Cuba to Compete at Rotterdam, Holland

Havana, Jun 27 (Prensa Latina) A Cuban baseball team is training at the Havana Latin American Stadium, to compete at the Inter-Ports Baseball Tournament of Rotterdam, Holland, a competition in which Cuba has been the champion in 10 times, in the 15 editions of the event.

The Cuban team will start competition on July 1st, playing against Curazao at the Neptunus Familiestadion, to play matches against Japan (July 2nd), Chinese Taipei (July 3rd) and Holland (July 4th), with a day of general rest for all the teams on July 5th. The following day, decisive matches will begin.

Cuba has won the first place of the tournament six times in the last seven incursions in Rotterdam.

This time Cuba is presenting a team with experienced players, such as catchers Frank Camilo Morejon and Osvaldo Vazquez, and young talented players, like first baseman Leonel Segura, outfielders Yoelquis Guibert and Jorge Luis Peña, and 2016 Rookie of the Year Eliécer Griñán.

The manager of the Cuban team to this competition, Vladimir Hernández, who finished in fourth place in the last national championship, taking the reins of the Villa Clara Azucareros, told the Cuban press that they want to win the champion title.

‘I think we have potential, with men that have represented us in major tournaments and other s who are younger, who excelled in the under-23 national championships and they also had good performance in the last senior National

Championship’, said the Cuban manager.

hr/tac/oda/abm

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HSU Professor and Students to Present Asteroid Studies in Cuba

Dr. Miller and his students will present their asteroid project in Cuba

Dr. Patrick Miller, a Professor of Mathematics at Hardin-Simmons University, and two HSU students, Kade Wagner and David Offner, will be presenting in Havana, Cuba at the X International Congress on Didactics of Science and the XV International Workshops on the Teaching of Physics on April 2-6, 2018. Miller and his students have been personally invited by the Directorate of Science Programs at de Ministry of Education in Cuba to attend and present at this international conference.

Miller will be collaborating with the International Asteroid Search Collaboration (IASC) and prompting the program’s expansion to Cuba during his trip. IASC is an online educational outreach program for high schools, colleges, and universities, in which students make original discoveries of Solar System objects including Main Belt asteroids, near-Earth objects, Trojan asteroids, comets, and trans-Neptunian objects. Since October 2006 this program has given students the opportunity to make worldwide original discoveries of objects in space.

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CNE Releases List of Approved Candidates for Elections to Constituent Assembly

Caracas, June 26, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) released Thursday a list of approved candidates for elections to the National Constituent Assembly to be held on July 30.

Once elected, the 545 delegates to the ANC will set to work on drafting a new constitution for the South American nation, which will subsequently be approved via a national referendum.

The ANC will be made up of 364 territorial delegates elected by municipality as well as 181 “sectorial” representatives who are chosen by their constituencies. The sectorial delegates include commune activists, workers, indigenous people, students, businesspeople, farmers and fishing workers, senior citizens, and people living with disabilities.

Over the past month, prospective candidates to the assembly have been working to collect signatures in their municipalities and social sectors in order to meet the CNE registration requirements.

Among the candidates are top government spokespeople such as former Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, ex-chief of staff Carmen Melendez, and former National Assembly President and “First Combatant” Cilia Flores, as well as representatives from grassroots movements.

The revolutionary Alexis Vive Patriotic Front saw two of its leading candidates, Barbara Martinez and Jesus Silva, accepted for the communal sector and Lara state, respectively.

The Bolivar and Zamora Revolutionary Current likewise succeeded in getting a number of its candidates approved.

Since President Maduro’s announcement of the ANC on May 1, Venezuelan popular movements have largely rallied behind the initiative, which they view not only as a possible solution to the current political crisis but also as a means of institutionalizing the revolutionary gains achieved over the past 18 years.

Lucas Koerner, venezuelanalysis.com

June 26, 2017

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How Will Trump’s New Policies Affect Cuba’s Economy?

Trump’s restrictions on tourism could hurt Cuba’s fledgling AirBnB economy. Photographer: Eliana Aponte/Bloomberg

Donald Trump has decided to crack down on Cuba. He told a small crowd in Miami, “We will not lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until all political prisoners are freed, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized, and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled.” Trump’s decision to roll back some of Barack Obama’s Cuba policy’s is a break from the tone he’s taken when dealing with Russia, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and other countries with problematic records on human rights.

Trump’s policy changes have been criticized for being a return type of Cuba strategy the U.S. employed during the Cold War. Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern explained, “These policy changes by President Trump will only take us back toward a Cold War policy that was a miserable failure and held our country back for more than 50 years.”

Restrictions on U.S. tourism could affect air travel companies such as American Airlines and hospitality companies such as Starwood, Marriott and AirBnB, major U.S. companies that have made efforts to increase their operations in Cuba. The end of the Obama-era detente with Cuba is a new political risk that may also cause telecom companies such as Verizon and IDT and IT outsourcing companies to pause before thinking about investing in Cuba.

To get a sense of what Trump’s proposed policy changes might mean for companies thinking about investing in Cuba, I reached out to Jason Marczak, the director of the Latin America Economic Growth Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.

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A lesson from Cuba

A group of us recently returned from a trip to Cuba on an educational visa. The beautiful architecture, country and classic cars were just the start of an impressive learning experience.

I’ll relate just one of those learning experiences here.

It started when one of the women in our group of 13 became ill. She was taken to the hospital by ambulance, received x-rays, lab work and meds, and then returned to her hotel by ambulance. There was no cost or paperwork to sign.

I first thought this might just be Cuban hospitality, but later learned that this is how healthcare works in Cuba. Everyone simply goes to the doctor, hospital or pharmacy for their healthcare needs with no out-of-pocket expense.

Of course healthcare is not free in Cuba and certainly not in this country. The difference is that Cubans pay only about 40 cents for every dollar that we pay for the same healthcare.

How is this possible?

First, nobody in Cuba buys healthcare insurance. Healthcare insurance in our country costs roughly 32 percent of our healthcare dollar. Theirs is more like a Medicare-for-all which takes only 4 percent of the healthcare dollar. A healthcare insurance CEO making $131,000,000 a year is not necessary in Cuba.

Some would argue that those in the healthcare insurance business would lose jobs. True, but history has shown that this kind of progressive change creates even more jobs in the long run. Look at energy, for example, where there are now 10 times more jobs in alternative energy than there are in fossil fuels.

There are other savings in Cuba’s system as well like government contracted pharmaceuticals. There are no $6,000 pills. Attorneys looking for every opportunity to sue are not welcome. The list goes on.

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Rutherford: Reversing Trade-Travel With Cuba Bad Move

Outdoor restaurant In Vinales. Gobal Relations Travel Club Owner Dan Rutherford says he always tried to eat a restauramts at private homes to help individuals who are allowed to operate them as private businesses. Photo courtesy of Linda Stockton via Facebook

Former State Senator and Treasurer Dan Rutherford says his travel business to Cuba won’t be hurt by President Trump’s plans to reverse Obama-era easing of restrictions on travel and trade. But, Rutherford thinks the president’s policy is a mistake.

“It once again puts that wet, damp blanket over what could be a lucrative trade opportunity that is only 90 miles away,” Rutherford said. He says Cuba is a relatively small market but its proximity makes it a logical partner. For example, he points out Cuba imports 80% of chicken consumed in the country and right now all that meat is coming from Mexico when it could easily be shipped from the US to Cuba using the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

In fact, the US Department of Agriculture has estimated easing trade restrictions could result in $1 billion in sales next year. But, that seems unlikely as President Trump doubles down on the rhetoric that many believed helped him win electoral votes in Florida . He traveled with Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American congressman (R-Florida) earlier this month and announced greater restrictions on travel to Cuba.

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Our Views: Keep pushing ties with Cuba

Advocate photo by Elizabeth Crisp – Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain presents one of the trade delegation’s hosts a copy of a book about Louisiana cuisine by Chef John Folse

As a historic trading partner with Cuba, Louisiana is poised to benefit from a more normal relationship with the island, long in the grip of an outdated Communist government and under resulting trade restrictions with the United States.

President Donald Trump, in haste to differ with his predecessor, has announced a rollback of the opening of travel to the island. The new restrictions, though, appear not to affect the opening of a formal embassy in Havana under President Barack Obama.

A strong booster of exports to Cuba from Louisiana is Mike Strain, the commissioner of agriculture and forestry. “Agriculture is generally unaffected by the new policy,” he said of the Trump administration’s planned restrictions on sales to the island’s military.

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Trump’s new rules on Cuba travel have industry assessing damage

Tours through Havana in a 1950s classic car are considered a cultural and educational activity under the people-to-people travel rules for Cuba. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

President Trump’s decision to reverse several hallmarks of President Obama’s Cuba policy, including individual people-to-people travel to Cuba, left many in the industry scratching their heads.

Trump called the Obama administration’s deal with Cuba “terrible and misguided” before signing a policy that will require anyone traveling under the people-to-people category to be part of a group, a rollback to pre-2016 rules.

It will also prevent Americans from doing business with Gaesa, Cuba’s Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group, which is involved in myriad parts of the Cuban economy. That prohibition is expected to limit the number of hotels and restaurants tourists can visit.

Trump asserted that “easing restrictions on travel and trade does not help the people; it only enriches the Cuban regime.”

Cuba experts last week disagreed.

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Minnesota Still Engaging With Cuba Despite Setback

Minnesota’s government and businesses are actively engaging in Cuba in areas like agricultural trade. This is despite a rollback in trade relations by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Reuters reports that Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith is leading a trade delegation to the country as the first state representative to make a trip since Trump undid an Obama-era move to normalize trade relations between the countries. Smith feels there’s no question the move by Trump was a setback, saying, “The important thing for me is support remains at the federal level for normalizing and modernizing the relationship.”

Minnesota is one of the biggest farming states in the U.S. and Smith hopes the trip will improve ties with Cuba and promote Minnesota exports. U.S. ag groups have criticized Trump’s move to restrict travel to and business dealings with Cuba, saying it could derail a huge growth in agricultural exports that totaled $221 million last year.

While ag exports aren’t prevented by U.S. law, rules on how to do transactions have made it extremely difficult and expensive. Cuba invited the Minnesota delegation to a trade show later in the year, Smith said, while Minnesota invited Cuban officials to visit.

NAFB, kticradio.com

June 26, 2017

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Venezuela Is Under Attack for Asserting That Black Lives Matter

Government supporters shout at opposition protesters in Caracas, Venezuela, April 19, 2017. (Photo: Meridith Kohut / The New York Times)

A recent New York Times article, “Targeting Maduro Supporters in Miami,” describes the increasingly vocal body of anti-government Venezuelan “exiles” living in the United States who are escalating their agitation and harassment tactics against fellow Venezuelans who support President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government. The Venezuelan opposition has enjoyed the unconditional support of the US government and mass media — conservative and liberal pundits alike — who simultaneously demonize and undermine the nation’s democratically elected government as a brutal dictatorship while portraying the US-funded and often violent opposition as peaceful, pro-democracy, anti-government protesters.

It is true that the current economic situation in Venezuela is quite dire; the nation is currently experiencing a triple digit inflation rate, and Venezuelans often face long lines to purchase basic commodities. While these challenges are due to a complex array of factors, including an economic war waged against the country along with the plummeting price of oil, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and Fox News alike use an endless barrage of crisis imagery to turn public opinion against Venezuela’s government in order to destabilize and ultimately overthrow the socialist administration.

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