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Thu Jan 24, 2013, 03:20 PM

Cuba confirms undersea cable carrying data traffic

Source: AP

HAVANA (AP) — Cuba's state telecom monopoly confirmed Thursday that the island's first hard-wired Internet connection to the outside world has been activated, but said it won't lead to an immediate increase in access. In a statement published in Communist Party newspaper Granma and other official media, ETECSA broke its long silence on the ALBA-1 fiber-optic cable, which island officials once boasted would increase capacity 3,000-fold.

Until now Cuba's Internet has been strictly via ponderous satellite links, and out of reach for the great majority of islanders. ETECSA said the new cable has been operational since August, initially carrying international voice calls, and the company has been conducting data traffic tests on the cable since Jan. 10. "When the testing process concludes, the submarine cable being put into operation will not mean that possibilities for access will automatically multiply," ETECSA said.

"It will be necessary to invest in internal telecommunications infrastructure," the company said, adding that even then the goal is "gradual growth of a service that we offer mostly for free and with social aims in mind." The $70 million ALBA-1 arrived on the island from Venezuela in February 2011 to great hoopla, but officials soon stopped mentioning the cable amid rumors of mismanagement and corruption involving the project.

Its status was unknown until this week, when U.S. Internet analysis firm Renesys documented evidence of faster data traffic to Cuba and concluded that the cable had been switched on. Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, an advocate for wider Internet dissemination, questioned whether the government would have said anything about the cable if Renesys and foreign media had not reported about it.



Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/cuba-confirms-undersea-cable-carrying-data-traffic-182203152.html

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Reply Cuba confirms undersea cable carrying data traffic (Original post)
onehandle Jan 2013 OP
99th_Monkey Jan 2013 #1
OnyxCollie Jan 2013 #2
MADem Jan 2013 #10
MADem Jan 2013 #3
Mika Jan 2013 #4
MADem Jan 2013 #11
Mika Jan 2013 #51
MADem Jan 2013 #52
Xithras Jan 2013 #5
MADem Jan 2013 #8
ronnie624 Jan 2013 #13
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #14
ronnie624 Jan 2013 #16
MADem Jan 2013 #20
ronnie624 Jan 2013 #22
MADem Jan 2013 #33
MADem Jan 2013 #17
ronnie624 Jan 2013 #18
MADem Jan 2013 #19
ronnie624 Jan 2013 #21
MADem Jan 2013 #23
ronnie624 Jan 2013 #24
MADem Jan 2013 #25
reorg Jan 2013 #26
MADem Jan 2013 #27
ronnie624 Jan 2013 #29
MADem Jan 2013 #30
ronnie624 Jan 2013 #32
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #34
ronnie624 Jan 2013 #37
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #43
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #45
ronnie624 Jan 2013 #47
MADem Jan 2013 #36
ronnie624 Jan 2013 #39
MADem Jan 2013 #41
ronnie624 Jan 2013 #44
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #54
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #31
MADem Jan 2013 #35
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #40
MADem Jan 2013 #42
reorg Jan 2013 #49
ronnie624 Jan 2013 #50
MADem Jan 2013 #53
reorg Jan 2013 #55
Ash_F Jan 2013 #6
MADem Jan 2013 #9
joshcryer Jan 2013 #7
Crepuscular Jan 2013 #12
Ash_F Jan 2013 #15
jsr Jan 2013 #28
flamingdem Jan 2013 #38
ronnie624 Jan 2013 #46
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #48

Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 03:22 PM

1. That's awesome. Happy for the Cubans on this one. ~nt

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 03:25 PM

2. Counting down to "accidental" cut of undersea cable in 3..., 2..., 1... nt

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:11 PM

10. Why would they cut the cable their pals in Venezuela bought for them?

And why would we, if that's your premise? They have shitty access now as it is--it's like AOL in the early nineties. And they aren't opening up their new bandwidth to the people, either. It's for elites.

Obama offered them the same damn thing four years ago--Castro turned it down. The Cuban government doesn't WANT their countrymen to have readily available net access--at least not yet. The reality is that an authoritarian government still wants to keep a firm hand on the tiller:


http://www.economist.com/node/18285798

ACCORDING to government figures, only 3% of Cubans frequently use the internet, making the communist island the least connected place in the Americas. Those that do require patience: according to an industry survey, Cuba's dial-up internet access is the world's second-slowest, after Mayotte, a French territory in the Indian Ocean. Under the guise of rationing the use of bandwidth, internet access is banned in most private homes and censored in offices.

For this sorry state of affairs, Cuba's authorities have long blamed the United States' trade embargo. They have a point. Although a fibre-optic cable, capable of carrying heavy data traffic, runs tantalisingly close to the island's northern coast, George W. Bush's administration blocked a proposal by AT&T to hook Cuba up to it. In 2009 Barack Obama authorised American companies to provide internet services to the island. But Cuba showed no interest in exploring the possibility. Instead it turned to its ally and benefactor, Venezuela.

Last month officials celebrated the arrival of a 1,600km (1,000-mile) fibre-optic cable laid along the seabed from Venezuela by a consortium including France's Alcatel-Lucent and Britain's Cable & Wireless. Venezuela's government has put up the $70m it cost (including a second link from Cuba to Jamaica). Once fully connected in a few months' time, it will raise data-transmission speed almost 3,000 times.


So will Cubans now have free access to the internet? The government has no fear of that, insisted Jorge Luis Perdomo, the deputy-minister of information. Yet last month it charged Alan Gross, an American arrested in 2009 for distributing satellite gear for accessing the internet to Jewish groups in Cuba, with spying. Mr Perdomo says that Cuba simply lacks the cash to install the necessary computers and routing gear. Nevertheless, it recently found $500m as an upfront payment to buy out an Italian group which had formed a joint venture with the state telecoms firm.....In practice, the government has found it impossible to block access to the internet completely. Many Cubans bypass curbs by buying internet accounts on the black market. The loophole they exploit is that senior managers, doctors and some academics are permitted home internet accounts. Some use this perk to supplement their state salary of $20 a month by selling their usernames and passwords for around $30 a month, often several times over.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 03:27 PM

3. "Cuba has the second-worst Internet connectivity rate in the world, according to one study.

According to government statistics, about 16 percent of islanders have some online access, usually through their school or workplace and often just to an Intranet that also has email capability.
Just 2.9 percent of Cubans report having full access to the World Wide Web. However outside observers say the true number is more like 5 to 10 percent accounting for underreporting of dial-up minutes resold on the black market.


http://news.yahoo.com/cuba-confirms-undersea-cable-carrying-data-traffic-182203152.html

To hear some folks go on, it's blasphemy to suggest that there's not a hotspot in a coffee shop on every corner...when in fact, the reality is very, very different.

To this point, if you have internet in Cuba, you're one of the elites, enduring crucifyingly-slow throughput times, or paying through the nose.

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Response to MADem (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 04:56 PM

4. And Cuba is THE ONLY country suffering from the US extraterritorial embargo ...

... that punishes companies, including telecoms and hardware suppliers, who do business w/Cuba.

Most Americans don't know that the US embargo punishes any companies that do business around the world but also do business w/Cuba.


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Response to Mika (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:12 PM

11. Not true. See the comments elsewhere in this thread. You're shopping an old tale. nt

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Response to MADem (Reply #11)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:11 PM

51. Nope. What you're saying isn't true. I won't say what you're shoveling.

Nonetheless, I see no point in arguing w/you over this.
Have a nice day.


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Response to Mika (Reply #51)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:15 PM

52. Well, by not saying, you just did. Hey, snark and run is easier. I understand why

you bowed out that way, without a refutation, just a "shit" reference.

Don't run away too fast, now--don't wanna get winded.

Have one of those nice days yourself.

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Response to MADem (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:17 PM

5. The lack of connectivity in Cuba has more to do with the American government than the Cuban

Sell a router, or a network switch, or a connectivity plan to ANYONE in Cuba, and you're headed straight to prison. It's illegal for American companies to do business with Cuba, or even to sell their products to middlemen who MIGHT later resell it to the Cubans.

And if that's not bad enough, the Helms Burton Act made it impossible for FOREIGN telecom companies to sell to them either. If a Chinese company like Huawei wanted to sell gear to the Cubans, they would be legally blocked from selling products in the U.S. This forces foreign manufacturers to choose between Cuba and the U.S., which is a no-brainer for most companies.

Cuba can only get the kind of equipment needed for widescale Internet deployment off of the black market. That limits their ability to have a "hotspot in a coffee shop on every corner".

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Response to Xithras (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 08:59 PM

8. No it doesn't. It has to do with the Cubans rejecting US comm links and using VZ ones instead.

The Cubans could have had some state of the art American internet for the last four years, if they wanted. To include those hotspots on every corner.

Further, there are work arounds for everything, obviously. Otherwise there wouldn't be any Japanese and Korean cars in Cuba--and we know they're there--not everyone is driving around in Russian pieces of shit and old American cars anymore, and nobody in the US excoriated the Japanese or Koreans for selling 'em the cars.

For the sake of argument, though, let's pretend that the US is "on this" like white on rice and really cares one way or another about this shit anymore (which they don't). It would be a simple matter for the (fill in handy dandy third party nation) to create a company exclusively to do the deal, and IF (not when, if) the US caught wind of it, poof, the company dissolves, disbands, disappears--there's no one left to "punish." A new company then springs up to "service" the equipment that Cuba possesses.

And you're seriously trying to pretend that we're the only vendor of routers in the world? Or that we'd start wagging fingers at China when they sold them to Cuba, given the amount of money we owe them?

That's just a foolish premise.


Here's how it all breaks down--from our friends at Wiki:

U.S. regulations were recently modified to encourage communication links with Cuba. In 2009 President Obama announced that the US would allow American companies to provide Internet service to Cuba, however, the Cuban government rejected the offer and is instead working with the Venezuelan government.

There's much more at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_in_Cuba


A special permit is required to use the Internet. Access to the Internet is heavily controlled, and all e-mails are closely monitored.

The Cuban authorities have called the Internet "the great disease of 21st century" due to 'counter-revolutionary' information being available on a number of websites,
some of which are official news sites. As a result of computer ownership bans, computer ownership rates were among the world's lowest. However, since buying a computer was legalized in 2007, the ownership of computers in Cuba soared, dramatically increasing the number of Internet users. But, the rates still remain quite low, partially due to the high costs of systems and Internet usage per hour in contrast to the average monthly wage.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_in_Cuba


The Cuban GOVERNMENT is dragging their feet--they know the day is coming when they can't control their population anymore, but they're doing the dribs-n-drabs thing; trying to slow the pace of change for as long as they can. As it is, the government's censorship of the net is ONOROUS--you don't have to look far to see how they oversee what they have, and how they keep the cost so high, and the permit requirements in place, to limit access.

In time, though, that will change, and the country will change too.

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Response to MADem (Reply #8)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:06 AM

13. The info you linked to disagrees with you:

The Internet in Cuba has stagnated since its introduction in the 1990s because of the U.S. embargo, lack of funding, and government interaction.

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 02:30 AM

14. Interesting! Thank you for pointing it out. n/t

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 02:43 AM

16. Apparently, some folks think no one is going to read the articles they post. n/t

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #16)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 03:34 AM

20. Apparently "some folks" DON'T read the articles that others post.

Have a cherry! Have a whole bowl!

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Response to MADem (Reply #20)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 04:01 AM

22. Why don't you post something that merits consideration? n/t

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #22)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 11:57 AM

33. You show your lack of maturity with comments like that. You can disagree without being childish. nt

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 03:10 AM

17. Nice try....you didn't read the "but but" bit that followed, did you?

Yes, the embargo was (past tense) an issue, but four years ago, Obama offered a tech assist that was TURNED DOWN. That's right there IN the article.

The thing that has held it up for the last four years is lack of funding and government interaction--or more appropriately, deliberate government INACTION.

Read the whole article. Don't cherry pick.


The Cuban government is AFRAID of Facebook and Twitter:

In a video circulating in Havana, probably leaked by the government, an official promises to fight back against the American government's use of social-networking sites to promote dissent. “They have their bloggers and we have our bloggers,” he says. “We will fight to see who is stronger.” Recently, for the first time in three years, Cuban internet users could access the website of Yoani Sánchez, an opposition blogger. Along with her many supporters abroad, a handful of government backers have taken to posting their hostile comments. A virtual battle has begun.
http://www.economist.com/node/18285798


Statement from Cuban gov't on VZ cable:

“The ALBA-1 fiber-optic underwater telecommunications cable linking Cuba with Venezuela and Jamaica has been operational since August 2012, initially providing service to voice traffic for international telephone calls,” said the company.

The note adds that “testing of the quality of Internet traffic has been performed on the system since January 10. The same has been done on real traffic to and from Cuba in order to standardize this communication link.”

Notwithstanding, ETECSA notes that after the tests are completed, this “does not mean there will be an automatic increase in opportunities for access. Investments will need to be made first in the internal telecommunications infrastructure as well as an increase in foreign exchange resources.”

The Cuban government has thereby ended its official silence on the issue while closing the door to immediate changes in internet service on the island.


http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=86444

Translation--they don't have any MONEY to do an upgrade.

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Response to MADem (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 03:26 AM

18. Cherry pick?

Xithras: The lack of connectivity in Cuba has more to do with the American government than the Cuban

MADem: No it doesn't.

MADem's article: Cuba's first connection to the Internet, a 64kbit/s link to Sprint in the United States, was established in September 1996. Since its introduction in the 1990s it has stagnated for three major reasons:

- the U.S. embargo, which delayed an undersea cable and made computers, routers, and other equipment expensive and difficult to obtain.

- lack of funding due to the poor state of the Cuban economy after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Cuban government's hostility to foreign investment; and

- the government's fear of information freedom and its unwillingness to risk political instability in order to achieve the benefits of the Internet.


Your commentary in your posts, is just your highly biased opinion, and doesn't seem to be supported by the articles you've posted.

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #18)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 03:32 AM

19. How many times do you need to be told that Obama offered connectivity four years ago?

Four years ago.


One more time--since you aren't taking the point--four years ago.

And Cuba turned it down. FOUR YEARS AGO.

Now, let's bold the part you're dismissing:

- lack of funding due to the poor state of the Cuban economy after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Cuban government's hostility to foreign investment; and

- the government's fear of information freedom and its unwillingness to risk political instability in order to achieve the benefits of the Internet.


--Lack of FUNDING
--Poor state of the Economy
--HOSTILITY to foreign investment

--Fear of information freedom
--Unwillingness to risk political instability

But nooooooooo.....never mind that. Again, FOUR YEARS AGO Obama offered to help and Cuba TURNED HIM DOWN.

But hey....whatever. Don't let the facts trip you up, now!

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Response to MADem (Reply #19)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 03:55 AM

21. Lack of funding and poor state of the economy are probably factual,

considering the punitive US embargo. The other three are opinions that would require me to believe you can read the minds of Cuban officials.

Your belief that Cubans should come crawling to wheedle favors from the US government, despite what it is guilty of, regarding Cuba and other victims of US imperialism, is just weird, to me. How do people so easily strip others of their dignity?

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #21)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 04:04 AM

23. There is no talking to you. You make shit up and put words in people's mouths.

Where did I say that "Cubans should come crawling?"

Answer--I didn't. But Obama DID make the offer; Cuba rejected it. That's simple fact.

And even now, the new cable only works one way. Info comes in, but it doesn't go out--at least not yet, anyway.

So just get off the propaganda high horse; it's tiresome.

I didn't have to "read the minds of Cuban officials"--they acknowledged the money issues--the quote I provided was FROM a Cuban official.

But hey, don't let pesky facts interfere with your hectoring, now!

Have a nice day.

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Response to MADem (Reply #23)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 04:08 AM

24. Typically bizarre. n/t

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #24)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 04:14 AM

25. Yes, good that you see that. Perhaps one day you'll engage in constructive conversation. nt

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Response to MADem (Reply #23)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 09:22 AM

26. which OFFER did Obama make

and how exactly did Cuba "reject it"?

I tried to find out using the Wiki article you cited, keeping in mind that Wikipedia is notoriously biased and unreliable when it comes to controversial topics.

This is your only source for what you label an "offer":

"U.S. regulations were recently modified to encourage communication links with Cuba. In 2009 President Obama announced that the US would allow American companies to provide Internet service to Cuba, however, the Cuban government rejected the offer and is instead working with the Venezuelan government."

The first sentence is lifted from a paper by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University, January 2011: The state of the Internet in Cuba, January 2011:

"US regulations were recently modified to encourage communication links with Cuba, and a year ago, TeleCuba Communications, Inc. was granted a license to install a 110 mile undersea cable between Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba costing an estimated $18 million. However, TeleCuba would not be allowed to ship equipment used to terminate the cable or to extend it from the landing point to other locations within the island because that equipment would be viewed as contributing to Cuba’s domestic economy. The Cuba Study Group and others have urged the relaxation of these US constraints."

These statements are confirmed and further explained by Christopher Sabatini in Foreign Policy: Havanna calling

In April 2009, Obama's announcement that he would relax regulations governing U.S. telecom activities in Cuba was met with tremendous expectation. In revising the regulations, Obama said he hoped to "help bridge the gap among divided Cuban families and promote the freer flow of information... to the Cuban people."

...

But something was lost between Obama's hopeful words and the marching orders given to regulators. The final regulations prohibited export licenses for anything that could be considered "domestic infrastructure," such as cell-phone towers, satellites, wireless routers, even cell phones. Worse, the sale of items such as SIM cards, PDAs, laptop and desktop computers, USB flash drives, Bluetooth equipment, and wireless Internet devices remain prohibited. For long-suffering Cubans it was as if the U.S. government had given them a certificate that could only be redeemed outside the island. Without these physical elements, Internet and mobile connectivity remain a pipe dream for many Cubans. For now, all that really remains changed is the possibility for telecom representatives (but not representatives of what can be deemed infrastructure companies) to travel to Cuba and the possibility for the licensing of roaming agreements.

...

The reluctance to move forward on Cuba policy stands in stark contrast to the administration's well-intentioned rhetoric on the ability of the Internet to empower the powerless. The president and his team have repeatedly hailed the potential of the Internet to empower citizens and change history. In a January 21, 2010 speech, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that "We need to synchronize our technological progress with our principles. ... Today, we find an urgent need to protect these freedoms on the digital frontiers of the 21st century." One has to wonder if the secretary is aware of the inconsistencies of her government's policy toward Cuba.

The restrictions stand in stark contrast to other authoritarian states, such as Burma and Syria. In the case of the former, the U.S. Commerce Department can license basic communications technology (laptops, etc.) to non-sanctioned Burmese citizens. In the case of the latter, since 2004 the Commerce Department has exempted telecommunications equipment and software from a general policy of denial. In both cases it has allowed independent citizens to gain access to equipment, free of the suspicion of being associated with U.S. government programs and the shadow of "regime change." Why are Cubans still restricted from access to the tools the United States makes available to Syrians and Burmese?



So, while these quotes seem to clear up why Cuban officials may have preferred to cooperate with Venezuela, it is still unclear to me what exactly Obama's "offer" was and how it was "rejected" by the Cubans.

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Response to reorg (Reply #26)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 09:52 AM

27. Cuba preferred to deal w/Venezuela because they had the "currency" to pay Venezuela.

VZ takes payment in doctors and nurses.

It's not rocket science.

It's not like other countries are incapable of selling them ancillary equipment, either. The big ticket item was the cable--and they didn't want it, at least not from us. They had already made a deal with VZ back in 2007 before Obama was even elected.

Further, when an American went to Cuba the same year Obama made his offer, with donated equipment to provide to people (Jews, specifically) to increase their access via satellite, he was arrested for spying and given a fifteen year sentence--think that might have cooled a little ardor, there? Ya think? http://shadow.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/09/19/bill_richardsons_strange_cuba_odyssey

Maybe if the Cubans release their hostage, if he doesn't die while incarcerated (he's lost 100 pounds and has developed a tumor on his shoulder) they'll find USA more willing to sell them shit.

http://www.bringalanhome.org/about_alan.shtml

Can't win for losing.

Your first link was rubbish--couldn't get it to load.

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Response to MADem (Reply #27)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 10:58 AM

29. Gross's subterfuge on behalf of a USAID, was in violation of Cuban law.

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #29)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 11:08 AM

30. Well, the UN begs to differ. nt

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Response to MADem (Reply #30)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 11:47 AM

32. What Did Alan Gross Do in Cuba?

Gross was sent to Cuba under a $500,000 contract to work for USAID.

In addition to using Jewish missions to Cuba as a cover, Gross even asked fellow American Jewish travelers to smuggle electronic equipment into Cuba and then give it back to him at his hotel, the AP said.

The cell phone chip found on Gross when he was arrested would have allowed a user to make satellite phone calls without being detected.

Such activity seems to go beyond the picture painted by Gross’s supporters of a man interested in only helping Cuba’s Jews.


Read more: http://forward.com/articles/151432/what-did-alan-gross-do-in-cuba/?p=all#ixzz2J0Ro65MK

Court documents on Alan Gross could help Cuban Five

Alan Gross himself authored another DAI document in which he described what he did, what he took to Cuba, what he would do, and how much money was needed. He expressed confidence that the 16 items contained within each backpack he gave Cuban contacts would enable them to establish broadband Internet connections, make phone calls, and send email messages throughout the world - and set up Wi-Fi networks. Each bag contained a Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) system enabling users to set up Internet networks, also a "SIM card," used to disable GPS monitoring and thereby protect BGAN operations.

One Cuban reporter likened the equipment "to the help North American state agencies provide in the Middle East for United Nations troops." Another pointed out, "The type of SIM card Gross carried is not sold on the market and is available only to governments."

U.S. lawyer Jose Pertierra, well versed in dealing with anti-Cuban terrorism of U. S. origin, asserted in an interview that Gross' actions are "illegal in Cuba and in all the countries of the world. No sovereign government accepts that a foreign power can involve itself in internal activities whose purpose is too promote regime change. Yes, free Gross for humanitarian reasons. Also for humanitarian reasons, the United States must free the Five."


http://www.peoplesworld.org/court-documents-on-alan-gross-could-help-cuban-five/

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #32)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 11:58 AM

34. The US can "spring" Gross any day it wants by releasing the 5.Hideous they've kept them so long. n/t

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #34)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 12:09 PM

37. And unlike Gross,

Last edited Sat Jan 26, 2013, 01:18 AM - Edit history (1)

they were not here to undermine the sovereignty of the US government.

It's really odd that intelligent people (like a certain angry Dem) cannot see the glaring double standard with which they view the world.

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #37)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 12:49 PM

43. Whole different story. They actually went to the FBI themselves, bringing their information

they had gathered on the "exile" terrorists, thinking that with the real story on what the terrorists had done to Cuba they would move quickly to arrest them. The US law forbids conducting war on another country from inside this one, as the "exile" terrorists had been doing for decades, and the terrorism was creating real hardship for Cubans.

Instead, our FBI turned them away, then, when they absolutely could never have expected it, they rushed in and arrested the Cubans, themselves. That had to be a shock.

The US has dealt with Cuba in totally dishonest, vicious ways, behaving not as a real super-power, but as a slimey bully, untrustworthy, and completely dishonorable.

"Double standard" is a polite term, but it certainly fits.

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #37)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:18 PM

45. "Cuba: documents describe US "transition plans""

Cuba: documents describe US "transition plans"

Submitted by Weekly News Update... on Tue, 01/22/2013 - 00:40 Caribbean Theater
Cuba

New information about the inner workings of the Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program (CDCPP)--a multimillion-dollar program administered by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) ostensibly to promote democracy in Cuba—were made public on Jan. 15 when a major USAID contractor filed program-related documents in federal court in Washington, DC. The documents are being used in an effort by Maryland-based Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) to win the dismissal of a $60 million lawsuit against it and USAID by the family of US citizen Alan Gross, a DAI subcontractor now serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba for his work there for the CDCPP. The DC-based research group National Security Archive posted the documents on its website on Jan. 18.

The papers include a May 8, 2008 solicitation by USAID for bids on a $30 million CDCPP project and a memo by DAI describing an Aug. 26, 2008 meeting between USAID and DAI representatives. The CDCPP is intended to "support the (US government's) primary objective of hastening a peaceful transition to a democratic, market-oriented society" in Cuba, the USAID officials explain in the documents. The US has "between five to seven different transition plans" for Cuba, including "plans for launching a rapid-response programmatic platform." "CDCPP is not an analytical project; it's an operational activity," officials noted, and it requires "continuous discretion." However, the USAID didn't classify the project, in order to maintain the appearance of transparency; as a result, project documents can be made public.

Gross won a contract with DAI to distribute communication devices to members of Cuba's Jewish community as part of the CDCPP project. Cuban authorities arrested him in December 2009 on charges of "acts against the independence or integrity of the state," and he has been imprisoned ever since. Currently he is poor health and is being held in a military hospital, although the nature of his illness is in dispute. "My goals were not the same as the program that sent me," Gross told National Security Archive analyst Peter Kornbluh during a meeting at the hospital last Nov. 28. Gross called on the administration of US president Barack Obama to resolve his case and other bilateral issues through negotiations.

Analysts have questioned the claimed purpose of Gross's mission. "This isn't simply a matter of supplying equipment to the tiny Jewish community in Cuba," José Pertierra, a DC-based attorney who has represented Venezuela in its extradition request against Cuban-born former US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) "asset" Luis Posada Carriles, told the Mexican daily La Jornada. The purpose was "to establish an alternative network of dissidents used in the interests of the US," he said, adding that "this is illegal in Cuba and in all the countries in the world—no sovereign government accepts a foreign power involving itself in internal activities aimed at promoting regime change."

More:
http://www.ww4report.com/node/11899

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #45)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:47 PM

47. Thanks. I'll definitely want to read that. n/t

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #32)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 12:07 PM

36. From your link:

Foxman insinuated that the AP report was based on misinformation put out by the Cuban government, a “totalitarian, antidemocratic, dictatorship” that “fosters and has fostered (international) anti-Semitism, which is an enemy of Israel and the Jewish people.”


Read more: http://forward.com/articles/151432/what-did-alan-gross-do-in-cuba/?p=all#ixzz2J0XPwwQf

Your second link--a subsidiary of the Daily Worker--is rife with blatant bias.

I'll take the word of the UN.

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Response to MADem (Reply #36)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 12:24 PM

39. Of course accusations of anti-Semitism are flying. So?

They're obviously nonsense. That was the purpose of the US government's cynical use of 'Jewish groups' (most of whom were unaware of Gross) in its nefarious activities. This is from the same article:

Though Cuba remains a dictatorship, the island’s Jewish community has lived relatively freely in recent decades. Cuban Jews are allowed to immigrate to Israel and are able to practice Judaism.

During the past 20 years, American Jewish organizations have built a relationship with the Castro regime that has allowed them to make regular trips to the island, bringing with them “humanitarian supplies” such as medication, kosher food and religious items.


Read more: http://forward.com/articles/151432/what-did-alan-gross-do-in-cuba/?p=all#ixzz2J0bCRcdk

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #39)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 12:45 PM

41. They're "obviously nonsense" because YOU say so?

OK, sure, whatever. You didn't read the article in context at all. You're determined to continue the cherry picking.

If the Cuban - Jewish relationship was so hunky dory, no one would be afraid of anything, now, would they? Least of all TELLING THE TRUTH.

But just how Gross’s capture has affected the delicate relationship between the Cuban government and Jewish groups is difficult to determine. American Jewish officials and members of the Cuban-Jewish community must tread a fine line between telling the truth and not offending the Cuban government.


Read more: http://forward.com/articles/151432/what-did-alan-gross-do-in-cuba/?p=all#ixzz2J0hXsTNu

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Response to MADem (Reply #41)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:15 PM

44. You've provided no evidence of anti-Semitism.

Did you see this part?

When he was arrested, Gross, a resident of suburban Washington, was carrying a high-tech cell phone chip more commonly used by the CIA or the Defense Department.

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/151432/what-did-alan-gross-do-in-cuba/?p=all#ixzz2J0oeJT00

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #29)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 06:40 PM

54. He clearly was operating dishonestly when he entered the country.

Our Man in Havana

Was USAID planning to overthrow Castro?

BY PETER KORNBLUH |JANUARY 25, 2013

At the very end of John Kerry's Jan. 24th confirmation hearing, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) treated him to a lecture about repression in Cuba. "And then we have a United States citizen who all he tried to do is give access to the Internet to a small Jewish population in Havana and has been languishing in jail for almost four years," Menendez asserted. "That is real torture." In his final question to Kerry, Menendez asked if "we can expect you to be a strong supporter" of U.S. "democracy programs worldwide?" The all-but-confirmed nominee for secretary of state answered, "yes."

The democracy program in Cuba that concerns Menendez has come under increasing public scrutiny since that U.S. citizen, Alan Gross, was detained in Havana on Dec. 3, 2009. In the wake of his arrest, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), none other than John Kerry, put a temporary hold on the USAID-run operation, officially known as the Cuban Democracy and Contingency Planning Program (CDCPP). For almost a year, the SFRC made an effort to bring a degree of accountability to this little-known, under-the-radar, $140 million U.S. government initiative in Cuba.

To his credit, it is Gross himself who has done the most to lift the veil of secrecy from the CDCPP. Last year, he and his wife, Judy, filed a civil lawsuit against USAID and the contractor for whom Gross worked as a consultant, Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), in an effort to call public attention to his plight and press the Obama administration to step up efforts to negotiate his release. Specifically, their suit seeks damages for the failure of USAID and DAI to inform him of the risks he faced, to "take basic remedial measures to protect Mr. Gross," and to provide the education and training "necessary to minimize the risk of harm to him."

Their legal complaint acknowledged that he was paid under a broader USAID contract with DAI to travel multiple times to Cuba, posing as a tourist, carrying specialized technology to establish independent satellite communications networks on various parts of the island; it quotes his own trip reports that this was "very risky business" for which he was not adequately trained or supervised.

More:
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/01/25/our_man_in_havana

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Response to MADem (Reply #27)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 11:42 AM

31. The first link works perfectly. Link offers free registration:


Login or Sign up with social media

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Not a Member? Sign Up Free

Sign up using your social media account using the above links, or create a Foreignpolicy.com account. Registration benefits include access to our award winning content, our national security channel, blogs and newsletters.

~~~~~

Far cry from being a lot of "rubbish".

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #31)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 11:59 AM

35. The Foreign Policy link is the SECOND link. That one worked. Try reading before you lecture. nt

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Response to MADem (Reply #27)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 12:42 PM

40. Not aware he was obese when he went to Cuba?

More recent report:

Alan Gross, American Man Jailed In Cuba, Does Not Have Cancer, Authorities Say
Reuters | Posted: 11/28/2012 11:03 am EST Updated: 11/28/2012 11:58 am EST

HAVANA, Nov 28 (Reuters) - American Alan Gross, serving a 15-year sentence for installing Internet networks in Cuba, does not have cancer and is in overall good health, the Cuban government said on Wednesday, responding to charges by his lawyer that he is not receiving adequate medical care.

A biopsy has found that a lump on Gross' shoulder, about which his wife Judy and lawyer Jared Genser have expressed great concern, is not cancerous, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It said it informed U.S. diplomats, including U.S. Interests Section chief John Caulfield, about the test results in a meeting in the Cuban capital on Monday.

Gross, 63, was arrested in Havana in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in prison for installing Internet networks in Cuba under a U.S. program the Cuban government considers subversive.


~snip~
The Foreign Ministry statement said Gross is exercising regularly, is in good health despite the usual aches and pains of a man his age and due to a "balanced diet of his selection" is of normal weight, compared to the "condition of obesity" he had when he was arrested.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/28/alan-gross-cuba-cancer_n_2204844.html





Alan Gross

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #40)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 12:47 PM

42. The man on the left is fat. The man on the right is emaciated.

You shouldn't post pictures that don't prove your point.

The guy looks sick.

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Response to MADem (Reply #27)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:54 PM

49. you didn't answer my question

what exactly is Obama's "offer" you are referring to?

Yes, lack of US$ is certainly an additional reason for Cuba not to prefer the nominally cheaper cable from Florida. But who knows what additional costs might have been incurred given that the "offer" (by a US company) did not and could not include any installations or equipment or even assistance inside Cuban borders, due to American intransigence.

The links work fine for me - the first one is to a Word document (it's also on the Wiki page you cited), the second is to Foreign Policy where you need to be registered (it's free). Or you can circumvent the log-in window by adding a page number to the main link, like this:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/07/15/havana_calling?page=0,1

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Response to reorg (Reply #49)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 02:25 PM

50. Thanks for throwing some light on the "offer". n/t

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Response to reorg (Reply #49)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:54 PM

53. How much clearer can I make it? I have provided links that reference it.

But if you want to play the ingenue, let me google that for you.

I did not have a problem with the 2nd link. My problem is with the first.

And speaking of links (and I assume you can get to an unfettered google too--unless you are posting from Cuba or China) here you go:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10218521-38.html#!

Obama eases U.S.-Cuba telecom restrictions
The White House announces a shift in policy toward Cuba to allow for greater telecommunications links to the communist country.


By Stephanie Condon April 13, 2009 4:26 PM PDT
In a move to reach out the Cuban people, the White House on Monday announced a series of changes to U.S. policy toward Cuba, including the authorization of greater telecommunications links to the communist country.
"This will increase the means through which Cubans on the island can communicate with each other and with persons outside of Cuba," the White House said in a statement. "Cuban American connections to family in Cuba are not only a basic right in humanitarian terms, but also our best tool for helping to foster the beginnings of grassroots democracy on the island."
Under the new policy, U.S. telecommunications providers will be able to establish fiber-optic cable and satellite telecommunications facilities linking the U.S. and Cuba, as well as license to enter into and operate under roaming service agreements with Cuba's telecommunications providers. Additionally, U.S. satellite radio and satellite television service providers will be able to obtain a license to provide services to customers in Cuba.
Persons under U.S. jurisdiction will be allowed to activate and pay U.S. or third-country service providers for telecommunications, satellite radio, or satellite TV services provided to individuals in Cuba, save for certain senior Communist Party and Cuban government officials. People will also, under a license exception, be able to export to Cuba communications devices such as mobile phone systems, computers, software, and satellite receivers.
The Obama administration's announcement continues the transition to more open communications between the United States and Cuba set in motion under the Bush administration. President Bush announced in 2008 that Americans could send cell phones to family members in Cuba. He also permitted faith-based organizations and nonprofit groups working with Cuba to provide computers and Internet access to the Cuban people.


Of course, towards the end of that very year, Cuba arrested the Jewish guy who declared his equipment at customs, and threw him in jail for fifteen years.

The UN has called his jailing "arbitrary" and has called for his IMMEDIATE release.

http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/10/15827073-cubas-jailing-of-american-contractor-arbitrary-un-panel-concludes?lite

They didn't want more open communications, they had already made a cable deal with VZ two years earlier, so they came up with a great plan to hold the US at arms' length while playing the martyr card and it worked. Of course, they had to jail a guy to do it. They haven't been quite so lucky (yet) turning that poor guy into a trading card.

And they still don't want their citizenry to have unfettered access to the net. That's why the VZ cable is ONE WAY. Data can come IN, but it can't get out.

And I'll bet they've got a system in place to see who's seeing what.

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Response to MADem (Reply #53)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 10:23 PM

55. actually, no, you didn't provide links referencing an "offer" by Obama

Your only quote mentioning an "offer" is from Wikipedia and it doesn't reference an offer by Obama but characterizes a minor change in the Code of Federal Regulations as such:

U.S. regulations were recently modified to encourage communication links with Cuba. In 2009 President Obama announced that the US would allow American companies to provide Internet service to Cuba, however, the Cuban government rejected the offer and is instead working with the Venezuelan government.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_in_Cuba


I find it hard to see any "offer" in these minor changes. Perhaps they were a well-meant, but somewhat timid humanitarian gesture.

As previously pointed out, US companies can only "link" their services to Cuba, the embargo exception ends right at the border. And while you can now "export" communications devices to Cuba, it is only allowed under the provision that you donate them, to selected individuals.

CFR § 515.542: ... Specific licenses may be issued on a case-by-case basis authorizing transactions incident to the establishment of facilities to provide telecommunications services linking third countries and Cuba ...

CFR § 515.533: ... All transactions ordinarily incident to the exportation of items from the United States, or the reexportation of 100% U.S.-origin items from a third country, to any person within Cuba are authorized, provided that:
(1) The exportation or reexportation is licensed or otherwise authorized by the Department of Commerce under the provisions of the Export Administration Act of 1979, as amended (50 U.S.C. app. 2401-0420) (see the Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR 730-774 ); and ...

CFR § 740.19
Consumer Communications Devices (CCD).
(a) Authorization. This License Exception authorizes the export or reexport of commodities and software described in paragraph (b) to Cuba subject to the conditions in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section. (...)
(b) Eligible Commodities and Software. Commodities and software eligible for export or reexport under this section are:
(1) Computers designated EAR99 or classified under Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 4A994.b that do not exceed an adjusted peak performance of 0.02 weighted teraflops;
(2) Disk drives and solid state storage equipment classified under ECCN 5A992 or designated EAR99;
(3) Input/output control units (other than industrial controllers designed for chemical processing) designated EAR99;
(4) Graphics accelerators and graphics coprocessors designated EAR99;
(5) Monitors classified under ECCN 5A992 or designated EAR99;
(6) Printers classified under ECCN 5A992 or designated EAR99;
(7) Modems classified under ECCNs 5A991.b.2, or 5A992 or designated EAR99;
(8) Network access controllers and communications channel controllers classified under ECCN 5A991.b.4 or designated EAR99;
(9) Keyboards, mice and similar devices designated EAR99;
(10) Mobile phones, including cellular and satellite telephones, personal digital assistants, and subscriber information module (SIM) cards and similar devices classified under ECCNs 5A992 or 5A991 or designated EAR99;
(11) Memory devices classified under ECCN 5A992 or designated EAR99;
(12) “Information security” equipment, “software” (except “encryption source code”) and peripherals classified under ECCNs 5A992 or 5D992 or designated EAR99;
(13) Digital cameras and memory cards classified under ECCN 5A992 or designated EAR99;
(14) Television and radio receivers classified under ECCN 5A992 or designated EAR99;
(15) Recording devices classified under ECCN 5A992 or designated EAR99;
(16) Batteries, chargers, carrying cases and accessories for the equipment described in this paragraph that are designated EAR99; and
(17) “Software” (except “encryption source code”) classified under ECCNs 4D994, 5D991 or 5D992 or designated EAR99 to be used for equipment described in this paragraph (b).
(c) Donation requirement. This License Exception authorizes the export or reexport of eligible commodities and software that will be donated by the exporter or reexporter to an eligible end-user or to eligible end-users free of charge. The payment by an end-user of any handling charges arising within the importing country or any charges levied by the government of the importing country shall not be considered a charge for purposes of this paragraph.
(d) Eligible end-users
(1) Organizations. This License Exception may be used to export or reexport eligible commodities and software to and for the use of independent non-governmental organizations. The Cuban Government or the Cuban Communist Party and organizations they administer or control are not eligible end-users.
(2) Individuals. This License Exception may be used to export eligible commodities and software to and for the use of individuals other than the following officials of the Cuban Government and Cuban Communist Party:
(i) Ineligible Cuban Government Officials. Ministers and vice-ministers; members of the Council of State; members of the Council of Ministers; members and employees of the National Assembly of People's Power; members of any provincial assembly; local sector chiefs of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution; Director Generals and sub-Director Generals and higher of all Cuban ministries and state agencies; employees of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT); employees of the Ministry of Defense (MINFAR); secretaries and first secretaries of the Confederation of Labor of Cuba (CTC) and its component unions; chief editors, editors and deputy editors of Cuban state-run media organizations and programs, including newspapers, television, and radio; or members and employees of the Supreme Court (Tribuno Supremo Nacional).
(ii) Ineligible Cuban Communist Party Officials. Members of the Politburo; the Central Committee; Department Heads of the Central Committee; employees of the Central Committee; and the secretaries and first secretaries of provincial Party central committees.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/15/740.19

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Response to MADem (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:27 PM

6. Right, and improving that is the purpose of this project.

Not sure what your point is or if you just don't have your chronology straight?

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Response to Ash_F (Reply #6)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:00 PM

9. My chronology is fine. Cuba refused Obama's help to establish internet links four years ago.

The government doesn't WANT Cubans to have wholesale net access. At least not yet.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:38 PM

7. It's still a three tier system.

We'll see how long it takes them to "multiply access."

It could be done for a few million bucks, to a good chunk of the entire island: http://www.gnswireless.com/bridgekits.htm

Wireless bridges.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:17 PM

12. Remind me

Remind me again why we still have a Cuban embargo? Cold war relic that should have been removed 20 years ago.

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Response to Crepuscular (Reply #12)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 02:33 AM

15. because "HOW DARE THEY!"

that's why.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 09:56 AM

28. The nomenklatura needs better porn

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 12:17 PM

38. A Canadian company was installing internet cable from Florida to Cuba in the late 90s

But the US government blocked them.

For reals.

Hard to find a link but there were many articles about this

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #38)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:29 PM

46. They should properly prostrate themselves before the US government.

Cuba has no business seeking agreements from anyone, without US approval.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:49 PM

48. Seven Actions Obama Should Take On Cuba Now

Seven Actions Obama Should Take On Cuba Now
Peter Kornbluh
January 24, 2013

In US foreign relations with hostile states, President Obama declared in his inauguration speech this week, "engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear." With his reelection behind him--in which he garnered more Cuban-American votes in Florida than any Democrat in history--and his legacy in front of him, here are steps the president should take to engage the Castro government and forge a sensible, sane, and productive US policy toward Cuba.

(1) Remove Cuba from the State Department list of nations that support terrorism. Among The Nation’s list of twenty ways the president should exercise his executive power is this long-overdue action. Cuba’s designation as a supporter of terrorism is an enduring injustice. Yes, Cuba has some criminal fugitives living on the island. But it is hard to accuse Cuba of harboring terrorists while Luis Posada Carriles, a prolific lifelong terrorist, is living freely in Florida. Moreover, Cuba’s current efforts to host and mediate a cease-fire and permanent peace accord between the FARC and the government of Colombia is hard evidence that it is playing a constructive role in seeking to end conflicts that breed terrorism in the region.

(2) While we are on the subject, Obama should order the arrest of Luis Posada Carriles and hold him under the Patriot Act until his extradition to Venezuela, from which he is a fugitive for the terrorist crime of blowing up a civilian airliner in October 1976, can be arranged. When the Bush administration let Posada set up residence in Miami in 2005, Venezuela sent a formal extradition request. If Obama is serious about fighting terrorism, he should finally grant that request.

(3) With Cuba off the terrorism list, Obama should end the economic and commercial sanctions that have accompanied its designation as a terrorist nation. The Department of the Treasury would thus cease to fine international banks for doing business with Cuba, which has undermined Cuba’s slow evolution toward a more capitalist-oriented economic system.

(4) And to support economic changes currently underway in Cuba, Obama should expand the general licensing for travel to Cuba of businessmen, scientists, citizens and others associated with industries like agriculture, travel, construction, oil, automobiles, healthcare and more. While the travel ban itself cannot be lifted without a majority vote in Congress, the president can create categories of general licensing that will allow far more Americans to freely travel to Cuba. Such a decree would intruct the Office of Foreign Assets Control to stop playing the role of travel dictator and simply provide all necessary licenses to travel agencies and educational interest groups involved in promoting travel to Cuba. Now, ironically, Cuban citizens are more free to travel here than US citizens are to travel there, since the Castro government lifted more than fifty years of restrictions on the ability of its citizens to travel freely abroad, earlier this month. If Obama is to be true to his overall commitment to advance civil rights, he can with the basic civil right of allowing US citizens to travel freely to Cuba.

cont'd

More:
http://www.thenation.com/article/172414/seven-actions-obama-should-take-cuba-now#

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