Cuba steps towards monetary unification

Cuban pesos

Among the key aims in the process of ‘updating’ the Cuban economy, approved by the 6th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party in 2011, is the reunification of Cuba’s two currencies: the Cuban Peso (CUP) and the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC). In October 2013 it was announced that steps towards this had begun. The CUP has been Cuban currency since 1961. In 1993 during the economic crisis of the Special Period, the US dollar was legalised and ‘dollar shops’ initially opened to sell non-essential or imported items to tourists, as the tourist industry became a growing source of income. The CUC was introduced in around 1993 to substitute the function of the US dollar. It was pegged to the US dollar but printed and controlled by the Cuban Central Bank. Helen Yaffe reports.

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Labour MPs urge action to end US abuses of Cuba

London Parliament

Wednesday 4th Dec 2013

posted by Roger Bagley in Britain

Call in the commons for release of Miami Five

Labour MPs Natascha Engel and Grahame Morris cast a Commons spotlight on vicious US abuses of Cuba yesterday.

Ms Engel harried Foreign Office ministers over the US blockade of the socialist island, while Mr Morris called for action over the case of the Miami Five Cubans imprisoned by the US.

Foreign Office Minister David Liddington faced a demand from Ms Engel to "use all of his influence to persuade the US to lift the blockade, which is bad for Cubans, bad for trade and bad for British business."

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Emeritus Professor of Sociology Nelson P Valdes Sends a Letter to Obama

Nelson Valdes

December 5, 2013

President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC

Dear President Obama,

As a naturalized citizen of the United States I want to ask you, my President,  to commute the sentences of four persons, often known as the Cuban Five. Their names are: Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González. [The fifth, René González,was recently released from prison after serving his sentence].

I am particularly interested in their case because I think their imprisonment, the result of a flawed trial, is a roadblock to normal relations between the United States and Cuba. Let me explain.

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Esperanza Spalding: Guantanamo Doesn't Represent 'Our America'

Esperanza Spalding - We Are America from on ESP Media on Viemo.

Esperanza Aldind video

Grammy Award-winning musician has a problem with using the phrase "protest song" to describe her new recording, "We Are America." The song, along with its accompanying music video, demands congressional action to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

" 'Protest' doesn't seem accurate to me," she tells NPR's Celeste Headlee. "We weren't thinking of a 'protest' song, we're thinking of a 'let's get together and do something pro-active, creative and productive' song."

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René González and Ricardo Alarcon in a Democracy Now Exclusive

The daily independent global news hour Democracy Now (today's program) presented today an exclusive with Rene Gonzalez (video), former Cuban intelligence agent and freed member of the Cuban Five and Ricardo Alarcon (video), former foreign minister of Cuba and past president of the Cuban National Assembly.


Democracy Now presented today an exclusive with René González, former Cuban intelligence agent and freed member of the Cuban Five:

I'm Amy Goodman, with a Democracy Now! exclusive. We turn now to René González, the only freed member of the Cuban Five. He was released in October of 2011. He returned to Cuba in April of this year after being jailed in the United States for 13 years. I recently spoke to him from Havana via Democracy Now! video stream. I began by asking him why he came to the United States to investigate militant Cuban exile groups.

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Today marks 15 years since the 'Cuban Five' arrest, another US injustice

Cuban 5

In August 1962, I was an ordinary Cuban child who had just turned eight years old. I can still remember the commotion all over Havana after someone sailed a boat to within a mile of the city's coastline and fired a cannon at a hotel. They then turned north and headed for safe haven in Miami.

That experience repeated itself for me and for my four comrades, who are still in US prisons, as I was until recently. The five of us grew up in Cuba, witnessing the kidnapping and assassination of Cuban fishermen, and the culprits would then return to their safe haven in Miami. A gunboat crew attacked and killed the crew of a Spanish freighter off the coast of Cuba and then returned to their safe haven in Miami. In 1976, two terrorists of Cuban origin, after having organized the bombing of a Cubana airliner which killed 73 people, found safe haven back in Miami. Twenty years later, one orchestrated a bombing campaign against Cuban hotels, which cost the life of an Italian citizen.

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Rally: Free the Cuban 5! Street rally with open mic

Saturday 14 September, 12 to 3pm
Outside Angel tube Station (northern line)

Cuban 5 demo

The Cuban Five, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González, are five Cuban men who are unjustly imprisoned in the United States after being arrested by the FBI on 12 September 1998 and convicted in US federal court in Miami in 2001, in a political prosecution by the US government.

This September marks 15 years since their arrest.
The Five were falsely accused by the US government of committing espionage and conspiracy against the United States, and other related charges.

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Candlelight Vigil for the Miami Five - London

cuban 5 csc

Free the Miami Five, Justice Now!
US Embassy, Grosvenor Square, London, W1 (Bond St tube)
Tuesday 17 September

Please join us and special guests from Cuba to mark the 15th anniversary of the arrest of the Miami Five.

with special guests from Cuba
Yamil Eduardo Martinez and Yudith Camps Alejo
young trade unionists and solidarity activists

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Let's Join René González's call to the Cuban People, that September 12 Cuba and the World be Filled with Yellow Ribbons

free the cuba 5 copy

On the 15th anniversary of the arrest of the Cuban Five, the Hero of the Republic of Cuba Rene Gonzalez, has asked his people to saturate the island with yellow ribbons. "My desire is that on September 12 yellow ribbons will appear in trees, on balconies, on people's arms, on their pets or however they want to display it. That way this expression will make it impossible for visitors and the foreign media to ignore the fact that the Cuban people are still waiting for four of their sons who are imprisoned in the United States."

Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree

As we approach 15 years of the incarceration of the Five, it is important for us to reflect once again that these were men who's only mission in coming to the US was to defend their people. We must remember that they have been suffering for 15 years the most elemental violation of human rights including separation from their loved ones, but yet hold no hate or rancor towards the American people who have been denied the truth and even the existence of the Cuban 5.

From the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5, we call on all people and committees in solidarity with the Cuban 5 to join Rene, the families of the Five and the Cuban people to bring yellow ribbons to all the activities taking place from September 5 to October 6, especially on September 12.

Bringing yellow ribbons to all the marches, rallies, and vigils that will be taking place in the United States and in front of US embassies around the world will be a strong visual expression against an injustice that has gone on way too long.

(National Committee to Free the Cuban Five)

How US taxpayers' money is wasted on not helping Cuba

Campana anti-cubana

Yet more proof,  if any were needed, to confirm just how much of US taxpayer's money is wasted by groups purporting to help bring Democracy to Cuba has been posted by Tracey Eaton on his blog Along the Malecon. He provides this link to the USAID website that details how much and to which organisations the millions of dollars are distributed each year. Some websearching provides illuminating reading.

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Nación y Emigración