Cuba complains, but has not officially requested U.S. aid to help put out fire

According to a State Department spokesperson, in order for the U.S. to provide disaster assistance to any country, it needs an official request from that nation’s government according to standard diplomatic protocols. Havana is of course up to their usual propagandist tactics. It’s alleged that Johanna Tablada of MINREX took to Twitter and accused the U.S. of lying. Meanwhile El Singao is in the meeting to define the strategy for the final blow to the fire. The usual regime worshiping self-serving useful idiots have taken to Twitter to pile on. Code Pinko is fund raising, asking donors to help raise $50,000 for the victims of Cuba’s disaterious fire, citing Cuba’s historical generous solidarity with the world.

No mention of the billions in cash the regime’s collected for that solidarity.

Nora Gámez Torres, reporting in the Miami Herald via The Finger Lakes Times:

Cuba has not officially requested US help to put out oil fire, State Department says

A firefighting helicopter is seen near the oil tank on fire in Matanzas, Cuba, on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

U.S. firefighting experts have provided technical advice to Cuban officials regarding the fire at an oil storage facility at the port of Matanzas, but that is as far as the cooperation has gone because the Cuban government has not requested other types of assistance from the United States, the State Department says.

The clarification comes after a Cuban diplomat suggested on social media the island’s government asked for help from the international community, but that it was the Biden administration’s decision to offer only technical guidance.

After domestic teams could not control a fire that started Friday night in a crude-oil tank, Cuban authorities asked for help from “friendly countries,” they said, and received foam, chemical agents, pumps and other technical equipment from Mexico and Venezuela.

Many Cubans and Cuban Americans also called on the Cuban government to accept assistance from the U.S.

On Saturday, the U.S. embassy in Havana said it was in contact with the Cuban government regarding the fire, and Cuba’s leader Miguel Díaz-Canel publicly thanked “the offer of technical advice from the U.S.” on Twitter.

But for the U.S. to provide disaster assistance to any country, such as a response team or equipment to put out a fire, it needs an official request from that nation’s government, according to standard diplomatic protocols.

“U.S. firefighting experts with experience dealing with oil storage facilities have talked to Cuban officials to offer technical advice,” a State Department spokesperson said. “We have had general discussions with the government of Cuba on this tragic disaster. However, the government of Cuba has not formally requested U.S. government assistance.”

The State Department also said that the U.S. embargo was not an obstacle to providing aid to Cuba in case of disasters. The U.S. embassy in Havana said it wanted to facilitate sending humanitarian aid to the island and provided a contact email to those interested: CubaHumanitarian@state.gov.

Cuban authorities have not said if they formally requested assistance from the U.S.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: With Signs of ‘Freedom’ and ‘Christ, My Guide’, 108 Cuban Rafters Arrive in Florida in Two Days

Translated by Regina Anavy for 14ymedio via Translating Cuba:

With Signs of ‘Freedom’ and ‘Christ, My Guide’, 108 Cuban Rafters Arrive in Florida in Two Days

On Thursday morning, 31 Cuban rafters were reported by the U.S. Border Patrol. (Twitter/@USBPChiefMIP)

14ymedio, Havana, 5 August 2022 — The exodus of Cuban rafters to the United States seems to have no limits. In just two days, on August 3 and 4, 108 people from the island made landfall in the Florida keys. The Border Patrol recorded the 12 boats in which the Cubans arrived, most of them fishermen’s boats and rustic boats, with signs of “Freedom” and “Christ, my guide.”

Several agents arrested the migrants, who were taken into custody, according to Walter Slosar, head of the border police force, on Twitter. On Thursday morning, 31 rafters arrived aboard three fishing boats, with five individuals arriving at Playa Sombrero, in Marathon, 15 at Isla Valores, in Cayos Bajos, and another 11 at Cayo Largo.

The spokesman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s office, Adam Linhardt, indicated that this flow of rafters responds to the worsening of the humanitarian crisis on the island, with an intensification of repression and the economic crisis, which includes an increase in the cost of living, the devaluation of the Cuban peso and an increase in uncertainty about the future of the country.

On Wednesday, Officer Slosar reported the arrival of 25 rafters in a wooden boat lined with a tarpaulin, which they had adapted the engine of a vehicle that was refueled with two small drums, and in which oars were also found.

The group, coming from Artemis, was made up of three men and two women, who were placed in federal custody after a health examination. That same day, 20 more people arrived in two more rafts.

Faced with the number of landings, the Rescue Evangelical Church, based in Hialeah, used the study rooms it had available on its premises to provide shelter to the rafters. Thanks to the donations received by Pastor David Monduy, leader of the church, the dormitories have been provided with mobile showers, and other signs of support for Cubans are planned, according to Local 10 News.

Coast Guard data indicate that since October 1, 2021, crews have intercepted 3,739 Cubans.

The Cuban government insists on demanding that the Washington Administration comply with the migration agreements signed between the two countries. It attributes the increase in illegal migration to the United States to the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, which allows island nationals to apply for permanent residence in the United States after a year and one day of staying in that country.  In reality, not everyone who manages to cross U.S. borders can apply this regulation.

In an attempt to prevent the exodus of Cubans, Lieutenant Mario Gil of the U.S. Coast Guard invited “families and friends to encourage their loved ones to seek a safe and legal path to the United States.”

Three Cuban rafters, who were sighted five miles from Isla Pérez in the Gulf of Mexico, were rescued by the Navy.

The Cuban exodus is also carried out by other means and is subject to many penalties. On Thursday, a fishing vessel sighted a raft with several people five miles from Pérez Island, in the Gulf of Mexico, a fact that they immediately reported to the Mexican Navy. Three of the rafters had signs of dehydration and hadn’t eaten in two days. The group was handed over to Mexico’s National Institute of Migration.

On the other hand, the Central American “bridge” continues to be one of the most frequent ways to get to the United States. The official figures offered by Honduras record the passage of 44,000 people, most of them from the island, who were fined $200.

On Thursday, the official newspaper La Gaceta announced that the Honduran government published a legislative decree that exempts migrants from the payment of this fine, which applied to any migrant who entered through unauthorized border points and to whom article 104, paragraph 1, of the Migration and Aliens Law was applied.

With this suspension, the Migration Institute of Honduras also ordered that necessary humanitarian assistance be offered to migrants passing through, in addition to identifying international protection needs for those groups that are in a vulnerable situation, such as women, children, LGBTIQ+ communities and the elderly.

Surprise, Cuba humbly accepts help from the U.S. with fire in Matanzas

No mention of the “blockade”.

Nora Gamez Torres reports via the Miami Herald:

Cuba accepts technical assistance from the United States to control fire in Matanzas

People look at a huge column of smoke rising from the Matanzas Supertanker Base, while firefighters and specialists work to extinguish a fire that was caused by an electrical storm the day before, in Matanzas, Cuba, on Saturday, August 6, 2021. The fire and four associated explosions left more than 70 injured. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) RAMON ESPINOSA AP

The Cuban government said it has accepted “technical guidance” offered by the United States to help the island’s authorities put out a raging fire that threatens to engulf an oil storage facility at the port of Matanzas, in what could be one of the few examples of cooperation between the two countries in recent years.

“We deeply appreciate the condolences and expressions of help from people and organizations in the U.S. regarding the #Matanzas incident, including from the U.S. government, which offered technical advice, a proposal already in the hands of specialists for proper coordination,” Carlos Fernández de Cossío, Cuba’s vice minister of foreign affairs, said on Twitter.

Cuban leader Miguel Díaz-Canel usually goes to Twitter to rail about U.S. sanctions against Cuba and criticize the Biden administration. But the severity of the fire and the firefighters’ unsuccessful attempt to contain the flames so far have moved authorities to accept the offer with a public thank you message.

“We express deep gratitude to the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina and Chile, which have promptly offered material aid in solidarity in the face of this complex situation,” Díaz-Canel said. “We also appreciate the offer of technical advice from the U.S.”

The State Department did not offer details of what was offered to Cuba.

14ymedio via Translating Cuba, reports that so far, 17 firefighters have disappeared and at least 67 people have been injured. The United States Embassy in Cuba also reported on Twitter that it was “in contact with Cuba about the incident in Matanzas.” Adding, “In the meantime, we want to make it clear that United States law authorizes United States entities and organizations to provide aid and response to disasters in Cuba.”

Continue reading HERE.

Tweet of the day from Cuba

This Tweet from Nalian Estrada (@EstradaNalian) poignantly captures the heartbreak and misery of life in communist Cuba.

There is no day that I wake up thinking that these could be my family. #Cuba is the island of diseases, helplessness and misery. #Cuba is the dark pearl stained with blood, pain and sacrifice. This is the future of the Cubans who live there: eviction #comunismoasqueroso #SOSCuba

Originally tweeted by Nalian Estrada (@EstradaNalian) on August 6, 2022.

Reports from Cuba: From the “Maleconazo’ of 1994 to the ’11J’ Protests of 2021, the Mutation of the Cuban Civic Genes

Yoani Sanchez reports from Havana in 14yMedio via Translating Cuba:

From the ‘Maleconazo’ of 1994 to the ’11J’ Protests of 2021, the Mutation of Cuban Civic Genes

The popular uprising known as El Maleconazo began on Avenida del Puerto and many people joined along the Havana Malecon. (Karel Poort)

14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Havana, 5  August 2022 — Shirtless and with protruding ribs, this is how the protesters on 5 August 1994 took the Havana coastline during the Maleconazo. The few photos that have been released of that day show faces with sharp cheekbones and a desperate look. From that uprising, continuing to July 11 of last year, Cubans learned several civic lessons and adopted new methods of protest, but the regime, also, has surpassed itself in repression.

While those who gathered 28 years ago rushed to Havana’s main avenue, desperate to board any ship that would take them off the Island, those of the summer of 2021 were looking not to escape, but to stand up to a system that has condemned them to material misery and the lack of freedoms. The scant cohesion in that earlier outburst, in the middle of the Special Period, has little in common with the compact groups, setting the pace with slogans of freedom and heading towards key points in the cities that were seen on 11 July 2021, the protests now called ’11J’.

In the earlier action, the Malecón wall functioned as a mousetrap between the protesters and the shock troops, dressed in civilian clothes, launched by Castroism against those ragged and hungry people; but a year ago the “organism” of popular protest was already sufficiently evolved to spread through central squares, in front of the institutions of power and travel through streets where new voices were added.

In the Maleconazo, the ruling party tried to avoid at all costs the images of uniformed men repressing, hence the cunning idea of ??using construction workers and plainclothes police to arrest the protesters, crack their heads with bars, or terrify them with stones. However, the magnitude of 11J was responded to with special troops who were seen deploying countless anti-riot devices that the regime had been buying for years.

The extension of both events also differentiates them to a great degree. In the almost three decades that separate one demonstration and another, the indignation overflowed from an area in the Cuban capital to more than forty points on the island. It was no longer a local event, but a national tremor. Civic genes had mutated enough to know that massiveness and simultaneity were vital. New technologies contributed considerably to the capacity to call out protestors and to document it live and in real time. The Havana residents of the Maleconazo did not even know the depth of their action until years later, with the dissemination of images and testimonies.

But the repressive balance grew. The 11J protests have left at least one dead, more than a thousand violently arrested and hundreds sentenced to prison terms that, in some cases, reach three decades. The DNA of the dictatorship was also transformed. During this time it was organizing in a calculated and cold way to crush its own people if they happened to take to the streets. It invested millions in the equipment of terror, perfected its political police, bought sophisticated gadgets to monitor communications, and further trained its judges and prosecutors to complete the job of muzzling the popular voice.

On 5 August 1994, when the protest had already dissolved and the Malecón was a “safe zone” for the political catwalk, only then did Fidel Castro, dressed in his olive green uniform, arrive to listen to the cheers of the counter-demonstrators who he himself had sent there.  Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel starred in an even more ridiculous scene when a bottle was thrown at him from a rooftop in San Antonio de los Baños that Sunday a year ago when he tried to mimic the previous march of Castro and his henchmen. Fearing a greater rejection, the engineer ran to hide in the Government Palace, from where he pronounced what will forever be his worst and most famous phrase: “The combat order is given.”

But beyond the differences and notable changes between some protesters and others, there are common lines that unite ’11J’ and its father, the Maleconazo. The exhaustion of the people, the inability of the political-economic model to provide a dignified life, the overcoming of personal fear for the common good, and the desire for democratic change on the Island, these are the identity chromosomes of both moments. The creature that is gestating with both experiences will be more sophisticated and powerful. Let us hope it will also be the final one.

Los Angeles plans protests during Summit of Americas in support of Cuba’s Political Prisoners

During the Ninth Summit of America’s, the week of June 6-10, the Los Angeles Cuban community and others, including from Cuba, plan peaceful actions in support of Cuba’s 1,000 plus political prisoners, and to denounce the tyranny of the Castro regime.

All are welcome, please stand up for the rights of the Cuban people, and join us.

Via Cuban Heritage LA:

These are some of the faces of the more than 1,000 political prisoners that have been recently sentenced to YEARS in prison for peaceful demonstrations last July. It is for them that we lend our voices.

#SOSCuba

Via Cuba Decide:

For more information email Cuban Heritage LA: cubanheritagela@gmail.com

In Cuba there are carts pulled by animals collecting trash

Recolección de basura en Cuba /Foto: Composición de Cubanos por el Mundo

From our everything except repression has gone backwards in Cuba department. There are areas in Cuba where services have deteriorated back to the 19th century.

Loosely translated.

Amalia Leonor Gómez writes in Cubanos Por El Mundo

Carts with animals collect garbage in communities of Cuba

Through social networks, a video is circulating that shows the levels of backwardness in Cuba, since in the communities garbage is collected in carts powered by animals.

In the images, the man can be seen dumping a sack of garbage on top of the home preparation vehicle, which is pulled by cows. This is an alternative to the lack of collection in some areas of the island.

“In the 21st century, Cubans live in a primitive community. Look at this video how they collect the garbage and the conditions of the animals and the community worker”,

It is worth noting that, in addition to the precariousness of the vehicle for collecting and transporting garbage, the fact that garbage bags are reused reveals the critical situation of misery on the island.

In the audiovisual, you can hear the man who collects the waste, that the only thing found in the Cubans’ garbage are leaves and grass, referring to the fact that Cubans live in such a miserable situation, that they do not throw away even a speck of food.

Continue reading HERE.

Immigration talks or flirting with the dictatorship?

Return to the thaw or blackmail Photo: Collage AP File

Feels as a deja vu, these migratory talks, Obama redux.

Yoandy Castañeda Lorenzo via Diario Las Americas:

Return to the thaw or migratory blackmail?

The round of migratory talks between Cuba and the United States arouses hives in exile and within the island due to the consequences that unilateral decisions could bring

Today many breathe the “Deja Vú” of impotence. The term coined by the French researcher Émile Boirac in his book, “The future of psychic sciences” defines the process where the human being seems to recognize passages or experiences as if he had already lived them. In the midst of the conversations between Cuba and USA on the immigration issue, announced with a veil of secrecy by the White House, the mind flies and teleports, inexorably, to the fiasco of the thaw promoted, as a political legacy, by former President Barack Obama whose summary could be “give a lot to I change little, or nothing” or as the popular proverb coin: “change the cow for the goat”. It is necessary to remember that Joe Biden was during the eight years the running mate and co-participant of the disdain and mocking rhetoric towards the people of the largest of the Antilles.

Obama, with his easy and warm smile, sat down at a domino table with comedians from the island as a sign of opening (although the lyrics of the song Patria y Vida are blocked as he proclaims), he said “Que bolá asere”, he ate in a paladar (restaurant), attended the “Latino” at a baseball game. However, he freed the spies responsible for the shooting down of the Brothers to the Rescue planes, shook hands with dictator Raúl Castro, turned his back on civil society and the opposition, and to top it off, eliminated the wet foot dry foot policy. and with it the possibilities to those who escaped in search of freedom. Back then, just like now, everything was cooked in secret. Without taking into account neither the exile nor the Cuban-American politicians.

The then President Obama asked Congress several times to lift the embargo, which would have led to granting credits (which they never pay) to the Havana regime and legitimizing the barbarity and outrage that are part of its repressive mechanisms.

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History through art: Sarasota Contemporary Dance taps Cuban American history

Bringing the Pedro Pan exodus story to the dance floor in Sarasota.

Carrie Seidman writes in a Special to the Herald-Tribune:

Sarasota Contemporary Dance taps Cuban American history for world premiere

In the early ’60s, as Fidel Castro took control of the Cuban educational system, parents fearful of the indoctrination of their children and the loss of their authority asked the United States for help. They were willing to consider the unthinkable – sending their children away, alone, to another country, without knowing when, or if, they would be reunited, in order to save them from life under communism. 

Thus was born Operación Pedro Pan (Operation Peter Pan), a visa waiver program conducted by the Catholic Church and the U.S. State Department that, from December of 1960 to October of 1962, brought more than 14,000 Cuban children to this country. It was – and remains – the largest migration of unaccompanied minors in the Western hemisphere. 

 Among those children were the parents of Leymis Bolaños Wilmott, the director of Sarasota Contemporary Dance. Her father, José Miguel Bolaños, arrived in 1962 at 13 with his older sister, Marta, and was taken in by an aunt who lived in Florida. Her mother, Laida Ruiz, then 10, arrived in 1961 with two younger brothers, Justo and Leandro. With no relatives in America, they spent nine months in a Colorado orphanage until their parents could obtain visas to join them.  

Neither Bolaños, now 72, nor Ruiz Bolaños, now 70, has ever returned to Cuba. Their experiences have informed a new work by Sarasota Contemporary Dance entitled “Cuban Project: Historias – Mi Historia, Tu Historia y Nuestra Historia.”

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Why has Biden taken aim at Cuba during U.S. Russia Crisis?

Communist thugs shaking on evil intent

Political analyst and human right rights activist Frank Calzon details possible motives and also suggests a role for Ukraine in obtaining the expulsion of Cuba from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Frank Calzon writing in Havana Times:

Biden Includes Cuba in the US-Russia Crisis

A recent Newsweek article says that “Biden takes aim at Cuba during the worst crisis between the United States and Russia since the Cold War.”

The author, Tom O’Connor, offers plenty of space to the Cuban authorities to respond to Washington’s criticisms, and writes that “the United States has opened a new political front against Cuba, accusing it of tacitly supporting Russia’s attack on Ukraine.”

What might be the reasons behind Biden’s actions?

According to O’Connor, Washington complains that Cuba abstains from United Nations motions condemning Moscow and instead repeats arguments that the United States and its NATO allies helped to set the stage for the conflict.

The Cuban regime has strongly denounced the US embassy in Havana saying “it has regularly been used to broadcast messages in support of Ukraine and critical of Russia. Some tweets accused the Cuban government of expressing ‘support’ for Moscow in the conflict.,” the article says. And, although it is not mentioned in the article, the US embassy has publicized the critical situation of hundreds of Cuban political prisoners. 

Newsweek also reports that “Moscow has also channeled its narrative of the war in Ukraine through its embassy in Havana, sharing tweets of an opposing view in which Russian forces were valiantly carrying out what President Vladimir Putin has called “a special military operation’ to neutralize Ukraine militarily and politically while striving to eliminate the far-right wing forces he claims which have hijacked the country’s leadership.”  

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