Cuba

Greens MLC John Kaye officially welcomed to Sydney the new Cuban consul Reinaldo Garcia as part of an event to mark 12 years since the arrest of the “Cuban Five”. The Cuban Five are anti-terrorist fighters who were arrested in the US for infiltrating and collecting information on Miami-based right-wing anti-Cuban terrorist groups. Despite disclosing information they had gathered to US authorities, it is they and not the terrorists that are facing jail terms, in some cases double life sentences.
The Fabio Di Celmo Committee for the Five, (CFDCF) of Quebec-Cuba Solidarity, has been organising picket lines in front of the US Consulate in downtown Montreal the first Thursday of every month for more than three years in solidarity with the Cuban Five. The five are Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernandez, and Ramón Labanino and Fernando Gonzalez. They were arrested 12 years ago on September 12, sentenced to long prison terms and held in terrible penitentiary conditions.
On August 3, following an international campaign of solidarity, Gerardo Hernandez was transferred from “the hole” — the punitive isolation unit at the maximum-security Victorville penitentiary in California — and returned to the general prison population. Arrested in 1998, Hernandez was sentenced in 2001 to two life terms plus 15 years on a legally dubious espionage conviction.

BRISBANE — To celebrate the 57th anniversary of the start of the Cuban Revolution, the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society organised a night of Cuban poetry readings, live music and food and drinks. On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro led an attack by opponents of the Batista dictatorship on the Moncada Barracks. The event was held at the Queensland Council of Unions building. Veteran left-activist Jim Sharp read some poems from his new book, which was launched on July 31.

A major split over the US blockade of Cuba has emerged between domestic “dissidents” in Cuba and their former partners in Miami. The US corporate media is paying attention to what appears to be a new anti-Cuban strategy. A letter signed by 74 of the “dissidents” on the island calls for an end to Washington’s ban on US citizens travelling to Cuba. On the other hand, most of the Cuban-American members of Congress are fiercely defending the nearly 50-year-old economic blockade in all its forms. The “new contras” are now up against the old.
Cuba provides the best conditions for motherhood among developing countries, Save the Children's State of the World's Mothers 2010 report has found. The Times of India reported on May 5 that the report “examines 160 countries — 43 developed and 117 developing ones — and analyses the best and worst places to be a mother based on 10 factors such as the educational status, health, economic circumstances of the mothers, as well as the basic well-being of children”.
There are many myths about Cuba that the mainstream media happily reinforces, especially about Cuba’s democratic processes. Contrary to media assertions, in Cuba there are general elections, the last ones taking place in 2007-08. In these elections, deputies to the parliament (National Assembly of People’s Power) and delegates to the provincial assemblies are elected for a five-year mandate.
“In a stunning demonstration all over the island”, Prensa Latina said on May 1, “Cubans showed the power of unity to face the media campaign launched against the country by United States and its European allies. “Millions of men, women and even children packed in the main squares, marched along central avenues all over the provinces and municipalities of the nation declaring their support to the revolutionary process they have freely chosen.”
Palestinian Ambassador to Cuba Akram Samhan told an event in Havana on April 17 that Israeli jails have locked up more than 760,000 Palestinians since 1967. The event marked the 35th Palestinian Prisoner Day. The staggering number of Palestinians jailed by Israel is equal to 20% of the population of Gaza, the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem. Samhan said this demonstrates that the occupying force has been met with Palestinian resistance that will continue until their homeland is free.
We all know about climate change, forest destruction and other ecological threats, but in Latin America environmental concern is treated more seriously than perhaps in any other part of the world.

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