Lat Am, Caribbean Economic Challenges on Debate in Cuba

Havana, Aug 5 (Prensa Latina) The main challenges being faced by Latin American and Caribbean economies will be the focus of the debates at an event that will bring together professionals of economic and social sciences, academic, decision makers and civil society in this capital.

The persistence of the global crisis and the continuity of its effects in the region will be analyzed at the event 'The Economy of Latin America and the Caribbean Facing the New International Environment. Main Challenges', scheduled from September 11 to 13 at Havana's Conference Center.

The National Association of Economists and Accountant of Cuba (ANEC) and the Latin America and Caribbean Economic Association are organizing the event.

The real possibility that the region promotes a gradual change in the productive and commercial structure, integration, the new economic and commercial policy of the United States and its possible effects will also be analyzed.

The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, cooperatives and their role in the current situation are also among the issues to be debated.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC) recently updated its projections for the growth of productive activity and services for the countries of the region in 2018 and kept its estimate of average expansion at 2.2 percent, after growing 1.2 percent in 2017.

Among the factors supporting statistics in 2017 are the moderate growth of the world economy, certain dynamism of international trade and investment, even though they do not exceed the trend prior to the 2008 economic crisis, says the call to the event, posted on the ANEC's website.

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CELAC and EU call for end of U.S. blockade of Cuba

The foreign ministers of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) called Tuesday for the end of the blockade imposed on Cuba by the United States, since "it has caused undue humanitarian consequences for the Cuban people." 

"We reiterate our rejection of the application of those coercive measures of a unilateral nature with extraterritorial effect," the ministers said in the statement signed after a meeting in Brussels of the EU and CELAC foreign officials. 

The ministers also reaffirmed their rejection of the application of the extraterritorial provisions of the Helms-Burton Act, approved by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, which states that any non-U.S. company operating in Cuba may be subject to legal reprisals. 

In this regard, representatives of the EU and CELAC stressed that the United Nations General Assembly had adopted a resolution condemning this blockade, which was only opposed by the United States and Israel. 

"These measures are damaging the legitimate development of commercial ties between Cuba, the European Union and other countries," concluded the EU and CELAC foreign ministers. 

Edited by Pavel Jacomino
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Cuba Deems As Vital to Advance in CELAC-EU Cooperation

Cuban Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Abelardo Moreno today deemed as vital to advance in cooperation between the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the European Union (EU) despite the differences between the two regions.

When speaking at the second CELAC-EU ministerial meeting, the Vice Minister assured that it is possible to identify points of convergence such as the proliferation of protectionist measures, the extraterritorial application of national legislations and the defense of multilateralism.

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'We work on the issues of women, children, climate change and drugs, the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, and even, the negotiation of a World Agreement for a safe, regular and orderly migration,' he urged. Moreno stressed CELAC is willing to strengthen cooperation with the EU 'under the guidance of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, and with due respect for our diversity.'

He likewise indicated, 'policies that proliferate today in violation of international law constitute an affront to humanity,' and also recalled that waves of refugees and migrants face situations of high vulnerability.

On Monday, the meeting began in Brussels, which will last two days with the participation of senior representatives of the 33 member countries of CELAC and 28 of the EU.

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Venezuelan Foreign Minister Condemns Unilateral Sanctions by EU

Jorge Arreaza said that the sanctions by the European Union are aimed at attacking the Bolivarian Revolution and its democratic institutions.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza on Monday condemned the unilateral sanctions of the European Union (EU) and called on the bloc to rectify its interventionist position.

"It is regrettable that the European Union is put to the tail's end of US imperialism, it is regrettable that the European Union has issued a series of restrictive measures against Venezuelan citizens, officials, but also presidents of public powers, that is, against Venezuela and its democratic institutionality democratic," Arreaza said during the II Forum of Cooperation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) and China.

RELATED:  Venezuela Rejects 'Interventionist' Sanctions Imposed by EU

Arreaza asserted that the EU violates international law by subordinating its foreign policy "to the imperialist, supremacist and racist US policy"

"Venezuela calls on the EU to reflect and rectify because our independence is sacred, our institutions legitimate," he said.

Arreaza stressed that the EU's arguments to impose sanctions are not to promote dialogue with the opposition, on the contrary "it is about attacking the Bolivarian Revolution, and attacking Venezuelan democratic institutions."

He recalled that the undersecretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States, Thomas Shannon, had previously reported that "they instructed the EU with a package of sanctions against Venezuela."

The Venezuelan diplomat said that his country will continue in the process of dialogue with the opposition, as well as progress in all areas of society.

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ALBA Countries Agree to Strengthen Regional Integration

Caracas, March 6 (Prensa Latina) ALBA-TCP member countries agreed to work with the purpose of strengthening the unity and integration of Latin America and the Caribbean and establishing conditions to guarantee the economic growth of this Latin American bloc.

This was proclaimed by Caracas Declaration at the conclusion of the 14th Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America - Peoples' Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP), which was held on Sunday at the Miraflores Palace, headquarters of the Government of Venezuela.

The Alliance is composed of eight countries, with two special guests and three observers. The full members are Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Venezuela.

Special guests include Suriname and Saint Lucia, while observers include Haiti, Iran, and Syria.

The unity and regional integration of Latin America and the Caribbean is an urgent need in this complex environment. ALBA-TCP, along with blocs such as MERCOSUR, UNASUR, CARICOM, and others that regained their leading role in the last decade, should continue to contribute to regional integration.

'The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is our most precious work. It is the mechanism to forge unity in diversity through political agreement. The Community has had to face the resistance of the defenders of failed Pan-Americanism. We must preserve it,' the statement stresses.

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USAID-Funded Freedom House Report Casts Leftist Latin American Governments as "Not Free"

The assessment is unsurprising given the U.S. history of pushing for regime change in leftist governments in Latin America. 

The Washington-based, USAID-funded research group Freedom House recently released its annual “Freedom in the World” report, which promoted a definition of "freedom" bent towards U.S. interests in the region. The report cast Venezuela and other left-wing Latin American governments as “not free,” while marveling at Brazil’s Michel Temer government, which ousted elected President Dilma Rousseff in a parliamentary coup last year.

RELATED: Venezuelans Remember Chavez's War Against Imperialism

“Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro’s combination of strong-arm rule and dire economic mismanagement pushed his country to a status of Not Free for the first time in 2016,” the organization warns in their report. Its assessment of the country, however, grossly overlooks that the opposition-controlled parliament has long attempted to, and prioritized, ousting Maduro through constitutionally dubious means.

Since the report was published, leaders have spoken out against the conclusion. Uruguay’s President Tabare Vazquez quelled the mainstream hysteria surrounding Venezuela, telling Deutsche Welle Tuesday that "there is democracy because there are three powers working.”

The Uruguayan president recalled that in that country "there is a functioning judicial power, a legislative power in operation (where the opposition is majority) and there is an executive branch with its president and vice president … this is the cold figure of the Venezuelan state."

While the report rebuked Maduro’s rule and other leftist governments in the region, such as Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia, it remained unconcerned with Brazil, ranking the country’s freedom with a high ranking of 79 in its 100-point ranking system.

“History may judge the impeachment itself. The process impeded government functions by absorbing executive and legislative attention for months, and it did little to resolve a broader corruption crisis,” they write of the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff. The report, however, made no mention of Temer regime’s criminalization of social movements, its 20-year freezing of social spending, and Temer’s history of corruption himself.

The assessment is unsurprising given the United States’ alignment with the Temer government and history of pushing for regime change in the leftist governments in the region.

While Freedom House claims to be an “independent watchdog organization,” it is financed through “grants from USAID (US Agency for International Development) and U.S. State Department.”

RELATED: Only Progressive Governments Attended CELAC Summit

As Venezuela Analysis reported, the NGO has conducted “democracy promotion” projects across the region, funded by USAID. Between 2012 and 2015, the organization received US$2,160,000 in grants for its activities in Venezuela alone.

In leaked U.S. State Department documents from 2006, U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield explicitly laid out U.S. objectives in the South American nation: “The strategy's focus is: 1) Strengthening Democratic Institutions, 2) Penetrating Chavez' Political Base, 3) Dividing Chavismo, 4) Protecting Vital U.S. business, and 5) Isolating Chavez internationally.”

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Cuban Intellectual Calls for Ideas to Stop Fascist Onslaught

Bolivia, Oct 11 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Intellectual and Culture Minister, Abel Prieto, convened to stop the fascist onslaught in Our America and the world promoting among young people the ideas of Marti, Che Guevara and the great liberators.

Speaking to Prensa Latina during the tributes to Che in this Bolivian city and La Higuera, where he was assassinated 49 years ago on instructions from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Prieto reflected on the current world situation.

Now, there is an attack against all progressive processes, and I think we need of paradigms, models that young people know of the history of our region, as Marti, Che, Bolivar and many others, who left a seed for future generations, he said.

Because we all know that the great project of the imperialism is that the contemporary youth keep busy on other more trivial things, and it is essential that those ideas remain in force, he said.

It is also essential that young cadres be trained as Bolivian Culture Minister, Marco Machicao, committed to the historical project of the great heroes of Our America, Prieto said.

He highlighted the recently concluded meeting of Culture Ministers from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz and some of them were in Vallegrande to pay tribute to Ernesto Che Guevara.

The Cuban writer and leader stressed that the CELAC bill has much to do with Marti and Che. They were convinced that Our America and the Southern nations had to rise, creating two, three, many Vietnams.

Che was confident that, at short or long term, people would reach victory over imperialism, and that faith in victory, that tenacity and revolutionary stubbornness that is in Fidel and Raul Castro, Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez, have led our region to win an exceptional place in the world, he stressed. Prieto praised the role the Cuban Medical Brigade has played in many countries, those health collaborators have been here for 10 years with new waves of professionals and the same Guevara, revolutionary, Latin Americanist spirit, and they continue working to preserve these historic sites and defending Che's ideas.

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