La Tienda de Cubanet

JULY 2003

July 31

Pastors for Peace donations don't reach intended beneficiaries
A bus donated by the U. S. religious group Pastors for Peace to a school for handicapped children in Cuba was instead assigned by the government to the exclusive use of upper level Communist Party officials in Pinar del Río province.

Subtle signs have deep meaning in Cuba
The performance in a public place of just a few bars from a recording by recently deceased Cuban songstress Celia Cruz, including her trademark "Azúcar," visibly registered with a crowd of about 2,000 in Guanabo beach, east of Havana, last Thursday, with meanings that would be opaque to outsiders.

Cubans make do with homemade nails
Faced with the near-impossibility of obtaining common nails in hardware stores, residents of the Cuban province of Las Tunas make them out of barbed wire.

Children's theater does not refund money
The director of a chain of movie houses in Havana said he was not authorized to refund patrons' money, even if the patrons are children and the reason for the request is that the theater did not show the advertised movie due to technical difficulties.

Residents complain of poor carnival organization
Pinar del Río residents have been complaining of poor service and organization during the recent carnival. They say late starting events, and high prices and poor availability of food and drink make it difficult to enjoy the festivities.

Armed robbery at government-run bar
Several unknowns walked into Las Palmeras bar, located in the Jesús María district of Havana in the early morning hours, pointed a gun at the attendant's head and made off with reportedly more than 900 dollars from the register.

Cuba: Ongoing repercussions of the crackdown
In mid-March 2003 Cuban authorities carried out an unprecedented clampdown on the dissident movement on the island. Over the space of a few days, security forces rounded up over 75 dissidents in targeted sweeps. With the exception of half a dozen well-known figures critical of the regime, most mid-level leaders of the dissident movement were detained.
Amnesty International

The Miami Herald
• Cuban group wants U.S. to allow 19 refugees, intercepted at sea, to enter
• Lieberman rips Bush in attempt to woo Cubans
• Moving on, letting go of old Cuba

• Repatriated Cubans Try to Migrate Legally
• Contreras Pitching at Batting Practice

Noriega Confirmed At Last
The United States finally has a leader at the helm of policy for this hemisphere, and that's good for the people of Latin America and the Caribbean. Confirmed by unanimous consent of the Senate on Tuesday, Roger Noriega must hit the ground running as the top U.S. diplomat for the Americas. We're glad that the Senate came to a sensible conclusion with the confirmation, ending years of delay.
The Miami Herald

External links

Analysis: Politics on Cuba changing
Cuban politics around the world has always been a tangle, and now it seems to be unraveling and tangling again. It's happening in Cuba itself, in Europe and in the United States.
The Washington Times

The Forgotten 14
Has the American Library Association (ALA) become Fidel Castro's latest "useful idiot"? On the surface, it seems implausible: Any organization dedicated to the uncensored dissemination of books, journals, and ideas would naturally be critical of a dictator who suppresses liberty with an iron fist. After all, a champion of open expression can't be indifferent to Castro's persecution of free thinkers, right? Well, according to several top members of the ALA, maybe not. A dispute at the association's annual conference in Toronto last month revealed a troubling obtuseness about the status of human rights in Cuba.
National Review Online

Cubans will respect laws, customs of T&T
Cuban doctors and nurses are here to contribute to the improvement of the health situation in Trinidad and Tobago and to respect the laws, traditions and customs of the country, said Alberto Sierra Perez, co-ordinator of the team of Cuban medics who arrived in Port of Spain last Thursday.
Trinidad Express

P.O.V.: 90 Miles
Cuban American filmmaker Juan Carlos Zaldívar, once a 13-year-old loyalist of the Cuban Revolution, recounts the strange twist of fate that took him across one of the world's most treacherous stretches of water in '90 Miles.'

Castro Regime Said to be Spying 'Intensively' on U.S.
The State Department released information on Wednesday saying that Cuban dictator Fidel Castro has long targeted the United States for "intensive espionage activities."

U.S. concerned about ailing dissident
A Cuban economist imprisoned for dissident activities has been moved to a military hospital in Havana because her health is failing, the State Department said yesterday. The United States is "deeply concerned" about the dissident, Marta Beatriz Roque, and the Cuban government should ensure she receives the best possible treatment, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in a statement.
The Washington Times

Cuban dance troupe comes to sister city
In celebration of the Sister City affiliation between Oakland and Santiago de Cuba, Ballet Folklorico Cutumba makes its first West Coast tour in September with several performances and workshops. The professional company has more than 30 years of research and performance of the traditional music, dance and song from the eastern provinces of Cuba.
Alameda Times-Star, CA

Appeasing Castro
It was not just that the Bush administration dispatched 12 Cubans who hijacked a boat to the tender mercies of Fidel Castro. What inflamed pro-Bush Cuban-Americans in south Florida is that the United States negotiated with the communist dictator to impose 10-year prison sentences. This sudden agreement between Washington and Havana could cost George W. Bush a second term.
Robert D. Novak /

July 29

Cuban political prisoner transferred to cellblock with common prisoners
Jailed independent journalist Fabio Prieto, who's serving a 20-year sentence in the Guanajay prison, was transferred this week to a cellblock housing common prisoners.

Crutches not for Cuban 10-year-old girl
The parents of Diana Reis, a 10-year-old girl from Santa Cruz del Sur who needs to wear crutches for the next six months for a knee ailment, say they were denied the crutches by the Cuban health system.Yet, say the parents, the same system is offering crutches and other orthopedic devices to Venezuelans.

Cuban worker charged for missing bull, then fired
Jailed independent journalist Fabio Prieto, who's serving a 20-year sentence in the Guanajay prison, was transferred this week to a cellblock housing common prisoners.

Nelson questions return of 12 to Cuba
Citing a perceived change in U.S. policy toward Cubans interdicted at sea, Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson said Monday he will call for an investigation into negotiations that led to the recent repatriation of a dozen people who stole a boat in a failed bid to flee the island.
The Miami Herald

External links

Price of Defection
In Contreras' case, there also is the fear that Cuban authorities "could make it difficult for his family to join him if they wanted to," Milton Jamail said. Moreover, Contreras may never again see Cuba. Carlos Rodriguez, Cuba's national director of baseball, said defectors are allowed back for visits "if they don't speak negatively about Fidel Castro or Cuba or join the mafia or say life is difficult here."
Hartford Courant, CT

Analysis: Illustration of confused policy
The return of 12 alleged hijackers to Cuba illustrates the confused nature of U.S. policy toward refugees trying to make it from the communist nation to Florida.
The Washington Times

Fidel Castro: Rebel without applause
His story is the story of Cuba. The Bay of Pigs, the missile crisis, the cigars, the glamour of Havana. But, 50 years after he launched his bid for power, the Cold War is long lost, the economy is collapsing, his only strategy more repression. The dream is as old and fatigued as Fidel himself
The Independent, UK

Corzine: Celia Cruz deserves recognition
Sen. Jon S. Corzine yesterday introduced legislation on Capitol Hill that would posthumously award Celia Cruz, the "Queen of Salsa," the Congressional Gold Medal.
New Jersey Journal, NJ

Playing Footsies With Castro
They say "a picture is worth a thousand words" and that "necessity is the mother of invention." An image circulated last week throughout the world proved both these sayings to be true. The photograph featured Cuban migrants aboard a 1951 Chevrolet flatbed truck, floating on empty oil drums in the Florida straights.
Emiliano Antunez /

Bienvenidos a Los Estados Unidos! No?
Forty miles short of their goal, the U.S. Coast Guard arrived. Under the "rules," since the Cubans had not touched American shores they were returned to Castro's island dictatorship and a fate that most certainly will include time in prison for simply yearning to be free. Sadly, the Coast Guard ruled their craft was a hazard to ocean navigation and sunk it.
Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald, NC

July 28

Cuban ball player's activist brother takes abuse from
A Cuban human rights activist whose brother plays Major League baseball in the U.S. was publicly insulted and threatened by a police official in a Havana street.

Holiday taken away from Cuban workers
People here are grumbling about a directive from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security that eliminated one holiday this summer. In addition to the holiday commemorating the start of Castro's revolution July 26, the Cuban Labor Code grants workers a holiday on the days before and after.

Carlos Varela: Between his fans and power
It's possible that upon Varela's arrival in Havana, the Minister of Culture, Abel Prieto, read him the riot act and told him nothing in the way of subversive songs or indulgence of the public, and the least little spark could light a powder keg that would burn hotter than the Iraqi oil wells.

• Castro blasts the European Union, Cuba's new bete-noire
• Castro rejects EU humanitarian aid out of "dignity"
• Cuba Marks 50th Year Since Revolution
• Many Miami Cubans Recall 1953 Attack
• US slams expulsion of media watchdog from UN meetings

The Miami Herald
• Cubans made Chevy a cradle for their hopes
• CANF outraged by return of dozen Cubans
• Few would say history will absolve Castro
• Finding beauty in Cuba's myths, reality

European Press Review: Cuba Pays Price for Castro's Arrogance
Over the weekend Fidel Castro celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban revolution with a fiery speech in which he rejected humanitarian aid from the EU. His outburst has elicited comments in the European papers.
Deutsche Welle, Germany

Cuban political prisoner suffers serious decline in her health
Prominent Cuban political prisoner Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello was transferred on the morning of July 24 from Manto Negro (Black Mantle) women's prison in the area of El Watao, Havana, to a military hospital due to serious deterioration of her health.

External links

A Revolution In Ruins
The often desperate competition to somehow acquire dollars from Western visitors has also led to other social and moral distortions that Castro previously deplored. University enrollment is less than half of what it was in 1990 because young Cubans see greater advantage in hustling tourists. Prostitution is rampant. Crime has increased. Resentments are growing too, because average Cubans, even those with dollars, are prohibited from visiting most tourist locations.
The Washington Post

EU unfazed by Castro rebuff
The European Union has said it will continue to offer aid to Cuba, despite President Fidel Castro's denunciation of the EU as the United States' "Trojan horse".

Cuba anniversary arouses press passions
As Cubans mark the 50th anniversary of the start of the revolution which brought Fidel Castro to power, the splits between his supporters at home and exiles in Miami are nowhere more marked than in the press.

Castro's newest nemesis: the European Union
Cubans celebrated the 50th anniversary of the start of the revolution Saturday amid growing uncertainty over the island's future. They drank 10-cent beers from paper cups and yelled "Long Live Cuba!" And more than a few wept over what a long, painful struggle it's been.
The Dallas Morning News

Fresh Scars of Cuba's Past
The sun is bright, the sky blue, the mountains purple and the children frolic happily under the bullet holes. There is no shortage anywhere in the Third World of either children or bullet holes, but here at Moncada Barracks there is something unusual about the conjunction.
The Washington Post

Cuba's rafter rebellion
As Fidel Castro celebrated yesterday the 50th anniversary of the start of the uprising that eventually brought him dictatorial power, something else, also about 50 years old and coming from Cuba, upstaged the apparatchiks' fiesta. Pictures of a bright green 1951 Chevy, supped up in Cuba for seaworthiness, made many newspapers on the eve of Mr. Castro's party.
The Washington Times

Cuba strains for progress 50 years after revolution
Fifty years ago today, Fidel Castro led an attack on a Cuban army barracks that planted the seeds of his revolution. Captured and brought to trial three months later, the young lawyer defended himself.
Arizona Republic, AZ

Exhibit captures Cuba in transition
The title of the photography exhibit, "Cuba on the Verge: An Island in Transition," implies that the Communist nation some 90 miles from Florida is experiencing change, heading from one state to another. The only problem is that the International Center of PhoJuly 28, 2003tography exhibit, which gathers the works of some 14 Cuban, American and Cuban-American photographers, cannot really tell us where it is heading.
The Star-Ledger, NJ

Cuban revolution losing its shine
Last weekend, Cuba marked the founding moment of its revolution with all the considerable passion it can muster. Yet while the past may be as glorious as ever, the present is tarnished; and there are more questions over the future of Fidel Castro, the country's leader, than even he could cover in one of his legendary long speeches.
NZ Herald, New Zealand

Cuban soap operas offer glimpses of fantasy, harsh reality
In her most recent role, actress Monica Alonso played a coarse yet sincere teenager who criticized Cuba's troubles. ''I was the girl who couldn't tell a lie,'' she says. Her soap opera, ''Doble Juego'' (''Double Game''), was such a sensation that the Cuban government turned it into a movie after it went off the air. And people lined up for blocks to see it at dingy Havana theaters.
Boston Globe

July 25

Banking regulation raises concerns among foreign businessmen in Cuba
A new regulation by the Central Bank of Cuba authorizing payments that were heretofore made in dollars to be made in convertible pesos has foreigners doing business here concerned that extracting payment from Cuban companies could become more difficult.

High drop-out rate among Cuban high school students
A high percentage of high school students here drop out before completing their studies, was one of the conclusions reached at a meeting with the minister of education.

• Cubans Sure Truck-Boat Plan Was a Winner
• First American Livestock Arrives in Cuba

The Miami Herald
• Tampa Port officials say first step has been made in Cuba trade

External links

A Song of Love for Celia
That she would take the time out from her busy life to extend a holiday greeting to a writer whom she had only occasionally encountered over the years speaks volumes about the generosity of her spirit and of her giving, affectionate nature.
Oscar Hijuelos / The New York Times

A Prisoner Becomes a Warden
After the failed July 26, 1953, attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba, where the troops of the dictator Fulgencio Batista were stationed, Fidel Castro and some 100 other surviving assailants (myself among them) were tried for sedition and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. Fidel Castro's sentence was 15 years, although he was given amnesty, along with the rest of us, after 21 months. He was never again jailed. He came to power in the 1959 revolution and has since become He Who Sends Others to Jail.
.Gustavo Arcos Bergnes / The New York Times

Goodbye, but Not Farewell
Fifty years of victory, 50 weeks of goodbyes: it has an appealing symmetry. It was 50 years ago tomorrow that Fidel Castro led the assault that would eventually topple the Cuban government and bring him to power. He is sure to use the anniversary over the next year to remind Cubans that while they must plan for his succession, they should not expect a new regime.
Jorge I. Dominguez / The New Yorl Times

Relatives fear fate of Cuban migrants
Bárbaro Pérez Novo and his half-brother Yosvel Chávez Novo were celebrating their father's birthday last week when they said farewell to family and friends and embarked on a trip across Cuba.
Sun-Sentinel, FL

July 24

Police violence at the Sunday market in Cuba
A display of violence by police while arresting two young men led to strong remonstrations from bystanders, who surrounded the police car, banging and rocking it and calling the police "abusers" and "murderers" in an attempt to stop the abuse.

Coast Guard sends back Cubans who tried to sail to US in a truck
• Chilean Author Nixes Cuba Over Award
• Cubans Celebrate Carnival With Dancing
• Castro Birthplace a Tourist Attraction
• Cubans Fashion Raft From Pickup Truck
The Miami Herald

Cuban worker fired for demanding better working conditions
Estanislao Pérez Reyes, a custodian at the zoo in the Isle of Youth, was fired after he demanded better working conditions from administrators at the facility. Custodians at the zoo do not have a right to lunch or dinner and don't have a shelter where to take cover from the rain.

State Security threatens Cuban independent journalists
State Security officers threatened to take stern measures against independent journalists who are trying to create an organization to support their imprisoned colleagues. "Two officers visited me Wednesday and told me that what we were doing was a joke and a provocation to the government and that they wouldn't allow it," said Amarilis Cortina, a journalist.

2 exiles add a condition for backing Grammys
''Those artists are actually pawns of the Cuban government,'' Chirino said. "They make money for the Cuban government. I'm against promoting their careers. . . . I cannot support an artist who is actually helping the cause of the Cuban government that represses and kills my people''. ''My presence would offend the people who suffer under Fidel Castro,'' Estefan told El Nuevo Herald on Tuesday.
The Miami Herald

Reporters Without Borders suspended for one year from UN commission on human rights
Reporters Without Borders's consultative status with the United Nations commission on human rights was suspended on July 24 for one year at the request of Libya and Cuba because activists with the organisation staged a protest during the inauguration of the commission's last session in March against the decision to let Libya chair the commission.
Reporters Withouth Borders

July 23

"When people hear me sing, I want them to be happy, happy, happy."

Grieving Cubans visit Celia Cruz' home in Havana
A "substantial" number of people stopped at Celia Cruz' former home in a Havana suburb to offer condolences, said relatives who still occupy the modest house the star built with her first earnings in 1954.

• NYC Says Adios to Salsa Great Celia Cruz
• N.Y. Bids Farewell to Salsa Queen Cruz
• Fans Bid Goodbye to Celia

The Miami Herald
• New York says final farewell to Celia Cruz

Custodian fired for his political beliefs
Scull is also one of the more than 11,000 Cubans who signed on to the Varela project, calling for peaceful political change in Cuba. In recent weeks, an increasing number of cases are coming to light of people dismissed from their jobs for holding contrary political beliefs.

Social Security assistance denied to 79-year-old
The director of the office of Social Security in the province of Camagüey ruled a 79-year-old woman is not entitled to assistance because she has two sons abroad who should send her money.

Criminals, or refugees?
. Desperation continues to drive Cubans to risk their lives, perhaps even use violence, to flee a hopeless dictatorship -- and that remains as tragic today as ever. Desperation and repression have heightened in Cuba, more so, after a crackdown that began in March.
The Miami Herald

July 22

Mourners to Line Streets for Celia Cruz
• Loving fans mourn Celia
• 5th Ave. march, St. Pat's rites
• N.Y. Fans Say Adios To Celia
• Gloria And Emilio Estefan Say Goodbye To Celia
• Queen of Salsa Goes Out in Style
• Mourners Say Goodbye to Salsa Queen Cruz
• Fans line Madison Avenue to pay last respects to Latin legend Celia Cruz
• The spirit of Celia Cruz to dominate Latin Grammy nomination
Yahoo! News

Death of Celia Cruz ignored by official Cuban press
Nancy Rodríguez, who said she knew Celia from her student days, said: "Sooner or later, governments go away, and in the hearts of the people the only thing that remains is that which is capable of planting love and goodness. That's what Celia accomplished with her artistic work and her personal values."

Private cars confiscated
Authorities in Sagua de Tánamo, Holguín province, are in the process of confiscating five 1950s vintage American cars because their owners used them to transport passengers without a license.

Human rights violation in Cuba / Dr. Biscet speaks from a Cuban prison
From the very beginning I refused to wear the prisoner's uniform since it offends my dignity as an innocent citizen. Besides, I do not accept the title of "mercenary" imposed upon us nor do I accept the fraudulent trial conducted by Torquemada.
Kilo 5 1/2 Penitentiary

"Birthday Behind Bars"
In Cuba, wife of prisoner of conscience sentenced to 25 years writes her husband a letter on his birthday

• U.S. Returns 12 Cubans Picked Up at Sea
• Cuban Praises U.S. Decision on Migrants
• Latin Grammys Return to South Florida

The Miami Herald
• Fans gather in the street to pay their respects before Cruz's funeral
• U.S. returns to Cuba dozen who took boat

Church's Charitable Works Face an Uphill Struggle in Cuba
Freedom of worship, but not religious freedom, is a reality in Cuba that makes it extremely difficult for the Church to carry out its charitable works, says an archbishop.

Dissidents' Anguished Accounts
''His ceiling leaks. His primitive toilet "regurgitates its fetid contents around the clock." Screams echo through the cellblocks, and rats and cockroaches roam with impunity. "The meals are almost indescribable," Manuel Vázquez, a journalist and poet, continues in a diary smuggled out of prison. "Even pigs would vomit."

CUBA: CPJ'S mission confirms dire situation for imprisoned journalists and their families
Renowned Peruvian journalist Gustavo Gorriti traveled to Cuba last week on behalf of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and confirmed the dire situation for independent Cuban journalists and their families, who are suffering from harassment, humiliating prison conditions, and psychological pressures.
Committee to Protect Journalists

July 21

A long goodbye
• Joyful force of Celia Cruz will never be forgotten
• T-shirts and agua fria for a patient crowd
• Callers jam radio station phone lines to express their love and sadness

U.S. returns alleged hijackers back to Cuba
In an action likely to spark controversy in South Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard today quietly repatriated 12 Cubans who allegedly hijacked a boat from the island last Tuesday.
Mourners Say Goodbye to Salsa Queen Cruz
The viewing for Cruz's body began at 11 a.m., but the line outside the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home formed hours earlier. Police shut down 81st Street between Fifth and Madison avenues to accommodate the crowd.

Bureaucratic snafus cloud housing titles
Dr. Melba Zaldívar was recently declared an illegal occupant of the apartment that had been assigned to her as the neurosurgeon in residence at the Holguín provincial hospital.

No cash for pensioners
Thousands of retirees in the Plaza municipality of Havana have been collecting their retirement pay as many as three days late because of lack of cash at the post offices that are supposed to pay them.

Part of a roof collapses in Old Havana
An apartment building in Old Havana from the early 1900's had its third-story roof partially come down. Most of the roof collapsed on the top story of the building July 12, without any prior warning.

The Miami Herald
• Cubans smoke, drink despite the economic consequences
• U.S. officials mull fate of boat hijack suspects

• Singing, dancing, tens of thousands pay tribute to "Queen of Salsa"
• Thousands Mourn Salsa Legend Celia Cruz

The NAACP's silence on Cuba is deafening
As the leading civil-rights group in the United States, the NAACP long has spoken up against governments that oppress people of color throughout the world. Yet when it comes to human rights violations in Cuba and the recent crackdown on dissidents, among them black Cubans, nada, zilch, nothing. Only silence from NAACP leaders and black congressional leaders.
Myriam Marquez / Orlando Sentinel

Cuban political prisoner at risk of death
Well-known Cuban economist and political prisoner Oscar Espinoza Chepe has been transferred from Boniato prison to a district hospital because of deterioration of his health. Relatives of the dissident demand that Cuban authorities move him to a prison in another province where he could receive proper medical care inside the prison.

Cuban American National Foundation: A Sad Farewell to Cuban Icon Celia Cruz
Originally known as the Guarachera de Cuba, her fans later bestowed her the regal title of Queen of Salsa in recognition of the extent of her work and the influence she had on countless of her peers. Her joyous shout of Azzcar (Sugar) became her trademark.

External links

Memorial turns into celebration of Cruz's life
When the doors to Freedom Tower opened Saturday, the train of mourners for singer Celia Cruz already stretched down Biscayne Boulevard and around the corner onto Northeast Eighth Street. Celia Cruz had it all: voice, rhythm, heart. Bay Area remembers the queen of salsa / San Francisco Chronicle, CA
Orlando Sentinel, FL

A Voice of Cuba
SUGAR IS A SYMBOL of Cuba, not only a core industry but a key ingredient of its history and heritage and a timeless reminder of both sweeter and grittier times for the island's people. And in Spanish, "Azucar!" was also the signature trill of Celia Cruz, whose voice has embodied the sound of Cuba for decades.
The Washington Post, DC

Thousands of Mourners Attend Tribute to the Queen of Salsa
Thousands of people stood in the sun today for more than five hours outside the oak doors of a downtown building known as the Freedom Tower to pay their last respects to Celia Cruz, the queen of salsa, whose dying wish was to have her body flown to this city, the heart of the Cuban-exile community, to be among her people and closer to her beloved but out-of-reach Cuba. "She would always tell me, 'If I can't return to Cuba, then I want to go to Miami,' " Omer Pardillo, her manager and a close friend, said on Friday on his way here.
Mirta Ojito / The New York Times

Celia Cruz had it all: voice, rhythm, heart. Bay Area remembers the queen of salsa
For Velarde, seeing Cruz perform with the famous Afro-Cuban group La Sonora Matancera was an unforgettable experience. With an exceptional voice, the young Celia impressed audiences with heartfelt emotion and clear-as-a-bell sonority. She earned the nickname "La Guarachera del Mundo" for her drive on the complex guaguanco and guaracha rhythms of hits like "Yerbero Moderno" and "Burundanga."
San Francisco Chronicle

Life in exile
The Queen of Salsa never made it home. In an odyssey that stretched across more than 40 years, Celia Cruz heard the roar of crowds from New York to Tokyo, from Mexico City to Paris. She came before them in celebration of those things that always go beyond the dictates of commissars of left or right: music, dance, the words of flirtation and the hope that someone across a room on a lonesome Saturday night might actually love you back.
New York Daily News, NY

Celia's splendid, anguished exile
Why can't the Cubans who came to this country more than 40 years ago let go of the past and focus on the remarkable lives they have here in America?
Jim Defede / The Miami Herald

Cuban singer became Miami icon
Celia Cruz will be remem-bered for her powerful voice, sophisticated timing, extravagant costumes, and her trademark cry of "Azúcar!" (Spanish for sugar), writes Richard Lapper. But the death on Wednesday of the 77-year-old Cuban singer has also highlighted the rift that divides Cuban-Americans from their homeland.
Financial Times, UK (subscription)

Latin American consuls to be asked to help Cuban dissidents
A press organization is asking the consuls of several Latin American nations to help its campaign to secure the release of imprisoned Cuban journalists.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, FL

Cuba denies jamming broadcast
The Cuban Government has denied that it is intentionally jamming an American satellite TV broadcast to Iran. "Cuba has never undertaken nor will it ever undertake these types of interruptions in US television satellite transmissions," a Cuban Foreign Ministry statement said.

U.S. team blanks Cuba
It's a safe bet that Cuba won't soon forget Landon Donovan. Donovan had a U.S. National team record-tying effort on Saturday, with four goals as the U.S. topped Cuba, 5-0, in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
San Jose Mercury News, CA

Cuban rowers cancel visit at last minute
"I'm just trying to rationalize in my own head why this is happening", said John Johnson, organizer of a committee that has been raising money to subsidize the visitors' expenses.
Kingston Whig Standard, Canada

Crackdown alienates even European allies of Cuba
Almost any way you look at it -- in terms of trade, academic exchanges or international standing -- Cuba's spring offensive against domestic political opponents has cost it dearly. Any way you look at it, that is, if you're not Fidel Castro.
Contra Costa Times, CA

Cuba pledges to spare hijackers, diplomats say
The Cuban government has informed American diplomats that the individuals who allegedly hijacked a boat from the island, now being held on a Coast Guard cutter off the Florida coast, would not be executed if returned to Cuba, a State Department official said Friday.
Sun-Sentinel, FL

Refugees in limbo after 'hijacking' boat
The Cuban refugees who Havana says hijacked a boat to come to the United States were in limbo yesterday, caught between U.S. immigration accords, which dictate that refugees picked up at sea be sent home, and Cuba's execution in April of three hijackers caught in similar circumstances.
The Washington Times

Months of work paid off with Cuban deal
About three-quarters through a business dinner in Havana, Cuba, Alimport CEO Pedro Alvarez Borrego leaned toward Port of Corpus Christi Chairman Ruben Bonilla and murmured words that would electrify the room.
Corpus Christi Caller Times, TX

Cuban and Latin American Jews
Cuban Jews in Havana like to joke that their Passover seders end with the fervent prayer, "L'shanah haba'ah b'Miami - next year in Miami!" For the 8,000 or so Jews of Cuban origin now living in South Florida, that prayer came true more than 40 years ago, when many Jews left Cuba after Fidel Castro seized power.
Larry Luxner / Jewish Telegraphic Agency

In Search of Opportunity: Cuban Marine seeks citizenship, success in Corps
Sergeant Ivan Riano, assistant administration chief for Combat Service Support Group 3, has a story to tell. It's a story of a young man's determination to overcome poverty and flee a country where communism rules with an iron fist.
United States Marines

Return to Cuba: A new life, together
Raul Gomez walked along the Miami Beach shoreline on a cool, breezy night, wondering whether he should hold her hand. He looked over at Elisa, her blonde hair neatly pulled up, her heeled shoes dangling in her hands, her long dress brushing against the sand.
Alan Gomez / Pensacola News Journal, FL

Return to Cuba: A son's journey 'home'
As the rising sun broke through the clouds on a warm May 1 morning, I stood silent, jammed in front of 1 million cheering Cubans. The collective roar was deafening, echoing off the walls of buildings surrounding the expansive Plaza de la Revolucion in downtown Havana.
Alan Gomez / Pensacola News Journal, FL

The right approach to Cuba
This is a pragmatic approach that avoids politics to the extent that anything involving Cuba can. "It's my responsibility to the businesses that use the port to go down there," said Joe Diaz, the port chairman. "My concern is, is there anything there for us down the road? Not going down there would be a dereliction of duty." County Commissioner Pat Frank, who sits on the port board, said her aim is to foster "a working relationship with the port people."
St. Petersburg Times

Singing Compay's Praises
As a child growing up in Key West, Florida, I knew about Cuba in the same way that astronomers know about black holes; I never saw it, but I knew it by its gravitational pull

Tocororo: A Cuban Tale
The world knows Carlos Acosta as one of the most gifted dancers of his generation, not as a choreographer or director. But his debut show Tocororo is powered with so much energy and style that Acosta may well have an alternative career in front of him.
The Guardian, UK

New airport official is Cuban-American
The New Orleans Aviation Board has appointed Mario Rodriguez as deputy director for planning and development of Louis Armstrong International Airport. Rodriguez is the first Hispanic appointed to a top position in the airport, and he will work directly with Director of Aviation Roy Williams.
Times Picayune, LA

Sandoval swings
One wouldn't guess Arturo Sandoval has been performing for 42 years while watching him rehearse Saturday morning and afternoon. The Cuban-born musician was dancing, smiling and laughing like someone beginning a love affair with jazz. "I am a music lover. I love music," Sandoval said as he smoked a cigar after the 4-hour rehearsal.
Lancaster Eagle Gazette, OH

July 18

• Salsa singer's fans say loss feels like a death in the family
• Admirers remember 'icon to Latin America'
• Dozens of entertainers expressed their loss.
• Latin radio, TV on Cruz control
• Cuban boat was hijacked, passengers' stories imply
• U.S. blocks Cuban boat, weighs migrants' return
The Miami Herald

Celia Cruz, The Soundtrack to Our Lives
Celia Cruz embodied the heart, soul and voice of Cuba -- yet her music was universally loved. For six decades she shared her vocal gifts with generations of Latin-music fans, always performing, always smiling, always making people ''happy, happy, happy.'' Her death on Wednesday at age 77 has been felt worldwide.
The Miami Herald

Cuba women claim job discrimination
More than 30 women graduates of the Technological Center of Maritime Specialties lodged a claim for job discrimination on account of sex with the Ministry of Education and the National Union of the Merchant Marine, Ports, and Fisheries.

• U.S. Thinks Cuba Jams Radio Waves to Iran
• US tells Cuba to stop jamming US broadcasts to Iran
• Cuba Media Hardly Cover Celia Cruz Death

External links

From Cuba, Music Sweeter Than Azúcar
Celia Cruz and Compay Segundo, who died this week at the ages of 77 and 95, respectively, each transformed a love of their native Cuba and its traditional music into forces that helped to shape Latin salsa. Ms. Cruz rose from poverty to become a national treasure in Cuba, until she decided to defect after Fidel Castro took power.
The New York Times

US broadcasts 'jammed by Cuba'
The United States is investigating a rogue signal detected from Cuba which is thought to be blocking its satellite broadcasts into Iran.

Senate Panel Eases Limits On Farm Sales To Cuba
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to make it easier for U.S businesses and farm groups to visit Cuba and sell food and other farm products there. The panel included language in a $17-million spending bill that would allow visitors to bypass a Treasury Department licensing restriction.
Crop Decisions, MO

Keys quietly prepare for Cuba contingencies
It is a well-circulated rumor that swells each time the communist leader of Cuba disappears for more than a day or two. "Fidel Castro is in the hospital!" "Fidel is in a coma!" "Fidel is dead!"

July 17

Celia Cruz
Adiós to the Queen of Salsa
'She was my roots,' fan says
Local tributes planned
Celia Cruz Discography
Celia Cruz, 'Queen of Salsa,' Dies in NYC
Cuba Media Gives Little Attention to Cruz
Bush pays tribute to Celia Cruz

The Miami Herald
• U.S. blocks Cuban boat, weighs migrants' return
• Cuba jamming broadcasts to Iran, U.S. confirms

• Three Cubans said to commit suicide after botched attempt to flee
• Cuban boat with 15 passengers intercepted by US coastguard
• Cuba Campaigns to Free Convicted Spies

Cubans in tourist resort arrested as prostitutes
Sara Sánchez' problems stem from being young, Cuban, and a woman. She was arrested last week at Santa Lucía beach, on the north coast of Camagüey province, fined 500 pesos and issued a warning writ for prostitution. In addition, says Sánchez, all her belongings were confiscated, including 115 dollars she had in her purse.

Cuban government and private farmers' markets differ
The contrast between a private and a State farmers' markets here is telling: as the private market provides more and better selection of agricultural goods, the State enterprise stagnates and is not able to reduce prices.

Avert Global Censorship
Why does the United Nations seek advice from Cuba and Iran on worldwide Internet use and the promotion of an information society? Don't let Cuba hijack U.N. internet agenda.
The Miami Herald

External links

Celia Cruz, Petite Powerhouse of Latin Music, Dies at 77
"When people hear me sing," she said in an interview with The New York Times, "I want them to be happy, happy, happy. I don't want them thinking about when there's not any money, or when there's fighting at home. My message is always felicidad - happiness."
Jon Pareles, The New York Times

Cubans question hijacking shootout
La Coloma, Cuba · Some relatives of three men who died while attempting to hijack a boat from this western Cuban town to the United States on Wednesday questioned Cuban officials' claims that they shot one another.
Sun-Sentinel, FL

Celia Cruz Dies at 78; Diva of Salsa Scene
Ms. Cruz, whose voice was described as operatic and metallic like a brass instrument, was a diva of undeniable charisma. She wore elaborate, sequined outfits and appeared nothing less than exquisitely coiffed in concert. She often wriggled her full-figured body to the rhythms of her music, and told one audience at Madison Square Garden with characteristic grandeur, "You are the joy of Celia."
The Washington Post

Celia was Cuba
During my childhood in Cuba, it was against the law to play Celia Cruz albums. The Salsa Queen's decision to defect to the United States made her an enemy of Cuban leader Fidel Castro and his communist government. But my family didn't care.

In pictures: Celia Cruz's colourful life

'Queen of Salsa' dies
Legendary salsa singer Celia Cruz has died at her home in New Jersey at the age of 78. The Cuban-born perfomer died of a brain tumour at her home in Fort Lee, surrounded by family and friends, after undergoing surgery for the condition late last year.

Sugar And Salsa
For many years, people on both sides of the Florida Straits tried to make her into more of a symbol than a singer. For Cuban exiles in Miami, Celia Cruz was a stalwart of the community and a vocal, bitter foe of Fidel Castro and all he stood for. For Castro and his government, she was little more than the favorite songbird of the "Miami Mafia," a onetime star whose music didn't deserve to be played on Havana radio.
The Washington Post

'Her Music Is Going to Live'
Fans of Celia Cruz, the "Queen of Salsa," remembered her fondly yesterday, recalling how appreciation of her music has been passed from one generation to the next.
New York, Newsday

Maria Hinojosa remembers Celia Cruz
After interviewing Celia Cruz as a cub reporter in the 1980s, CNN's Maria Hinojosa came to see the famed Cuban musician not only as an extraordinarily talented artist but also as a role model for Latino women and men. She shares some of her anecdotes and thoughts about the "Queen of Salsa."

Salsa diva's albums cover the universe of Latin music
Celia Cruz traveled the length and width of Latin popular music and like many larger-than-life artists, her discography is a universe. Although she considered herself a Cuban sonera or guarachera, she came into international stardom as a salsa performer.
Sun-Sentinel, FL

'Queen of Salsa' Celia Cruz is dead
A vibrant and tireless performer, who would fire up her audience with her trademark shout of "Azucar" -- sugar -- she said only a few months ago she had no intention to give up singing.
Hindustan Times, India

July 16

Celia Cruz Dies at 77
Celia Cruz, who went from singing in Havana nightclubs to become the "Queen of Salsa," died Wednesday, her publicist said. Cruz, who was 77, died of a brain tumor. She had surgery for the ailment in December but her health faltered. She died at her home in Fort Lee, N.J.
Yahoo! News

"Queen of Salsa" Celia Cruz is dead
A vibrant and tireless performer, who would fire up her audience with her trademark shout of "Azucar" -- sugar -- she said only a few months ago she had no intention to give up singing. She played a major role in promoting Cuban music internationally, and in February this year, she received her fifth Grammy for the best salsa recording of the year.
Yahoo! News

Cuban bus drivers say inefficiency affects their pocketbooks
Eloy Ruiz, Félix Sosa, and Elio Roig, who work out of the Playa, La Lisa, and Bahía terminals respectively, say they can never complete the number of trips assigned per work shift, and consequently never fulfill the revenue quotas assigned to them.

Cuban student expelled from school for not supporting Revolution
Administrators at the "José Ramón Rodríguez" polytechnic school, in the Vedado district of Havana, expelled a student for "showing little allegiance to revolutionary principles," and will not even provide her school records so she can register at another school, the student's mother charged.

The Miami Herald
• Coast Guard: Boat taken from Cuba probably stolen, not hijacked; still in Bahamian waters
• U.S. confirms broadcasts are being jammed by Cuba
• 3 Cubans are killed in hijack attempt

• Cuba reports hijacking and deadly attempt
• US lawmakers call for Cuba travel restrictions to be lifted
• Cuba calls on U.S. Coast Guard to intercept boat

External links

NAACP hit for policy on Cuba
Cuban dissidents yesterday accused the NAACP of a double standard in its promotion of human rights, defending those of blacks in South Africa while embracing - rather than condemning - the treatment of blacks in Cuba.
The Washington Times, DC

Cuba blame U.S. again
Three months after swift trials sent three hijackers before a firing squad, a group commandeered a mapping vessel from a Cuban port with more than two dozen people on board and sailed it into Bahamian waters on Tuesday.
Sun-Sentinel, FL

Cuban hijackers 'reach Bahamas'
The government in Havana says the Cuban Coast Guard followed the boat until it entered Bahamian waters. Cuba has asked the authorities there to return the boat and all those on board.

July 15

Cuba independent co-ops offer higher salaries than government
Members of an government-run agricultural cooperative in eastern Cuba complain of the low salaries paid by the government, while independent cooperatives pay 3 and 4 times higher salaries.
JUTINICU, Santiago de Cuba

Cuban phone company strangles flow of news, journalist charges
An independent journalist in the eastern province of Holguín charges the Cuban phone company is preventing him from filing his dispatches abroad by denying him access to telephone service.

Foreman fired one year short of retirement
A department foreman at a candy factory says he was fired for refusing to perform work he considered life-threatening; administrators listed as their reasons not showing proper respect to superiors and endangering the productive process.

Cuba Says 3 Die in Boat Hijack Attempt
Three hijackers died in a shootout among themselves and seriously injured a 10-year-old boy as they attempted to hijack a fishing boat to the United States, Cuba's Interior Ministry said Tuesday. exto
Yahoo! News

The Miami Herald
• Cuba reports two boat hijackings
• Cuba accused of blocking U.S. satellite feeds to Iran
• Bastille Day takes new path
• Rights group finds Cuban arrests 'disquieting'
• 'Buena Vista' icon Compay Segundo dies
• NAACP urged to rebuke Cuba

External links

The Keeper of Cuba's Music
Cuban singer, guitarist and songwriter Compay Segundo, who died Sunday night in Havana, became a global pop star at the age of 90.
The Washington Post

San Diegan Fined $10,000 For Bicycle Tour Of Cuba
A 75-year-old San Diego woman who went with a Canadian company on a bicycle tour of Cuba is fighting the U.S. government's decision to fine her nearly $10,000 for violating the U.S. ban on travel there.
SanDiego, CA

Group: Cuba political arrests rise
An independent group that monitors political prisoners in Cuba says that a wave of arrests caused the sharpest growth in its list of such prisoners in two decades.

Cubans smoke Canada
Canada all but turfed itself out of the Gold Cup tournament yesterday, losing 2-0 to Cuba in a woeful performance that suggested FIFA's Canadian ranking of 78th in the world may be generous.
The Calgary Sun, Canada

July 14

Cuban TV assembly plant workers accused of attempting theft
Administrators at the Vladimir I. Lenin plant, which currently assembles Chinese-made Panda-brand sets, said the workers tried to divert a truck carrying 20 of the color TV sets, which are sold at the dollar stores for 250 dollars, or in pesos to people selected for their impeccable credentials of allegiance to the government.

Cuban teacher fired after teaching about human rights
Héctor Morejón had been teaching for 28 years, 19 of them at the "Chilean Martyrs" middle school, when administrators fired him after learning he had taught students about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Miami Herald
• Castro shuffles posts as Cuban economy sags
• Penelas apologizes to NAACP for Mandela snub

• Cuban musician Compay Segundo dies in Havana
• Andy Garcia Sees Links Between Romania, Cuba

External links

Corpus Christi port says deal with Cuba is 'progressive step'
Cuba signed an operating agreement with the Port of Corpus Christi, an agreement that a city official said could help erode the longstanding U.S. embargo of the island. "It's another very progressive step toward the ultimate abolition of an embargo whose time has long passed," said Ruben Bonilla Jr., the Port of Corpus Christi's commission chairman.
Austin American Statesman, TX

Transport minister designates Air Canada to provide service to Cuba
A release Friday from Transport Minister David Collenette said the airline will fly from Calgary, Halifax, London, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto to destinations in Cuba including Havana, Varadero, Holguin and one other city not yet chosen.
The Globe and Mail, Canada

Cuba plane goes for $60,000
A plane used by a Cuban hijacker to get to the United States has gone for almost $60,000 on an internet auction site, according to the seller.

An Indian revival in Cuba?
At the top of a winding dirt path, past palm trees and overhanging branches, is the entrance to a cave. And inside is one of Cuba's newest and most unusual museum exhibits: ancient remains of a fabled Taino Indian.
The Dallas Morning News

A Harsh Romance in a Land of Ruins and Revolution
"I want to go to Cuba before things get better there," someone confided to me recently. Cuba, for many people, is a place suspended romantically in history. It has outgrown its socialist revolution, but has not yet become crass and capitalist. Its streets are full of old Buicks and Fords from the 1950's rather than new Toyotas. It is a country of ruins that doesn't have enough money to build lots of hideous high-rises. Every street musician plays the old songs of the Buena Vista Social Club. And that's the way some people want it to stay, forever.
Sarah Boxer / The New York Times

Return to Cuba: A life on hold
Isaac Gomez had so much to say to his son. ... Instead, he put his hand on Raul's shoulder, telling him simply: "Protect your mother and sisters."
Pensacola News Journal, FL

Cuba nurtured pianist's love of classical music
When we think of the music of Cuba, many will say, "cha-cha." That is, after all, the national dance. And it's likely when jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval leads off this year's Florida International Festival on Friday, with an 8 p.m. concert at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach, "Funky Cha-Cha" will be one of the classics he performs.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, FL

A Crackdown Leading Nowhere
Walk into a travel agency and you can book a trip to communist China or North Korea. But not to Cuba. After 40 years, the U.S. government still bans travel to Castro Country, although thousands of Americans have gone there anyway, aware that enforcement had become lax. Until George W. Bush hit town, that is.
Alicia C. Shepard / The Washington Post

Cubans expect more arrests on the Bastille Day
It is widely believed in the Cuban capital that police would arrest dissidents who would dare to accept invitations of the French embassy for the July 14 national celebrations, commemorating the fall of the Bastille prison in 1789.
Prima News, Russia

July 11

Cuban retirees protest lack of funds for cashing their checks
The Cuban Post Office lacks funds to cash the checks of pensioners and retirees. At the No. 1 Postal Zone, located in the railway station in Old San Juan, various elderly protesters were rebuffed by administrative workers and the police.

Neighbors protest eviction in Cuban rural town
Neighbors of Arnaldo Artola Martinez protested Tuesday when officials removed him and his family from their house in the Iman neighborhood of Camaaguey that the government said was illegally built. The neighbors stormed the house and prevented housing inspectors and the National Police from removing the family's furniture and personal effects.

Molotov cocktails thrown at Cuban thermoelectric site
Several Molotov cocktails were thrown against a guard post at the Otto Parellada thermoelectric plant early Sunday morning. The incident occurred after a night of drinking beer by various groups which degenerated into fights.

Czechs back exiles' goals
Leaders of the Czech Republic will meet with Cuban exiles in Miami next weekend to explore ways of cooperating in seeking the release of political prisoners and bringing democratic reforms to Cuba.
FLORIDA, The Miami Herald

Center for International Policy releases rare statement from Cuban political dissidents asking international support for Cuban prisoners
In his statement, recorded on camera June 30, 2003, for an upcoming conference in Washington by representatives of CIP visiting Havana, Dr. Gomez Manzano urges international support for those arrested in the 100 days since the Cuban government's crackdown against political dissent began - especially for prisoners in need of medical assistance.

Barlovento: The Massacre of Cuban-Chinese
On January 15, 1962, the Cuban Coast Guard, following Castro's standing orders, massacred a group of 29 civilians whose terrible crime, so damaging to Castro's revolution, was wanting to leave Cuba for the U.S. Among them were eight Cuban-Chinese from the town of Bauta and the neighborhood of Marianao, near that rich-man's-paradise renamed "Hemingway Marina."
Agustin Blazquez and Jaums Sutton

July 10

Police confiscate unlicensed Havana taxicabs
Police are in the process of confiscating 9 cars in the city of Havana from drivers who use them without a license as taxicabs. Reportedly, the process is underway against one more car in the province of Havana and one in Pinar del Río.

Cuban imaginary rice pudding
Fidel Castro told Argentines that in Cuba one can buy 104 pounds of rice or 104 liters of milk for a dollar. Most Cubans older than the age of six take the whole episode for a joke, and a particularly unfunny one at that.

External links

Cuba rights abuses publicized
Reporters Without Borders, a French human rights organization, has begun a campaign to publicize Cuban human rights abuses to Europeans headed to the Caribbean island.
The Washington Times

Cuba's Sierra Maestra cancels tour over travel curbs
Visa problems have forced Cuba's Sierra Maestra to withdraw from the Old Town School of Folk Music's Folk & Roots Festival this weekend.
Chicago Sun Times, IL

Key West detective: Accused Cuban hijacker made fake grenades
A man accused of hijacking a Cuban passenger plane to Key West earlier this year painstakingly designed fake grenades to use in the alleged hijacking, a police detective said in testimony Wednesday.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, FL

Man calling himself 'the other Cuban-American' enters mayoral race
A man who calls himself 'the other Cuban-American' running for mayor announced Thursday that he's doing just that, running for mayor of Houston.

For Chinese-Cuban-American businessman, adapting to cultures all part of the game
Kwok-Cheng (Manny) Wong was born in Cuba of Chinese parents, raised in Miami and speaks three languages: Chinese, Spanish and English -- all tongues he uses daily to navigate South Florida's business maze.
Sun-Sentinel, FL

Syrian - Cuban health cooperation
Syria's Health Minister, Mohammed Eyad al-Shatti, and Cuba's Ambassador to Damascus, Clao Dio Ramos Borigo, signed in Damascus a cooperation agreement in field of health.

Pressure on Castro
Czech Ambassador Martin Palous denounced Fidel Castro and called for democracies to pressure the Cuban dictator into freeing his people. Mr. Palous, writing in the latest Czech Embassy newsletter, contrasted the efforts to democratize Iraq with the failure to encourage freedom in the "last totalitarian system in the Western Hemisphere."
The Washington Times

Mayor to apologize for snub of Mandela
Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas said Tuesday that he will apologize to black delegates at the upcoming NAACP convention on behalf of the county for a snub by some local officials when South African leader Nelson Mandela visited in 1990.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, FL

The Miami Herald
• Hijacker of Cuban plane convicted of air piracy
• Castro attempted to halt hijack, witnesses testify
• Poll: Cubans' focus is local

• Cubans find obstacles to asylum in an unusual place -- Buffalo
Miami, Florida

July 9

Police raid drug house in Havana
The massive operation at the corner of Florida and Puerta Cerrada Streets involved canine units and agents of the police's Technical Investigations Department and of the Department of State Security, who spent more than 10 hours searching the home.

Government agents threaten Cuban independent journalist
Agents for the Department of State Security arrested independent journalist Ernesto Roque at home and warned him to stop working and to stay away from the U. S. Interests Section and the French embassy during independence day celebrations July 4 and 14.

Police demand Cuban dissidents to report would-be rafters
Agents of the Technical Investigations Department pulled in Aurora Piña and Deine Tristá on July 2, asking them to report people who intended to leave the island by sea from their hometown of Batabanó, in the south coast of Havana province.

Government refuses aid to hurricane victims
Authorities in the Isle of Youth steadfastly refuse to aid a family whose home was badly damaged by hurricane Lily last October. They say the family's name doesn't show up in the official list of those designated to receive utensils and small appliances.

Hijacking portrayed as 'night of terror'
The hijacking of a Cuban airliner to Key West in March became a ''15-hour night of terror'' for passengers who at one point were gasping for air and a woman who had a phone cord wrapped around her neck by the hijacker, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
FLORIDA, The Miami Herald

July 8

The Miami Herald
• Hijacked Cuban crew to testify
• But 6 Cubans will remain in immigration custody

Odyssey to see Cuba's political prisoners
Most of the 74 dissidents and independent journalists incarcerated along with Maseda last March and April have been assigned to prisons up to 650 miles from their homes and, amid the island's ongoing transportation crisis, visiting can indeed turn into an ordeal for their relatives.
Claudia Marquez / The Miami Herald

Dissident daughter of Fidel Castro meets Fini
Alina Fernandez, dissident daughter of Fidel Castro, and Blanca Gonzalez, mother of an indipendent Cuban journalist sentenced to 25 years, were heard today by the Chamber of Deputies' Committe for Human Rights, chaired by Gennaro Malgeri. Alina Fernandez had previously met the chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee, Gustavo Selva.
AGI Online, Italy

100 Cuban health workers coming
The accord was signed by Cuban minister for foreign investment and economic co-operation Marta Lomas and acting health minister Jacob Nkate. Under the agreement, Botswana will receive a total of 100 Cuban health workers who will be specifically dedicated to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Republic of Botswana News

External links

In Cuba, soaps can be a soapbox
In her latest role, actress Mónica Alonso plays a coarse, yet sincere teenager who criticizes Cuba's troubles. "I was the girl who couldn't tell a lie," she says. Her soap opera, Doble Juego, or Double Game, was such a sensation that the Cuban government turned it into a movie after it went off the air. And people lined up for blocks to see it at dingy Havana theaters.
The Dallas Morning News

Baucus tries to open Cuban market
Thursday afternoon, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., met with about 20 farmers, ranchers, and business owners, outlining his plans for ending the Cuban trade embargo and for leading a trade mission this September to the island 90 miles southeast of Miami.
The Gazette, WY

Local church forges ties with Cuban congregation
It was an adventure in time travel, a trek through a tropical paradise and a lesson in cross-cultural understanding. In March, Anne Priddy visited Cuba as a sister-parish representative from St. John's Episcopal Church. Since "adopting" the village of Zorilla three years ago, the Tallahassee congregation has supported many humanitarian efforts - such as the rebuilding of 60 homes damaged by Hurricane Michelle.
The Tallahassee Democrat

Cuban parliament speaker invites Karroubi to visit Havana
President of Cuban National Assembly Ricardio Alarcon Wednesday evening in Havana invited his Iranian counterpart, Hojjatoleslam Mehdi Karroubi, to visit his country in the near future. In a meeting with Iran's Ambassador to Cuba Ahmad Edrisyan, he voiced his country's readiness to promote all-out ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
IRNA, Iran

July 5

Cubans Predict Opposition Comeback
Democracy activist Oswaldo Paya said he traveled the length of Cuba twice this spring and found the dissident movement bruised but alive. Elizardo Sanchez expressed: "In the 35 years I have been in the resistance here, I have never seen so much solidarity for us among the simple people. They have just cut down some grass that is only going to grow back."
Yahoo! News

Freedom to read. Library group stifles debate on Cuba
You would think that librarians would be among the most ferocious defenders of the right to read any book written. Not always. The 64,000-member American Library Association has refused a request for solidarity with Cuba's independent librarians. Worse, it stifled debate on the issue at its recent conference in Toronto.
The Miami Herald

Top political, business, human rights leaders to discuss Cuba travel policy
The conference will hear expert testimony from human rights advocates, business leaders, and citizens affected by travel restrictions and penalties. After the conference, Cuban-Americans from Miami and around the nation, as well as other interested parties, will conduct a Congressional lobby day on the travel and Cuba policy issues.

SA, Cuba strike energy deal
Minerals and Energy deputy minister Susan Shabangu and Cuba's minister of economic co-operation and investment, Martha Lomas, signed the deal to boost collaboration between their countries in electricity, hydro-carbons, mining and human resources development., South Africa

External links

Top U.S. official in Cuba toasts imprisoned dissidents
"To those willing to illuminate the darkest night so that their countrymen may one day live in the light of freedom," U.S. Interests Section Chief James Cason told about 250 people, including a sprinkling of dissidents, who gathered Thursday night at his official residence.

Fidel Castro sends "regret" note to Caricom leaders on his absence from summit
Cuban President Fidel Castro has sent a message regretting the fact that he was unable to confer with "my brothers of the Caribbean Community (Caricom)" at their annual summit now taking place in Jamaica.
Hoover's Online

Namibia, Cuba Push On With Pharma Factory Plans
Government says it is committed to the early establishment of a pharmaceutical plant to be set up in co-operation with the Cuban government. Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Dr Abraham Iyambo said on Friday that Government is speeding up the process.
The Namibian

SA signs mining, energy deal with Cuba
Deputy Minister of Minerals and Energy Susan Shabangu and Cuba's Minister of Economic Cooperation and Investment Martha Lomas on Friday signed a cooperation agreement for the mining and energy sectors.
Sunday Times, South Africa

US unable to help noncitizens jailed in Cuba
"A permanent resident going to the country of their citizenship has no protection because they are citizens of that country," said immigration attorney Ira Kurzban. "The U.S. embassy rarely gets involved with people who are non-citizen residents of the U.S."
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, FL

Destination Cuba: Group gathers humanitarian aid for communist country
A small group of volunteers spent a hot and muggy Saturday afternoon contributing to a worthy cause at the Newman Catholic Student Center. They were there packing donated supplies to send to Cuba as part of humanitarian aid delivered by the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace 14th U.S.-Cuba Friendship Caravan.
The Southern, Illinoisan

Worldwide Sentiment Shifting Against Castro
Calls for lifting the U.S. embargo against the Cuban dictator have become almost nil. And Cuba's economy continues to be in a tailspin.

Making the best of it in Cuba
I'm of the opinion that every American who can should definitely take a trip to a Third World country to gain the invaluable experience and appreciate the wealth they have in the States. You see things in a different light after walking through the dirty streets of Havana or Santiago and seeing how the natives have to live. You wonder how these people can live every day without being in a constant state of depression.
Mandi Steele / The Joplin Globe, MO

Cuba trip to aid theater's revival
Doris Tillman is so serious about her role in the $10 million restoration of the historic Sunrise Theatre in this city's downtown that she's embarking on a study excursion in Cuba. This month Tillman, manager of Main Street Fort Pierce, and Sunrise Theatre architect Deborah Nichols will attend seminars with leading Cuban experts in Havana and visit a number of restoration projects, including historic theaters.
Palm Beach Post

Rockland man to defy Cuba embargo
Irving Wolfe may be 90 but as he puts it, "I'm still going, not so strong, but I'm still going." This month, Wolfe once again will go to Cuba in defiance of U.S. travel restrictions and a trade embargo on the communist Caribbean nation, which sits just 90 miles off Florida's coast.
White Plains Journal News, NY

July 4

FROM CUBA / Cuba sends Chinese TVs and school notebooks to Venezuela
Cuba is shipping at least several containers full of Chinese TV sets assembled locally to Venezuela, ostensibly to aid the "Robinson" literacy campaign of the Venezuelan government, said sources at the assembly plants.

FROM CUBA / Cuban ecologists warn of outbreak of contagious diseases
The Cuban ecological organization Naturpaz warned of emerging cases of contagious diseases traceable to contaminated water and accumulated garbage in the capital.

FROM CUBA / Mine closing depresses economy in surrounding area
The final shut down of the Matahambre copper mine in Pinar del Río, Cuban eastern province, has turned the vicinity into a depressed economic zone, leaving some to wonder about the survival of the adjacent town called Minas de Matahambre.

FROM CUBA / Government payments to farmers seven months in arrears
Cuban farmers in the Isle of Youth say they haven't been paid in seven months for the produce they deliver to a government related company, and officials say the company doesn't have the money to pay them.

FROM CUBA / Cuban independent labor unionists threatened for providing medicines to prisoners
Cuban independent labor activists Jorge Berrier and Hermes Diago Gómez say an agent of the political police threatened to send them to prison if they continued providing medicines for political prisoners.

FROM CUBA / Another dollar store in Nueva Gerona opens
After being closed for repairs for eight years, the Fantasía store in the Isle of Youth capital of Nueva Gerona has reopened, selling food and hardware in dollars.

FROM CUBA / Melee in youth camping grounds
A melee June 29 at the Cajío beach camping grounds among mostly 18- to 22-year-old men left one with knife wounds to the shoulder, back and waist.

Cuban group urges dissident unity in apparent swipe at Payá / The Miami Herald
Five of Cuba's top dissidents Thursday issued a ''declaration of principles'' that called for unity among opponents of Fidel Castro but acknowledged rifts in the dissident movement and denounced individualism in the ranks.

July 2

FROM CUBA / Mange and bedbugs in prison for Cuban independent journalist
Imprisoned independent journalist Héctor Maseda is fighting the mange and bedbugs in prison, said his wife Laura Pollán. Maseda was diagnosed with mange more than a month ago, ever since he was transferred to La Pendiente prison on the outskirts of Santa Clara.

FROM CUBA / Cuban Independent Librarian interrogated for nearly 5 hours
Higinio Visa Rivera, director of the independent library "Juan Amador Rodriguez", was picked up on the street and detained this past Friday June 20, by two members of the political police, and threatened with revoking all his civil rights for 20 years, under Law 88, known as the Muzzle or Gag Law.

FROM CUBA / Cuban Independent Journalist suffers accident while incarcerated
The prison officials took José Ubaldo Izquerdo, independent journalist and prisoner of conscience, shackled, through a staircase with no railings where he slipped and fell. The fall from the stairs left him with a cut that needed 9 stitches and two fractures to his wrist.

Detained In Cuba / The Miami Herald
The regime considers them Cuban citizens -- as it does any Cuban who left the island after Dec. 31, 1971, regardless of other citizenship or status -- and the regime gives U.S. officials no information or access to those being held. The regime even requires Cuban exiles who are U.S. citizens to get a Cuban passport to travel to Cuba.

Chávez looks to Cuba to boost Venezuela's literacy / The Miami Herald
A Cuban-inspired national literacy campaign launched Tuesday has brought fresh charges by opponents of President Hugo Chávez that the populist leader is seeking to indoctrinate Venezuelans with Castro-style communist ideas.

Castro to Discuss $400 Mln Debt to Mexico, Paper Says /
Cuban President Fidel Castro and Mexican Foreign Minister Ernesto Derbez will discuss a repayment schedule for the Caribbean island's $400 million debt to Mexico's import-export bank, Reforma newspaper reported.

No one should be baffled by Castro's predictability / William Ratliff / The Miami Herald
Castro's one-man rule has demonstrated conclusively that neither enticements nor pressures -- from Moscow in the past, nor from Europeans or us today -- ever have or ever will change Castros trajectory more than temporarily, unless Castro himself wants to change. All the evidence, underlined again in recent months, is that he does not.

Focus on Cuba: Cuba's Economy in the Doldrums / Cuba Transition Project
According to Havana's own Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy, 2003 is expected to be "a difficult year" with no more than 1.5 percent growth projected by the regime's economic planners. Most economic indicators are pointing downward and recent trends do not augur well for Cuba's immediate future.

Extrenal links

Seeds of Hope for Cuba / Zenit News Agency, Italy
One hundred days after Fidel Castro's imprisonment of 78 human rights defenders in Cuba, the situation continues to be critical -- but hope is in the air. This is because Cubans had already made moves for a political liberation. One sign is the Varela Plan, an initiative that in May 2002 handed in 11,020 signatures of Cubans to the National Assembly of Popular Power.

Piano tuner caught in U.S.-Cuba discord / The Dallas Morning News
Armando Gómez was denied a U.S. visa under a law that gives officials broad discretion to deny entry to foreigners.

Castro has crushed Cuba / The Arizona Republic
How can people and groups such as Jimmy Carter, Steven Spielberg and especially the American Library Association support the man who recently jailed 78 writers and librarians?

Group of 13 Maine residents bringing aid to Cuba on bus / Portsmouth Herald, NH
Thirteen Mainers on Tuesday loaded up a big green bus full of supplies to send to Cuba as part of a humanitarian effort that disregards a U.S. blockade. The members of "Let Cuba Live," a group from Brunswick, gathered in Portland's Monument Square to rally support for their cause.

Local organization to send Cuba baseball equipment / Pioneer Press Online, IL
Next week, the Oak Park Illinois Sister Cities International organization plans to send 1,000 pounds of baseball equipment and uniforms to Sagua la Grande, a town in the Villa Clara province of Cuba.

Cuban aircraft remain idle at Key West airport / Florida Keys Keynoter, FL
Key West International Airport Director Peter Horton calls it the Cuban Air Museum. But if you want to sneak a peek through the fence, he won't charge you. "But you better look soon," says Horton, "because hopefully, they won't be here forever."

Cuba race to expand / Florida Keys Keynoter, FL
Much ado about nothing has only made the organizers of the annual Conch Republic Cup sailboat race to Cuba more determined for next year's race. "Next year, we'll have even more boats, and we'll make a big deal of it," said organizer Peter Goldsmith, who started the round-trip race seven years ago. "We're not going to let them intimidate us."

July 1

FROM CUBA / Dr. Biscet speaks from a Cuban prison
Presently I am isolated in a small cell with minimal living conditions, though somewhat better since the sun comes in and not the petroleum from the prison kitchen. I am calmer given that the blows against the door and the prisoners' screams are only heard occasionally. For several days I have been sleeping on a cement slab to which I'm becoming accustomed and will thus probably not request a mattress any more.

FROM CUBA / Pedicab drivers complain of continued harassment
The approximately 400 pedicab drivers in the Isle of Youth complain of continued harassment by police. Officers levy fines, take away their documentation and prevent them from working some of the main thoroughfares in the capital, Nueva Gerona, they charge.

FROM CUBA / Program seeks to help political prisoners' kin
A number of citizens have offered their homes to aid the relatives of political prisoners, who must travel to distant cities to visit their relatives who are incarcerated far from home.The program is called House of the Political Prisoner.

Launch of public awareness campaign / RSF
Picture postcards drawing attention to human rights violations in Cuba were distributed to tourists bound for Havana in front of the counter of the Cuban state airline, Cubana de Aviación, at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris today, the start of the holiday season in France.

Judicial Watch brings Fidel Castro's daughter & family member of victim of latest repression to meet with senior Dutch Foreign Ministry officials / Judicial Watch
Judicial Watch, the American public interest group that seeks to foster ethics in government arrives in The Hague on Wednesday July 2, 2003 in a mission led by Larry Klayman, Chairman and General Counsel of Judicial Watch.

'Probe State's plans to employ Cubans' / Business Day
The Freedom Front has called on Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi to appoint a commission of inquiry into the health department's plans to employ 50 Cuban engineers and technicians.

Aid mission to Cuba embarks; Without a permit, group planning to defy blockade / Brunswick Times Record
Thirteen Mainers plan to defy a strict U.S. Treasury Department economic blockade, prohibiting humanitarian aid without a permit, to bring medical supplies for Cuba's elder care facilities.

Five sail small boat from Cuba to U.S. / The Ledger Online
Five Cuban migrants on a homemade craft made it to land in the Florida Keys and were taken into custody by the U.S. Borden Patrol.

Radicals for Freedom and Democracy in Cuba and Iran / Transnational Radical Party
Marco Cappato - Radical MEP - will intervene tomorrow at 11,00 am, together with José Ribeiro e Castro (MEP/PT) and others MEPs invited, in a press conference aimed to support Osvaldo Paya, Sakharov Prize 2002, and freedom and democracy in Cuba.

Cuban Independent Press
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