USA-Blockade Cuba: Fifty-eight Years Later

On February 3rd, 1962 and under the umbrella of the Foreign Aid Act of 1961, John F. Kennedy decrees the Presidential Proclamation 3447 that imposed a commercial blockade on Cuba.

Four days later it came into force.

Subsequently its reach went even further, as we as in the financial ground.

However, since 1959 Washington already imposed obstacles to transactions between the two nations.

An example, when Havana needed to renew its old aviation fleet destined for agriculture.

He then withdrew inspectors who guaranteed the quality of fruits and vegetables destined for their territory.

What was the motive for this punishment? That Cuba since 1959 had left behind its status as a North American neo-colony.

But also, for the first time in its history, it began to govern in favor of the vast majority.

Washington did not resign and deployed their Torricelli and Helms-Burton laws, which unmasked the extraterritorial nature of its policy.

But not just that, its list also shows the attempt to sabotage medical assistance in Cuba.

With just remembering that out of the 6000 professionals living in Cuba at the triumph of the Revolution triumphed, Washington's machinations managed to reduce them by half.

But this is only an example.

The North American decision was to hit Cuba on all fronts, prioritizing brain drains, including celebrities.

And although famous artists and intellectuals have remained faithful to their culture, others, including some of less lineage, gave in to the pressures and offering of gifts.

As the colonialist style that centuries ago bought souls using shining and useless pieces of glass.

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Puerto Rico asks Washington for more post-earthquake aid

San Juan, February 7 (RHC)-- The U.S. Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction, and Resilience (COR3) has requested that the U.S. government extend to nine other municipalities the Major Disaster Declaration for Puerto Rico signed by President Donald Trump.

Following preliminary damage assessments about the January 7th earthquakes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Pete Gaynor was asked to grant individual assistance to the municipalities of Arecibo, Ciales, Hormigueros, Juana Diaz, Las Marias, Mayagüez, Morovis, Orocovis, and Sabana Grande.

The Major Disaster Declaration due to the earthquakes is already providing individual assistance for Adjuntas, Cabo Rojo, Corozal, Guanica, Guayanilla, Jayuya, Lajas, Lares, Maricao, Peñuelas, Ponce, San German, San Sebastian, Utuado, Villalba and Yauco municipalities.

FEMA's Individual Assistance Program provides financial aid for those affected who have incurred expenses on account of the seismic sequences that began on December 28, 2019, and that have not had insurance coverage, so housing and other needs can be included.

COR3's Executive Director Ottmar Chavez requested the federal agency to broaden public assistance in categories C to G for the towns of Guanica, Guayanilla, Peñuelas, Ponce, San German, and Yauco, in addition to the extension of a Major Disaster Declaration and subsidy in the categories from A to G for the municipalities of Adjuntas, Jayuya, Juana Diaz, Lajas, Las Marias, Mayagüez, Sabana Grande, and Utuado.

"We were able to verify that the needs identified," Chavez explained, "go beyond the capacities of the State and at the local level without additional federal assistance due to the damage caused by Hurricane Maria, as well as the magnitude of the damage triggered by recent earthquakes.

Edited by Ed Newman
  • Published in World

Seemingly Fragile Truce Between Trump and Iran

Donald Trump said last Thursday that the new sanctions imposed on Tehran are already working.

Excuse? The missile attacks on bases that house U.S. troops in Iraq.

"Already done. We have expanded them. They were very severe, but now they have increased. ”

And he added without further explanation: "I just recently approved them with the Treasury."

The president had promised hours earlier "additional punitive sanctions" in retaliation for the attack.

Seen by experts, he recalled the Associated France Press (AFP), as a moderate response to the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

The latter, in a North American strike with drones in Baghdad.

According to the Pentagon, there were eleven missiles fired by Iran that reached the air base of Ain al Asad (west) and another in the north used by North Americans and allied forces.

With these types of sanctions, said AFP, Washington's non-military response "was seen as a sign of good will to calm down the escalation of the conflict."

Iran (...) hit us with missiles. They shouldn't have done that. Fortunately for them, nobody was injured, nobody was killed,” Trump repeated on Thursday.

And then he added:

"They are very affected by the sanctions."

“They can strengthen their country's economy very quickly if they wish. We'll see if they negotiate or not. ”

Amid that apparently conciliatory atmosphere, Vice President Mike Pence said that Trump will ask his European allies to nullify the nuclear pact signed with Iran.

That agreement, observers recalled, was in the process of extinction since the United States withdrew from the commitment.

Pence was blunt: The president will ask our allies to withdraw from the "disastrous nuclear agreement with Iran" and demand that they give up their long history of terrorist violence.

As well as its nuclear ambitions, and join the family of nations.

Pence made his statements during an interview with the far-right "Fox & Friends."

Some indicated Trump's friction with Britain, France, Germany and other NATO members, since the U.S. backed down in 2018 from the nuclear agreement negotiated by Barack Obama.

Your excuse to do so? That it granted Tehran too many economic benefits without preventing that at some point it will build a nuclear weapon.

Great Britain, France, Germany, the European Union, China, and Russia have not left the agreement.

Another proof that corroborates how uncertain it is to establish any sort of obligation with Trump and his tribe.

All of this, when in reality, the fiery episode between Washington and Iran doesn’t seem to have end, in the first place.

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NASA Investigating First Crime Committed In Space

US Space agency NASA is investigating what may be the first crime committed in outer space, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Astronaut Anne McClain is accused of identity theft and improperly accessing her estranged wife's private financial records while on a sixth-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the Times said.

The astronaut's spouse Summer Worden filed a complaint earlier this year with the Federal Trade Commission after learning McClain had accessed her bank account without permission, while Worden's family filed another with NASA's Office of Inspector General, according to the newspaper.

McClain's lawyer said the astronaut had done nothing wrong and accessed the bank records while aboard the ISS in order to monitor the couple's combined finances -- something she had done over the course of their relationship, the Times reported.

NASA investigators have contacted both women, according to the newspaper.

McClain, who returned to Earth in June, gained fame for being one of two women picked for a historic all-female spacewalk, but NASA scrapped the planned walk in March due to a lack of well-fitting spacesuits, sparking accusations of sexism.

Worden said the FTC has not responded to the identity theft report, but that an investigator specializing in criminal cases with NASA's Office of Inspector General has been looking into the accusation, according to the Times.

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Protesters take center stage at Donald Trump’s July 4th event in Washington

Protesters in Washington, DC clashed with supporters of President Donald Trump outside the White House on Thursday, a few moments before the U.S. president got on stage for his “Salute to America.”

The July Fourth celebrations in the U.S. capital wasn't short on controversy for the central role that U.S. military equipment and weapons played and the multi-million dollar cost for taxpayers.  Trump swept away any criticism of the event and said the military was "thrilled" to be part of it.   But many criticized the activity, not only for its price tag but for its praise of militarism; some calling the huge event the praise of fascism in the United States.

Donald Trump hosted the Independence Day show -- called the "Salute to America" -- featuring a speech from the Lincoln Memorial, a display of military tanks and fighter jets roaring over Washington.  Thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in the center of Washington, DC for concerts, fireworks and the address by Trump.

Many op-ed articles in newspapers and media strongly condemned Trump's decision to give a public speech and hold a military parade on the Fourth of July holidays, saying it has divided the country.

Supporters of the U.S. president said he was expressing love for the country and the military. However, Trump's critics accused him of hijacking and politicizing a traditionally non-partisan holiday and using taxpayers’ money to stage it.

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Washington sanctions threaten Middle East security – Iranian Deputy FM

US sanctions threaten the security of the Middle East, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has warned. Araqchi made his statement while on a diplomatic tour of the Gulf region, following military tension with the US.

Speaking in Kuwait on Monday, Araqchi said that Washington’s policy of economic sanctions threatened “the security of the entire region,” according to a statement on the Foreign Ministry’s website. “Countries in the region should be vigilant about this threat,” he added.

Araqchi’s pronouncement came after several weeks of escalating military tensions in the Persian Gulf. The US deployed an aircraft carrier group and bomber aircraft to the region citing unspecified Iranian threats, and following alleged acts of Iranian “sabotage” on commercial oil tankers near the Emirati port of Fujairah, earlier this month.

Also on US ‘not looking for regime change’ in Iran, says Trump, beefing up military in Middle East...

Both sides have bandied threats at each other, but Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed the notion of open conflict two weeks ago, saying “We don't seek a war, and they don’t either.” Nevertheless, US President Donald Trump announced the deployment of 1,500 troops to the Middle East on Saturday, ostensibly for “defensive” purposes.

After waving the stick, Trump then dangled the carrot on Monday. “I do believe that Iran would like to talk,” he said. “And if they’d like to talk, we’d like to talk also.”

No talks

Although Araqchi stated on Sunday that “there are no direct or indirect talks between Iran and the US,” the diplomat embarked on a tour of three Gulf states the same day, to discuss cooperation and development. Araqchi visited Oman on Sunday and Kuwait on Monday, and will wrap up the tour with a visit to Qatar.

At the same time, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visited Pakistan and Iraq over the weekend. Speaking in Baghdad on Sunday, Zarif welcomed dialog with Iraq, which fought a brutal war against Iran under Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. The eight-year conflict claimed more than a million lives and ended in stalemate in 1988.

Zarif proposed a non-aggression pact with its neighbors, some of whom are US allies. However, he also cautioned that the Islamic Republic is ready to defend itself against any attack, be it “an economic war or a military one.”

Also on Iran proposes ‘non-aggression pact’ to Gulf neighbors as regional tensions soar...

The Iranian FM also spoke out against US sanctions, enforced since Washington unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran Deal) last year, saying the US is “bullying other countries into compliance with its unilateral measures.”

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USA Announces 'Assistance' for Venezuela

The United States announced on Thursday, it would give 20 million dollars in ''humanitarian assistance'' to the Venezuelan population, while the South Amnerican government denounces Washington's attempts to promote violence and a coup d''état.

A day after the US president, Donald Trump, recognized as president 'in charge' of the South American nation to Juan Guaido, deputy of the National Assembly declared in contempt by the Supreme Court, ignoring the constitutional Government of Nicolás Maduro, the American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that sum.

The United States, which imposes economic sanctions on Venezuela, pressures the regional nations to join its campaign of hostility against Caracas and is denounced for its attempts to promote destabilization and subversion in that territory, refers to the money as destined to 'cope with the severe shortages of food and medicines'.

Without referring to any of the punishments applied by Washington unilaterally to hit the economy of the South American nation, a note from the State Department mentions the existence of a political and economic crisis of which it blames the Maduro Government.

The National Assembly of Venezuela has highlighted the need for immediate international humanitarian assistance. In response, the United States is ready to provide emergency assistance, adds the text on the Parliament declared without a valid board of directors by the Supreme Court of Justice.

As a continuation of the interventionist stance repeatedly condemned by Caracas, the State Department said to ask the Venezuelan authorities 'to immediately implement the economic and political reforms necessary to put an end to hyperinflation, shortages of supplies and corruption.'

This announcement also comes a day after Pompeo challenged the Venezuelan president's decision to break diplomatic relations with the United States as a result of Washington's interventionism.

Maduro denounced on Wednesday that the Donald Trump administration is conducting an operation to impose a coup d'état with a puppet government and gave 72 hours to the staff of the US embassy to leave their country.

In response, Pompeo issued a statement in which it states that the United States maintains diplomatic relations with Venezuela and will carry them out 'through the government of interim President Guaido.'

Since the beginning of this month, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry warned about the destabilizing actions of the United States to promote the ignorance of the legitimate and democratic institutions of the Latin American territory in an attempted coup d'état.

Declassified documents, testimonies of officials and journalistic investigations confirm the interest of the northern nation to regain control over the energy and mineral resources that belong exclusively to the people, the institution said in a statement.

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Joint Cuban, U.S. probe finds no evidence of sonic attacks

The Cuban Foreign Ministry has issued a statement calling on the U.S. government to stop the "political manipulation" of alleged health issues.

A fourth meeting was held in Washington D.C. Tuesday between authorities from law enforcement agencies from Cuba and the United States, the Cuban foreign ministry said, adding that joint investigations by the agencies from both countries have found no evidence of the alleged sonic attacks against U.S. diplomats in Havana.

The statement said that the Cuban delegation urged the United States government to stop its hostile behavior and “political manipulation” towards the Caribbean country using “the alleged health incidents that became a pretext to adopt new unilateral measures that affect the operation of the respective embassies, particularly, the rendering of consular services depended upon by hundreds of thousands of people.”

The meeting was concluded with an agreement to “continue with this dialogue and to keep holding the technical meetings between the law enforcement agencies from both countries to bring bilateral cooperation to fruition,” the statement of the Cuban ministry said.

Last year, so-called 'sonic attacks' led to the withdrawal of U.S. diplomatic staff in Cuba, after 24 staff displayed concussion-like symptoms, according to the State Department. No evidence was ever found to support the allegations.

Edited by Pavel Jacomino
  • Published in Cuba
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