Published on 11 November by Cuba Solidarity Campaign

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A historic ruling by the Court of Appeal on Tuesday 10 November has opened the door for René González to visit Britain, despite twice being denied a visa by the British government in 2014.

René González is one of the five Cuban nationals who served long sentences in the US for attempting to prevent terrorist attacks by infiltrating Florida based groups responsible for violent actions against Cuba. International human rights organisations, politicians, religious groups and campaigners have expressed serious concerns about the convictions and the fairness of the trial. René was freed in 2011 after completing his 15 year sentence, and the remaining members of the Five were released on 17 December 2014 as part of rapprochement talks between the Cuba and the US.

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Published on 8 November 2015 by Telesur English

hondurascuban-doctors

Cuban doctors have served over 29 million Hondurans and saved at least 250,800 Honduran lives over the past 17 years, according to local media.

Since arriving in the Central American country in 1998, Cuban doctors have focused on serving rural areas with little or no access to healthcare, the Cuban Medical Brigade leader Orlando Alvarez told Honduras’ La Prensa.

The Cuban Medical Brigade was initially sent to Honduras in 1998 by former Cuban President Fidel Castro to help respond to the devastation of Hurricane Mitch. The tropical storm impacted all of Central America but hit Honduras the hardest, killing at least 7,000 Hondurans and leaving at least 1.5 million more homeless.

Honduras and Cuba later agreed to lengthen the stay of Cuban health professionals in the country to provide healthcare to underserved regions.

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Published on 27 October 2015 by Russia Today
 
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The UN General Assembly has voted 191-2 to condemn the US blockade of Cuba, with only the US and Israel opposed.

Washington voted against the resolution despite the recent renewal of diplomatic ties with Cuba and the push by President Barack Obama to lift the embargo first introduced a year before he was born.

The draft resolution urges all member states to “refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures” that furthering the blockade, and those that have such laws to “repeal or invalidate them as soon as possible.” It specifically cites the 1996 Helms-Burton Act as one such law, which affects the sovereignty of other states and legitimate interests of their citizens, as well as the freedom of trade and navigation. Helms-Burton penalizes foreign companies for doing business with Cuba.

Of the 193 member states at the General Assembly, 191 voted in support of the resolution, titled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.”

Washington imposed the blockade in 1960, after Cuban revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro overthrew the regime of Fulgencio Batista, a US-backed dictator. It has been in place for over 55 years.

“The time has come to put an end to this unilateral embargo," said the Paraguayan representative, speaking on behalf of Mercosur, a free trade block of seven South American nations.

“The continuation of the embargo is unjustifiable, and counters Cuba’s effort to achieve sustainable development,” said the Iranian representative, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

 President Obama announced in December 2014 that he would be changing the US policy on Cuba, arguing that the blockade had not produced the desired effect. In May 2015, the US removed Cuba from the list of countries accused of sponsoring terrorism. The Cuban embassy in Washington reopened in July, and the US embassy in Havana followed suit in August.

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.

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As media once again focuses on Cuba's economic developments in the wake of the restoration of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the US, we republish this 2014 article from Steve Ludlum. Published on 24 November 2014 by Morning Star

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Much of the recent media commentary on Cuba’s economic reforms highlights the growing private sector, implying a transition to capitalism.

This ignores Cuba’s dominant state sector, its planning system and the role of private enterprise in socialist transition. For socialists, the defining innovation of capitalism is not private property but systematic exploitation of “free” wage labour.

The reforms give management more autonomy and diversify the world of work. So what about the workers and their unions? What is in the 2014 Labour Code and other recent legislation, and what about salaries and job security?

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Published on 24 September 2015 by TeleSUR

Cristina Escobar speaks with statesman, diplomat and former National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada. Our guest doesn’t fear domination because the U.S. has finally hoisted its flag on Cuban soil, as every other country in the world has done. Cuba, he says, will continue to be a small independent nation next to a big country that poses a threat to humanity. One challenge is to strengthen democracy. How? By continuing to uphold a system of social and economic justice and equality in which the voters control the elected officials --in which the people aren’t spectators, but protagonists. 

Published on 11 September 2015 by Cuban News Agency

cuba eu

Cuban and European diplomats announced important advancements, particularly in the chapter of trade, during the fifth round of negotiations towards a bilateral accord for political and cooperation dialog, held this week in Havana.

The two sides said they are getting closer to reach understanding practically in all issues related to the chapter on commerce and they announced a next round of talks in November to deepen discussion on political issues and consider the first part of the accord and final considerations.

Cuban deputy foreign minister Abelardo Moreno stressed the advancement about cooperation and added that they opened an detailed analysis on political dialog after having identified main issues to discuss, such as the fight on discrimination, human rights, traffic of light and small weapons.

Meanwhile, the executive director for The Americas at the European External Action Service, Christian Leffler, said that the talks were aimed at consolidating documents related to cooperation, trade and economic exchange.

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Published on 4 September 2015 by Cuban News Agency

education

The demand abroad of Cuban professors of different subjects relevant to technical education has increased this year, thus bringing financial benefits to the island´s Education system.

Technical Education director Eugenio Gonzalez said that the number of countries requiring Cuban services continue to increase, with requests of professors in areas such as electricity, mechanics, agronomy, math, physics, civil construction and others.

During 2014, these academic services translated for the Cuban Education Ministry into an income calculated at 15.4 million dollars, while that figure is expected to reach 17 million dollars this year.

The directive recalled that following the latest Cuban Pedagogy Congress last February there was a diversification of subjects requested by different countries, whose requests went from methodological assistance to direct instruction services.

Some of these requests come from Central American countries, but most of them are issued by Caribbean and African nations, said the official who regretted that at times they are not able to cope with all the demands due to the language barrier.

He insisted that in order to attend to those needs, Cuban professors must particularly learn English, French or Portuguese as their mastery of these languages is later evaluated by expert commissions in the client countries.

Published on 4 September 2015 by Cuban News Agency

salaries

The average monthly salary in Cuba reported a significant 24-percent increase in 2014 with respect to the previous years, particularly for sugar workers, according to an article published on Juventud Rebelde newspaper.

While the general monthly average salary grew to 584 pesos (some 24,3 US dollars at current exchange), compared to 471 pesos (some 19,6 dollars) in 2013, the sugar sector reported an average 963 pesos (some 40.1 dollars) a month.

This salary raise was particularly due to the increase in the health sector, which employs over 400 thousand workers, as well as in some sports areas and in the foreign investment sector, meaning workers employed by companies operating with foreign capital, as part of a policy to gradually raise the salaries of state workers, the article explains and cites the National Statistics Office data on its Employment and Salary chapter.

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