Tag Archives | Cuba

United States Ends Decades of Hostility to Cuba

You have to hand it to President Barack Obama, he’s not buying into the lame-duck presidency forecast for him in the wake of Republicans taking control of Congress. This time he’s re-opening diplomatic ties with Cuba. CNN reports on the breaking news:

President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced plans to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and ease economic restrictions on the nation, an historic shift he called the end of an “outdated approach” to U.S.-Cuban relations.

Obama said he’s instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to immediately begin discussions with Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations, and that the U.S. will re-open an embassy in Havana. The administration will also allow some travel and trade that had been banned under a decades-long embargo instated during the Kennedy administration.

“Neither the American nor Cuban people are well-served by a rigid policy that’s rooted in events that took place before most of us were born,” Obama said.

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Cuba estimates US embargo has cost island $116.8bn in damages in 55 years

Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre by flippinyank via Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

via The Guardian:

The figures were published in a report that Cuba prepares for the United Nations each year in requesting a resolution

US economic sanctions against Cuba have cost the island nation $3.9bn in foreign trade over the past year, helping to raise the overall estimate of economic damage to $116.8bn over the past 55 years, Cuba said on Tuesday.

The figures were published in a report that Cuba prepares for the United Nations each year in requesting a resolution urging an end to the comprehensive US economic embargo and other sanctions against Cuba’s Communist government.

The United Nations has passed the resolution for 22 straight years with overwhelming support. Last year the vote was 188 to 2, with only the United States and Israel voting against the resolution.

Although many US allies join Washington in criticizing Cuba’s one-party system and repression of political opponents, the Americans have lost nearly all international support for the embargo since the collapse of the Soviet Union.… Read the rest

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Abby Martin’s Exclusive Gitmo Coverage: Untold History of Occupation, Torture, and Resistance

Abby Martin Breaks the Set on the History of Gitmo, Methods of Torture, the Remaining Detainees and the Ongoing Hunger Strikes by Prisoners.

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EPISODE BREAKDOWN: On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin features Part I of her exclusive coverage from Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba, outlining the history of the notorious base and prison from 1898 to today. Abby then goes over some of the most egregious examples of torture committed against detainees, highlighting everything from sensory manipulation to physical beatings and sexual abuse. Abby then goes over the detainees still at Gitmo and why over 70 prisoners who have been cleared for release remain rotting away indefinitely. BTS wraps up the show with interviews with Navy Captain and Joint Task Force spokesperson, Tom Gresback and Lisa Hajjar, a sociology professor at UCSB, about why the military is no longer releasing information concerning hunger striking prisoners and the ethics of force feeding ‘non-compliant’ detainees.… Read the rest

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United States Secretly Built “Cuban Twitter” To Gather Personal Data And Foment Unrest

cubaA Cuban social media platform called ZunZuneo with tens of thousands of users was in fact an espionage project concocted by the U.S. government. Although, what social network isn’t about covert data mining? The Independent reports:

In an apparent throwback to the Cold War, the US government spent $1.6m building a social media network with the aim of undermining the communist government in Cuba, it has emerged.

Documents obtained during an investigation by the Associated Press show that the project, which lasted more than two years and drew thousands of subscribers, was built with secret shell companies and was financed through foreign banks.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was reportedly behind the project which saw the creation of a ‘Cuban Twitter’ dubbed “ZunZuneo” – slang for a Cuban hummingbird’s tweet. Users of “ZunZuneo” were entirely unaware of the involvement of the United States government agency and that American contractors were gathering personal data about them.

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CIA Allowed to Sustain Cover-Up of the Full ‘Bay of Pigs’ History

Bay of PigsVia the National Security Archive at George Washington University:

More than year after the National Security Archive sued the CIA to declassify the full “Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation,” a U.S. District Court judge today sided with the Agency’s efforts to keep the last volume of the report secret in perpetuity. In her ruling, Judge Gladys Kessler accepted the CIA’s legal arguments that, because Volume V was a “draft” and never officially approved for inclusion in the Agency’s official history, it was exempt from declassification under the “deliberative process privilege” despite having been written over 30 years ago.

The National Security Archive called the decision “a regrettable blow to the right-to-know” and vowed to press the Obama administration to force the CIA to adhere to the President’s Executive Order 13526 that “no information shall remain classified indefinitely.”

The volume, titled “CIA’s Internal Investigations of the Bay of Pigs Operations,” was written by CIA historian Jack Pfeiffer in 1981.

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New Che Guevera Diary Published

CheVia The Guardian:

A previously unpublished diary kept by Ernesto “Che” Guevara during the guerilla campaign he fought alongside Fidel Castro has been released in Cuba.

Diary of a Combatant covers the period from 1956 until late 1958, beginning with Guevara’s arrival in Cuba aboard the yacht Granma with Fidel and Raúl Castro and going on to cover his march from the east of the island to Havana.

The book was unveiled in the Cuban capital on Tuesday on what would have been the Argentine-born revolutionary’s 83rd birthday. His widow, Aleida March, was on hand with one of his daughters to sign copies and said that the purpose of publishing the diary was “to acknowledge his thoughts, life and work”.

The book was edited by the Che Guevara Studies centre, which is directed by March, and published by Australian firm Ocean Press/Ocean Sur.

One reason why the publication of the diaries had been put off was that some of the hand-written notebooks in which they were kept were missing, a press conference was told.

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Cuban Medics in Haiti Put the World to Shame

Cuba In HaitiNina Lakhani writes in the Indepedent:

They are the real heroes of the Haitian earthquake disaster, the human catastrophe on America’s doorstep which Barack Obama pledged a monumental US humanitarian mission to alleviate. Except these heroes are from America’s arch-enemy Cuba, whose doctors and nurses have put US efforts to shame.

A medical brigade of 1,200 Cubans is operating all over earthquake-torn and cholera-infected Haiti, as part of Fidel Castro’s international medical mission which has won the socialist state many friends, but little international recognition.

Observers of the Haiti earthquake could be forgiven for thinking international aid agencies were alone in tackling the devastation that killed 250,000 people and left nearly 1.5 million homeless. In fact, Cuban healthcare workers have been in Haiti since 1998, so when the earthquake struck the 350-strong team jumped into action. And amid the fanfare and publicity surrounding the arrival of help from the US and the UK, hundreds more Cuban doctors, nurses and therapists arrived with barely a mention.

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Arguments Against The Police State at Guantanamo Bay

[disinformation ed.'s note: The Washington Post reports that "Obama administration officials are drafting an executive order that would set up a review process for detainees held indefinitely at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba." In a region where both American and Cuban law ceases to exist, does this order follow the procedures set forth in President Obama's May 2009 speech about detainees who would be held indefinitely at that military prison? With that in mind, we thought we'd remind our readers of Russ Kick's "12 Arguments Against the Police State at Guantanamo Bay" in his Book of Lists: Subversive Facts and Hidden Information in Rapid-Fire Format (2004)]: GB The 660 or so people being held at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have never been tried or even charged with crimes. They can be held for the rest of their lives at the whim of the government, and the military has floated the possibility of executing some of them. In an effort to remedy this disgraceful destruction of rights and the law, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a petition seeking habeas corpus, which would force the government to Constitutionally process the prisoners (i.e., quick and speedy trials, jury of peers, right to confront accusers, etc.). A district court refused, buying the feds’ ridiculous argument that because the US military base is located on the island of Cuba, it isn’t subject to US law, though it also is most definitely not subject to Cuban law. Following this line of argument, no law applies there, making it an autonomous zone, as devised by Hakim Bey, or an interzone, from the works of William Burroughs. I’m sure that the men and women stationed at Guantanamo Bay would be surprised to know that they can apparently steal, rape, and kill with impunity. Go ahead, snort coke off your commanding officer’s desk. It’s all right, because US law doesn’t apply...
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