Venezuela to Seek ‘Other Markets’ if US Goes Ahead With Oil Embargo: Maduro

Venezuela will seek other buyers for its oil if the United States approves a fresh embargo, President Nicolas Maduro has vowed.

Venezuela will seek other buyers for its oil if the United States approves a fresh embargo, President Nicolas Maduro has vowed. | Photo: Reuters

President Nicolas Maduro’s declaration follows comments by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Argentine counterpart saying they were considering an embargo.

Feb 15 (teleSUR) Venezuela will seek other buyers for its oil if the United States approves a fresh embargo against the Latin American nation, President Nicolas Maduro has vowed.

“If the United States puts an oil embargo on us, we will take our boat and go somewhere else,” Maduro told a press conference on Thursday. “If they take measures against Venezuelan oil like those demanded by (opposition leader) Julio Borges, we will take the appropiate measures.”

The statement follows U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s tour throughout Latin America to seek support for Washington’s aggressive positions towards Venezuela. During his stop in Argentina, Tillerson and his Argentine counterpart said they were studying an embargo of Venezuelan oil.

“The oil embargo announced by the U.S. media and suggested by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is an illegal measure according to international law,” Maduro said.

He continued that the embargo would be inconvenient both for the United States and Venezuela, and would be one of Trump’s biggest political mistakes: “I don’t know if he has an analyst that could make him understand this.”

Asked about Venezuela’s oil production, Maduro blamed corruption and bad administration, claiming that recently charged former executives of the state oil company PDVSA were responsible, but maintained that production is already recovering.

“I broke the straitjacket and created new conditions so both the national and international private investment can flow in,” Maduro said.

Maduro also spoke about the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for April 22, confirming the consulate in Miami will open so that Venezuelans living in the U.S. city can vote.

“We have enough structural, political and spiritual strength to hold a good, peaceful election process,” said Maduro.

Maduro then spoke about the recent sanctions the United States and the European Union have imposed on Venezuela, arguing the restrictions harm not only the government, but citizens.

“Even business people are struggling to buy airplane tickets to fly from New York to Miami. They pay with a credit card and their payment gets rejected. That’s affecting entrepeneurs, not members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), but entrepeneurs.”

The president also seized the opportunity to lament the mass shooting that took place yesterday in Florida, expressing his condolences to the people of the United States: “I wish this world could overcome all causes of violence, death and pain, and we can focus on living in peace.”

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Cuban Cigar Store Opens in Important Cuban Region

Havana, Feb 15 (Prensa Latina) A cigar store named La Estrella opened its doors in the eastern Cuban city of Camagüey, a place that currently receives many foreign visitors, it was officially reported today.

La Estrella was opened yesterday with the commercialization of about 27 tobacco brands and potentialities to become a future Casa del Habano (Habano House), the first in Camagüey province.

Attached to the Tours Company in Santa María, the facility cannot be considered as Casa del Habano, until the corporation Habanos S.A. certifies it as such, but they work to achieve this category.

Located in Calle de los Cines, in the historic center of this city of Camaguey, whose oldest sector is declared a Cultural Heritage of Humanity site, La Estrella is highlighted as another option for tourism.

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UNDP Praises Cuba’s Work in Protecting Biological Diversity

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Valle de Viñales, Pinar del Río, Cuba

Havana, Feb 16 (Prensa Latina) Edith Felipe, coordinator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Cuba, praised here the work of Cuba in the protection and conservation of biological diversity, an issue in which important steps are taken.

Felipe told the Prensa Latina news agency, after the opening ceremony of the workshop of the 6th National Report on the Convention on Biological Diversity, that Cuba is a pioneer country in taking steps in this field, while developing an approach on ecosystem management.

She said that, in fact, the way these various issues are managed becomes an important measure for adapting to climate change.

For Felipe, there are many examples in Cuba in this regard, both in the ocean and soil, such as the southern archipelagos and the northern protected area Sabana-Camaguey, which manage conservation of ecosystems by linking production and services to the community.

She also highlighted the conservation work on the southwestern shore with the reforestation in the mangrove swamp, outlined to limit the rise in sea level across the areas most jeopardized by the surge of the sea.

This approach based on ecosystems is probably one of the key actions we develop here, said Felipe referring to the workshop that begins today, to prepare the 6th National Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Biological Diversity for 2020.

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Carlos Acosta Announces Upcoming Releases of his Dance Company

By Martha Cabrales Arias, Santiago de Cuba, Feb 16 (Prensa Latina) Two premieres with artists from Japan and Sweden and presentations in New York and the United Kingdom are projects in the agenda of the company Acosta Danza, announced its director, the famous dancer Carlos Acosta.

Speaking to Prensa Latina, at the end of the presentation at the Heredia theater, the renowned choreographer expressed his satisfaction for the enthusiastic welcome of the people of Santiago, as it happened almost 10 years ago when he performed alone in that coliseum.

As he stated on that occasion, he reaffirmed his willingness to offer the art of his group more frequently on stages in the Cuban provinces, at least once every two years, and to continue its tour of the country, which includes Bayamo, Holguín and Camagüey.

The works with the choreographer Saburo Techirawara, one of the most important exponents of contemporary dance in Japan; and the Swedish Ontus Lindberg, will be released in April at the Gran Teatro Alicia Alonso, while the foreign journey will include cities in France, Acosta added.

He alluded to the effort to continue expanding the repertoire in a company of recent creation, which does not reach three years, and started from scratch, which is why they have rescued such significant works as The Crossing over the Niagara, and continue to stage new varied and eclectic works.

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Cuba spotlights education as key to reaching UN 2030 development goals

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by Raimundo Urrechaga

HAVANA, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — A gathering of educational experts in Cuba is spotlighting the importance of education to attaining the United Nations-designated Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

The 11th International Congress of Higher Education (University 2018), which runs through Friday, has centered its debates on the role universities can play in promoting quality education towards achieving the objectives of the 2030 Agenda, including greater equality.

Cuba, with its universal education and high literacy rate, hopes its experience can help other countries meet their target goals.

“We think that universities play a major role in supporting the sustainable development goals, and it’s equally important that they strongly support the economic and social development of their nations,” David Atchoarena, of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), told Xinhua.

According to Atchoarena, director of UNESCO’s Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems, the biannual congress provides a venue for reviewing current global and regional trends in higher education, and devising new inclusive policies, a central push of the 2030 Agenda.

“Inequality is one of the key issues in terms of development in the region, and we think that this is certainly an area in which higher education institutions have a role to play in contributing to actually promoting equal access to higher education in all sectors of society,” said Atchoarena.

Cuba has “interesting experiences,” not only in terms of massive inclusion and access to higher education, but also in gender equality, something that is severely lacking in many Latin American and Caribbean countries, he said.

Aurora Fernandez, Cuba’s deputy minister of higher education, said “another challenge is for universities to increasingly produce goods and services that can be used towards our country’s economic development.”

University 2018 is also emerging as a venue to promote new curriculums, teaching methods and policies that encourage greater integration of universities with societies, productive sectors and their communities.

Generating greater social responsibility by correctly training human resources, raising the level of scientific research and taking advantage of new technologies are critical elements to further increasing the role of universities in our societies, added Fernandez.

Cuba has hosted the congress since 1998 to promote dialogue and debate of the most pressing issues in higher education both in Latin America and other regions.

This year the event has drawn more than 2,000 international delegates from 60 countries, and 900 from Cuba, plus 11 ministers and 39 representatives of international organizations.

“It is a unique opportunity to exchange with colleagues from all continents that come to present their different points of view,” said the Cuban deputy minister.

Since 1959, almost 1.5 million Cuban professionals have graduated from 50 universities and 126 municipal colleges, making Cuba the country in Latin America and the Caribbean with the highest number of college graduates, and the highest college enrollment rate.

In addition, 60,000 foreigners from 129 countries have graduated from different Cuban universities, including 34,000 doctors.

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Cuba Rejects Meddling in Venezuela and its Exclusion from America Summit

Havana, Feb 15 (Prensa Latina) Cuba has condemned declarations against Venezuela issued in Lima, Peru, by a group of governments of this hemisphere and rejected attempts to exclude president Nicolas Maduro from the coming Summit of the Americas,the Foreign Ministry stresses in a statement.

‘Cuba energetically condemns the pronouncement of a group of countries of the Western Hemisphere of February 13 in Lima, that constitutes an unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’, highlights a declaration of the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

The document calls at the same time to reconsider the decision of barring President Maduro from participating at the 8th Summit of the Americas to be held next April in Peru.

The declaration refers to a meeting in the Peruvian capital of the so-called Group of Lima, formed also by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and St. Lucia, designed as an external front of the Venezuelan opposition.

That group supported the decision of the government of Peru to ostracize President Nicolas Maduro from the Summit of the Americas, scheduled for Lima next April 13 and 14, and also insisted in not recognizing beforehand the general elections summoned in Venezuela, because according to them they do not comply with what they call international standards.

‘Very few days ago, the Secretary of State of the U.S., during a tour of the region, declared the validity today of the Monroe Doctrine, the most notorious document of imperialist interventionism in our region; called for a coup d’état against the constitutional government of Venezuela and advocated to toughen sanctions against that country’, recalls the Cuban Foreign Ministry in its statement.

‘The decision taken (by the Group of Lima) is not alien to these declarations and procedures’, it adds.

‘The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations recalls, in this context, the arbitrary and aggressive Executive Order of the United States, renewed in January, 2017, that considers Venezuela an ‘unusual and extraordinary threat to national security and the foreign policy’ of the superpower, and the most recent warning of President Donald Trump of using against it ‘a possible military option if it is necessary’.

It is unusual and incredible that now it is used as pretext an alleged ‘unconstitutional rupture of the democratic order’, precisely in a country that in a few months’ time has held municipal, regional elections for a Constituent Assembly, and has just summoned for presidential elections, as it was claimed of it previously, even through foreign interference or by non-constitutional and violent methods, says the Cuba Foreign Ministry.

Cuba denounces this pronouncement and the exclusion of Venezuela from the 8th Summit of the Americas are contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Chart and the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by the heads of State and Government of the member countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

The Ministry of Foreign Relations ratifies the invariable solidarity of Cuba with the Bolivarian Republic of Vernezuela and with the civic-military union of its people headed by constitutional president Nicolas Maduro Moros.

The words of President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Raul Castro Ruz, pronounced on July 14, 2017, when he said: ‘the aggression and coupist violence against Venezuela harm all our America and only benefit the interests of those intent on dividing us to exert their domination on our peoples, without being concerned to generate conflicts of incalculable consequences in this region, such as those we are seeing in different parts of the world. We alert today that those who pretend to overthrow using unconstitutional, violent and coupist ways the Bolivarian and Chavist Revolution, will assume a serious responsibility before History’.

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European Parliamentarians to Strengthen Actions against U.S. Blockade of Cuba

Havana, Feb 14 (Prensa Latina) Members of the European Parliament (MEP) reiterated today their willingness to strengthen actions and thus contribute to lift the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States against Cuba.

The MEPs reiterated their stance during a meeting with vice president of the National Assembly of People’s Power Ana Maria Mari Machado, at the headquarters of the Cuban Parliament.

President of the Nordic Green Left group Gabi Zimmer voiced the interest of parliamentarians to learn about the restrictions set up through the blockade on the purchase of health devices, especially for child services.

She also expressed the MEPs support for Cuba’s claim to close the naval base located in the eastern province of Guantanamo, occupied by the United States Government against the will of the Cuban people and Government.

For her part, Mari Machado thanked the solidarity of the MEPs who will visit Cuba until next Friday and said that this visit will strengthen ties between this country and Europe.

‘We are linked by historical ties and friendship to Europe,’ said Mari Machado, while reiterating that this year will be the 30th of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the European Union.

She also encouraged cooperation, unity and peace in the world, for which solidarity and ties amid parliamentarians are key.

Mari Machado spoke to the MEPs about the updating of the Cuban economic model and about the second stage of general elections, scheduled for next March 11th in Cuba.

The MEPs, from the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left, represent parties from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany and Czechs Republic.

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University of Havana to Improve Links between Cuba and the US

Havana, Feb 14 (Prensa Latina) The University of Havana will always have its doors open for academic exchange and deepen relations between the peoples of Cuba and the United States, said the rector of that institution, Gustavo Cobreiro Wednesday.

During a panel on the internationalization of Higher Education held in the context of the 11th International Congress Universidad 2018, Cobreiro explained the importance of strengthening the existing links between scientific entities of the Caribbean island and the northern country.

In the Havana Convention Center, the rector of the University of Havana reported that during the last months, visits by North American academicians to Cuba were frequent.

Also -he pointed out- several projects and investigations were started, and up to now 156 joint actions have already been taken into account, on subjects related to physics, chemistry and biology.

‘We have several agreements signed, and our goal is to continue to work in this regard, even in the midst of the known obstacles. That is our main challenge, to strengthen academic relations and exchange between both peoples,’ Cobreiro remarked.

On the other hand, North American academician Sally Crimmins recalled that in 1990, the links between the State University of New York (SUNY for its acronym in English) and the University of Havana were established.

‘Since then, she said, many US students visited the Antillean country.’

Professor Crimmins noted that in October 2016, members of the Cuban Ministry of Higher Education visited SUNY, while in February 2017, about twenty SUNY members travelled to Cuba.

Finally, Crimmins pointed out that both parts have already signed understanding agreements with Cuban higher education centers, in the provinces of Cienfuegos and Villa Clara.

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Ibero-American Physicists Debate In Cuba On Renewable Energies

Havana, Feb 15 (Prensa Latina) Physicists from Latin America debate renewable energies in a meeting that began here today in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Cuban Society of that scientific discipline.

Knowing the possibilities of collaboration for the collective benefit from what each country in the region does in that field is one of the items on the agenda, which also includes the topic of supercomputers, scientist Antonio Ramirez, president of the Ibero-American Federation of Physics Societies told Prensa Latina.

Getting together to create projects that can be presented later to political decision-makers on the subject of science and technology is the main objective of this meeting, he said.

Ramírez pointed out the importance of this meeting in Havana, where was created in 1996 the organization he presides with the signing of an agreement between the Royal Spanish Society of Physics and the Portuguese Society.

The federation, he said, not only projects activities that involve member societies but also university students of the specialty such as the Olympics that were held, for the first time, last year and that served as an incentive to promote its study.

We will also discuss the current situation of education in Latin America and higher education as a social good, he stated.


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Cuba Ratifies Zero Tolerance with Human Trafficking

Havana, Feb 14 (Prensa Latina) Cuba ratified its policy of zero tolerance for human trafficking during a meeting on the issue with U.S. authorities, the island’s foreign ministry stated today.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the two countries discussed the matter in Washington D.C. in a multisectoral meeting, which allowed updating the advances, experiences, and challenges of prevention and confronting the scourge.

The Cuban delegation explained to the U.S. side the steps taken in the fight against the problem; among them, the establishment of the National Action Plan 2017-2020 for the Prevention and Confrontation of Human Trafficking and the Protection of Victims, and a Commission responsible for implementing it, said the text.

It also mentioned the results of the visit to Cuba of the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, María Grazia Giammarinaro.

Cuba and the United States hold meetings on issues of mutual interest, although in a more adverse scenario than the one that existed in the final two years of the administration of Democratic President Barack Obama (January 20, 2009, to January 20, 2017).

Since his arrival at the White House last year, Republican President Donald Trump has shown a hostile stance towards the island, which includes the adoption of measures to reverse the bilateral approach announced in December 2014.

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