Astonished to watch mass hysteria among US politicians: Russian Foreign Minister

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that he is astonished to see how many U.S. politicians are prone to mass hysteria regarding what he termed as "Russophobia." "We understand how uncomfortable it is now in Washington for those who are trying to demonstrate common sense on the backdrop of epidemic, paranoid Russophobia in the absence of any probe or at least asingle evidence over the months to prove Russia's interference into America's affairs," he said in an interview with the Kurdish television, according to TASS. "I have never thought that American politicians could be that prone to mass hysteria," he added.

He reminisced that he worked with many of them in New York saying, "Maybe many of those who have yielded to this furor, which is abnormal for the US' political life, understand that it is not normal and is to be stopped some way." Lavrov added that Moscow and Washington are playing a unique role in the solution of highly complicated problems in different parts of the world and no one else can replace them in the international arena.

The Foreign Minister also blamed the previous U.S. administration for undermining the Russian-American relations as he said, "We've inherited a huge heap of problems from the Barack Obama Administration. There are real time bombs and simply subversive acts that outgoing administration took in an agony when it was fully incapacitated by the results of the election and when it decided to spend the remaining time in the White House doing all sorts of unspeakable things in a bid to undermine the Russian-American relations."

  • Published in World

Bipartisan Support for Ties with Cuba Continues in U.S.

The bipartisan support to engagement with Cuba has strongly increased in the United States over the past two years and we will continue seeing it in the future, said the president of a coalition that promotes ties with the Caribbean island.

The president of Engage Cuba, James Williams, regretted the announcement made last month by President Donald Trump on the reverse of some aspects of the opening to Cuba, which he described as a step back on the path to the normalization of bilateral relations.

However, he pointed out that amid that situation, the effusive support to continue seeking more engagement with the neighboring country, with which the United States reestablished diplomatic relations on July 20, 2015, was notable.

We are having a dialogue on Cuba that we had not seen for a long time and that is very different even from the one that existed two years ago, Williams said in an interview with Prensa Latina.

According to Williams, it is a great achievement for the two countries, and for people on U.S. territory who think that engagement is the best path after 55 years of a failed policy of restrictions.

He pointed out that although hard-line politicians want to reverse things, it is evident that the context is not the same as in other times, because steps have been taken in matters like more U.S. citizens visiting Cuba, travels by airlines and cruises, business interests.

If the Trump administration does not involve constructively in the engagement, others will have to take the place and continue building bridges, said Williams, whose organization seeks the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade that Washington has imposed on Cuba.

'I think that we are seeing that and that we will see even more, more members of Congress and governors will go to Cuba, as well as other people who see the vacuum of leadership in that regard and want to fill it,' he noted.

Asked about the coalition's work after Trump's decision, Williams stated that they have focused on regulations that must be announced in the next few months.

When he signed the Cuba policy memorandum, the president said that travels by U.S. citizens to Cuba would be limited and that economic, commercial and financial transactions between U.S. companies and Cuban firms linked to the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the intelligence and security services would be prohibited, among other measures.

The announcement on June 16 was a speech and a presidential policy directive, but the interpretation of how those measures will be regulated is what will have a real impact, Williams explained.

According to the president of Engage Cuba, they are interested in listening to the voices of the Cuban people, including the private sector, and that they are not only rules designed offstage by political groups in Washington.

Our hope would be that the leadership at the bipartisan level includes that and that the White House, after making deals in the shadows before, comes to the fore, listens to experts from both sides to have a real conversation, he noted.

It would be the best path, that the two governments can sit at the table and talk, that the peoples dialogue with each other and that the process is not guided by only few, he added.

However, he described as uncertain the role to be played by the agencies in charge of the new measures, because they were already marginalized when the Cuba policy was reviewed.

'Will they play a role now? I hope so, their technical experience is essential to prepare those regulations, but that does not mean necessarily that the administration will listen to them,' he stated.

Williams noted that Engage Cuba is making efforts to explain why relations are important to the largest universe of people possible, in the Capitol, in the White House, the agencies or the state governments.

He pointed out that most of those involved are waiting for new guidelines to come into effect three months after the president's announcement, but anything might happen until then, because the federal agencies accumulate lots of tasks, staff problems and many other important matters to attend to.

Anyway, he said, we have a limited window of time; therefore, we are working on the matter of bilateral ties with Cuba as if there is no tomorrow.

  • Published in Cuba

Bulls in Cuba

Cuba was the first country in Latin America where bullfights took place.

Last weekend, in Havana, you could almost hear the snorts of the fevered animal and the olé shouted by hundreds of fans, always rewarded with some challenging pass of the bullfighter.

The exhibition “Cuba brava. El toreo en la memoria historica de Cuba”, hosted by the House of Mexico, was unveiled in Havana. Paintings, pictures, posters, customs, documents and other related articles recalled the long and unknown bullfighting tradition in Cuba.

It is easy to realize that Spanish conquerors were the ones who introduced here and other Latin American countries the bullfight shows. Such shows are being criticized due to the cruelty with which these animals are treated.

According to Spanish Placido Gonzalez Hermoso, the first bullfight in Cuba took place in 1514 and Friar Bartolome de las Casas witnessed the event in his “Historia General de Indias.”

The first bullring in Cuba was built in 1769.

Twenty seven years later, the inhabitants of the village witnessed the second bullring built in Monte and Egido Streets. Bulls and bullfighters were brought from the metropolis.

Among the first documented bullfight festivities, the one held in 1569 to honor Saint Christopher is well-remembered. To honor the crowning of Carlos III, it was held a resounding one in 1759.

To honor this king, the bullring “Carlos III” or “La Infanta” was opened in 1885. Such bullfights were even broadcasted by the television for ten years, but it could not capture the audience’s attention, though.

However, this bullfights environment did not quit easily and they won the government’s approval to allow bullfighting in Havana on the exceptional condition of not killing any animal. The aforementioned bullfight took place at the Tropical Stadium before 13,000 fans in April 27th, May 4th, and May 11st 1941.

Not even Mazantin the Bullfighter

You can listen to some of our grandparents the phrase “This cannot be done by even Mazantin the bullfighter.” And some of our young people use the same expression.

manzantini

Perhaps, they do not know that Mazantin the bullfighter was the very famous Luis Mazzantini y Eguia, a Basque born in 1856.

He was unique due to his elegant and refined art of behaving inside and outside the bullring. He liked opera, social talks, and hanging out with the Spanish high society, where he returned after a long stay in Italy.

He starred a total of 16 bullfights in Cuba. And the bullring located in Belascoin Street, between Virtudes and Concordia Streets was the place where he boasted great skills.

Mazzantini left his mark in the island’s fashion and customs as well as one cigarettes’ brand.

Four decades later, the bullfighter vanished from the daily life of Havana.

In 1899 and after the Maine’s wrecking, the U.S. interventionist forces prohibited bullfights by military order. If any failed to comply with that order, a 500 Cuban pesos fine was executed.

The art of bullfighting in Cuba left like Mazzantini after four centuries. It happened once but those times will never come back again. It may be seen only in exhibitions like the one taking place in Havana.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

Cuba Defends Lula, Maduro at Sao Paulo Forum in Nicaragua

The 23rd Sao Paulo Forum meets in Managua this week to advance the unity of Latin America's left in the face of renewed attacks by global capitalism.

The Cuban delegation at the 23rd Sao Paulo Forum reaffirmed their support for Venezuelan President Maduro and former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva Sunday, claiming both leaders were victims of an “imperialist offensive."

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In an interview with Prensa Latina, Jorge Arias, deputy head of the Department of International Relations of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, emphasized the Cuban delegation's solidarity with Lula and Venezuela's Bolivarian process.

Arias argued the attacks against Maduro's government and the recent ruling against Lula were part of an “imperialist offensive” waged by the oligarchic right to besiege the region and reverse the gains made by the left during the past two decades.

Arias' comments come just days after former Lula's politicized conviction on corruption charges and in the midst of continuous attempts to derail the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, which faces a crucial democratic test later this month as representatives are elected to the country's National Constituent Assembly.

The Cuban delegation was joined by delegates representing social movements, popular bases and leftist parties across Latin America and the Caribbean at the 23rd Sao Paulo Forum, convened Sunday in Nicaragua's capital Managua.

The objective of the three-day conference is to further advance the regional, ideological and practical unity of the continent's left in its fight to consolidate its national liberation goals in the face of a renewed offensive by global capitalism against the peoples of the region.

Upon arriving in Managua Saturday, Puerto Rican independence leader and recently-released political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera stressed the importance the forum in remarks to reporters.

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"My freedom was achieved due to the solidarity of people like (those in) Nicaragua, who love freedom and justice," said Lopez Rivera, who was released in May after spending 36 years in prison for his fight to liberate Puerto Rico from U.S. colonialism.

The forum will also officially adopt the Consensus for Our America, a 24-page document dedicated to late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro that lays out the principles, purpose, objectives and priorities of the forum's participants. The forum's participants hope that the text, drafted collectively in past work sessions, will serve as a key programmatic document for progressive forces in not only Latin America, but the entire globe.

“The accumulation of capital is leading to the concentration and centralization of it (through) neoliberal policies focused on privatization and private appropriation of state enterprises, as well as the use of public funds to socialize the losses of private enterprises,” the document points out, adding that global capitalism seeks to eliminate any progressive or leftist presence from the world's social, institutional and political spaces.

Founded by the Worker's Party of Brazil in 1990, the Sao Paulo Forum was established in a bid to unify the efforts of the world's major leftist forces in the wake of Soviet socialism's collapse and the advance of neoliberalism, which stripped workers and poor people of hard-fought gains while privatizing previously off-limits sectors of national economies and the global commons alike.

The forum will entail various working groups and plenaries before ending Tuesday, a night prior to Wednesday's celebration marking 38 years since the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution. The revolution deposed U.S.-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza and brought the Sandinista Liberation Front to power, ushering in a period of sustained economic progress, poverty reduction, peace and stability in the Central American nation.

  • Published in Cuba

Three pairs with two victories in Varadero

VARADERO, Cuba, July 14, 2017 – Three men’s teams of the fourteen taking part in competition scored two victories in opening day of the fourth stop of the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit at Barcelo Solymar Arenas Blancas Hotel.

Jeremy Casebeer/John Mayer of USA-B defeated compatriots Skylar del Sol/Jon Mesko of USA-B 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) and Cuba-D of debutants Daniel Duran/Hermes Quevedo 2-1 (17-21, 21-16, 15-10) to lead Pool D.

Other teams who dominated in both outings were in Pool C, Rosso Bonneau/Fecteau-Boutin of Canada-A and Luis Reyes/José Luis Aguilera of Cuba-C, the latter in their first international experience, who swept the teams of Suriname and Guatemala.

The champions of the three previous stops, Karell Peña/Daisel Quesada of Cuba-B defeated Ruben Mora/Dany Lopez of Nicaragua 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) and the Dominicans Victor Castillo/William Sanchez over the same Central Americans 2-0 (27-25, 21-14) in the only matches in Pool B.

One of the teams favored to win the gold, Sergio Gonzalez and Nivaldo Díaz of Cuba-A didn’t have problems in Pool A to sweep Sylvester Hodge Penny/Rohan Jeffers of St Kitts and Nevis 2-0 (21-11, 21-10) in 27 minutes.

The latter were also victims of Fiodar Kazhamiaka/Sergey Grabovsky of Canada-B by scores of 21-11, 21-7 so they will face on Saturday the fifth placed at the Olympics of Rio 2016 to close the preliminary phase ahead of the quarterfinals.

Men’s Results on Friday:

Pool A: CAN-B d SKN-A 2-0 (21-11, 21-7); CUB-A d SKN 2-0 (21-11, 21-10).

Pool B: DOM d NCA 2-0 (27-25, 21-14); CUB-B d NCA 2-0 (21-15, 21-15).

Pool C: CUB-C d SUR 2-0 (21-17, 21-10); CAN-A a GUA 2-0 (21-19, 21-17); CUB-C d GUA 2-0 (21-14, 21-19); CAN-A d SUR 2-0 (21-7, 21-13).

Pool D: USA-B d USA-A 2-0 (21-19, 21-16); CUB-D d CRC 2-0 (21-16, 21-14); USA-A d CRC 2-0 (21-9, 21-8); USA-B d CUB-D 2-1 (17-21, 21-16, 15-10).

  • Published in Sports

Dancers from Acosta Dance Company to New York

Raul Reinoso and Mario Sergio Elias, dancers in the Acosta Dance Company led by Carlos Acosta, will perform at the Fire Island Dance Festival in New York, July 15-16.

A press release from the company media staff reports that Cuban dancers will present the choreography Nosotros, staged by Beatriz Garcia and Raul Reinoso, and music composed by Jose Gavilondo and costume design by fashion designers Guido and Pavel.

The choreography duet addresses the inner experience of a couple, a reflection on the instability of relationships and narrates love converging points, but also its failures, and frustrations.

The Fire Island Dance Festival, developed by Dancers Respond to AIDS Foundation, is a money-raising event held every year to ensure medicines, health care, food, counseling, and emergency financial help to sick people suffering from AIDS. All the performances are free.

Besides Acosta Dance, other dance companies such as Pontus, Lidberg Dance, Miami City Ballet, Caleb Teicher and Company, Evidence, Makers Dance Company, Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, among others, will participate.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

  • Published in Culture

Raul Castro denounces Donald Trump's Cuba policy

The president of Cuba has spoken publicly for the first time against US President Donald Trump's rollback of a thaw between the two countries a month ago.

President Raul Castro said "attempts to destroy the revolution" would fail.

Mr Trump has tightened restrictions on US travel to and business with the communist island.

But the US embassy in Havana, re-opened by former President Barack Obama, is still operating.

Mr Castro was speaking in front of Cuba's national assembly. It was his first public comment on the policy changes Mr Trump announced a month ago.

State-run Cuban media quoted Mr Castro as saying that Mr Trump was using "old and hostile rhetoric" and had returned to "confrontation that roundly failed over 55 years".

He said: "We reject the manipulation of the topic of human rights against Cuba, which can be proud of much in this area and does not need to receive lessons from the United States nor anyone."

Mr Trump anchored his policy rollback in human rights concerns raised by political opponents of Cuba's communist government, many of whom have fled to Miami where Mr Trump announced the changes on 16 June.

Mr Castro continued: "Cuba and the United States can cooperate and live side by side, respecting their differences. But no one should expect that for this, one should have to make concessions inherent to one's sovereignty and independence."

End of U.S. Blockade against Cuba demanded in Streets of Miami

A caravan made up of around 50 cars traveled 15 miles through major avenues in the city of Miami, where most of the members of the Cuban community live.

The coalition Alianza Martiana organized this event against the blockade for second time this year. According to a statement broadcasted by Radio Miami, the cars had their lights on with Cuban and American flags being waved, and people carried posters denouncing the economical siege suffered by Cuba.

The participants in the caravan demanded the continuation of the thawing of relations with Cuba, the immediate end of the economic, commercial, and financial war that for more than fifty years Washington has imposed to the Cuban people and the total travel freedom for American citizens.

Some of the participants commented to the local media that they witnessed the support of other people who backed them in their own cars.

Again in Miami, a caravan of cars turns to be a categorical rejection to the U.S. ambitions to undermine Cuba with the tightening of the blockade.

This time there was a strong denounce of the Cuban community to the U.S. policy towards Cuba announced by U.S. President Donald Trump in recent days.

The head of state should listen to the claims of thousand Cubans living in Miami and other U.S. cities. These people call for the normalization of the bilateral relations, which certainly favors both countries.

Donald Trump’s change in the policy towards Cuba is, no doubt, a setback between the two countries. However, let me make it clear, Trump is being exclusively advised by a small group of people who do not represent the vast majority of the American public opinion.

In such scenario, we hope this caravan demanding the end of the blockade in Miami may pave the way for other actions taken in South Florida to show solidarity and support to the Cuban sovereignty.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Cuba
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