The US blockade and Raul’s visit to France

Raul Castro and Francoise Hollande

by Daniesky Acosta

From 31st January and 2nd February, Cuban President Raul Castro will make an official visit to France, where he will meet with the President of that country, Françoise Hollande. Last May, Hollande became the first French President to visit Cuba. In addition to meeting with his counterpart, he called for an end to the US blockade against Cuba. The blockade continues.

Many Cubans are tired of hearing about the blockade, especially because most of them have lived their entire lives under its impact. The Cuban government has repeatedly tried to explain the difficulties it confronts on a daily basis. Although it appears simple, there are still those who don’t want to understand the magnitude of the problem.

I have personally campaigned against the US blockade and thought that it would be difficult for anything related with this theme to surprise me. That was not the case, however, and I have written a short summary below of a recent experience that occurred when I tried to send a small sum of money to Cuba via the British bank HSBC.

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Cuba Wins Rights to Sell Havana Club

Havana Club

The ruling means Cubaexport and French drinks giant Pernod Ricard are poised to sell their Cuban-made rum in the United States after the U.S. blockade on Cuba comes to an end.

Cubaexport and partner Pernod Ricard have won the rights to sell the rum brand Havana Club in the United States, after legal wranglings with Bacardi that spanned nearly two decades.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office confirmed Thursday that the Cuban state company has the right to use the Havana Club trademark and​ remain the official distributor of the spirited drink in the U.S. The brand has been sold under the Bacardi guise since 1994, when the drinks company purchased its naming rights in the U.S., and starting producing the liquor from Puerto Rico.

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Take action: NHS lies about Cuba

Rock around the Blockade has launched a campaign to expose the lie by the NHS, British media and politicians that Britain will be the first country in the world to introduce a national and publicly funded vaccination against Meningitis B. Cuba has provided this protection to its population for nearly 30 years - and was the first country in the world to do so. While Britain's Meningitis B vaccination programme is to be applauded, the censorship of Cuba's pioneering role must be challenged.

NHS

The NHS choices website is claiming that England is now the 'first country in the world to offer a national and publically funded Men B vaccination programme' This is a bareface lie. 25 years ago, Cuba introduced a vaccine appropriate for the local strain of the Meningitis B. The vaccine VA-MENGOC-BC administered in Cuba since 1989 has been shown to be a safe and effective vaccine for controlling epidemic outbreaks provoked by Neisseria meningitidis of serogroups B and C. This is corroborated by the more than 55 million doses administered and the licensing of the vaccine in 15 countries. The Meningitis B vaccine has since been part of a national vaccine programme for children. 

Here is a link to Cuba’s national immunisation programme from 2007 where you can clearly see Meningitis B is routine. Below is a video interview with Dr Campa Huergo, from Cuba's Finlay Institute, who created the Meningitis B vaccine in the 1980s.

This has been pointed out to Kathryn Bingham, the editor of the NHS Choices website, however she is refusing to correct the article.

Complain about this scandalous fraudulent claim using the template letter below:

Dear Kathryn Bingham - editor of NHS choices website

Your article claims that England is the first country in the world to offer a national and publicly funded Meningitis B vaccination programme. This is incorrect as 25 years ago, Cuba introduced a vaccine appropriate for the local strain of the Meningitis B. The vaccine VA-MENGOC-BC administered in Cuba since 1989 has been shown to be a safe and effective vaccine for controlling epidemic outbreaks provoked by Neisseria meningitidis of serogroups B and C. This is corroborated by the more than 55 million doses administered and the licensing of the vaccine in 15 countries. The Meningitis B vaccine has since been part of a national vaccine programme for children. Your article  is erroneous and needs to be edited immediately. Cuba will always remain the first country to introduce a Meningitis B vaccine, part of the publicly-funded national programme.

Here is a link to Cuba’s national immunisation programme from 2007 where you can clearly see Meningitis B is routine.

We welcome seeing the corrected article. 

Yours

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Tel: 020 7003 3071
Twitter: twitter.com/NHSChoices 

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Cuba in the CELAC-EU Summit and the NGO wolves

Police brutality in Spain
Police brutality in Spain

By Daniesky Acosta

On 10 and 11 June, the Second Summit between the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the European Union (CELAC-EU) takes place in Brussels, with the aim of assessing bi-regional relations between both parties. At the conclusion of the Summit, between the 15 and 16 June, Cuba and the EU will resume negotiations on the bilateral Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between them. One of the anticipated topics for discussion is the so-called Common Position that the EU has taken against Cuba since 1996 and that has obstructed the improvement of relations, because of its interventionist nature which mirrors the US blockade of Cuba.

For its part, the frustrated anti-Cuban ultra-right-wing continues its efforts to boycott any rapprochement between the US and its allies, and Cuba. At the last Summit of the Americas in Panama, when Presidents Obama and Raul Castro met, there was no lack of provocations from these small counter-revolutionary groups. Even the murderer of Che Guevara participated in a provocation in front of the Cuban embassy in Panama. Days later, North American journalist Tracey Eaton revealed the salaries received by some of those individuals to carry out the provocations in a post on his blog Along the malecón.  

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And what about Washington’s terrorists in Miami?

Andres Gomez

May 19, 2015

By Andrés Gómez*/Foto Virgilio Ponce -Cubanos en UK-Martianos-Hermes-Cubainformación.- Everything seems to indicate that once Cuba is removed from the U.S. List of States Sponsors of Terrorism at the end of May — given the prohibitions imposed on the countries on that List— a major stumbling block to the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana will be overcome.

Another major obstacle that impedes the reestablishment of those relations is the reluctance of the U.S. government — once relations are reestablished — for its diplomats in Cuba to adhere to the functions permitted to any diplomat accredited in a given country, according to the regulations established in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, the international treaty regulating such functions to which both countries are signatories.

With the renewal of diplomatic relations will then begin a long, controversial and harsh negotiating process between both governments, towards achieving the long-awaited normalization of relations between both nations, between both peoples.

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‘Dissidents’ left in the cold by Cuba thaw

Berta Soler

The vast majority of Cubans inside and outside the country responded with jubilation to the simultaneous announcements by Presidents Obama and Raul Castro on 17 December 2014 about a thaw in US-Cuba relations. Obama’s speech acknowledged that US policy towards Cuba has failed. On 20th January the countries began a round of official talks aimed at re-establishing diplomatic relations, which create the possibility of an end of the US blockade of Cuba which has been imposed for over half a century. Already President Obama has authorised the lifting of some travel, trade and financial restrictions, but the blockade remains codified in law. Since its onset, the blockade was designed to strangle Cuba, causing its entire population to suffer hunger and desperation. Although it failed to lead to the overthrow of the government, the effects have indeed been devastating in all aspects of social, material and cultural life.  

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Speech by Miriam Palacios to Cuban Five vigil (+Video, Photos)

London, 3 /12/2014

Vigil for the Cuban Five in front of US Embassy

Miriam Palacios, Cubans in UK

Dear friends:

We thank your commitment in this struggle for justice and for the freedom of our Heroes, especially to Cuban Solidarity Campaign, which organizes vital activities supporting our country. Every year Cubans living in Europe gather in different cities to condemn the injustice of having our heroes in United States prisons, but also to prize and admire the integrity of the Miami Five and what they represent.

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The 24th London Latin American Film Festival 14 -23 November 2014

London Latin American Film Festival

The 24th London Latin American Film Festival runs from 14th to 23rd November offering, as always, a unique and eclectic mélange of feature films, documentaries and shorts, in the sumptuous comfort of the Bolivar Hall; and the University College London/Institute of the Americas.

13 The Gallery, Islington is the venue for the sizzling Launch Night Party and Exhibition, for art, drinks and, of course, the most fascinating conversation London has to offer. See you there on November the 13th.

To start the Festival off with a real bang, we present ‘The Heart of Caracas’ a stunning feature documentary from Simon Toro, which charts the birth and development of this tumultuous city and offers a vision of its future as a beacon to all Latin America.

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Listening to the “incredible” without credibility - Otto Reich

otto-reich copy

By Miriam Palacios, United Kingdom

18th October 2014

Here I was, at the Oxford Union, the 17th October 2014 listening to the notorious American Otto Reich who chose to serve the flag of the U.S. rather than to serve the people of Cuba. This is a man who departed from Cuba for U.S. soil instead of being with us during the literacy campaign, or the program vaccinating children to eradicate poliomyelitis in Cuba. Truly he is not part of Cuban achievement in Health and Education but is the worst enemy the Cuban people can ever have. Now he is here in the U.K. convincing who ever comes across his path that the Embargo against Cuba is the right thing to support. His first failure in this campaign was to convince the ex-British Ambassador in Cuba, Mr John Dew.

I was asked by the organizers of the Al Jazeera TV program “Head to Head” to ask one short question of Mr Otto Reich, no comment or introduction allowed, it had to be 15 seconds and no more. Otto Reich was the special guest of the program interviewed by the sharp journalist Mehdi Hasan. During the first part of the program, which will be available in the first weeks of December, Medhi managed to unveil few inconsistencies between what Reich said and what he actually did and what he was involved in , as well as some facts around different historical moments in Latin America where Reich justified US policy and actions in the region.

I will not give away more information of this program, which I strongly recommend to watch once edited. However I cannot wait so long to expose Mr Otto Reich.

My question:

Can Mr Otto Reich explain why Cuba is on the list of terrorist countries and if it is the way to re-enforce the trade and financial restrictions to Cuba when the Embargo will be finally lifted?

His answer:

“Cuba is a terrorist country because of its actions of exporting weapons to North Korea and by shooting down a plain in International waters in which four men lost their lives” I couldn’t exercise the right of reply due to limited time of the program.

The first point to which Reich referred was the incident last year of the North Korean ship seized by Panamanian authorities in the Canal, carrying 240 metric tons of obsolete defensive weapons manufactured in the 1950s. Cuba explained that they were being sent for refurbishment because of the need to maintain Cuba’s defensive capacity to preserve the national sovereignty. Fact: Cuba would not need to divert resources for defensive capacity in the absence of U.S. hostility and the actions of terrorist groups based on U.S. territory or if the Bay of Pigs invasion to Cuba never had happened. Fact: Cuba is included in the list of “State sponsors of Terrorism” since 1982 by the United States Department of State, long before the incident Otto Reich referred to. The inclusion of Cuba in this list might be related to the Cuba’s assistance to Angola specially in the decisive battle of Cuito Cuanavale (1975 -1987), but bringing this subject up now might be too embarrassing for the U.S. since Nelson Mandela referred to: “[Cuito Cuanavale] as the turning point for the liberation of our continent—and of my people—from the scourge of apartheid”

I managed to discuss “face to face” with Mr Reich after the program and I focused in his second argument about the shooting down of the “innocent” aircraft in international waters by the Cuban air force. I told him that early this year I had the opportunity to attend to the International Commission of Inquiry into the case of the Cuban Five that took place in The Law Society, London. There, the Attorney for the Five, Peter Schey spoke of the U.S. government’s refusal to provide vital satellite images of the planes shot down after several warnings. This made up part of the evidence against Gerardo Hernández for which he is serving a double-life sentence. The air crew were members of the Brothers to the Rescue, a terrorist organization base on Miami with the mission to promote civil disobedience against the Cuban government by releasing political leaflets over Havana. Then, I insisted, to Reich that his allegations about shooting down planes is false because the evidence has never been shown. By this time Reich changed the conversation into Spanish pretending not to know about the case of the Cuban Five, or it could be that he was avoiding other people hearing and understanding what I was discussing with him.

Back to my question of enforcing trade and financial restriction to Cuban institutions. Reich didn’t say that European and multinational Banks were fined billions of US dollars for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Trading With the Enemy Act (TWEA) by illegally conducting transactions on behalf of customers in Cuba, subject to sanctions enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). All of those Acts and bodies are in place to ensure that the inclusion of Cuba in the list of terrorist countries is also a profitable business. Those billions of dollar fines seem to go to different U.S. entities such as Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and Federal Reserve. The whole system of including Cuba in the list of terrorist countries seems to succeed in obstructing the Cuba’s trade and financial activities, by ensuring that banks end their business with Cuba and at the same time make money out of the forfeit process.

I found at the end of that evening that Mr Otto Reich definitely feels closer to the U.S. Federal Reserve than to the Cuban people left behind.

NY Times: End the U.S. blockade of Cuba

Nytimes HQ

On Oct. 28, the U.N. General Assembly will once again debate the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba. For 22 years, the U.N. has condemned the blockade; last year, the vote reached a record high of 188 countries for the resolution, and only two—the U.S. and its loyal ally Israel—against. Quite likely this year’s vote will have the same result.

Significantly, The New York Times, the most influential newspaper in the country, has chosen this time to call for an end to what it calls the embargo. Supporters of Cuba use the more accurate term “blockade” because of the worldwide effects of U.S. policy. The Times also calls for dropping Cuba’s designation as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” a particularly ironic label coming from the U.S. with its history of sponsoring terrorism against Cuba and many other countries. Finally, the Times calls for establishing full diplomatic relations with Cuba.

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