Prensa Latina – 2005-10-18 23:05:34
Cuban Congressional Leaders Denounce US Plans to Annex Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba (Oct 17, 2005) Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba´s National Assembly of the People’s Power, has denounced US plans for a “transition in Cuba” as a plan for total annexation.
At a public hearing on the over 40 years of US blockade of Cuba, Alarcon said the plan is a literal enforcement of the Helms-Burton legislation, it intensifies the commercial, financial and economic blockade in order to try to topple the Cuban Revolutionary process.
If in Iraq the US appointed a proconsul after the invasion, in Cuba they did it beforehand. They appointed a State Department official to coordinate a “transition and stabilization in Cuba.” Among his duties are to supervise the return of nationalized properties, evicting millions of Cubans from their homes and millions of farmers from their lands.
He reminded that 85 percent of Cubans own their homes, thanks to the urban reform and other revolutionary legislation.
Osvaldo Martinez, chair of the congressional Economic Committee, stressed that the White House continues with its plan to make the Cuban economy ancillary to Florida by “applying neoliberal adjustments and the experience of dismantling socialism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.” The annexation plan includes privatizing banks, controlling production and the budget, reforming the public sector, and developing a hypothetical market, he denounced.
Jose Luis Toledo, congressional Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee chair, noted that another goal is to annul the Cuban Constitution via executive orders “from a US puppet government.”
The over 400-page report on the “free transition” in Cuba orders the trial and persecution of former government and Communist Party officials, members of social and mass organizations, which means millions of Cubans, he pointed out.
“It would be like the old Cuba, with fake politicians, the times of control from the US embassy and exclusion for the majority,” he concluded. “It would be a return of the Cuba of old, of politicians “for rent”, control by the US Embassy and exclusion of the majority of citizens,” he concluded.
A Blockade of Food: A Disdain for Life
Cira Rodriguez César/ Prensa Latina
HAVANA, Cuba (October 17, 2005) — The US economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba violates one of humanity’s most elemental rights: food, confirming its genocide character.
If it is criminal to prevent buying equipment, raw materials, to travel and persecute those who do, to not allow loans or any type of international institutional aid, it is more so to prohibit the acquisition of food, and technology or resources for its production.
The blockade and the Torricelli and Helms-Burton legislation undermine any attempt to acquire this material anywhere in the world if it is produced by a US subsidiary, which is a serious extraterritorial stance.
Cuban imports are subjected to severe restrictions and complex procedures that hinder normal trade and delay as much as possible the arrival of food to Cubans.
For the island’s food industry, the various manifestations of the blockade have cost more than 55.86 million dollars, which would have guaranteed technological improvement to one-third of the sector.
Production costs, elevated by purchase of raw and packaging materials from far-off countries, which raises-generally doubles- transportation costs, and extended re-provisioning cycles are some of the damages affecting the industry.
Forbidding Cuba to use the US dollar in its commercial and financial transactions provokes negative impacts on currency fluctuation, as happens with food it buys today in the United States. In the same way ships available for transportation to and from Caribbean countries that generally stopover in US ports are at risk to be sanctioned and decommissioned.
As a consequence of the blockade, exports are limited, as is technological development, importation of raw materials and other resources, as well as scientific-technical interchange.
One case in particular occurs with the exportation from the Cuban food industry, Havana Club Rum, and other top-quality rums. According to studies made of premium rums by IWSR and SPIRIT WATCH, the prohibition against Havana Club International to export to the United States cost 45,000 dollar losses last year alone.
Cuba has lost the possibility of selling Cristal beer and Legendario rum, in spite of interest from US clients in 2004 and 2005. Likewise, Bucanero brewery and Río Zaza Foods, with opportunities to export to the Bahamas, could not complete them due to a contract denial from ships that would touch Florida ports in their route.
Importing raw materials from distant markets through intermediaries is made obligatory for the Cuban industry, with a negative impact for transportation costs of over 3.98 million dollars and the consequent production instability.
Millions are also lost because of US pressure hindering acquisition of equipment to guarantee products indispensable for the population, including for children and other sectors and for important social programs. All of these are criminal and illegal practices done to suffocate a people and destroy their Revolution.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.