China Reaches a Financial Agreement With Cuba To Install an Electronic Espionage Base

The Radioelectronic Exploration and Listening Center, known as the “Lourdes base” of the University of Computer Sciences of Havana. (UCI)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 8 June 2023 — China and Cuba have reached a secret agreement for Beijing to install an electronic espionage infrastructure on the Island aimed at capturing communications from all over the southern United States, according to Washington officials in an exclusive to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The newspaper says that the facility can give access to the many military bases that are in that area and monitor U.S. maritime traffic.

“Although I cannot talk about this specific report, we are very aware of China’s efforts to invest in infrastructure for military purposes around the world, including in this hemisphere, and we have talked about it many times,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told the WSJ.

The official added that Washington is following up on this situation and has measures to counteract it. “We are confident that we can meet all our security commitments within the nation, the region and around the world.”

According to media sources who are “highly classified” intelligence officials, China has offered Cuba billions of dollars in exchange for the authorization to build the espionage base, and the Havana regime, in great need of funds, would have agreed. The proximity of this location is an alarm signal for Washington, and the newspaper does not hesitate to describe the situation as an “unprecedented threat,” recalling the Lourdes base installed on the Island by the USSR last century and dismantled in 2001. continue reading

Officials claim to have information — although they refused to disclose it — about the location of the base, which would allow China to perform an intelligence technique known as “sigint” (signals intelligence), which consists of collecting information about a target, both for defense and offense, with supervision of communications, including emails, phone calls and satellite transmissions.

For their part, the embassies of the countries involved refused to comment, and even Cuba did not respond to the request.

The WSJ says that its sources also did not want to clarify whether the construction has begun or is just a plan, while admitting that it is difficult for the U.S. to intervene to stop the construction. It mentions the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and how the U.S. ended up stealthily withdrawing from Turkey the intermediate-range ballistic missiles, which allowed Moscow to take their own missiles out of Cuba and end the crisis.

“It is likely that Beijing will argue that the base in Cuba is justified, due to the military and intelligence activities of the U.S. close to China,” several analysts consulted told the American newspaper, pointing out that there are U.S. military planes that carry out electronic surveillance over the China Sea and that Washington sells weapons to Taiwan, where it also has troops and U.S. Navy ships.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is planning a trip to Beijing at the end of the month and may meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both powers are trying to resolve the crisis experienced a few months ago, when a Chinese balloon flew over the U.S. and was shot down in Atlantic waters. Beijing then admitted that the balloon belonged to them but claimed that it had gone astray and was used for meteorological purposes only, not for espionage.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

One NGO Figures 909 People Have Been Convicted Since the July 11th Demonstrations in Cuba

Arrest of protester in Villa Clara, on July 11, 2021. (Captura)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 7 June 2023 — Justicia 11J reported on Wednesday that, since the antigovernment demonstrations of July 11, 2021 (11J), a total of 909 people have been tried or convicted in Cuba.

In its May update, the group of activists added that 1,845 people have been arrested for political reasons since those protests, and in 2023 will mark their second anniversary.

Justicia 11J stated that the people arrested are being held in seven prisons spread throughout the country.

The NGO added that since the demonstrations in the summer of 2021 — the most numerous in decades — it has registered another 236 protests, 33 of them so far in 2023.

In its April report, Prisoners Defenders, an NGO based in Madrid, increased the number of political prisoners on the island to 1,048, 35 of whom are minors younger than 18 years of age.

The organization stated that in April, 24 new names were added to the list while 42 others “were removed” after having completed their sentences. continue reading

Last year, Cuba’s attorney general reported on the proceedings against 790 people related to 11J, 55 of whom were between 16 and 17 years of age (the minimum age of criminal responsibility in Cuba is 16).

During his visit to the island at the end of may, the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, stated that the European bloc’s delegation and the Cuban government spoke about the “situation created before, during and after” 11J.

In November the European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore, will visit Cuba to follow up on the situtation of those sentenced for 11J.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuba Offers Russia Its Catalog of Medicines in Exchange for Raw Materials for Azithromycin and Others

Manuel Marrero and Ricardo Cabrisas supervise the signing of the contracts with the Russian pharmaceutical company. (@R_Malmierca)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 9 June 2023 — BioCubaFarma will return from Russia with the signing of at least three documents that the official press has described as contracts, although strictly there is only one that will allow the acquisition of active ingredients for the medications. The information gives as an example azithromycin, one of the most sought-after antibiotics in Cuba that is often scarce in pharmacies, although in the informal market it costs 400-500 pesos per blister pack.

Eduardo Martínez Díaz, president of BioCubaFarma, celebrated the agreement and announced two others, much less specific. One of them is a memorandum to “establish a strategy of scientific-technical cooperation and the transfer and assimilation of technology.” This agreement, which includes the commercialization of raw materials to make generic drugs, was signed with the Russian JSC Active Components.

The other is a “letter of intent from the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) to create a multinational alliance” that allows achieving “sovereignty in the short term,” as well as the production of vaccines and medicines.

Martínez Díaz accompanied Prime Minister Manuel Marrero to the meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council in Sochi, and he sold a catalog of products to treat infectious and chronic diseases, including diabetes, neurological pathologies and all kinds of cancers. The intention, he said, is that they can be marketed in Latin America and the “Euro-Asian zone.” The three signed documents include Belarus, although its contribution is unknown. continue reading

For Cuba, the profit is in the acquisition of raw materials, technology and medical equipment especially, as emphasized by the authorities of the pharmaceutical sector present this Thursday at the event. But it was also clear what the Russians get in return.

“We want the company BioCubaFarma to represent us in Latin America. We are very happy to have signed these documents on cooperation with our partners and are sure that the results will be effective,” said the representative of JSC Components Activos.

In March of this year, Mexico, Colombia and Cuba announced the creation of a Medicines Agency of Latin America and the Caribbean with the aim of “consolidating the self-sufficiency of strategic inputs in the region” and strengthening the authorization of drugs and vaccines during health emergencies through common regulatory frameworks.

The agreement, open to other countries (Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic were expressly cited), has declared a regional intention, both in terms of regulation and the exchange of raw materials, technologies and final products. In this equation Russia has the gateway through Cuba.

“This alliance that we have established today will provide very positive results for both the Russian Federation and Cuba, and also for other countries in the Eurasian region, Latin America and the Caribbean,” insisted Martínez Díaz, who asked the Russian side to work actively to make the agreement materialize as soon as possible.

Marrero, who witnessed the signing and stood next to the president of BioCubaFarma, dedicated the day in Sochi to emphasizing the ties between Cuba and Eurasia, and he offered the installation of an industrial park to celebrate their union.

“We propose to promote the creation of an industrial park in the Mariel Special Development Zone. Its realization would be an expression of our efforts to form connections that lead to that interregional integration to which we aspire, especially in the context of a multipolar world,” he said.

The prime minister further explained Cuba’s position as the key to the continent, “a region with which we have signed economic complementarity agreements for the reduction of tariffs. Our potentialities, as a bridge to Latin America, provide alternatives to complement us and project efforts towards new spaces of integration,” he said.

Marrero once again sold the “potentialities” of Cuba in the biotechnology sector and other joint businesses in industry, health, tourism, education, digital economy, e-commerce and energy — in  other words, almost everything. And he also offered Cuban businesspeople, who are interested in doing business with the Eurasian zone.

The speech was also sprinkled with ideological messages, starting with the statement that Fidel Castro would be “proud” to see Cuba participating in such an event, the challenges of a post-pandemic world, the importance of peace — without any reference, even veiled, to Ukraine — and the struggle of the Cuban people against adversity, attributed to the “intensified blockade.”

“We are fighting, not only to resist, but to develop, and I can assure you that Cuba will never surrender, and that we will always defend our independence and sovereignty ’until victory, forever,’” he intoned before the audience.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

The Cuban Foreign Ministry Denies There is an Agreement With China To Open an Electronic Espionage Center in Cuba

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Carlos Fernández de Cossío. (Foreign Ministry of Cuba/Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio/EFE, Havana, 8 June 2023 — The Cuban Foreign Ministry denied on Thursday the report in the American newspaper The Wall Street Journal that the Government of the Island signed an agreement with China to allow the installation on its territory of a large, secret espionage center.

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Fernández de Cossío, claimed in a statement to the media that this report is “unfounded information,””slander” and “false,” and its purpose is to justify the U.S. sanctions against Cuba and destabilize the Island.

He added that the Cuban government rejects “all military presence” in Latin America and the Caribbean, including the American one in Guantánamo.

According to information from the New York newspaper, the center would allow communications to be intercepted at the regional level. For allowing the installation of this infrastructure, for which no location or more data were provided, Cuba would receive “billions of dollars” as a counterpart.

“Slanders of this type have often been fabricated by U.S. officials, apparently familiar with intelligence information,” Fernández de Cossío said. continue reading

The diplomat linked the contents of the article to other reports  published in the past such as the “supposed acoustic attacks against American diplomatic personnel” on the Island, “the non-existent Cuban military presence in Venezuela” and “the imaginary existence of chemical weapons laboratories” in Cuba.

“The hostility of the U.S. against Cuba and the extreme and cruel measures that cause humanitarian damage and punish the Cuban people cannot be justified in any way,” he concluded.

Speaking to the American MSNBC network, John Kirby, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, pointed out that the newspaper’s article is “inexact” but that the U.S. “is focused on making sure that it can mitigate any threat from China in the region.”

“What I can tell you is that we have been concerned since the first day of this Administration about China’s influential activities around the world, even more so in this hemisphere and this region,” Kirby said. “We are observing this very, very closely.”

For his part, the Pentagon spokesman, Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, quoted by Reuters, also said that the information from the U.S. media “is not precise” but that the U.S. is “aware that China and Cuba are developing a new type of espionage station.”

“In terms of that particular report, no, it’s not exact,” he added.

“Beyond that, we are well aware of China’s attempts to invest in infrastructure around the world that may have military purposes,” even in Latin America and the Caribbean, Ryder said. “We will continue to monitor it closely and trust that we can meet all our safety commitments at home and throughout the region.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

The Planned Chinese Spy Center in Cuba Has a History in Argentina and Nicaragua

Antennas of the Far Space Station located in Argentina. (Government of Argentina)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 9 June 2023 — A formidable 35-meter-diameter antenna, operated by the Chinese army, was installed in the middle of the Argentine pampas in 2017. Near the Nicaraguan Nejapa lagoon, hidden by vegetation, a Russian satellite dish has been monitoring space since that same year. The information that an electronic espionage base, with money from Beijing, could be built shortly in Cuba, added another note to the political tension between the world powers and reminds us of the most tense episodes of the Cold War.

The question – formulated this Friday by the US newspaper The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which revealed the existence of the project – is what consequences this collaboration will have for Havana and Beijing in the field of counterintelligence, and what measures the White House will take in response to it.

In its editorial commenting on the Joe Biden Administration’s reaction to the possibility of building a Chinese base – with the capacity to monitor military installations in South Florida and maritime traffic to the north in the Caribbean – the WSJ is not optimistic: the president has maintained a position of rapprochement with Beijing, to which the Asian giant has not only been surly, but has responded with hostility.

“President Xi and his comrades claim to have been provoked by the US military presence in the Pacific and by its friendship with Taiwan, but this is just an excuse to carry out their plans to replace the Western world order with their authoritarian model,” argued the WSJ. continue reading

Although John Kirby, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, called the newspaper’s report “inaccurate,” he also said his government was concerned about “China’s influence around the world, even more so in this hemisphere and in this region.” Both the White House and the Pentagon admitted that Beijing was investing in Latin America and the Caribbean to create infrastructure “that may have military purposes.”

For its part, China has remained silent, while the Cuban Foreign Ministry denounced the WSJ text, which it stated was a “slander” that Cuba would receive billions of dollars for consenting to the presence of a Chinese military base.

Everything seems to indicate that, if built, the Chinese enclave on the Island will function in a similar way to the Far Space Station located in Argentina, whose existence the American newspaper noted. The 2010 agreement that allowed the installation carried the signatures of then-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Xi Jinping.

The deal included the transfer of 200 hectares of Argentine territory to China for 50 years, and the arrival of numerous investments from the Asian giant. In October 2017, the base was already fully operational.

The 2010 agreement that allowed the installation carried the signatures of then-president Cristina Fernández and Xi Jinping. (Google Maps/Capture)

Although the pretext was to support China’s space race and favor “moon exploration,” the controversy over the potential of its technology in the field of espionage was not long in coming. In addition, the fact that it was operated by the Chinese military raised the suspicions of Fernández’s opponents. However, Mauricio Macri’s coming to power in 2015 did not entail the withdrawal of the base, but merely a modification of the plan to emphasize its use “for peaceful” and not military purposes.

The Russian station in Nejapa, southwest of Managua, has similar characteristics to the one built in Argentina. It is a base of the Global Navigation Satellite System (Glonass) – the Russian equivalent of GPS – whose creation is due to an agreement between Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega and Vladimir Putin.

The name of the station, Chaika, is a tribute to Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to travel to space, in 1963. The inhabitants of the area, interviewed by the British channel BBC, have alluded to the secrecy of its operation and the possibility of that Chaika is the epicenter of Russian espionage in Central America. According to the Russian government, there are four other bases in Brazil, three in Antarctica and one in South Africa.

The ambitions of China and Russia “are not limited to the Pacific,” summarizes the WSJ. The give and take of the Cold War, which also had its climactic moment in Cuba – during the Missile Crisis, in 1962 – threatens to return, contradicting what, in 2016, Barack Obama declared in Havana about the “last vestiges “of the conflict.

Regarding the similarities between the current tension with China and the events of October 1962, the WSJ also published this Friday an article signed by José de Córdoba that recalls the secret military installations of the Soviet Union in the Caribbean. The article notes that, once again, the “financial despair” of the Island and the urgency of China and Russia to seek allies near the United States could get out of control, triggering a conflict that, in the 21st century, would obey very different rules.

The newspaper’s suggestion to Biden? Strengthen its military position in the Pacific with more ships and troops, change diplomatic focus, and show a coherent response to the danger posed by China’s growing power in the Western Hemisphere. What does seem certain is that Cuba, as happened in the distant 1962, will be able to contribute very little to the discussion.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

‘The Terror that Reigns in Cuba Dismantles the Exercise of Opposition to Achieve Freedom’

Manuel Vázquez Portal presents his book on Friday in the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora in Miami. (EFE)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Miami, June 9, 2023 — In Miami on Friday, Former Cuban political prisoner, poet, and journalist, 72-year-old Manuel Vázquez Portal, jailed during the wave of repression in 2003 known as the Black Spring, will present a book Cartas marcadas [Marked Letters] 20 letters he wrote from the “solitude of isolation” in his cell to overcome the “censorship and silence”.

“They were written so as to not allow myself to be defeated by the solitude of isolation,” he said to EFE on Thursday. Vázquez Portal, to whom love of family, freedom, and faith in God gave the strength to sustain himself in the “oppression of a punishment cell” he endured while in “isolation, in solitude” for over a year.

The former Cuban prisoner managed for his letters to mock the penitentiary’s controls and were “clandestinely” smuggled out of the Boniato and Aguador prisons, both in Santiago de Cuba, to his wife, Yolanda Huerga, a co-founder of the Ladies in White and his son, Gabriel, who was 9 years old at the time.

“These 20 letters written to my wife and my son were born marked; first because I had to mark the envelope so my wife would know which ones were for her and which ones were not; later to circumvent the censorship and silence, the mark of the cross with ashes the Cuban government had placed on me,” said Vázquez Portal.

It has been 20 years, he adds, since the writing of these letters that served, at least, to “safeguard psychological balance” and that constitute a “political and esthetic ideology”.

The book, edited by Berlin-based Ilíada, also serves as an homage to the 75 Cuban dissidents, intellectuals, and human rights activists who were incarcerated during the Black Spring and to the Ladies in White, the latter being “the most solid and courageous group in the history of the Cuban opposition, its symbol,” he highlighted. continue reading

Released in June 2004, thanks to a strong international campaign, the Cuban journalist states that “the terror and the domination of the Cuban dictatorship does not allow the successful articulation” of protests in the medium term, as was shown during the peaceful protests of July 11 (11J), 2021.

The largest antigovernment protests in decades took place that day, a “spontaneous social explosion” that spread thanks to social media, though it lacked coordination, maintained Vázquez Portal.

That is, continues the dissident once sentenced to 18 years in jail, “the terror that reigns in Cuba dismantles the exercise of opposition to achieve liberty”. He predicts, however, that this will be a “determining” summer because “always during summers in Cuba there is an explosion.”

In this context, he maintains that “Cuba is a pressure cooker, without escape valves and the dissatisfaction inside is great,” with a “collapsed government that does not govern and the only thing it does is repress to stay in power.”

The book will be presented in the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora in Miami, within a tertulia titled “The other corner of words”, which will include as presenters writer and activist Janisset Rivero and President of PEN Cuban Writers in Exile, Luis de la Paz.

Written in the “most anguished solitude and poverty”, Cartas marcadas [Marked Letters] act to potently “awaken love of family, homeland, and freedom” and a revulsion against hate.

“Not even after they sentenced me to 18 years did I let hate soil me. On the contrary. I thought it necessary to cleanse the soul to explain to others how to confront a dictatorship.”

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

A Shipment of Canadian Wheat to Provide Cuba with Bread for Two Weeks

A line to buy bread in Havana. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 5 June 2023 — The arrival of 21,000 tons of Canadian wheat will allow Cuban bread production to resume. The good times will likely be short-lived, however, because this amount will be only enough for about two weeks.

Osmany Rodriguez Long, director of logistics for the company Food Industry, said on the Cuban television program Buenos Días that the shipment had arrived several days ago, without specifying exactly when, and that flour mills in Havana began processing it on Sunday prior to its shipment to other provinces.

According to websites that monitor maritime traffic, the Irida GS, a ship which sails under the flag of the Marshall Islands and often transports grain, started its journey in Montreal and entered the port of Havana on Sunday.

Rodriguez Long added that on June 11 another ship would deliver 1,200 tons of wheat to Santiago, though it would arrival later than expected. “It took 75 days to pay the charges because the money had to be routed through various banks to get around the blockade,” explained Rodriguez, who insisted that Cuba’s bread shortage is a result of U.S. policy even though food products are exempt from the trade embargo.

“It was impossible to get coverage before because of the persecution to which we’ve been subjected, because of the blockade,” he said. “Cuba has contracts for other wheat deliveries after June 12,” added journalist Lázaro Manuel Alonso, who also announced the arrival of the latest shipments on his Facebook page. These shipments, he said, will allow authorities to guarantee bread will be available in June and July. continue reading

Alonso added, “Despite these shipments, food production on Sunday was impacted in several areas, as will be the case on Monday. With flour now being processed in the capital, the situation should be more favorable by Tuesday.

According to the Ciego de Ávila newspaper Invasor, 30% of the province’s inhabitants were without bread and a similar situation is expected tomorrow, Monday, says Yadiel Perez Tellez, a provincial government official.

Several provinces have experienced similar situations, and not just recently. Since April or May, they have had to resort to using different types of flour to guarantee supply.

Last week in Havana, Food Industry announced that bread would be produced and sold using a mixture of 60% wheat flour and 40% semolina.

Other areas, such as the town of Bartholomé Masó in Granma province, are not as lucky. It was announced last week that bread would be available only every other day there and that 15% of the bread’s composition would be corn flour. Officials acknowledged this will, of course, produce a certain change in the texture, color and flavor, but said they were resorting to this option in order to fulfill their production commitments.

To keep up production, bakers in Cienfuegos province have also had to use lower quality flour, something that irritates local residents and was criticized as “an ongoing affront in the production of this vital food source” in the pages of the official press. “The resulting bread has a rough, coarse texture, crumbles to the touch, lacks volume, is dark in color, has a strong, damp odor and tastes acidic from having been fermented too long,” lambasted the news website 5 de Septiembre.

In Sancti Spritus, one of the provinces that have caught the attention of the press, there have been attempts to establish partnerships with the private sector in an effort to improve bread production. But the problem is the same, no matter the system of management: the raw material is not there, and when it is, it does not last long.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

The Cuban Regime Approaches the EEU: Geopolitics in Reverse

Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero and other top officials with their Russian hosts in Moscow on June 7th.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Elías Amor Bravo, Economist, 7 June 2023 — Marrero has already arrived in Moscow, in what the state press says is his first visit as Cuba’s prime minister. Apparently, as soon as he arrived, he went to the summit in Sochi of the Eurasian Council, an organization in which the communist regime has high hopes, and which the media of the state press are in charge of turning into something exceptional. Now let’s see what it’s all about.

In another entry on this blog it was already explained that going to look for economic and commercial relations almost 10,000 kilometers away has little to do with geopolitics, and a lot to do with walking like a headless duck in the world economy. The Cuban economy still does not define its competitive position in the international division of labor, and the communists have caused with this type of operation a collapse from which it will be difficult to get out.

What is the Eurasian Economic Union? Basically, a union of countries for the purpose of economic and commercial cooperation, which came into operation on January 1, 2015, composed of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. Subsequently, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia were also incorporated, so there are currently five countries in Putin’s sphere of influence, with a total of 180 million inhabitants in an area of 20 million square kilometers that represents 15% of the total land.

As indicated in the founding documents, the objective of the Single Economic Area was the development of an integrated market and the achievement of the “four freedoms”: the free movement of goods, capital, services and people within the single market. continue reading

The free movement of people allowed the free movement between Member States to live, work, study or retire in another EU country. The Member States had a common external tariff on all goods entering the market and have unified the valuation methods of imported goods since the creation of the Eurasian Customs Union. The objectives include the joint coordination of projects in the fields of infrastructure, energy, industry, agriculture and transport.

The Eurasian Economic Union has tried to base its model on the European Union. The decisions are made by the Eurasian Economic Council, composed of the heads of state of the member countries. The Supreme Council determines the strategy, direction and prospects of integration and makes decisions aimed at achieving the objectives of the Union.

The Eurasian Economic Commission carries out its work in accordance with the Treaty of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) and with the international agreements that constitute the legal and regulatory framework of the Eurasian Customs Union and the Single Economic Area. In addition to the Commission, a Eurasian Development Bank has been created with headquarters in Kazakhstan, and a Court of Justice for the resolution of conflicts and the interpretation of the legal system of the Eurasian Economic Union has it headquarters in Minsk.

And seeing all this, what is Cuba doing in the EEU?

The Castroite state press celebrates the fact that Cuba is the only country in Latin America that has achieved the status of observer state in the Eurasian Economic Union, because “it gives us prestige and presents a great challenge,” according to a Minrex specialist who leads the Directorate of Europe and Canada. Now tell me how this fits.

It is as simple as affirming that for Cuba it is “an honor to participate in this integrationist bloc, because it allows us to know first-hand where its development is going,” and, therefore, the Cuban Prime Minister, Marrero, with everything that is falling apart on the Island, goes to Sochi to have the dubious honor of “observing the EEU.” Incredible.

Apparently it is the first time that Cuba is attending this forum in person, and Marrero has declared in Sochi that “we reaffirm the commitment to enhance our insertion in this integration mechanism and honor the condition that we received a little more than two years ago.” Another nonsense.

Along with Cuba, Moldova and Uzbekistan also participate as observers and are not so euphoric. There were plans to attract Ukraine, but no one expects them to materialize after the devastating war. The fact that the ESA is paralyzed, without new additions, says very little about the achievement of its foundational objectives. There is a feeling that Cuba arrived to the party late and may find the environment strained after the Russian destruction in Ukraine.

The objectives of economic modernization of the ESA, of cooperating and increasing the competitiveness of national economies and creating the conditions for sustainable development, have been interrupted, perhaps forever, after Putin’s war action in Russia, with the fear that the criminal sequence may continue.

The fact is that, quietly, Castro’s diplomacy had been working for years, practically since 2015, to put its nose in this forum almost 10,000 kilometers away from the Island’s borders, and apparently they have achieved their goal that was accelerated from 2019 after the visit to Cuba of Sergei Glazyev, Minister of Integration and Macroeconomics of the Union, who participated in the International Fair of Havana. The application was formally submitted in January 2020 and was finalized at the end of that year, despite the pandemic.

The regime has detected opportunities to expand economic, commercial and cooperation relations with observer status, and specifically “for the registration and positioning of biotechnological and pharmaceutical products, as well as services in high purchasing power markets, such as the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan.”

With this clarification, it seems that Castroite leaders seek to place Cuba in the Eurasian market as a supplier of medicines and medical services. More or less, the same as going to China with honey when the Asian giant is the world’s leading producer of honey. But that’s how the communists are, and here in Sochi they propose, as observers, “to negotiate cooperative or licensed productions in nations whose manufacturing cost is low, as is the case of the republics of Armenia, Belarus or Kyrgyzstan, to later market them within the EEU or other markets.”

I’ll translate for you. This is neither more nor less than decentralization, the same strategy implemented by Western multinationals in Asia to produce goods at low cost. This is what the “revolution of the poor” has come to, the model of collectivism that leaves no one abandoned.

Cuba even intends to get from Sochi the aid for “the creation of industrial parks, the foundation of joint ventures and the promotion of integral digitization of the productive sectors, the expansion of access to foreign markets, as well as the possibility of insertion in Eurasian initiatives focused on the energy, industrial, transport and  tourism financial spheres, and the elimination of trade barriers.” The same thing they ask of Moscow. And then they talk about the embargo/blockade. Really?

To distract itself, the Cuban delegation participates in the Eurasia-Our Home International Exhibition, in different panels and stands based on the themes of tourism, health, food safety and industry. Cuban communists are going to sell their paradigm of solidarity, multilateralism and cooperation as the most effective way to face common challenges. But the EU countries are in other coordinates, and the commitment to economic freedoms has advanced so much that the creation of a common currency has even been proposed. It should not be forgotten that the model is Western Europe, so they will continue to take steps to achieve that full integration. Seen from this perspective, Cuban participation is that of a mere puppet. Observe and applaud.

Apart from folklore, it will be necessary to closely follow the results of the regime’s participation, once again as an observer, in two mechanisms that already work within the Union: the Pharmacopoeia Committee and the Working Group on the regulations of medical teams. It should not be forgotten that the acquisition of pieces of equipment and products is a priority for Cuban communists, and where they can earn a dollar they will not waste time. But 10,000 kilometers away is a long distance, geopolitics in reverse. Will it be worth it for Cuba?

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Private Carriers, Annoyed by the New Attempt To ‘Cap’ Prices in Cuba

According to the Directorate, Havana has “46 passenger transport routes operated by private carriers, with an average distance of approximately seven miles.” (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Natalia López Moya, Havana, 5 June 2023 — The young man extends his hand with a 200 peso bill that the driver grabs, without returning any change. It is the price of a collective taxi on the stretch from the Parque de la Fraternidad to Santiago de las Vegas, in Havana, a distance of a little more than 14 miles. Beginning next Friday, private drivers will be obliged to charge half that for that journey, according to the new maximum prices set by the General Directorate of Provincial Transport.

The new rates arise “from the need to update the prices of the passenger transport service offered by the Non-State Forms of Management,” says the note published on June 5 by the state entity. The initial proposal was “coordinated with the majority of the holders who have a transport operation license, in each of their territories,” it adds.

According to the Directorate, Havana has “46 passenger transport routes operated by private carriers, with an average distance of approximately 7 miles.” The prices for a short section are set at 45 pesos, the averages at 70 and 100, and the longer routes, such as the one from Guanabo beach to Old Havana, is set at 170.

The new figures represent at least half of what private carriers are currently charging, rates that have not stopped rising since the fuel crisis decreased the availability of transport. Drivers allege difficulties in buying gasoline, high prices for spare parts and a  general increase in the cost of living. continue reading

In 2021, the year in which the Ordering Task* began, prices in Cuba suffered a 77.3% increase in the consumer price index (CPI) mainly from transport, which grew by 188%, a fact made public by the National Office of Information and Statistics (Onei). Since then, prices have continued to increase without seeing an end to the rise.

“Neither the State nor the passenger gives anything to the taxi driver,” laments David Pousada in a harsh comment on site of the Provincial Directorate of Transport. “As long as the driver has to buy medicines at 1,000 pesos, a can of oil at 1,500, a package of chicken at 3,000, fuel at 400 per liter and a soft drink in the cafeteria at 150, prices will not go down.”

At the collection points, such as the Parque de la Fraternidad, the news spread on Monday morning among the drivers. “This is the country of the 15 days: nothing is fixed. Now they are capping prices. The inspectors stand on every street corner, they fine us, they take some drivers prisoner to intimidate us, and after two weeks everything goes back to the way it was yesterday,” says Roly, who drives a nine-seater vehicle that makes the route to Playa.

Customers, on the other hand, are torn between hope and doubt. “It relieves me, of course, because if this is true I’m going to spend half of what I’m spending now to go from La Víbora to the Capitolio,” admits a young woman who works in a private restaurant near Central Park. “But other times, when they have announced capped prices, what has happened is that many drivers stay home and won’t go to work for that small amount of money.”

Others, such as Yuniel, 23, ask: “On the route that costs 45, what driver is going to return five pesos to you if you paid with a 50-peso bill?” According to this young man, “it’s not just about prices but also about the lack of paper money, especially small bills, because ATMs can spend days without cash, and the lines to withdraw money are getting longer and longer.”

The authorities warn that “the actions of confrontation and control on the road will be reinforced (…), applying to drivers who are detected in violation of the established prices, Decree 30 of 2021. In the case of those who exercise the activity illegally, it will act with greater rigor by applying Decree 45 of 2021.”

They have also enabled the telephone number 78813110 and the email so that the customers themselves report drivers who violate the new rates to “act on the offender” and ask that the report include “day, time, license plate number of the vehicle and the price charged.”

In addition to Havana, the new prices have reached the center of the Island, where on Monday the local press announced that “the price of 15 pesos per passenger is fixed for combustion tricycles, within the city of Cienfuegos, on the perimeter from any point of the city to the ring road,” and in the case of two-seater motorcycles, “the price is 30 within the mentioned perimeter.

It is expected that in the coming days similar news will be published in the official media of the rest of the country’s cities.

*Translator’s note: The “Ordering Task” [Tarea Ordenamiento] is a collection of measures that include eliminating the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), leaving the Cuban peso as the only national currency, raising prices, raising salaries (but not as much as prices), opening stores that take payment only in hard currency, which must be in the form of specially issued pre-paid debit cards, and a broad range of other measures targeted to different elements of the Cuban economy. 

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Two American Businessmen Meet with ‘SMEs’ in Cuba to ‘Do Business’

The president of the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba, Antonio Carricarte, in the center, flanked by American businessmen Mark Baum and Jorge Ignacio Fernández. (Tribuna de la Habana)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 7 June 2023 — Two American businessmen visited Havana on Tuesday to talk “about the possibilities of doing business, scientific exchanges, cooperation and instruction,” according to Prensa Latina, which presented the meeting as one with large attendance.

At a press conference, the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba, Antonio Carricarte, highlighted “the potential” for the “entrepreneurs” of the Island, whom he divides into “traditional” – that is, state – and private, to “promote the export to the United States of products such as honey, coffee and charcoal.”

However, the official did not mention that these products  already have an outlet in the European and Canadian markets and that Cuba does not have the capacity to increase production with its current economic rules.

Carricarte spoke of the “possibility” that small and medium sized Cuban businesses (SMEs) can “connect with their American counterparts.” He also said that this is “the first action” of a program that includes “a work agenda” for the rest of the year.

The entrepreneurs who are in Havana are Jorge Ignacio Fernández, as a representative of the Hope for Cuba Foundation, and Mark Baum, with the Food Industry Association.

The founder of the first, which is presented as an NGO that “promotes independent activity in Cuba to strengthen Cuban civil society,” told Prensa Latina that, after this meeting in Havana, “the next step will be to hold a forum in Washington to explain how to do business with Cuba.” continue reading

Fernández said that they are not only interested in business, but in “working on issues such as sustainable energy, and even with medical device companies interested in making Cuban vaccines.” These – Abdala, Sovereign 02 and Sovereign Plus – have not yet been recognized by the World Health Organization.

As for Baum, who “works in the packaged consumer goods industry and has more than 30 years of experience,” he expressed interest “in knowing the Cuban market to determine in which areas it is possible to collaborate.”

Both businessmen, the official agency said, “agreed about the effects of the US blockade of Cuba and the inclusion of the Island on the list of countries sponsoring terrorism.” Despite this, says the press release, they stressed that “there are small possibilities that must be taken advantage of in favor of trade.”

An article published by Tribuna de La Habana indicated that Americans want to “exchange with agencies, officials and representatives of local entrepreneurs” and “visit places of interest, in order to feel the reality and explain it to their fellow countrymen.”

The result of this visit, they say, will be “the sending of food to the Cuban people, both by commercial means and through donations.” This includes, according to the same report, the possibility of establishing “food-producing factories and achieving a rapprochement between the farmers of both nations, with the importation of better breeding stock, feed and other inputs in order to increase the levels of milk and meat” on the Island.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

The Cuban Writer Nancy Morejon Censors Herself at the Paris Festival of Poetry

“I’m sad that hatred disguised as freedom of expression ended up imposing itself on art”, declared Nancy Morejón to the official communist press agency Prensa Latina. (Cubadebate)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 7 June 2023 – The Cuban poet Nancy Morejón has announced that she will not participate in any part of the Marché de la Poésie (Poetry Marketplace), which takes place from this Wednesday until next Monday in the Saint-Sulpice de Paris Square.

A note in Prensa Latina says that the organisers “censured” the “recognised poet”, although the only thing that happened was that, because of complaints from various intellectuals led by Jacobo Machover, the Festival’s presidency of honour was taken from her.

“I’m sad that hatred disguised as freedom of expression ended up imposing itself on art”, declared Nancy Morejón to the official press agency, who insist: “The idea of culture was marginalised by giving prominence to politics, after the decision by the organisers to remove Morejón from the honorary presidency due to external pressures regarding the intellectual’s commitment to the Cuban Revolution.

The poet decided not to attend – not even as an observer – any of the events that were arranged in the programme, which has guests of honour from Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica. Nevertheless, she did “share” with Prensa Latina “some aspects” that she would have tried to address in the speech she had planned to give, before being removed from the honorary presidency. continue reading

“My speech expressed the idea that poetry is a shared common ground and is a message of peace and of love”, along with a desire that “beautiful words should preach in favour of full dignity for men and women from all regions”, Morejón declared to the official Cuban agency.

One day before the inauguration of the Marketplace, the Cuban ambassador in Paris got together with the poet and other writers close to the regime.

The decision by the festival organisers had – the previous week – been attributed to the “machinery of imperialist hatred” by the island’s Minister of Culture, Alpidio Alonso.

In a press release, the organisers of Poetry Marketplace had nevertheless already given assurances that their decision was justified in the defence of “all the forms of freedom, whether in creativity, opinion or expression” that characterise the event.

Signed by Yves Boudier, president of the ’c/i/r/c/é’ association which sponsors the Marketplace, the text referenced the existence of “pressures, rumours and attempts” launched by both sides of the conflict – the cultural authorities in Cuba and Morejón’s detractors – which contributed to the reasons for the cancellation.

Translated by Ricardo Recluso


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuban Bitcoiners Gather in Havana, Despite Harassment by State Security

Joe Hall (lower, right), cryptocurrency specialist and journalist for Cointelegraph, is one of the few uncovered faces in the photo at the PaZillo bar. (Twitter/Joe Nakamoto)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 3 June 2023 — Code names and emoticons instead of faces. The photo of the first meeting of Cuban bitcoiners, held on May 28 at the PaZillo bar in Havana, has gone viral in the world of cryptocurrencies. Surviving in a precarious economic environment like that of the Island, avoiding the surveillance of the regime and betting on the future of digital money has turned Cubans into heroes before their international colleagues.

Joe Hall, a specialist in cryptocurrencies and journalist for the British media Cointelegraph, is one of the few uncovered faces in the photo at the PaZillo bar. He traveled to Cuba to participate in the meeting of the “community,” and now, speaking from Madrid, he talks with 14ymedio about the enthusiasm of young Cubans for digital currencies.

“What moved me the most was to note that even under a regime as hostile as the Cuban one, where there seems to be no future, suddenly there is an economic hope – bitcoin – that does not allow itself to be crushed by the Government,” says Hall, who appears on Twitter as Joe Nakamoto: a tribute to the anonymous creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto.

The trip to the Island, he says, was almost an expedition of discovery, to learn about the environment of digital money and how Cubans were dealing with it. “I went to Cuba to investigate,” he says, summarizing a trip that took him to several towns on the outskirts of Havana and to the capital itself, where bitcoiners develop their businesses.

There was a lot of talk at the PaZillo bar, Hall explains. “I decided to go after hearing Alex Gladstein’s opinion in 2021 about the introduction of cryptocurrencies in Cuba. He wrote a report about the bitcoin ’revolution’ on the Island. I wanted to go and see it with my own eyes.” continue reading

Camera in hand and with the intention of making a future documentary, Hall was fully introduced to the Havana world of cryptocurrencies, and, with the help of three organizers who prepared the meeting after a long organizing by Telegram, more than 60 Cubans were able to talk with him about digital money.

They were people of all ages and occupations, men and women, business owners and amateurs, or simply Cubans – “very intelligent and educated,” says Hall – who are interested in doing business in bitcoin.

“The goal was to educate the community on how to better use bitcoin, how to accept it and trade with it or pay in establishments and bars such as PaZillo, which are open to this type of currency,” says Hall, who admits that, with the exception of Havana and Matanzas, the other Cuban provinces have a long way to go in the matter.

To boost the use of bitcoin, the organizers sold sweaters with the bitcoin logo at 100 satoshis each, the equivalent of a dollar, “with a view to everyone being able to buy them,” he explains.

“Throughout the meeting, I tried to understand how Cubans use bitcoin,” says Hall, who also reflected on the limitations and difficulties of using digital money in the Cuban environment.

In an article published on May 31, he presented his conclusions: “Cuba’s foray into Bitcoin signifies a departure from the centralized economic model that has shaped Cuba’s economy for decades. Despite limited internet access, financial constraints and a socialist-styled government, the meetup underscored that Cubans are increasingly turning to crypto as a means of financial freedom and an ’exit’ from the local economy.”

What’s disturbing, however, is the attention that the Government has placed on that world and the concern with which they followed the announcement of the meeting in Havana. “One of the State Security spies began to follow me in a market and I had to play the role of ’dumb gringo’. However, he never questioned me,” he says.

Despite the economic precariousness of the country, Hall perceives a glimmer of hope in the relationship of young Cubans with alternatives such as bitcoin. He was in Cuba in 2019 and, despite the fact that it was a few months before the connection from mobile phones had begun, the most effective thing was to look for a Wi-Fi spot in the central square of the towns and cities.

The change came with the Internet, despite the connection difficulties. “Cubans are very intelligent. They learned to use VPNs and have found many ways to dodge government surveillance. It is true that the country has deteriorated, but the Internet is everywhere, and bitcoin, by nature, is the money of the Internet. That has made me optimistic, despite the fact that the regime’s first reaction to any eventuality is to cut the connection,” he reasons.

Another benefit of using cryptocurrencies faced with an economy like the Cuban one is that, as the country cannot guarantee stability, bitcoin becomes a good option for saving: “In Cuba you can’t really save in dollars or euros, much less in pesos. But in that context, questions also arise: “To what extent will the Government stand idly by?”

For people, on the other hand, it can be a viable economic solution in the face of the “horrible” situation that is being experienced. As for the regime, “it can’t touch bitcoin,” Hall summarizes, and that is the security of this currency: “It can’t be confiscated.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuba: You Must Be Having a Laugh Diaz-Canel… / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 5 May 2023 — How was it possible, after the worst plane crash in our recent history, [Cubana de Aviación Flight 972 crashed in May 2018  at Santiago de las Vegas with loss of 112 lives], after the fatal collapse of the balconies that took the lives of three girls in a ruined Havana – and the subsequent collapse of several other buildings – as well as the appalling neglect to which the neighbourhoods devastated by that fatal tornado [January 2019 in Havana, 3 died] were condemned? After the extremely painful Hotel Saratoga disaster; after we saw the storage tanks at the Matanzas supertanker base burn to the ground – all tragedies that had as a common denominator the carelessness and irresponsibility of the Cuban authorities?

How was this possible after repressing marches of homosexuals demanding genuine respect outside Mariela Castro’s opportunism, and even after sinking up to his neck in shamelessness when setting his dogs on millions of unarmed Cubans on that historic day of protest 11 July 2021 when half a hundred cities across the country made clear their disgust and weariness? How can this “re-election” be at least minimally credible after the return of the hated hard currency stores – with the evident apartheid that this implies – and the daily blackouts; how after killing off the supposed monetary unification and each and every one of the vaunted points of a “reordering task” that only further deepened the previously prevailing chaos and has plunged us into a galloping inflation that breaks new records every day?

These are the mysteries and miracles that can only be worked in mediocracies – if they are authentic, of course – such as ours. The answer to all these questions lies behind a by no means fortuitous fact, which explains why five years ago Raúl Castro pointed his all-powerful finger at the anointed Díaz-Canel and not at any other among dozens of obsequious flunkies, and it was for something very simple: because he always knew that he had before him an anodyne type, the typical grey, cowardly guerilla type of being, so lacking in swing that in the eyes of ordinary Cubans he would go unnoticed even if he were dancing the hula hoop in a thong at noon at the intersection of 23rd and 12th in Havana; precisely for that reason the hardliners, the real Taliban of Castroism, set their sights on someone so colourless and lacking in charisma: those who really pull the strings always knew that this ductile amalgam was the right bet, safe and comfortable in order not to take any unnecessary risks – or what is the same, said in Castro jargon – to “change” everything that needs to be changed… without changing anything. continue reading

The leadership of Castroism needed someone sufficiently insipid and lacking in character, someone whose lack of magnetism would guarantee an absolute lack of leadership and whose genuflection – which we have witnessed during the “government” farce of the last five years – would ensure smooth sailing through the calm waters of obedience without casting any shadow whatsoever; The rascals in Havana’s La Plaza de la Revolucion knew full well that such a wimp would never pose any danger to their clan which, behind the scenes, has continued to pull the strings of royal power without a fuss.

And so, to conclude, let it be said in plain language: Díaz-Canel was re-elected because he has governed very well so far! Such a statement should come as a surprise to no one because, as always, anyone who wants to find the right answer only has to ask the right question: for whose benefit was Díaz-Canel supposed to govern, what was and still is his real mission, was he elected and then re-elected “by the pointing of a finger” to promote, foster and stimulate the prosperity of the Cuban people? In the face of such rhetorical questions, superfluous answers are superfluous: it is enough to go out into the street and look at the harshest face of our poverty to conclude, after such obvious evidence, the clearest and simplest of truths: this puppet was brought on stage to “govern” for and on behalf of the Castro regime, never for the benefit of the Cuban people, and so far he has done it very well!

And consider if that is what has happened: there are our more than a thousand political prisoners of July 11 as clear proof of their servility to the chosen way forward, the most abject continuity; there is the most bestial repression against our authentic civil society; there is the most painful and massive exodus in Cuban history, the result of the post July 11 repression, which long ago made the total number of emigrants from Camarioca in 1965, the Mariel exodus in 1980 and the one that followed the rafter crisis of 1994 pale in comparison; there is your “government” at the bottom of all world standards of freedom of the press, its enviable indexes of repression and of common and political prisoners per number of inhabitants; there are still the laws in force that under their disastrous management have turned the Cuban legal system into one of the most repressive in the world and further criminalised our civil rights, including laws that continue to restrict the right of emigrants to return and invest with due guarantees in their own country, that continue to stifle the national economy in every possible way – the true and only origin of our poverty – while the cynical mourners continue to blame it on the external embargo. In the meantime, the money has continued to flow unceasingly into the dictatorship’s coffers thanks to the effective management of our current shit in office.

This gentleman will go down in history for all this; his most profound legacy will be to have made lemonade the basis of everything, for having played the saddest role in this circus: that of the clown who, from above or from below, nobody respects, condemned as he is to be remembered forever, renamed in all the ends of the earth – and for this, people, you do have to be laughing like Díaz-Canel

Translated by GH

Mexico Continues To Use Pfizer To Vaccinate Children Against Covid Instead of the Cuban Abdala Vaccine

In Mexico City, the campaign to reinforce vaccinations with doses of the Cuban Abdala is maintained. (Twitter/@SSaludCdMx)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mexico, 5 June 2023 — The Mexican state of Chihuahua, on the border with the United States, announced that on Monday, in 224 medical and clinical units, it began the application of 17,520 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to children between 5 and 11 years of age. According to the state vaccination coordinator, Hugo Elí Lechuga Barrera, the priority is to “immunize children who turn five this year” and those who do not yet have their complete scheme.

Lechuga Barrera stressed that 7,335 doses of this immunologic have been applied in the state, of which 4,634 were administered in Ciudad Juárez in previous months. These vaccines are part of the donation of 516,000 doses delivered by the Government of South Korea to Mexico in August last year.

With the supply of Pfizer, the use of the Cuban Abdala vaccine in children is ruled out in Chihuahua. Mexico acquired 9 million doses of the Cuban formula, which does not have endorsement from the World Health Organization, as a reinforcement against Covid-19. Last May, the vaccine received a favorable review from the Committee on New Molecules, dependent on the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks, to be used in children under 11 years of age.

The state official indicated that doses of Abdala are available. In Chihuahua, 36,971 doses have been administered, and 4,114 people received them as their first vaccine against the coronavirus. Another 31,227 doses were given as reinforcement, and 1,630 are part of the scheme as a second dose. The federal Ministry of Health delivered 118,960 doses in February.

In Guasave (Sinaloa), the situation is similar to that of Chihuahua. On Monday, the delivery of Pfizer’s vaccines to vaccinate 100 children was confirmed. The director of the General Hospital, Jesús Antonio López Rodríguez, said that these doses will be for minors who have just turned five years old. continue reading

The Cuban formula still doesn’t convince Mexicans. In the state of Nuevo León, the reinforcement campaign against Covid-19 was announced, and for this there would be 176,000 doses. In the second week of May, only five people showed up, although the official report showed 63,000 doses given as of last week.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

The Parents of a Priest Are Injured in an Assault on His Home in Santiago de Cuba

Elsy Hung and Nelson Naun, parents of the Catholic priest Leandro Naun. (Collage)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 6 June 2023 — The parents of the Cuban Catholic priest Leandro Naun were assaulted this Monday in the Santa María neighborhood, on the outskirts of Santiago de Cuba. Three masked men, who broke into their house around midnight to rob them, were discovered by Elsy Hung, the priest’s mother. In their escape, they beat her and hit her husband, Nelson Naun, on the head with a machete.

The thieves entered the house through “a side door that was weakened by the recent rains,” the priest tells 14ymedio from Italy where he is visiting, after denouncing the aggression on Tuesday morning. His father is now awaiting an operation in the hospital, and the priest has been able to communicate with him. He says that “there was a fracture, but no brain damage.”

“The thieves, before taking something, were at the refrigerator eating and drinking water,” he says, as a symptom of the moral deterioration that the country is experiencing. “The violence was unleashed when they were discovered” by the mother, who ended up kicked to the floor and asking for help. His father came to her aid and was wounded.

Naun says that his colleagues in the diocese of Santiago de Cuba immediately expressed their concern and that the archbishop’s driver, Luis, was the one who went to his house during the early hours of the morning, to take his father to the hospital for the operation, because, according to the family, “there is no ambulance.”

The priest considers the aggression as a “manifestation of the acute crisis” on the Island, in addition to reflecting “the loss of values and criminal impunity.” Despite everything, he considers it useful to denounce what happened in the middle of the current “wave of violence”: “My testimony is to help hundreds of people who suffer the same or worse but are anonymous due to the lack of repercussions.” continue reading

Asked if these assaults can be considered as an indirect reprisal to the Catholic Church, Naun is categorical: “We have no proof.” The police, he adds, continue to investigate the fact and look for those responsible, who the priest characterized as “three thin and masked young people.”

On May 19, the priest Eliosbel Pereira, rector of the church of San Francisco de Santiago de Cuba, also suffered a machete assault in the theft of his motorcycle. The news was spread after Dionisio García Ibáñez, archbishop of that diocese, sent a statement by WhatsApp.

According to journalist Adrián Martínez Cádiz, the aggressor, who was disguised as a doctor, gave the priest “a deep wound in his left hand” with a machete. Pereira had to undergo surgery at the provincial hospital of Santiago de Cuba “in a complex operation that lasted several hours, where his hand was reconstructed.”

On April 29, the church of San Charbel and Santo Tomás de Villanueva, located in the Havana municipality of Playa, was looted, and a week before, there was an attempted robbery at the San Juan María Vianney Priest House.

Two other robberies occurred on March 7 and April 5, respectively, in the parish of the Sacred Heart and the chapel of Jesús Obrero, both located in El Vedado, both under the responsibility of the Dominican friar Lester Zayas, one of the priests who is most critical of the regime.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.