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Index » Regional/Local » Latin America » Cuba Page: 1, 2, 3 ... 9, 10, 11  Next
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Inamorato

Inamorato Avatar

Location: Twin Cities
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 10, 2009 - 12:19pm

Cash-strapped Cuba says toilet paper running short

 

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba, in the grip of a serious economic crisis, is running short of toilet paper and may not get sufficient supplies until the end of the year, officials with state-run companies said Friday.

Officials said they were lowering the prices of 24 basic goods to help Cubans get through the difficulties provoked in part by the global financial crisis and three destructive hurricanes that struck the island last year.

Cuba's financial reserves have been depleted by increased spending for imports and reduced export income, which has forced the communist-led government to take extraordinary measures to keep the economy afloat.

"The corporation has taken all the steps so that at the end of the year there will be an important importation of toilet paper," an official with state conglomerate Cimex said on state-run Radio Rebelde.

The shipment will enable the state-run company "to supply this demand that today is presenting problems," he said.

Cuba both imports toilet paper and produces its own, but does not currently have enough raw materials to make it, he said.

One of the measures taken to address the cash crunch is a 20 percent cut in imports, which in recent days has become evident in the reduction of goods in state-run stores.

Cuba imports about 60 percent of its food.

Despite the shortages, prices will be cut between 5 percent and 27 percent for some food, drugs and personal hygiene products, officials said.

A visit to a store in Havana's Vedado neighborhood on Friday found that prices had dropped for mayonnaise, barbecue sauce and canned squid.

One customer, who gave his name only as Pedro, complained that "it doesn't look like prices have been lowered for the fundamental products" such as cooking oil.

Ana Maria Ortega, deputy director for military-run retail conglomerate TRD Caribe, said there will be no shortage of basic goods.

"The conditions are in place to maintain the supply of essential products," she said on the same radio program.

Cubans receive a subsidized food ration from the government each month that they say meets their needs for about two weeks.

President Raul Castro told the National Assembly last week that the government had cut its spending budget for the second time this year and has been renegotiating its debt and payments with foreign providers.

Cuba has long blamed the 47-year-old U.S. trade embargo against the island for many of its economic problems. It also said that last year's hurricanes did $10 billion worth of damage that forced the government to spend heavily on imports of food and reconstruction products.

Castro, who replaced his ailing older brother Fidel Castro as president last year, also has complained that Cuba's productivity is too low.

He has taken various steps to boost output, including putting more state-owned land in private hands and pushing for salaries to be based on productivity.

 

In the few remaining nominal Communist states, their economic systems seem closer to Adam Smith than to Karl Marx.


rachlan

rachlan Avatar

Location: nyc
Gender: Female


Posted: May 7, 2009 - 6:47am

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PETE SEEGER – a letter from Silvio Rodriguez

The wonderful folk singer, global justice activist and all around good fellow Pete Seeger celebrated his 90th birthday.  There was a party for and with him at Madison Square Gardens!

The great Cuban musician Silvio Rodriguez was invited to Pete’s birthday party.  The US government would not give Silvio a visa.  Silvio wrote this letter to Pete Seeger … the original Spanish is below, with an English translation that Rosalind Gill (RGill@glendon.yorku.ca) did for Rights Action.

Many thanks and best wishes to Pete Seeger … y a Silvio tambien.

* * *

LETTER FROM SILVIO RODRÍGUEZ TO PETE SEEGER Havana, May 3, 2009

Dear Admired Maestro Pete Seeger:

At this time, when many singers are presenting concerts in homage to your life's work, I am thinking about all the occasions in which I have had the privilege of enjoying your talent, a talent appreciated by people all over the world.

I remember when you sang in Havana in solidarity with the Grupo de Experimentación Sonora; and as well, I remember your tour in Italy that was dedicated to Victor Jara; and that bitter cold night in February 1980, when - after a call from you - we traveled from New York to Poughkeepise and heard you sing "Snow, Snow", your masterpiece song about someone asking questions in a frozen landscape.

I tried to be with you today, but as you know, those who do not want the US and Cuba to talk to each other, sing to each other, understand each other or relate to each other, did not allow me into your country.

These people believe in dividing the world between the powerful and the weak and they can only appreciate the rich and the strong.  They cannot forgive us for wanting to stand on our own feet, despite the fact that we are only a small country.  It is so patently obvious that those bullies should not be dominating the world, but they still have control and they make all the decisions.

Some of these people think it is dangerous for us to meet in a simple act of brotherhood, as a symbol of the fact that we are neighbouring peoples, that can share our feelings and our songs.

It is not just me, dear Pete, but all of Cuba, a proud and undoubtedly improvable country, that admires, respects and celebrates your nine decades of defending social justice, peace and culture.

Nobody in this country sees you as a threat; they see you as an extraordinary friend whom they will not let us embrace with freedom, as we would like to.  It is not just me, but all of Cuba that loves you.  Although we are still blockaded by those treacherous people, we stand by your side, singing your prophetic song, “”We Shall Overcome”, as well as our own “Guantanamera”.

I send kisses to Toshi and I embrace you,

Silvio Rodríguez Domínguez.

* * *

CARTA DE SILVIO RODRÍGUEZ A PETE SEEGER
La Habana, 3 de mayo de 2009

Admirado y querido Maestro Pete Seeger:

En estos momentos se está celebrando el concierto de homenaje que decenas de cantores justamente te ofrecen.  Pasan por mi mente algunas de las veces que tuve el privilegio de disfrutar de tu talento seductor de multitudes.

Así te recuerdo  en La Habana, cantando solidario junto al Grupo de Experimentación Sonora; así te recuerdo en aquella gira dedicada a Víctor Jara, por varias ciudades de Italia; y así también revivo aquella helada noche de febrero de 1980 en que respondiendo a tu llamado viajamos desde Nueva York hasta Poughkeepsie y te escuchamos “Snow, Snow”, obra maestra de quien se hizo preguntas ante un paisaje invernal.

Traté de volver a estar contigo hoy, pero, como bien sabes, no me dejaron llegar los que no quieren que los Estados Unidos y Cuba se junten, se canten, se hablen, se entiendan.  Son los que piensan que el mundo se divide en poderosos y en débiles; los que sólo aprecian a los que son ricos y fuertes.

Son los que no nos perdonan que aún siendo pequeños hayamos decidido vivir de pie. La realidad grita que cada vez deben ser menos estos brutos, pero de alguna forma esa minoría todavía impera y manda.

Algunos de ellos vieron un peligro en que nos encontráramos y que un simple acto de fraternidad simbolizara a dos pueblos vecinos que pueden coincidir en canciones y afectos.

Pero no solo yo, querido Pete: todo mi digno y sin dudas mejorable país te admira, te respeta y celebra tus honorables nueve décadas defensoras de la justicia social, la paz y la cultura.

Aquí, nadie te ve como un peligro sino como un extraordinario amigo que no nos dejan abrazar con la libertad que quisiéramos.  Por eso, más que yo, toda esta Cuba que te quiere, bloqueada todavía por los abusadores, está a tu lado ahora cantando tu profética “We Shall Overcome” y nuestra martiana “Guantanamera.”

Un beso para Toshi y un fuerte abrazo para ti de,

Silvio Rodríguez Domínguez.
musik_knut

musik_knut Avatar

Location: Third Stone From The Sun
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 13, 2009 - 5:54pm

 dionysius wrote:


We can change Cuba more by engaging with them than by stiff-arming and embargoing them. If we act like the rest of the world and treat Cuba as we would any other nation, we can participate in and enable change, and not just impotently observe it. Fidel is gone, effectively, and when Raul is gone, I predict swift and complete regime change. I don't want them to abandon socialism, but I do want to see the Cubans embrace democracy and human rights.

 

Most, if not all the rest of the world, has placed no embargo and no restrictions on their citizens vis a vis Cuba. How did that work out? How did that change Cuba? So, had the US acted like other countries, Cuba would not have spent 50 years under an iron fist?
In the recent trip of The 7 Mental Dwarfs, otherwise known as very Liberal Members of Congress, they carried back word that Fidel Castro was hoping to see change from the US. I wonder if any of the mental midgets in the US Delegation asked about change in Cuba? Probably not...some were eager to tell us that talking to Fidel was like talking to an old friend...while otherwise laying praise upon a ruthless dictator now in 'retirement' while his brother carries on the family tradition of boot-to-throat rule of the Cuban people. Too bad Che isn't around...the usual suspects would have fawned over that cold blooded mass killer.
Cuba si, Fidel no.


dionysius

dionysius Avatar

Location: The People's Republic of Austin
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 13, 2009 - 11:57am

 hippiechick wrote:

My friend's daughter was just there, via Jamaica, and she said it's an awesome place, but the residents are closely watched to make sure they don't associate foreigners, but some take the chance, and they took her to a fantastic "restaurant" in someone's living room. One couple she talked to though did get picked up a couple days later.
 

We can change Cuba more by engaging with them than by stiff-arming and embargoing them. If we act like the rest of the world and treat Cuba as we would any other nation, we can participate in and enable change, and not just impotently observe it. Fidel is gone, effectively, and when Raul is gone, I predict swift and complete regime change. I don't want them to abandon socialism, but I do want to see the Cubans embrace democracy and human rights.
hippiechick

hippiechick Avatar

Location: topsy turvy land
Gender: Female


Posted: Apr 13, 2009 - 11:52am

 Zep wrote:

Obama to ease Cuba travel restrictions

  • Move represents significant U.S. policy shift toward Cuba
  • Restrictions on travel to Cuba for Cuban-Americans to be eased, officials say
  • Travel restrictions for Americans of non-Cuban descent to remain in place
  • Decision comes before President Obama attends Summit of the Americas

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Obama administration has decided to loosen restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba for Cuban-Americans, senior administration officials said Monday.

The White House plans to announce the change later Monday.

The decision, which comes days before President Obama leaves for the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, represents a significant shift in U.S. policy toward Cuba.

Several key components of America's nearly half-centry embargo on the island nation, however, will be preserved.

Among other things, Americans still will be barred from sending gifts or other items to high-ranking Cuban government officials and Communist Party members.

Travel restrictions for Americans of non-Cuban descent also will remain in place.

Before he was elected, Obama promised to lower some of the barriers in Cuban-American relations.

Provisions attached to a $410 billion supplemental budget Obama signed in March also made it easier for Cuban-Americans to travel to Cuba and to send money to family members on the island. In addition, they facilitated the sale of agricultural and pharmaceutical products to Cuba.

The provisions loosened restrictions enacted by President Bush after he came to office in 2001.

Several members of Congress see broader relations with Cuba as vital to U.S. interests. A group of senators and other supporters unveiled a bill March 31 to lift the 47-year-old travel ban to Cuba.

"I think that we finally reached a new watermark here on this issue," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-North Dakota, one of the bill's sponsors.

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, another sponsor of the bill, issued a draft report in February that said it was time to reconsider the economic sanctions. Lugar is the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Several leading academic experts released a letter Monday urging Obama "to extricate Cuba policy from the tangle of domestic politics, enable our nation to engage Cuba on serious neighborhood problems and build a sense of mutual confidence between our governments so that we can discuss our political differences."

The letter was signed by Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, and Wayne Smith, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, among others.

Leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus also said it is time to change U.S. policy toward Cuba after returning from a meeting in Havana last week with both Fidel Castro and Cuban President Raúl Castro.

Other lawmakers, however, remain adamantly opposed to easing sanctions on Cuba, arguing that such a move would only reward and strengthen the Castro regime.

Reps. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, and Frank Wolf, R-Virginia, last week urged Obama to refrain from easing the trade embargo or travel restrictions until the Cuban government releases all "prisoners of conscience," shows greater respect for freedom of religion and speech and holds "free and fair" elections.

"Over the past 50 years, the Castros and their secret police have been directly responsible for killing thousands of nonviolent, courageous pro-democracy activists and for jailing and torturing tens of thousands of others. And they continue to this day to perpetrate their brutal crimes," Smith said.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said it makes no sense to continue what she characterized as a failed policy.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but by any objective standard our current policy toward Cuba just hasn't worked. Simply put, it's time to open dialogue and discussion with Cuba," Lee said in a statement.



 
My friend's daughter was just there, via Jamaica, and she said it's an awesome place, but the residents are closely watched to make sure they don't associate foreigners, but some take the chance, and they took her to a fantastic "restaurant" in someone's living room. One couple she talked to though did get picked up a couple days later.

dionysius

dionysius Avatar

Location: The People's Republic of Austin
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 13, 2009 - 11:28am

¡Finalmente! Nosotros Yanquis estamos razonables sobre Cuba.
Zep

Zep Avatar



Posted: Apr 13, 2009 - 11:25am

 bokey wrote:
Sposed to be some awesome largemouth bass fishing in the inland part. 

Not to mention some bee-ay-you-tiful wimmenfolks.

speaking of fishing....


bokey

bokey Avatar

Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 13, 2009 - 11:23am

 Zep wrote:

 
Sposed to be some awesome largemouth bass fishing in the inland part.

Zep

Zep Avatar



Posted: Apr 13, 2009 - 11:16am

Obama to ease Cuba travel restrictions

  • Move represents significant U.S. policy shift toward Cuba
  • Restrictions on travel to Cuba for Cuban-Americans to be eased, officials say
  • Travel restrictions for Americans of non-Cuban descent to remain in place
  • Decision comes before President Obama attends Summit of the Americas

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Obama administration has decided to loosen restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba for Cuban-Americans, senior administration officials said Monday.

The White House plans to announce the change later Monday.

The decision, which comes days before President Obama leaves for the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, represents a significant shift in U.S. policy toward Cuba.

Several key components of America's nearly half-centry embargo on the island nation, however, will be preserved.

Among other things, Americans still will be barred from sending gifts or other items to high-ranking Cuban government officials and Communist Party members.

Travel restrictions for Americans of non-Cuban descent also will remain in place.

Before he was elected, Obama promised to lower some of the barriers in Cuban-American relations.

Provisions attached to a $410 billion supplemental budget Obama signed in March also made it easier for Cuban-Americans to travel to Cuba and to send money to family members on the island. In addition, they facilitated the sale of agricultural and pharmaceutical products to Cuba.

The provisions loosened restrictions enacted by President Bush after he came to office in 2001.

Several members of Congress see broader relations with Cuba as vital to U.S. interests. A group of senators and other supporters unveiled a bill March 31 to lift the 47-year-old travel ban to Cuba.

"I think that we finally reached a new watermark here on this issue," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-North Dakota, one of the bill's sponsors.

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, another sponsor of the bill, issued a draft report in February that said it was time to reconsider the economic sanctions. Lugar is the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Several leading academic experts released a letter Monday urging Obama "to extricate Cuba policy from the tangle of domestic politics, enable our nation to engage Cuba on serious neighborhood problems and build a sense of mutual confidence between our governments so that we can discuss our political differences."

The letter was signed by Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, and Wayne Smith, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, among others.

Leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus also said it is time to change U.S. policy toward Cuba after returning from a meeting in Havana last week with both Fidel Castro and Cuban President Raúl Castro.

Other lawmakers, however, remain adamantly opposed to easing sanctions on Cuba, arguing that such a move would only reward and strengthen the Castro regime.

Reps. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, and Frank Wolf, R-Virginia, last week urged Obama to refrain from easing the trade embargo or travel restrictions until the Cuban government releases all "prisoners of conscience," shows greater respect for freedom of religion and speech and holds "free and fair" elections.

"Over the past 50 years, the Castros and their secret police have been directly responsible for killing thousands of nonviolent, courageous pro-democracy activists and for jailing and torturing tens of thousands of others. And they continue to this day to perpetrate their brutal crimes," Smith said.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said it makes no sense to continue what she characterized as a failed policy.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but by any objective standard our current policy toward Cuba just hasn't worked. Simply put, it's time to open dialogue and discussion with Cuba," Lee said in a statement.




Mugro

Mugro Avatar

Location: Grand Duchy of Luxembourg


Posted: Feb 4, 2009 - 10:17am

 Inamorato wrote:

Man who censored Beatles is dead

HAVANA (Reuters) - The man who banned the Beatles from the communist-run island's radio and television stations has died, state television said on Tuesday.

Jorge "Papito" Serguera, who at the time was president of the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television, pulled Beatles music from the airwaves in the 1970s even though he later admitted he enjoyed listening to it in private.

Serguera, who was 76 when he died, said in a 2001 interview he was following orders from high government officials who viewed the British band's music as a threat to the revolution.

But he was viewed as an architect of a general cultural crackdown that dampened dissent and marginalized many for their beliefs or sexuality.

"There were national leaders who were against, not them (the Beatles), but the so-called modern music ... there was incredible pressure," he told Ernesto Juan Castellanos, author of "John Lennon in Havana with a little help from my friend."

Today, Beatles music is played on the Cuban airwaves and one of Havana's minor landmarks is a statue of Lennon sitting on a park bench.

Serguera fought in the 1959 revolution that toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista, then worked alongside Ernesto "Che" Guevara as a prosecutor in controversial trials that condemned to death hundreds of Batista collaborators.

His appearance on television in 2006 provoked protests from intellectuals still angry about his 1970s actions.



 
Cuba wasn't alone with the censorship thing. Many American radio stations (particularly in the bible belt) banned the Beatles from their airwaves and burned their records in 1965-66 after John Lennon made his remark about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus. Censorship is always pretty stupid in my view.

Inamorato

Inamorato Avatar

Location: Twin Cities
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 4, 2009 - 9:51am

Man who censored Beatles is dead

HAVANA (Reuters) - The man who banned the Beatles from the communist-run island's radio and television stations has died, state television said on Tuesday.

Jorge "Papito" Serguera, who at the time was president of the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television, pulled Beatles music from the airwaves in the 1970s even though he later admitted he enjoyed listening to it in private.

Serguera, who was 76 when he died, said in a 2001 interview he was following orders from high government officials who viewed the British band's music as a threat to the revolution.

But he was viewed as an architect of a general cultural crackdown that dampened dissent and marginalized many for their beliefs or sexuality.

"There were national leaders who were against, not them (the Beatles), but the so-called modern music ... there was incredible pressure," he told Ernesto Juan Castellanos, author of "John Lennon in Havana with a little help from my friend."

Today, Beatles music is played on the Cuban airwaves and one of Havana's minor landmarks is a statue of Lennon sitting on a park bench.

Serguera fought in the 1959 revolution that toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista, then worked alongside Ernesto "Che" Guevara as a prosecutor in controversial trials that condemned to death hundreds of Batista collaborators.

His appearance on television in 2006 provoked protests from intellectuals still angry about his 1970s actions.


ScottFromWyoming

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Location: Powell
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 19, 2008 - 7:44pm

cookinlover

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand (former Boston native and Atlanta transplant)
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 19, 2008 - 7:42pm

ScottFromWyoming

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Location: Powell
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 19, 2008 - 7:38pm

cookinlover

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand (former Boston native and Atlanta transplant)
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Posted: Feb 19, 2008 - 6:13pm

dionysius

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Location: The People's Republic of Austin
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 19, 2008 - 2:04pm

Mugro

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Location: Grand Duchy of Luxembourg


Posted: Feb 19, 2008 - 1:57pm

ScottFromWyoming

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Location: Powell
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 19, 2008 - 1:39pm

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