November 25, 2004


U.S. Exporters to Cuba Say Cash Blocked

By Jeannine Aversa, Associated Press Writer, November 25, 2004.

WASHINGTON - Some companies that sell food and agricultural products to Cuba are reporting that payments are not being credited to their bank accounts in the United States, according to a representative of a group that tracks business between the two countries.

John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council Inc., said Tuesday that fewer than half a dozen companies have contacted his organization recently about such problems.

He said banks have confirmed receipt of payments from Cuba but have not credited the accounts of exporters on instructions from the U.S. government.

A spokeswoman for the Treasury Department said its Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces the economic embargo against Cuba, is looking into the matter. OFAC, she said, has been asked to clarify the government's policy regarding payments. She wouldn't say who requested the clarification.

"We are taking a serious look at the issue and working with our germane counterparts in the U.S. government," the Treasury spokeswoman said, speaking on condition that she not be identified further. "We expect to issue guidance in the near future."

Kavulich wouldn't provide the names of the companies that have reported payment problems to his group or further details in the cases. The Treasury spokeswoman also declined to provide further information.

"Right now this is a technical issue, but it could become massively political," said Kavulich.

The embargo against Cuba bans most U.S. exports to the country with a few exceptions, including certain food and agriculture products.

Kavulich estimates that U.S. sales of food and agriculture products to Cuba in 2003 totaled around $256.9 million. He said about 15 companies in the United States account for roughly 90 percent of food and agriculture products that are sold to Cuba.

Kavulich said communicated in both writing and conversations with people at Treasury and elsewhere in the Bush administration about the problem.

President Bush has called for more stringent enforcement of provisions that forbid most economic activity with and travel to Cuba.

Congress has sought to ease restrictions on trade against Cuba but so far has been unable to get a bill to Bush that would do that. The White House has warned that Bush would veto legislation that weakens the ban.

President Kennedy imposed economic sanctions against Cuba in 1963 during the Cold War. The basic goal is to isolate the Cuban government economically and deprive it of U.S. dollars, the government says.

China, Cuba Agree to Business Deals

By Andrea Rodriguez, Associated Press Writer, Nov 23.

HAVANA - Chinese President Hu Jintao and trade leaders agreed to an array of business deals with Cuba Tuesday as the two communist nations worked to strengthen their economic ties.

By the time Hu flew out of Havana Tuesday night, he had agreed to a $500 million investment in the island's key nickel industry and attended talks aimed at increasing Chinese involvement in Cuban tourism and telecommunications.

Hu, who came to Cuba on a personal invitation from President Fidel Castro (news - web sites), flew in from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (news - web sites) forum in Santiago, Chile. He also visited Argentina and Brazil on his first trip to Latin America since taking office in 2003.

Earlier Tuesday, Hu was accompanied by Defense Minister Raul Castro, the president's younger brother, at a forum of about 400 Cuban and Chinese business people negotiating new trade between the ideological allies.

"Cuba is one of China's largest commercial partners in Latin America," Hu told the gathering. "We share common ideals allowing us to follow our own path of development whatever the international situation may be."

Relations between the two nations were tense during the Cold War, when the Caribbean island was strongly allied with the Soviet Union, but warmed after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and Cuba lost its preferential trade and aid deals with the Soviet bloc.

In a ceremony Tuesday, Castro bestowed the Jose Marti Honorary Order on Hu. He stood up from his wheelchair, for the first time publicly after shattering his kneecap in an accidental fall last month, while the Chinese and Cuban national anthems played. He leaned on a metal cane with an arm support.

"Socialism will definitively remain as the only real hope for peace and survival of our species," Castro said. "That is precisely what the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China has demonstrated."

Castro ended his comments by saying Cuba had "enormous admiration for the legendary and revolutionary China," a country that is now also Cuba's third-largest trading partner.

China accounts for 10 percent of the island's foreign trade, trailing Venezuela and Spain.

The presidents looked on Monday as ministers and business leaders signed 16 agreements for China to purchase nickel and invest in processing and exploration for the mineral.

Under the accords, starting next year Cuba will provide 4,400 tons of nickel annually to China.

The agreements also call for the $500 million Chinese investment in a new nickel plant in Moa, in the eastern region of Holguin, Cuba's Basic Industry Minister Yadira Garcia told reporters Tuesday.

China also allowed Cuba a 10-year extension to repay four interest-free loans provided between 1990 and 1994, during Cuba's severe post-Soviet economic crisis.

China will also donate $6 million to Cuban hospitals, as well as cloth for school uniforms worth about another $6 million.

China also agreed to finance 1 million television sets for the Cuban market.

There were also cooperation agreements in the fields of biotechnology, telecommunications and meteorology, as well as plans to teach Chinese to Cuban students.

Anti-Castro Group's Leader Talks To Local 10

WPLG Wed Nov 24.

The leader of a South Florida anti-Castro group admits that the group does train Venezuelan exiles in military tactics, but he denies having any role in a bombing that killed a top Venezuelan government prosecutor last week.

Rodolfo Frometa, who calls himself "Comandante," is the head of the anti-Castro group called Commandos F-4, headquartered on Flagler Street. He agreed to answer questions from Local 10's Rad Berky.

Frometa adamantly denies any role in the bombing last Thursday that killed prosecutor Danilo Anderson.

"Absolutemente," Frometa said. "No."

Frometa said, (translated) "In fact, the Commandos F-4 prohibit any terrorist attacks in any part of the world."

Frometa did admit that Venezuelan exiles opposed to President Hugo Chavez do train with his group.

Frometa gave Local 10 a video of paramilitary training going on at the group's camp in the Everglades.

He showed Local 10 pictures of the leader of the Venezuelan exiles traning in South Florida. Frometa said the leader's name is Luis Garcia Mora, but he refused to say exactly how many Venezuelans had trained at the camp.

Venezuelan officials said that a C-4 military explosive was used to kill Anderson and they have claimed Venezuelan ex-patriots living in South Florida were to blame.

Chavez's spokesman, Information Minister Andres Izarra, accused "terrorists" training in Florida of being behind Anderson's assassination because he intended to prosecute backers of Venezuela's 2002 coup.

But hours later, another Venezuelan senior official said Izarra was not directly linking the exiles in Florida with the assassination of Anderson.

Izarra said the assassination of Anderson, known among Venezuelans as the "super prosecutor," was aimed at attacking the judicial branch and derailing his investigations and prosecutions of those who supported the coup, in which 19 people were killed and almost 300 wounded.

"The fascists and terrorists that acted against the prosecutor" also want to derail Chavez's social revolution, Izarra said.

"Some of them train and constantly make pronouncements from Florida, (in the) United States," he said.

The charge echoed Chavez's earlier accusations that Cuban and Venezuelan "terrorists" were training in Florida to execute him and were using the media to call for his overthrow.

Frometa says the Venezuelans he trains learn to shoot rifles and semiautomatic weapons.

"We teach them military techniques with the idea that if they are attacked they can defend themselves," Frometa said.

He said there is no training in explosives or anything that would violate the laws of the United States.

When Berky asked, "No bombs?" Frometa answered, "No. Absolutemente no."

Other than pointing a finger, Venezuela has offered no evidence that anyone here in South Florida had anything to do with the bombing and no arrests have been made.

Venezuelan police said Tuesday an attorney who may have played a role in the bombing was shot and killed by police in Caracas. They did not say why they believe the attorney was a suspect and gave no other details of the shootout.


News from Cuba
by e-mail


Cooperativas Agrícolas
Movimiento Sindical
Artes Plásticas
El Niño del Pífano
Octavillas sobre La Habana
Fotos de Cuba
Quiénes Somos
Informe Anual
Correo Eléctronico


In Association with


145 Madeira Ave, Suite 207
Coral Gables, FL 33134
(305) 774-1887