14ymedio, Havana, 23 November 2015 — During the day this Sunday nearly 300 activists were arrested across the country, according to what Cuban opposition sources told this newspaper. Most of those arrested belong to the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and the Ladies in White. UNPACU activist Zaqueo Báez and his wife, Lady in White Maria Acón, were released on Monday after spending more than 24 hours in custody at the Seventh Police Unit in Havana.
In Havana, over one hundred people were detained, while in the province of Santiago de Cuba the figure reached 98 activists, 51 in Camagüey, 12 in Holguin, Guantanamo 9 and 13 in Las Tunas, to which are added the arrests in other provinces, according to José Daniel Ferrer, leader of UNPACU.
In Camagüey, the police raided the home of Fernando Vázquez Guerra, coordinator of the organization in the province, and seized documents, discs and several Cuban flags belonging to UNPACU.
The opponents were detained for several hours and by Sunday night most of them had been released.
The change in Argentina is expected to lead to a change in hemispheric relations. In the picture, Rafael Correa, Evo Morales, Nestor Kirchner, Cristina Fernández, Lula Da Silva, Nicanor Duarte and Hugo Chavez signed the agreement for the foundation of Banco del Sur (The Bank of the South). (CC)
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, 23 November 2015 — The victory of Mauricio Macri in Argentina is the triumph of common sense over strained discourse and failed emotions. It is also the arrival of modernity and the burial of a populist stage that should have disappeared long ago.
There is a successful way of governing. It is the one used in the 25 leading nations of the planet, among which should be Argentina, as it had been in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Everyone hopes that Macri will lead the country in that direction.
Which are those nations? Those recorded in all rigorous manuals, from the Human Development Index published by the United Nations, to Doing Business from the World Bank, to Transparency International. Some twenty compilations agree, however they stack up: the same ones always appear at the top of the list. Continue reading
Dozens of Cuban migrants cross the Suchiate River on Mexico’s border with Guatemala on Friday. (EFE / Benjamin Alfaro)
EFE (via 14ymedio), Tapachula, Mexico, 22 November 2015 — Despite increasing obstacles in their path, the number of Cubans crossing the Mexican border from Central America, in order to get a safe conduct pass that allows them to reach the United States, has increased in recent weeks.
Nor has the closure of the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, on November 15, stopped Cubans, who travel in large groups of up to 500 people and who, for a payment of five dollars, cross the international Suchiate River separating Mexico and Guatemala on rafts every day.
Nicaragua closed its border to the migrants after accusing Costa Rica of throwing them at its door. Continue reading
Cubans return to Costa Rican soil after Nicaraguan police and soldiers prevented them from continuing their journey to the US. (La Nación)
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 21 November 2015 — Another stampede of Cubans. It happens from time to time. An editorial in Costa Rica’s La Nación offers a strong description of how the government of that country reacted: “First duty, to protect the victims.” The Costa Ricans gave them transit visas and, as they are stranded at the border, quickly built provisional shelters to feed and house them.
Bravo! This is what a civilized nation does. These are not animals. They are more than 1,700 people. They are not criminals, as a Nicaraguan Sandinista deputy unjustly labeled them. The criminals are the military and the police who are clubbing unarmed and peaceful immigrants. They are frightened individuals and families – children, pregnant women – almost all young, who are trying to reach the United States border by land, after traveling over a thousand miles from Ecuador. Continue reading
Hundreds of Cubans are still stranded at the border of Costa Rica while Nicaragua denies them entry to move north. (EFE / Alvaro Sanchez)
14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 21 November 2015 – “Anyone who has $15,000 to give a human trafficker is not fleeing poverty,” were the words of Oliver Zamaro, an official spokesperson on Cuban television who was commenting this Friday on the situation of the more than 2,000 Cubans stranded at the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
After days of silence on the situation, the partisan media wants to use the drama of these compatriots as a weapon against the White House. An overused strategy that barely has any effect at this point. Now, they want to convince us that the massive exits are not the responsibility of the country being left behind, but rather of the other one those leaving are trying to reach. Continue reading
Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White (CC)
14ymedio, Havana, 20 November 2015 — The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, was arrested Friday outside Havana’s Fifth Police Station and held for several hours. The regime opponent was there to show her solidarity with the the activist Hugo Damian Prieto, detained since October 25 and charged with the alleged crime of disorderly conduct for participating in a demonstration.
During the arrest, at a police unit in Alamar, east of the capital, Soler was warned by State Security official who called himself Francisco, that “the end of the opposition has already been reached.” The agent added that it was also time for “the end” of the Sunday marches in the area of Santa Rita Church.
Among those also detained during the day were Ladies in White Lismery Quintana, Maria Ancon and Maria Cristina Labrada, as well as the activists Zaqueo Baez, Egberto Escobedo and Angel Moya. All were released hours after their arrest, as was confirmed by this newspaper.
Overland immigrants cross the border between Mexico and the United States
This is the third and final part of the testimony of a Cuban who has made the dangerous trip from Guatemala to the United State. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.
14ymedio, Mario J. Penton, Mexico City/Laredo Texas, 20 November 2015 – The smell of coffee draws me to the kitchen. The first rays of the sun have yet to appear when Domitila and her husband Juan get ready to start work on the farm. They protect us that day, hiding us from the Mexican police, always ready for deportations. “There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of Cubans who have passed through this house. They all say the same thing, ‘You can’t work there, you can’t live there’,” they say.
“Thanks to the Cubans we have this little ranch.” Their house barely has two rooms, one of which our group of immigrants is occupying. The family treasure is their farm, a little expanse of land with rubber trees. In this place we received the best care of the whole journey, we even get a bath.
A special solidarity joins this noble-hearted woman with the fate of Cuban migrants. Her daughter has lived in the United States for ten years. She arrived there as a ‘wetback’ and since then they haven’t seen each other. This was our last stage towards Mexico City. Continue reading
Members of the Cuban opposition march together during the Americas Summit in Panama
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 12 November 2015 — Value judgement comments are very often made abroad about what – more or less – some have taken to calling “an internal dissidence crisis in Cuba,” implying an epitaph, and with premature and unjustified gloating, when we consider that frustration and dissatisfaction – the primeval basis on which all dissidence feeds – have maintained an upward trend on the Island.
However, the existence of a crisis is not necessarily a negative sign. The new landscape, encompassing daily life in Cuba and international relations, involves rearrangements and challenges for all stakeholders, especially those who move counter to truly hostile political conditions. In any case, crises create growth opportunities as well as challenges.
So we are facing what will be a growth crisis for some opposition groups, if they know how to assume the challenge to define their strategies and advance. If they persist in continuing with their old methods and concepts that lead nowhere, however, they will face a crisis of extinction. Continue reading
Hardware store where the Tosca Cinema once stood. (14ymedio)
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 9 November 2015 – In his recent speech in Merida, Mexico, the general-president Raul Castro remembered his first visit to Mexico, recalling that he had sought asylum in the embassy of that country in Havana because he was accused up putting a bomb in the Tosca cinema in the capital and, he clarified, “I still don’t know where that theater is. I believe it exists.”
It wasn’t exactly a bomb, but a firecracker that exploded on the night of 9 June in the little movie theater in the Santos Suarex neighborhood. The accusation against Raul Castro was part of a wider complaint, filed in Case No. 297 of 1955 for Crimes Against the Power of the State. There were 19 defendants, among them José Antonio Echevarría, and even some exiles like former President Carlos Prio. Continue reading
El Portazo offers an ingenious show where theatrical drama merges with cabaret
14ymedio, Yania Suarez, Havana, 19 November 2015 – The presentation of Cuban Coffee by Portazo’s Cooperative was a public success during the Havana Theater Festival and is currently a success in Matanzas, its place of origin. Staged by the Matanzan group El Portazo and directed by Pedro Franco, the spectacle seeks – in addition to being profitable – to discuss the problem of Cubans’ prosperity, “starting with economic research based on our present reality.”
The group offers an ingenious show where theatrical drama merges with cabaret and the public is treated like customers enjoying the artistic and gastronomic offerings of El Portazo cooperative.
Cuban Coffee raises the dilemma of the recent changes in the island’s economy that harms natives while benefitting foreign investors. During the play, these latter are equated to “invaders” through scenes recalling the fights for independence and tributes to the heroes of these events, along with a question about love of country that is repeated on several occasions. Continue reading
Deputy Marisol Turres (CC)
14ymedio, Havana, 7 November 2015 – Critics of the potential arrival of Cuban doctors in Chile have raised their tone in recent weeks in the South American country. Marisol Turres, national deputy from the Independent Democratic Union (UDI) party, denounced that the situation is almost one of “human trafficking” and questioned the conditions imposed by the Cuban government on its doctors working in Chile.
The proposal to contract for Cuban doctors has been pushed by Alejandor Navarro, a senator from the Broad Social Movement (MAS), who, at the end of September, was backed by the majority of mayors in the country. However, the Chilean Association of Medical Faculties (ASOFAMECH) clarified that while it was not opposed to the arrival of the professionals, they must past the Unified National Examination of Medical Knowledge (Eunacom).
The Chilean Medical Faculties have warned that, of the 787 doctors licensed in Cuba, equally split between Chileans and foreigners residing in the country, of those who have so far taken the theory section of the national examination, only 23.5% have passed on the first attempt, and an additional 12% have managed to pass on the second, third or even the fourth attempt. Continue reading
The project will start with the Guanahacabibes National Park, including the Bancos de San Antonio in Cuba.
14ymedio, Havana, 18 November 2015 — Washington and Havana will cooperate in the scientific arena, in the administration and management of marine protected areas, according to a memorandum signed Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Park Service of the United States (NPS) with the Ministry Science, Technology and Environment of Cuba.
The agreement provides for collaborations to promote the conservation and management of marine natural resources, sharing scientific and technical information and promoting understanding and comprehension. The project will start with Guanahacabibes National Park, including the offshore Bancos de San Antonio, in Cuba; and the Flower Garden Banks and Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas National Parks and Biscayne Bay national parks, in the United States.
“The opportunities for international cooperation in marine conservation is invaluable and this agreement brings us closer to securing a healthy and productive ocean for everyone,” said NOAA Administrator, Kathryn Sullivan.
Hundreds of Cubans are still stranded at the border of Costa Rica while Nicaragua denied entry to move north. (EFE / Alvaro Sanchez)
14ymedio/EFE, San Jose/Managua, 17 November 2015 — The Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) had to treat 67 Cubans after clashes with the Nicaraguan Army, according to the Government of Costa Rica. The migrants were treated at the Cuidad Neily Hospital, at the hostels located in La Cruz canton and at a border post on the northern border of the country.
Dr. Maria Eugenia Villalta Bonilla, CCSS medical director, reported that migrants were treated for various injuries caused mainly by tear gas fired by the Nicaraguan Army; however, none were in serious condition.
Since Monday, the Cuban migrants have been in various shelters in the community of La Cruz, and the Emergency Health Services of the area are being reinforced with more personnel, in order to prioritize patients requiring immediate medical attention. The emergency health services of La Cruz are available 24 hours a day, with more personnel on duty from 7 AM to 4 PM. Continue reading
Cubans return to Costa Rican soil after Nicaraguan police and soldiers prevented them from continuing their journey to the US. (El Nación)
14ymedio/EFE, Managua/San Jose, 19 November2015 – Nearly a thousand Cubans who find themselves stranded in Costa Rica on their journey to the United States remain in six shelters set up by the Costa Rican authorities to provide them with humanitarian assistance. The Latin American foreign ministers will meet this coming Monday in El Salvador in order to find a solution to the problem.
The National Emergency Commission (CNE) announced today that there are 982 Cubans in the six shelters, while at the border post of Peñas Blancas, on the border with Nicaragua, 400 who did not want to move to shelters remain.
Civil society organizations and university students have joined the humanitarian efforts that include donations and food preparation, while the Red Cross monitors the health of the islanders. Continue reading
The singer Silvio Rodriguez. (CC / Flickr)
14ymedio, Havana, 18 November 2015 — The Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez believes that “we must do something” for the close to 2,000 Cubans who are waiting at the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua in hopes of continuing their journey to the United States. “Having seen these countrymen carrying their children (the innocents of this bitter adventure), moves me deeply and mobilizes me,” the artist wrote this Wednesday in his blog.
Rodriguez denounced a “manipulation by the media and interests against Cuba, just at the time when the headlines are filled with terrorism and forced migration towards Europe.”
“Now the Costa Rican Foreign Minister launches the not at all providential ‘solution’ of building a bridge so that these two thousand Cubans will arrive at their destination. What a great man this gentleman is, doing this for Cubans, knowing full well that in the United States there is a law especially favoring the arrival of our people with dry feet,” added the singer.
“I haven’t seen news of a some pronouncement in favor of another group of Latin Americans. I only see the foreign minister making an international call in a resounding attempt for the moral legalization of the Cuban Adjustment Act (and incidentally ridding himself of a problem). Right now with the rapprochement between Washington and Havana that ‘law’ is on shaky ground. What a load of crap!” he writes.