Voices from Cuba and the world pay homage to Fidel Castro

Voices from Cuba and the world will pay homage to Fidel Castro

Washington, Aug 13 (Prensa Latina) International political personalities, diplomats and activists are taking part this Thursday in a web conference organized in the United States to honor the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, on the 94th anniversary of his birth.

During the event, entitled Fidel among us, there will be a reflective discussion and cultural presentations in homage to the great revolutionary fighter, according to the announcement posted on the website US-Cuba Normalization.

In the almost four years since his death on November 25, 2016, the relevance and resonance of Fidel’s revolutionary and socialist ideas, and the practice of the Cuban Revolution of which he was the central leader, are greater than ever, the call emphasized.

The conference, which will begin at 8 p.m. local time in the capital, will feature video messages from former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Venezuelan Ambassador Adan Chavez, and Don Rojas, press secretary to assassinated former Prime Minister of Grenada Maurice Bishop, among others.

The panelists at the event will be the Cuban ambassadors to the United States and Canada, José Ramón Cabañas and Josefina Vidal, respectively; the alternate permanent representative of Cuba to the UN, Ana Silvia Rodriguez; and the representative of Vietnam to the same organization, Dang Dinh Quy.

The two-hour conference will be introduced by Nalda Vigezzi, co-director of the National Cuba Solidarity Network in the United States, and activists Ike Nahem (United States) and Tamara Hansen (Canada), while there will also be a presentation by the SavingLives campaign.


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Cuba and the UN sign a cooperation agreement for 2020-2024

Cuba and the UN sign a cooperation agreement for 2020-2024

Havana, Aug 13 (Prensa Latina) Cuba and the United Nations today signed the UN Framework Cooperation Agreement for Sustainable Development for the period 2020-2024.

The document was signed by the Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, and the resident coordinator of the United Nations System on the island, Consuelo Vidal.

This is the third agreement assumed by Cuba with the UN System.

It is the programmatic document of the agencies, funds and programs of the United Nations in support of the priorities of the largest of the Antilles.

Malmierca and Vidal spoke out for working together, and included the support of the UN System for the coming years, in particular to face the effects of the current pandemic and on the road to sustainable development.

sus/jcm / ool

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Minnesota lawmakers call for medical collaboration with Cuba

Washington, Aug 13 (Prensa Latina) A group of 11 State Senators and Representatives from Minnesota on Thursday hold their call to promote medical collaboration with Cuba in order to fight Covid-19.

In a letter sent to Governor of Minnesota, Dem. Tim Walz, 11 lawmakers led by Sen. Sandy Pappas said that given the impact of the pandemic in the country, they should consider collaborating and working together with new partners in the fight against Covid-19.

The letter particularly urged Walz to collaborate with Cuba to take advantage of and learn from its medical and scientific success in treating the disease.

It noted that Pappas has been interested for some years in the uniqueness of developments in Cuba with respect to its medical system and biotechnology, and that she has led three delegations to Cuba in order to learn more about these areas.

Pappas and her colleague Patricia Torres Ray introduced a resolution on May in the Minnesota Senate that calling for medical and scientific collaboration with Cuba amid the current health crisis, which has already left more than five million infected in the United States.

Such a text, among other issues, asked Walz to guide the Department of Health and other agencies to investigate the potential collaboration with Cuba in order to get earth-shattering assistance and beneficial experience for Minnesotans.

Through the letter sent to governor, dated August 7, Pappas and Torres Ray, in addition to other colleagues such as Chuck Wiger, Carolyn Laine and Chris Eaton, and also representatives Mary Kunesh-Podein, Kristin Bahner, Aisha Gomez, Hodan Hassan, Sandra Masin and John Lesch, highlighted the content of resolution.

They expressed that, as established in that text, Cuba has practically defeated Covid-19, because until July 6, with a population of 11.3 million inhabitants, it had only 86 deaths and a total number of 2,380 cases.

They also pointed out that, at the end of April, 50 countries had requested some health assistance from Cuba to fight the virus, and there are currently more than 35 Cuban medical brigades fighting Covid-19 in thirty nations.

Minnesota has been leader in medical development and technology over the years, and now we have the opportunity to write a new chapter in history by coming to a country that has also become leader in science and technology, while proving a singular humanity towards other nations.


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USA suspends private charter flights to Cuba

Washington, Aug 13 (Prensa Latina) The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday the suspension of private charter flights to Cuba, a measure that particularly affects families on both sides of the Strait.

Pompeo, has recently increased his hostile measures against the country, said in a press release to have requested to ‘the Department of Transportation to suspend private charter flights to all Cuban airports, including Havana.’

According to the press release, this action will cancel ‘all charter flights between the United States and Cuba over which the Department of Transportation exercises jurisdiction.’

Such regulation will exempt ‘authorized public charter flights to and from Havana and other private charter flights authorized for emergency medical purposes, search and rescue and other travels, deemed in the US interest,’ the press release emphasized.

Pompeo affirmed that the measure aims to deny resources to the Cuban government, in a scenario in which the United States establishes new unilateral coercive measures against the island.


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Venezuela Fights Malnutrition With 3,000 ‘Food Houses’

Women belonging to
Women belonging to “The Cooks of the Homeland” initiative, Caracas, Venezuela, August 12, 2020. | Photo: Brasil de Fato

Around 1.7 million Venezuelans are working in the provision of essential services during the pandemic.

August 12 (teleSUR) Over the last decade, Venezuela has reduced the malnutrition rate from 13.5 percent to 2.5 percent. 

This achievement was possible thanks to the participation of “The Cooks of the Homeland”, a group of women who dedicate an hour of their daily work to activities carried out in a network of 3,117 restaurants feeding vulnerable communities.

The “Food Houses” are part of a social program created in 2005 during the presidency of Hugo Chavez. The current goal of this public initiative is to consolidate some 6,000 food houses by linking them to growing food.

“I told them they could use my house on the condition that my sister works here. It does not bother me at all. As you can see, we work together,” said Betty Valecillos, a member of the Socialist commune of La Pastora neighborhood, in Caracas.

In her residence, the Food House provides lunch to about 200 people from Monday to Friday. Children, adolescents, the elderly, and people with physical disabilities or in situations of social vulnerability receive priority attention.

“The State sends food every two weeks. Every month, 200 people benefit from 80 basic food baskets, each containing about 11 kilos of products,” Brasil de Fato reported and added that Strategic Food Program Foundation (FundaProal) representatives routinely visit the food houses to verify whether meals are being distributed to those in need.

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France rejects blockade on Cuba and its extraterritoriality

Paris, Aug 12 (Prensa Latina) The French government ratified the need that the United States ends its blockade against Cuba and condemned the extraterritorial siege, a position Senator Michelle Greaume disclosed on Wednesday.

According to Greaume, who is also a parliamentarian of the Communist Party in northern France, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs set just a few days ago its rejection to the blockade, in response to its written June 11 question about the consequences of Washington’s hostility towards Cuba that Greaume described as ‘major player in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.’

The official reaction, issued on August 6, reflected that France and the European Union have repeatedly pointed out the need to end the blockade and Paris, also on several occasions, has condemned the extraterritorial laws that attack Cuba, particularly the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act.

Paris insisted on the illegal nature of that chapter (activated by President Donald Trump in May 2019) and the continuity of its efforts along with the European partners to counteract it with Council Regulation No. 2271/96.

France is determined to use the set of instruments at its disposal to strengthen the aforementioned Regulation, in order to protect the economic activities and legitimate investments of its citizens and companies in Cuba, Quai d’Orsay (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) warned in the document.

The text reminded that the siege is contrary to International Law and has global rejection, as evidenced by the resolutions adopted since 1992 by the UN General Assembly to request its lifting.


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Anti-apartheid fighter recalls Fidel Castro’s legacy

Pretoria, Aug 12 (Prensa Latina) South Africa’s veteran anti-apartheid fighter Ronnie Kasrils on Wednesday highlighted the legacy of Fidel Castro for Southern Africa, on the occasion of the 94th anniversary of the leader of the Cuban revolution’s birth (August 13).

Speaking to Prensa Latina, Kasrils – former head of military intelligence in the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), former minister of government (1994-2008) and author of several books on the struggle for liberation – said that ‘Fidel will live on in Africa, as everywhere else, as an everlasting icon of liberation in all its forms.’

‘Since the 1960s the nom de guerre ‘Castro’ was popular among freedom fighters in Southern Africa,’ he recalls. Today, the children of many of those guerrillas bear the name Fidel or Fidelis.

That generation was inspired by Fidel Castro’s epic leadership of the Cuban Revolution in overthrowing tyranny, confronting imperialism, changing Cuban society, and the historical lessons of international solidarity, he explains.

Since 1975, Cuban internationalist forces under Commander Fidel’s leadership had contributed to save Angola’s independence from racist invaders and the CIA-backed counterrevolutionary bandits, Kasrils recalls.

Becoming aware of these historic events from his prison cell – by secret means -, Nelson Mandela wrote in glowing terms that ‘it was the first time that a country had come from another continent not to take something away, but to help Africans to achieve their freedom,’ Kasrils highlights.

Assisting Angola over the following years the reactionary apartheid forces finally met their fate at the battle for Cuito Cuanavale (1988), which forced them to retreat.

At that time, I had been privileged to have been present in Havana as a member of a delegation from the South African Communist Party (SACP) in 1988, when Fidel briefed us in front of a huge topographical chart of Southern Angola about how that epic battle had been won, Kasrils reveals.

The result was Angola being free of foreign forces, which allowed the subsequent independence of Namibia from Pretoria’s occupation in 1990, followed by freedom for South Africa in 1994, explains the veteran fighter.

In Fidel’s words, after forcing the South African racist military to retreat from Angola in 1988: ‘The history of Africa will be written as before and after Cuito Cuanavale.’

Since then, many generations of Africans have studied in Cuba, they continue to follow the legendary footsteps of Fidel, ‘one of the foremost revolutionaries of modern times,’ says Kasrils.

His life and his legacy are intrinsically linked to Africa’s destiny and the eternal gratitude of its peoples, he summarizes.

In 1994, at Nelson Mandela’s presidential inauguration, Fidel received the greatest approval for a foreign guest by the cheering masses, who chanted: ‘Fidel! Fidel!’ And ‘Cuba! Cuba!’ Kasrils recalls as an eyewitness.

It is the privilege of Southern Africa’s people to have shared trenches, trained and studied in Cuba, received inexhaustible aid not only on the battlefields, but also that of the brave Cuban health workers in the fight against Covid-19, he adds.

As it does in other parts of the Caribbean and Latin America, Cuba continues to send health professionals to Africa. More than 50,000 Cuban doctors currently work around the world, including in 32 African countries.

When we launched our armed struggle in the 1960s, there was a song we composed to Calypso rhythm: ‘Take the country the Castro way!’ Kasrils recalls.

Then we also realized about the examples Cuba provided in people’s living conditions, health care and education, housing and social well-being, overcoming colonial backwardness and inequalities, and the provision of security for the people.

Now, in the midst of the global struggle against imperialist domination, exploitation and racism; military aggression, and the injustices of capitalism, those words ‘Take the country the (Fidel) Castro way!’ are still alive in our hearts, he concludes.


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Venezuela: Authorities Detect Illegal Plane In Airspace

Ceofanb members in front of a Chinese radar, Aragua, Venezuela, October 29, 2019.
Ceofanb members in front of a Chinese radar, Aragua, Venezuela, October 29, 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @JuanTeixeiraD

According to protocols, military jets neutralized the privately-owned Hawker 800 plane.

August 11 (teleSUR) Venezuela’s Aerospace Defense Command (CODAI) Tuesday detected an illegal airship crossing over the national territory without a flight plan and violating its sovereignty.

The Bolivarian National Armed Force’s Strategic Operational Command (Ceofanb) explained that the illegal aircraft was flying west of the Paraguana Peninsula in the Falcon State.

Ceofanb also pointed out that the plane started to fly at low altitude and perform evasive maneuvers. Then, after being persecuted by a Bolivarian military aircraft, it lost control and crashed.

This is not the first time this year that authorities spot this kind of illegal incursions into Venezuelan airspace. Such episodes are typical of illegal drug trafficking.

On July 8, Ceofanb reported that CODAI detected an aircraft with a U.S. hull number intruding on the national territory. According to protocols, military jets neutralized the privately-owned Hawker 800 plane.

A similar plane was downed by the Venezuelan military in June for purportedly carrying drugs.

Venezuela has a modern Chinese Radar system mounted on a mobile platform, which enables it to avoid being attacked after it detects enemy aircrafts.
The Chinese made type JY-27 Wide Mat long-range early warning radar is claimed to detect stealth aircraft up to 500 km radius.

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Cuba is on track to a vaccine against Covid-19

Cuba is on track to a vaccine against Covid-19

Havana, Aug 11 (Prensa Latina) Cuban biotechnologists are working today in the search for a specific medicine against the new coronavirus, based on previous experiences with other drugs.

Some institutions such as the Institute of Tropical Medicine (IPK), Vaccine Institution and the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology are currently working together on several strategies to obtain candidates based on previous formula such as those used against hepatitis B and Pentavalent vaccine, which includes antigens against five separate diseases.

Several research centers, companies and global scientific community are currently working to obtain a safe and effective immunization to protect people from Covid-19.

The Cuban vaccine against Covid-19 would be developed from previous experiences with other vaccines, although in this specific case it is a proprietary and new strategy to achieve a compound that generates a specific and also protective immune response so as to avoid replication of this virus.

Cuban biotechnology has a great experience in developing these formulas, thus the Cuban immunization scheme includes 13 vaccines, eight of these are produced in the country.

Obtaining an effective vaccine against Covid-19 is top priority for the entire Cuban science and innovation system. Eduardo Martínez, Biocubafarma Business Group director wrote on Twitter about the strength of this project led by Carlos J. Finlay Research Institute given its experience in the study, development and production of these medicines.

sus/pll / mem / crc

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Diving stands out in Cuba’s wetland tourism product

Diving stands out in Cuba's wetland tourism product

Cienaga de Zapata, Cuba, Aug 11 (Prensa Latina) Blessed by nature, this Cuban region, home to the best preserved wetland in the insular Caribbean, is an excellent place to practice ecotourism advancing today in the recreational option of scuba diving.

The territory has an area close to 10,500 square kilometers, it is located south of the Matanzas province, about 180 kilometers southeast of Havana, and has an exceptional wealth of flora and fauna.

Bird watching, particularly during the period from November to April, and diving that can be practiced all year round on the coast and flooded caves, stand out in the tourist proposals of this region.

‘The seabed is one of the best preserved in the country as well as our corals, backed by studies from specialists of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (Citma) and the national aquarium,’ said a tourism official.

Orelvis León, commercial deputy director of the Empresa Integral Turística Cíénaga de Zapata (Eitcz), in dialogue with Prensa Latina, specified that the entity has five centers and 11 environmentally certified diving points.

‘We have a scheme endorsed by public health officials, with lifeguards, specialists in underwater medicine and diving instructors prepared with modern rescue and first aid techniques,’ he said.

León reiterated that the quality and attractiveness of the aquatic depths in the Cienaga, allows executing various types of diving from the multilevel, wall, night dives, in the wreck and diving of flooded caves.

The Ciénaga de Zapata – he clarified – lacks the sighting of large species as in other places in the largest of the Antilles, ‘they can run into each other but it is not normal, there is an abundant marine life, the ecosystem is spectacular and customers are delighted ‘.

Within the Eitcz, in this nautical specialty Punta Perdiz stands out for its tourism product according to references from both foreign vacationers, the patio, and the different receptives, said Yaniel Madruga, captain of the gastronomic service.

‘As a Punta Perdiz facility, it is a tourist offer as part of excursions from various travel agencies in an all-inclusive service, which consists of buffet lunch, barbecue, as well as a bar and beach time,’ he added.

Our gastronomy – he added – is varied with great demand in the supply of fruits, vegetables and salads, we have a snack bar with light foods, cocktail services, beer and refreshing drinks for children.


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