Monthly Archives: January 2011

COURT PUNISHES THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR DEATHS AT HAVANA PS


Havana’s Provincial People’s Court punished the responsible people for the deaths occurred at the Psychiatric Hospital in January 2010, from 5 to 15 prison terms. The defendants were judged in a public and oral hearing from January 17-22, Granma daily reported.

The local court considered as proved the charges presented by the prosecution and found the defendants guilty according to their specific participation in crimes such as abandonment of disabled and impaired people in its highest degree, given the deaths of several persons; misappropriation and failure to meet the duty of preserving the resources of economic entities. In tune with this, the court imposed sanctions ranging between 5 and 15 prison terms, and the top fine stated by the penal code to another defendant.

According to the sentence, hospital director Wilfredo Castillo was given 15 years; Management vice-director 14 years, and senior dietetics specialist Josefina Diaz 12 years in prison. All were found guilty for the crime of abandonment of disabled and impaired people.

Other persons accused and punished for the crime were the vice-director of the clinical and surgical section Arianna Ramos (10 years); infirmary vice-director Ivo Noa Gonzalez (10 years) and the vice-rector of Psychiatry Susana Borges (7 years).

Punished for misappropriation were the head of the central warehouse Miguel Villalobo (10 years); the chief of the cold room, Alvaro Fidel Castañeda (9 years); the chief of the kitchen brigade, Darwy Marquez (6 years); Logistics and supplies chief Gerardo Miguez (5 years); the second chief of the kitchen-dining room, Dionisio Alfaro (6 years) and Cook Jorge Mateo lay (6 years).

Punished for the crime of Failure to Meet the Duty of Preserving the Goods of Economic Entities was the head of the pharmacy Yanet Perez who was imposed a 6 000-peso fine.

The defendants may appeal the sentences at the Supreme Court in a 10-day term following their notification. Some administrative sanctions were imposed on other persons collaterally responsible for the events.

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Reflections by Comrade Fidel THE SERIOUS FOOD CRISIS


Just 11 days ago, on January 19, in a reflection titled “The Time has Come to Do Something,” I wrote:

“The worst is that to a large degree the solutions shall depend upon the richest and most developed countries, the countries that shall reach a situation which they are really in no condition to face unless the world they have been trying to mould…”

“I am not speaking about wars, whose risks and consequences have been transmitted by wise and brilliant people, including many Americans.”

“I am referring to the food crisis originating in the economic facts and the climatic changes that are apparently now irreversible as a consequence of the actions of man, but which, at any rate, human minds are under the obligation to face in a hurry.”

“The problems have suddenly taken shape now, through the phenomena that are being repeated on every continent: heat waves, forest fires, losses of harvests in Russia, with many victims; climate changes in China, excessive rainfalls or droughts, progressive losses of water reserves in the Himalayas threatening India, China, Pakistan and other countries; excessive rainfall in Australia that have flooded almost a million square kilometers; unusually harsh and unseasonable cold waves in Europe that have considerable impact on agriculture; droughts in Canada; unusual cold waves there and in the US.”

I also mentioned the unprecedented rains in Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil.

In that Reflection I informed that “productions of wheat, soy, corn, rice and other numerous grains and legumes that make up the food base of the world – whose population today according to calculations totals almost 6.9 billion inhabitants, now coming close to the new figure of 7billion, and where more than one billion are suffering from hunger and malnutrition – are being seriously affected by climate changes, creating a very serious problem in the world.”

On Saturday, January 29 the daily Internet news bulletin that I receive reproduced an article by Lester R. Brown, which was posted on “Via Organica” Website, dated January 10 and whose content, in my view, must be widely spread.

The author is the most prestigious and prize-winning US ecologist, who has been warning about the dangerous effect of the growing and huge volume of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere. I will take only some paragraphs from his well-documented article that coherently explain his viewpoints:

“As the new year begins, the price of wheat is setting an all-time high…”

“…the world population has nearly doubled since 1970; we are still adding 80 million people each year. Tonight, there will be 219,000 additional mouths to feed at the dinner table, and many of them will be greeted with empty plates. Another 219,000 will join us tomorrow night. At some point, this relentless growth begins to tax both the skills of farmers and the limits of the earth’s land and water resources.

“The rise in meat, milk, and egg consumption in fast-growing developing countries has no precedent.

In the United States, which harvested 416 million tons of grain in 2009, 119 million tons went to ethanol distilleries to produce fuel for cars. That’s enough to feed 350 million people for a year. The massive U.S. investment in ethanol distilleries sets the stage for direct competition between cars and people for the world grain harvest. In Europe, where much of the auto fleet runs on diesel fuel, there is growing demand for plant-based diesel oil, principally from rapeseed and palm oil. This demand for oil-bearing crops is not only reducing the land available to produce food crops in Europe, it is also driving the clearing of rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia for palm oil plantations.

“…a doubling in the annual growth in world grain consumption from an average of 21 million tons per year in 1990-2005 to 41 million tons per year in 2005-2010. Most of this huge jump is attributable to the orgy of investment in ethanol distilleries in the United States in 2006-2008.”

“While the annual demand growth for grain was doubling, new constraints were emerging on the supply side, even as longstanding ones such as soil erosion intensified. An estimated one third of the world’s cropland is losing topsoil faster than new soil is forming through natural processes—and thus is losing its inherent productivity. Two huge dust bowls are forming, one across northwest China, western Mongolia, and central Asia; the other in central Africa. Each of these dwarfs the U.S. dust bowl of the 1930s.

“Satellite images show a steady flow of dust storms leaving these regions, each one typically carrying millions of tons of precious topsoil.

“Meanwhile aquifer depletion is fast shrinking the amount of irrigated area in many parts of the world; this relatively recent phenomenon is driven by the large-scale use of mechanical pumps to exploit underground water. Today, half the world’s people live in countries where water tables are falling as overpumping depletes aquifers. Once an aquifer is depleted, pumping is necessarily reduced to the rate of recharge unless it is a fossil (nonreplenishable) aquifer, in which case pumping ends altogether. But sooner or later, falling water tables translate into rising food prices.

“Irrigated area is shrinking in the Middle East, notably in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, and possibly Yemen. In Saudi Arabia, which was totally dependent on a now-depleted fossil aquifer for its wheat self-sufficiency, production is in a freefall. From 2007 to 2010, Saudi wheat production fell by more than two thirds.

“The Arab Middle East is the first geographic region where spreading water shortages are shrinking the grain harvest. But the really big water deficits are in India, where the World Bank numbers indicate that 175 million people are being fed with grain that is produced by overpumping […]In the United States, the world’s other leading grain producer, irrigated area is shrinking in key agricultural states such as California and Texas.

“The rising temperature is also making it more difficult to expand the world grain harvest fast enough to keep up with the record pace of demand. Crop ecologists have their own rule of thumb: For each 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature above the optimum during the growing season, we can expect a 10 percent decline in grain yields.

“Another emerging trend that threatens food security is the melting of mountain glaciers. This is of particular concern in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan plateau, where the ice melt from glaciers helps sustain not only the major rivers of Asia during the dry season, such as the Indus, Ganges, Mekong, Yangtze, and Yellow rivers, but also the irrigation systems dependent on these rivers. Without this ice melt, the grain harvest would drop precipitously and prices would rise accordingly.

“And finally, over the longer term, melting ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica, combined with thermal expansion of the oceans, threaten to raise the sea level by up to six feet during this century. Even a three-foot rise would inundate half of the riceland in Bangladesh. It would also put under water much of the Mekong Delta that produces half the rice in Vietnam, the world’s number two rice exporter. Altogether there are some 19 other rice-growing river deltas in Asia where harvests would be substantially reduced by a rising sea level.

“The unrest of these past few weeks is just the beginning. It is no longer conflict between heavily armed superpowers, but rather spreading food shortages and rising food prices—and the political turmoil this would lead to—that threatens our global future. Unless governments quickly redefine security and shift expenditures from military uses to investing in climate change mitigation, water efficiency, soil conservation, and population stabilization, the world will in all likelihood be facing a future with both more climate instability and food price volatility. If business as usual continues, food prices will only trend upward.

The current world order was imposed by the United States at the end of WWII and reserved all the privileges for itself.

Obama has no way to manage the madhouse that they have created. A few days ago, the government crumbled in Tunisia, where the United States had imposed neoliberalism and they were happy for such political exploit. The term democracy had disappeared from the scene. It is incredible to see that now, when the exploited people shed their blood and assault the shops, Washington expresses its happiness for the government fall. Nobody ignores that the United States turned Egypt into its main ally in the Arab world.

A large aircraft carrier and a nuclear submarine, escorted by US and Israeli warships, crossed the Suez Canal towards the Persian Gulf some months ago, while the international press had no access to what was going on there. It was the Arab country that received more war supplies. Millions of Egyptian youths undergo unemployment and the lack of food caused to the world economy, and Washington affirms its support of them. Its Machiavellianism is given by the fact that while it supplied the Egyptian government with weapons, the USAID provided the opposition with funds. Will the United States be able to stop the revolutionary wave that rocks the Third World?

The famous meeting in Davos, which just concluded, became a Tower of Babel, while the richest European states headed by Germany, Britain and France only coincided in their disagreement with the United States.

But there is no need to worry about at all; the US Secretary of State once again promised that the United States would help the reconstruction of Haiti.

Fidel Castro Ruz

Enero 30 de 2011

6 y 23 p.m.

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EL PASO: IMPORTANT REVELATION


South Journal—An important revelation came up in the trial underway in El Paso, Texas, against Luis Posada Carriles.
In his testimony under oath, January 18, 2011, a Homeland Security official confessed that on behalf of her department she had asked prosecutor Caroline Heck Miller to try Posada Carriles for his criminal activities, but the prosecutor rejected to do it. This happened in August 2005.
At the same time—in August 2005—the Atlanta Court of Appeals decided to annul the trial, held in Miami, in which the five Cubans, who have been held in US prisons for over 12 years now, were accused precisely by prosecutor Heck Miller. In that historic decision, the Atlanta Court of Appeals largely referred to the long record of crimes committed by Posada and other terrorists, which the five Cubans tried to prevent from taking place, and the court described the Miami trial as “a perfect storm” of prejudices and hostility against the five defendants.
What would the Atlanta judges say now when we all know that the very attorney that demanded the worst punishment for Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez—known as the Cuban Five—was the same person that prevented Posada from being tried for his crimes?
On January 18, 2011, Heck Miller reappeared in Miami and that day she requested extra time before replying to the habeas corpus petition in favor of Gerardo Hernandez. We can understand her concerns. The arbitrary and unfair accusation against the Cuban Five was only aimed at defending anti-Cuba terrorism, just the favorite task of Miami prosecutors as it has been proven once again in El Paso.
By the way attending the hearing were the representatives of the so-called mass media, which were silent all the time, as they usually do.
[English
version of article by Ricardo Alarcon posted on Cubadebate

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Lets raise our voices for the Cuban 5


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POSADA CARRILES CASE CONFIRMS WASHINGTON’S DOUBLE STANDARDS


Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba’s National Assembly, said on Tuesday that the U.S. government is rewriting its double standards in the trial of Luis Posada Carriles, who is just accused of lying and not as a terrorist, while maintaining the long injustice against the Cuban Five, imprisoned in that country for 12 years now.
Alarcon recalled that Caroline Heck Miller, the attorney who prosecuted the Five in Miami, declined to press charges against Posada Carriles for terrorism, which he said, from a legal standpoint, is absolute confirmation of the deceitful attitude and willful transgression of the prosecution in the case.
He added that the official of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, under oath, said she had asked Caroline to prosecute Posada Carriles for his criminal activities and this was refused.
The brilliance, Alarcon said, is that this statement by the official was announced on January 18 and that same day Mrs. Miller requested more time to reply to the request for habeas corpus on behalf of Gerardo Hernandez.
What they have now mounted (in El Paso) is cheap theater. He stressed that Posada Carriles enjoys official protection within the U.S. government with illegal status, in a country where there are 14 million illegals, who they throw out, without a trial.
Around the petition for habeas corpus filed in the case of Gerardo, he explained that the response is expected by mid February, after which the defense would reply and then Judge Joan Lenard would decide.
Only a jury of millions can resolve the situation of Gerardo, said Alarcon, but for this it is necessary for the mass media to multiply the true message, and they are controlled entirely in the U.S. It is therefore necessary to continue hammering to get the truth to the American people.
Gerardo Hernandez is a Hero of the Republic of Cuba, and the government of Cuba will do everything to save him, stressed the President of Parliament, who asserted that terrorism with impunity, shockingly demonstrated in the light of day cannot hide forever, and affirmed his
conviction that someday, not far away, the truth will come to light.

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