Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Wilma Gone, Cuba Recovering
Pinar del Río, the most ravaged province, returned to normal life after four days of heavy rains and strong winds.
The western Cuban province is facing a very complex situation due to the heavy rains on land that is already saturated with water.
The Cuban capital has already started to recover, where the sea flooding was more intense, chiefly in those areas close to the Havana´s sea drive wall.
Pinar del Rio province´s Defense Council reported damages in agriculture, mainly in the banana and yucca crops, as well as in tobacco and vegetable seedbeds.
After more than three days of heavy rains, strong winds and sea flooding, the Isle of Youth also started its recovery phase.
The massive mobilization is focused on the recovery of agricultural products found in flooded fields or damaged plantations and their distribution to the population. Over 2,600 tons of grapefruit are expected to be picked up.
Power service was totally restored on the Isle of Youth and most evacuated residents returned to their homes. Sea and air transport was restored Tuesday in that special Cuban municipality, as well as the phone service.
National long distance and international phone service is also working with no difficulty.
The Ministry of Education decided to start classes again Tuesday, except in those schools still damaged by flooding.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
New Auction of Cuban Artworks
Officials from the National Council of Fine Arts pointed out that 46 lots of paintings from different periods and styles will be auctioned.
At the same time, 64 lots will be auctioned at the Taganana Hall at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba. The previous edition of the auction, which has attracted galleries and private collectors from all over the world, raised 725,000 dollars, said official sources.
At this year's event, dedicated to the artist Fidelio Ponce de León, artworks by Valentín Sanz Carta and Antonio Rodríguez Morey, in addition to paintings from the 18th century, including a Nazarene by Armando Tarazona, will be open to bidding.
Among the artists whose works will be auctioned for the first time are Mirta Cerra, Carlos Quintana, López Derube, Carmelo González, Jorge Rigol, Cleva Solís and Conrado Massaguer.
Proceedings from these sales go to cover part of state expenses in arts education and materials. For more details on the auction´s catalogue, see website www.cubarte.cu
The Embargo Works both Ways
Last year Washington augmented the extraterritorial nature of the siege in its attempt to destroy the Cuban Revolution, and applied more regulations, sanctions, and threats that limit the rights of citizens and businesses, both within and outside the US.
As only one example: on September 30, 2004 the Treasury Department declared that citizens or permanent residents in the US may not legally buy any products that originate in Cuba, including tobacco and drinks, even in a third country.
Such restriction includes buying articles for personal use only in a foreign country.
The penal sanctions for violation of this restriction could be fines of up to one million dollars for corporations, and for individuals, 250 thousand dollars and ten years in jail.
Three hundred sixteen US residents were fined last year by the Office of Foreign Assets Control for infringing regulations of the blockade and, as of August of this year, 477 have been fined.
US research centers and universities assert that elimination of the blockade could generate 100,000 jobs and six billion dollars for the US economy. In agriculture and other exports, the US loses some 1.24 billion dollars annually from the blockade.
The University of Florida estimated that, ten years after lifting the blockade, US exports to Cuba would range between 6 billion and 9 billion dollars a year.
In spite of the prohibition to visit Cuba, US magazine readers chose it as the best island in the Caribbean, and among the 115 best in the world.
If they were allowed to travel to Cuba, 66.8 percent of people in the US (in 2001) said they would go; roughly 2.8 million US citizens and 289,000 Cuban residents ann ually.
Analysts in both countries indicate the great potential gains for US companies if they were not limited in trade with Cuba, particularly in energy, food, agriculture, pharmacology, and biotechnology.
In sum, final elimination of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba would result in a notable enhancement of US income, expansion of its economy, increase in employment, and the pleasure of visiting this most beautiful island.
(Written by Cira Rodriguez of Prensa Latina, published on Oct.8,2005)