Obama nominates Cuba ambassador, first in over half-century

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama on Tuesday tapped the highest-ranking US diplomat in Cuba as the first ambassador to the island in more than 50 years. But deep opposition among some senators means it’s nearly impossible he’ll be confirmed before the President leaves office.

Jeffrey DeLaurentis has served as the United States’ charge d’affairs in Havana since 2014, overseeing the reopening of the US Embassy there and helping shepherd in a new era of US-Cuba ties.

Obama wrote in a statement that elevating DeLaurentis’ title to “ambassador” was a “common sense step forward toward a more normal and productive relationship between our two countries.”

“There is no public servant better suited to improve our ability to engage the Cuban people and advance US interests in Cuba than Jeff,” Obama wrote.

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Artists from 16 Countries to Perform in Festival of Ballet in Cuba

Havana, Sep 27 (Prensa Latina) Artists from 16 countries will perform in Cuba in the 25th International Ballet Festival of Havana from October 28th to November 6th, said the organizing company of the event, the National Ballet of Cuba.

So far, the countries that will be represented at the event are Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, South Korea, France, United Kingdom, Spain, United States, Mexico, Mongolia, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Russia and Uruguay.

This event is the first to bear the name of Cuban prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso, who is still the director of the company founded in 1948 by her and brothers Alberto and Fernando Alonso.

The American Ballet Theatre of the United States was the first company to recognize her as a star but for her technical and artistic skills, Alicia Alonso’s name became worldwide known, while turning into a ballet icon in Cuba and also a symbol of universal artistic excellence.

According to the organizing committee, the first dancers and the famous corps de ballet of the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC) will star many of the performances in the coming event, along with invited foreign artists and ballet companies.

hr/eav/oda/msm

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New Calls at UN to Lift Blockade of Cuba

The final session of the top-level discussion in the UN General Assembly was the scene today of new calls from the Caribbean, Africa, South America and Oceania to lift the US blockade of Cuba.

Foreign Ministers and diplomats from Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Bahamas, Suriname, Tanzania, Seychelles and Palau were in favor of putting an end to economic, trade and financial blockade of Cuba, imposed by the United States for more than 50 years.

In that reference, they highlighted at the assembly the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, and the expectations that the new situation leads to lift the blockade.

Foreign Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Denis Moses and the permanent representative for Palau before the UN, Caleb Otto, said the lifting of the sanctions would have a favorable impact on Cuba’s sustainable development.

Ambassador of Seychelles to Cuba, Marie-Louise Potter, insisted on the need to end the harmful blockade against the sister nation.

The unilateral measures implemented by Washington were rejected by more than 30 countries in sessions prior to the general discussion, including Bolivia, Venezuela, Mexico, Syria, Brazil, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Jamaica, Angola, Barbados, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Solomon Islands, North Korea, Laos, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Guinea.

Written by PL, Cuba Sí

September 27, 2016

 

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Top Cuban Diplomat to Speak at SUNY Cortland

Miguel Fraga, the first person to hold the title of first secretary at the Embassy of Cuba in more than half a century, will discuss U.S.-Cuba relations at SUNY Cortland on Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Fraga has been one of the communist nation’s top diplomats in the United States since the two countries re-established diplomatic relations a little more than a year ago. His talk, “U.S-Cuban Relations, Past, Present and Desired Future,” will trace the troubled history of the neighboring nations, clarify the Cuban perspective of current relations and explore opportunities for the future.

“Miguel is a great guy, very easy going and an interesting speaker,” said Jordan Kobritz, chair of SUNY Cortland’s Sport Management Department and the coordinator of Fraga’s Cortland visit. “This is a great opportunity for students.”

The first secretary will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Moffett Center, Room 2125. The lecture is free and open to the public.

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Big welcome for doctors from Cuba to improve health system

The Eastern Cape department of health yesterday received a much-needed boost to its primary health care services when it welcomed eight Cuban doctors to the province.

The doctors, who will be allocated to different hospitals around the province, were recruited to provide health services to rural and other disadvantaged communities.

The total number of doctors the department acquired as part of the exchange programme with Cuba, is 10. However, only eight arrived yesterday.

For more on this story get yourself a copy of the Daily Dispatch.

Siphe Macanda, Dispatch Live

September 27, 2016

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Poultry, Egg & Soy Groups Head to Cuba

The heads of four national U.S. poultry and egg organizations will lead a delegation representing the poultry, egg and U.S. soybean industries to Cuba for a fact-finding trade mission Sept. 27-30. Last week I traveled to Cuba with an agricultural media delegation and spent our time immersed in Cuban culture and agriculture. I am still regaining my wits and can’t wait to share all my photos and information gathered.

Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council; Mike Brown, president of the National Chicken Council; Joel Brandenberger, president of the National Turkey Federation, and Anne Alonzo, president and CEO of the American Egg Board, will be among the group on the Cuba mission.

The multi-commodity mission will be the first foray into Cuba funded entirely by the soybean checkoff program since the U.S. began normalizing relations with the country earlier this year.

In March, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that USDA would permit 22 industry-funded agricultural research and promotion programs to use checkoff funds to conduct authorized research and information-exchange activities in Cuba.

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‘The War Is Over’: FARC Rebels Approve Peace Deal with Colombia

Screen shot 2016-09-26 at 7.59.56 AM“The guerrillas … have given their unanimous backing to the final accord,” said the FARC’s Ivan Marquez.

The FARC rebel group announced Friday that close to 200 delegates representing all the guerrilla units in the country have unanimously ratified the peace accord signed with the government last Aug. 24.

“The war is over,” said Ivan Marquez at a national conference of the FARC to vote on the deal and relaunch the group as a political party.

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Over 80,000 Lives Saved by Cuba’s Henry Reeve Contingent

Havana.- The Henry Reeve International Contingent of Physicians Specialized in Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics has saved more than 80,000 lives in about twenty countries where more than 7.000 Cuban voluntary workers have offered their services.

The head of the Department of International Cooperation of the Central Unit of Medical Cooperation (UCCM by its Spanish acronym), Dr. Michele Santana, told ACN that, since its creation 11 years ago, these brigades have benefited more than 3 600 000 patients.

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UNESCO Highlights Results of Celebration in Cuba of Project MOST

Paris, Sep 25 (Prensa Latina) The Deputy Director General of UNESCO, Nada Al Nashif, highlighted the excellent results of the celebration in Cuba School Project MOST, an initiative to promote greater connection between research and public policy, today reported diplomatic sources.

A statement from the Cuban embassy to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said the MOST school took place in the Caribbean nation in July, in coordination with the Cuban National Commission of this agency of the United Nations.

Commenting few days ago the results of the project, the assistant director of UNESCO for Social and Human Sciences welcomed the commitment of the Cuban government and its scientific, educational and research institutions, which made possible the holding of the first MOST School in that country.

‘The meeting was a positive space for exchange and reflection, which contributes to strengthening a culture of leadership, using the knowledge provided by the social sciences and humanities, ‘the statement said.

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FARC Agrees to Transition into a Political Force

Screen shot 2016-09-26 at 7.51.41 AMFARC leadership is expected to officially ratify the final peace deal between the guerrilla army and the government.

Pastor Alape, a member of the FARC’s ruling secretariat, told teleSUR late Thursday that the guerrilla group has reached an agreement to transition into a political force during the 10th National Conference Guerilla that is taking place in the southern Amazon region of San Vicente del Caguan.

“We have had approved the 50 percent of the conclusions and the 100 percent of the peace agreements reached in Havana… We will become a political force however we have to wait for the reforms on political parties, especially for the opposition,” Alape said. “For now we will continue as a guerrilla force and we will keep the guerrilla structure, and we have yet to establish a path for the transition into a political force in order to present ourselves as a political party before the Congress.”

The guerrilla conference is being attended by some 200 delegates, 29 members of the top leadership, around 50 guests and 350 journalists.

The final peace agreement will be signed on Sept. 26 in a ceremony held in Cartagena de Indias. The peace accords will then be put to a popular vote in a plebiscite on Oct. 2 that will ask Colombians whether or not they accept the final deal.

If achieved, the agreement could end the over five-decade-long conflict that has killed more than 220,000 people and displaced some 6.3 million others.

by teleSUR / la-CM-egb, teleSUR

September 23, 2016

 

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