú Ayé to intervene in these matters of men and help rebuild the torn down bridges or give strength and character to persevere and resist.

  • Published in Specials

USA Detains 104,344 Immigrants Deemed Inadmissible

Washington, Jul 10 (Prensa Latina) American authorities apprehended and described 104,344 immigrants at US-Mexico border as inadmissible in June, Customs and Border Protection Office announced.

This figure represents a 28 percent drop compared to May, and the agreement signed with Mexico directly influenced in the result.

Through this instrument, negotiated under pressure by US President Donald Trump's threat to impose tariffs on Mexican products, the neighboring nation agreed to host asylum seekers in the United States, while the cases are analyzed.

The number of families crossing in May was 144,278, a record high figure since Trump took office on January 20, 2017. He intends obsessively through criticized policies to reduce immigration to his country.

There was also no higher monthly number than that reported in 13 years, although these indicators exceeded in March and April about 100,000 (103,729 and 109,474, respectively).

Tuesday's information about June noted that apprehension reduction responds to the decrease in figures in all groups mentioned.

  • Published in World

Honduras: Night Protests Leave 2 Dead, 21 Injured in Tegucigalpa

Members of the National Police join protesters and refuse to "repress" the people demonstrating since April. President Hernandez and the first lady fly to U.S.

Some 21 people were left injured and two killed after massive demonstrations that took place overnight Wednesday in several cities throughout Honduras calling for the removal of President Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) who left the country with his wife, Ana Garcia de Hernandez late June 19.

RELATED: Honduras: Dialogue Starts, Street Rallies Continue

Since late April, demonstrations have been taking place across the country against government measures to privatize the nation's already weak education and health systems, and to demand JOH's resignation. They've been met with violent crackdowns by the militarized National Police. On Wednesday night, rather than repress protesters, police members joined the ranks of protesters, saying they would no longer follow order to violently crack down on protesting citizens.

In a statement by the National Police, the institution said it will "not repress (people) and will respect their human rights." The national security force, known for its violent tactics against the population, apologized to the Honduran people for the damage it had done. The outfit is also demanding better working conditions and labor rights from the right-wing government.

"We affirm our support for the people since we are part of it and we benefit from the causes for which they are fighting. ... We reiterate to the government that we are not going to repress the Honduran people anymore," said a masked police officer who read a statement flanked by colleagues in a video tweeted by La Red21.

According to local media, the secretary of finance has been analyzing National Police funds since January to consider a salary increase, but no solution has been offered. The police began to strike Tuesday.

RELATED: Chaos Reported Across Honduras As Anti-Gov't Protests Intensify

Also leading the late-night protests was the Platform for Defense of Healthcare & Education (PDSE), a social movement of teachers, students, doctors and nurses who have been demanding the repeal of a national law passed in late April they said would lead to massive layoffs in both sectors. The law was later repealed along with presidential "emergency" decrees that would have taken over the health and education areas, but massive protests have continued for the removal of JOH that many in Honduras and internationally say stole the 2017 presidential elections. 

Amid the worsening economic, social and political crisis in the country and the medical sector over the past two years, the dengue epidemic has also increased.

In Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras and in San Pedro Sula, the country's second largest city, demonstrations turned violent when some police who have remained on the job tried to disperse groups who blocked the streets with burning tires.

Road and street blocks also happened in cities like El Progreso, La Lima, Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa de Copan, La Ceiba, Comayagua and Danli.

Because of newly proposed transportation taxes, haulers have also largely stopped in Honduras, generating shortages of food, water and other vital products. This situation generated desperation and looting.

"At 9:25 p.m., Tegucigalpa continues in chaos, with looting businesses, burning property, while the police walk by without repressing protesters," Gilda Silvestrucci, Telesur correspondent reported from the capital.

Thursday morning it was revealed that the presidential plane left Wednesday for the United States and the Honduran first lady, Ana Garcia is meeting Thursday with Kevin McAleenan, the United States acting Homeland Security Secretary.


  • Published in World

US Blockade Prevents Venezuela From Basic Necessities: Arreaza

The Venezuelan official described the U.S. comments about sanctions not preventing the acquisition of basic necessities as "an immense lie" concocted by Washington to hide the inhumanity of their blockade. 

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza denounced on Tuesday the ongoing blockade imposed by the U.S. administration on the Bolivarian Republic.

RELATED:UN Recognizes Venezuela Among Top Nations for Right to Housing

Arreaza highlighted the fact that the U.S. blockade has prevented the Venezuelan government from accessing hundreds of million dollars of its own money; this money would have allowed the Bolivarian Republic to purchase basic necessities like medicine and food.

Through his Twitter account on Tuesday, Arreaza tweeted that the U.S. comments about sanctions not preventing the acquisition of basic necessities as "an immense lie" concocted by Washington to hide the inhumanity of their blockade. 

"The financial system is controlled and threatened by Washington; they close the accounts and bank routes of Venezuela without contemplation," Arreaza said.

Last April, Arreaza told the United Nations that the U.S. administration was committing serious human rights violations through their ongoing financial blockade. Arreaza said that the Trump administration was purposely misappropriating Venezuelan assets in order to punish the Bolivarian Republic.

  • Published in World

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

100s of children facing terrorism charges after forced confessions – HRW

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report claims that Iraqi and Kurdish governments have imprisoned hundreds of children who have been forced, through torture, into confessing that they are Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) members.

In a damning 53-page report, released Wednesday, HRW alleges that some 1,500 children have been charged with IS terrorism offences. It says that many are based on dubious accusations and forced confessions extracted via torture.

Also on France’s only aircraft carrier sets sail for Mediterranean to ‘fight ISIS’ (PHOTOS)...

In addition, 185 foreign children have already been convicted on terrorism charges and sentenced to prison, according to Iraqi government officials cited by HRW.

This is despite the fact that international law recognizes children, recruited by armed groups, primarily as victims.

“This sweeping, punitive approach is not justice, and will create lifelong negative consequences for many of these children,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director for HRW.

Many of the children claim circumstantial evidence, mistaken identity or even personal grievances are behind their detention and that they are sentenced after hastily-prepared trials which can often last mere minutes. They also fear reprisals once they are released.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), in particular, has been accused of employing “beatings with plastic pipes, electric cables, or rods; electric shocks; and being forced into stress positions,” to elicit confessions.

Can we all agree on one thing at least: torturing children is wrong. New report from Iraq:

“Iraq and the KRG’s harsh treatment of children looks more like blind vengeance than justice for ISIS crimes,” Becker said. “Children involved in armed conflicts are entitled to rehabilitation and reintegration, not torture and prison.”

  • Published in World

Mothers of Argentina's Disappeared March to Keep Memory Alive

"Do not give up, do not negotiate, do not be silent, do not forgive, do not forget, and always fight" —the slogan for mobilizing Argentine human rights defenders. 

The Mothers and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo gather Thursday for the "March of the Resistance" in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They march for justice for those disappeared during Argentina's dictatorship.

RELATED: Grandmothers Of Plaza De Mayo Celebrate 41 Years Of Fight

"Despite our canes and wheelchairs ... we continue and will continue standing up [for our rights] because we are not alone," Taty Almeida, 88, one of the founders of the movement, said according to El Periodico.

The Mother's annual event will be supported by political organizations, workers' unions, and student associations that will mobilize themselves under the slogan "do not give up, do not negotiate, do not be silent, do not forgive, do not forget, and always fight."

Since 1997 the mothers and grandmothers of the victims of state-sponsored terrorism gather in the Plaza de Mayo, a square facing Argentina's presidential palace that has always been an important meeting point for political activism.

Ayer se cumplió 41 años de la desaparicion de Azucena Villaflor de Vincenti Madre de Plaza de Mayo, desapareció el 10 de diciembre de 1977. Fue la fundadora del Movimiento Madres de Plaza…

"41 years have passed since the disappearance of Azucena Villaflor de Vincenti, a mother of Plaza de Mayo who disappeared on Dec. 10, 1977. She was the founder of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Movement."

The "March of the Resistance" is accompanied by cultural activities which aim to remember thousands of Argentines who disappeared amid a "Dirty War" against leftist social and political organizations.

"To have memory, to obtain justice, and to know the ultimate truth ... (Governments) sometimes want to erase our memory. ... We are offended when they distort the number of disappeared", said Estela De Carlotto, one of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo.

According to the non-governmental organization Madres y Abuelas, 8,754 cases of disappearances have been formally filed and 30,000 cases were not reported during the last Argentine military dictatorship (1976-1983).

After 41 years of continuous searching for the disappeared, which even resorted to elaborate studies into DNA, the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo discovered the true identities of 128 of the 500 infants snatched from their parents and given to other families.

"We are getting the truth little by little ... Where are the hundreds of victims who were murdered and thrown into the sea or buried?," De Carlotto asked and stressed that "we will not aim to solve everything. [However] we already have relays, we have the disappeared's children, our grandchildren."

  • Published in World
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