Cubans Believe in Improving Country with New Constitution



Sept 16 (Redacción ¡ahora!) Cubans who are participating in the popular consultation on the Draft Constitution consider that the country will improve in several aspects if the new magna carta is approved.

The debates on the Draft Constitution proposed by the People’s Power National Assembly to establish a new law of laws, which will replace the one in force since 1976, started two months ago and will conclude on November 15 in neighborhoods and work and educational centers, as well as among Cuban residents abroad.

On Wednesday, at a meeting in a neighborhood in El Vedado, in Havana, participants agreed that modernizing the Constitution is indispensable to continue the construction of the socialist society.

They expressed their criteria about different items of the document, including some polemic issues like the possibility for Cubans to invest in their country, the concentration of wealth, effective citizenship, the age limit to be the president of the Republic and same sex marriage.

They also noted the problem of bureaucracy and the need to solve difficulties to control the State’s resources.

The popular consultation under way contributes opinions and proposals that will return to the National Assembly so that the committee in charge of drawing up the Constitution can enrich the document, which will be submitted to a referendum next year, after being approved by the Parliament, on a date that has not been set officially yet. / PL

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Cuban President to teleSUR: ‘The Blockade is Inhumane’

Cuban President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez

Cuban President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez | Photo: Rolando Segura

Referring to policies implemented so far, Diaz-Canel highlighted their inspiration based on Raul Castro’s speech including the phrase “for the people, by the people” as a motto. In other words, “a government for the revolution.”

Sept 16 (teleSUR) Commenting on his first four months in office, Cuban President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez stated in an exclusive interview with teleSUR that the U.S. blockade is considered one of the main obstacles for the island’s social and economic development.

“It has become even more difficult. There is also constant financial persecution because there are difficulties with the flow of money and investment, something intentional by the U.S. government — a blockade that is already 60 years old,” he told teleSUR’s President Patricia Villegas. “It’s a brutal practice — I would say that it is an inhumane practice — against a people,  condemning them to die of hunger or to die of necessity.”

Responding to the recurrent criticism that the Cuban government was “obsessed” with the blockade, he said that the obsession was really Washington’s. “We want to live under normal conditions of a country. We are not a threat to anyone, and all we want is social justice and to build a better world.”

As for the policies implemented so far, Diaz-Canel highlighted that they were inspired by Raul Castro’s speech including “for the people, by the people” as a motto. In other words, “a government for the revolution.”

“We have enumerated the government’s pillars of action. First, that our leaders have the capacity and right attitude to take responsbility for their actions to the people. Then, constant debate must be connected to a dialogue with the people, and be present in the places where the most complex issues are. Also, leaders must be able to use social communication tools.”

Regarding the media, he admitted there had been “cases of too much praise and hasn’t reflected certain topics from the public agenda. We still have to find that connection between the public agenda and the media agenda.”

“I think it’s necessary for the revolution to be able to communicate with the younger people in Cuban society,” he added, recalling his past as a youth leader and as a minister of higher education. “Fidel (Castro) strongly believed in (connecting with the youth), he went to universities when he wanted to discuss a problem,” he said, recalling famous encounters at the Cadenas Plaza at Havana University during the first years of the revolution.

In April, the Cuban National Assembly elected Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez, a 57-year-old Cuban born two years after the island’s socialist revolution, as the country’s new head of the Council of State, and therefore president of the Caribbean country,  succeeding Raul Castro.

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Venezuela’s Government to Denounce Luis Almagro to UN

Caracas, Sep 15 (Prensa Latina) Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez announced today that they will denounce the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, before the UN for promoting a military intervention against the country.

On Twitter, she accused Almagro of ‘attacking the Latin America and Caribbean peace.’

‘Venezuela will denounce to the UN and other international bodies Almagro, who in a vulgar and grotesque manner holds the General Secretariat of the OAS, for promoting military intervention in our Homeland and attacking the peace of Latin America and the Caribbean!’ tweeted Rodriguez.

She also accused the official of trying to ‘revive the worst records of imperialist armed interference in our region, whose stability is seriously threatened by the insane actions of those who usurp in a deviant and abusive manner the OAS General Secretariat.’

The accusations by the Venezuelan authorities are based on statements made by the OAS’s top representative, this Friday, at a press conference held on the Colombian side of the Simon Bolivar binational bridge, a few meters from the border with Venezuela.

‘Talking abot the military intervention to overthrow Nicolas Maduro, I think we should not rule out any option,’ said Almagro.

The repeated announcements of a possible military attack against the Bolivarian Revolution have recently been increased by the governments of the United States, the European Union and its allies in the region, who are unaware of the legitimacy of the elected powers by the people, in order to undermine the institutions and plagued them with foreign tutelage.

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Cuban Province Starts Beer Production

Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, Sep 14 (Prensa Latina) The factory-tavern of the Austrian beer Salm, based in Trinidad, in this central Cuban province, today began the manufacturing tests with the production of three types of beers (light, medium and dark) and malt.

The preparation of the refreshing liquid is in charge of teachers and brewing specialists, and will last for about three weeks, since its preparation meets rigorous automated processes.

Reiner Rendon, delegate of the Ministry of Tourism in the territory, told Prensa Latina that the plant is part of the Santa Ana Complex, administered by Palmares, and also has a cafeteria, two bars, a restaurant, a grill, a table-buffet and two stores belonging to Empresa Comercial Caracol.

He said that the objective of the mini industry that was set up in the old Royal Prison, adjacent to Plaza Santa Ana, is to diversify the tourist offers and increase the foreign currency income of the entity.

The factory will employ about 40 workers and has the capacity to produce 200,000 liters a year of the Salm brand, a company founded in 1924.

Salm marketed more than 80 plants in about 40 countries from 1994 to 2012.

Up to now, in Cuba there are two other mini-breweries in Havana and Santiago de Cuba.

According to experts, beer is an alcoholic beverage, not distilled, with bitter taste, which is made with germinated barley grains or other cereals which starch is fermented in water with yeast and is often aromatized with hops, among other plants.

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Former Spanish PM Zapatero: US-led Sanctions Behind Venezuelan Migration

Zapatero during the forum Threats to Democracy and the Multi-polar Order, in Brazil.

Zapatero during the forum Threats to Democracy and the Multi-polar Order, in Brazil. | Photo: EFE

Zapatero explained the increase in citizen migration is due to the United States economic sanctions and showed support for Venezuela’s recovery plan.

Sept 15 (teleSUR) Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Saturday that the surge in Venezuelan migration is directly linked to the Canadian, European Union and the United States led economic and financial sanctions against the South American country.

“Like it always happens with economic sanctions that produce a financial blockade, who pays is not the government but the citizens, the people,” Zapatero told EFE in an interview after participating in a forum in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

U.S.-aligned nations and organizations have attributed what they call a “migratory crisis” to the Venezuelan government and president Nicolas Maduro, who they accuse of strangling the economy and holding on to “dictatorial” power.

The government, which was re-elected by a wide margin in May, has argued the economic crisis that is pushing Venezuelans responds are a series of hostile economic and financial actions that have hampered the government’s ability to buy essential goods, like medicine and food, and that have effectively strangled the country’s finances by seizing their resources.

“I must say that the intensification of the growth in emigration these past months has much to do with the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and that has been supported by some governments,” Zapatero stressed.

The former Spanish PM has backed dialogue between opposing political sectors in Venezuela as the only way to reach political and economic stability. His latest contribution to these efforts was his participation as a mediator in the failed rounds of peace dialogue hosted by the Dominican Republic.

Maduro’s government approved a series of economic reforms last month under the economic recovery plan, which aims to stabilize the economy by combating hyperinflation, reaching agreements to set prices for basic commodities, and countering networks that smuggle subsidized goods and other commodities.

During the interview, Zapatero showed his support for these policies and said they “go in the line that is needed.”

Zapatero will soon travel to Venezuela to “see the situation” and “favor possible scenarios for dialogue in the immediate future.”

This comes after Nicolas Maduro survived an assassination attempt carried out using drones. The government has identified several opposition leaders, including Julio Borges, who participated in the dialogue in the Dominican Republic and decided to withdraw from the negotiations, as intellectual and material authors of the failed attempt.

Zapatero is not alone in supporting the Bolivarian government’s assessment of the root causes of the economic crisis. In a recently-published report, United Nations rapporteur Alfred-Maurice de Zayas identified four key factors to explain the crisis. Three of them are related to the U.S. blockade of Venezuela: the cumulative effects of 19 years of economic war, the financial blockade like that imposed on Cuba, and the economic sanctions imposed in 2015 which aggravated scarcity.

The other root cause identified by Zayas is Venezuela’s dependency on petroleum exports, which exposed the country’s economy to the sharp fall in oil prices in 2013.

Oil dependency is a structural economic problem recognized by the Venezuelan government but not yet overcome.

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Vietnam Inaugurates Fidel Castro Square

Hanoi, Sep 15 (Prensa Latina) As a symbol of the friendship between Vietnam and Cuba, forged in times of war and peace, a square that bears the name of Fidel Castro was inaugurated in the city of Dong Ha.

Senior leaders of the two countries also unveiled there a bronze bust of whoever was a fervent contributor and admirer of Vietnam’s heroic deed for independence and reunification.

Fidel Castro felt an enormous admiration and affection for this people and a great respect for President Ho Chi Minh, said the First Vice President of Cuba, Salvador Valdes, at the opening ceremony.

This square is a monument to the fraternity between the two countries and a reaffirmation of the common will to strengthen our political, economic and cooperation relations, said the also member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC).

The president of the Popular Committee (government) of the province, Nguyen Duc Chinh, stressed that the esplanade is open just 45 years after Fidel Castro passed through Quang Tri (its capital is Dong Ha), the first line of fire in the fight for independence.

During his visit in September 1973, the then Cuban Prime Minister became the first and only statesman who during the war crossed Parallel 17 and was in Quang Tri, even under the threat of U.S. bombing.

Valdes was accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcelino Medina; the director of Asia and Oceania of the Foreign Ministry, Alberto Blanco; Ambassador Lianys Torres, and senior leaders of the PCV and those two countries.

In all the meetings, the hosts highlighted that Fidel’s visit in 1973 marked a milestone in the exemplary relations of fraternity and cooperation between the two countries.

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Cuban Workers Comment on New Constitution Draft

Havana, Sep 14 (Prensa Latina) Cuban workers involved in passenger transport today held a meeting in this capital to issue criteria on the draft of the new Constitution, supporting the amendment to the new Magna Carta.

Employees of taxi companies and ticket sales expresed their opinion about the 224-article text, which represents a total reform of the Constitution in force since 1976, while maintaining the socialist character of the island and the leading role of the Communist Party in their society.

For Julio Luis Baez, the article 31 of the project, which qualifies work as ‘a primordial value of our society,’ should established that it is, as well as a duty, obligatory for all persons who are able to work.

Luis Guillen proposed adding the adherence to Fidel’s legacy in the Preamble of the Constitution, while another participant in the meeting advocated simplifying article 41, which mentions the State’s responsibility in creating the necessary conditions for equality and education.

In the continuation of the debates framed in the popular consultation scheduled in Cuba from August 13 to November 15, Cubans issued their criteria for the text in other centers of work and education centers, as well as in neighborhoods.

Not limiting to 60 years the age of the President of the Republic for the beginning of his mandate, the lack of consensus on the proposal to define marriage as the union of two people without specifying the sex, and the possibility that Cubans can invest in the national economy, were included among the aspects debated.

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Cuba: Economists Forum Proposes Integration without Neoliberalism

Havana, Sep 14 (Prensa Latina) Economists of Latin America and the Caribbean considered the region must go forward with an economic development project that provides social equity and economic integration, excluding neoliberal policies.

Over 230 economists of 10 countries and a group of international organizations emphasized this at the forum ‘The Challenges of Latin America before the new International Environment’, which ended Thursday in this capital.

After a three-day meeting described by experts of strictly technical, politically committed and humanly solidarious, the forum rose its voice in defense of economic regional development with social equity, economic integration and rejection of neoliberal policies.

According to the report, in charge of the President of the Academic Committee of the meeting, Esther Aguilera, attendants said the United States has been able to cope with its high fiscal deficit, covered by the global use of the dollar and the import of capital from the South.

They denounced the policies applied by the president of that country, Donald Trump, which has worsened the crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean.

When examining monetary issues, participants verified the incapacity that prevailed at global scale to prevent the risks that led to economic crises, like that in Mexico, 1995, Asia (1997), Russia (1998), Brazil (1999) and that of Turkey in 2001.

They stressed it is vital to attract foreign investment to the region, as also design public policies and control of the flows of capital that enter and exit the area.

The meeting’s report said that today there is serious doubt of the adequacy of regulation policies to cover the risk of liquidity.

Among the issues highlighted in the final session was the master lecture delivered by the Prize of Economy of the Republic of Cuba, Osvaldo Martinez and another on Economic and Political Situation of Brazil, by the president of the Federal Council of Economists of that country, Wellington L. da Silva.

The first Cuban deputy minister of Economy and Planning, Rene Fernandez, said in the closing speech that in this forum were collected good practices that can be socialized, as well as ingenious proposals for sustainable development.

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Venezuela, China Sign Security, Energy, and Finance Agreements

Venezuela-China relations have been built up since 1999.

Venezuela-China relations have been built up since 1999. | Photo: Reuters

President Maduro said the agreements “are perfectly aligned” with the country’s economic recovery plan.

Sept 14 (teleSUR) China and Venezuela signed 28 bilateral strategic cooperation agreements in the areas of oil, mining, security, technology, finance, and health during the closing ceremony of the XVI High-level Diversified Commission meeting in Beijing Friday.

In the extractive sector, the countries signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation between China’s National Corporation for Gas Exploitation (CNODC) and Venezuelan Oil Company PDVSA to explore and extract gas, and another agreement with Chinese company Yakuang Group for gold exploration and extraction.

In the health sector, they signed a memorandum of understanding between Chinese tech company ZTE and Venezuela’s Health Ministry.

At a press conference, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro stressed the agreements “ratify the shared path of development for the investments to realize the development of our mixed oil companies.”

Economic relations between China and Venezuela have been strengthened since 1999 when Hugo Chavez first took office in the South American country. During Chavez’s first official visit to China, the two countries established a diversified energy commission and agreed on loans and construction contracts.

In 2001, the high-level diverse trade commission was created to promote cooperation agreements in several economic and social areas. Today, China has positioned itself as one of Venezuela’s most important commercial partners.

Maduro said the agreements are “perfectly aligned” with the country’s economic recovery plan, which has sought to stabilize the Venezuelan economy and combat the effects of the United States and European Union-led economic war and financial blockade.

“I have had to navigate the United States and Europe’s economic sanctions chasing Venezuela’s bank accounts, hijacking billions of dollar in international accounts and blocking commerce.” In that context, Maduro said he valued the relationship with China: “Thanks to the agreements of the commission and the solid China-Venezuela relations, our country has been able to face those circumstances and today I can say Venezuela is standing.”

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U.S. Blockade Affects Cuban Children with Special Education Needs

Guantanamo, Cuba Sep 14 (Prensa Latina) The U.S. blockade against Cuba affects rehabilitation programs for students with hearing and vision impaired, said here today Dr. Dagmaris Bosch, PhD in Pedagogical Sciences.

The main challenge of this teaching is to rehabilitate children with special education needs so they can be incorporated into society, but that is not possible without technology, which is purchased abroad and whose price is increased by buying it in a third country, explained the specialist.

Bosch told Prensa Latina that, as director of the special school June 14, located in this city in the far east of the country, she has witnessed the consequences for these children of the policy imposed by Washington against the island.

High-grade glasses and lenses for myopia patients are missing, as well as the equipment for rehabilitating squint and amblyopic children; it is difficult to purchase machines and Braille sheets for blind and visually impaired children, she explained.

We need those equipments that contribute to the correction and compensation of their sensorial affectations and most of the times we cannot count on them.

Some are old and have been conserved by our care, all this limits our work and the children learning, said Bosch.

The specialist explained that thanks to the Cuban State and independently of the economic and commercial financial blockade, some students of the center have received the cochlear implant, which has a cost of 50,000 dollars each.

That is why the labor of love done by teachers, health specialists and service personnel of our school is so important, because those are the weapons we have used to face the blockade for more than 50 years, she stressed.

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