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Embassy of Cuba in NZ Newsletter No.3 24th January 2015

Embassy of Cuba in New Zealand
Newsletter
No.3 24th January 2015


DIGEST
The consequences of President Obama’s ‘audacious decisions’ are being worked through currently by delegations from Cuba and the US — applauded by influential parties within the US as well as by Brazil and Chile — providing most of our stories this week. But we cover tourism, health and the ‘blood horse’ auction in Havana.

In this issue
US economic restrictions eased but blockade remains in place
Talks begin on restoration of diplomatic relations Cuba - United States
'The meeting was very productive and the dialogue very positive’ — US assistant secretary of state
Cuba and the United States can maintain civilized relations
Domestic US support for ‘audacious decisions’
US/Cuba relations to be based on mutual respect for sovereignty, equality and reciprocity
‘Wet-foot, dry-foot’ contrary to Migration Accords
Washington-based Interest Section in deep trouble
Cuban Adjustment Act a stumbling block in migratory talks
Bilateral issues, cooperation — conclusion
Cuban foreign minister meets US senators
Brazil salutes Obama’s statements on blockade
Lavrov rules out negative impact on Russian-Cuban strategic ties
Parliaments of Cuba and Chile go for Closer links
Ghana's foreign minister praises bilateral relations with Cuba
Cuban doctor returns to fight Ebola in Africa
Cuban doctors have saved over 293,000 Guatemalan lives since 1998
Nurse dies from malaria in Sierra Leone
Prime horses for sale at Auction Havana-2015

BLOCKADE
US economic restrictions eased but blockade remains in place
While measures announced by President Barack Obama have eliminated some restrictions to trade and travel for certain categories of Americans to Cuba Washington is still maintaining the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the island.
A preliminary reading of regulations issued by the US departments of treasury and commerce, suggests that those measures change the application of some aspects of the blockade.
The Granma newspaper points out that key aspects of the blockade policy affecting Cuba were unchanged, including the use of the US dollar in international financial transactions, the purchase in other markets of equipment and technology containing more than 10 percent of US components, the possibility of trading with subsidiaries of US companies in third countries, and imports by the United States of goods containing Cuban raw materials.

Although the total prohibition on travel to Cuba is not abandoned, which would requires approval by Congress, some restrictions on travel of US citizens and permanent residents in the country included within 12 authorized categories are eliminated.

One is to eliminate limits to costs that US travellers can incur in Cuba and allow them to use credit and debit cards, as well as to authorize airlines and travel agencies to organize tours and hire services from insurance companies.

However, the measure that US citizens could travel to Cuba by sea was not approved.

On the other hand, among the measures announced is that the limit on remittances will increase from $500 to $2,000 USD quarterly.

Restrictions on US exports to Cuba, especially high-tech products, are maintained, except for limited sales of building materials, equipment and agricultural implements that will be allowed to individuals, apparently through Cuban companies.

The exports of Cuban products to the US market will continue to be prohibited, except for a limited items that US visitors could bring back to their country, by a value not exceeding $400 USD, of which $100 USD could be snuff and rum.

Telecommunications were widely discussed in the regulations, in line with the objectives of the US policy of trying to increase its influence in the Cuban society.

On this basis, the infotech sector was the only one authorized to invest in infrastructure and sell services to state enterprises, like software, devices and equipment, (although not high-tech products.)

Moreover, US financial institutions are allowed to open accounts in Cuban banks for transactions that are authorized between both countries. But there is no reciprocal treatment; Cuban banks cannot do the same in the United States.

Those regulations do not modify the existing strong restrictions for maritime transportation, although from this moment on, ships carrying food, medicines, medical equipment and materials for emergency situations from third countries to Cuba, will not have to wait 180 days to come into American ports.

Granma states that the measures are a step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go to dismantle many other aspects of the economic, commercial and financial blockade through the use of the executive prerogatives of the president, if the US Congress is to end this policy once and for all.

BLOCKADE
Talks begin on restoration of diplomatic relations Cuba - United States
Talks between delegations from the United States and Cuba began this week to define the steps to take in order to formalize the decision announced by presidents Raul Castro Ruz and Barack Obama last month, to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries. The US delegation was led by assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta S. Jacobson, and the Cuban delegation was headed by the general director of the United States division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the meeting, which took place in a respectful and constructive environment, the Cuban delegation stated that diplomatic relations must be based on the principles of international law and the United Nations Charter, including sovereign equality, equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and non-intervention in the internal affairs of states. They must also abide by the conventions on diplomatic and consular relations, which regulate the actions of diplomatic and consular missions and their staff.
Both delegations exchanged views on the procedures for the restoration of diplomatic relations on a date to be determined and decided to continue talks on this topic, in order to define the steps to be taken for the opening of their respective embassies and conducting high-level visits.
The Cuban representatives reiterated their deep concern because the Cuban Interests Section in Washington has been left without banking services to conduct their operations for almost a year, due to the continuation of the financial measures of the blockade and the unjust inclusion of Cuba on the list of "state sponsors of international terrorism", which causes serious damages to its operation and is contrary to the obligation of states to ensure all facilities for the performance of the functions of diplomatic missions.
In this context, the Cuban party addressed the issues that must be resolved as part of the process towards the normalization of bilateral relations, particularly the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade.

BLOCKADE
'The meeting was very productive and the dialogue very positive’ — US assistant secretary of state
Assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, said this week that the normalization of relations with Cuba is a continuing process that goes beyond establishing diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies.
At the end of the day of talks in the Conventions Palace in Havana which was specifically devoted to trace the path of restoring relations, the US official said that the meeting had been productive and the dialogue very positive.
"We discussed in real and concrete terms the required steps to restore diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies in our respective countries, as well as the expectations about how the US Embassy in Havana will work," Jacobson said.
The US representative said that the embassies will be opened at the right time and that she could not specify dates yet, although "work is being done quickly”.
In response to a media enquiry regarding the Cuban emphasis on compliance with international principles and the Vienna conventions on diplomatic and consular relations, Jacobson confirmed that both sides were very clear that this should be the guide to restore diplomatic ties.
She acknowledged the decision of the presidents of the United States and Cuba had to overcome more than 50 years of a relationship that was not based on trust.
In the same context, she said that the new regulations announced by the Treasury and Commerce Department last week demonstrated the breadth and depth with which the United States has already implemented the president's commitment to a new direction of policy from the United States towards Cuba.

BLOCKADE
Cuba and the United States can maintain civilized relations
The Cuban delegation to the US has reaffirmed the commitment of the island to the improvement of the bilateral environment and willingness to move forward to normalize relations
The general director of the Cuba’s United States Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, who is also the head of the Cuban delegation in the talks with the US to set up normal ties between both countries has confirmed that in her view Cuba and the United States can establish civilized bilateral relations.
The meeting held this week was fruitful and took place in a professional and constructive environment, she said The two countries had profound differences and dissimilar views on various topics, but could coexist in a civilized and peaceful manner, recognizing and respecting these differences.
As close neighbours, Cuba and the United States should identify areas of common interest where they could develop cooperation for the benefit of both countries, the region and the world.
The Cuban side also emphasized that diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies should be based on the principles of international law endorsed in the United Nations Charter and the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.
She ratified Cuba's commitment to improving the bilateral environment and willingness to move forward to normalize bilateral relations.
She also reiterated the disposition of the Cuban government to continue holding a respectful dialogue with the US government, based on sovereign equality and reciprocity, "without prejudice to national independence and self-determination of our people."
For Cuba, this meant respect for the political, economic and social system of both states and avoiding any form of interference in the internal affairs or threats to the political, economic and cultural elements of both countries, pointed out Vidal.
Nobody would be able to claim that in order to improve relations, Cuba had to give up its principles, she said.
Regarding the challenges presented by the process now beginning, Vidal said that the Cuban side conveyed to its counterpart that it would be difficult to explain that the restoration of diplomatic relations has occurred while Cuba unjustly continues in the list of state sponsors of international terrorism.
She also explained that for the opening of embassies, it will be necessary for the banking situation in the Cuba Interests Section in Washington to be resolved.
"This will be a long and complex process that will require the work of both parties, in which pending issues on the bilateral agenda would be resolved" he said.
She clarified that for Cuba, the lifting of the blockade was essential to normalize relations.
The head of the Cuban delegation acknowledged the disposition of the president of the US to sustain a serious and honest debate with Congress to achieve the end of this policy and explained that ideas were exchanged with the US delegation on the next steps for the restoration of relations and the opening of embassies, which they agreed to continue at an early date.
"There are a number of practical steps to take to open embassies.
“We will have to terminate the agreement established by the offices of interest that are under the protection of a foreign government, also notify the government of Switzerland which has represented and represents the US today in our offices in Washington” she said.
“Therefore, this was a first meeting to make a list of those formal steps that we both have to take to deal with this process’”
The US delegation is headed by assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs Roberta Jacobson, the highest ranking official to visit the island since the 1970s.

BLOCKADE
Domestic US support for ‘audacious decisions’
US president Barack Obama has found additional support in his policy toward Cuba from a large group of political experts and personalities, who have sent an open letter to the White House requesting specific measures to end the five decade-long blockade of the island.
The 78 signatories, among them former secretary of state George Shultz of the Reagan Reagan era, and other former high officials of that department, expressed support for the new policy toward Cuba and requested to deepen the changes now underway for the benefit of what they call the society in the Caribbean island.
The letter, a reminder of the one sent a year ago how the approach to Havana, in force for 54 years, has failed — an opinion which coincides with the ideas Obama himself raised on December 17, in his speech to the Union.
The message calls for the head of state to work with Congress to 'update the legislative framework in relation to Cuba to also reflect the realities of the twenty-first century'.
Only Capitol Hill could cut the Gordian knot so binational links could be tied, and that means the blockade encoded in the Helms-Burton law.
The list of senders also includes former under secretary Strobe Talbott, and former deputy secretaries for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela, Jeffrey Davidow, Alexander Watson, and Thomas Pickering, who was in charge of Political Affairs.
Former secretary of interior Ken Salazar, banker David Rockefeller, academic Francis Fukuyama, former ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson, and Admiral James Stavridis, former head of the Armed Forces Southern Command and former commander of NATO supreme are all signatories.
The New York Times writes that after the recent Obama decisions — considered truly audacious — the support for his administration has risen to 50 percent, the highest rate in 18 months.
According to the same survey, released this week by The Washington Post and ABC News, half of the American public agrees that taking executive actions to meet administration goals is justified if Congress, holding the Republican majority, do not legislate for favourably. This was opposed by the other half.
Obama said in his speech to Congress, that the steps up to now taken, want to halt "a policy that has not worked well for the US for the last 50 years."
"Our change of policy is using a fictitious excuse, to impose restrictions to Cuba," Obama stated.
The statements of the US president at the State of the Union address, a very relevant annual event investing US policy, in which the president reads the proposals his cabinet will take to the Congress during the year, seem to state that the US government will keep the blockade as one of the most important points of its international agenda for 2015.
The recent measures announced by Washington, in order to relax the investment, the movement of people and goods, and financial flows between the Cuban government and the United States are just the beginning, because laws like the Helms Burton and Torricelli Acts were still intact.
A group of 78 personalities from the US sent an open letter to the White House in which they supported the executive and request prompt and effective action of the Congress.
Among the signatories were former secretary of interior Ken Salazar, banker David Rockefeller, academic Francis Fukuyama, and Admiral James Stavridis ex head of the Armed Forces Southern Command and former commander of NATO supreme.
High-level delegations of Cuba and the United States have begun talks in Havana to discuss immigration issues and other matters aimed at normalizing ties.

BLOCKADE
US/Cuba relations to be based on mutual respect for sovereignty, equality and reciprocity

Cuba has ratified its willingness to contribute to improve the climate with the United States and advance towards a normalization of bilateral relations.
The Cuban delegation has reaffirmed that the two parties must focus in finding a solution to the problems they face and that despite the profound differences existing between the two governments, they must learn to live peacefully and in a civilized way with each other.
Its text, released at the end of talks held at the Havana Convention Centre, says that Cuba reiterates its readiness to continue a respectful dialogue with the United States, based on sovereignty equality and reciprocity, without national independence and the Cuban people's self-determination being affected in any way.
The document highlights that the meeting was held in a respectful, constructive atmosphere and adds that the Cuban delegation expressed that diplomatic relations must be based on the principles of international law and the UN Charter, including sovereign equality, equal rights and self-determination of the peoples and non interference in the internal affairs of States, as well as on the conventions on diplomatic and consular relations that govern the operation of diplomatic and consular missions and their staff.
"The two delegations exchanged criteria about procedures to resume diplomatic relations at a yet to be defined date and decided to continue their talks on this issue to establish the steps that should be taken to open respective embassies and pay high level visits," says the release.
It adds that the Cuban delegation reiterates its deep concern about the fact that for nearly an entire year the Interest Section of Cuba in Washington has not had any bank for its operations due to a tightened US blockade and the country's continuance in the list of states sponsoring terrorism, which seriously affect its operation and is against the obligation of States to provide facilities for diplomatic missions to operate smoothly.
In this regard, the Cuban delegation put forward the issues that must be solved as part of the process towards a normalization of bilateral relations, particularly the lifting of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade on Cuba.
Meanwhile, assistant secretary of State for western hemisphere affairs, Roberta Jacobson, has praised the constructive, positive spirit that characterizes the bilateral talks between Cuba and the United States.
Jacobson, who leads the US delegation to negotiations on the resumption of diplomatic links between Washington and Havana, reiterated that these contacts are based on the willingness expressed by the presidents of both countries to implement substantial changes in the bilateral links after a 50-year breaking-off.
She added that the process to normalize the relations will be long, not limited to the resumption of such links and of embassies in the two capitals, but they also demand fulfilling other practical requirements.
There is no list or model to follow; it will be done by mutual agreement, and other meetings will be held in the future because there are profound differences between the parties, though today concrete steps were taken in the direction both sought.
Jacobson admitted that there are real political obstacles, like the differences on the Cuban Adjustment Act, which is rejected by Cuban authorities as it constitutes a major incentive to illegal emigration of Cubans to the United States, as well as the human rights issue, which both parties are willing to discuss.
The purpose of the meeting was to identify steps to take towards re establishing diplomatic relations, opening embassies and other topics of bilateral interest.

BLOCKADE
‘Wet-foot, dry-foot’ contrary to Migration Accords

A new round of migration talks was held this week between US and Cuban delegations, which were headed by Edward Alex Lee, deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, director-general of the US Division at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, respectively.
During the meeting, held in a constructive environment, different aspects related to the migration relations were evaluated, including the compliance with the accords in force, the issuance of visas for immigrants and temporary visits, as well as the results of the actions carried out by both parties to combat illegal migration, human smuggling and document fraud.
The Cuban delegation expressed its satisfaction over the recent success of a technical meeting between the US Coast Guard Service and Cuba's Border Patrol Guard with the purpose of discussing measures aimed at a more efficient implementation of the Migration Accords and the search and rescue procedures adopted by both countries.
In view of the continued implementation of the "wet foot/dry foot" policy and of the Cuban Adjustment Act, the Cuban delegation reiterated its concern about the validity of these policies, which are contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Migration Accords and continue to be the main encouragement to illegal migration, alien smuggling and the irregular entry into the US territory from third countries of Cuban citizens who have traveled abroad by legal means.
The Cuban representatives ratified their deep concern about the situation faced by the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, particularly its consular office, which, as a result of the implementation of the blockade, has been deprived from all banking services for almost one year now, which seriously hampers the provision of the consular services that are offered to Cuban citizens residing in the United States as well as to US citizens who are interested in visiting Cuba.

BLOCKADE
Washington-based Interest Section in deep trouble
Cuba has expressed deep concern about the situation of its Interest Section in Washington, which has been without banking services for almost a year.
As a result of the US blockade the Interest Section is about to mark a year without banking services, severely affecting the services it should be giving those who renew their passports or ask for visas, stated the Cuban Foreign Ministry at the conclusion of the 28th round of migration talks between Cuba and the United States.
The meeting allowed participants to evaluate diverse aspects of migratory relations including the observance of standing agreements, the emission of visas for emigrants and temporary visas.
The results of actions taken by both parties to fight illegal migration, the smuggling of persons and document fraud were mentioned. The ministry insists that the Cuban Adjustment Law and the "dry feet-wet feet" policy should be on the agenda, as Cuba considers these regulations continue as the main incentive to illegal emigration of Cubans to the United States.
But it expressed satisfaction at this year’s recent technical meeting held between the US Coastguard Service and the Cuban Border Guard to exchange measures aimed at implementing more efficiently the Migratory Accords.
The US delegation was headed by the assistant subsecretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs of the State Department, Edward Alex Lee.

BLOCKADE
Cuban Adjustment Act a stumbling block in migratory talks

Deputy assistant secretary at the US State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Edward Alex Lee, has expressed his satisfaction with the development of the talks with Cuba on immigration issues.
Lee, who chairs the US delegation to this 28th occasion of the negotiations on this subject, pointed out that today's contacts have taken place in a spirit of collaboration despite the differences that still exist between both parties.
The official stated that these are the first exchanges after the Dec 17 announcement of President Barack Obama to initiate a process toward the restoration of diplomatic relations between both countries.
The deputy assistant secretary stressed the technical nature of the exchanges and reiterated the traditional position of United States in continuing the implementation of the Cuban Adjustment Act, in force since 1966, described by the Cuban party as the main stimulus to the illegal immigration to the United States.
He also stated that his country would continue implementing the dry foot/wet foot policy, also denounced by the authorities of the Caribbean island as counter-productive actions to the desire to work for a safe and orderly emigration.

BLOCKADE
Bilateral issues, cooperation — conclusion
The delegations from the United States and Cuba, chaired respectively by the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta S. Jacobson, and the general director of the United States Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, held exchanges of views this week on other bilateral issues.
The delegations reviewed the state of cooperation on several issues, such as air safety and aviation, and response to oil spills. They also identified other areas where there is potential to establish or expand bilateral cooperation, such as the fight against drug trafficking, terrorism and epidemics. Regarding the latter, the Cuban side proposed holding a meeting to define the modalities of cooperation, in order to deal with the Ebola virus effectively and efficiently.
The Cuban delegation reiterated the willingness of its authorities to carry out exchanges with their US counterparts on seismic monitoring, marine protected areas and hydrography, and to participate in joint research on marine species.
It also proposed establishing scientific collaboration in a group of areas such as environmental protection, mitigation of the effects of climate change and natural disaster prevention.
The Cubans were prepared to discuss the delimitation of the Dona Oriental in the Gulf of Mexico and were interested in the next steps for the implementation of a pilot plan to re-set the mail service between the two countries.
When discussing issues where both countries have different points of view, the Cuban delegation expressed serious concerns about the guarantee and protection of human rights in the United States. It highlighted the continued illegal detentions in the Guantanamo Naval Base, the torture of prisoners; the increasingly alarming police brutality and abuse, and on the events in Ferguson and New York, which show the rise of racism and racial discrimination.
The Cubans also pointed to the pattern of race in the application of the death penalty in the US, dominated as it was by African-Americans, Latinos, members of other minorities, the sick and young. It also expressed concern about wage inequality in the United States, where women earn 25% less than men for equal work, as well as on child labour and restrictions on the exercise of union freedom and collective negotiation, among other situations.
The Cuban delegation proposed holding a respectful and reciprocal dialogue on this subject in the future, to offer the positive experiences gained in Cuba on the enjoyment of human rights and its contribution to the improvement of human rights in many countries of the world.

DIPLOMACY
Cuban foreign minister meets US senators
Foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez has met senators and representatives of the US Democratic Party, with whom he discussed issues of interest for both countries.
Senators Patrick Leahy (Vermont), Richard Durbin (Illinois), Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island) and Debbie Stabenow (Michigan), as well as representatives Christopher van Hollen (Maryland) and Peter Welch (Vermont), all from the Democratic Party, attended the meeting.
On the Cuban side, the director general of the US department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Josefina Vidal, and the head of the Cuban Interest Section in Washington, Jose Ramon Cabañas, were also present.
The delegation from the two countries were holding talks at Havana's Conference Centre on January 21-22, to discuss migration issues, and initiate the process of restoration of diplomatic relations.

DIPLOMACY
Brazil salutes Obama’s statements on blockade
The Brazilian Foreign Ministry has highlighted the statements of US president Barack Obama in his speech to the State of the Union on the blockade of Cuba, about the need to bring it to an end.
"Brazil is saluting such a positive step and the desired normalization of relations between Cuba and the US, two countries with which Brazil is keeping historical links of friendship and collaboration," according to a communiqué from the Brazilian government this week

DIPLOMACY
Lavrov rules out negative impact on Russian-Cuban strategic ties
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has ruled out today that a virtual restoration of relations between Cuba and the United States might have a negative impact on the strategic ties between Moscow and Havana.
Lavrov said the US government's approach to Cuba responds exclusively to the interests of the current administration and occurs in conditions of parity.
Celebrating the easing of tension between Washington and Havana, the Russian foreign minister said that the policy of isolating Cuba did not work and it was counterproductive.
It is a mutually beneficial process and is beneficial for the Cuban people, the minister said, reiterating that bilateral dialogue would not have a negative effect on Russian-Cuban strategic relationships at all.
He stressed that this view had been reinforced by the Cuban authorities and was “reflected in our regular contacts.”

DIPLOMACY
Parliaments of Cuba and Chile go for Closer links
The president of the Cuban parliament, Esteban Lazo, and head of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies, Aldo Corneiro, have expressed the wish of both legislative groups that diplomatic links be tightened, reflecting affinities between both governments and peoples.
The visit of the Chileans, responding to an invitation from Cuba was a genuine expression of affection and evidence of the interest in contributing to the improvement of relations and to adjust collaboration mechanisms between parliaments of both nations, affirmed Corneiro.
The Demochristian deputy heads a high-level delegation including, among others, communist Lautaro Carmona, vice-president of the Chamber of Deputies and member of interparliamentary group Chile-Cuba.
In thanking Cuba for the invitation Corneiro praised the particular circumstance in which this visit took place, after the decisión of the Cuban and US governments had begun to normalize relations after more than half a century of US hostility.
Chileans will support everything that leads to improving the life of Cubans and we plead so that effort has a positive ending, he said.
On his part, Lazo thanked the gestures of solidarity of Chileans with Cuba and remembered that the U.S. blockade remains standing, so the island is going to need friends all over the world.
He also stressed the meaning of this first visit in decades from representatives of the Chilean parliament, a country that -he said- contributed notably to the struggles for independence of the island in the 19th century.
Chile was the second nation to recognize the Cuban struggle against Spanish colonialism and many of its children joined this cause, he recalled.
He added this parliamentary visit will convey a tightening of bilateral relations and the strengthening the necessary unity of Latin America.
Cornero and his delegation will remain in Havana until next January 18 to meet with other authorities and tour historical and scientific places of the Cuban capital.

DIPLOMACY
Ghana's foreign minister praises bilateral relations with Cuba
Foreign affairs minister of Ghana, Hanna Serwaah Tetteh, has highlighted her nation's strong ties with Cuba, established 55 years ago.
In statements to the press, Serwaah Tetteh pointed out that the objective of this visit to Havana is to strengthen the links with the island, which are already strong in itself.
She stressed the mutual support in the international arena in topics of common interest, and highlighted the Cuban cooperation that has allowed Ghanaian young people to study along with the presence of a Cuban medical brigade.
The minister laid a floral wreath at the monument of the former President Kwame Nkrumah located in the city park of the African Heroes and told media that that relations between Cuba and Ghana were sealed after the embrace between Nkrumah and the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, in September 1960 at the Hotel Theresa, in Harlem, New York.
Nkrumah's values had guided the formation of the new Ghanaian generations, including social justice, equality of opportunity and freedom, she said.

HEALTH
Cuban doctor returns to fight Ebola in Africa
Cuban doctor Felix Baez, who has overcome the Ebola virus he got in Sierra Leone, has returned there to continue fighting the disease alongside his comrades in the Henry Reeve international medical brigade.

The Cubadebate website has published a series of photos of Felix with comrades in Sierra Leone.
An internal medicine specialist, Felix announced in December that he would return to the African nation to finish the job he started, once he fully recovered from the disease.
The 43-year-old doctor returned to Cuba after having been released from the Geneva-based Cantonal University Hospital.
In response to the World Health Organization call to fight Ebola in Africa, Cuba sent three brigades to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to fight the virus.
According to the World Health Organization more than 8 800 people have died from the Ebola virus in Africa.

HEALTH
Cuban doctors have saved over 293,000 Guatemalan lives since 1998
Cuban physicians have saved the lives of 293,693 Guatemalans from November 1998 to December 2014, while free consultations have exceeded 37,557,077 in the same period.
Last year the island's physicians saved 6,597, while nearly 1,844,476 patients were assisted, the Cuban Medical Brigade told media.
The number of Guatemalans who have undergone surgery for several ailments since 1998 has reached 430,904, including 27,213 last year.
About 136,153 patients received eye surgery in Guatemala, thanks to Operation Miracle, one of the programmes boosted by the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).
With the opening in November of the ophthalmologic hospital in Mixco, a municipality of the Guatemalan department, there are four health centres of this kind manned by the Cuban physicians, and where Guatemalans with low resources have been freely assisted.
The first doctors from the Caribbean island arrived in this country in November 1998, after the devastating Hurricane Mitch went through Central America.
ALBA, founded in December 14 2004, by leaders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, is an organization that prioritizes the struggle against poverty and social exclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean.

HEALTH
Nurse dies from malaria in Sierra Leone
The Cuban Health Ministry has announced the death from malaria of Cuban nurse Reinaldo Villafranca, who was working with the international medical brigade that is fighting the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone.
The 43-year-old from the western Cuban province of Pinara del Rio died as a consequence of malaria with cerebral complications.
He arrived in Sierra Leone on October 2, 2014 and was working at the Ebola treatment centre in the capital Kerry Town.
The nurse presented diarrhea early on January 17 and later fever. A Malaria test then resulted positive and he was immediately administered treatment, but following the worsening of his condition was transferred to the British Navy´s hospital in Kerry Town.
A second test for Malaria was also positive, while the Ebola test was negative. As his condition continued to worsen he was connected to ventilation equipment under the care of British specialists, but later he did not respond to the treatment and passed away, said the Cuban Health Ministry.
Reinaldo Villafranca had worked for over 10 years in the health sector and had volunteered to join the medical brigade in western Africa which offered thanks to the authorities in Sierra Leone, the representatives of the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the British Mission in the African country for their care and attention given to the Cuban worker.
In October 2014, Malaria also took the life of Jorge Juan Guerra, a member of the administrative staff of the Cuban medical brigade in Guinea.

MARKETING
Prime horses for sale at Auction Havana-2015
The sixth Elite Auction Havana-2015, during which Dutch Warmblood jumpers will be on sale, has been announced by the Cuban National Company for the Protection of Flora and Fauna and DVL Stud Centre.
The auction will take place next week at the Equestrian Club of Havana, in the outskirts of the capital, in areas of Lenin Park. 33 of Dutch Warmblood horses will be sold, including 24 broken and nine wild.
During the first two days, bidders, mainly from Latin America and Europe, will be able to verify the abilities of the auctioned horses.
This sixth edition will show Cuba's results and potential in the development of equestrian sport.
The National Company for the Protection of Flora and Fauna belongs to the Ministry of Agriculture, and one of its missions is keeping and developing the country's natural resources and the equine genetic stock.
This company is implementing a strategy of sustainable use, which contributes to social development with environmentalist awareness in rural areas.
It is also running a national equine genetic program which encompasses 40 equine genetic centres, 8 centres specializing in mules and 5 in donkeys, a laboratory for the extraction and freezing of semen, as well as a laboratory for embryo transplant.
This company has farms to develop 17 horse breeds, among them Arabian, Cuban Pinto, Cuba Paso, trotting horses, Patibarcinos, Quarter-Horse, and the Dutch Warmbloods.
It also offers echinotherapy services, run by specialists from the ministries of public health and education.
Its tasks also include running a riding school, with venues in five provinces, where horses and riders are trained for the equestrian sport in horse jumping and dressage, and the foundation of a school to show Spanish equestrian style.


Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in New Zealand
76 Messines Rd, Karori, Wellington 6012
www.cubadiplomatica.cu/nuevazelanda/EN/Home.aspx

Visit the Embassy of Cuba in New Zealand Facebook page
Text edited by David Reade of International Public Relations (ipr.bz) on behalf of the Cuban Embassy, Wellington, from Cuban news agency sources

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Humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate. This is akin to using 1.75 Earths... More>>

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