Paraguay’s Indigenous Women Lead March Against Agrochemicals

Source:  TeleSUR
October 29 2015

After the death of a 12-year-old girl from alleged contamination, rural Indigenous women say they are marching for their children and the environment.

paraguay indigenous march against agrichemicalsAs campesinos from all across the country arrive in the Paraguayan capital on Thursday morning, rural indigenous women are actively leading the mobilizations against the soy-export economic model, which uses agrochemicals that are destroying the lives and the crops of campesinos families living nearby.

Our dream

Campesinos of the country gathered in Asuncion, in front of Parliament, demanding President Horacio Cartes step down.

“What we dream of is a country where there is work, health, education, land, production and housing,” said leader of Paraguay Pyahura Party, Eladio Flecha to radio UNO.

A few days earlier, the Conamuri organization denounced in a public statement the chemical fumigations of a Brazilian colony in Ytororo, in the Alto Parana department, saying the cultivation of soy for exportation there violates environmental norms.

The women claimed the fumigation made the surrounding land lots toxic and affected the 10 families of campesinos living on them, putting at risk their health.

Crops ruined

According to them, the fumigations ruined this year’s crops of mate — a South American plant many consume as a drink, which is grown in a sustainable way — corresponding to a tremendous financial loss for the campesino families.

A complaint was filed on Oct. 13, accusing the fumigation of having intoxicated the children from a nearby school.

Agrochemicals exposure

A 12-year-old girl from the school recently died from symptoms similar to agrochemicals exposure, while pets and the forest fauna are dying daily in the area, said the complaint.

The women’s group urged the Paraguayan state to investigate the case (for instance by running medical tests among the residents to confirm the contamination), and to expel Brazilian soy producer Wilmar Dos Santos from the country.

Paraguay is the fourth exporter of soy in the world, an industry which, along with cattle, contributes the most to the gross domestic product of the country.

However, the expansion of soy and corn crops provoked a rural exodus of about 900,000 rural workers to urban areas over a 10-year period, according to the National Peasant Federation, as those crops require fewer workers.

Paraguayan land distribution is among the most unequal in the world. According to Oxfam, about 2.5 percent of the population owns 85 percent of cultivable land, despite the fact that 42 percent of Paraguayans live in the countryside.

Source: Paraguay’s Indigenous Women Lead March Against Agrichemicals  TeleSUR

RELATED: Paraguayan Guerrilla and Land Conflict: The Next Colombia?

Jones: We returned committed to strengthen this bridge of love

by Alberto N. Jones

Commemorating the fight against breast cancer with our peers in Cuba, which went beyond our wildest dream

Dr.  Alberto Jones

Dr. Alberto Jones

Our Pink to Pink tour (of Cuba) took place on October 10 thru the 17/2015 and was composed of a Radiobiologist and an ENT physicians, four breast cancer survivors and six well wishers to commemorate the fight against breast cancer with our peers in Cuba, which went beyond our wildest dream.
Shortly after arriving in Cuba on Saturday October 10th, we had dinner with leaders of the women support group Alas por la Vida and professionals involved in Cancer treatment and research. Sunday was dedicated to tour the city of Havana, visit museums and organize our small donation.

At 9:30 AM on Monday, we arrived at the Comandante Manuel Fajardo Clinical-Surgical Hospital in the Vedado neighborhood, where we were warmly greeted by physicians and members of Alas por la Vida.

During the next two hours, we received a detailed description of the incidence, prevalence, mortality rate, diagnosis, surgery, chemo, radiation, the critical lack of post treatment aesthetics and psychological resources such as prosthesis, bra’s, wigs, cream etc.

We heard moving testimonials from survivors about when they were first diagnosed, their anxiety and despair, which was compounded by the lack of basic resources to treat many patients during what is known in Cuba as Special Period following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Even today, breast screening has been drastically reduced because of a lack of mammography machines, spare parts or reagents, which brought some to tears.

We embraced, laughed, promised to stay true to the struggle and left them with a symbolic donation of cancer ware items. We were invited to come back on March 8 for the commemoration of Woman’s Day and their Anniversary.

The next morning at 9:30 AM we visited the National Institute of Cancer and Radiobiology. We were received by some of the highest ranking leaders of that institution, the head of Mastology, the leader of the group fighting breast cancer, physicists and nurses. We were treated to a wider, deeper Power Point presentation of this malady in Cuba with worldwide comparative stats, which was followed by an intense Q & A. We were invited to tour the hospital, but the limited of our heavy program allowed us only to visit the Radiology department.


At 3:30 PM after a quick lunch, we arrived at ELAM or Latin America School of Medical Sciences on the outskirts of Havana, where 2400 plus med students from across the globe, receive free medical training. The head of International Relations made an extensive presentation on why this educational center was created in 1998, how students from over 120 countries have gone through their classrooms, the way it is structured and how it is free of any race, gender, age or religious divisions.

The Dean gave us an in-depth explanation of how the school operates, how students needs of free housing, meals, books, lab service, transportation and a monthly stipend is covered by the government. The only out of pocket expenses the students have, are the cost of the airline ticket during summer vacation.

We met with approximately 12 US students enrolled in pre-med, first and second year for a long and extensive chat about how they feel in Cuba, their language skills, being home sick and inter students relations. We can contribute to make their student life easier, by reaching them through e-mail, helping with internship during their summer vacation and their post graduate residence.

On Wednesday, we visited a pregnant women care center in the Province of Cienfuegos, where we learned how this simple method of providing supervised lodging to women with predisposing miscarriage factors, contribute to reduce infant and maternal mortality.

We have returned more engaged, committed and determine to strengthen this bridge of love, which can benefit women on both sides of the Florida Straits and the Caribbean.

Venezuela Launches Twitter Peace Campaign for Upcoming Election

Source:  TeleSUR
29 October 2015

Yo firmo por la paz: I sign for peace

After the 2013 presidential election, the opposition refused to accept Maduro’s victory over their candidate and led a campaign of violence in which at least nine people were killed and 16 injured.

maduro for peace in elections 2015

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro presents the peace agreement. | Photo: teleSUR

The government of Venezuela launched a Twitter campaign Thursday under the slogan, “Yo firmo por la paz,” or I sign for peace, which is aimed at promoting a peaceful environment ahead the upcoming Dec. 6 parliamentary elections.

The initiative, promoted by President Nicolas Maduro, urges all Venezuelans to respect the electoral process during the election day, in a move to prevent right-wing destabilization attempts during or after the elections.

The head of the electoral campaign of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, Jorge Rodriguez, said at a press conference that the signature collection is due to an agreement reached by Maduro and the National Electoral Council.

However, the opposition MUD party has maintained its position of previous years, advocating for a boycott of the agreement and refusing to sign it.

RELATED: Peace at Stake in Venezuela’s Upcoming Assembly Elections

Rodriguez invited all citizens to participate in a “Tuitazo,” or a Twitter marathon, in which users can support the government’s efforts under the hashtag #YoFirmoPorLaPaz (#ISignForPeace).

“We are going in peace to the elections and we will respect the results, whatever they are,” Rodriguez said.

I sign for peace

The Bolivarian People sends a message the world I sign for peace, let’s all sing together in the defense of the homeland!

We go forward with our President Nicolas Maduro, I sign for peace.

During the 2013 presidential election, the opposition refused to accept President Maduro’s victory over their presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles, who accused the CNE of fraud. Although the accusations were dismissed by international election observers, like the Union of South American Nations, opposition members led a campaign of violence in which at least nine people were killed and 16 injured.

The last electoral tragedy has led the government to further promote debate and take measures to promote peace so all sides will respect the results.

Source:  Venezuela Launches Twitter Peace Campaign for Upcoming Election  TeleSUR

Bruno Rodríguez: “We will continue to present this draft resolution for as long as the blockade persists”

Source:  Granma
October 27 2015

bruno rodriguez at the un

Mr. President;

Full text of remarks made by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez at October 27 UN General Assembly vote against the blockade

Distinguished Permanent Representatives;

Esteemed Delegates;

On December 17 last year, the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, recognized that the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed against Cuba had failed, is obsolete, has not met the originally envisaged goals and causes damages to the Cuban people and isolation to the US Government.

Ever since then, the US President has been reiterating that the blockade should be lifted. He has urged the Congress of his country to do so instead of standing in the way of the US citizens who openly support its termination. He has committed to engage in a debate with that purpose and use his executive prerogatives to modify its implementation.

During the recently held 2030 Development Agenda Summit and at the United Nations General Debate, more than sixty Heads of States, Governments and Delegations welcomed and expressed their best wishes over the announcement of the new course taken by the US-Cuba relations, including the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and the re-opening of embassies, and many of them demanded that the blockade is finally abolished.

Therefore, the interest and expectations raised by these deliberations and the subsequent vote, which takes place under new circumstances, are only understandable.

In the face of an almost unanimous claim by the international community -symbolized by the vote in favor of 188 member States and Cuba’s participation in the Summit of the Americas held in Panama-, and the claim of the large majority of the US society and the Cuban emigration settled here, the US government has announced a new policy towards our country.

But the measures adopted by the US Administration, which came into force on January 16 this year and were later on expanded on September 18, although positive, only modify, in a very limited way, some elements related to the implementation of the blockade.

Many of them could not be implemented unless others are adopted that would finally allow Cuba to freely export and import products and services to and from the United States; use American dollars in its international financial transactions and operate accounts in that currency in third countries banks and have access to credits and financing from private entities and international financial institutions.

The problem is not that the Cuban order hampers the implementation of these measures and therefore it needs to be modified in order to facilitate this process, as has been stated by some US officials. The problem is the implacable and systematic existence of the blockade.

We should not mix up reality with wishful thinking or good-will expressions. In these circumstances, one can only judge by facts.

And facts show, crystal-clear, that the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed against Cuba is being fully and completely implemented.

Ten months after the announcements made on December 17, no tangible, substantial modification has been introduced in the implementation of the blockade.

Cuba’s removal from the spurious list of States Sponsors of International Terrorism was the inevitable rectification of a nonsense, but this has hardly had any impact on the implementation of the blockade, which is supported by a far more comprehensive system of previously established sanctions and laws.

Barely a week ago, a 1.116 billion dollar fine was imposed on the French bank Credit Agricole, which adds up to the 1.710 billion dollar fine imposed on the German bank Commerzbank in March this year for doing transactions with Cuba and other States.

Only in recent weeks, the secure messaging system SWIFT cancelled a service contract; the first payment of the American company Sprint to initiate direct telephone calls as well as several other banking transfers for the operations of charter flights were withheld.

The meager Cuban food purchases in the United States, one of the few exceptions to the blockade, which were approved in the year 2000 by the US Congress, significantly diminished last year because they are subject to discriminatory and onerous conditions: each purchase must be authorized by a license; the granting of credits is not allowed; Cuba is forced to pay in cash and in advance through banking entities of third countries and is not allowed to use its own vessels to transport those products.

The imports of the medicines and the medical equipment that our country needs are also conditioned, since 1992, by the US law. Cuba is required to report on the final recipient of the medicines it acquires and is not allowed to make direct payments, but only through third parties and in a currency other than the US dollar, which entails additional difficulties, delays and costs.

Several other examples could be mentioned, such as the case of the company Elekta, which confirmed, on last September 2 , that it will not be able to supply to the National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology or any other hospital in Cuba the radioactive isotope Iridium-192, which ensures the normal functioning of the brachytherapy equipment that are indispensable to offer higher quality and accuracy cancer therapies, because its purveyor, the US company Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, refused to sell it to Cuba.

The US company Small Bone Innovation Inc. has refused to supply wrists and hands joints prostheses to the “Frank País” Orthopedic Complex which are intended for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

In June last year, the US company SIGMA Aldrich refused to supply to the company Quimimpex the products, services and technical information which are indispensable to the chemical industry; and the US firm Columbiana Boiler Company informed the aforementioned company that it was not allowed to export the cylinders necessary to transport the chlorine destined to the treatment of water.

The blockade is a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of the human rights of all Cubans; it is contrary to International Law; it has been described as a crime of genocide by the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948 and is the main obstacle to the economic and social development of our people.

The human damages it has caused are inestimable. Seventy seven per cent of all Cubans have been suffering the blockade since the day they were born. The shortages and deprivations that it causes to all Cuban families can not be accounted for.

According to rigorous and conservative calculations, the economic damages it has caused after more than half a century amount to 833.755 billion dollars, based on the price of gold. At current prices, it amounts to 121.192 billion dollars, a figure of enormous proportions for a small economy like ours.

I hope that the US Representative will not come here now to tell us that the draft resolution does not accurately reflect the spirit of dialogue or the kind attitude of the US government; nor take on a hackneyed stand saying that the United States is the benefactor partner of the Cuban people that is only looking for its empowerment; or inflates the figure of 900 000 dollar donations by the civil society received in 2015, which are hampered by the blockade and appreciated by our people; or refer to the family remittances that are saved with great effort by the Cubans living here as if they were government funds; or consider as a commercial exchange the export licenses that are granted but are not materialized.

While it is up to the US Congress to adopt the decision to put an end to the blockade, the President has broad executive prerogatives to substantially modify its practical implementation and its humanitarian and economic impact.

We share the hope that the Congress of the United States will move on to change an inefficient, cruel and unjust policy, anchored in the past, and adopt decisions based on the values and feelings of its citizens.

Mr. President:

Historically, the United States has intended to establish its domination and hegemony on our homeland and, since 1959, it has tried to change the political, economic and social system that our people,   fully exercising the right to self-determination, has freely chosen.

Some spokespersons from the US Government have declared that the announced Cuba policy is about a change of methods, not goals.

Should this be the case, the process towards the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba will face very serious obstacles.

The lifting of the blockade will be the essential element that will give some meaning to the progress achieved in the last few months in the relations between both countries and shall set the pace towards normalization.

As has been recognized by President Barack Obama, the lifting of the blockade serves the US national interest and is the will its citizens.

Any attempt to condition the lifting or modification of the blockade to the introduction of internal changes in Cuba will be in no way acceptable nor productive.

Cuba is ready to accept the opportunities and face the challenges of a new era in the relations between both countries, but it will never negotiate its socialist system or its internal affairs, nor will it allow any blemish on its independence, which was conquered at the price of the blood of its best sons and daughters and after the huge sacrifices made by many generations since the beginning of our independence wars in 1868.

As has been reiterated by President Raúl Castro Ruz, both governments must find the way to coexist in a civilized manner, despite their profound differences, and advance as much as possible for the benefit of the peoples of the United States and Cuba, through a dialogue and cooperation based on mutual respect and sovereign equality.

There is no enmity between the peoples of the United States and Cuba. The Cuban people expressed its solidarity at the time of the terrible terrorist actions of September 11, 2001, or the devastating impact of hurricane Katrina.

We appreciate and recognize the progress achieved recently with the re-opening of embassies, the visits paid by the Secretaries of State and Commerce and the exchange of delegations; the functioning of a Steering Committee; the expansion of the areas of dialogue and cooperation, particularly in the filed of air and aviation safety; the combat of drug-trafficking, illegal migration and traffic in persons; law enforcement, environmental protection and health, among others.

We are really interested in developing fruitful relations; offering our hospitality to the US citizens who enjoy the freedom of traveling to Cuba; expanding enriching, cultural, sports, scientific and academic exchanges; promoting a multifaceted cooperation in areas of common interest, trade and investments.

We have initiated a human rights dialogue with a strict reciprocal character and despite our huge differences.

For all that we have been guided by the principles contained in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by the Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in January of 2014 in Havana, as well as the principles and purposes enshrined in the UN Charter.

This could also be a modest contribution to the quest for a new way in which human beings and nations can relate to one another in this era marked by global crisis, the inevitable impact of climate change, the non-conventional wars that unleash atrocious conflicts, new forms of terrorism, the existence of huge nuclear arsenals, extraordinary arms spending and the risk of pandemics.

As was stated fifteen years ago in this very hall by Fidel Castro Ruz, the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, “Humanity should be aware of what we have been so far and what we can not continue to be. Presently, our species have enough accumulated knowledge, ethical values and scientific resources to move towards a new historical era of true justice and humanism. There is nothing in the existing economic and political order that can serve the interests of Humankind. Thus, it is unsustainable and it must be changed.”

Mr. President:

Twenty three years after this resolution was first adopted, we have achieved a remarkable progress in 2015.

It has been a reward for the indefatigable resistance, selfless efforts, the firm convictions of our people and the leadership of the historical generation of the Revolution headed by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro and President Raúl Castro.

We are deeply grateful to all the governments and peoples, parliaments, political forces and social movements, representatives of the civil society, international and regional organizations that, particularly in this United Nations General Assembly, have contributed their voice and vote, year after year, to support the fairness and urgency of the elimination of the blockade.

We have made it all the way here thanks also to the majority and ever-growing support given by the US people to this lofty purpose, to whom we also convey our gratitude.

We know that the way ahead is long and difficult. We will continue to present this draft resolution for as long as the blockade persists in this General Assembly.

The Cuban people will never renounce its sovereignty or the path that is has freely chosen to build a more just, efficient, prosperous and sustainable socialism. Neither will it give up in its quest for a more equitable and democratic international order.

Mr. President:

Distinguished Permanent Representatives:

Esteemed delegates:

We have presented a new draft resolution that reflects the reality of the rigorous and oppressive implementation of the blockade against Cuba and also welcomes and recognizes, in the new preambular paragraphs, the progress achieved in the course of last year.

On behalf of the heroic, self-sacrificing and fraternal people of Cuba, I ask you to vote in favor of the draft resolution contained in document A/70/L.2. “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.”

Thank you, very much.

Cuban Cancer Patient Deprived of Medicine by US Blockade

Source:  TeleSUR
October 29 2015

Seven-year-old cancer patient Noemi Bernardez is unlikely to survive her treatment without a U.S.-made drug.

cuban cancer patient denied by us blockade

The hospital where Bernardez is being treated says its struggling to obtain Temozolomida. | Photo: CubaDebate

A Cuban girl is being deprived of urgently needed cancer treatment due to the United States’ blockade, doctors said Wednesday.

Seven-year-old Noemi Bernardez underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor in September, and is now undergoing further treatment including radiation therapy. However, her doctors say the likelihood Bernardez will survive is low without access to a specialized drug made in the United States, Temozolomida.

“It’s essential for Noemi and other patients with the same condition to receive treatment that improves their chance of survival, such as Temozolomida,” Doctor Migdalia Perez told teleSUR.

Chance of survival

Without the drug, Bernardez has a 20 percent chance of surviving. Comparably, patients with Bernandez’s conditions generally have a 70 percent chance of beating cancer when their treatment includes Temozolomida.

However, the crucial drug is close to impossible to obtain in Cuba, where suppliers are unable to directly purchase Temozolomida from its U.S. manufacturer.

Due to the U.S. blockade, the Cuban health ministry has been forced to hunt for the drug from third-party suppliers – a difficult feat given U.S. laws that penalize foreign subsidiaries of U.S.-based companies from trading with Cuba.

According to Perez, the blockade has put Bernardez and her doctors in a difficult situation.

The world opposes the blockade

191 - 2“It’s very difficult to treat a disease when our hands are practically tied,” she said.

The U.S. blockade of Cuba is opposed by almost the entire world. Earlier this week, the United Nations voted almost unanimously for a resolution to condemn the blockade, with just the United States and Israel defending the blockade.

For the last three years, 188 of the 193 members have voted in favor of Cuba, with the United States and Israel being persistent exceptions. The decision must be unanimous in order for the measure to be passed.

The resolution is named the “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.” It expresses concern over the international legality of the U.S. economic and financial siege of the Caribbean island.


obama 33U.S. President Barack Obama said in July that the blockade had failed. Since then, he has often hinted that it would soon be lifted. But despite beginning a path to normalize bilateral dealings, including lifting some travel and trade bans to the island, the sanctions continue, as a change of policy would have to be passed by Congress.

raul at panama summit 2015Cuban President Raul Castro has reiterated that in order for full relations to be re-established, the United States must meet four conditions: to leave Guantanamo detention camp; end the blockade; end the “wet-foot-dry-foot” law encouraging Cubans to pursue residency in the U.S.; and end anti-government radio and television transmissions into the island.

RELATED: A UN Vote Worth Watching: Will the US Support a UN Motion Against the Cuban Blockade?

Lifting of the half-century blockade would represent a historic moment for Cubans, 77 percent of whom were born under the harsh economic conditions.

Source:  Cuban Cancer Patient Deprived of Medicine by US Blockade TeleSUR

UN Votes in Favor of Ending Cuban Blockade 191-2

Source:  TeleSUR
27 October 2015

Once again, the United States and Israel voted against the motion to end economic sanctions.

Cuba's Foreign Minister Rodriguez addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New YorkThe United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of lifting the blockade against Cuba Tuesday, with only the U.S. and Israel voting against.

The initiative has been backed by the majority of members for the last 23 years.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented a report that concludes that the economic sanctions, which have caused some US$833.8 billion in damage to the Caribbean island, should be lifted.

Moments before the vote took place, the U.S. representative to the U.N. declared that his country would vote against lifting the sanctions, saying that it was unfortunate that Cuba had presented a motion that was “almost identical” to the one the year before.

Violation of human rights

His speech followed that of Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez (photo), who demanded that the U.S. end the “flagrant, massive and systematic violation of human rights of all Cubans” by terminating the half-century financial and economic blockade.

Rodriguez pointed out the company Electra refused to supply Cuban hospitals with cancer drugs.

“The embargo is a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of human rights of all Cubans,” he said. “It is contrary to international law … It has been described as an act of genocide.”

“We hope that U.S. moves forward form a cruel and unjust policy anchored in the past and adopts a policy based on the feelings of its own citizens,” he added.

Non-Aligned Movement

Iran’s U.N. representative of the Non-Aligned Movement spoke first in support of lifting the blockade. He listed the ways the sanctions had harmed the people of Cuba and the development of the country.

“It affects all crucial sectors of society, such as public health … banking and tourism. It denies Cuba aid,” he told the assembly. “The embargo is also the main obstacle to broader access to the internet and the exchange of ideas.”

“The continuation of the embargo is unjustifiable, and counters Cuba’s effort to achieve sustainable development,” he added.

Echoing the theme, Ecuador’s NAM representative at the U.N. called on the United States to cease voting against the movement, “contrary to the will of the international community.”


U.N. Representatives from the Caribbean Community and Common Market and the South American regional bloc Mercosur both congratulated the United States and Cuba for re-establishing relations, but also called on the United States to lift the blockade against Cuba.

“The time has come to put an end to this unilateral embargo,” said the Paraguayan representative, speaking on behalf of Mercosur.

RELATED: World Discusses the Blockade on Cuba at the UN

For the last three years, 188 of the 193 members have voted in favor of Cuba, with the United States and Israel being persistent exceptions. The decision must be unanimous in order for the measure to be passed.

The resolution is named the “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.” It expresses concern over the international legality of the U.S. economic and financial siege of the Caribbean island.

U.S. President Barack Obama said in July that the blockade had failed. Since then, he has often hinted that it would soon be lifted. But despite beginning a path to normalize bilateral dealings, including lifting some travel and trade bans to the island, the sanctions continue, as a change of policy would have to be passed by Congress.

Four conditions

Cuban President Raul Castro has reiterated that in order for full relations to be re-established, the United States must meet four conditions: to leave Guantanamo detention camp; end the blockade; end the “wet-foot-dry-foot” law encouraging Cubans to pursue residency in the U.S.; and end anti-government radio and television transmissions into the island.

RELATED: A UN Vote Worth Watching: Will the US Support a UN Motion Against the Cuban Blockade?

Lifting of the half-century blockade would represent a historic moment for Cubans, 77 percent of whom were born under the harsh economic conditions.

Source:  UN Votes in Favor of Ending Cuban Blockade 191-2  TeleSUR

The blockade continues to be a flagrant violation of International Law

October 24 2015

by Bernardo Guanche Hernández, Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica at a public function organized by the Jamaica-Cuba Friendship Association, October 24, 2015.

amb bernardo oct 2015 2

Bernardo Guanche Hernández, Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica

It is an honour for me and all Cubans present here to share this activity that has been organized by the Jamaica-Cuba Friendship Association with the support of other friendship groups.

October is an important month for Cubans, which bring to our minds the courage of our people and of its historic leader during the days of the October Crisis. The tenth month of the year reminds us of the death in battle of Ernesto Che Guevara, the horrible crime of Barbados and the physical disappearance of Camilo Cienfuegos.  The month of October is also one of the most important for Cuban Culture.  On October, the notes of our national anthem was sung for the first time in Bayamo, a date we have just celebrated in the recent day.

During the last years, in October, at the United Nations, Cuba has received the support of the majority of the countries of the world against the US blockade.

Cruel policy

For 55 years, the cruel policy of economic strangulation against our country has been kept. The blockade has been and continues to be a flagrant violation of International Law; it is contrary to the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and constitutes a violation of the right to peace, development and security of a sovereign State.

raul y obama panama 2015 1aThe establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States has been an initial positive step in the process towards the normalization of bilateral relations. Nevertheless, after December 17, the implementation of the blockade against Cuba has remained unchanged.  Actually, under President Obama’s administration, the blockade has been further tightened and its extraterritorial implementation has been intensified.

President Obama has broad possibilities to significantly modify the implementation of the blockade by making use of his executive powers, without requiring the support of the US Congress.

For its part, the US Congress has not approved any of the bills seeking to eliminate some of the blockade regulations.

Based on all of the above, Cuba will reiterate the appeal to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States, in the new draft resolution to be presented on October 27, 2015.

Diplomatic relations

This takes into account the new bilateral circumstances between Cuba and the United States, welcoming the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and recognizing the willingness expressed by the US President to work for the lifting of the blockade.

The international community’s mobilizing role in support of the lifting of the blockade imposed against Cuba is essential and will be an important factor in support of President Obama and those members of US Congress who favor the end of this cruel policy, in face of their adversaries and critics.  The international solidarity and support that Cuba has received during these long and tough years has been crucial to the change of US Cuba policy. The blockade against Cuba should cease.

In spite of blockade, Cuba will continue contributing to the social development of others. Cuba shares its modest resources with many other developing countries through genuine international cooperation. The collaboration Cuba maintains in Jamaica in health, education and other areas is an example of this.


Today it is very important to remember also that acting in the light of the process towards the normalization of relations between the Republic of Cuba and the United States of América, which is an element that contributes to the stability of Latin America and the Caribbean, we consider that the return to the Republic of Cuba of the territory occupied by the US Naval Base in Guantanamo should be an essential element of that process.

I´d like to express our gratitude to all the friends of Cuba who have gathered here this morning. On behalf of my country, let me again thank you very much for your support and solidarity.

Long live the Friendship between Jamaica and Cuba
Viva la Amistad entre Jamaica y Cuba!
Thank you 

WHO: Bacon, Hot Dogs, and Sausage Can Cause Cancer

Source: HealthDay News
October 26 2015

bacon rapped hot dogProcessed meats, the likes of which include bacon, hot dogs and sausages, can cause cancer and red meat may do the same, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the WHO, sifted through more than 800 studies that looked at possible links between the consumption of processed or red meat and cancer. The body of research spanned several continents, and included different races and diets. Most of the studies focused on associations with colon cancer, in particular.

When the 22 international experts were done, the findings prompted them to classify processed meat as a carcinogen that is as deadly as tobacco, asbestos and diesel fumes.

“For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” Dr. Kurt Straif of the IARC said in an agency news release.

Red meat fared slightly better under the scrutiny, and was classified as a possible carcinogen that entails the same level of cancer risk as glyphosate, the active ingredient in many pesticides. But the group also noted that red meat has nutritional value.

Colon cancer

The most powerful links were seen with colon cancer, but there were also associations with pancreatic and prostate cancer, the IARC statement said.

“There is sufficient evidence in human beings for the carcinogenicity of the consumption of processed meat,” the group concluded in its statement.

“Chance, bias and confounding could not be ruled out with the same degree of confidence for the data on red meat consumption, since no clear association was seen in several of the high-quality studies . . . there is limited evidence in human beings for the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat,” the group added.

Some of the studies suggested that an additional 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of red meat per day raises colon cancer risk 17 percent, while eating about 1.7 ounces (50 grams) of processed meat raises colon cancer risk by 18 percent, the IARC group noted.

Members of the beef industry were quick to react to the move.

Red meat

“Cancer is a complex disease that even the best and brightest minds don’t fully understand,” Shalene McNeill, from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said in a statement. “Billions of dollars have been spent on studies all over the world and no single food has ever been proven to cause or cure cancer. The opinion by the IARC committee to list red meat as a probable carcinogen does not change that fact. The available scientific evidence simply does not support a causal relationship between red or processed meat and any type of cancer.”

Even nutritionists offered some caveats on the news.

“The headlines surrounding this report are alarming, but the findings do not support that eating any and all meat will definitively cause cancer,” said Dana White, a clinical assistant professor of athletic training and sports medicine at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. “As a registered dietitian, I like to look at the big picture of the overall diet. Red meat can provide important nutrients such as essential amino acids, iron and vitamin B12. When lean cuts are consumed in moderation, it can still fit into a healthy diet.”

AICR applauded the findings

Meanwhile, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) applauded the findings.

“For years, AICR has been recommending that individuals reduce the amount of beef, pork, lamb and other red meats in their diets and avoid processed meats like bacon, sausage and hot dogs,” Susan Higginbotham, vice president of research, said in an AICR statement.

“AICR continues to recommend avoiding processed meats and eating no more than 18 ounces of cooked red meat weekly to lower colorectal cancer risk,” the statement added. “Our own analyses show that such moderate consumption of red meat is not associated with a notable increase in colorectal cancer risk. But they do show that regular consumption of even small amounts of hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats increase colorectal cancer risk.”

Another expert explained the possible reasons why processed meats may show a stronger link to cancer risk than red meats do.

“Meats processed [treated with chemicals, or smoked/cured, to allow longer storage] seem to have a stronger relationship with the development of cancer, and may deserve special attention to ascertain why,” said Dr. Arun Swaminath, director of the inflammatory bowel disease program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“One mechanism is that this processing increases the level of aromatic amines and aromatic hydrocarbons in the food, which can cause damage to human DNA, which increases the risk of colon cancer,” Swaminath explained.

And the AICR pointed out that although processed meat will now be considered a carcinogen on par with smoking, the actual risk is far smaller.

“In some studies, participants who eat diets high in processed meat experience a risk for colorectal cancer that is nearly double that of non-meat-eaters. But according to the CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], smoking cigarettes multiplies a person’s risk for cancer by as much as 20 times,” the agency said in its statement.

More information

Visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health for more on the health risks of eating red meat.

Source: Bacon, Hot Dogs, and Sausage Can Cause Cancer, Major Review Finds  Health Day News

Remembering Rosa Parks, the ‘First Lady’ of Civil Rights

Sources:  TeleSUR, Wikipedia

Rosa Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African-American Civil Rights activist, whom the United States Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”.  Her birthday, February 4, and the day she was arrested, December 1, have both become Rosa Parks Day, commemorated in both California and Ohio.

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake’s order to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled.  Although Parks was not the first African American person to resist bus segregation. her act of defiance kicked off the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, which proved to be a spark in the fight for equal rights.

Although widely honored in later years, she also suffered for her act; she was fired from her job as a seamstress in a local department store, and received death threats for years afterwards.

Parks died on Oct. 24, 2005, at the age of 92

rosa parkes in bus

rosa parkes arrested

rosa parkes #7053

rosa parkes marches with mlk

rosa parkes statue

Meet Haiti’s Presidential Candidates

Source:  TeleSUR
October 21 2015

There are 54 presidential candidates contesting in the first round and only two of them are expected to go into a Dec. 27 runoff to become the nation’s next leader.

  1.  Jovenel Moise

haiti's presidential candidate jovenel moiseThe front-runner is Jovenel Moise, the 47-year-old candidate of current President Michel Martelly’s Parti Haitien Tet Kale (PHTK). He was born in the countryside of Haiti from a modest family of farmers, and studied Educational Sciences in the capital Port au Prince, succeeding as a businessman in the banana industry.

Recent polls suggest Moise has a commanding lead of 20.5 percent, however other firms put him in second place, he was introduced to politics by Martelly and is known as one of his closest men. He has promised to revive agriculture in Haiti and improve education.
He also aims to put Haiti on the financial map by improving tourism and exports. Another proposal he has is to improve security and strengthen justice to restore the rule of law. He advocates food sustainability with the implementation of 570 greenhouses through the country.

2.  Jude Celestin

haiti's presidential candidate jude celestinSecond place in the presidential race is held by Jude Celestin from the opposition League for Progress and Haitian Emancipation (LAPEH), according to polls he has 12.8 percent of the vote, although some pollsters put him in first place over Moise, with 31.3 percent.

This is the second time that the 53-year-old engineer is running for president. He was the runner-up in the 2010 presidential elections and although he has been absent in politics for the past five years, he enjoys great popularity among Haitians.

Celestine is largely supported by former President Rene Preval and has claims that if elected, his government will give priority to job creation, rationalization of government expenditure and the fight against corruption.

It is necessary, he says, to find ways to harmonize relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, referring to the diplomatic tensions between the neighboring nations over the new Dominican immigration law, which threatens to deport hundreds of thousands of Haitians, including children born in the republic to undocumented parents.

3.  Moise Jean-Charles

haiti's presidential candidate Moise Jean-CharlesAll polls place former senator and opposition leader Moise Jean-Charles in third place, with 8.7 percent. He represents the platform “Pitit Dessalines,” which refers to Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who was a leader of the Haitian Revolution and the first emperor of independent Haiti (1804–1806).

The 48-year-old politician has said in multiple campaign events that Dessalines started the “political revolution,” and that he will start the “economic revolution” in Haiti. If elected, he has pledged to create a new economy based on domestic production and massive investment in agriculture to fight the extreme poverty plaguing Haiti.

Source:  Meet Haiti’s Presidential Candidates  TeleSUR