Nicaragua Bans Cuban Activist Bárbaro de Céspedes From Entering the Country

Cuban activist Bárbaro de Céspedes / Facebook

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mexico, June 17, 2024 — Daniel Ortega’s regime denied Cuban activist Bárbaro de Céspedes – known as “El Patriota”- entry into Nicaragua. “While on the bus to the [Havana] airport, they sent me a message saying that the Government of Nicaragua denied my entry into that country,” he denounced on social media in a live video.
The activist explained from Camagüey, where he resides, that he had managed to buy an expensive plane ticket with several stops for June 13th with the intention of emigrating.

“State Security has tried to make life impossible for me and my family in Cuba,” said De Céspedes, who spent two years in prison for demonstrating peacefully on 11 July 2021. “I made the hardest decision of my life, to emigrate from this country that I love and defend. It is not for fear of death – I no longer have a life – but for fear of being a nuisance to my family,” he added in a broken voice.

The Camagüey native denounced that his daughter, some time ago, was also denied entry into Nicaragua and that, on this occasion, the airline ticket manager sent him a similar message to the one she got: “We inform you that we have been notified by the Nicaraguan immigration authorities that they have not authorized your entry into the country, so you will not be able continue reading

to board your flight,” says the document that De Céspedes showed and where the logo of the Colombian airline Avianca can be seen.

“These people have punished me to life imprisonment on this island prison”

“The crying is not because of the refusal, the crying is because of the decision I have had to make. Everyone who knows me knows that my homeland is above everything, above my feelings. And these people [the Cuban regime] have punished me to live in prison for life on this island prison,” he said.

In April 2021, he was detained for several days after making a pilgrimage to the Nuestra Señora de la Merced church in Camagüey. De Céspedes was released with a precautionary measure of house arrest and a fine of 2,000 pesos for not wearing a mask.

The Camagüey activist arrived at the church on Good Friday carrying a huge cross that said 62 years of dictatorship, with his torso shirtless and painted with a Cuban flag. He was detained by uniformed officers when leaving the temple.

A few months earlier, the police also arrested him in the middle of a crowd when he was handing out leaflets in the historic center of the city of Camagüey printed with texts by José Martí. On that occasion, he managed to hand out dozens of flyers to passersby and sang the national anthem. He also shouted several times: “Viva Cuba libre”(Long live free Cuba).

This is not the first time Managua has denied Cuban activists entry. Before De Céspedes, journalists Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho and Esteban Rodriguez, members of the San Isidro Movement, and doctor Alexander Figueredo, for example, were prevented from entering.

Translated by LAR

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The Hidden History of the Trinidad, the Cigar That Fidel Castro Gave to Heads of State

A documentary by specialist Kirby Allison reveals details and curiosities of “the Commander’s favorite tobacco”

Marvin Shenken, editor of Cigar Aficionado, interviews Castro in 1994 / Cigar Aficionado

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Izquierdo, Havana, 18 June 2024 — In 1994, Fidel Castro gave an interview to the American Marvin Shenken, editor of the prestigious Cigar Aficionado magazine. “We know that there is a cigar called Trinidad and that it is only obtained in Cuba as a gift,” he said bluntly. According to rumors, the brand had been secretly manufactured since 1969 without a band, but Castro had denied its existence several times. With a smile, his answer was: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

That year, during the so-called Dinner of the Century – a luxurious banquet of millionaires held in Paris while Cubans went hungry in the Special Period – several boxes of Trinidad with the signature of Castro were officially auctioned, which were served after the meal with a 1982 Château Mouton Rothschild wine.

Born to dethrone the Cohiba, the story of how the “Commander’s favorite cigar” began to be sold was revealed by David Savona, current director of the magazine, to the specialist Kirby Allison during a miniseries about the brand that has just been uploaded to YouTube. In 1991, Shenken made a trip to Cuba on the trail of the Trinidad. He was about to publish the first issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine, and no one wanted to give him information about the “best kept secret” of the Island

“We were all a family. We thought the same thing: we all wanted to make a cigar for Fidel.”

He had to settle for a small article, which was enough to whet the appetite of the millionaires. When the terrain was prepared and everyone wanted to smoke a Trinidad, Castro admitted that the cigars existed and that they were for sale. continue reading

Ultimately, the Trinidad failed to dethrone the Cohiba, which is still the best-selling cigar on the Island. But the state corporation Habanos S.A. does not give up: Allison’s series is part of a promotion package, with new cigar bands and tools of the trade, in tribute to the 55th anniversary of the brand.

For Allison, if Cohiba is the flagship of Cuban cigars after 1959, Trinidad is the “special jewel in the crown” for its “unparalleled mystical aura.” The golden cigar with a blue band was given to diplomats and ordinary guests, but the triple T was reserved for very high officials, who were required not to disclose their consumption beyond the “corridors of diplomacy,” says the expert.

Trinidad, the Cuban city that the brand evokes, is for Allison the summary of everything the tourist seeks: colonial architecture, the convergence between Spaniards, Africans and “natives” and quality tobacco, whose cultivation method was perfected by Canarian immigrants in the central provinces of the Island.

The series points to the utmost secrecy in which Castro maintained the El Laguito factory since 1959, where the Trinidad and the Cohiba are manufactured. The president, he believes, “gave the diplomats the opportunity to show Cuban cultural wealth to the world.” Juana Ramos Guerra, one of the first cigar rollers of the factory, explained to Allison that all the employees entered the factory thanks to a family tie with the regime, since it was Celia Sánchez who was in charge of the selection process in 1972.

Before its launch, the Trinidad was marketed without a name or cigar band. Fidel Castro’s signature was on the very luxurious boxes / Screen Capture

“The cigar that was made here was the one made for Fidel,” Ramos adds. “We were all a family. We thought the same thing: we all wanted to make a cigar for Fidel.”

The greatest tribute that Ramos received from his bosses had to do with the Trinidad: the best cigars of the brand came out of his hands in 1998. The Trinidad, he recalls, “was the cigar that Fidel gave to presidents and important people who came to Cuba. It had no mark or bands, it was very simple but very tasty. Everyone wanted Fidel to give him one.”

The person who received the cigar found out from Castro what kind of cigar he was smoking, so that if the specimen left Cuba, no external sign would reveal it. “The Trinidad is our ambassador to the world,” says Ramos. By 2003, the brand had expanded to create new shapes and calibers: Founders, Colonials, Kings, Robusto Extra.

The worldwide relaunch of the brand took place in London that year, sponsored by Hunters & Frankau. Now, two decades later, Habanos has declared a “Trinidad tasting time,” with tastings in several places, so that millionaires can get excited again about cigars and their new brand, Cabildo, whose name evokes the relationship between tobacco and the “primary forms of government” of the colonial era. A link that recalls the principle formulated by Fernando Ortiz: “Whoever rules in Cuba, rules in cigars.”

Translated by Regina Anavy

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A River of Sewage Water Surrounds a Polyclinic in Havana

The place intended to preserve health is, paradoxically, a source of potential infections for neighbors

Down the slope, a dark river with greenish parts carries waste from the Public Health department / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Natalia López Moya, Havana, 18 June 2024 — Where there was hygiene, sewage remains. Those who walk in front of the Héroes del Moncada University Polyclinic on 23 Street, between A and B, in El Vedado, Havana, have been repeating the same ritual for days: go down the sidewalk, take risks among traffic on the avenue and avoid a spill through which flows waste from the health center’s bathrooms. The place intended to preserve health is, paradoxically, a source of potential infections for neighbors.

“At first, the stench didn’t let us live, but now I don’t even feel it,” admits a neighbor from A, where a dark river with greenish chunks drains downhill, carrying waste from the Public Health Department. “Children can no longer play on the sidewalk, and in many houses, people have had to put damp blankets with bleach by the door to clean their shoes before entering.” The grass in the nearest flowerbeds has grown “fed” by the sewage and a trash can seems about to float in the dark lake that has formed around it.

The disgusting current knows no limits or locks. It passes under the stately fence that surrounds the polyclinic, extends along the most important avenue of the modern center of Havana and sticks to the wheels of the shopping carts of those who await in line at the nearby rationed market warehouse. Everyone who passes by takes away something of its essence, be it part of the stench, some fragment of waste carried by the current, or the look of disgust on their face. continue reading

“At first the plague didn’t let us live, but now I don’t even feel it anymore” / 14ymedio

“In the mornings, people who come to get their blood drawn for some lab analysis line up right here”, says another resident nearby. “There are pregnant women, children, people with chronic illnesses and old people who can barely lift their feet to walk and they carry all of that stuff stuck to their shoes. Anyone who falls into those waters will come out with an infection, for sure.”

The property’s employees are also at risk. In the morning, they dodge the stinky puddles to get to their jobs and in the afternoons, they gain momentum again and jump so as not to take the detritus home.

On the bright green façade of the building, a sign warns that it is a University Polyclinic, a reference location for training new doctors in direct patient care. In addition to preparing them for clinical diagnoses, the place is designed to train them to practice the profession in the midst of hygienic and epidemiological chaos.

Translated by Norma Whiting

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A Bill Proposes To Abolish the 24-Month Limit for Cubans Abroad

Cubans will be able to renounce their nationality and enter the Island with their new passport. / EFE

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 18 June 18, 2024 — Cubans abroad will retain their rights to residence and will not lose their properties regardless of how long they have been out of the country, according to the new Migration Law, whose preliminary draft was published this Monday on the Parliament’s page along with that of the Aliens Law. The law also proposes another outstanding novelty: the possibility of renouncing Cuban nationality and entering the Island with a passport that accredits a new citizenship.

Currently, Cubans who leave the country and do not return in 24 months lose their status as residents and, with it, many inherent rights, from medical care to owning properties. However, they were obliged to enter the Island with their Cuban passport, one of the most expensive in the world, at a cost of 180 dollars per year.

With the new law, the category of effective migratory residence is created, “a condition that affects Cuban citizens and resident foreigners, when they spend most of their time in the national territory, or through a combination of a period of permanence and other material evidence that demonstrates roots in the country.” Those who obtain this category have the rights that the Cuban Constitution reserves for nationals. continue reading

As for residents, they are divided into two: residents in the national territory (which can be temporary or permanent) and residents abroad

As for the residents, they are divided into two: residents in the national territory (which can be temporary or permanent) and residents abroad. In the latter are those who live outside Cuba, who before this law were considered emigrants. They will be able to apply for their new status, as well as investors and businessman who participate in the Cuban economic model.

Article 56.1 addresses the situation of those who renounce Cuban citizenship, to whom the immigration law would apply once such a waiver is recognized. The text says that these people “cannot identify themselves in Cuba as Cuban citizens, and for the purposes of entry and exit to the country they are subject to the presentation of the corresponding foreign passport, visa requirement and travel documents.” In the case that they have more than one citizenship, “they must identify and leave the country with the passport they used at the time of entrance to the national territory.”

The law also regulates the conditions of entry and exit, as well as the limitations, among which there are still the reasons of security and national interest and some other reasons of a discretionary nature, as well as others usual in international laws that include reasons of a criminal nature.

In the case of entries into the country, the fact of having a criminal record for terrorism and other internationally prosecuted crimes also appears as limiting, a section that can be a nod to Washington, which keeps the Island on the list of State sponsors of terrorism precisely because of the protection it has given to some people involved in this type of serious crime.

The law also regulates the conditions of entry and exit, as well as the limitations, among which are still reasons of security and national interest

The 65-page regulation also establishes legal frameworks for crimes related to migrant smuggling and human trafficking, as well as sanctions for non-compliance. According to the press release of the National Assembly, which received the preliminary draft after years of study, the publication is made with “the objective of promoting citizen participation in this legislative process and contributing to the legal culture of the population.” To that end, several emails have been enabled to which citizens can send their impressions.

However, the regulation must be in an almost final version, according to its own preamble, which emphasizes that in March it was presented to the Council of Ministers “and some other entities” that asked questions and made observations now resolved, “so there are no discrepancies on the project,” from which it is inferred that the Assembly will make few or no modifications.

The Migration Law – “aimed at achieving a regular, orderly and safe flow” – will repeal the current one, of 1970, as well as the subsequent decrees that modified aspects such as travel regulations, among the most important. The change will radically break with the model in force until now, which entailed the loss of a huge amount of rights, in addition to the properties, that Cubans were rushing to bequeath to their relatives to manage them.

The regime has been trying for several years to approach Cubans living abroad in order for them to invest in Cuba

The regime has been trying for several years to approach Cubans living abroad in order for them to invest in Cuba, something that the law prevented emigrants in the United States from doing until now, although sometimes it ended up being carried out on the margins. With this modification, and thanks to the maintenance of Cuban nationality, this situation is put to an end in an emergency context for the Island.

However, U.S. experts warn of the instability to which this situation could lead. “If a person is applying for asylum in the United States and is suddenly receiving an inheritance or intends to return, this can definitely be alarming for the U.S. authorities, because it means that there was fraud in that asylum,” immigration lawyer Gladys Carrederguas told Telemundo Miami last night.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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Nicaragua Once Again Prevents the Entry of Another Cuban Activist

Ramón Fuentes Lemes was taken off the plane at the Bogotá airport, where he made a stopover, and returned to the Island

Immigration control at Terminal 3 of José Martí International Airport / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 18 June 2024 — Daniel Ortega’s regime added another Cuban this Sunday to its blacklist of people who cannot travel to Nicaragua: the opponent Ramón Fuentes Lemes. The activist, a member of the Pinero Autonomous Party, on the Isla de la Juventud, had traveled to Bogotá, Colombia, where the airport authorities prevented him from boarding the flight due to Managua’s refusal to let him enter the country.

Fuentes Lemes told CubaNet that his trip to Nicaragua, from where he planned to continue to the United States, included several stopovers. First he would travel to Colombia with Avianca, then to El Salvador and, finally, to Nicaragua. However, at the Bogotá airport, an official made him get off the plane and informed him of Managua’s decision not to let him in.

The opponent tried to ask for asylum at the airport but was denied, CubaNet says, and he was deported to the Island. “I know that it is the Cuban dictatorship that is behind all this, because the authorities of Nicaragua do not have to know me, or know who I am enough to deny me entry to the country as if I were a terrorist,” Fuentes Lemes told the media on Monday from Havana. continue reading

The opponent tried to ask for asylum at the airport but was denied, says CubaNet, and he was deported to the Island

“When I arrived in Havana I called the Nicaraguan Embassy but they told me that they had nothing to do with it,” said the opponent, who added that he has no savings left after selling his house to pay for tickets and other expenses to emigrate.

According to Fuentes Lemes, this is not the first time he has had problems leaving the country. On two other occasions, he says, they prevented him for being “counter-revolutionary.” “Now they let me out but then did this to me. I’m afraid of what might happen now in Cuba. My life is in danger; these henchmen are capable of doing anything,” he added.

“I stand firm, no one is going to change my way of thinking, nor am I going to collaborate with them [the political police]. I will always demonstrate against the dictatorship in Cuba and in favor of freedom for the Cuban people,” he concluded.

Days before, Nicaragua had also banned the entry of another Cuban dissident. Bárbaro de Céspedes, known as El Patriota, learned of the measure “while on the bus heading to the airport [of Havana]. They sent me a message saying that the Government of Nicaragua denied my entry into that country,” he reported on social networks.

The activist explained from Camagüey, where he resides, that he had managed an expensive passage with several stopovers for June 13 with the intention of emigrating. “State Security has tried to make life impossible in Cuba, for my family and me,” said De Céspedes, who spent two years in prison for demonstrating peacefully on 11 July 2021.

The activist explained from Camagüey, where he resides, that he had managed an expensive passage with several stops for June 13

These are not the only cases of Cubans who have not been able to enter Nicaragua due to regulations of the Ortega Government. Journalists Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho and Esteban Rodríguez, members of the San Isidro Movement, and doctor Alexander Figueredo, were also stopped by Managua.

Another case was that of Yailén Insúa Alarcón, former director of the Cuban Television News and the morning program Buenos Días, to whom Managua denied entry when the woman and her husband were at the Bogotá airport, ready to continue the journey to Nicaragua and then to the United States, as she recounted in an interview with 14ymedio.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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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 Battle Between Bacardí and Cubaexport for the Rights to Havana Club Revives After a New Judicial Decision

A Virginia court revokes the dismissal of a complaint brought by Bacardí

A man prepares a drink with Havana Club rum. / EFE

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 18 June 2024 — The Bacardí company will be able to continue fighting for the registration and marketing rights for the Havana Club rum brand in the United States, which are currently in the hands of the Cuban Government through the state-owned Cubaexport. The Court of Appeals of the Fourth Circuit for East Virginia has revoked, Reuters reported, the previous decision of a district court by which the lawsuit of the rum maker, based in Bermuda, was dismissed for “lack of jurisdiction.” The legal battle for the right to use the name began when the Bacardí family, who produced the drink on the Island, decided to leave the country after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959. The company says that it bought the rights for Havana Club from the Arechabala family, which produced the rum until its distillery was confiscated by the Cuban Government.

Cubaexport owned the marketing rights in the United States since it registered the trademark in 1976 until, in 2006, it was denied a renewal in accordance with the embargo laws that prevented it from paying the license without first obtaining an authorization from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of the Treasury, which had not been granted.

Cubaexport owned the marketing rights in the United States since it registered the trademark in 1976 until, in 2006, it was denied a renewal in accordance with the laws of the embargo

Cubaexport challenged before the courts the denial of the permit, which it lost after a 2012 ruling. Later, in January 2016 and during the thaw that occurred with Barack Obama’s mandate, OFAC changed its decision and issued a specific license that authorized Cubaexport to “make all transactions” and make the payments “necessary to renew and maintain the registration of the Havana Club brand.”

Bacardí counterattacked and filed a lawsuit that sought to reverse the measure, contrary to its interests, through an appeal to the court of the continue reading

district of Columbia in which the company accused the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) of making a decision in a “fraudulent way.”

In the lawsuit, Bacardí accused the senior officials of USPTO, including its director, Kathi Vidal, of violating current legislation by renewing the registration of the disputed trademark ten years after its expiration.

The Court of Appeals has now admitted this complaint and revoked the previous judgment, reopening the battle for the rights to the rum.

The (Cuban) state is “confident that the renewal was valid and that the court will agree when it arrives at the substance of this dispute

The defense of Cubaexport, argued by David Bernstein of the firm Debevoise & Plimpton, said that the state-owned company is “confident that the renewal was valid and that the court will agree when it arrives at the substance of this dispute.”

For its part, Bacardí told Reuters that the company is satisfied with the decision, while USPTO declined to comment on the process.

In 1960 the distillery of the Arechabala family, which had produced rum since at least 1930, was confiscated by the Government of Fidel Castro along with some other assets, without receiving any kind of compensation.

Ramón Arechabala, the company’s sales manager, who spent some time in prison after the expropriation ordered by Castro, escaped from the country and arrived in Miami in 1966 with the secret recipe for Havana Club rum. After a few years, he sold the rights to the brand and the original recipe to the Bacardí family.

In 1974, Arechabala’s trademark registrations in the United States for Havana Club rum had expired, and that’s when Cubaexport registered the brand. The business has very juicy figures. In 2021, the company’s international marketing director, Sergio Valdés, said that the company sold more than 4.4 million cases of rum (with 12 bottles to a case) the previous year, 1.7 million of them in Cuba.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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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.

Only Four Cuban Judocas Will Compete at the Olympic Games in Paris

The Judo Federation, a declining sport on the Island, expected at least seven of its athletes to qualify

Idalys Ortiz has won medals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, Rio 2016, London 2012 and Beijing 2008 / JIT

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 18 June 2024 — Cuban judo is crumbling. Of the seven athletes that the president of the Cuban Federation of this sport, Rafael Manso, intended to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, only Idalys Ortiz, in the 78-kilogram category, Maylín del Toro (63 kg), Andy Granda (100 kg) and Iván Silva (90 kg) got their tickets. The hope of success for the regime is focused on the four-time Olympic medalist Ortiz. The 34-year-old from Pinar del Río was in the nineteenth position of the Paris 2024, qualifying with 2,983 points.

Maylín del Toro will perform in Paris after an outstanding performance at the World Judo Championship, which took place last May in Abu Dhabi. However, her chances of a medal are reduced against competitors such as the French Clarisse Agbegnenou.

Cuban judo “is going through a worrying stage of decline,” said Play-Off Magazine. This discipline, which has awarded 37 Olympic medals to the Island throughout history – 6 gold, 15 silver and 16 bronze – has also been affected by departures.

This discipline has awarded 37 Olympic medals to the Island throughout history: 6 gold, 15 silver and 16 bronze

Pan American and Central American judo champion Magdiel Estrada, 29, fled the Cuban delegation in Brazil last April. With his leave, “judo and the Cuban sports movement lost a prominent figure less than three months away from the great appointment in the French capital. A phenomenon that doesn’t stop,” Play-Off Magazine warned that month. continue reading

Between July and September of last year, nine judocas ended their relationship with the Cuban sport.

The bronze medalist at the Budapest Judo World Championship (2017), Kaliema Antomarchi, boarded a flight to Serbia in September, a route followed by many Cubans to access the European Union. This athlete’s departure coincided with the escape in Canada of Samarys Gregorio, Odelin García and Yurisleydis Hernández, after winning second place in the Pan American and Oceania Championship held in Calgary.

Vanesa Godinez, Mellisa Hurtado, Santa Virgen Romero, Blanca Elena Torres and Lutmary García also left the Cuban team in May, during their training in France.

To the escapes is added the “inattention and lack of maintenance” denounced in an interview with Cubanet by the bronze medalist in Central American games and coach of the Judo Academy in Havana, Yosvani Pérez Hernández. “It’s obvious that they are not doing their job. The health of judo is being lost,” he said.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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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.

Teacher Alina Bárbara López Arrested On Her Way to Havana and Charged With ‘Attack’ According to Her Daughter

The teacher was arrested along with her colleague Jenny Pantoja when they were on their way to Havana for a peaceful protest.

Jenny Pantoja Torres and Alina Bárbara López Hernández, in an image shared by the latter’s daughter / Facebook/Cecilia Borroto López

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 18 June 2024 — Historian and activist Alina Bárbara López Hernández “is being informed of charges of an attempted crime,” her daughter Cecilia Borroto López reported Tuesday on her social networks. The historian and a colleague, Jenny Pantoja Torres, have been in the hands of State Security for several hours, since they were detained this morning before reaching the Bacunayagua bridge, in Matanzas, when both were traveling to Havana, where they planned to demonstrate peacefully this Tuesday, as the Matanzas teacher does on the 18th of every month.

“We hope that both Alina’s and Jenny’s integrity will be respected, as every citizen deserves. We hope that this time they do not decide to beat them, since they have decided to violate once again the right of mobility,” Borroto had expressed.

Jenny Pantoja had reported on her social networks this Monday that she had received threats on her cell phone from the number +53 5 505 1333. “Since you arrived in Matanzas very well, I warn you this is the last time you will arrive in Matanzas,”,said the message, so full of spelling mistakes that it made the activist say: “The person who wrote should go back to the twelfth grade”.

Pantoja explained in her post that she was going to accompany López because she could not leave her alone “on a trip to Havana in which she could once again suffer police mistreatment.” She also warned: “I hold State Security, the Cuban government and its police forces responsible for continue reading

anything that happens to me from now on. I have not committed any crime, nor do I have any legal case against me. Only the spirit and the willingness to do the best for my suffering country.” According to what she also said, her house was under surveillance by the Political Police.

Alina Bárbara López had announced on Monday her intention to move her usual protest on the 18th of every month to the Cuban capital – since March 2023, which was the centenary of ‘The Protest of 13’ carried out by intellectuals against the then government of Alfredo Zayas. Her intention is “to be in the Park where the statue of Martí stands.” Her demands, the professor detailed in a long Facebook post, were the same as always: the democratic election of a National Assembly to draft a new Constitution, freedom for political prisoners “without sending them to compulsory exile,” cessation of harassment of citizens exercising freedom of expression and “that the State stops ignoring the critical situation of the elderly, retirees, pensioners and families living in extreme poverty.”

“I warn those who decide everything in this country: if you are going to arrest me, do it with an official arrest warrant”

“I warn those who decide everything in this country: if you are going to arrest me, do it with an official arrest warrant (which must be based on a complaint or well-founded suspicion of a crime, as you well know),” said López Hernández, who also blamed in advance “Counterintelligence” and the Government, “if anything should happen to me in those 100 kilometers that separate Matanzas from Havana: an accident, an assault, whatever.”

The teacher endured a similar detention on April 18, also on her way to Havana and also on the Bacunayagua bridge. López Hernández denounced before the Prosecutor’s Office the attack, which could constitute crimes of “injuries, illegal deprivation of freedom and the disclosure of private communications.”

Meanwhile, in Havana, Professor Jorge Fernandez Era, who regularly shows solidarity with his colleague from Matanzas, reported that his home was also under siege by a police operation on Tuesday. After learning of the arrest of his friend Alina Barbara and Jenny Pantoja, he went up to the rooftop and found that “since early in the morning, the usual fierce fighters, those who squander resources we don’t have in order to watch over a few citizens who think for themselves, have been on my doorstep.”

Art historian Miryorli García also denounced the harassment by State Security for her solidarity with the teacher from Matanzas. In a video broadcast on her social networks, an agent is seen not allowing her to leave her house. “I suppose you have a legal document to present to me to defend this measure of detention in my home, of prohibition to my right to enter and leave my house. If you don’t have it, stop making a fool of yourselves,” she said.

Translated by Hombre de Paz

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Cuba at the Crossroads of the Digital Economy: Employees or Independent Contractors

Hundreds of thousands of private-sector workers in Cuba are experiencing the system’s shortcomings

A “rider” (courier) delivering an order for the mobile app Mandao /EFE

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Juan Carlos Espinosa, Havana, 9 June 2024 — Thirty-five-year-old Jorge takes his cell phone out of a yellow thermal backpack and pulls up an order he is delivering on his bicycle.

He is one of hundreds of thousands of “cuentapropistas” (independent contractors) who have emerged since self-employment was legalized fifteen years ago. His particular type of employment would not have been possible without the introduction of cell phones in 2018 or the legalization of small privately owned businesses (MSMEs*) in 2021.

These changes to the system, however, are not without their shortcomings. On paper, Jorge is free to take on multiple gigs or use his time as he sees fit. In practice, however, he works as an employee but without some of the benefits of being on the company’s payroll.

“It seems we in Cuba only import the bad stuff,” he complains.

The advent of this type of business in Cuba has brought with it the same problems that have vexed capitalist governments and labor unions

Jorge (a pseudonym) works for Mandao, a food delivery app similar to Glovo or Uber Eats. Of the 11,000 legally licensed MSMEs in Cuba, it is one of the most popular. continue reading

Nevertheless, the advent of this type of business in Cuba has brought with it the same problems that have vexed governments and labor unions in capitalist countries.

After being shown contracts the company has with three individuals, two experts both agreed that the workers — commonly known in Cuba as “riders” — are not actually independent contractors but rather salaried employees.

They had differing opinions, however, on just how illegal this might be. The practice is, in any case, problematic.

For example, in two of the three contracts, the company retains 10% of each delivery fee, charges the courier 100 pesos a week ($0.83 USD at the official exchange rate) for use of the backpack, and does not provide coverage in the event of an accident. Nor does the agreement explicitly state how or how much the courier is to be paid.

Laritza Diversent, director of the formerly Cuba-based but now US-based Cubalex legal information center, believes this is a clear violation of Cuban employment law.

Mandao explained to EFE that the rates are set separately and that it does not impose schedules but instead tries to organize shifts by taking into account fluctuations in demand. It also pointed out that, as an MSME, it is not allowed to hire more than a hundred employees. It also argued that, since the workers are self-employed, these are commercial rather than labor contracts.

Cuban economist Tamarys Bahamonde believes that, in this regard, the company is mistaken and that the problem is due to legal loopholes in an obsolete labor law.

She characterizes the document as a hybrid, a cross between a commercial contract and a labor contract.

In this sense, Diversent describes what she sees a clear example of “legal illiteracy.” She is critical of the contract’s prohibitions on couriers discussing its content, something she says prevents them from seeking legal advice.

According to Mandao, its couriers made a monthly net profit of between 8,900 and 17,700 pesos ($74.00 to $148.00 USD) in 2023. By contrast, the average monthly salary of a state employee was 4,648 pesos ($39.00).

Another contract that EFE analyzed was that of a porter who worked in a building owned by Caribe, a state real estate investment company. Though it stipulates the employee’s work schedule and how many days of vacation they get, it is written as though they were an independent contractor.

EFE reached out to Caribe for comment but has so far not received a response.

Cuban economist Tamarys Bahamonde characterizes the employment agreement as a hybrid, a cross between a commercial contract and a labor contract. “It shows a level of legal ignorance of both types,” she says

Bahamonde believes, the company’s contract demonstrates that job insecurity is reaching levels never before experienced in Cuba.”

“We assume it’s the state’s responsibility to protect workers. But if the state isn’t doing it, we can’t expect the private sector will do it,” she says.

When asked about this issue, the Ministry of Labor and the government-controlled Cuban Workers’ Union (CTC) both told EFE that, so far, they are not seeing these practices, at least not in a “statistically meaningful way,” as Leovanis Agora Góngora, a member of the CTC’s National Secretariat put it.

The Ministry of Labor said it anticipated updates to the law regulating Cuban MSMEs this year.

*Translator’s note: Literally, “Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises.” The expectation is that they are also privately managed, but in Cuba this may include owners/managers who are connected to the government.

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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.

Russian Warships Leave Havana After Their Five-day Stay

One of the tugboats that escorted the Russian ships, this Monday, returning to the port of Havana / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 17 June 2024 — Shortly before 12 noon, one of the tugboats that had accompanied the departure of the Russian warships anchored in Cuban waters since last Wednesday entered the bay. At that time, none of the Russian boats were visible on the horizon. The flotilla, consisting of the frigate Groshkov, the nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, the oil tanker Pashin and the rescue tug Chiker, left quickly in the morning. “More than sailing, they flew,” said a resident of Central Havana who went unsuccessfully to the dock to say goodbye. The image of the capital’s port this Monday, empty, contrasted with that of Saturday, when dozens of Cubans lined up to go on board the ships, in the only visit scheduled for the public.

The port of Havana this Monday, almost empty, looked very different from Saturday / 14ymedio

According to the North Russian Fleet in a statement on Monday, “after the departure from the territorial waters of Cuba, the naval group will continue to carry out missions in accordance with the plan of its crossing.” Although Washington initially said that the Russian flotilla did not pose a threat to its national security, two days after the arrival of the Russian ships, the U.S. Southern Command reported the presence of one of its submarines in Guantanamo Bay. “We will always monitor any foreign ship operating near our waters,” the U.S. authorities said.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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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 Youth Computer Club in Matanzas, Cuba, Doesn’t Even Have Internet

“There are no parts or budget for the computers, the equipment is broken or obsolete,” explains an inspector

Another problem of the Youth Club is that, in addition to the lack of customers, no one wants to work on the computers / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Julio César Contreras, Matanzas, June 15, 2024 — In the city of Matanzas there are three Youth Computer and Electronics Clubs that, although they seem few for such a large population, are actually superfluous due to their lack of customers. The offices, where young people used to go to play online or to access computers that they did not have at home, have become empty spaces that depend on someone leasing them to survive.

The first Youth Club on the Island was inaugurated in 1987 by Fidel Castro, when money from the Soviet Union was still flowing. Since then, and with the successive crises of the country, what began as a computerization project ended up being a hall to access games such as Dota, Age of Empires or Call of Duty – to mention the most popular. Then it was transformed into a point of sale for phone recharge cards, and now its workers limit themselves to updating antivirus products for a few customers.

“The other day I arrived at Joven Club III, which is on the road of El Naranjal. The only technician there had been talking to two people. I asked him to show me the registration of clients who, at the end of the month, did not total even fifty visits,” Alejandro, a specialist of the Provincial Directorate of the Youth Club and in charge of inspecting them regularly, tells this newspaper. continue reading

The technological obsolescence of these premises frightens the customers / 14ymedio

Another problem of the Youth Club is that, in addition to the lack of customers, no one wants to work on the computers. Almost always the technicians are young boys who use the position as a springboard for other better-paid jobs. “It is true that they do not have good opportunities to develop professionally. So, as is logical, they go to some private company or better-paid state position,” says Alejando, 36, from Matanzas. As a young man and a graduate of the University of Computer Science (UCI), Alejandro says he understands his colleagues when they leave the staff. “If you have at least a little interest in what you do, being in a place that still uses computers from a decade ago and a tape printer kills your desire,” he reflects.

Alejandro explains that technology has advanced rapidly, “but what has not evolved is the institutional conception of what these places should be. Most people have at least one modern cell phone with which they can do almost everything, including access to artificial intelligence. Here, however, they don’t even allow internet access. The supposed online games we offer have to be played here, with the internal network of computers, when young people in the whole world can use their phones for that,” he adds.

In addition, continues the inspector, “there are no parts or budget for computers. Much of our equipment is broken or obsolete, and there is no money even to give a coat of paint to the facade. In those conditions it is very difficult to maintain the operation of the facilities in the province. Some have even had to change their corporate purpose or remain closed while waiting for a solution, which could be a definitive closure.”

This is the case of the Joven Club II, which has had to rent an area of the premises to a private business that repairs cell phones and other electronic devices. Many of these workshops perform functions (installing antivirus, downloading programs or installing applications) that make them direct competitors of the state center, but unlike the workshops, the state centers don’t attract customers.

Joven Club II rented an area of the premises to a private business that is dedicated to repairing cell phones / 14ymedio

“It’s curious, if not worrying, that their computers are more advanced than ours. People arrive asking directly about the workshop, and I would not be surprised if in the future it will expand to the entire place,” says Alejandro. “It’s a shame to say, but the computer scientist who is at the door (of the Youth Club) spends more time explaining how to get to the cell phone workshop than doing his real job. If someone comes specifically to the Youth Club, the answer is almost always one of these three: We don’t have it. It’s broken. That service is not provided here,” he adds. Joven Club I, close to René Fraga Park, is the only one to which some elderly people go sporadically. “They are people who, since they do not master some technical aspects well, seek advice to update programs, install applications on their phones or obtain some specific information.”

Seen from the outside, the network of Joven Club de la Isla does not seem to be in such a precarious state. If you access its website, there are an infinity of community services and projects for students, the elderly and people with disabilities that are theoretically developed successfully. In practice, however, “they are only taking up space.”

Translated by Regina Anavy

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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.

Only 30 of 3,082 Cuban Applicants Obtained Asylum in Spain in 2023

This represents less than 1%, while Nicaraguans obtained 30%

Archive image of a group of immigrants waiting at the Asylum and Refuge office of the Tarajal border in Ceuta to request an appointment to request asylum / EFE/Reduan Dris

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 17 June 2024 — Cuban refugee applications in Spain more than doubled in 2023 compared to the previous year but very few obtained favorable resolutions. While in 2022 there were 1,392, last year 3,082 were formalized. According to the annual report of the Spanish Commission for Aid to Refugees (CEAR), published on Monday, not only an increase of 54% but also that Cuba is now in the fifth position among the nationalities that applied for asylum in the European country.

CEAR says that the numbers are “a reflection of the political and humanitarian crisis that this country is going through,” but the Island registers one of the lowest protection rates of all those reported, 3.7%. Less than half of the petitions submitted have been resolved (1,157), and of them only 30 received refugee status. A total of 1,127 did not receive any protection, 777 due to an unfavorable resolution and 350 due to rejection of their application.

For Morocco, its citizens occupy sixth place in asylum applications in Spain, with 3,076, 21% less than those registered in 2022 (3,905), but nevertheless these are resolved favorably in a much higher proportion than those of Cubans. In 2023, 4,435 requests from Moroccans were resolved – not only from 2023 but from previous years – of which 273 received refugee status. continue reading

In 2023, 4,435 requests from Moroccans were resolved, of which 273 received refugee status

More favorable are the numbers for Nicaragua, in seventh place in number of applications. Out of a total of 2,759 (30.3% more than the previous year), protection was granted to 837 people.

In the list of the top ten nationalities, Russia enters for the first time in its history (in ninth place), with 1,694 applications in 2023, more than double the 684 in 2022. Among the reasons based on the petitions are the “forced recruitment” for the war initiated by Putin in Ukraine as well as the deterioration of human rights, especially for “reasons of religion and gender identity and sexual orientation.” Of the 1,132 applications received from Russian nationals, 647 received refugee status, and eight, “subsidiary protections,” which represents a spectacular protection percentage of 59.7%.

This is a rate well above the Spanish average (12%) and even the European average (42%). CEAR indicates that Spain, being the third country in the European Union in refugee applications, is, at the same time, the one that least grants them. In 2023, it recorded the highest number of protection requests in its history: 163,220, an increase of 37.3%.

Venezuela is, for the eighth consecutive year, the country of origin with the highest number of asylum applications (60,534), compared to 45,748 in 2022, an increase of 32.32%. It is followed by Colombia, Peru and Honduras. The first three nationalities account for 78.7% of the total registered requests.

“None of these measures has improved access to the international protection procedure in Spain”

The Commission also criticizes the Spanish system of prior appointments, whose “poor availability and unpredictability” caused the existence of “an irregular market for sale.” This system, explains CEAR, “became practically the only way to access the procedure, after payment of 30 to 500 euros, an amount impossible to raise on many occasions by people who have had to invest all their assets to reach a safe place to apply for protection.”

It also recalls the operation carried out in May 2023 against one of the criminal networks that captured appointments with a bot and later resold them (about 69 people were arrested). “None of these measures has improved access to the international protection procedure in Spain,” the organization protests, which indicates that the system even violates European regulations.

The CEAR report also reflects the situation of displaced people around the world, which in 2023 surpassed historical records with more than 110 million people forced to flee their homes, according to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Similarly, it dedicates a chapter to the main migratory corridor for Cubans — ‘mesoamerica’ — from Nicaragua to the United States. CEAR notes that in 2023 the record of arrests on the southern border of the United States was broken, with almost two and a half million people arrested (2,475,669, an increase of 4% compared to 2022). In Mexico, 140,982 migrants applied for refuge, the highest number ever recorded, of which 18,386 were Cubans (in third place behind Haitians and Hondurans).

Translated by Regina Anavy

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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.

Mexico Frees 10 Cubans Kidnapped With Ransom Demands of $5,000

As of May, 8,029 Cubans have applied for asylum. Migration reports the irregular transit of 27,404 Cubans in five months

Several migrants rest at the Jesús El Buen Pastor shelter, located in Tapachula (Chiapas) / EFE

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico City, 18 June 2024 — The authorities of Quintana Roo, in Mexico, freed 10 Cubans who were kidnapped last Friday. The victims, including a woman and nine men, said that armed people had held them for several days in a house located at Supermanzana 26 and “demanded a ransom from their relatives.” However, the Police “found no evidence about the alleged kidnappers that could confirm what was said by the foreigners,” according to Ulises, an agent of the Prosecutor’s Office, who held back the identity of the migrants, who were under the protection of the National Migration Institute.

According to the official, the alleged kidnappers demanded a payment of $5,000 from the woman’s relatives. In case “it’s not paid, she would have to work in bars.” However, it is still not corroborated “if there had been contact” in Havana.

The Police “found no evidence about the alleged kidnappers that could confirm what was said by the foreigners”

Ulises stressed to this media that the Cubans’ version is being investigated to know how long they have been in Mexico and how they arrived in the state where they were kidnapped. He rejected the possibility that these people arrived on the fishing boat with registration PR5348F5a, which was abandoned the first week of June in Isla Mujeres. continue reading

“A witness says that he saw the boat with several people pass by Playa de Mascotes. The maritime authorities have already offered details about the boat to Havana,” said the same official.

The Cubans rescued in Quintana Roo requested advice to apply for asylum. According to data from the Mexican Commission for Aid to Refugees (Comar), the number of Cuban immigrants has decreased by 41.9% in the first five months of the year.

With regards to requests for asylum, Cubans are second, with 8,029 requests. Honduras tops the list with 15,389 recorded; then come Haiti (3,353); El Salvador (2,896); Venezuela (2,068); Guatemala (2,014); Colombia (1,010); Nicaragua (456); Ecuador (337); and Chile (192).

However, attorney José Luis Pérez Jiménez considers that the figures offered by Comar “are a mirage.” The asylum seekers on the southern border have the same numbers as for 2023, but Comar takes so long to help them that it does not later record the asylum requests in its statistics, he says.

“By the time Comar notifies the migrant to go to his eligibility interview, four months have passed,” and these foreigners are already on the border with the United States

Pérez Jiménez explains to 14ymedio that “by the time Comar notifies the migrant to go to his eligibility interview, four months have passed,” and these foreigners are already on the border with the United States. “There has not been a reduction in applications for asylum or refuge. It’s still the same; what exists is procrastination at a turtle’s pace.”

Migration announced this Sunday that in the first five months of this year, the irregular passage of “1,393,683 migrants from 177 countries” was recorded. Of this group, 27,404 are from the Island.

For those months, migrants from Venezuela are the largest group with 377,401; followed by Guatemala (209,540); Honduras (144,499); Ecuador (136,699); Haiti (107,432); and Colombia (70,371).

The report does not detail the number of deportations made by Mexico. As of April, 783 migrants had been deported to the Island on commercial flights.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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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 Havana Biennial of Political Humor, at the Service of the Communist Party of Cuba

Some 46 cartoonists from 22 countries, including Venezuela, Mexico, Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and Syria, attended the biennial / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Izquierdo, Havana, 15 June 2024 — With Milei, Netanyahu, Hitler, the CIA, Trump and the other “usual suspects,” in addition to a good number of commonplaces – swastikas, missiles, Mickey Mouse – the cartoonists who aspired to participate in the first Political Humor Biennial in Havana had their work cut out for them.

The limits of “political humor” were set this Friday by the cartoonist and cultural commissioner Arístides Hernández (Ares): the event aspires to the “plurality of speech,” as long as no one offends the leaders – historical or current – of the Revolution. “In Islamic countries it is impossible to paint a caricature against the prophet Muhammad, and in the case of Cuba there are limits to humor in relation to the historical figures of the Revolution; that type of satire does not appear in the media here nor in Spain, with the kings,” Hernández alleged.

Cartoonist Alen Lauzán, exiled in Chile and one of the most recognized Cuban graphic humorists of the moment, agrees completely with Ares. “The Islamics would never call for a Festival of Humor about Muhammad; nor in today’s Cuba could one be held satirizing Fidel Castro or the Revolution. As far as I know, we Cubans are not Muslims, nor was Fidel a prophet, nor is the revolution a religion,” he said ironically.

Many works satirize political characters such as Javier Milei, Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump, the usual suspects of the regime / 14ymedio

According to Lauzán, one of the pencils behind the Mazzantini* magazine – a reference for the graphic humor of Cuban exiles – “humor should not have limits, only those that each humorist creates according to their moral and political values, not those that governments and institutions impose. From there to whether it is good or bad, correct or profane, is something else. Even the worst humor has its audience.” continue reading

Hernández, for his part, was right to put tolerance for critical humor in Cuba at the level of Muslim countries such as Iran, but he was wrong to reference Spain, where artists are free to ridicule both the royal family and the Government and its opposition.

Throughout the free world, Lauzán believes, “there have been salons, biennials, humor and political satire contests, but of course, always from the interest of what the organizers of these events understand as convenient and/or politically correct.” But, unlike Cuba, one can also organize an exhibition without asking the State for permission on what topics to deal with or which humorists are allowed to participate.

Despite the restrictions of the biennial, graphic humor made by Cuban authors is booming, and Lauzán, along with group featured in Mazzantini, is one of those responsible. His magazine “of bulls [Tijuana baseball team], goats [Guadalajara soccer team] and cuckolds, of strains and crossbreedings,” and the biennial project, “more than incomparable, they are incompatible.”

“They have nothing to do with each other because they have different concepts of creation and ways of interpreting freedom, not only of expression, but also of creativity. One is governed by what the one-party Ideological Department imposes on all media, and the other by what each publisher understands must be the editorial policy of each publication,” he explains to 14ymedio.

“As far as I know, we Cubans are not Muslims, nor was Fidel a prophet, nor is the revolution a religion”

In the biennial, he concludes, they communicate “the sacred commandments of the PCC* (’Koranist’ Party of Cuba),” but Mazzantini “is governed by another concept: everything that is against the Superior Leading Force of Society and the State.”

This Saturday, only two tourists visited the Gallery on 23rd and 12th Street, one of the venues of the biennial. The international leaders that the official press describes as enemies were repeated in each vignette, but the local authorities or allies were not.

Within the strict thematic channels of the biennial, the jury could only reward works on common themes, such as television criticism, hunger and money. The declared enemies of this “diverse space”: the “ultra-right” governments, which “rewrite history” and promote “neo-fascism,” a sack in which the Argentine president and the Israeli prime minister fit.

About 46 cartoonists from 22 countries – including Venezuela, Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and Syria, nations with very little or no freedom of expression – attended the biennial, convened by the Ministry of Culture, whose head, Alpidio Alonso, was at the presentation this Friday. Other spaces in El Vedado, such as the Riviera cinema, project “classics against fascism” such as ’The National Shotgun’, by the Spaniard Luis García Berlanga, and ’The Great Dictator’, by Charlie Chaplin.

The Ministry of Culture aspires for Havana to become, until June 28, the “world capital of political humor.” However, it has ended up creating an inoffensive world for Cuban leaders. An ideological truce that, after the lashing by more than 40 of Mazzantini’s numbers, they undoubtedly need.

Translator’s notes:
* Mazzantini is a magazine published by The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba – Subscriptions (PDFs via email) are free.
**PCC is the Spanish initials for “Cuban Communist Party” and would also be, in Spanish, the initials for the “Cuban Koranist Party”

Translated by Regina Anavy

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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 Expresses Its Displeasure About the Arrival of a U.S. Submarine in Guantánamo

The ’USS Helena’ is on the Island “as part of a routine port visit,” says Washington

The visits of naval ships such as the ’HSS Helena’ are the result of “an invitation, and this is not the case,” says the Foreign Ministry

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 15 June 2024 — The Government of Cuba declared this Friday that it dislikes the presence of a United States war submarine in Guantánamo Bay because the naval visits are the result “of an invitation, and this is not the case.” The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Island, Carlos Fernández de Cossío, said: “Obviously we do not like the presence in our territory and transiting through our waters of a medium of that nature, belonging to a power that maintains an official and practical policy that is hostile towards Cuba.”

“We knew of its presence, because according to procedures that we have followed for years, the United States informed us in advance,” he said in statements to the official state media Cubadebate.

He also pointed out that “the important thing to remember is the illegal and unacceptable nature of the occupation of a part of our territory by a foreign power against the will of the Cuban people. It’s an illegitimate military occupation and that’s what makes the difference.” continue reading

“Obviously we don’t like the presence in our territory and transiting through our waters of a medium of that nature

The U.S. Southern Command reported that a war submarine of its own is in the Cuban bay of Guantánamo, where the United States has maintained a military base since 1903. The Government of Havana demands the return of that territory, which it considers illegally occupied.

According to the report, the fast-attack submarine USS Helena is in Guantánamo “as part of a routine port visit.” The presence of the American submarine coincides with the visit made to the Island by a flotilla of the Russian Navy last Wednesday.

The Russian fleet, which includes a nuclear-powered submarine, a modern frigate, an oil tanker and a tugboat, has generated great expectation in the Cuban capital where it will remain until next Monday on a visit classified as “protocol” by the Ministry of the Armed Forces of Cuba.

The U.S. Department of Defense pointed out that it had been following the movements of the Russian flotilla for days, and it does not pose a threat to U.S. national security.

“We will always and constantly monitor any foreign vessel that operates near territorial waters of the United States. Obviously we take it seriously, but these exercises do not pose a threat to the United States,” said the Pentagon’s deputy spokesperson, Sabrina Singh.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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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.