Cuba Will Host 46 Artists From 22 Countries at the First Biennial of Political Humor in Havana / 14yMedio

The event is organized by the National Council of Plastic Arts and the Ministry of Culture / EFE

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, June 6, 2024 — The event will be held from June 14 to 28, its organizers reported this Thursday at a press conference. The theme of this event will be the Fight against Neo-Fascism and will have political cartoonists from countries such as Mexico, Venezuela and France. The event, organized by the National Council of Plastic Arts and the Ministry of Culture, will feature graphic exhibitions, conversations, workshops and film screenings in cinemas in the capital.

According to the organizers, the biennial seeks to “explore in a playful way the impact of globalization and the phenomena associated with it, from a perspective of political humor.”

Cuba has been repeatedly criticized by NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for limiting freedom of expression in general and, in particular, limiting its enjoyment on the internet (Decree 370) and on the part of its artists (Decree 349).

 “There are always limits to humor,” regardless of “each of the spaces where it is expressed”

In May 2022, the Cuban Parliament also approved a new Criminal Code that, among other matters, includes sanctions of up to three years for those who insult senior public officials. continue reading

Cuba published, this Wednesday, in the Official Gazette its first Social Communication Law, which prohibits, among other things, the dissemination of information that can “destabilize the socialist state” both in the media and in “cyberspace.”

EFE asked in the presentation of the biennial about the possibility of creating political satire of the Government or the leaders of the Communist Party of Cuba, as happens in other countries in the region.

In this regard, Arístides Hernández, winner of the National Humor Award 2020 and part of the committee that selected the works exhibited at the event, said at the press conference that “there are always limits in humor,” regardless of “each of the spaces where it is expressed.”

“In Islamic countries it is impossible to paint a caricature against the prophet Muhammad, and in the case of Cuba there are limits in humor in relation to the historical figures of the Revolution. That type of satire does not appear in the media here or, in the case of Spain, with the kings,” he argued.

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.

Cuba’s Ladies in White Report 12 Arrests in Havana and Matanzas on the Weekend

It is Sunday number 89 of the repression of the group since they resumed their activities in 2022, after the pandemic

María García Álvarez and Yudaxis Pérez Meneses were arrested in Colón this Sunday. / Yudaxis Pérez

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, June 4, 2024 — On Monday, the Ladies in White denounced the temporary detention of 12 people in Havana and in Matanzas a day earlier, making it the 89th Sunday with acts of repression recorded since 2022, when they returned to their activities after the pandemic. The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, and her husband, former political prisoner Ángel Moya, reported the arrests on social networks.

They also reported the arrest of 10 members of the Ladies in White in the towns of Cárdenas, Colón, Perico and Unión de Reyes, all in Matanzas.

Soler and Moya reported that, as on previous Sundays, they were arrested when leaving the headquarters of the Ladies in White, located in the Havana neighborhood of Lawton, and later taken separately to the police units of the municipalities of Cotorro and Guanabacoa. continue reading

Both were released on Monday morning, after the authorities imposed fines on them, according to Moya.

The Ladies in White movement was created by a group of women, relatives of 75 dissidents and independent journalists who were arrested and sentenced in March 2003 to long prison sentences after a wave of repression by the Cuban Government known as the Black Spring.

The wives, mothers and other relatives of those prisoners began a series of Sunday marches to ask for their release and became a symbol of dissent.

In 2005, the Ladies in White received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Conscience from the European Parliament. The EU and NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International criticized the wave of arrests, classifying them as political, but the Cuban authorities alleged that the women were “counter-revolutionaries” who tried to attack national sovereignty under orders of the United States.

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.

Gioconda Belli Describes the Cuban Regime as a ‘Stagnant Ideological Straitjacket’

The Nicaraguan writer, who received an honorary doctorate from the University of Costa Rica, points out that only a repressive system sustains the Revolution

When her nationality was taken away, Belli was residing in Spain, a country that has granted her citizenship and where she continues to live. / EFE

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), San José, 31 May 2024 — Gioconda Belli , the Nicaraguan writer exiled in Spain, declared this Thursday in Costa Rica her lack of love for the Cuban Revolution, which, she said, is a “failed attempt” that has been become “a stagnant ideological straitjacket sustained by a repressive system.”

After receiving an honorary doctorate from the state University of Costa Rica (UCR) for her contributions to culture, education and the fight for democracy and human rights, Belli reflected that victories can be as deceptive and illusory as defeats, and gave as an example the Cuban revolution of 1959.

“I remember when Fidel Castro’s bearded Cuban guerrillas were victorious in Cuba, the magazine that my father and mother read and the photography and the excitement of the elders around me for that Revolution,” the author of the book commented in her speech about her novela El país de las mujeres (The Country of Women), on winning the Latin American Prize for Literature From The Other Shore 2010.

“I myself, years later, admired and was dazzled by that romantic feat that, at this point, seems like a failed attempt to me.”

“I myself, years later, admired and was dazzled by that romantic feat that, at this point, seems to me to be a failed attempt, a stagnant ideological straitjacket sustained by a repressive system that has forced the Cuban people to go through misery, family separations, humiliations and sadness,” she argued. continue reading

Belli, now 76, and who according to her critics belonged to the Department of Agitation and Propaganda (DAP) during the first Sandinista Government (1979-1990), described it as “regrettable that Cuba is now the advisor for Nicaragua and Venezuela for the organization of espionage, propaganda and methods with which it is ensured that power crushes any democratic or liberating attempt of these people.”

The poet and writer observed that “there was also enthusiasm in Latin America with the 21st century socialism” promoted by the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, “which also turned out to be a failure.”

“And not to mention Nicaragua – governed by Daniel Ortega since 2007, after coordinating a Government Board from 1979 to 1985, and presiding over the country for the first time from 1985 to 1990 – because we all know what happened with that illusion,” she concluded.

The author of El infinito en la palma de la mano (The Infinite in the Palm of the Hand) winner of the Premio Biblioteca Breve de Seix Barral in 2008, also criticized the extreme right in Europe that speaks out against migration, as well as former US president Donald Trump, and the president of Argentina, Javier Milei.

Belli has been attacked by a sector of the Nicaraguan opposition for her past in the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front

Belli has been attacked by a sector of the Nicaraguan opposition for her past in the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), to which she belonged during the first regime (1979-1990), and for her sympathy with the Cuban Revolution and its main leader, the late Fidel Castro.

So, in a writing titled ¿La golondrina hizo el verano? (Did the Swallow Make the Summer?) she explained that she has “rectified and made criticisms,” in which she also reveals: “I have written books and given interviews about the problems and errors of the Sandinista revolution and the product that was left of it, unfortunately, and that is the Ortega Murillo dictatorship that we suffer today.”

In those writings she admitted that she was part of a generation that failed to lead Nicaragua “to the freedom that had been won by blood and fire after the Somoza dictatorship (1937-1979).”

Gioconda Belli has been in exile for security reasons since May 2021 in the context of a crisis in Nicaragua in which the Government of Daniel Ortega has been accused by international organizations and various countries of committing human rights violations and persecuting its critics and opponents.

On February 15, 2023, the Nicaraguan authorities deprived Belli of her nationality and her property, along with 93 other Nicaraguans, whom they declared traitors to the country and fugitives from justice.

At the time of her denationalization, Belli resided in Spain, a country that has granted her nationality and where she continues to live.

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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 US Allows Cuban Entrepreneurs To Open Bank Accounts Online

The decision was communicated this Tuesday by the US Department of the Treasury. / EFE

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Washington/Madrid, May 28, 2024 — The United States has announced that as of this Tuesday it will allow entrepreneurs in Cuba to open and use US bank accounts over the internet to carry out financial transactions.

In a statement, the Treasury Department explained that the decision seeks to “promote internet freedom in Cuba, support independent entrepreneurs in the private sector and expand access to certain financial services for the Cuban people.”

Until now, Cubans who visited the United States could open bank accounts in that country, but they could not use them once they returned to Cuba due to the embargo that weighs on the Island.

The Treasury Department detailed that, as of May 28, Cuban entrepreneurs are authorized to “remotely open, maintain and use US bank accounts through an online payment platform to carry out authorized transactions,” whether from the United States, Cuba or any other country in the world.

 It also updated its definition of a Cuban entrepreneur to include cooperatives and companies with up to 100 employees

The United States also updated its definition of a Cuban entrepreneur, from “self-employed individuals” to “independent private sector entrepreneur.” This includes, in addition to self-employed workers, cooperatives and small private companies with up to 100 employees. Excluded from that definition, however, are government officials and members of the Cuban Communist Party who are sanctioned by the United States. continue reading

Similarly, the Joe Biden Administration updated the regulations regarding internet services allowed in Cuba, including social media platforms, videoconferencing, games and maps. From now on, the export of software of Cuban origin from the United States to other countries is also authorized so that Cuban entrepreneurs can offer these services through stores offering global mobile phone applications.

“OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) also clarifies that persons subject to US jurisdiction can provide cloud-based services (including remote data storage, data transport service, data distribution networks content, virtual machines, software as a service and infrastructure as a service) to support services related to the exchange of communications over the Internet,” the statement says.

Finally, OFAC announced that it is restoring an authorization for so-called “return” transactions, that is “transfers of funds that originate and terminate outside the United States, where neither the sender nor the beneficiary are subject to the US jurisdiction,” something that had been eliminated in September 2019, under the Administration of then-President Donald Trump.

 That private Cubans could operate a bank account in the United States from the Island was something that has been announced as imminent for months

Cuba described the permission granted by Washington for entrepreneurs from the Island as a “limited measure.”

For the Government of Cuba, the new provisions of President Joe Biden’s Administration “exclude the majority of the population,” in addition to “they do not touch the body of the blockade [i.e. the US economic embargo on the Island] nor do they modify the extreme measures” implemented during the presidency of Donald Trump (2017-2021).

“If it means a real opening and not an election-related announcement, the Government of Cuba is determined not to hinder its implementation,” said Johana Tablada, Deputy Director for U.S. Affairs at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, speaking at a press conference.

Tablada stressed that “it will be very difficult” to apply the measures due to Havana remaining on the list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

“It will be very difficult for a Cuban to find a bank (…) that wants to open an account,” she stressed.  

That Cuban private individuals could operate a bank account in the United States from the Island was something that had been announced as imminent for months, although last January the Government of Joe Biden denied that it was going to do so.

In September 2023, various American media published that the Administration would take measures to help Cuban micro, small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) that same week , not only allowing them to open an account, but also annulling the prohibitions imposed by the Administration. of Donald Trump on transactions with third countries to send remittances to the Island.

The plan, however, sparked controversy on both sides of the Florida Straits among those who see MSMEs as “Trojan horses”: “Ideological communists perceive them as a threat to the Cuban Revolution, now in its 64th year. The anti-communist exiles in South Florida suspect that they are a front for the successors of the Castro brothers,” said a report published in the Palm Beach Post at that time.

One of the most vehement opponents of this measure is the Republican congresswoman of Cuban origin María Elvira Salazar, who in January warned that many owners of these new businesses are actually people linked to the Cuban Government, which she defined as “the Hamas of the continent.”

In fact, Congresswoman Salazar was one of the first to react to the Treasury Department’s announcement this Tuesday. Through social networks, she criticized that the Biden Administration is giving the Cuban private sector access to the US financial system, arguing that “no progress has been made towards freedom on the Island and that repression has intensified.”

Congressman Carlos Giménez, born in Havana, spoke in the same vein, criticizing Joe Biden for “granting more concessions to the murderous regime in Cuba.” He added that the White House is complicit with Havana and that “it is perpetuating the Castro dictatorship in power and has left the Cubans who fight for freedom in total abandonment.”

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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.

Uruguay Will Regularize Thousands of Cubans With a Residency Program Based on Rootedness

Cuban migrants will have the ability to become legal citizens in Uruguay and obtain documentation

Two Cuban women show the refugee application documents processed in Uruguay / El País

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Montevideo, 17 May 2024 — The Residency by Rootedness program created by the Government of Uruguay will regularize the situation of some 20,000 migrants – the majority of whom were born in Cuba – who will be able to obtain residency.

This was explained this Thursday during a press conference by Uruguay’s Foreign Minister, Omar Paganini, who indicated that this mechanism will allow these people to abandon an irregular situation and have the possibility of becoming legal citizens and obtaining documentation.

“This allows us to resolve the issue of family reunification of these people, which is one of the very important issues from the point of view of their rights. So we believe that it is very good news for an important group in our country, that was waiting for procedures in the Refugee Commission, but that they were procedures that could not be favorable to the extent that they do not meet the conditions of political refuge,” he noted.

“This allows us to resolve the issue of family reunification of these people, which is one of the very important issues from the point of view of their rights

Paganini explained that this will solve the situation of some 20,000 people who need a visa to enter Uruguay and who did so without having one under the category of refugees. continue reading

“This above all has to do with people who request refuge because they do not have a visa and are not eligible for refuge. So basically we are talking about people of Cuban origin or from other countries for which a visa is required,” he said.

And he added: “They enter as refugees but they are not refugees and that is where this regulatory limbo is generated, which is what allows us to resolve the decree,” said the minister, who added that the majority of these are Cubans.

On the other hand, he explained that in order to process residency through rootedness, people must be working, housed or must have family in Uruguay.

Finally, the head of the portfolio stressed that this is a temporary solution for all the people who have already started the process, and that how the process continues and the steps to follow will then be evaluated.

“For now it is not a definitive solution, therefore it is not ‘come on, this works automatically’,” Paganini concluded.

Last April it emerged in the Uruguayan press that more than 7,000 Cubans who requested refuge in the country in 2023 remained “in limbo” because the system to address them is “suffocated,” according to the newspaper El Observador. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs then said that the country ended that year with 24,193 accumulated applications.

“For now it is not a definitive solution, therefore it is not ‘come on, this works automatically’

The same newspaper reiterated that Uruguay had no intention “of deporting undocumented immigrants, much less accumulating irregular inhabitants,” with the consequent problems that would arise from this, so Montevideo was rushing to find a solution.

A year earlier, Alberto Gianotti, from the Migrant Support Network, had warned that between 9,000 and 10,000 Cuban nationals had to apply for a visa to maintain their legal status in the South American country.
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Since the president of the United States, Barack Obama, ended the wet foot/dry foot policy in that country in 2017, Cubans have found an alternative route in Uruguay, which begins in Guyana, the only South American country that does not require a visa. From there they make a journey through Brazil where they have to resort to coyotes until they reach Uruguay, where they ask for refuge.

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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 Opposition Platform D Frente Reforms Its Organizational Chart and Announces Its First Convention

D Frente [D Front] brings together various actors who oppose the Díaz Canel Government / EFE
14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, May 20, 2024 — One of the main opposition platforms in Cuba, D Frente [D Front], announced this Monday a reform of its organizational chart and the date of its first convention to “continue advancing” in “democratic change,” “the establishment of the rule of law” and “citizen sovereignty” on the Island.

The organization reported in a statement the creation of eight work teams where there will be well-known Cuban opponents and experts, who reside inside and outside the country, among whom are: Manuel Cuesta Morúa, Eugenia Gutiérrez, Carmelo Mesa-Lago, Mauricio de Miranda, Marthadela Tamayo, Elena Larrinaga, Elsa Litsy Reyes and Julio Antonio Fernández Estrada, among others.

The objective of this change, the statement adds, is to “empower and strengthen the institutions” as a means to facilitate the achievement of the political objectives of the opposition to the Cuban regime.

The opposition platform reported that it plans to organize “in the near future” its first convention, in both in-person and virtual formats, to which they will invite the media, institutions and the general public.

D Frente emerged in 2022 to bring together different groups and individuals from the opposition political spectrum and with the common objective of refounding Cuba on the bases of liberal democracy. It is currently made up of 14 organizations and 120 individuals.

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The Number of Political Prisoners Reached 1,100 in April, According to the NGO Prisoners Defenders

The figure includes more than a dozen of the cases reported in the previous month.

The statement adds that 225 people – mostly convicted of participating in the July 11, 2021, anti-government protests – have been charged with sedition / Screen capture

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Madrid, May 17, 2024 — The NGO Prisoners Defenders (PD) reported Friday that at the end of April, it registered 1,100 people imprisoned for political reasons in Cuba, more than a dozen more than those included in its previous monthly report.

The organization, based in Madrid, explained that in April it added 13 people considered political prisoners to its list and that five others left the registry after full compliance with the sanction or measure imposed.

The report, published on the NGO’s website, explains that 30 minors – the minimum criminal age in Cuba is 16 – remain on the list of prisoners. Of these, 27 are serving sentences and three are being criminally prosecuted.

PD denounced that “15 of the minors have already been convicted of sedition,” with an average sentence of five years of liberty deprivation, most of them under the regime of “home confinement or forced labor without internment.” continue reading

15 of the minors have been convicted of sedition, with an average sentence of five-year imprisonment 

The statement adds that 225 people – mostly convicted of participating in the anti-government protests of 11 July 2021 – have been charged with sedition, and at least 222 have already been sentenced to an average of ten years in prison.

According to PD, there are also 118 prisoners (including several who are transgender) who “still have political and conscience convictions .”

“All trans women of conscience in prison have been and are imprisoned among men, which is also the case with common trans prisoners, who thus suffer indescribable situations among men based on their gender identification,” denounced PD.

The NGO added that it identified “297 prisoners with serious medical pathologies without adequate medical treatment,” it also confirmed that “all are suffering from various medical pathologies due to lack of food, mistreatment, a repressive environment and lack of appropriate medical care for all of them.”

Recently, Prisoners Defenders sponsored the Foreign Affairs Committee for the Spanish Congress of Deputies to present a non-legislative proposal “regarding the possible evidence of human trafficking and modern slavery in Cuba’s collaboration missions abroad .” In a session attended by 35 deputies, the proposal was approved by a minimum margin, with 18 votes in favor and 17 against.

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Cuba Receives 23 Rafters Returned by the United States and 545 From Several Countries in 2024

Three of those returned were on parole at the time of leaving the Island

The Governments of Havana and Washington have a bilateral agreement so that all migrants arriving by sea to U.S. territory will be deported to the Island  / EFE

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Madrid, 14 May 2024 — Cuba received 23 rafters returned by the United States Coast Guard Service (USCG) onTuesday, for a total of 545 Cuban irregular migrants deported from several countries in the region so far in 2024, official media reported. These migrants – 20 men and three women – were intercepted by the U.S. authorities after participating in two illegal exits from the island through the western port towns of Cárdenas and Mariel, according to a report released by the Ministry of the Interior.

Three of those returned were on parole “for compliance with criminal sanctions at the time of leaving the Island and will be placed at the disposal of the corresponding courts for the revocation of said benefit,” it emphasizes.

It also reports that two others are under investigation as “alleged committers of criminal acts” who were investigated before their illegal exit. continue reading

Another two are under investigation for “alleged commission of criminal acts”

With this return operation, there are now 39 return operation carried out from different countries in the region with a total of 545 people in 2024, the report specifies. Last year, from Mexico alone, 774 Cubans were expelled, according to a source from Mexican Migration officials, under the category of “assisted returns.”

The governments of Havana and Washington have a bilateral agreement so that all migrants arriving by sea to US territory are deported to the Island.

Also, deportation flights resumed in April 2023, mainly for people considered “inadmissible” after being held on the border with Mexico.

Some 22,946 Cubans arrived in the United States last January, according to a report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP).

The CBP added that in the first four months of fiscal year 2024 – which began on 1 October 2023 – 86,139 Cubans have arrived in the United States.

Since the beginning of this year, Cubans have also been returned on commercial flights from the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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Cuba’s Foreign Ministry Says That ‘It Is Not Enough’ To Be Taken Off the List of Countries That Do Not Cooperate Against Terrorism

Cuba’s Foreign Ministry highlighted the contradiction of keeping Havana on one list and removing it from the other, as well as the “confusion” caused by the US announcement

The Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez, in an archive photograph. (EFE/ Ernesto Mastrascusa)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 16 May 2024 — The Cuban Foreign Ministry demanded this Wednesday that the United States remove it from the List of State Sponsors of Terrorism hours after the State Department removed the Island from another inventory, that of countries that “do not fully cooperate” with Washington in its fight against terrorism. The contradiction of keeping Havana on one list and removing it from the other, as well as the “confusion” that the announcement caused, was the subject of a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The text urges that the White House “correct this injustice,” and alleges that there is a “loud and repeated” demand from the Cuban people and also from “numerous governments, especially from Latin America and the Caribbean, and from political, social and religious organizations the United States, and politicians of that country.”

The Foreign Ministry said that “it is not enough to recognize that Cuba cooperates fully with the United States” in anti-terrorist matters because “it also does so with the international community as a whole” and “it is a known truth and no attempt should be made to confuse public opinion.”

He also stressed that the State Department maintains the Caribbean country on a list that designates “States that supposedly ’sponsor’ terrorism”, whose “sole purpose is to slander and serve as a pretext for the adoption of coercive economic measures against sovereign States,” like those that are mercilessly applied against Cuba.” continue reading

“The clear and absolute truth is that Cuba does not sponsor terrorism, but rather has been a victim of it”

“The clear and absolute truth is that Cuba does not sponsor terrorism, but has been a victim of it, including State terrorism, as anyone who is interested in the subject can confirm, and an issue that the US Government is perfectly aware of,” the statement says.

The Foreign Ministry insists that Joe Biden “has all the prerogatives to act honestly and do the right thing,” since this decision could be carried out exclusively by the president of the United States without having to depend on the support of the legislative chambers.

The State Department explained that the decision to remove Cuba from the list of countries that do not fully cooperate with counterterrorism efforts took into account that “the circumstances for Cuba’s certification have changed from 2022 to 2023.” The inclusion of Cuba in the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism in January 2021 was one of the last decisions made by the Administration of Republican Donald Trump (2017-2021) before leaving power.

However, after Biden’s arrival at the White House in January 2021, Cuba remained on the list, and the Cuban Government insists that it is unjustified and has serious financial implications for the Island, since it makes international transactions extremely difficult.

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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 Accelerates Its Import of Cuban Doctors To Reach the ‘Goal’ of 1,200

  • The director of the Mexican Social Security Institute announces the arrival of another 123 health workers after a meeting in Havana with Miguel Díaz-Canel
  • The opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez accuses the Government of “financing a dictatorship”
Miguel Díaz-Canel with Zoé Robledo Aburto, general director of the Mexican Social Security Institute, on Friday in Havana. / Cubadebate

14ymedio bigger14ymedio/EFE, Mexico City, 13 May 2024 — “Strengthen health cooperation between both countries.” With those words, Mexico defined in a statement the objective of the meeting held in Havana between Zoé Robledo, the director of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), and the Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel.

There is no news in the text, beyond reporting the arrival, in the coming days, of another 123 Cuban doctors specializing in family medicine, who will join the 806 who already work in the public health sector in Mexico (the statement says there are 768). The intention, they insist, is to import up to 1,200 healthcare workers from the Island to Mexico during the remainder of the six-year term.

The island’s health workers will join the IMSS-Bienestar, a system created by the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to serve people without social security, which replaced Seguro Popular, a program with the same purpose.

 Although the meeting took place last Friday in Havana, the IMSS specified days later the number of Cuban specialists, who will join the 806 who already work in the public health sector

“At that meeting, the general director of Social Security indicated that through the agreement between the Governments of Mexico and Cuba, it is intended to expand to 1,200 the number of Cuban doctors who support the IMSS-Wellness medical units located in remote and difficult-to-access areas,” detailed the institute. continue reading

The hiring of Cuban doctors in Mexico has sparked criticism from the opposition, including from presidential candidate Xóchitl Gálvez, who just last week promised that her government would not hire those workers.

“Mangos [don’t even believe it] that we are going to continue bringing Cuban doctors to Mexico! In Mexico, there is a surplus of capacity and talent, and the bringing of Cuban doctors has only served to simulate the financing of an authoritarian regime because they don’t even believe that they are paid well,” she explained during the presentation of her health plan last Monday.

Gálvez raised her tone this Sunday and accused the Government of “financing a dictatorship” after new information was revealed.

“This Government is betting on financing a dictatorship, which is the case of Cubans who violate human rights. Not us, we want our Mexican doctors to earn well and have good jobs,” the candidate of the Fuerza y Corazón por México [Force and Heart for Mexico] coalition.

In this context, Gálvez promised to “open more specialty positions for Mexican doctors” and train more specialists, surgeons, cardiologists and pediatricians.

“With regards to health, we are going to open more medical schools in rural areas. We want there to be more doctors, we do not want Cuban doctors, we want Mexican doctors,” she remarked.

The former senator also insisted on reviving Seguro Popular, a program that covered citizens without social security that López Obrador replaced with a system called IMSS Bienestar, which Gálvez considers “a failure.”

“Social policy is a failure, 50 million people do not have social security in terms of health,” she said.

 “Social policy is a failure, 50 million people do not have social security in terms of health,” she said

The Government justifies the hiring of the Cuban doctors because Mexico has 2.4 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants, higher than the average of 2 per 1,000 in Latin America, but lower than the average of 3.5 of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi).

In addition, the López Obrador Administration has defended Cubans after stating that Mexican doctors do not want to work in rural or marginalized areas, while health personnel have responded that there are areas in which they cannot work due to violence.

“The participation of Cuban doctors in IMSS-Bienestar has added to the work of Mexican doctors to strengthen the First Level of Care by increasing productivity in consultations and the operating room,” the institute’s statement concluded.

Three weeks before the elections, on June 2 Gálvez appears in second place in the polls, below the ruling party’s Claudia Sheinbaum. Some 98 million voters are called to renew more than 20,000 positions, including the Presidency, the 500 deputies and the 128 senators.

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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.

European Union Is ‘Concerned’ About the Disproportionate Sentences of the Nuevitas Protesters in Cuba

A spokesperson for EU “High Representative” Josep Borrell insists that “within the framework of its policy of constructive but critical dialogue, the EU continues to urge the authorities to ensure respect for human rights”

Demonstration in Nuevitas, Camagüey, on 18 August 2022 / Screen capture

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Brussels, 3 May 2024 — The European Union (EU) expressed its concern this Thursday about the “harsh and disproportionate” sentences imposed by Cuban courts against those who protested against the Government in Nuevitas in 2022.

“The EU expresses its concern about the harsh and disproportionate sentences this week in relation to the 2022 protests in Nuevitas,” posted Peter Stano, a spokesperson for the High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Affairs, on the X platform.

Stano indicated that, “within the framework of its policy of constructive but critical dialogue, the EU continues to urge the authorities to ensure respect for human rights.”

The message joins that of the United States, sent by the Undersecretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs of the United States, Brian A. Nichols this Monday. The diplomat described the sentence on his X account as ’indignant’, and denounced the “inconceivable” and “continued repression of the Cuban government” against those who “demand their rights and basic needs.” continue reading

The Municipal Court of Camagüey this week condemned 13 people who participated in the anti-government protests in the town of Nuevitas in August 2022 to sentences of up to 15 years in prison for crimes such as sedition and enemy propaganda. The population was, at that time, exhausted by the long blackouts in the heat, which were combined with chronic shortages, and went out into the streets to express its exhaustion.

In addition to sedition and continuous enemy propaganda, the Court considered proven the crimes of sabotage, cover-up, acts against State security, attack and resistance. In total, the sentences amount to 138 years in prison.

NGOs and activists have denounced these trials in general terms which, in addition to serious irregularities in due process, have resulted in sentences intended to send an example and act as a deterrent.

Most of those charged received 10 years in prison, although there are two protesters who were sentenced to 13 and 14 years respectively. Mayelín Rodríguez, the young woman who broadcast the protests on Facebook , received the highest sentence, 15 years in prison.

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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 ‘Youngest Soldier in Cuba’ Recollects Her Family Trauma in the Documentary ‘Seguridad’

Tamara Segura presented in Canada the film in which she reveals how the regime ended up destroying the life of her father and his relatives

Tamara Segura, designated by the regime as the youngest militiawoman in Cuba, experienced the ’honor’ as a heavy burden / EFE

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Toronto, 6 May 2024 — When she was born on December 2, the anniversary of the arrival in Cuba of the yacht “Granma” on which Fidel Castro, Ernesto Che Guevara and others traveled to initiate the Revolution, Tamara Segura was named by the Cuban authorities as a soldier of the Revolution, which made her the youngest soldier in the country. Segura, who defined herself in an interview with EFE as a girl who was always very shy and “who didn’t want that kind of attention,” experienced the “honor” as a heavy burden.

The filmmaker discovered a violent encounter with a police officer, which earned her father a two-year prison sentence and plunged him into the alcoholism that would end up destroying him

Now, turned into a filmmaker based in Canada, Segura presented in Hot Docs – the most important documentary festival in North America and among the most prominent in the world – “Seguridad” (“Security”), a film in which she tells the story of her family and reveals how the regime destroyed it.

Her father’s alcoholism and violence caused her parents to divorce, and Segura distanced herself from him. When she moved to Canada in 2010, the rupture was total.

Four years later, the filmmaker tried to reconnect with her father and went to Cuba However, her father passed away a few days after her arrival in 2014, exactly 10 years ago, without them being able to speak.

Among his belongings was a box with old family photographs that showed him as a young, cheerful man, with no trace of the alcoholism and violence that would mark his life.

In the film, Segura reveals a secret that she had not known until that moment. Through conversations with her mother and her paternal grandmother, as well as documents, she discovered a violent encounter with a police officer, which earned her father a two-year prison sentence and plunged him into the alcoholism that would end up destroying him. continue reading

“My first instinct to make the movie was right after my father’s death, when I discovered that heritage of photos. And in those photos there is clearly a family story that was a blow to the gut,” Segura explained.

“The process took a long time, and I finally realized that it was something I wanted to do because it was a story that was going to haunt me for life if I didn’t tell it,” she added.

Segura describes the moment when she discovered the police brutality that condemned her father, and the impunity of the regime that sent a man who until then had been a model citizen to jail, as “a punch in the face.”

“You look back and it explains absolutely everything. That was something I couldn’t ignore,” she said. It was at that moment that she decided she had to make a documentary.

“I had no intention of talking about the economy, politics, ideological or sociocultural reality. I really wanted to talk about internal life and what that violence does to you psychologically

“I had no intention of talking about the economy, politics, ideological or sociocultural reality. I really wanted to talk about internal life and what that violence does to you psychologically,” she explained.

The filmmaker adds that knowing the role that the regime played in the destruction of her father was “like a reaffirmation of something that is already intuitively abstract. But of course it is very different to see it in its own flesh.”

“I had a lot of emotions, a lot of anger, a lot of pain, a lot of regret of having ended the relationship with him, without an apology, without really understanding who he was and without being able to say the things I wanted to say. Making the film has been a way to correct those mistakes,” she concluded.

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.

A Cuban Receives 30 Years in Prison for Murder in a Case of Illegal Departure to the United States

The official press confirmed that two subjects accused of the crime of receiving stolen goods were sentenced to minor penalties

The case began with the investigation of the death of a man in the capital municipality of Boyeros /Televisión Cubana/Capture/Archive

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 5 May 2024 — A Cuban court sentenced a man to 30 years in prison for murdering a person in a case linked to an attempt at illegal exit to the United States by sea, official media reported on Saturday. In addition to the one convicted of murder, the Provincial Court of Havana punished four other people with sentences of between 10 and 13 years of deprivation of liberty for the crime of human trafficking, the Cuban state television reported.

The report confirmed that two subjects accused of the crime of receiving stolen goods were sentenced to minor penalties. The case began with the investigation of the death of a man in the capital municipality of Boyeros.

The investigation showed that he was killed with knives when he refused to hand over a car that would be used to transport four people to the point where they would illegally leave Cuba in a rustic boat. continue reading

In Cuba there are no public and periodic data on crime, especially with violence, although the state media publicly expose some cases

All those involved were arrested, even one who had fled by sea and was captured by the United States Coast Guard and handed over to the Cuban authorities. They all confessed to their participation in the events.

In Cuba there are no public and periodic data on crime, especially with violence, although the state media publicly expose some cases.

The independent media in Cuba, as well as social networks, have reported in recent months on different criminal acts such as robberies with violence. In the middle of last year, the newspaper Granma — the official organ of the Communist Party of Cuba — stressed that violent crimes in the country represent 8.5% of the total number of crimes recorded in the first six months of 2023.

However, the text did not specify the number of total crimes in 2023, did not contrast them with those of the same period in 2022 and did not specify whether the accusations ended in convictions.

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.

Cuba Will Focus on China at Its Next International Tourism Fair

More than 1,500 foreign participants attended the FITCuba, held at the tourist center of the Jardines del Rey Islands / Ministry of Tourism of Cuba

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 5 May 2024 — The 42nd edition of the International Tourism Fair of Cuba (FITCuba), the main event for the tourism sector on the Island, closes its activities this Sunday with the announcement that China will be the guest country in its 2025 edition, according to state media. The FITCuba, held at the tourist center of the Jardines del Rey Islands – Cuba’s second destination for sun and beach after Varadero – was attended by more than 1,500 foreign participants, including 437 travel agents, to explore and do business, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

The Minister of Tourism, Juan Carlos García Granda, explained that the special invitation to China for the next FITCuba is part of the promotion of relations and tourism between the two countries.

He highlighted the resumption of direct flights between Beijing and Havana, operated by Air China, with its inaugural trip scheduled for May 17, with a stopover in Madrid. continue reading

García Granda also announced at the closing of the event the decision of the Cuban authorities to establish a visa exemption for Chinese citizens with ordinary passports.

China’s ambassador to Cuba, Ma Hui, participated in the FITCuba 2024 / Cubadebate

“FITCuba has been the right time to show the renewal of our tourism product, the digitization of processes to improve the customer experience, the expansion of renewable energy sources, the transformation of our products with more accessibility, respectful of the environment and in line with the country’s commitment to the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said. On the eve of the Fair, the official media celebrated the arrival of the first million foreign visitors to the Island in 2024.

They also confirmed the goal of reaching 3.2 million tourists at the end of the year with the aim of achieving a resurgence in a key sector for the national economy that is going through a critical situation.

The tourism sector is the second highest contributor to Cuba’s gross domestic product (GDP) and the third source of foreign exchange, after professional services and remittances, according to estimates by various independent experts.

Cuba received 2.4 million tourists in 2023, a figure that represented a growth of more than 800,000 visitors compared to 2022, when it did not achieve its goal of hosting 1.7 million, according to official data.

Tourism does not escape the deep crisis that has impacted Cuba for four years due to the confluence of the pandemic and design and implementation errors in national economic policies.

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.

Cuba Repeats as the Worst Latin American Country for Freedom of the Press, According to Reporters Without Borders

Ecuador and Argentina, which fell 30 and 26 places respectively this year, are suffering the worst debacles on the continent

World Press Freedom Classification according to Reporters Without Borders this 2024 / RSF

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Madrid, 3 May 2024 — It is no surprise that in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) report on press freedom in 2024 , Cuba is once again at the bottom of the world rankings and is the worst country on the continent. Its position, 168th out of 180, is five places behind Nicaragua and 12 behind to Venezuela, the three “bad students” of America according to the organization, which published the document on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, this May 3.

In general terms, the year has been bad for the continent, after the proportion of countries in a “fairly good” situation (yellow) fell drastically, from around 36% in 2023 to 21% in 2024.

Among those that come out worse, with a sudden decline, are Ecuador, which drops 30 places, to 110th; and Argentina, which goes from the 26th position to the 66th. The origin of this situation for Argentina is, mainly, the closure of the state news agency Telam. “The aggressive way in which Argentina’s newly elected President Milei addresses certain journalists demonstrates the hostility of this president towards the union,” Elena García, one of the RSF spokespersons, explained to EFE. continue reading

“Freedom of the press is not one of his priorities, since, a few months after coming to power, he closed the Telam press agency, important not only in Argentina but also in all of Latin America,” she added.

Two of the other most populated large countries in Latin America, Mexico and Colombia, have had improvements of a different magnitude.

Considered one of the most dangerous places to practice journalism in the last 30 years, Mexico has advanced seven places, rising to 121st (in the “difficult situation” range), although a recent RSF note criticized the lack of progress in security of informants during the mandate of the leftist President Andrés Manuel López-Obrador.

“In 6 years of this government there have been 37 journalists murdered and Mexico continues to be one of the countries in the world in which the exercise of journalism is most complicated and most dangerous,” García noted.

However, Colombia, under the mandate of Gustavo Petro, rose 20 places, to 119th, although this is not enough to leave the “difficult” classification.

In the annual ranking released today, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, RSF also noted a decline in freedom of information in other countries, such as Peru (-15 places, to 125th) and Guatemala (-11 places, to 138th), although the organization trusts that the newly elected president, Bernardo Arévalo, will contribute to an improvement. Meanwhile, El Salvador sinks 18 places, to 138th.

On the other side of the coin are Brazil, which rose 10 places to 82nd and Gabriel Boric’s Chile, which in the middle of his mandate has improved 31 places, to 52nd in the global ranking.

Costa Rica remains the highest-ranked Latin American country, 26th worldwide, giving it a press freedom rating of “acceptable.”

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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.