Friday, December 21, 2007
Posted on Fri, Dec. 21, 2007
BY PABLO BACHELET
WASHINGTON -- Cubans who joined or supported an anti-Castro guerrilla group more than four decades ago will become eligible for U.S. refugee status thanks to provisions in a big spending bill passed by Congress.
The group known as the Alzados operated in the Escambray mountains in south-central Cuba, with some U.S. support, until Cuban security forces crushed them in a massive sweep in 1966.
But under the Patriot Act and the Real ID Act, those who join or materially support an armed revolt against a government are considered members of a terrorist organization and thus ineligible for refugee status.
The text exempting the Alzados, authored by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., was inserted in a $555 billion spending bill passed just hours before Congress recessed for the holidays this week. The bill, which funds 11 government agencies plus the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, is awaiting President Bush's signature.
Other groups exempted include the Hmong fighters in Laos, the Vietnamese Montagnards and several Burmese groups.
''Many of these people were our allies,'' said Leahy, who chairs the appropriations panel that oversees the State Department and Foreign Operations. ``They were there for us when we needed them, and we should not turn our backs when they need the safety of our shores.''
The Escambray fighters, mostly poor peasants, battled government forces with limited, if any, support from the CIA, according to exile organizations and former fighters. The Castro government called them bandidos.
Since most of the original fighters are either dead or already in the United States, it is believed that many of those now applying for asylum are probably friends and relatives who assisted the Alzados.
In February, the Bush administration issued a ''material support exemption authority'' that made it easier for family and other individuals who provided help to the Cuban rebels to win asylum.
Since then, 218 individuals have obtained asylum, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security.
There are around 100 individuals still waiting for asylum, and CIS spokesman Christopher Bentley said his office needed time to review how the Leahy provisions could apply to these cases, if at all.
The Patriot Act defined terrorism as ''any activity which is unlawful under the laws of the place where it is committed'' and includes any use of explosives, firearms or other weapons intended to cause death or property damage.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who has not been seen in public for 16 months, suggested on Monday he might give up his formal leadership posts -- the first time he has spoken of his possible retirement since he fell ill.
"My elemental duty is not to hold on to positions and less to obstruct the path of younger people," the 81-year-old Castro said in a letter read on Cuban state television.
Castro, who took power in a 1959 revolution, handed over temporarily to his brother Raul in July 2006 after undergoing stomach surgery for an undisclosed illness.
Cuba's National Assembly could formalize Castro's retirement as head of state when it approves the members of the executive Council of State at its new session in March.
Castro, the last of the major players of the Cold War still alive, said his duty is "to contribute experience and ideas whose modest value comes from the exceptional times that I have lived through."
His comments at the end of the letter read out on a daily current affairs program on television suggested Castro would not resume office but instead continue in the role of elder statesman advising the country's government on key issues.
Castro holds the posts of president of the Council of State and Council of Ministers, and first secretary of the ruling Communist Party.
Since March this year, Castro has remained present in Cuban political life by writing dozens of newspaper columns denouncing his ideological nemesis, the U.S. government, for the war in Iraq and its policies on climate change and the use of food crops as biofuels.
But he had not mentioned his future role until now.
Senior government officials, who no longer say that Castro is recovering and will return to office, insist that he is consulted on major policy decisions.
His illness last year sparked speculation about the end of one-party Communist rule in Cuba. But most observers agree that a stable transfer of power has occurred to Defense Minister Raul Castro as acting president.
The younger Castro, 76, who is considered to be a more practical administrator, has encouraged debate on the country's main economic problems and promised "structural changes" in agriculture to ensure Cubans have enough food.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle, Editing by Sandra Maler)
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Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Poco antes, en horas de la mañana del domingo, en una modesta escuela quedaba inaugurado del Centro Cultural Silvio Rodríguez, para la promoción de las culturas populares.
No sin sonrojo, el autor de Te doy una canción declaró sentirse extrañado por el gesto. "En Cuba, no estamos acostumbrados a que a las cosas se les ponga nombres de personas vivas", explicó al visitar el centro en compañía del embajador de la Isla, Giraldo Mazola, el alcalde Herrera, y el director de la escuela, Juan Carlos Hernández. "Pero ya que es así —acotó Silvio—, uno no tiene los hijos para dejarlos abandonados. De modo que voy a tener que estar pendiente de cómo marche esto".
December 4th, 2007 · 1 Comment
Me extraña que a esta hora (20:15 en España) ninguno de los medios importantes que divulgan noticias sobre Cuba (ni El Nuevo Herald ni Encuentro en la Red, ni tampoco los blogs) hayan informado de que Silvio Rodríguez y Alberto Juantorena, entre otros, no repetirán como diputados. Tampoco Marcos Portal, caído definitivamente en desgracia.
Tomado de Penultimos Diaz
Vea MONTE ROUGE: El cortometraje de Eduardo del Llano realizado íntegralmente en Cuba y que circula clandestinamente en la Isla y satiriza a la Seguridad del Estado de la tiranía de Fidel Castro.
"Buenos días, mi nombre es Rodríguez, acá el compañero Segura, venimos a instalarle los micrófonos". Con esta frase se presentan los dos oficiales de la Seguridad del Estado que golpean a la puerta del ciudadano Nicanor O'Donell.
"Nuestra misión es instalar unos micrófonos en su casa para escuchar directamente sus comentarios antigubernamentales", le explica uno de los agentes al sorprendido ciudadano. Escriba su comentario aquí y será leido en Cuba por los realizadores (y por la DSE seguramente también)
Posted Dec 4th 2007 11:19AM by Terrence O'Brien
Filed under: Computers, eBay
This may sound like a joke, but trust us, it's true. In Sarasota, Florida, streets were closed after a typewriter was reported as a suspicious package. And while many of us may not remember what one of these pre-PC word processors looks like, the senior citizens in Florida should have no excuse.
In the spirit of complete disclosure, the typewriter was inside its briefcase-like carrying-case and stashed in a locked cage under a stairwell in a county parking facility. The package was doubly suspicious since the only people with access to the cage would have been county officials.
Following standard procedure for a post 9/11, terrorism-obsessed world, the local bomb squad was called in. It proceeded to detonate the typewriter, then discovered it was just a typewriter.
Taken from wwww.switched.com