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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Center for a Free Cuba | This Week In Cuba

Posted July 14, 2003 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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According to the newly appointed Brazilian Ambassador to Cuba, Tilden Santiago, Brazilian President “Lula” da Silva will visit Cuba in September. (AFP, Brazil, July 11)

Cuba signed its first agreement with the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas to ship US agricultural products to the island. (AFP, Havana, July 11)

Bancomext President Jose Luis Romero told Mexican legislators that Cuba stopped making payments on its Mexican debt of more than $400 million over a year ago. The Mexican Foreign Minister said he would raise the issue with Fidel Castro at a meeting of Caribbean countries in Jamaica last week, but Castro failed to attend. (El Universal, Grupo Reforma, Mexico, July 7)

Cuban human rights leader Osvaldo PayŠ said the dissident movement remains alive despite recent arrests. PayŠ, after traveling throughout the island told the Associated Press the Varela Project continues collecting signatures throughout the country. (AP, Havana, July 7)

Representatives of former Beatle Paul McCartney traveled to Cuba to discuss a possible concert there in 2004. McCartney visited Santiago de Cuba in January 2000. (AFP, Havana, July 4)

Cuban Economic Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez said, “All measures have been taken in Cuba to assure the next sugar harvest.” The government referred to the program as the The Restructuring Harvest. This year’s crop was the lowest since 1930. In 2002 the government closed 70 sugar mills. (EFE, Havana, July 6)

Fidel Castro’s daughter, Alina FernŠndez, told members of the French National Assembly that the arrests in Cuba are due to the fear of an “implosion” resulting from the country’s deteriorating economy. (AFP, Paris, July 9)

“The last offensive against the opposition is a symptom of fear and weakness. Castro will soon fall,” according to U.S. Presidential Special Assistant Otto Reich. (Il Corrieri della Sera, July 9)

In Cuba, seven hundred members of the Yoruba religion participated in the VIII World Congress of Tradition and Orisha Culture. Members of an association of babalaos (Yoruba priests) not recognized by the government were excluded from the event. The government-supported Yoruba Cultural Association of Cuba publishes a series of generally optimistic predictions every year. (EFE, Havana ; El Nuevo Herald, July 9)

Chile’s Chamber of Deputies approved a resolution urging the Foreign Ministry to support the nomination of Osvaldo PayŠ for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize.(El Mercurio, Santiago de Chile, July 9)

“A scientific journey which included new research regarding the July 26, 1953 events” was part of the preparations for the 50th anniversary of the attack on the Moncada Barracks. The meeting entitled Glorious Anniversaries was attended by many “specialists on the subject.” (Agencia de Informacion Nacional, Santiago de Cuba, July 9)

Havana authorized the pilot of a Cuban airliner hijacked to Florida three months ago to testify for the prosecution at the trial of Adermis Wilson, who was found guilty of air piracy. Wilson will face a minimum sentence of 20 years. (Granma Internacional, Havana, ANSA, Miami, July 9 and 11)

“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 campaign includes public service announcements shown in European movie theaters, garish Socialist-style posters on the Champs Elyses and postcards handed out at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport.” (The Washington Times, July 10)

The International Confederation of Free Labor Organizations urged the release of seven Cuban labor leaders sentenced to prison terms of up to 25 years. (CIOSL, Brussels, July 9)

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