The Russian Orthodox Church

            It is a spiritual force. It played a major role at critical times in the history of Russia. At the onset of the Great Russian War, after the treacherous Nazi attack, Stalin turned to her for support to the workers and peasants that the October Revolution had changed into the owners of factories and the land.

            After the demise of the USSR, this church was not an ally of imperialism. That’s why in 2004, when His Eminence Vladimir Mijailovich Gundiaev, Kiril Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad visited our country, I suggested building a Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church in the capital of Cuba as a monument to Cuban-Russian friendship. The Historian of the City, Eusebio Leal, would be in charge of this undertaking. During the construction, earth was brought from the place where the remains were laid to rest of the Soviet soldiers who perished in our country during the tens of years they rendered services here. Thus, when the Cathedral was dedicated this past Sunday, I wanted to meet with the esteemed personality of the Russian Orthodox Church visiting with us.

            Tomorrow, Thursday, he will be in Venezuela talking with President Chavez. Both draw inspiration from identical ethical principles derived from the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the Gospels, a religious belief they both share. After that, he will be visiting Ecuador to talk with Correa, a political leader who was trained in the Liberation Theology.

            His Eminence is not an enemy of socialism and he does not condemn to eternal fire those who struggle for a better world on the basis of Marxism-Leninism. He is listened to with great attention when he addresses the UN Human Rights Commission and other institutions. In his enormous country, he often speaks on television, for fifteen minutes on Saturdays, and tens of millions of people follow his every word attentively.

            Our capital is honored with the presence of a Temple worthy of the prestigious Russian Orthodox Church. This is an undisputable evidence of our Revolution’s respect for the basic principles of human rights as it befits a profound and radical socialist Revolution.

            There is no reason to make the least concession to Yankee imperialism. I am under the impression that His Eminence feels the same way. He is not an anti-Muslim; he respects that faith. And, in his ecumenical conception he feels that the Catholic Church can solve its differences with such countries as China and Vietnam.

            It was really nice and rewarding to talk with him.

 

Fidel Castro Ruz

October 21, 2008

7:40 p.m. 

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It’s Amazing

Following an initiative from Sarkozy, President of France, on Sunday October 12th, the countries of the Euro zone agreed on an anti-crisis scheme.

On Monday 13th, an announcement is made that the European countries will inject multimillion amounts of money in the financial market to prevent a collapse. The stocks have risen after the amazing news.

Based on the abovementioned agreement, Germany had committed 480 billion Euros to the bailout operation; France, 360 billion; Holland, 200 billion; Austria and Spain, 100 billion each, and so on until with Great Britain’s contribution they reached the figure of 1.7 trillion Euros. On that day –since the exchange rate between currencies constantly varies— that figure equaled 2.2 trillion US dollars, which added to the 700 billion dollars allocated by the United States.

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The Battle of the Truth and Martin Blandino’s Book

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The intensity of the actions by the small group of MiG-21 pilots was related by the author as follows:

“Despite the confidentiality demanded from members of the General Staff and the assistants at the commanding posts it’s impossible to prevent any leaking about a war action lasting more than eight days and keeping an atmosphere of great tension among men and women on both sides of the ocean.

“How can anyone hide, for example, the deafening noise of 239 take offs and landings by fighter jet planes –over 50 a day—even though such a high number of sorties was accomplished by only nine pilots who remained in the air an average of two and a half hours each day during battle, including one who completed almost four sorties every day which means that he spent 3 hours and 45 minutes in one after another of these stressing missions?

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Stop the Blockade!

Dear friends:

On October 29, 2008, the United Nations General Assembly will discuss and put to the vote the draft resolution “Necessity to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba “.

For 16 consecutive years, the very General Assembly has approved similar resolutions by a growing and overwhelming majority. The last of these, which was voted on October 30, 2007, was supported by 184 countries.

MAIN GOAL OF THE BUSH PLAN FOR RE-COLONIZING CUBA(II)

On 24 October 2007, President Bush announced another escalation of his anti-Cuba measures by confirming the sanctions policy and announced “new initiatives”, coupled with a call to the use of force to overthrow Cuba’s constitutional government.

The new measures announced by the President were entirely consistent with the strategy outlined in the Plan for re-colonizing Cuba (hereafter “the Bush Plan”) approved on 6 May 2004, with the declared aim of reversing the Cuban Revolution.

In a report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) published in November 2007 it was acknowledged that the blockade on Cuba represented the most extensive package of sanctions imposed by the United States, out of the 20 such programmes applied to various countries.

Up to December 2007, at a conservative estimate, America’s policy of economic, commercial and financial blockade on Cuba has cost the country’s economy over 93 billion dollars.

The following are among glaring examples of the various actions taken between July 2007 and the first quarter of 2008 by the US Administration:

On 30 June 2007, its presumed “threat” to US security, officials of the US Department of Homeland Security detained a consignment of medical donations at the Maine-Quebec border. These had been collected by the Quebec-Cuba Friendship Caravan and were to be transported to Havana by the 18th Pastors for Peace Caravan.

On 11 July 2007, the US company, Logica CMG Inc., was fined $220,000. Later on, the United Advantage Northwest Federal Credit Union, the Citigroup, Bank Atlantic and RMO, Inc., were also fined.

On 5 August 2007, it emerged that the Treasury Deportment had denied the American NGO Population Services International (PSI) renewal of its licence to pursue cooperation projects with Cuba, including the supply of ‘Vives’-brand condoms and distribution of these to groups at risk of HIV infection.

On 7 February 2008, the White House published a notice issued by President Bush the previous day, entitled “Continuation of the national emergency relating to Cuba and of the emergency authority relating to the regulation of the anchorage and movement of vessels” extending Presidential Proclamation 7757 of 2004, which expanded the scope of the national emergency regarding Cuba, to prevent the entry into Cuban waters of US pleasure crafts, as a means of depriving the country of funds and tightening the blockade.

On 4 April 2008, the Department of Homeland Security, specifically the US Coastguard Service, issued new security regulations for vessels arriving in US territory from certain countries, including Cuba, on the grounds that the existing rules were not complying effectively with the antiterrorist measures. Vessels are now subjected to extra inspections on arrival at US ports and incur additional surcharges for security-related costs.

* Report from Cuba relating to the General Assembly of the United Nations Resolution.
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Stop the Blockade

What has the Government of the United States done since the General Assembly of the United Nations approved October 30, 2007 a resolution urging an end to the illegal and inhuman economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba?

The answer of the George W. Bush Administration has been:

KEEP AND STRENGTHEN the main elements of the blockade on Cuba, as reflected in heavier economic sanctions and sterner persecution of business activity and international financial operations (including those involved in settling Cuba’s dues to the UN’s international agencies), as well as misappropriation of Cuban trade marks, and increased pressures on and reprisals against those who trade with Cuba or form links with Cuba for the purposes of cultural or artistic exchange.

MOVE to a more open and dangerous stage in the organization and execution of subversive operations, through official channels and otherwise, as envisaged in President Bush’s plan for re colonizing Cuba and it subsequent updating on 10 July 2006.

EXPOSE IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS the decision to resort even to force if necessary, to undermine the resistance of the Cuban people and re-colonize the country or (which amounts to the same thing) bring about a “change of regime”, in line with the aggressive, hegemonic doctrine of the White House’s present tenants.

INTENSIFY the current US administration’s anti-Cuba political and media campaign, which goes beyond any of its predecessors. Events in the context of this strategy included a further tour of various European capitals, by two of its spokespersons focusing their efforts on preventing the lifting of the EU sanctions, unjustly imposed in 2003, as well as on discouraging high-level visits from Europe to Cuba, and seeking to impose endorsement of America’s anti-Cuba policy in the EU-US dialogue.

USE ALL POSSIBLE MEANS in its efforts to recruit, organize and bankroll persons born in Cuba to act as paid servants of America’s policy of hostility and aggression towards the Cuban nation.

* Report from Cuba relating to the General Assembly of the United Nations Resolution.

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E-bulletin Rápidas • News briefs on Cuba solidarity activities • News sumary for the friends of Cuba • Visit our Web Site WWW.ICAP.CU

We Are and We Should Be Socialists


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Last October 2nd we discussed the international price of our fuel consumption. I am under the impression that its significance attracted the attention of many leaders and cadres.

There is a general debate about the percentage of the population with access to electricity and other common services in modern life. This may vary from 40% or lower to 60% or a bit higher. It depends on the access to hydroelectric resources and other elements.

Before January 1st, 1959, almost half of the Cuban people had no access to electricity. Today, with a population twice the size and a wide access to that energy, its consumption has increased several times over.

In our country, as in a large part of the world –except for the super-rich nations– that electricity is brought to the people by air using electricity pylons, posts, transformers and other means, many of which were turned down by the strong winds of hurricanes Gustav and Ike throughout the island.

An article in Granma signed by Maria Julia Mayoral outlines the devastation of the power grid by both natural phenomena. But, she adds that while the hurricanes were crossing the power generators provided electricity to “966 bakeries, 207 food processing centers, 372 radio stations, 193 hospitals, 496 policlinics, 635 water-pumping stations, 138 senior citizens homes, among other basic facilities.”

“This means that…it was necessary to take down hundreds of emergency equipment located in production and services centers to set them up quickly in places unconnected to the National Energy Service. This was made possible by the coordinated action of the dismantling brigades of various state institutions and transportation companies with the support of local authorities. The means provisionally moved will be returned to their original centers as soon as the situation is back to normal.”

The words that I have literally taken from the original text show the devotion of Party and Government cadres, both national and local, to finding solutions.

The heading of the article written by Maria Julia reads: A Fortune is Spent to Bring Light to the People.

I think this is the right time to recall that the power generators were set up with the following purposes:

To secure crucial services such as healthcare or food preservation under any circumstances;

To secure such industrial productions as bread, milk and others;

To secure steel smelting whose interruption would seriously damage the industry;

To guarantee defense services and public information which are indispensable at all times, such as the weather bureaus and their radars that follow the hurricanes’ path;

To ensure the progressive generation of electricity with minimum consumption, much more efficiently than the available thermal plants.

Having said this, we should remember that the power generators are of different sizes, from those with small engines that can produce 40 KW/h or less up to those generating over 1,000 KW/h. Sometimes it becomes necessary to put together several of these engines, for example, in a hospital with advanced technological equipment and an indispensable air conditioning system which are high energy consumers.

These engines operate with diesel and their efficiency grows as their capacity for electricity generation increases to a certain point. They require a certain type of grease, a stock of spare parts, maintenance, etc.

A growing number of power generators are made up by uninterrupted energy-producing engines which use another fuel.

The ideal thing would be for each of the abovementioned production or services units to receive electricity from the National Energy System. This is produced with more efficient equipment working on fuel oil, which is less expensive than diesel, obtained from oil refining, a fuel increasingly used for transportation of passengers and cargo, tractors and other farming equipment.

If for whatever reasons the power generators that operate with diesel are used to produce electricity for houses and placed under a 20 hours operation regime this can have a negative impact. This equipment has been intended for emergencies and, under Cuba’s present development, to operate for a limited number of peak hours.

Among the hydrocarbon consuming generators nothing compares with the sets of power generators that operate on fuel oil, even if the investment is more costly. Due to their weight and complexity, they cannot be moved from one place to another at will. In this sense, it is second only to the combined cycle plants that use gas, previously cleaned of sulfur and other contaminants.

We should be mindful that no cadre forgets the advisability of not wasting a minute to return all the diesel consuming engines to their specific function in the neighboring provinces and municipalities as soon as the emergency is over. There is a serious deficit of that fuel; the country spends too much and it has been necessary to reduce the demanded allocations.

I insist that the production and distribution of food and construction materials are absolutely prioritized at the moment. We are not a developed capitalist country in a crisis, one whose leaders go insane looking for solutions amidst a depression, inflation, a lack of markets and unemployment; we are and we should be socialists.

Fidel Castro Ruz

October 4, 2008

7:35 p.m.

A Subject to Reflect On


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Under normal circumstances, Cuba is a country where electricity is provided to 98 percent of the population. There is a single energy production and supply system. The use of power generators ensures supply to crucial centers under any circumstances. And this will again be the case as soon as the power grids are restored.

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