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 6 January 2016 by ACN
As part of bilateral cooperation relations between Cuba and Congo, nearly 850 young people from that African nation will travel to the island to take medicine courses.
Congolese Health minister Francois Ibovi was at the Brazzaville airport of Maya Maya to see off the future medical doctors who will return home to serve their people, the Cuban Foreign Ministry informed on its webpage.
The minister, who was accompanied by Cuban ambassador Manuel Serrano, expressed his gratitude to The island for offering his people the professional training.
This will be the third group of Congolese students to take courses in Cuba, which joins another 1200 who are already studying medicine here.
Written by Salim Lamrani on 29 December 2015 - Translated by Rédacteur
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 .
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 .
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 .
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 .
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.
Published on 31 December 2015 by Granma
'The history of our Revolution is full of glorious chapters in the face of challenges, risks and threats', the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, stated during his speech closing the Sixth Ordinary Session of the Eighth Legislature of the National Assembly of People's Power, December 29.
The Cuban head of state noted that despite the economic crisis and the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, the island’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 4% this year, and will continue to grow in 2016, albeit at a slower pace.
He also noted that the number of foreign tourists visiting the country this year rose to 3.5 million; the highest number recorded to date; and reaffirmed the Cuban government’s intention to honor its commitments resulting from the agreements reached in the renegotiation of the island’s debt.
Regarding the issue of relations with the United States, President Raúl Castro stressed that Cuba has repeatedly advised the U.S. government that in order to normalize bilateral relations, the blockade must be lifted and the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base must be returned, “as I explained in my statement in the Council of Ministers on the 18th, during which I also reaffirmed that Cuba should not be asked to abandon its independence cause, or renounce the principles and ideals for which generations of Cubans have fought, for a century and a half.”
With just a few days to go, before the celebration of the anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution, Esteban Lazo, president of the Cuban parliament, acknowledged the people’s contribution in efforts to build a prosperous and sustainable socialism. He highlighted the work of deputies and delegates in response to proposals, complaints and suggestions from the public.
Likewise, he reiterated that the right to independence, sovereignty and self-determination are essential to the defense of the Cuban people. He reaffirmed that “economic, diplomatic and political relations with any other state can never be negotiated in the presence of aggression, threat or coercion by a foreign power.”
Marino Murillo, a member of the Party Political Bureau, a vice president of the Council of Ministers and minister of Economy and Planning, explained that Cuba's GDP grew by 4% this year, mainly due to the acquisition of cash advances, contracts to secure credit, as well as a downward trend in the price of imports.
He noted that all sectors have seen an increase with respect to 2014 and referred specifically to the sugar industry, which grew by 16.9%, construction by 11.9%, and manufacturing by 9.9%.
Published on 15 December 2015 by Granma
In line with changes being applied to the national education system in Cuba, Special Education is undergoing an extensive improvement process, looking to perfect comprehensive education for students with special and learning needs, with a key focus on diversity, noted Dora Laborí Kindelán, a special education methodologist from the Ministry of Education (Mined).
Educational support for students with varying needs and circumstances, the role of specialists and staff training programs, are all important aspects of this process.
Experimental initiatives focused on areas such as support for pupils with severe learning disabilities and work with blind and visually impaired students, are currently being applied in six of the country’s provinces. The results of these experiments will later be extended throughout the rest of the country.
“Today every school is designing its own institutional educational scheme, working on the basis of a more flexible and context specific curriculum,” the Mined methodologist stated.
Another proposal is to restructure the assessment system and aim toward providing quality education in a school which must continually work to be more inclusive.One of the aims of the Special Education program during this stage of the improvement process is to have a learning agenda focused on the potential of every student. “The impact of the social and educational factor is far more important than any biological limitation the student may have,” Laborí Kindelán noted.
Published on 16 December 2015 by Granma
Dr. Norberto de Jesús Ramos González believes that one reaches the height of humanism when offering medical care to victims of catastrophic events, caused by natural disasters or epidemics.
A dentist by profession, he first served as head of the Cuban medical brigade in Equatorial Guinea, Africa; and later in the Caribbean islands of Haiti and Dominica, in addition to previous short periods of work in several other countries.
Although Cuba has been offering solidarity support to Equatorial Guinea for 40 years, in 2000 the revolutionary government decided to send more collaborators to establish the Comprehensive Health Program, an initiative previously undertaken in Central America, which included medical assistance in remote areas and human resource training.
“Our main challenge in Africa was malaria and the 146 members of our brigade fell ill with the disease in the first or second year of the mission. The Cuban authorities were very concerned about the situation, which is why we received a visit from the Minister of Health and other deputy ministers. Luckily no deaths occurred,” commented Ramos González to Granma International.
Describe the process of creating an internationalist brigade?
Published by 17 November 2015 by Granma
Over the last few days, a complex situation has developed involving more than 1,000 Cubans who have arrived in Costa Rica, from other countries in the region, with the intention of traveling to the United States.
These persons left Cuba in a legal manner to travel to various Latin American countries, meeting the requirements established by Cuban migratory regulations. In an attempt to reach United States territory, they have become victims of traffickers and criminal gangs which unscrupulously profit from their control of the passage of persons through South America, Central America and Mexico.
Cuban authorities have maintained ongoing contact with the governments of the countries involved, with the goal of finding a rapid, appropriate solution, which would take into consideration the wellbeing of the Cuban citizens.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations would like to emphasize that these citizens are victims of the politicization of the migration issue on the part of the United States government, the Cuban-American Adjustment Act, in particular, and the application of the so-called “wet foot-dry foot” policy, which gives Cubans differentiated treatment - the only one of its kind in the world - which admits them immediately and automatically, regardless of the route or means used, even if they arrive in an illegal manner to U.S. territory.
This policy encourages irregular immigration from Cuba to the United States, and constitutes a violation of the letter and spirit of Migratory Accords currently in effect, in which both countries assumed the responsibility to guarantee legal, safe, orderly emigration.
Published on 17 November 2015 by Granma
Under a new action plan, the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industry Group BioCubaFarma, is looking to promote potential businesses related to providing medical services, and making a multi-faceted contribution to the development of the Cuban economy. The island’s greatest export potential lies in its healthcare products and services, enhanced by international recognition of the country’s medical care (in accordance with cooperation projects across 60 countries) and results of over three decades of scientific efforts, production and research for the treatment of chronic illnesses.
Increasingly comprehensive, cost effective and aimed toward diversification and constant growth, these exports promise to make a positive change in the health systems and quality of life of citizens in beneficiary nations.
According to BioCubaFarma’s director of Trade, Business and International Collaboration Policy, Mayda Mauri Pérez, comprehensive care for diabetic patients, diagnosis and rehabilitation of cardiovascular illnesses and cancer prevention, research and treatment feature among priority demands.
Other projects include the detection, analysis and treatment of hearing disabilities; early identification of neurodevelopment disorders in infants; comprehensive pre and neonatal research; and epidemiological surveillance.
Published on 11 November by Cuba Solidarity Campaign
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.