United States Applies 18% Tariffs on Mexican Steel Imports

The Mexican government has not reacted to an announcement from the US Department of Commerce that it would impose an 18.48% tariff on imports of Mexican steel kegs due to supposed dumping.

The news, however, has been covered by almost all Mexican media since the US agency said that following an investigation, it had determined that Mexican exporters had sold their products at prices lower than that of the United States.

According to the US notification, the petitioner of the tariff is American Keg Company LLC.

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) is scheduled to make its final injury determination on September 26, 2019.

However, if the USITC makes negative final determinations of dumping, the investigations will terminate and no orders will be issued. The Mexican side has yet to comment.

  • Published in World

Fidel Castro's legacy

FIDEL CASTRO would have been 93 years old yesterday, but many celebrations took place in Cuba and around the world to honour the man who stood steadfast against the US’s continuing 60-year economic blockade, attempts to overthrow the Cuban government in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, and many CIA-backed assassination attempts.

Fidel Castro (far left), Che Guevara (centre), and other leading revolutionaries marching through the streets in protest over the La Coubre explosion, 5 March 1960
Fidel Castro (far left), Che Guevara (centre), and other leading revolutionaries marching through the streets in protest over the La Coubre explosion, 5 March 1960

Cuba’s example of socialism is a beacon to the rest of the world, demonstrating against the odds that it is possible to build a sustainable economy, provide world-class healthcare, while maintaining an internationalist perspective exemplified by Cuba’s legendary medical brigades.

Twenty years ago the Cuban government established the Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM), formerly Escuela Latinoamericana de Ciencias Medicas (Latin American School of Medicine). It is a major international medical school in Cuba and a prominent part of the Cuban healthcare system.

It is one of Fidel Castro’s enduring legacies due to Che Guevara’s medical training and passionate internationalism, committing them to sending medical brigades all over the world to the poorest countries after natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes or outbreaks of killer diseases such as Ebola.

Established in 1999 and operated by the Cuban government, ELAM has been described as possibly being the largest medical school in the world by enrollment, with approximately 19,550 students from 110 countries reported enrolled since 2013.

All those enrolled are international students from outside Cuba and mainly come from Latin America and the Caribbean as well as Africa and Asia. Tuition, accommodation and board are free, and a small stipend is provided for students. To date ELAM has graduated 31,000 medical students from 103 countries.

ELAM students come from the poorest communities with the intent of returning to practice in those areas in their countries. Initially only enrolling students from Latin America and the Caribbean, the school has become open to applicants from impoverished and/or medically underserved areas in the United States and Africa. As part of Cuban international co-operation, ELAM is also training 800 medical doctors from Timor-Leste.

ELAM was first conceived by Fidel Castro as part of Cuba's humanitarian and development aid response (known as the Integral Health Plan for Central America and the Caribbean) to the devastation caused by Hurricane George and Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which affected several countries in Central America and the Caribbean including Cuba.

In all more than 11,000 people died in the resulting floods and mudslides. In response 500 full medical scholarships per year for the next decade were offered by the Cuban government to students from four countries — the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua — seriously affected by the hurricanes.

The first class of 1,498 ELAM doctors graduated on August 20, 2005, with 112 from other Cuban medical schools: 28 other countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States were represented by the graduates.

The ceremony was led by Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In June 2000, a US Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) delegation visited Cuba to meet with Castro. Representative Bennie Thompson mentioned to Castro that his district had a shortage of doctors; he responded by offering full scholarships for US nationals from Mississippi at ELAM.

Later that same June, in a Washington, DC meeting with the CBC, the Cuban Minister of Public Health expanded the offer to all districts represented by the CBC.

At a September 2000 speech event at Riverside Church, New York City, Castro publicly announced a further expanded offer which was reported as allowing several hundred places at ELAM for medical students from low-income communities from any part of the US.

Reports of the size of this offer varied in the US press: 250 or 500 places were suggested with perhaps half reserved for African-Americans and half for Hispanics and Native Americans.

The ELAM offer to US students was classified as a “cultural exchange” programme by the US State Department to avoid the restrictions of the US embargo against Cuba. The first intake of US students into ELAM occurred in spring 2001, with 10 enrolling in the pre-medical program.

A cruel irony that Cuba, a poor country suffering under a US economic blockade lasting nearly 60 years, actually trains students from the US to go back to the poorest communities there and help those in need who cannot afford private healthcare.

  • Published in Cuba

US city of Seattle demands end of the Blockade on Cuba

The US city of Seattle today passed a resolution demanding the immediate end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the US government against Cuba almost 60 years ago.

The document, endorsed by the City Council, also calls for eliminating travel restrictions that prevent US citizens from freely visiting the largest of the Antilles. Likewise, the main city of the northwestern state of Washington urges President Donald Trump to renew negotiations with the Government of the island as initiated in the previous administration of former President Barack Obama (2009-2017), 'to build a new relationship of cooperation between the United States and Cuba '.

In the same way, he asks to restore completely the personnel of the American embassy in Havana and that of the diplomatic legation of the Caribbean nation in Washington DC.

The resolution was introduced this Monday by Councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda, chairwoman of the Committee on Housing, Health, Energy and Workers' Rights of the said city body, and activist Cindy Domingo, who is the organizer of the U.S. association. Women and Cuba Collaboration.

The text recalled that in the 1960s the American government imposed the aforementioned fence, which 'continues to inflict difficulties on the men, women and children of Cuba by creating shortages of food, medicine and financial and commercial opportunities.'

In addition, he recalled that on December 17, 2014, the governments of both countries announced a new era of bilateral ties and agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations, which led to the reopening of their respective embassies the following year.

The resolution said that despite some changes made during the Obama administration, the blockade is still in force, and regretted that the Trump executive has taken steps back to tighten it and bring relations between the United States and Cuba back to the era of the Cold War.

'Pleased to present a resolution to the vote in plenary of the Council to support the end of the embargo (blockade) on the Cuban people,' Mosqueda said in his Twitter social network account.

The council said that with the approval of this Monday, Seattle becomes the twelfth city in the United States to pass a similar resolution.

Previously they had done Detroit (Michigan), Richmond, Berkeley, Sacramento and Oakland (California), Helena (Montana), Minneapolis and Saint Paul (Minnesota), Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), Brookline (Massachusetts) and Hartford (Connecticut).

Miguel Fraga, first secretary of the Cuban embassy in this country, celebrated the resolution on his Twitter account and thanked the city for that step. 'Strong and clear now from #Seattle: #UnblockCuba! (Unlock Cuba) Thank you Seattle! 'He wrote.


US city of Seattle demands end of the Blockade on Cuba

The US city of Seattle today passed a resolution demanding the immediate end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the US government against Cuba almost 60 years ago.

The document, endorsed by the City Council, also calls for eliminating travel restrictions that prevent US citizens from freely visiting the largest of the Antilles. Likewise, the main city of the northwestern state of Washington urges President Donald Trump to renew negotiations with the Government of the island as initiated in the previous administration of former President Barack Obama (2009-2017), 'to build a new relationship of cooperation between the United States and Cuba '.

In the same way, he asks to restore completely the personnel of the American embassy in Havana and that of the diplomatic legation of the Caribbean nation in Washington DC.

The resolution was introduced this Monday by Councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda, chairwoman of the Committee on Housing, Health, Energy and Workers' Rights of the said city body, and activist Cindy Domingo, who is the organizer of the U.S. association. Women and Cuba Collaboration.

The text recalled that in the 1960s the American government imposed the aforementioned fence, which 'continues to inflict difficulties on the men, women and children of Cuba by creating shortages of food, medicine and financial and commercial opportunities.'

In addition, he recalled that on December 17, 2014, the governments of both countries announced a new era of bilateral ties and agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations, which led to the reopening of their respective embassies the following year.

The resolution said that despite some changes made during the Obama administration, the blockade is still in force, and regretted that the Trump executive has taken steps back to tighten it and bring relations between the United States and Cuba back to the era of the Cold War.

'Pleased to present a resolution to the vote in plenary of the Council to support the end of the embargo (blockade) on the Cuban people,' Mosqueda said in his Twitter social network account.

The council said that with the approval of this Monday, Seattle becomes the twelfth city in the United States to pass a similar resolution.

Previously they had done Detroit (Michigan), Richmond, Berkeley, Sacramento and Oakland (California), Helena (Montana), Minneapolis and Saint Paul (Minnesota), Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), Brookline (Massachusetts) and Hartford (Connecticut).

Miguel Fraga, first secretary of the Cuban embassy in this country, celebrated the resolution on his Twitter account and thanked the city for that step. 'Strong and clear now from #Seattle: #UnblockCuba! (Unlock Cuba) Thank you Seattle! 'He wrote.

  • Published in World

Imboden and Berry stage podium protests at Lima 2019 to call for change in United States

Olympic bronze medallist fencer Race Imboden knelt during the American national anthem after winning gold in the men’s team foil, with a second protest then staged by hammer thrower Gwen Berry here at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.

Imboden had already claimed a bronze medal in the individual men’s foil event, before topping the podium in the team competition alongside Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin.

The 26-year-old, the world number two, then knelt as the American national anthem was played during the medal ceremony.

The act is seen as a civil rights protest, started by American football player Colin Kaepernick in 2016.

Kaepernick had knelt to highlight police brutality and racism.

The stance has become more commonly referred to as "taking a knee".

Imboden, a men’s foil team bronze medal from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and world champion, posted on Twitter to explain his decision to take the knee after the event. 

"We must call for change," he said.

"This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games, taking home gold and bronze.

"My pride however has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart.

"Racism, gun control, mistreatment of immigrants, and a president who spreads hate are at the top of a long list.

"I chose to sacrifice my moment today at the top of the podium to call attention to issues that I believe need to be addressed.

"I encourage others to please use your platforms for empowerment and change."

The US has suffered from three mass shootings in the past two weeks, with American President Donald Trump receiving criticism for his response to the tragedies.  

Less than 24 hours after Imoden's protest, a second was then staged by Berry, following her victory in the women's hammer throw competition.

Berry was seen raising her right fist at the conclusion of her medal ceremony.

It mirrored the act of Olympic sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the Mexico 1968 Olympic Games, where the duo won gold and bronze medals in the 200 metre race.

The act was a civil rights protest against racial discrimination.

The Australian Olympic Committee last year awarded a posthumous Order of Merit to Peter Norman, who stood in solidarity with the black American athletes on the podium.

After Carlos had left his gloves at the Olympic Village, it was Norman, who came from a Salvation Army background, who suggested that the pair share Smith's to carry out a salute that Smith later clarified had been for human rights and not black power.

Both Imdoen and Berry are in breach of Panam Sports rules under a section on "advertisements and publicity during the development of the Pan American Games.

Hammer thrower Gwendolyn Berry staged a separate protest after receiving her gold medal ©Getty Images
Hammer thrower Gwendolyn Berry staged a separate protest after receiving her gold medal ©Getty Images

The rules state "No kind of demonstration or propaganda of any kind is allowed at the venues of the Games or at other sites or areas considered part of the Games."

The consequences of breaches in the relevant section state: "Any violation of the provisions of the present Section shall result in disqualification or withdrawal of the accreditation of the person or delegation concerned. 

"The Panam Sports Executive Board may take further measures and/or impose further sanctions against the NOC or Pan American Sport Confederation and/or International Federation that are responsible of such 29 violation. 

"The decisions taken by the Panam Sports Executive Board regarding this matter shall be final."

Panam Sports declined to comment when contacted by insidethegames.

United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) have said their leadership are reviewing the consequences that may result from the political protests.

“Every athlete competing at the 2019 Pan American Games commits to terms of eligibility, including to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature," USOPC spokesman Mark Jones told insidethegames in a statement.

“In this case, Race didn’t adhere to the commitment he made to the organising committee and the USOPC.

“We respect his rights to express his viewpoints, but we are disappointed that he chose not to honour his commitment.

 “Our leadership are reviewing what consequences may result.”

Imboden and Berry are not the first to express anti-Trump sentiment during the Games here.

American nine-times Olympic medallist and former men’s 100 metre world record holder Carl Lewis criticised the President during a press conference.

"We have a president who is racist and a misogynist, who doesn’t value anybody but himself," he said. 

The issue has not been exclusive to Lima 2019, however, with women's football player Megan Rapinoe confirming that she would not visit the White House if the US were triumphant at the FIFA Women's World Cup, which they went on to win last month. 

During the tournament, she refused to sing the national anthem in protest at a decision by US Soccer to ban players from kneeling during the anthem.

Her actions drew a response from Trump, who accused Rapinoe of "disrespect" in a series of tweets.

  • Published in Sports

Olympic champion Snyder contributes to American golden hat-trick in Lima 2019 wrestling

Reigning Olympic champion Kyle Snyder was one of three American gold medallists in the wrestling competition here at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.

Snyder won in the men's under-97kg final at Villa Deportiva Regional del Callao, defeating Venezuela's Jose Diaz 9-3.

They were joined by Dominican Republic's Luis Miguel Perez and Reineris Salas of Cuba, who both finished with bronze. 

More American success came in the men's under-74kg, with London 2012 Olympic gold medallist and four-time world champion Jordan Burroughs beating Puerto Rico’s Franklin Gomez 4-1. 

Canada's Jevon Balfour and Cuba's Geandry Garzon were the bronze medallists. 

The men’s 125kg final was then won by the US’ Nicholas Gwiadzdowski, who thrashed Oscar Pino of Cuba 10-0. 

Canada collected another bronze through Korey Jarvis, with Luis Vivenes of Venezuela joining him on the podium.

Cuba managed to triumph in one gold-medal bout, after Yurieksi Torreblanca edged past Venezuela’s Pedro Ceballos 4-3 in the men's under-86kg final. 

James Downey of the US and Colombia's Carlos Izquierdo were in third place. 

The United States defeated Canada to win gold in the women's water polo competition ©Getty Images
The United States defeated Canada to win gold in the women's water polo competition ©Getty Images

America continued to pick up gold medals throughout the day, with the men and women's water polo teams both topping the podium.

The women's side overwhelmed Canada with a 24-4 victory, while the men beat the same opponent 18-6. 

Their victories saw both teams qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 

Brazil claimed the bronze medal in the women's competition with a narrow 8-7 win over Cuba, while their male compatriots also took third place following a 9-6 defeat of Argentina. 

The US and Canada met yet again in the women's softball grand final, with the Americans achieving gold after a 3-1 victory. 

Puerto Rico were consigned to bronze when the US beat them by the same scoreline earlier in the day. 

Elsewhere, bodybuilding made its Pan American Games debut. 

El Salvador were the recipients of two gold medals after William Yuri Rodriguez Gonzalez won the classic bodybuilding event and Carlos Alberto Giraldo Barragan the women's fitness.

  • Published in Sports

Officials: Jeffrey Epstein dies by suicide in jail cell

Jeffrey Epstein, the well-connected financier accused of orchestrating a sex-trafficking ring, killed himself while awaiting trial in a New York prison, officials said Saturday.

Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell Saturday morning at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, according to a statement from the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The Fire Department said it received a call at 6:39 a.m. Saturday that Epstein was in cardiac arrest, and he was pronounced dead at New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital.

Epstein, 66, had been denied bail and faced up to 45 years behind bars on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges unsealed last month. Prosecutors accused him of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls. He had pleaded not guilty.

His arrest last month launched separate investigations into how authorities handled his case initially when similar charges were first brought against him in Florida more than a decade ago. U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned last month after coming under fire for overseeing that deal when he was U.S. attorney in Miami.

The Bureau of Prisons confirmed that he had been housed in the jail's Special Housing Unit, a heavily secured part of the facility that separates high-profile inmates from the general population. Until recently, the same unit had been home to the Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who is now serving a life sentence at the so-called Supermax prison in Colorado.

A little over two weeks ago, Epstein was found on the floor of his jail cell with bruises on his neck, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. At the time, it was not clear whether the injuries were self-inflicted or from an assault.

Epstein's death is likely to raise questions about how the Bureau of Prisons ensures the welfare of high-profile inmates. In October, Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger was killed in a federal prison in West Virginia where had just been transferred.

Cameron Lindsay, a former warden who ran three federal lockups, said the death represents "an unfortunate and shocking failure, if proven to be a suicide."

"Unequivocally, he should have been on active suicide watch and therefore under direct and constant supervision," Lindsay said. "When you have an inmate as high profile as Epstein, it's absolutely imperative the warden set the tone with his or her leadership to ensure these kinds of incidents don't happen."

The FBI is investigating Epstein's death, the Bureau of Prisons said.

On Friday, more than 2,000 pages of documents were released related to a since-settled lawsuit against Epstein's ex-girlfriend by Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein's accusers. The records contain graphic allegations against Epstein, as well as the transcript of a 2016 deposition of Epstein in which he repeatedly refused to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself.

Sigrid McCawley, Giuffre's attorney, said Epstein's suicide less than 24 hours after the documents were unsealed "is no coincidence." McCawley called on federal authorities to continue their investigation, focusing on Epstein associates who she said "participated and facilitated Epstein's horrifying sex trafficking scheme."

"The reckoning of accountability begun by the voices of brave and truthful victims should not end with Jeffrey Epstein's cowardly and shameful suicide," McCawley said in a statement. "The victims await the true justice they have sought and deserve."

Other accusers and their lawyers reacted to the news with frustration that the financier won't have to face them in court.

"We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed the pain and trauma he caused so many people," accuser Jennifer Araoz said in a statement.

Brad Edwards, a Florida lawyer for nearly two dozen other accusers, said that "this is not the ending anyone was looking for."

"The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused," Edwards said in a statement.

Epstein's arrest drew national attention, particularly focusing on a deal that allowed Epstein to plead guilty in 2008 to soliciting a minor for prostitution in Florida and avoid more serious federal charges.

Federal prosecutors in New York reopened the probe after investigative reporting by The Miami Herald stirred outrage over that plea bargain.

But his lawyers maintained that the new charges brought by federal prosecutors in New York were covered by the deal and were improper. They said he hasn't had any illicit contact with underage girls since serving his 13-month sentence in Florida.

Before his legal troubles, Epstein led a life of extraordinary luxury that drew powerful people into his orbit.

He socialized with princes and presidents and lived on a 100-acre private island in the Caribbean and one of the biggest mansions in New York.

The somewhat reclusive Epstein splashed into the news in 2002 after a New York tabloid reported he had lent his Boeing 727 to ferry former President Bill Clinton and other notables on an AIDS relief mission to Africa.

His friends over the years have included Donald Trump, Britain's Prince Andrew and former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.

But Epstein also enjoyed surrounding himself with much younger women, including Russian models who attended his cocktail parties and beautiful women he flew aboard his plane, according to a 2003 Vanity Fair profile.

  • Published in World

Left Parties Should Work Closely With People, Says Daughter Of Che, Aleida Guevara

Aleida Guevara, daughter of Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, was in India last week to take part in the solidarity meetings to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Cuban revolution. A pediatrician by profession, Guevara says she was overwhelmed by the love and following for Che’s ideologies in India. In an interaction at the Cuban Embassy in Delhi, Guevara spoke about Cuba’s resistance to the US blockade and the relevance of communism in the current political scenario.

Q) You are visiting India after 23 years. Tell us a bit about your experience of solidarity meetings here.

I will take back the huge amount of warmth particularly of the people of Kerala. It was an overwhelming experience.  It’s impossible to reciprocate the love I received from the people. We can have thousands and thousands of Che replicated in Kerala. My impression is that the state government has done some good work in the field of education and health. I have plans to come back next year. But I will come back as a doctor and work among the people, only then I will get to know people more.

Q) Cuba has been facing decades-long blockade by the United States of America. How is Cuba resisting the hostility towards it?

It’s extremely important that world should know about Cuban blockade. The problem is that the US doesn’t allow other countries also to trade with Cuba. For instance, Cuba doesn’t produce milk but our children love milk. US, the biggest producer of milk powder, is only 90 miles from us. Because of this, we have been able to invent many medicines and other systems to survive.

India and Cuba could have done trade on several counts. Cuba today produces extremely important medicines like vaccines for lung cancer. But India cannot acquire those medicines because of the embargo.

Q) The recent elections saw the worst performance of the Left parties in India. What could be the reasons for its decline and how can the Left reclaim its ground?

We have one serious problem with the Left in general. We have leaders who can speak and communicate very well. But people need something else. When they face a problem, the leaders should be around and in action. The party needs to work closely with people.

I cannot give a recipe for a country where I don’t live. But I can give examples of what we have done in Cuba so that you can surge ahead. Another important thing is the unity of the Left parties. They have to demonstrate to the working class that the party is with them. Umpteen examples are out there and it can be applied to our reality.

Q) World over, we are witnessing the rise of right-wing populist forces. Is it the cycle of history or beginning of the end?

It is little more than the beginning of the end. The situation is of course dangerous. Any time, we think that we are close to third world war, which of course would be the last in the planet.

One of the most important things is to defend our life. The Brazilian amazon is perhaps the last lung of the planet. There you have the largest second iron mine. Every inch of growth of the mine means destruction of the forest. We cannot live without oxygen, no one is responding.

Big countries like India and China will have to help the world open this and create consciousness. You will bear the brunt more than anyone. We have to learn a lot from our indigenous people how to respect our mother earth.

Q) In the 60th year of Cuban revolution, why do you think Che’s ideology still holds appeal?

In the last 60 years of revolution, we have suffered the impressions of the biggest empire and we have resisted almost on a continual basis. It’s not that we are better than others or are braver than others, but we are united.

When united people decide to fight for an idea, no force can stop them. For any revolutionary process, it’s paramount that it has the participation of youth and women. We need to take them along. That’s why Che’s example is always present in my heart. Che always said that ‘what’s important is that to make people follow you, don’t push them.

  • Published in Cuba

US Has Killed 40,000 Venezuela Citizens, Bolivian Minister States

The economic ''strangulation'' measures the United States is currently applying against Venezuela have already killed 40,000 citizens, Minister of the Presidency, Juan Ramon Quintana, stated at the La Paz International Book Fair.

'It cannot be that a powerful country such as the United States deprives the Venezuelan society of something as fundamental as food, and currently also deprives its people of medicines, basic supplies, and has caused the death of more than 40,000 citizens in recent years,' Quintana said.

The minister spoke Wednesday night at the launch of the book 'America Latina en el proyecto de domination de Estados Unidos. Pautas y perspectivas en el siglo XXI' (Latin America in the domination project of the United States. Patterns and perspectives in the 21st century), a compilation of essays edited by the Plurinational Public Management School (EGPP).

During his speech in the Chuquiago Marka fairground's Emma Villazon Hall, the minister explained that the chapter he wrote for the book addresses from different perspectives the changes underway in Latin America in its relationship with Washington.

Quintana, who is also coordinator of the book 'BoliviaLeaks' with documents on US political interference against the country's Process of Change (2006-2010), noted that with the launch of the new volume, the EGPP opens the possibility of establishing an observatory, as a research center endowed with a solid library.

The volume includes texts by researchers Esteban Morales, Loreta Telleria, Luis Suarez Salazar, Jorge Hernandez, Juan Ramon Quintana and Yasmin Barbara Vasquez.

  • Published in World
Subscribe to this RSS feed