Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cuba Updates

Top Cuba legislator says US court won't hurt talks

HAVANA (AP) — The head of Cuba's parliament says the U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to consider an appeal by five convicted Cuban spies is "a great insult," but it won't jeopardize upcoming negotiations with Washington.

Ricardo Alarcon told The Associated Press in an interview late Wednesday night that no date has been set for immigration talks with the U.S., but he said that Raul

Castro's government hopes to expand the agenda to include environmental issues and efforts against terrorism, drug smuggling and natural disasters.
Yet Alarcon also called the U.S. "an ignorant lion," criticizing the Supreme Court's refusal this week to hear an appeal by the so-called "Cuban Five," men convicted of being unregistered foreign agents by a Miami court in 2001. Their lawyers claim that anti-Castro sentiment kept them from receiving a fair trial in South Florida.

Cuban officials say the men were heroes trying to avert terrorist attacks on the island and they have held massive rallies for their freedom, plastered their faces on billboards and commissioned songs, poems and paintings in their honor. Alarcon said the government will continue campaigning on their behalf, but he suggested that their legal status won't impede U.S.-Cuban talks.

"We share the sentiments of many who feel insulted by that decision, but I don't see why one necessarily has to affect the other," Alarcon said when asked if the high court's move could spoil negotiations.

The five were sentenced to terms that ranged from 10 years to life in prison. Three were also found guilty of conspiracy to obtain military secrets from the U.S. Southern Command.

A three-judge federal appeals court panel reversed their convictions in 2005, but the full 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later reinstated them, ordering new sentences for two of the men in coming months.

Alarcon said the men's freedom will be "at the top" of any list of priorities in talks with U.S. leaders, adding that President Barack Obama "has a moral obligation" to pardon the five if he really wants improved relations with Cuba and Latin America.

Still, he acknowledged that Obama has a clear desire for improved U.S.-Cuban ties, and noted that "there is an obvious change in language" in Washington, even if some people are "working to try and sabotage that."

Cuba's parliament meets just two weekends a year, when its members do little more than unanimously back measures proposed by Castro's government. Still, Alarcon is one of the island's most-public faces. He lived in the U.S. for years as Cuba's ambassador to the United Nations, and answered questions on Wednesday partly in English.

Alarcon also suggested that the June 4 arrest of two new accused Cuban spies, retired State Department official Walter Kendall Myers and his wife, was intended to undermine improved relations between the neighboring nations.

"The administration makes traveling to Cuba easier for Cuban Americans and Congress is discussing the elimination of travel restrictions for everyone, and suddenly this strange case pops up," he said, calling it something "out of a police novel."

The pair is not believed to have been paid, but rather to have been ideological supporters of the communist-run island.

"Cuba does not buy spies," he said. "They don't do it for money."

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

My 64 Words for Aung San Suu Kyi

To Aung San Suu Kyi,

64 words to say Feliz Cumpleaños! Glad you were born and hope you live many more years on this earth. To thank you for struggling to make a difference in this world full of people who only hold ant vision; who don't look beyond themselves or their daily tasks. You are an eagle vision woman who looks beyond today to our children's future. Peace!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Solidarity With The Indigenous Peoples of Peru!

Murdering people for protesting is a very terrible situation, to say the least. Indigenous peoples have a right to protest like any other group. The problem is that institutionalized racism believes that those of us who survived the massacres, since the arrival of the European people, are a conquered, broken and invisible people. They want us to stay that way... and since perception lags behind reality they are not aware that we have been rising for a long, long time and our children and their children will continue...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Cuba Updates

Fidel Castro

Applauses and Silences

Yesterday on May 31st, an AFP dispatch read: “Cuba has accepted to reopen negotiations with the United States about migration and direct mail service, a new signal of the thaw that is happening just before an Organization of American States (OAS) Summit where the Cuban situation will dominate conversations.

“The head of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, Jorge Bolaños, communicated on Saturday that Cuba ‘is waiting to reinitiate conversations about emigration and direct mail service’, said a senior State Department official who remained anonymous.

“From El Salvador where she is attending a ministerial conference on regional trade, Hillary Clinton said that Washington was pleased to resume conversations with Havana on those issues.”

Suddenly a rather undiplomatic sharp remark indicated that:

“’There will be an open dialogue as soon as there are changes on human rights and movement towards democracy’ in Cuba”, the EFE agency writes.

What is the kind of “democracy” and “human rights” advocated by the United States? Was it really necessary to launch that humiliating and arrogant warning?

Today when I saw the inauguration of Mauricio Funes on television and he spoke about reestablishing relations with Cuba, deafening applause and shouts of joy erupted in the room unlike anything else that had been heard during his speech. There, among the guests, was Hillary. Earlier, the speaker, who strayed many times from his written speech, had made the mistake of greeting Mrs. Clinton who is Secretary of State, even before Lula da Silva, the president of the South American giant who was sitting there in a group of presidents from our region.

The speaker, even before the end of the extended applause for Cuba –that could perhaps hurt Mrs. Clinton– started to speak and he again mentioned the United States with the best of intentions. However, very few people in that large room applauded that country.

A crucial moment, one that was much applauded in Mauricio’s speech earlier on, happened when he mentioned the distinguished Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero whose tomb he had visited that morning. While he was saying Mass, that defender of the poor had been murdered with impunity by the bloody ARENA Party tyranny imposed on El Salvador by imperialism. In that room there were also legislators and senior officials representing the party that had murdered him; among them several of the few who applauded the United States.

In certain circumstances, not just words do the speaking; so do applauses and silences.

Fidel Castro Ruz

June 1st, 2009

2:36 p.m.

source: Cuban News Agency