Friday, December 31, 2010

Bolder Languages is looking for a marketing Intern

Bolder Languages is looking for a marketing Intern

Bolder Languages aims to build a network of freelance tutors in and around Boulder, Colorado, that specialize in teaching languages. In today's world of globalization, knowing multiple languages has never been so useful, and by helping others learn a new language, we help them on their way to the “good life”.

Job description:

The intern will be given the opportunity to conduct marketing and sales related activities to help grow business in throughout the state of Colorado. This is a unique opportunity to help builld a company from the ground up and learn all aspects of running a business. If succesfull a full time position will be offered.

Job requirements:

  • Seeking out new opportunities constantly
  • Meet sales goals and objectives assigned by the CEO.
  • Supervising established client accounts.
  • Preparing a variety of sales status reports that include activity, follow-up, closings, and adherence to targets.
  • Handling customer clients as well as identifying and resolving their concerns.
  • Communicating new service and product opportunities, feedback, special developments, or information collected during field activity to proper company staff.
  • Preparing schedules and action plans to identify particular targets and list the clients contact numbers.
  • Presenting and selling company services and products to current and prospective clients.
  • Follow up on referrals and new leads.
  • Developing and maintaining the existing product knowledge and sales materials.
  • Preparing proposals, presentations, and sales contracts.
  • Establishing and maintaining new and established client relationships.
  • Managing account services through follow-up and quality checks.
  • Developing and implementing special sales activities to promote new services and classes.
  • Assisting in the execution of marketing plans of company as required.

Skills and Specifications

  • Pleasant and exceeding personality.
  • Excellent customer service skills.
  • Able to meet fixed deadlines and manage under pressure.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Positive individual and a hard worker.
  • Able to build and deliver presentations.
  • Knowledge of sales promotion and advertising techniques.
  • Able to create, write and edit composed manuals.
  • Good computer application skills such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.
  • Able to persuade and convince others.

  • Education and Qualifications
  • Pursuing a degree in sales and marketing related fields.
  • Related sales experience.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

BREAKING NEWS House Agriculture Committee to vote on legislation ending the travel ban


"It's time," the simple but powerful message from Rep. Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, as he announced his decision to have the committee vote on legislation to end the travel ban and increase the sale of U.S. food to the island.

The committee will meet on June 30, 2010 to consider the legislation introduced by Peterson and cosponsored by a bi-partisan group of 62 Members of the House. Peterson's bill, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act (
H.R. 4645), has been endorsed by over 130 organizations that represent agriculture and business, foreign policy and national security, religious, labor and human rights, and other advocacy groups that support a new U.S. policy toward Cuba.
Comments supporting Peterson's decision came quickly.

"This is the moment for making a decisive change in Cuba policy; a change that will put money in the pockets of American farmers and workers, put better food on Cuban tables, and put more Americans on Cuban streets and in Cuban homes. A policy that ends the travel ban and sells more food to Cuba puts our country on the side of the Cuban people, and we applaud the Committee for scheduling the
legislation," said Sarah Stephens of the Center for Democracy in the Americas.

"It's time for a decisive change in Cuba policy. U.S. citizens want their right to travel restored. Rather than waiting another fifty years for Cuba to change, sending American food and tourists to Cuba will make life better for the Cuban people now. We support Chairman Peterson in moving ahead with a vote in the Agriculture Committee on this legislation," said Mavis Anderson of the Latin America Working Group.

"Moving to end the travel ban and to sell more food to Cuba is not only good for Americans and Cubans, but also critical for restoring relevance to U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. Engaging the Cuban people, as this effort would do, will enhance the U.S. image and our effectiveness in the region. This is welcome news to those who think it is long past time to change our outmoded approach to Cuba," said Anya Landau French of the New America Foundation.

"The Peterson-Moran bill takes U.S. Cuba policy in a sensible direction. It moves away from the unilateral sanctions we've imposed for fifty years, and expands travel, communication and dialogue, while opening up sales opportunities for U.S. businesses. We're pleased that Chairman Peterson is moving the bill toward a vote," said Geoff Thale of the Washington Office on Latin America.

The decision to go to mark-up by Chairman Peterson comes just a few weeks after 74 of Cuba's most prominent political dissidents endorsed the bill and called for tourism by Americans and increased food sales to help the Cuban people.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Taste of Puerto Rico Festival in Denver - June 13th and 14th

Greetings! We will be celebrating the Taste of Puerto Rico Festival at Stapleton Central Park on June 12 and 13, 2010. Check out our Events page for times, as well as other events we have through out the year.

See below for a map and driving directions. There will also be a free shuttle service from Stapleton Park-n-ride and Northfield Mall.

We want to give special thanks to those who attended the Taste of Puerto Rico Festival at Stapleton Central Park in Denver this past June. It was the first time we held the event there and we had over 7,000 people in attendance throughout the two-day event. Thank you for making this festival so successful.

Our organization would like to continue making this a special day for Puerto Ricans around the Denver Metro area and beyond. We had visitors from the neighboring states to as far as New York that made it down for the festivities.

We would also like to send a special thanks to the vendors, security and the artist that entertained the audience. Without you, none of this is possible.

Once again all are invited, to attend and participate.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Salsa Classes in Boulder

June's classes start Tuesday of next week!

  • Level I (Morgan) - Wednesdays at 7:00pm
  • Level III (Marcela) - Tuesdays at 7:00pm
  • Level IV (Eric & partners) - Tuesdays at the earlier time of 7:00pm -- We're waiting for you!
  • Cuban Casino (Eric & Marcela) - Wednesdays at 8:00pm. We are continuing with Cuban Casino and Rueda de Casino. This class filled up last month and everybody is having a lot of fun learning Cuban style.

Salsaville's classes constantly gets good feedback:

From Lisa Perrin:
"There's something about all the people who take Eric's salsa classes...Everyone is so warm, friendly and fun to be around. For a solid year, it's been a truly positive experience."

From Christine Donahue:
"We are so lucky to have such an excellent Cuban style salsa teacher in Boulder. In just one class, I learned simple things from you that really improved my technique -- your attention to detail is amazing. Thanks for sharing your passion for dance with us!"

From Greg Richardson:
"Eric Freeman's intro to Salsa class was extremely rewarding. I had a great time and am surprised how much I learned in such a short time. My initial nervousness was quickly overcome by Eric's patient teaching style."

Many more testimonials can be found at:

See below for the full schedule. See you in class and until then have a great holiday weekend!
- Eric

Ballet Nacional de Cuba wil go to Washington D.C. in 2011

Ballet Nacional de Cuba

Alicia Alonso, Artistic Director

"The Cubans are famously a company of virtuosos and wherever you looked on stage there were other star turns"
--The Guardian

The Magic of Dance

Don Quixote
Choreography by Alicia Alonso after Marius Petipa
Music by Ludwig Minkus

Its dancers are the product of Russian-style classical training, but exude a style all their own. Their works are Western ballet standards, but they are invigorated with intense passions. When Ballet Nacional de Cuba returns to the Kennedy Center for the first time in ten years, they will perform two programs that bridge the gap between refined taste and pure entertainment.

Ballet Nacional de Cuba will perform The Magic of Dance, a program that was received with great praise last year while on tour through England. This collection of ballet highlights spanning the classical anthology will include selections from Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and more.

The company will also present their acclaimed version of Don Quixote. "Those looking for passion, Latin or otherwise, will find it in this idiosyncratic 1988 version of the 19th-century Don Quixote…a production filled with dramatic motivation," says the New York Times. This Cuban company has embraced a tradition of romantic and classical excellence since it was founded by Alicia Alonso in 1948. The troupe, which regularly tours Europe, Asia, and South America, brings its beautiful footwork, strong dancers, and impeccable technique for a long-awaited appearance before Washington audiences for the first time since 2001.

New meetup group for Latino Professionals

Salsa class in Boulder taught in beginner/intermediate Spanish!

When: Thursday, June 17, 2010 7:15 PM

The Avalon
6185 Arapahoe Rd
Boulder, CO 80303

I've communicated with the manager of these Thursday night Salsa events and he has arranged for our group to have a Spanish speaking instructor to teach the class in beginner/intermediate Spanish! If your Spanish is rusty (or worse), do not worry! Come anyway. You'll learn Spanish as well as Salsa! RSVP through our Meetup site please.

Salsa class 7:30-8:30PM $8. Please arrive early!

The Avalon supplies snacks and dessert every week for free. Come and join, you will be sure to have a great time. for more information.

Learn more here:

Announcing a new Meetup for Boulder Spanish Meetup!!

See the full description here:

Hola amigas/os! I checked the Chautauqua calendar and there are no events on this night so parking should be ample. It sometimes rains but seldom enough to cancel the event. Let’s go rain or shine but do RSVP so I can communicate any changes.

Also, we can’t reserve picnic tables so as a general rule, I’ll get there early and select a picnic table in “Chautauqua Green” (map link follows) I’ll try and secure the table nearest the Dining Hall and work clockwise until one is available. If nothing is available, we can improvise. It’s a small area so you’ll find us!

Spanish and English versions are below.

Se le invita reunirse con nosotros a nuestra próxima Meetup para disfrutar el parque Chatauqua y para practicar su español con otros hablantes de todos niveles.

Por favor, traiga algo para comer o beber (o un dispositivo de música con música latina) por el grupo y indique que vas a traer en tu RSVP noticias (entonces todo el mundo no traen las mismas cosas!).

!Hasta la vista!


You are invited to join us at our next meetup to enjoy Chautauqua Park and practice your Spanish with speakers of all levels!

Please bring something to eat or drink for the group and indicate in your RSVP what you intend to bring (so we all don't bring the same items)

Please be flexible as we cannot control these environments or the arrival times of the attendees! :-)

Hasta la vista!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weekly News Blast from Cuba Central

Dear Friend:

There's a lot of important news this week, but we begin with oil upon troubled waters.

According to Brad Johnson, a climate researcher at the Center for American Progress, oil carried by the Loop Current is likely to reach the Florida Strait by Monday, May 24 posing a direct threat to Cuba's marine environment.

News agencies are reporting that U.S. diplomats in Havana informed the Cuban government just days ago of details on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and where it is likely to move.

A State Department spokesman said, "It is incumbent upon us to inform all of our neighbors . . . those countries that could be affected by disasters that happen within our territorial waters."

The United States needs to come completely clean with Cuba - and with all of us - about the size, location, extent, and severity of the disastrous flow of oil and chemical dispersants into the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon Rig that took place on April 20th and killed eleven workers.

We know already that figures released by BP concerning the volume of oil pouring into the Gulf since the accident on April 20th woefully underestimate what most experts believe is actually occurring. In addition to the millions of gallons of oil released, there is now more than 600,000 gallons of chemical dispersants in the Gulf being used to contain the spill.

The extent and boundaries of the oil plume beneath the surface of the Gulf are unknown. The toxic effect of the dispersants being used to control the spill is unknown. The U.S. is expanding the closures of fisheries in our territory, but questions surrounding this decision are yet to be fully answered. Is the entire 20% contaminated? Should Cuba take a similar action? If so, why?

The U.S. should be communicating all of this to the Cuban government so it can make its own risk assessment and establish its own priorities for the policy actions it should consider taking to protect its people, its climate, its fisheries, and its tourism industry.

As Robert Muse and Jorge R. Piñon wrote recently in a Brookings Institution issue brief, there are international frameworks under which the two countries could and should cooperate to protect their shared interests.

However, there is a larger point at stake. We shouldn't have to be talking about how, or whether, or to what extent we should be cooperating with Cuba in the face of this crisis, just as we don't have to invent or improvise a relationship with Mexico to do so. But our policy of not talking to Cuba, not having diplomatic relations with Cuba, demanding concessions from Cuba to engage with the U.S. cooperatively has precisely this kind of cost, and produces this kind of outcome.

So let the discussions confirmed by the State Department take place. Let's hope they're comprehensive and fruitful. Let's hope the U.S. government discloses more information to the Cubans - and to all of us - about the dangers to which the Gulf has been exposed. But let's also hope that the bigger lesson of this crisis is learned and acted upon; we don't have to like the Cuban system to benefit from a normal relationship with the Cuban government, and we shouldn't allow ideology and domestic political concerns to block the orderly transfer of information about a disaster to a neighbor who shares with us stewardship of a gorgeous but now threatened eco-system.

Read on, and you will learn about a meeting between President Raul Castro and two of Cuba's most important religious leaders, that could offer hope for a breakthrough on political prisoners with great implications for U.S.-Cuba relations. We also carry reports on reforms taking place in Cuba's agriculture and transport sectors. In our concluding section - Recommended Reading - we link to the Washington Post and its profile today of the family of Alan Gross.

This and much more, this week in the news blast.


U.S. and Cuba talking about oil spill, not yet cooperating

U.S. and Cuban officials are holding "working level" talks about responding to the deepwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Associated Press reported. "It is incumbent upon us to inform all of our neighbors, not just the islands, but those countries that could be affected by disasters that happen within our territorial waters," said State Department Spokesman Gordon Duguid.

He also said that the U.S. Interests Section in Havana sent a diplomatic note to the Cuban government to inform it about the spill and its projected path. "We provided background related to the cause of the spill, stressed that stopping the oil leak is our top priority and explained the projected movement of the spill," Duguid said. "We also communicated the U.S. desire to maintain a clear line of communication with the Cuban government on developments."

Alberto Gonzalez Casals, a spokesman at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, said the country would be "ready to prevent this kind of oil spill," the Miami Herald reported. "I can tell you we are aware of the situation, we are preparing in any case of the oil spill coming to Cuba to take measures,'' he said, adding that Cuba doesn't expect to be affected, but is in a "position to cooperate with the United States."

Robert Muse, an attorney who specializes in Cuba issues, and Jorge R. Piñon, former president of Amoco Oil Latin America and a research fellow at the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University, published an essay this week titled "Why U.S.-Cuba Environmental Cooperation is Critical," under the auspices of Latin America Initiative at the Brookings Institution.

Muse and Piñon write "the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform and the resulting discharge of millions of gallons of crude oil into the sea demonstrated graphically the challenge of environmental protection in the ocean waters shared by Cuba and the United States."

They conclude that both sides should begin talking before another accident occurs. "While Washington is working to prevent future disasters in U.S. waters like the Deepwater Horizon, its current policies foreclose the ability to respond effectively to future oil disasters - whether that disaster is caused by companies at work in Cuban waters, or is the result of companies operating in U.S. waters."

More information about the benefits of engagement with Cuba on issues from energy to regional security can be found in "9 Ways for US to Talk to Cuba and for Cuba to Talk to US" published last year by the Center for Democracy in the Americas.

More Cuba travel companies being approved for licenses

The U.S. government has approved licenses for 42 new companies that provide travel and other services related to travel and remittances to Cuba, compared to none in 2009, McClatchy News reported. The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces Cuba sanctions, said the increase resulted from efforts to approve a backlog of applications and the Obama administration's policy favoring Cuban-American travel to the island. Travel industry experts said the additions are not the result of increased demand, as the existing list of providers easily handled the flow of U.S. citizens and residents traveling to the island.

Valenzuela says policies of the past have failed, but vows to help Cubans with better Radio and TV Marti

Arturo Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, attended a luncheon event at the Cuban American National Foundation on May 20th. In his speech to Cuban exiles, Valenzuela sent his regards to the Ladies in White, recognized that "polices of the past have failed," and talked about the importance of cultural exchange and renewed family contact. He said that approval of licenses to travel to Cuba are on the rise, with approvals for cultural licenses up eight percent, religious licenses up 25 percent, and a 16 percent increase in licenses for academic visits, El Nuevo Herald reported. According to Valenzuela, direct support for average Cubans will increase with improvements in the "effectiveness of Radio and TV Martí."


Cuba may be ready to address political prisoner issue

This week, Cuba's Episcopal Conference leader Archbishop Dionisio Garcia and Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega met with President Raúl Castro. Following the meeting, AFP reported that Castro might be ready to resolve the issue of Cuba's jailing of political dissidents.

"This issue was talked about and I believe both sides are ready and want to resolve it and we hope this will be done. I believe this will be done," Garcia said after an unprecedented discussion with Castro.

Ortega said that while "we hope" political dissidents will be released, "regarding the sick ones, we expect it," for humanitarian reasons.

Granma, the Cuban government newspaper, noted the meeting but did not mention the issue of political prisoners, stating only that the Church officials spoke with Castro on "various issues of mutual interest, especially the favorable developments between the Church and the Cuban government, as well as the current national and international situation."

According to El Pais, this meeting is the first of its kind since Raúl replaced Fidel Castro and it "has raised many expectations and reinforced, according to analysts, the role of the Church as a possible mediator to settle the issue of prisoners and other conflicts."

The meeting came ahead of a visit by Monsignor Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's official in charge of foreign relations, which is scheduled for June 16-20 to coincide with the anniversary of 75 years of ties between Cuba and the Holy See. Many dissidents and human rights activists hope the upcoming Vatican visit can bring about the release of political prisoners, much like Pope John Paul II's 1998 visit when then-president Fidel Castro released more than 300 prisoners.

Fariñas completes 80 days of hunger strike

Guillermo Fariñas, a Cuban dissident, completed his 80th day of a hunger strike in a public hospital, Milenio reported. Fariñas has said his hunger strike is "for the liberation of 26 sick political prisoners." Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who recently helped broker a compromise between the Cuban government and the Ladies in White so they can carry out their weekly protests, along with government officials from various countries have asked Fariñas to take a more flexible position. The Cuban government has said it will not be pressured by threats and has referred to Fariñas as a "mercenary at the service of the United States."

Cuba celebrates a week against sexual discrimination

Hundreds of gay and lesbian activists, some dressed in drag and others on stilts waving flags representing sexual diversity, marched through the streets of Havana over the weekend. The marchers, accompanied by Mariela Castro, President Raúl Castro's daughter, were celebrating a week of events organized to eliminate homophobia. "We have made progress, but we need to make more progress," said Mariela Castro, the leader of Cuba's National Sexual Education Center (CENESEX) and a movement on the island for gay, lesbian and transgendered rights, the Associated Press reported

The government recently agreed to pay for sex change operations for transsexuals and government officials have attended many of the anti-homophobia activities. Mariela Castro and other activists are now asking the state to legalize gay marriage and allow adoption by gay and lesbian couples.

Performers with El Mejunje, a cultural center that has become a haven for Cuba's transvestites, took their show out onto the streets for the first time. According to EFE, "for the first time in its 26 years, El Mejunje managed to get the authorities to close one of the main streets in the central city of Santa Clara so the center could set up a stage displaying the Cuban flag and the rainbow banner of the gay movement, and bring together transvestites, musicians and dancers to celebrate sexual diversity on the island."

Experts from CENESEX are also training police officers on how to deal with gays, lesbians and transgendered individuals. Agence France- Presse reported that 41 officials from the National Police force received training about how prejudices affect police action.

A video news report on the festivities in Santa Clara is available here. A video of the march in Havana is available here.

Blogger's sentence is canceled

A Cuban appeals court wiped out a 20-month jail sentence against a blogger with ties to the Ladies in White and radical exiles in Miami, the Associated Press reported. Dania Garcia was convicted of mistreating her daughter and ordered to pay a fine rather than serve time. Garcia was convicted and originally sentenced to jail for "abuse of authority" for having thrown her 23-year-old daughter out of the house. Human rights organizations assert that the case was politically motivated. Garcia is an active political dissident who writes for multiple opposition websites, "linked to a radical anti-Castro group based in Miami," Reporters without Borders reported.

Religion on the rise in Cuba

According to Ana Celia Perera, a researcher at the government's Center for Psychological and Sociological Research (CIPS), a religious "revival" is occurring in Cuba, as new groups and actors are flourishing, and the devout are extending their social involvement, IPS reported. Perera claims that a religious upsurge reached its peak in the early 90s, a time of great economic hardship for Cubans, but that other factors have also aided religious expansion, such as constitutional changes supporting equality between believers and non-believers, authorization for people subscribing to a religious faith to participate in the country's political functions, and the vigorous outreach of religious organizations, resulting in increased religious acceptance on both social and institutional levels. According to IPS, there's now even talk about building socialism from both Marxist and a religious points of view.


Carlos Varela's emotional concert in Miami

Jordan Levin of the Miami Herald, reporting from the scene of Carlos Varela's show in Miami last weekend, saw a mixed audience of "people who had left Cuba as adults, others who grew up here...but clearly these songs spoke to all of them." In Levin's words, the "concert made me think that art and music have a power beyond what anyone can control, even the artists who make it. If the music is real and any good, you can't calculate what it means or how it might move or inspire someone. And that is worth something. To the people at the Gusman Saturday, it was worth something incalculable."

Speaking to a packed house, Varela asked "Why are we so far and yet so close for all these years?" There were apparently 20-30 people outside the concert protesting Varela's presence in Miami, but there "were 1,700 people inside, and they had Cuban flags, too, one of which ended up draped across Varela's shoulders." A compilation video from the concert is available here.

Silvio Rodríguez says Cubans are fighting for change, outside pressure doesn't help

Responding to criticism by intellectuals in Spain about the situation in Cuba, Silvio Rodríguez wrote that outside pressure is not helping Cuba's internal transformation. In an essay on CubaDebate, Rodríguez wrote: "Cubans want changes as well, but ones formed by us. These transformations will come sooner or later and the only policy capable of accelerating them is the end of the blockade (U.S. embargo)." He said the declaration by Spanish intellectuals is "an insult to self-determination" and an "inadmissible interference."

According to Rodríguez, Cubans on the island are discussing changing many things. "We don't believe we need a centralized government forever. We see it more as an emergency concept, a necessary negative that our national emancipation forced on us to survive." Fuego Entertainment has announced that Rodríguez will play a Washington, DC concert on June 19th at 7:30 PM in DAR Constitution Hall.

Los Aldeanos

This week, Reuters reported on the two-man Cuban underground rap group "Los Aldeanos," who have become one of the "abrasive voices of a disaffected generation of politically numbed Cubans who grew up during Cuba's post-Soviet economic crisis of the 1990s." Although popular throughout the island, the group has not been given access to state radio stations or public venues, and is mostly known through unadvertised gigs at underground venues and mixed tapes passed on burned CDs and memory sticks. They rap about controversial subjects such as prostitution, social inequality and police harassment, and their lyrics are often very critical of the government.

However, the group has chosen to stay in Cuba and work for change from within. "Our work aims at a positive change in society. Not just in the government, but also spiritually ... today Cubans step on and humiliate one another," group member Aldo told Reuters in a recent interview. They criticize Cubans who become critical only after arriving in Miami. "I wouldn't be a revolutionary man if I didn't say what I think when asked," said Aldo. Juanes and Calle 13 tried unsuccessfully to get Los Aldeanos to join their recent performances in Havana, but the group was recently allowed to perform their first concert in a Havana theatre. They're hopeful the government will allow them to travel abroad to perform in Spain in Latin America soon.

You can see one of Los Aldeanos' music videos here, and footage of one of their underground concerts is here.


Small farmers association holds congress, changes announced, more requested

The National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) held a congress in Havana over the weekend, where reforms in the agricultural sector were discussed and the farmers requested additional policy changes from the government, Agence France-Presse reported. Raúl Castro attended the sessions along with ministers involved in economic and agricultural planning. Castro, who has made increasing food production his number one issue, told delegates he is confident they will complete their "number one mission: produce for the people."

The 350,000 family farmers and members of private cooperatives account for 70 percent of the food produced in Cuba, while using just over 41 percent of the land. Over the last two years, the government has instituted a plan to turn idle lands over to private farmers, but the Associated Press reported that only about half of the land in the reform has been turned over to applicants.

Economy Minister Marino Murillo announced during the close of the congress that private farmers will be able to purchase supplies directly in the future, rather than having them allocated by the state, Reuters reported. According to Murillo, the government is working toward modernizing the economy and soon the majority of municipalities will offer "supply markets where farmers can acquire directly the necessary resources to produce, substituting the current system of assigning resources centrally."

According to EuropaPress, farmers at the congress called on the government to allow them to sell their products directly to the population. Following the congress, ANAP released a statement recommending that the government analyze the possibly of extending the commercialization process for other products, like they have used for direct sale of milk.

Drivers allowed to rent buses, keep profit

"In another minor move under President Raúl Castro to ease the state's hand in Cuba's socialist economy," the government has begun allowing drivers to rent city buses in Havana, Reuters reported. Bus drivers are now allowed to keep their earnings after taxes and so far they say they are earning more than the average Cuban salary of about $20 a month. "You have to work hard to make money, but it gives results," said one driver. According to Reuters, the changes are beneficial for the driver and passengers, as the reform has improved the quality of transportation around urban areas.

Baseball tournament canceled

Cuba has decided to cancel a national baseball series, which features the best of the island's players divided onto six different teams, Agence France-Presse reported. According to Higinio Vélez, the national director of baseball, the event was canceled due to the tough economic situation on the island, and the fact that it was going to coincide with the World Cup, which is a very popular event in Cuba.


Cuba attends E.U. - Latin America summit

Cuba attended the E.U. - Latin America summit in Madrid despite "strong tensions with the E.U.," Agence France-Presse reported. In his speech at the summit, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, who led the Cuban delegation, said that a new era between the E.U. and Cuba is possible, but the "obsolete" common position must be removed and the two sides should negotiate based on "equality." Rodríguez said he believes that more European countries now agree with the Spanish government that the common position should be abandoned.

Speaking prior to the summit, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos said, "if the common position had been effective, I would have been the first person interested in defending it, but maintaining a position that doesn't produce results is a little sadomasochist," EuropaPress reported. Spain has said that it does not believe it will be able to change the common position toward Cuba.

In an interview with the Spanish website El Publico, Rodríguez was asked why Cuba doesn't improve conditions on the island immediately rather than waiting for the embargo to end. Rodríguez responded: "There is a rich debate about those themes in Cuba. Do channels of participation need to be increased in order to perfect Cuban democracy? I think so." The full interview is available here.

Castro and Zelaya meet in Havana

Raúl Castro met with ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya last week, the Associated Press reported. Zelaya, who was driven out of his country in a military coup last June, is now living in exile in the Dominican Republic. El Pais reported that Zelaya's visit to Cuba was part of his tour around the region in which he wishes to gain the consensus of other leaders on how progress toward greater human rights and political reconciliation might be made in Honduras

Cuba continues to help with the health care system in Haiti

According to the Cuban News Agency, Cuban health specialists in Haiti are providing assistance in 11 new hospitals, Cuba has equipped 30 Rehabilitation Centers, and eight out of ten Comprehensive Diagnosis Centers have been built as part of a joint effort by Cuba, Venezuela and Haiti. These are all parts of Cuba's offer to rebuild Haiti's public health system following the earthquake. MEDICC's Field Notes blog has some powerful posts about the Henry Reeve emergency response medical brigade working on the ground in Haiti.

BBC News reported on Desandann, a 10-piece choir that spent two month-long tours in Haiti as part of Cuba's relief project following the January earthquake. "Every time we sang to people in Haiti it was like they were reborn," says Teresita Miranda, a member of the Cuban Creole choir.

Spanish businessmen visit Havana

Salvador Santos, the president of Madrid's Chamber of Commerce, is leading a delegation of businesses from Madrid in Havana. The delegation hopes to "open or consolidate" business relations with the Cuban government, specifically in the areas of technology, sanitation, energy and construction, Agence France-Presse reported. Spain is Cuba's third largest trading partner, preceded only by Venezuela and China. Santos said that the delegation spoke with the Cuban government about late payments and the freezing of foreign bank accounts and "it seems like the situation is being fixed," EFE reported.

Around the Region:

IACHR concerned about human rights violations in Honduras

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) visited Honduras May 15-18 to follow up on its on-site visit of August 2009 and its report "Honduras: Human Rights and the Coup d'État." The delegation was composed of IACHR Chair Felipe González, First Vice-Chair Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Executive Secretary Santiago A. Canton, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression Catalina Botero, and staff of the Executive Secretariat.

Considerations on the Implementation of the Truth Commission in Honduras, CEJIL

CEJIL has analyzed the decree creating the Truth Commission in Honduras and has set out the main aspects of this initiative, which contradict international standards on transitional justice and truth commissions.

Dear Congress: Haiti Can't Wait, Latin America Working Group

Micheline Fleuron lives with her two boys in the median on the road in Carrefour, Haiti. Her home, the pile of rubble across the street from where she is now, collapsed during the earthquake and killed her seven-year-old daughter. Before the earthquake, Micheline had a small business selling food items. She lost that in the earthquake. She says food aid has been distributed near where she is but she has not been able to get any of it. She says hunger is difficult and "dust from the street is eating us."

Mexican President speaks to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, New York Times

Mr. Calderón dedicated much of his 35-minute speech to underscoring the centrality of the relationship between Mexico and the United States, and he drew warm and frequent applause.

Recommended Reading:

Judy and Alan Gross' family is at heart of standoff between Washington and Cuba, Washington Post

When Alan Gross didn't arrive at home as planned, his wife Judy didn't panic, until the phone rang, and she learned that her husband was in Villa Marista, the Cuban state security prison. The Washington Post profiles his family, and explores the issues surrounding the detention of the "gadget geek" who is suspected of violating Cuban law, but has yet to be charged with a crime.

Getting cell phones into Cuban hands, Global Post

A cell phone is a handy device on this under-wired island; just not for making phone calls. Cuba's state-run wireless monopoly, Cubacel, has some of the steepest rates in the world, charging the equivalent of 50 cents per minute for outgoing and incoming calls. In a country where the average salary is less than $20 a month, half a day's wages can disappear with the first "Hola." Cubans, instead, are using them to send texts and as pagers.

Cuba's medical diplomacy, Financial Times

When word reached Juan Carrizo that Hurricane Katrina had struck New Orleans on August 29 2005, he reacted with military precision and began mobilizing specialists to assist the thousands of Americans affected by the disaster. Washington rejected Havana's offer of help, but Cuba's medical response to natural disasters has been indispensable ever since - as evidenced by the island's contributions to recovery in Haiti and Chile just this year.

Until next week,

The Cuba Central Team

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spanish Happy Hour in Denver

SHH Logo

Practice your Spanish
Meet some new Spanish-speakers
Learn about El Sabor y su Tradición
Play Loteria
Eat appetizers provided by Interstate Kitchen & Bar

Friday, May 21 2010 /// 5-8 pm /// $3 members, students /// $5 general
Open to all levels
/// Every Third Friday of the month

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Afro-Cuban Dance Classes in Boulder

Ramon Ramos Alayo, Afro-Cuban dancer
teaching in Boulder – May 26 to 30, 2010

Carmen Nelson in collaboration with Streetside Dance Studio
is very proud to present:

Ramon Ramos Alayo: Cuban dancer, choreographer, and teacher;
founder and director of the CubaCaribe Festival of Dance & Music

Class Schedule ($15 per event, all classes to be held at Streetside Studio):

Wednesday, May 26 7:15 to 8:30 PM Rumba with live drumming
Thursday, May 27 6:15 to 7:15 PM Salsa Cubana Suelta
Thursday, May 27 7:15 to 8:30 PM Rueda de Casino
Friday, May 28 7:15 to 8:30 PM Salsa Suelta and Rueda de Casino
Friday, May 28 8:30 to 10:30 PM Dance demonstration and Party
Saturday, May 29 1:00 to 2:30 PM Rumba with live drumming

Performance with Debajo del Agua and Grupo Macondo ($10)

Saturday, May 29 9:00 PM at the Mercury Café (2199 California Street, Denver, CO 80205)

Streetside Dance Studio:
Grupo Macondo:
Ramon Ramos Alayo:
Cuba Caribe Festival:

Salsa in Denver: Legends Costume Ball May 22, 2010

A tribute to musical legends Michael Jackson, Celia Cruz, and Tito Puente--who influenced dance and music throughout the world--presented by Denver performers, check out

Soulciety--Winners of the 5280 music award, singing a Michael Jackson tribute with a professional dancer. Denver's top R&B singers.

With Fleur de Cana and DJ Nelson, and more.

Black Tie or Costume. Flamboyant dress attire suggested. Latin dancing from 9pm to 1am. Ages 21+ For tickets click on the "Tickets and Reservations" tab and purchase safely through Paypal. Print the receipt and bring the day of the event, or call (303) 587-1024

Weekly News Blast from Cuba Central

Dear Friends:

In his closing essay for "9 Ways for US to Talk to Cuba and for Cuba to Talk to US," Louis A. Pérez, one of the world's leading scholars of Cuba, wrote the following:

The embargo has assumed a life of its own. Its very longevity serves as the logic for its continuance, evidence of the utter incapacity of U.S. political leaders to move beyond the policy failures of their own making...That the embargo has not yet accomplished what it set out to do, in exquisite Kafkaesque reasoning, simply means that more time is required.

We recalled these words this week as we read the statement printed below by President Obama's principal White House advisor for Latin America, Dan Restrepo, who counseled us not to expect the administration to lift the embargo any time soon since we have not seen positive action by Cuba's government on human rights in the last eighteen months. If the subject weren't so serious, we might respond: "I'll see your eighteen months and raise you fifty years."

Each administration takes office thinking itself different, better able to change the world than those that came before it, a mindset that springs from the optimism and strength characteristic of the American spirit. But Lou Pérez has it right - more time is not required. Placing conditions on Cuba government doesn't work, hasn't worked, and is unlikely to ever work, no matter who is president.

Next week, Assistant Secretary of State, Arturo Valenzuela, is scheduled to be in Miami and address a fundraising event to benefit the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF). The speech is scheduled for the day - May 20th - that opponents of Cuba's government celebrate the island's independence (from Spain), a day that candidate Obama used two years ago to announce a new strategy toward Cuba that would begin, if he were elected, with the resumption of Cuban American family travel, a promise he fulfilled.

To its credit, the administration has also liberalized other elements of the failed policy, including inviting more Cuban artists and intellectuals to visit the United States and supporting some face-to-face diplomacy with the Cuban government on matters ranging from migration to direct postal service. These are meager steps, but they can form a foundation for further progress. Not waiting for a gesture from Cuba's government, but building on the real strengths our fellow citizens bring to the table.

We'd like to hear Secretary Valenzuela tell CANF that the administration is going to remove obstacles to travel.

The religious community has called on the President to relax restrictions on their ability to visit the island; it seems only practical and fair that believers not apply on bended knee to the Treasury Department in order to share their faith with their Cuban counterparts.

Scholars and cultural figures, athletes and scientists also have a compelling case. Although it can only be accomplished through legislation, we also strongly believe that tourists have just as many rights to visit the island as any other American. All of these ideas would represent progress and movement in the right direction. Cuba policy should be based on American interests and values, not the long unfilled hope that American policy - so flawed for so long - should remain frozen essentially in place waiting for Havana to respond. The last eighteen months - or fifty years - has certainly taught us that.

Restrepo: the embargo will not be lifted soon

Daniel Restrepo, Director of Hemispheric Affairs at the National Security Council, said last week that "we are far from" seeing the lifting of the embargo against Cuba, Europa Press reported. According to Restrepo, one of the Obama administration's main advisors for Latin America, the U.S. has not "seen positive action in regards to the fundamental rights of the Cuban people over the last 18 months."

Religious leaders again call on Obama to change policy toward Cuba

Leaders of the National Council of Churches and Church World Service are again calling on President Obama to lift the restrictions on religious travel to Cuba, calling the current U.S. policy toward Cuba "ineffective and counter-productive," the Christian Post reported.

In a joint letter to President Obama this past week, the two organizations said the "impractical restrictions" that resulted from a Bush administration-era interpretation of the rules governing travel to Cuba by religious groups have reduced their ability to send delegations to Cuba, limited their opportunities to accompany and support their Cuban church partners, and have the effect of "severely limiting" participation in Cuba missions by U.S. churches and congregants.

"Churches across the theological spectrum have called for the elimination of these restrictions which have now interrupted relationships, fellowship, and exchanges which began more than 125 years ago...We urgently ask that you now change the Cuba policy of the United States in ways that will assist the churches in their work and have wider benefits for our country and for the people of Cuba," the letter concluded. You can read the full letter here.

Silvio Rodríguez gets a visa, Varela making waves

The U.S. government has granted a visa to Silvio Rodríguez, a Cuban musical icon and founding member of Cuban Nueva Trova, so that he can perform in the United States, the Nuevo Herald reported. Rodríguez was persona non-grata in the U.S. for decades and was unable to attend a tribute to folk legend Pete Seeger last year when his visa was not processed in time. Bill Martínez, a lawyer who helped Rodríguez with the visa, confirmed that the musician received notice of the approval this week and diplomatic staff at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana was helpful throughout the process, Reuters reported.

"Our hope is that culture, academia and science will not just be a bridge between the U.S. and Cuba, but a pathway that will lead to more opportunities - for cultural, scientific, medical, academic and environmental cooperation - ultimately leading to everyday Americans and Cubans being allowed to travel back and forth without restrictions," the Center for Democracy in the Americas said in a news alert applauding the visa approval.

Meanwhile, Carlos Varela, a Cuban musician heavily influenced by Silvio Rodríguez, is making waves on his U.S. tour. The Boston Herald reported that 25 Boston area high school Spanish students joined Varela on stage in Massachusetts on Wednesday night, where Varela exclaimed: "We're doing what politicians haven't been able to do for 50 years."

The Miami Herald reported on Varela's upcoming concert in Miami, where he had to cancel a 2004 show because his visa was denied. "Music can't get rid of a war; it can't get rid of an embargo. It can't get rid of an economic crisis; it can't get rid of hate," Varela told the Herald. "Music can't stop the tank. But it can touch the heart of the person driving the tank." José Varela of Progreso Weekly wrote that hardliners in Miami love Varela when he supports the dissidents but vehemently oppose him when he defends the Cuban Revolution.

New traveler's insurance being disputed in death of Cuban-American

Questions have arisen about Cuba's new policy of requiring medical insurance for visitors to the island. A Florida couple of Cuban descent was at a family party in Santiago, Cuba earlier this month when two men with cement tubes attacked them. The attack resulted in the death of Laida Licet Recio and serious injuries to Rolando Suárez. The family of the victims, devastated by the tragedy, is organizing a collection in Miami to raise money to have Recio's body shipped back to Florida for burial.

The family said the Cuban government has requested $10,000 to ship the body, but it is unclear if the couple had purchased the newly-required medical insurance, and whether it would cover costs associated with the death, InfoBae reported.

Officials from travel agencies that offer flights to Cuba said the insurance should cover up to $7,000 in expenses related to the death of a passenger. The Miami Herald reported that the family is unsure about whether the couple bought insurance and whether it will cover the shipment of the body.

Cuba will file for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of one of the "Cuban Five"

The Cuban government will file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, one of the five Cuban agents who has been detained in the U.S. for over 12 years, with the objective of having him receive a new sentence, Europa Press reported. Currently, Hernández is serving two life sentences for spying. Cuba claims that the five men were not spying on the U.S. government, but rather collecting information on Cuban-American groups in Miami that were planning terrorist attacks against the island. Family members said that lawyers are preparing the brief and the petition will be filed at the end of the month.

Bank fined for dealing with Cuba and other sanctioned nations

A bank formerly known as ABN Amro Bank N.V. agreed this week to pay the U.S. government $500 million for facilitating the movement of illegal funds through the U.S. financial system. According to the Associated Press, the bank, now named the Royal Bank of Scotland N.V., helped the countries of Iran, Libya, Sudan and Cuba evade U.S. laws. Aside from the fine, the Justice Department said ABN Amro will be under a deferred prosecution agreement and the U.S. will recommend dismissal of the charges in one year if the financial institution cooperates with U.S. investigators.

Senators seek to block Obama nominee to El Salvador post over Cuban romance

Congressional staffers, speaking off-the-record, said this week that Republicans will put a hold on the nomination of Mari Carmen Aponte as the new U.S. ambassador to El Salvador based on past connections with a suspected Cuban spy. According to the Miami Herald, the hold will force supporters of the nomination to obtain 60 votes in the Senate to confirm her to the post. The FBI cleared Aponte after having a relationship with Roberto Tamayo, a businessman with past ties to both U.S. and Cuban agents, decades ago.

Several migrants returned to Cuba

More than 30 Cubans were returned to the island after trying to reach Florida last week in different incidents. Some of them were transferred to Guantanamo Bay without further details, according to UPI.


Journalist freed as she awaits appeal

Dania García, an independent Cuban journalist, has been freed as she appeals a sentence for hitting her daughter, the Associated Press reported. Garcia writes for CubaNet, which is funded by the U.S. government, and on her own blog, which Reporters Without Borders said is "linked to a radical anti-Castro group based in Miami." The details of her case are not well known, but Reporters Without Borders said the official charge against Garcia was "abuse of authority" for throwing her 23-year-old daughter out of her home.

Meanwhile, the Ladies in White said they are hopeful that some of their family members may be freed before or after Dominique Mamberti, the foreign minister of the Vatican, visits Cuba in June, Agence France-Presse reported. "The representative of the Vatican can influence the liberation of many men, not only political prisoners, but also common ones, like what happened during the visit of the Pope John Paul II in 1998," said Berta Soler, one of the leaders of the group.

Small Farmers Association meeting this weekend

The 10th Congress of the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) will take place in Havana this weekend, a meeting that intents to "propose solutions to one of the biggest concerns of Cubans, food supply," state media reported. Participants in the Congress will "look for a strategy to increase productivity, replace imports and speed up the commercialization process of agricultural products." Approximately 1,000 delegates are expected to attend and the meeting will be "the perfect stage to design strategies about the variety of problems" already debated in regional farmers' forums, the Granma reported.

La Jornada published an article this week on a new process of encircling cities with urban gardens - there are now 17 municipalities in Cuba surrounded by rings of gardens. "We are trying to bring food closer to the cities, where 76 percent of the population lives, based on a diversified agricultural model," said Adolfo Rodríguez Nodals, head of the National Group of Urban and Suburban Agriculture.

Government warns citizens not to hoard and re-sell rice

Facing a shortage of rice, and eager to reduce the cost of importing it, Cuba issued a warning last week for citizens not to hoard the grain, the Associated Press reported. "We are demanding discipline and order in purchases," state-run Radio Rebelde said during a recent newscast. "Don't allow, under any circumstances, people to hoard rice so they can later sell it at a higher price." The announcement said that "certain unscrupulous people are hoarding" rice and warned that action would be taken against those involved in hoarding and speculating.

Rumors of plans for foreign investment in sugar industry

President Raúl Castro recently removed the sugar minister after state media reported that this year's sugar harvest would be the worst since 1905. MercoPress reported that there are "increasing rumors that foreign investors will be invited to take over the industry." Brazil has become more actively engaged with Cuba over the last two years and supplied millions of dollars in credits for infrastructure projects.

Now "there are insistent rumors" that President Raúl Castro has invited Brazilian experts to consider the possibility of attracting investors from South America's largest economy and a world power in sugar cane production and bio-fuels from sugar cane," MercoPress reported.

Cuba needs an "enormous effort" to repair railways

Cuba hopes to repair its rail system over the next three to five years, but said it will take an "enormous effort" to do so, Agence France-Presse reported. According to General Antonio Enrique Lussón, vice-president of the Council of Ministers, Cuba will need to repair over 6,000 kilometers of rail lines (about 73% of the total tracks), acquire new equipment, and hire and train new personnel, requiring millions of dollars in investment, Prensa Latina reported.

Transportation in Cuba was severely affected in the 90s as the economy collapsed, and it has never fully recovered. The government also announced that it will open four training centers for students to study issues related to the rail industry. The first will open in September of this year and the others in 2011. Cuba sacked its transport minister earlier this month.

Petrobras gets more time to decide Cuba oil plans

Reuters reported that the Cuban government has decided to give the Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras six more months to make a decision about drilling a well in Cuban waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Brazil's involvement in the exploration is the result of an agreement signed in October of 2008 between Presidents Raúl Castro and Luis Inacio Lula da Silva. Brazil was supposed to inform Cupet, the Cuban state oil company, this month about its intentions, but "given the geological complexity of the block area, it negotiated with Cupet a six-month extension ... to finish the work of geology and geophysics," Petrobras spokeswoman Paula Almada said.

Regarding the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Fidel Castro blamed big corporations for the platform accident that created the spill. In a newly published reflection Castro wrote that the accident "shows how little governments can do against those who control the capital, who in both the United States and Europe are, due to the economy of our globalized planet, those who decide the destiny of the public."

Cuba will update earthquake detection ability with Chinese help

Cuba will update its seismological equipment with technology donated by China, which will also send specialists to install the new equipment, EFE reported. The Chinese equipment, which has already arrived in Cuba, includes high-sensitivity seismometers, accelerometers, and portable stations for seismic engineering studies. According to Cuban state media, the installation of this equipment comes at a time when the island's civil defense system has adopted measures to strengthen its response capability at the onset of powerful earthquakes and tsunamis, in a year that has seen devastating temblors in Haiti and Chile. The Cuban system is recognized globally for the effectiveness of its disaster preparedness.


Raúl Castro won't attend E.U. - L.A. summit, Bruno Rodríguez will lead Cuban delegation

Bruno Rodríguez, the Minister of Foreign Relations, will lead the Cuban delegation to next week's E.U. - Latin America Summit, Europa Press reported. At the last summit between the two blocs, held in Lima in 2008, first vice-president José Ramón Ventura Machado represented Cuba. Relations between the E.U. and Cuba have been tense over the last few months following the death of hunger-striker Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

Among other heads of state missing the meeting are José Mujica, president of Uruguay, and Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo, president of Honduras. Mujica won't attend for health reasons, while Lobo decided not to participate after the rest of the region, which still considers his government - elected following the 2009 coup - illegitimate, threatened to back out if he attended.

Cuba and Russia celebrate 50 years of diplomatic ties

The Vice-President of the Cuban Council of Ministers, Ricardo Cabrisas, highlighted the historical ties between the two countries and the invaluable support that Russia gave to "anti-U.S. imperialism" efforts since the beginning of the Cuban Revolution. In a formal ceremony in Havana, the Vice-Speaker of the Russian Parliament, Ivan Melnikov, also said that the relations between his country and the island "have passed the test of endurance and continuity," reported the Voice of Russia.

RNV said that both representatives expect to increase the strategic links between both nations, especially in terms of trade and commercial ties. The ceremony was also attended by the President of Cuba's National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcón, and Bruno Rodríguez, the Minister Foreign Affairs.

Spanish and Cuban intellectuals trade barbs

Spanish artists and intellectuals, including world-famous film director Pedro Almodóvar, launched an initiative to push for the democratization of Cuba. "The Platform for Spaniards for the Democratization of Cuba" tries to ensure the defense of "the basic and essential human rights" of the Cuban people, Agence France Presse reported.

A group of Cuban writers and intellectuals on the island quickly responded with their own declaration, EFE reported.

For example, Aitana Alberti, daughter of the renowned Spanish poet Rafael Alberti, read the official response to the Platform, saying that "next to known advocates of anti-Cuban propaganda, honest people, maybe without the necessary information and knowledge, influenced by the fierce and painful media campaign against Cuba, accuse us, and by doing so, adopt a position that tries to harm our country's sovereignty."

Cuban writer Arturo Arango published an essay in Spain's El Pais saying two things need to happen so that a future that benefits the majority of the Cubans on the island can be formed:
  • That the external pressures disappear, which far from helping, paralyze the transformations that are desired from taking place, not only because they represent unacceptable actions of interference, but more than anything, because they don't relate to the real interests of Cubans.
  • That the Cuban state establish a real dialogue, not paternalistic, in which all Cubans can participate, and in which the youth can exercise the leadership that we need.
Cuba supports preservation of the U.N. and accuses U.S. of terrorism

Pedro Núñez Mosquera, Cuba's Permanent Representative before the United Nations, defended the international organization during the commemorative ceremony of the end of World War II this week. Núñez also remembered the millions who were killed in the former Soviet Union in the fight against the Nazis, Cuban News Agency reported.

Núñez also criticized the U.S. role in the fight against terrorism, denouncing the United States for its involvement in the killing of more than three thousand Cubans, and for causing billions of dollars in material damages. He also pointed out that the U.S. government has a double standard in accusing other countries of terrorism while simultaneously not prosecuting Luis Posada Carriles, who has confessed to committing terrorist attacks against Cubans and has been prosecuted for similar acts in other countries. "Cuba condemns all acts, methods and practices of terrorism in all of its forms and expressions, wherever they're committed and whoever commits them, whoever they're committed against, and whichever their motivations may be," Núñez said.

Around the Region:

UNASUR pledges Latin arms trade transparency, UPI

Latin American states within the Union of South American Nations will need to reveal all when buying weapons and military equipment to ensure they don't trigger a politically destabilizing and expensive arms race on the continent, officials said.

Violence Increasing on Colombia-Venezuela Border, Group Says, EFE

The independent group Fundación Progresar warned of a "serious" increase in human rights violations along Colombia's border with Venezuela, where some 16,000 people have been murdered and 1,800 have disappeared over the past decade.

Venezuela Takes Action to Address Energy Crisis, Venezuelanalysis

Late last year, the Venezuelan government declared an energy crisis. This led to rolling blackouts in major cities and incentives for businesses to decrease consumption. The main cause of the crisis was a prolonged drought, which immobilized the hydroelectric plants that produce 70 percent of the country's energy.

Recommended Reading:

For nostalgic Russians, Cuba is a tropical time machine, Global Post

Tourists look for bittersweet traces of Soviet past in Cuba's present.

Contreras making up for lost time with mom,

Former Cuban star reunites with mother after eight years.

Guatemalan seeks answers in Honduran coup, Los Angeles Times

Eduardo Stein, longtime diplomat and ex-vice president of Guatemala, discusses his role as head of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission looking into events surrounding last year's coup in Honduras.

U.S. - China Human Rights Dialogue

The U.S. and China are undergoing their annual human rights dialogue this week.

On the day Jimmy Carter visited Cuba

On May 12, 2002, Jimmy Carter became the first U.S. president, former or current, to visit Cuba since Fidel Castro seized power in 1959.

Until next week,

The Cuba Central Team

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