Cuba and Russia celebrate 61st anniversary of diplomatic relations

Havana, May 8 (Prensa Latina) Cuba and Russia are celebrating on Saturday the 61st anniversary of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, which according to both governments, they maintain at a high level in all spheres.

On April 21, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, held a fraternal telephone conversation, during which they ratified the mutual will to continue progressing in political, economic and commercial relations.

A reflection of that purpose was the holding, on March 31 and April 1, 2021, in Havana, of the 18th Session of the Cuba-Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Economic-Commercial and Scientific-Technical Collaboration.

This mechanism has been essential in strengthening bilateral ties in all spheres, including commercial, scientific-technical, cultural, educational and humanitarian aspects.

Cuba and Russia currently have cooperation and business projects in areas such as metallurgy, iron and steel, railway and automobile transportation, energy and educational collaboration, as well as in the spheres of science and biopharmaceuticals.

Russia is also one of Cuba’s major tourist markets, which grows every year and becomes one of the most stable amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

By late September 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Ricardo Cabrisas paid a working visit to the Russian Federation, where he developed an intense agenda. The tour was described as very positive by both parties.

The two countries are committed to following a sovereign path of development, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Cuban peer, Bruno Rodriguez, said in a joint article published in 2020 on the occasion of the six decades of diplomatic relations.

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Cuba’s Minister reiterates rejection of US blockade

Havana, May 7 (Prensa Latina) Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierca on Friday reiterated his rejection of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade, which has been tightening with 240 measures.

On Twitter, he denounced that during the Trump administration the US blockade was extended even in Covid-19 times.

The minister claimed for putting an end to the blockade, which coercive measures are still in force amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Malmierca has emphasized in several international forums that Cuba is facing an unprecedented tightening of the blockade, with serious effects on Cuban foreign trade, especially exports of goods and services and imports of raw materials, food and inputs for the development of industry.

Due to the pandemic, a major global multi-sector crisis was unleashed, aggravated by trade wars and unilateral coercive measures in violation of international law.

According to the latest report on the damage caused by Washington’s policy, in the period from April 2019 to March 2020, foreign trade losses for this reason amounted to over three billion dollars.

The impossibility alone of accessing the US market had a cost of more than 131 million dollars, in addition to the damages caused by the prohibition to use the US currency in international transactions.

The rejection of the blockade and the demand to put an end to the unilateral coercive measures imposed by the White House on Cuba without an international mandate is growing all over the world with actions by organizations, sympathizers of the people of Cuba, parliamentarians, academics and Cubans living abroad.

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CARICOM reiterates rejection of US blockade against Cuba

Georgetown, May 8 (Prensa Latina) The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has reiterated its rejection of the United States blockade against Cuba, due to its adverse impact on the socioeconomic development of the island, the regional organization said on Saturday in a statement.

That position was ratified at a two-day virtual meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) of that integration mechanism, according to a press release on CARICOM’s website.

‘COFCOR expressed its ongoing concern that the United States blockade against Cuba has a significant adverse impact on the socioeconomic development of Cuba and the welfare of the Cuban people,’ says the text, which was approved by the Caribbean foreign ministers.

Likewise, the ministers reiterated CARICOM’s support for ending this ‘long-standing US economic, financial and commercial blockade against Cuba’ and agreed to continue advocating for that cause.

On the other hand, the participants in the forum reviewed the work done by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) under Mexico’s presidency, and welcomed that group’s efforts to progress in the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic on the health and economic fronts.

They also decided to continue a coordinated strategic action within the Association of Caribbean States, particularly with regard to fighting the health crisis ‘in the Greater Caribbean.’

The foreign ministers underscored their concern about the devastating impact of Covid-19, addressed its economic and public health effects, and highlighted the need for equitable access to vaccines and financing for economic recovery.

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Cuba warns at UNESCO that sanctions hinder open science

Paris, May 6 (Prensa Latina) Cuba on Thursday warned at UNESCO about the obstacle that unilateral coercive measures represent to materialize open science, an initiative to achieve an inclusive benefit from the scientific breakthroughs.

As we have stated, as long as there are unilateral coercive measures, it will not be possible that all countries contribute and benefit from open science on equal terms, Cuban Ambassador at UNESCO Yahima Esquivel stressed.

Upon addressing the negotiations promoted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) about a new normative instrument, the diplomat illustrated the consequences of the aggressive policies with the damages caused to Cuba by the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States for more than six decades.

The blockade, which was tightened after the adoption of 240 measures by the Donald Trump administration (2017-2021), is affecting Cuba’s scientific and technological development, she denounced.

As a result of the unjust blockade, researchers, academics and the Cuban population in general lack access to certain websites and services dedicated to promoting cooperation, exchange and training, she stated.

In her speech, Esquivel praised the potential shown by UNESCO developing normative instruments in open science, promoting more inclusive and collaboration, scientific practices, improving access to scientific information and sharing knowledge.

The Covid-19 pandemic has ratified the need to move towards a model to manage science and knowledge focused on collaboration, accessibility, sharing information and data for the benefit of all society, she insisted.

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Cuba ratifies willingness to cooperate with Haiti

Havana, May 6 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel today highlighted the historic ties with Haiti and expressed his government’s willingness to cooperate with that Caribbean state.

From his official Twitter account, the president responded to a message on that platform from his Haitian counterpart, Jovenel Moïse, and assured that that country ‘ will always be a sister nation for Cuba, land of the first Revolution of Our America.’

‘The Caribbean and history unite us. Everything we can do for your country, we will do it,’ he emphasized.

Yesterday in a tweet Moïse thanked the also first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba for his words of friendship with the Haitian people and reaffirmed that the collaboration ‘is solid, concrete and will continue over the time.’

He described as ‘irrefutable proof’ of this the construction of the Marion dam, a reservoir project with a capacity of 10 million cubic meters of water, with the help of Cuban technicians.

Havana and Port-au-Prince established diplomatic relations in February 1904, based on mutual respect and cooperation.

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Mexico insists on democratizing vaccine production through CELAC

Mexico, May 6 (Prensa Latina) Mexico, as the pro tempore president of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), insisted on the democratization of the distribution of vaccines against Covid-19, La Jornada reported on Thursday.

The newspaper pointed out that the CELAC coordinating country recognized the position of the Government of the United States to release patents, in accordance with the international community’s call on pharmaceutical companies to democratize the production and access to such vaccines, and to consider them as global public assets.

Mexico’s statement comes in response to Washington’s announcement on Wednesday to support the temporary suspension of patents for Covid-19 vaccines in order to accelerate their production and distribution around the world.

In a statement, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said that the administration headed by Joe Biden believes strongly in the protection of intellectual property, but in the face of a global health crisis, the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic demand extraordinary measures.

The proposal to guarantee universal access to the formulas and materials to produce these antigens is backed by more than 100 countries, and is also the subject of a global movement, which on April 23 sent Biden a petition containing two million signatures to support the motion within the World Trade Organization (WTO).

However, according to La Jornada, the US proposal will have to overcome the refusal of nations such as France, which is committed to alleviating the acute inequality in access to vaccines through donations to poor countries, which is rejected by the interested parties.

The newspaper admitted that the current circumstances demand extraordinary measures, and the release of patents must be considered a humanitarian duty in the face of challenges due to the uncontrolled upturn in the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in India or the emergence of new strains that threaten even those who have been vaccinated.

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US organizations ask Biden for a change in policy on Cuba

Washington, May 6 (Prensa Latina) A group of US organizations representing farmers, environmentalists, academics, civil society and climate justice movements called on Washington to change its policy on Cuba, according to a report released here on Thursday.

In total, 36 organizations from those sectors sent a letter to US President Joe Biden, asking him to reverse the failed policies of his predecessor Donald Trump, as promised in his presidential campaign.

The signatories of the letter demand that he comply with such oaths and request that he attend to the petitions of millions of people around the world with the same claim, including 79 congresspersons and other US organizations.

So states a press release from the Cuban embassy in Washington, which explains that the signatories of the letter to Biden, sent on Wednesday, belong to different sectors of civil society and actively collaborate with their colleagues on Cuba.

Many of them even participated in exchanges of knowledge to search for solutions to the multiple social and ecological crises in the region, the text refers.

The claim of those 36 US organizations summarizes the need to put an end to US policies that continue, among other things, to block Cuba’s capacity to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.

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Cuba calls for joining forces to face global recovery challenge

United Nations, May 5 (Prensa Latina) Cuba on Wednesday called at the United Nations for joining forces and efforts to face the immense challenge of global socio-economic recovery amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was stated by the First Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Environment of Cuba, Jose Fidel Santana, at a forum of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

At this event on science, technology and innovation, in which many parties are interested, he stressed the importance of knowledge and novel products, cooperation and international solidarity, for the right to health, respect for peace and the development of peoples.

He also spoke about progress made by Cuba in facing the health crisis, despite the obstacles imposed by the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade.

According to the Cuban deputy minister, Cuba’s greatest merit in this stage of the pandemic has been to show results amid adverse conditions, with a tightened US blockade.

The blockade prevents access to new technologies, drugs, fuels, financing, knowledge and information, which makes it a more genocidal policy in these times of health crisis, Santana said.

Despite this, he added, Cuba has five vaccine candidates, two of them, Soberana 02 and Abdala, in Phase III of clinical trials.

A third candidate, Soberana Plus, currently in Phase II, was conceived especially for confirmed Covid-19 patients, and may be the only one of its kind in the world, he said.

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Cuba denounces blockade as an obstacle for its participation in IAEA

Vienna, May 5 (Prensa Latina) Cuba on Wednesday denounced at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the technological blockade imposed by the US is an obstacle to the participation of its experts in virtual meetings of this multilateral organization.

When addressing the Board of Governors of this organization, Cuban diplomat Marlen Redondo said that although virtual forums have allowed for the continuity of work amid the Covid-19 pandemic, not all countries have equal access to platforms created to hold them.

Our country has serious difficulties in having access to the Cisco Webex platform, due to the US blockade and, therefore, its experts cannot participate in webminars, trainings and online conferences, she noted at a session to discuss IAEA 2022-2023 budget.

According to Redondo, the Cuban delegation informs about this situation every time it occurs, always providing specific details about the meetings and difficulties.

Cuban representatives at UNESCO and other UN agencies have denounced similar difficulties in recent years as a result of the economic, commercial and financial blockade implemented by the United States for over 60 years.

The Cuban diplomat insisted at IAEA Board of Governors on the need that all member States can equally participate in the virtual meetings, which have become a key international communication tool in times of pandemic.

In her speech, she acknowledged the realistic nature of the budget discussed for the 2022-2023 period, based on the economic effect of Covid-19. However, she called to consider it a precedent for this agency’s future work.

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Puebla group asks Biden to close Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

Buenos Aires, May 6 (Prensa Latina) Puebla Group on Thursday urged President Joe Biden to shut down the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, located in the illegally-occupied Cuban territory.

In a statement, Puebla Group´s prominent political figures from 16 countries said that closing Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and lifting the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba would mean an all-important gesture of progress in inter-American relations, respect for human rights and integration.

‘This decision would also be interpreted as a positive sign on the way to normalize bilateral relations carried out under Barack Obama, of which today’s President Biden served as vice president,’ the text reads.

The statement has been signed by some Puebla´s members including former Presidents Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Ernesto Samper (Colombia) and Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), as well as several former presidential candidates and senators from Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Ecuador and Chile.

Since 2002, the United States has had an internment center for terrorism suspects at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.

The prison, with some 780 inmates in its early days, generated worldwide outrage over torture and maiming conducted in there and represented a symbol of Washington’s excess in responding to terrorism.

Despite the international conventions that base the illegality of the naval base in Cuban territory, this military space continues to violate Cuba´s sovereignty.

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