US relations

  • Published on 22/03/16 by teleSUR

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    Below we look at how the United States government has provided “assistance” in order to sow dissent within Cuban society.

    President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with U.S.-backed opposition organizations on Tuesday in Cuba as part of his visit to the island.          

    Leading up to his meeting, teleSUR takes a look at the historic ties between Cuban dissidents and the U.S. government.

    Despite the thawing of diplomatic relations, the U.S. government continues to provide financial “assistance” to individuals and groups dedicated to "regime change" in Cuba.

  • Published on 12 December 2017 by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!

    On 8 November 2017, the United States government launched new sanctions against Cuba, releasing an updated list of Cuban entities – from hotels to agricultural suppliers and from soft drinks to retail stores – which US businesses and citizens are banned from engaging with. What do they have in common? The US Department of State list states that they are all ‘entities and subentities under the control of, or acting for or on behalf of, the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services or personnel with which direct financial transactions would disproportionately benefit such services or personnel at the expense of the Cuban people or private enterprise in Cuba’. Jack Lukacs reports.

    It is an untenable proposition to distinguish between civilians and the military in a revolutionary state under siege. By attempting to starve the Cuban government of revenue from travel, remittances and trade, these measures hurt all Cubans on the island. Trump appears to be dancing to the tune of his key electoral allies in Florida, Miami. Extreme right-wing Cuban-American Senators Marco Rubio and Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart are the architects of the ban on transactions with military-linked enterprises. But they are not easy to please. Following the publication of the State Department’s list, they complained that it was too short because US ‘bureaucrats’ were ‘refusing’ to carry out Trump’s policy.

  • Published on 13 June 2016 by teleSUR

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    Without an executive order, it is left to a Republican Congress to close the military prison.

    U.S. President Barack Obama has been talking about closing the military-run Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba since before he ran for president in 2008, but despite years of promises he's now saying he won't use his power as commander-in-chief to unilaterally shutter the detention center.

  • Published on 25 April by teleSUR english Written by Arnold August

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    Despite thawing relations, Cubans are still resisting the Obama administration’s subversive policy towards the island

    Before leaving Montreal for Havana in March 2016 to cover  Obama's trip to Havana, I wrote an article on Cuba–US relations. Referring to the cultural war to include, in the broad sense of the term, ideological and political aggression, I asked: “The question is, will Obama’s visit to Cuba provide Cubans the opportunity to make headway against the cultural war, or will it allow the US to make inroads? Or are both these scenarios on the horizon?”

    My intention at that time was to deal with this question immediately upon my return from Cuba. However, one feature became clear during my stay in Havana and immediately following it. Both in and outside of Cuba, the repercussions of the visit not only continued but were being ramped up. In fact, at the time of writing, a month after the trip, the ideological and political controversies are carrying on. This situation is at present further being fostered by Raúl Castro’s April 16, 2016 Central Report to the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (CPC). He devoted important sections of the Report to the issue of Cuba–US relations. 

    Disinformation from within Cuba

  • Published on 28 September 2016 by Granma.

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    “The members of the Federation of University Students (FEU) are not asleep, nor passive, and much less remain with their arms crossed in the face of the interventionist and hostile plans of the U.S. government,” warned Jennifer Bello Martínez, FEU national president, speaking on September 27, in the province of Ciego de Ávila.

    During a press conference, Bello Martínez, a member of the Council of State, denounced subversive plans financed by the U.S. on behalf of the organization's over 130,000 members. She also condemned the scholarship program offered by the World Learning organization, which targets Cuban youth.

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    Dr Helen Yaffe, author of Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution, speaks to the BBC on the arrival of Obama in Cuba.

  • Published on 7 January 2016 by Telesur English Part of Telesur's coverage of 15 years of Guantanamo Prison

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    Seven years of indefinite detention and extrajudicial killings around the globe belie the president’s once-claimed intent to change the system he inherited.

    Barack Obama, the new U.S. president, was keeping his promise: 48 hours into his presidency and there he was, signing an executive order that called for closing down the military prison at Guantanamo Bay within a year

    “This is me following through,” Obama said from the White House on January 22, 2009. It was his intent to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great,” and he was actually doing it, every ecstatic liberal posting the news on the Facebook wall of their skeptical leftist friend. The United States, the new young president declared, would “observe core standards of conduct not just when it’s easy but also when it’s hard.”

    How refreshing it was, after two terms of waterboarding and the oratory torture of George W. Bush, to hear not just pretty words about American ideals that never were actually put into practice in a nation founded by human enslavement, but for those words to accompany in-real-life action. How disappointing, then, that the gratingly correct cynic was once more proven right: that even the seemingly tangible gestures -- ending the empire, no, but improving its public relations in a way that gave real, actual hope to a few hundred imprisoned men who lacked it -- proved to be little more than yet another photo op

  • Published on 22 March by Granma.

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    The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, set off from Havana’s José Martí International Airport aboard the Air Force One plane this Tuesday afternoon, bringing his official visit to Cuba, which began on Sunday March 20, to an end.

    He was accompanied and bid farewell at the airport by the President of the Councils of State and Ministers Raúl Castro Ruz.

    Obama will now travel to Argentina to meet with his counterpart Mauricio Macri.

    During his visit to the island, the U.S. President, together with his accompanying delegation, toured sites in Old Havana including the Plaza de Armas, the Captain Generals' Palace and the Cathedral of Havana, accompanied by City Historian Eusebio Leal Spengler.

    On the morning of Monday, March 21, Barack Obama paid tribute to Cuba’s national hero, José Martí, laying a floral wreath to the monument in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución, and held official talks with the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz. Following the talks, both presidents offered statements to the press, which received wide international media coverage.

  • Published on 13 October 2015 by Mark Weisbrot

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    President Obama initiated a historic change when he decided in December to begin normalizing relations with Cuba. It was an acknowledgment that more than half a century of trying to topple the Cuban government through invasion, assassination attempts, economic embargo, and other efforts - mostly illegal - had failed.

    It was also a concession to the majority of the hemisphere, which had informed Washington in 2012 that there would not be another Summit of the Americas without Cuba.

    It was not necessarily a change in U.S. objectives, as a number of statements from the U.S. government indicate that the goal of normalizing relations and expanding commerce with Cuba is still "regime change" by other means.

    But it is nonetheless a major step forward. The United States had been globally isolated on the issue for decades, with repeated votes against the embargo in the U.N. General Assembly. In last year's 188-2 vote, only Israel sided with the United States.

    Recently, the Cuban government reiterated its position that for relations to be normalized, the United States must not only end the embargo but pay compensation for the damage it has caused to Cuba and its people over the past 54 years.

  • Published on 30 March 2016 by Granma.

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    Much more is revealed by what Obama didn’t say in Havana, than the little he did, no matter how choice his words. This is the same Obama who could do much more given his Presidential powers and yet has not. Dario Machado reports.  

    Like many others, I followed the visit by Barack Obama to our country and experienced mixed feelings: on the one hand, the healthy patriotic and revolutionary pride of witnessing a U.S. president rectifying the policy toward Cuba and repeating on our own soil that the blockade must be ended, reaffirming respect for our sovereignty and independence, which we Cubans have earned with our sacrifice, our sweat, our blood, our history; and on the other hand, the danger posed by those who believe that with these lukewarm changes, the contradiction between the interests of U.S. imperialism and the Cuban nation has disappeared. But it was only after listening to his speech that Tuesday morning that I decided to write this, because, as Fidel warned over half a century ago, from now on everything will be more difficult.

    Who could doubt the enormous complexity of U.S. society, where black and white analysis is of little value?

  • U.S. insurance company American International Group (AIG) became the latest victim of the arbitrary policy, after being fined over 148,698 USD

    Published 28 June 2017 by Granma

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    So far this year the U.S. Department of the Treasury has imposed four fines on national and foreign companies for allegedly violating the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.

    The latest victim of this over 55 year old policy is U.S. insurance company American International Group (AIG), which was fined more than 148,698 USD.

    According to the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the company committed 29 blockade violations after providing coverage for several goods shipments to or from Cuba, or linked to an entity on the island. 
    This is AIG’s second penalty in three years after the U.S. government accused its Canadian subsidiaries, in May 2014, of violating blockade regulations 3,560 times from January 2006 through March 2009.

    Since the arrival of President Donald Trump to the White House last January 20, Washington has issued three sanctions related to the blockade of Cuba, two of these in the month of June.

  • Published on 13 July 2016 by teleSUR.

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    Legislation passed this week aims to reverse President Obama's policy of normalizing relations with the blockaded island nation.

    The United States House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a number of clauses that seek to toughen U.S. sanctions on Cuba in the budget bill for 2017 financial services and general government services.

    The new measures are at odds with U.S. President Barack Obama's policy of thawing relations with Cuba, which has been under a U.S. blockade for more than 50 years. To become law, the measures still need to pass the U.S. Senate and receive President Obama's signature, neither of which is guaranteed.

  • Published on 18 February 2016 by Granma

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    The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations Director General for the United States, Josefina Vidal, confirmed during a press conference in Havana this Thursday, February 18, that the President of the United States, Barack Obama, will visit Cuba March 21-22.

    The president will be welcomed by the Cuban government and people with the hospitality that characterizes us, Vidal said.

    “It will be an opportunity for President Obama to appreciate the Cuban reality and continue to discuss the possibilities of expanding bilateral dialogue and cooperation on issues of mutual interest to the two countries,” she added.

    Vidal also noted that the visit marks a further step toward improvement in relations between Cuba and the United States.

    The Foreign Ministry official stressed that the normalization of bilateral relations is dependent on the resolution of key outstanding issues, including the lifting of the blockade, and the return to Cuba of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base.

  • Written by Salim Lamrani on 29 December 2015 - Translated by Rédacteur

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    Nearly 6,000 Cubans wishing to emigrate to the United States, are stuck in Costa Rica, without opportunity to continue their journey North. After reaching Ecuador, the only country in Latin America not to require visas to Cubans, they undertook a long journey across the continent to travel mainly to Miami. But their way stopped in Costa Rica. Indeed, the countries of Central America, Nicaragua, Mexico, refuse to let migrants, target of criminal networks, and require a policy response from Washington, primarily responsible for this situation [1].

     Indeed, Cubans who enter the United States illegally are welcomed with open arms, while illegal immigrants from other nations are immediately arrested and deported to the country of origin. This specificity is due to the historical commitment of the United States to use the migration issue as a weapon to undermine the Cuban Revolution [2].

    In 1959, the United States expressed their hostility to the government of Fidel Castro. They opened their doors to the heirs of the former military regime of Fulgencio Batista, including the security forces involved in violent crimes. Washington also welcomed the country's economic elite and favored the departure of highly qualified personnel in order to destabilize its society.

    The impact on Cuba was hard. Indeed, in such a vital sector as health, nearly half of Cuban doctors, i.e 3000 of them had responded to the US Sirens who promised them a better life. This episode has plunged the country into a serious health crisis. Other highly skilled professionals were also encouraged by US authorities to leave the island for more lucrative economic opportunities in Florida [3].

    In its war against Cuba, Washington had decided to use the migration issue to destabilize the country. In 1966, Congress-passed Cuban Adjustment Act is unique in the world : it states that any Cuban who immigrated legally or illegally, peacefully or by force, on 1 st January 1959 or later automatically obtains permanent resident status after a year and a day, as well as various social benefits (housing, work, medical care, etc.) as well as the possibility of obtaining the U.S. citizenship after five years [4].

    Now, that was a great tool for inciting illegal emigration. Since nearly 50 years, the richest country in the world has opened its doors to the population of a small poor country of the Third World, with limited resources and victim, in addition, to extremely severe economic sanctions. In this logic, the U.S. Embassy in Havana had to concede a visa for all applicants for emigration under this law. But that was not the case. Instead, Washington severely limited the number of visas granted to Cubans each year to stimulate the illegal and dangerous emigration and exploit crises for political purposes. Thus, visaless Cubans wishing to emigrate to the United States were compelled to put their lives on makeshift boats, hoping not to be intercepted by the Coast Guard, or make long journeys across the continent, at the mercy of the people smugglers and criminal gangs of all kinds.