Cuba strongly rejects Bolivian authorities’ pretexts to suspend ties

Havana, Jan 26 (Prensa Latina) Cuba has strongly rejected pretexts yielded by the Bolivian de facto authorities to suspend diplomatic relations with the island, allegations the Foreign Ministry considers misleading and deceptive.

In a statement, the Cuban Foreign Ministry holds that ‘since its violent inrush in power on November 12, 2019, several members of the de facto government in that country have carried out systematic actions to deteriorate and hinder bilateral relations with Cuba.’

Here’s the full statement:

Declaration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Plurinational State of Bolivia announced the decision of the putschist Government to suspend diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba, claming that the Cuban Government has systematically affected bilateral relations and has been hostile towards the Bolivian authorities.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba strongly rejects the unfounded allegations of Bolivia’s de facto government.

Since its violent inrush in power on November 12, 2019, several members of the de facto government in that country have carried out systematic actions to deteriorate and hinder bilateral relations with Cuba.

The acting authorities deployed a ferocious campaign of lies and distortions against Cuba, particularly against Cuba’s medical cooperation, and publicly encouraged the commission of violent acts against our health staff, which included brutal, illegal and unjustified raids and searches, false allegations and the detention of Cuban cooperation workers.

As early as November 14, 2019, Cuba was asked to recall its ambassador, who honorably returned to Havana for good on December 7, after having impeccably ensured and completed the safe return of each and every member of the medical staff, which presupposed a significant risk for the diplomatic personnel that organized and accompanied the Cuban cooperation workers in their transit through dangerous areas. From November 15 to 20, the acting Foreign Ministry of Bolivia unilaterally withdrew the entire diplomatic staff accredited to Cuba.

On the 14, the so called Minister of Communications published slanderous allegations against the Cuban diplomatic staff and their relatives, which included offensive remarks about the Cuban ambassador and the outlandish allegation claiming that his wife had organized demonstrations and the resistance against the coup, when in fact she had never visited that country.

As part of that campaign, on November 15, 2019, the Cooperation Workers’ Clinic which is a property of the Republic of Cuba in La Paz, was violently raided by law enforcement authorities without any search warrant. As a result of that equipment, materials and other assets were stolen from that facility and so far the Cuban embassy personnel has been prevented access to that property of the Cuban State.

On November 18, a ridiculous denunciation of an alleged plan to attack the putschist authorities in Beni, made reference to the participation of inexistent Cuban citizens, the purpose of which being to fuel hysteria.

On January 8, 2020, the designated Minister of Health accused our cooperation workers of not being health professionals and carrying out an indoctrination work. In that press conference he was accompanied by Colonel Gonzalo Medinacelli of the Bolivian Police Force, who is at the service of the US embassy in La Paz and has been the main instigator and key actor of the incidents perpetrated against our cooperation workers.

The Presidential Message to the Nation of the Plurinational State of Bolivia aired on January 22 last included an offensive reference to the Cuban health personnel, labeling them as ‘fake Cuban doctors’, with complete disregard for the altruistic and professional work of our health staff. This message slanderously asserted that 80 per cent of the funds of the Cuban Medical Brigade in Bolivia were being transferred to our country ‘to finance the Castro-communist system that subjugates and enslaves the Cuban people.’

As was timely denounced in the Declaration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba on December 5, 2019, the so called Minister of Health ‘shamelessly exaggerated the amounts of the stipends earned by Cuban medical specialists, which were in fact lower than the ones earned by Bolivian general practitioners. He failed to mention that Cuba did not receive a single cent from that cooperation.’ The money earned by the Cuban Medical Brigade in Bolivia was never transferred to Cuba and was used to cover the expenses of our cooperation workers in that country.

The budget of the Cuban Medical Brigade was approved according to the established procedures in Bolivian, which included appropriate parliamentarian proceedings; and was adequately audited by the Ministry of Health of Bolivia and other authorities.

We are not used to publish information about the cost of the medical cooperation that we offer to other countries, because our people, despite the blockade and the economic difficulties, takes on this task with generosity and altruism and as a duty that is to be fulfilled with modesty.

But the insults that have been hurled at us have forced us to reveal that Cuba’s medical cooperation with Bolivia started in 1985, with the donation of three intensive care units for pediatric hospitals. From 2006 to 2012, Cuba covered the full cost of its cooperation with Bolivia, which amounted to more than 200 million dollars per year and included medical equipment, medicines, medical inputs and consumables, the sustenance of the Cuban Brigade, the air transportation of cooperation workers and the purchase of medical equipment.

Ever since then, and taking into account the favorable situation facing the Bolivian economy, that country started to cover the cost of the medical services, but it never transferred a single dollar to Cuba; nor did Cuba receive any revenues whatsoever. At the same time, a total of 5 184 Bolivian youths graduated from Medicine in our country, the cost of which was fully covered by our country.

None of the de facto authorities has recognized that, as a result of the dedicated work and professional and strictly humanitarian behavior of the Cuban health staff, 54 per cent of which was made up by women, our cooperation workers offered 77 330 447 medical consultations; performed 1 529 301 surgeries; assisted 60 640 child deliveries; applied 22 221 vaccines and performed 508 403 eye surgeries. The Bolivian people have been deprived of these services since the departure of our health cooperation workers.

On January 22, the also designated minister of Hydrocarbons declared that Bolivia had terminated a commercial contract for the sale of urea to a Cuban company, claiming that it was an alleged ‘gift’ to Cuba because the commodity had been negotiated at ‘a very cheap price, considering its value at the world market.’ Once again the putschists resort to lies to justify their decisions. The price agreed with the Cuban company was in accordance with the international references that, as a standard practice, are taken as a basis to market this product.

In its official communiqué, the Bolivian Government claims that the Cuban Government affects the alleged bilateral relation of mutual respect based on the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of States. However, on January 20 last, the Presidential Palace of Bolivia summoned a Cuban citizen with a long and very well-known history of actions that she has perpetrated against her own country and of being at the service of receiving pay from foreign powers, for the purpose of talking about ‘the situation facing the Cuban people’, which is an act of interference in the internal affairs of the Republic of Cuba in complicity with the hostile campaigns launched against our country.

None of the above is alien to the pressures exercised by the US administration to impose the Monroe Doctrine in Our America, or the tightening of the blockade and the hostility against Cuba. The pressures exerted by the administration of president Donald Trump on other countries to force them to support its neo-liberal, unilateral and coercive policies in violation of International Law are too well known.

From the very inception of the coup, officials from the US administration have been putting pressure on Bolivia to impose a deterioration of relations with Cuba, persecute Cuban doctors, harass diplomats and cancel the medical cooperation that benefited the Bolivian people. As was appropriately denounced, some of these repressive and violent operations against the Cuban health staff involved the direct participation of US ‘diplomatic’ officials.

It s not by chance that the facts described here coincide with a brutal and politically motivated US campaign against Cuba’s international medical cooperation that is being offered in tens of countries, which has become a symbol of international solidarity.

Soon after the coup, when the putschists made some statements in recognition of the Cuban cooperation workers and called to stop every action against them, several US officials intensified their pressures. Later on, on November 19, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo stated that ‘the expulsion of hundreds of Cuban officials was the right decision. Bravo Bolivia!’

On January 15, the putschist authorities of La Paz welcomed with great fanfare Mauricio Claver-Carone, the National Security Advisor of the White House, who works as the overseer of the aggression and blockade against Cuba, a cause he has been devoted to since he was very young.

On January 21 Under Secretary of State David Hale was received with similar fanfare, which coincided with the shameless tour made by Pompeo around our region. On the day when the announcement that so much pleased Washington was made, the acting Foreign Minister was precisely at the State Department offices.

The Bolivian putschist authorities should not hold Cuba responsible for their decision to sever diplomatic relations between both countries. The hostile and offensive actions have not emanated from our Government or our people. Cuba has acted with patience and prudence, defending and protecting its nationals and avoiding any confrontation, despite the reprehensible behavior of the putschists.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates its respect for the norms and principles of International Law that govern relations among States and strict compliance of its obligation not to interfere, either directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of other States.

Havana, January 25, 2020.


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International Media Education Film Festival to be held in Cuba

Havana, Jan 26 (Prensa Latina) From Valencia to Cuba, the I International Media Education Film Festival (MICE) to take place in this capital, from January 29-31, has an impact today on the audiovisual training initiatives for children and teenagers.

More than 20 professors from Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Germany, and Brazil will attend this event that will promote film creation by children filmakers based on a responsible training.

In its first edition, this initiative will extend MICE Valencia’s educational experience, which will take place this year in Cuba, MICE President Josep Arbiol said.

According to the coordinator of the UNIAL platform in Cuba, Eileen Sanabria, the festival will include several provinces of this Caribbean nation and is a necessary space that will strengthen the union of bodies such as the Ministry of Education and the Juan Marinello Cuban Institute of Cultural Research.

Organized by the UNIAL Network, this event is sponsored by the Valencian Culture Institute, the Minister of Culture and the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC), which has steadily worked in favor of children’s education for 60 years.

Some of the Cuban experts supporting MICE Havana are filmmaker Marilyn Solaya, actor Jorge Perugorría, and film critic Frank Padron, who will highlight the importance of children’s audiovisual education and image reading.

During the official inaguration, scheduled for January 29 at La Rampa movie theater, the animated short film ‘El Jugador’ (The Player) will be screened, based on the homonymous short story by Valencian writer Enric Valor, by the children of the Stop Motion animated workshop, from Cuba.

The program of activities includes the Education Communication Congress, a classic Spanish guitar concert, and several screenings, exhibitions, animation workshops and lectures.


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Zero tolerance policy against human trafficking in Cuba

Havana, Jan 25 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez highlighted today the zero tolerance policy against human trafficking in this country, which results in a low incidence of this scourge.

Cuba upholds a zero tolerance policy and maintains an exemplary performance in the prevention and fight of human trafficking, with a low incidence of this scourge, the foreign minister wrote on his Twitter account.

The authorities presented a report yesterday on this issue, which indicated that, from 2017 to date, 15 cases were prosecuted for human trafficking crimes.

Twelve of them correspond to the category of trafficking for sexual exploitation, two to trafficking for forced begging, and one to trafficking for slavery purposes, the document said.

It added that there were 25 victims identified: 10 women, 8 girls, 1 boy, and 6 men.

The various legal instruments in force in Cuba allow dealing with human trafficking and behaviors associated with it, such as pimping, pornography and child prostitution, in compliance with the Palermo Convention, its Protocols and other international instruments, it noted.

Equal opportunities for all people, the implementation of policies and programs for the empowerment of women, free access to health and education services, and other opportunities contribute to controlling this scourge.

During 2019, the island continued implementing the National Action Plan for the prevention and fight of human trafficking and the protection of victims (2017-2020).

That plan is considered to be a fundamental tool in the coordinated action between the State and civil society organizations to deal with this crime, the authorities said.


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US Stole Venezuela’s Oil Company Citgo in 2019: Analyst

US Stole Venezuela’s Oil Company Citgo in 2019: Analyst

Jan 25 (Orinoco Tribune) The United States stole Venezuela’s Citgo Petroleum Corporation in 2019 and handed over to the people that Washington is now recognizing as the coup government in Venezuela led by Juan Guaido, according to an American human rights expert and peace activist.

Daniel Kovalik, who teaches international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in the state of Pennsylvania, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Friday.

President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has reportedly lobbied US prosecutors to avoid possible prosecution of his wealthy Venezuelan client due to his financial support for Venezuela’s opposition figure Guaido.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Reuters reported that Giuliani urged, last year, the Justice Department prosecutors to go easy on Alejandro Betancourt.

Betancourt — an executive with the Venezuelan state-owned oil company in Florida — is the subject of a criminal investigation into $1.2 billion in alleged money laundering in the US state.

In an August meeting in Spain, Betancourt told Giuliani he secretly helped bankroll Guaido’s efforts to topple the government of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, according to people familiar with the situation.

Kovalik said that “it’s quite interesting. I mean it sounds like former mayor Giuliani acting in his role apparently as lawyer for Donald Trump is trying to get leniency for a Venezuelan living in Florida who has been charged by prosecutors in Florida for laundering over a billion dollars, illegally laundering over a billion dollars in the state.”

“Giuliani is saying that this gentleman Alejandro Betancourt has been helping with the attempted coup in Venezuela against President Nicolas Maduro therefore should be given a lighter sentence because of his help. It’s not clear to me whether the money laundering is linked to that help with the coup but probably is,” he stated.

“The individual being charged with money laundering is apparently now an official of Venezuela’s US oil company Citgo which the US really stole from Venezuela in 2019, and handed over to the people you know that the US is now recognizing as the coup government in Venezuela led by Juan Guaido,” he noted.

“So probably this gentleman in Florida was using proceeds from Citgo to help Guaido and his attempt to overthrow President Maduro,” he said.

“But I guess the long and short of it is why should have a Venezuelan national be given leniency for using laundered money to engage in an illegal coup. I mean why should Florida prosecutors give him any flak because of that. In fact he should be given a bigger sentence for meddling in another country’s affairs,” he noted.

Featured image: Citgo Corpus Christi refinery in Texas (file photo)
Source URL: PressTV

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‘Todas’ project highlights women’s role in Cuba’s historic memory

By Liz Arianna Bobadilla León

Havana, Jan 25 (Prensa Latina) With the premise to dismantle history seen sometimes as a series of male events, written with the quill of patriarchy, images and documents will be brought to life in this capital to highlight women’s role.

‘Todas’. In search of a space, the femenine role is put on the table in the construction of Cuba’s citizenship and serves as a bridge between the past and present, in a context where the establishement of a law on gender violence is being discussed.

The first action of the sociocultural project All, seeks to rescue the historical memory, reflect that constant struggle of each woman to occupy a dignified place in society and influence women’s empowerment, said the leader of the initiative, the filmmaker Marilyn Solaya. Running from Jannuary 30 through March 3 at Palacio del Segundo Cabo, located in this city’s historical center, the exhibit will be curated and coordinated by historian Neida Peñalver Diaz, member of the Ibero-American and African Masculinities Network.

We intend to involve other women, members of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, and artists that will paint the faces of these representatives and the writers that will write about their work, life, and legacy, Solaya said.

In addition, their presence in Havana will be included in the celebration of the International Book Fair and in a conference on women’s empowerment, equality and non-violence, which intends to carry the project to other Cuban territories.


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Sixth National Meeting of Cubans in Italy starts in Milan

Milan, Italy, Jan 25 (Prensa Latina) The VI National Meeting of Cuban Residents in Italy began here today with the participation of fifty representatives of more than 20 associations from all over the country.

The event began with the opening of a room in the island’s consulate general in this city that will henceforth bear the name of Jose Marti, to whom the meeting is dedicated.

The Cuban ambassador in Italy, Jose Carlos Rodriguez, accompanied by other diplomatic and consular officials and directors of the National Coordinator of Cubans Living in Italy (Conaci), laid a wreath at the base of a bust of the island’s national hero unveiled on this occasion.

In his greeting to the participants in the meeting organized by Conaci, the Consul General, Llanio Gonzalez, expressed that ‘you are true representatives of our emigration and not that plattist and annexationist minority that wants a neo-colonial Republic.

Gonzalez indicated that the presence of those attending the event constitutes his first achievement ‘and an irrefutable fact of the commitment and support of the Cubans living abroad’ with their homeland in the fight against the U.S. blockade and in defense of the independence and sovereignty of the island.

To the pride of Cuba and its emigrants, he said, there are currently 166 Associations of Cubans in 79 countries, 89 of them in Europe, who are mobilizing in favor of their homeland and supporting it in its main international claims.


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Venezuelan indigenous movement is working for international unity

Caracas, Jan 24 (Prensa Latina) The United Indigenous Movement of Venezuela (MIUVEN) is working today to consolidate unity of all indigenous peoples, it was revealed at the World Anti-Imperialist Meeting.

As part of this event, held from January 22 in this capital and that will end on Friday, the vice president of the Indigenous Peoples of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, Aloha Núñez, explained that the first actions will be carried out in Colombia.

She announced that a MIUVEN delegation will visit, in the coming months, its Colombian brothers and sisters and will then travel to Central America, in order to strengthen solidarity among indigenous peoples.

They are also planning to visit several South American nations, she said, and pointed out that there is a clear and precise agenda for the next quarter that will allow progress in the creation of the World Organization of Indigenous Peoples on August 9.

Núñez explained that several issues intrisic to indigenous peoples, their problems and aspirations have been widely discussed during this event.

This anti-imperialist meeting is attended by 10 international and 30 Venezuelan indigenous peoples.


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Bolivia coup government suspends diplomatic relations with Cuba

La Paz, Jan 24 (Prensa Latina) Bolivia´s Acting Foreign Minister Yerko Núñez on Friday announced the suspension of diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Núñez stated at a press conference that this decision was due to alleged ‘grievances’ of the Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez against the Bolivia´s interim government.

The de facto government headed by the self-proclaimed president Jeanine Áñez, since she usurped power in the context of the coup d’etat against Evo Morales, lashed out at Cuba, especially against the Cuban doctors working in that South American country.

Despite the Cuban doctors took a flight back to the island, the Bolivia´s interim government continues attacking and criticizing their solidarity work which has benefited hundreds of thousands of Bolivian families, especially the humble ones, as Áñez did on January 22 at the opening ceremony to celebrate the foundation of the Plurinational State

‘Vulgar lies of the self-proclaimed coup president in #Bolivia. Another example of her servility to #EEUU. She should explain to the Bolivian people that after the Cuban doctors returned to the island, over 454,440 health care has been stopped’, the Cuban Foreign Minister live-tweeted.

He added that ‘Two months without a Cuban medical brigade in #Bolivia is translated into nearly 1000 women who have not had specialized assistance in their deliveries and 5000 surgeries and over 2,700 ophthalmologic surgeries that have not been conducted. They are not just figures, they are human beings’.

Meanwhile, a great number of Bolivian people, families, are crying out for the Cuban doctors´ presence in Bolivia, since to date the coup regime has no capacity to replace suspended health services since the departure of the Cuban medical brigade.

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Cuba Ratifies Solidarity With Venezuela

In his speech, the Cuban representative called on the peoples' to defend peace and to stay nests above the political and ideological differences to stop a new imperialist military intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In his speech, the Cuban representative called on the peoples’ to defend peace and to stay nests above the political and ideological differences to stop a new imperialist military intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean. | Photo: Canal Caribe

Victor Gaude, a member of the Cuban Communist Party, called on the people to unite and defend Venezuela, because this nation decides today the sovereignty and dignity of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Jan 22 (teleSUR) The member of the secretariat of the Communist Party of Cuba, Victor Gaute, today ratified the firm and unchanging solidarity of the island with the Bolivarian Revolution and President Nicolás Maduro.

During the inauguration of the World Anti-Imperialist Meeting held in Caracas, Gaute expressed that the Caribbean nation brings to this event a message of unity, cooperation and solidarity with Venezuela and all the just causes of world.

In his speech, the Cuban representative called on the peoples’ to defend peace and to stay nests above the political and ideological differences to stop a new imperialist military intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean, which will damage the independence and sovereignty of the peoples from the Rio Grande to Patagonia.

“Cuba and Venezuela are not responsible for the anger of the peoples who rebel against the neo-liberalism that they intend to impose on blood and fire,” he emphasized as well as that the Cuban Revolution will always be next to Venezuela, at any circumstance.

Everything, he said, that everything is happening in the region today is a consequence of the crisis of the political systems, lack of democracy, discrediting conservative parties traditional, historical corruption typical of military dictatorships and the governments of right.

Furthermore, Gaute called on the people to unite and defend Venezuela, because, he stressed, in this nation decides today the sovereignty and dignity of Latin America and the Caribbean and the Survival of the norms of International Law and the Letter of Nations United.

“Fighting for Venezuela is fighting for the integration of the region, for respect for the sovereignty and independence of Our America”, reiterated the party leader Cuban.

After analyzing the political and economic situation that the island is experiencing, and highlighting the achievements reached by the revolutionary process, said that “no matter how hard the aggressions, threats and blackmail, there won’t be a single concession.”

Like this South American country, “nothing and nobody intimidates us and freedom once conquered, we will defend it at the price that is necessary,” he said.

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India and Cuba strengthen 60 years of ties

Text and FotosPL: Martin Hacthoun

Havana, Jan 24 (Prensa Latina) India and Cuba celebrate three decades of growing relations this 2020, and are willing to strengthen them more in the future on the basis of respect, support and cooperation, assured Ambassador Madhu Sethi.

‘This 60th anniversary will invigorate the commitment of both sides to strengthen friendship, bring our peoples closer and expand the ties for mutual benefit,’ stated the head of mission in Havana in an interview with Prensa Latina.

These relations are based on ‘the excellent ties of friendship between the leaders of both countries,’ stressed the Ambassador, who recalled Ernesto Che Guevara’s visit to New Delhi in July 1959 and his meeting with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

He added the subsequent meeting in September,1959 in New York within the framework of the UN General Assembly between Nehru and Fidel Castro, in which there was great mutual understanding between the two leaders and in January 1960 diplomatic ties came into effect.

From then on, dignitaries from both countries exchanged visits, the most recent one by President Ram Nath Kovind to Havana in 2018.

In the international arena, India’s and Cuba’s relations are characterized by a convergence of criteria in many global issues of common interest, and they mutually support each other in multilateral forums.

‘We are together at the forefront of world politics in promoting the interests of developing nations in either the Non-Aligned Movement or the United Nations,’ pointed out Sethi.

Both States – he added – are founding members of the NOAL and defend the principles of equality, unity of developing countries and South-South cooperation, while New Delhi supports Cuba in the face of the US blockade. ‘Our solidarity will always be with Cuba,’ he affirmed.


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