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Posts Tagged ‘Cuban’

Cuban plane crashes with 68 onboard

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2010 at 10:53 am

Cuban ballet troupe performs in Vietnam

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2010 at 12:08 am

Cuban ballet troupe performs in Vietnam

QĐND – Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 22:14 (GMT+7)

The Rakatan Ballet troupe from Cuba is scheduled to make performances in Vietnam at the invitation of the Performing Arts Centre, under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST).

According to the Hanoi Moi (New Hanoi) daily, the artistic performances will be held at the Hanoi Opera House on Oct. 21, the August Theatre (Hai Phong) on Oct. 22 and the Culture and Information Centre (Thai Nguyen) on Oct. 24.

The 19-member troupe is regarded as one of the most talented ballet groups to emerge from Cuba and well-known for their attractive and diversified dances.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Castro accuses US of torture in ‘Cuban Five’ case

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 11:18 am

  Fidel Castro accused U.S. authorities of torturing a convicted Cuban spy, telling a meeting of communist youths that the agent had been placed in solitary confinement in California.

At the meeting was former castaway Elian Gonzalez, now 16, who could be seen listening intently to the ex-Cuban president when footage of the closed-door session aired on state-run television Friday night.

Castro, who turns 84 on Aug. 13, is suddenly making near daily appearances in and around Havana, after spending four years almost completely out of the public eye following emergency intestinal surgery that forced him to cede power to his younger brother Raul.

In this photo released by the state media Cubadebate web site, Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro, right, shakes hands with Yailin Orta Rivera, Juventud Rebelde journalist and professor at the Communications College at the University of Havana, during a meeting with youth at the Havana Convention Center in Havana, Cuba, Friday July 30, 2010.

He has occasionally turned up in green fatigues similar to the military uniform that had been his trademark during nearly half a century in power. This time, however, Castro wore a red-checkered shirt and gray pants while speaking for a bit more than an hour in Havana’s convention center.

Looking relaxed and engaged, Castro spoke about the case of Gerardo Hernandez, who is serving a double life sentence on counts of conspiracy to murder four Miami-based pilots who were slain by Cuban jets in 1996 when they were dispersing pro-democracy pamphlets on the island.

Hernandez is one of the so-called “Cuban Five” intelligence agents that Cuba says it sent to the U.S. to infiltrate anti-Castro groups linked to 1990s hotel bombings and other terrorists attacks on Cuban soil. The five were convicted in the U.S. of spying.

Castro said Hernandez has been placed in solitary confinement at a prison in Victorville, California.

“Did he do anything? No, nothing,” he said. “Four FBI officials met to decide and they decided. That’s torture. There’s nothing else to call it, it’s torture, and its occurring in view of the whole world.”

Castro also said Hernandez was in need of medical treatment he was not receiving.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Interests Section in Havana — which Washington maintains instead of an embassy — referred questions about the case to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which said it was up to authorities at the Victorville facility to comment. Two calls to representatives at the prison went unanswered Friday.

Complaints that Hernandez had been placed in solitary confinement have been made throughout the week by Ricardo Alarcon, speaker of the Cuban parliament, which convenes Sunday for one of its two full sessions a year.

“It was very emotional to again see the commander. I missed seeing him and it makes me very happy,” said Gonzalez, who was the center of a nasty international custody battle a decade ago and was frequently visited by Castro after he returned to Cuba.

When asked if he had any advice for Cuban youth, Castro said, “we can’t focus on the future with the concepts and images of the past.”

“Everything is new,” he said, “you have to let your imagination soar.”

But Castro repeated a warning of coming nuclear war, which he has claimed for weeks will pit the U.S. and Israel against Iran, and be worsened by tensions between North and South Korea.

“Why do our children and adolescents have to die?” Castro asked.

Source: SGGP

Cuban academic says corruption island’s big threat

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 at 10:28 am

Corruption at the highest levels of government — not the meddling of a small band of dissidents — is the greatest threat to Cuba’s communist system, a leading academic said in a highly unusual opinion posted Thursday on a state Web site.

The article by Esteban Morales — a historian who has written extensively on race and relations with the United States — crossed a number of red lines in tightly controlled Cuba, including openly discussing corruption rumors surrounding the dismissal of a top government aviation official who had fought alongside Ernesto “Che” Guevara and the Castros in the 1950s.

In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, left, speaks with Cuba’s President Raul Castro upon arrival to Jose Marti airport in Havana, early Thursday, April 15, 2010

Morales said some top Cuban officials are preparing to divide the spoils if Cuba’s political system disintegrates, like the shadowy oligarchs that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.

“In reality, corruption is much more dangerous than so-called internal dissent,” Morales wrote in the piece, which appeared on the Web site of the state National Artists and Writers Union of Cuba. “The latter is isolated … but corruption is truly counterrevolutionary because it comes from within the government and the state apparatus, which are the ones that really control the country’s resources.”

Members of the artists union have been surprisingly critical of the government in the past, but often with little effect. Criticism can also appear in government newspapers, but rarely on such hot-button issues as corruption among senior officials.

Morales is a prominent intellectual who only Monday appeared on a state television program defending the government on another topic. The frank assessment on the Web site went far further than what is normally tolerated.

Morales never singled out Fidel or Raul Castro for blame, but he said cronyism is rampant in the system that has developed 51 years after their revolution won power and said some officials are waiting for a chance to grab the country’s resources.

“It has become evident that there are people in government and state positions who are preparing a financial assault for when the revolution falls,” Morales wrote. “Others likely have everything ready to produce the transfer of state property into private hands, like what happened in the former Soviet Union.”

Meanwhile, the government early Friday announced preliminary results of an autopsy on Roberto Baudrand, a top Chilean executive who was found dead in his Havana apartment on Monday after being detained by Cuban authorities investigating his company, which is owned by a businessman who was a close friend of Fidel Castro. The autopsy revealed that Baudrand died of a lack of oxygen, and that unnamed drugs and alcohol were found in his blood, the government said in a statement sent to foreign journalists.

It did not say whether the death was considered a suicide, but noted that the investigation would continue.

Chile’s diplomats have pushed Cuban officials for information on the businessman’s death.

Baudrand, 59, was general manager of Alimentos Rio Zaza SA and served as liaison in Cuba for Max Marambio, the former head bodyguard of Chilean socialist President Salvador Allende, who was toppled in a 1973 military coup. The company makes “Tropical Island” brand juices and other food products sold in hard-currency stores catering to foreigners and tourists. The company is joint-owned by Cuba’s government and Marambio, but has been shuttered for months as part of an investigation.

In his scathing opinion piece, Morales brought up another prominent case — the abrupt March 9 firing of veteran revolutionary Rogelio Acevedo, who had overseen the country’s airlines and airports since the 1980s. The government gave no reason for his dismissal, but the island has been awash with speculation that he has been placed under house arrest for corruption.

Exile Web sites have reported that a large amount of cash was found hidden at Acevedo’s house and that he is suspected of operating a private airline, among other things. The government has not commented on the allegations.

“There must be some truth to these reports, because this is a small country where everyone knows each other,” Morales wrote of the speculation over Acevedo. He said the government owed people a fuller account because the same sort of corruption is happening in other state-run institutions.

“Whether it be to vindicate or condemn Acevedo, the people must be told what happened,” he said.

While complaints of low-level corruption are not uncommon in state media, allegations of wide-scale, top-level malfeasance are very unusual and the fall of party officials has usually been seen as an anomaly rather than a symptom of broader rot.

When Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and Vice President Carlos Lage were dismissed last year, Fidel Castro wrote that “the honey of power … awoke in them ambitions that led to an undignified role.”

Officials gave few public details of what they had done wrong, though Communist Party members said they were shown a video showing both making disparaging comments about the government and Miami journalist Maria Elvira Salazar released photos showing them partying with a Spanish business representative.

Morales appeared to refer to that case Thursday, when he complained of “favoritism, cronyism, certain acts of corruption” that led to information being passed to Spanish intelligence.

Source: SGGP

Thousands pay respects to Cuban revolutionary hero

In World on September 14, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Tens of thousands of Cubans lined up Sunday to pay their respects to Juan Almeida Bosque, a vice president and hero of the country’s 1959 revolution whose death at the age of 82 further thinned the ranks of this communist-run country’s old-guard leaders.

President Raul Castro led the ceremony at Havana‘s Revolution Square, somberly placing a pink rose in front of a large photograph of Almeida. Flags flew at half-staff throughout the country.

There was no sign of Castro’s older brother, former leader Fidel Castro, who has not been seen in public since turning over power to his brother in 2006. He released a statement later Sunday, writing: “I didn’t know, neither did any of us, just how much pain news of his passing would bring.”

“I was a privileged witness of his exemplary conduct during more than half a century of heroic and victorious resistance,” he added.

Cuba’s Gen. Defense Minister Julio Casas Regueiro, right, and Cuba’s Interior Minister Abelardo Colome Ibarra, left, take part in a honor guard next to an image of Cuba’s Commander of the Revolution Juan Almeida Bosque, center, during a funeral ceremony in Havana

Raul Castro did not speak at the ceremony, but other Cubans filing past hailed Almeida as a great and simple man.

“We have lost a party stalwart,” said Manuel Perez, a 59-year-old laborer. “He was a man of great importance in the revolutionary fight.”

Osmar Orozco, a 61-year-old retiree, added that Almeida‘s loyalty to Fidel Castro and the revolution was “without limit.”

“That is why all Cubans could not fail to be here on this day,” he said, wiping back tears.

Lines of thousands formed early and snaked through Revolution Square on Sunday. Some bowed before Almeida’s photograph, while military men and veterans saluted. Many more Cubans were expected to attend smaller memorials throughout the country.

Almeida, one of just three surviving rebel leaders who still bore the title “Commander of the Revolution,” died Friday of a heart attack.

He was the first of Cuba‘s revolutionary giants to pass away since Raul Castro’s wife, Vilma Espin, died in June 2007, and his death was a sudden if not unexpected reminder that all of the country’s aging leaders are facing the inevitable march of time.

Most are in their late 70s and early 80s, including the Castro brothers, and it is not at all clear who would replace them. The few young leaders who have emerged over the years have not lasted long before falling out of favor.

Almeida was a member of Cuba’s ruling elite, sitting on the Communist Party’s politburo and serving as a vice president on the Council of State, the country’s supreme governing body. He cut back on activities in December 2003, citing heart problems.

Almeida met Fidel Castro in 1952 at the University of Havana, where both were studying law, and he had been at Castro’s side ever since, through his imprisonment on the Isla de la Juventud, exile in Mexico and return to Cuba aboard the American yacht “Granma” in 1956 to launch the revolution.

Almeida, the Castro brothers and Argentine-born Ernesto “Che” Guevara were among only 16 rebels who survived the landing, in which most of the rebels were killed by government troops.

“No one here gives up!” Almeida shouted to Guevara at the time, giving the Cuban revolution one of its most lasting slogans and ensuring his place in Cuban communist history. As a guerrilla leader, Almeida later headed his own front of military operations in eastern Cuba.

Source: SGGP

Cuban envoy honoured for promoting ties with VN

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm

The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has awarded Cuban Ambassador Jesus de los Angeles Aise Sotolongo the Friendship Order for his contributions to boosting friendly and cooperative ties between the two countries.

Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem told an award ceremony in Hanoi on June 30 that over the past four years, Ambassador Jesus de los Angeles Aise Sotolongo has acted as a bridge between the Vietnamese and Cuban leaders and people and helped foster multifaceted cooperation between the two countries.

The Deputy PM expressed his belief that the Cuban diplomat would further make contributions to strengthening solidarity, friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Cuba.

The Cuban ambassador thanked the Vietnamese State for its precious award and said he will do his utmost to foster the Vietnam-Cuba traditional friendship and special cooperation.

Cuba to strengthen ties with Vietnam

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Outgoing Cuban Ambassador Jesus Aise Sotolongo has affirmed Cuba ’s determination to strengthen the traditional relations with Vietnam .

The ambassador was received by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nong Duc Manh in Hanoi on June 27.

The ambassador thanked the Vietnamese Party, State and people and General Secretary Manh in particular, for their friendship, solidarity, cooperation and assistance. He highly appreciated Vietnam ’s achievements in its national renewal process.

General Secretary Manh hailed the great achievements of the Cuban people and said he believed they would certainly overcome all difficulties and challenges on the path to building socialism.

The Vietnamese Party leader said Vietnam would try its best to boost relations between the two countries.

State President Nguyen Minh Triet also received the outgoing ambassador the same day.