CONTRA EL PINGALISMO CASTRISTA/ "Se que no existe el consuelo que no existe la anhelada tierrra de mis suenos ni la desgarrada vision de nuestros heroes. Pero te seguimos buscando, patria,..." - Reinaldo Arenas

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Mostrando entradas con la etiqueta Cuba-Canada. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando entradas con la etiqueta Cuba-Canada. Mostrar todas las entradas

jueves, octubre 16, 2014

Cifras de la estampida: 134,758 cubanos llegaron por vías ilegales a EEUU en la última década

Por Wilfredo Cancio Isla
Un total de 134,758 cubanos llegaron por vías ilegales a Estados Unidos para acogerse al estatus de refugiado durante la última década, el 67 por ciento de ellos a través de frontera mexicana, según estadísticas oficiales.
El análisis de las cifras proporcionadas por el Departamento de Seguridad Territorial (DHS) al término del año fiscal 2014 –concluido el pasado 30 de septiembre- confirma que el éxodo masivo y silencioso de cubanos de los últimos años se ha producido por tierra a través de los puntos fronterizos de México y Canadá, con menor afluencia de viajes martímos por el Estrecho de la Florida.
El mapa de la estampida cubana a Estados Unidos entre 2005 y 2014 lo conforman 118,997 que llegaron por puntos fronterizos de México y Canadá, así como los que entraron por aeropuertos con nacionalidad de un tercer país y solicitaron refugio politico, y 15,761 que arribaron en travesías marítimas y lograron tocar tierra firme. En ese mismo periodo 17,503 cubanos fueron interceptados en el Estrecho de la Florida y repatriados a la isla.
Pasadizos incontrolables
Sólo en el pasado período fiscal, unos 9,700 cubanos llegaron al Aeropuerto Internacional de Miami (MIA)  con pasaporte español u otra nacionalidad europea y pidieron luego acogerse como refugiados en virtud de la Ley de Ajuste Cubano (CAA).
De manera que desde el 2005 a la fecha, el flujo ilegal de cubanos supera ampliamente los picos migratorios del éxodo del Mariel de 1980, cuando 125,000 personas abandonaron el país, y de la crisis de los balseros de 1994, que marcó la partida de 35,000. Una evidencia que comienza a movilizar la atención de politicos y expertos sobre el carácter incontrolable del arribo de cubanos a territorio estadounidense, a pesar de las medidas implementadas por Washington para facilitar una inmigración legal y ordenada.
Las alarmas se han disparado especialmente con las cifras de los últimos dos años, coincidiendo con la implementación de la reforma migratoria del gobierno de Raúl Castro, la cual eliminó los permisos de salida y flexibilizó las alternativas para abandonar el país.
Aunque Estados Unidos ha cumplido anualmente con la entrega de 20,000 visas de inmigrante para cubanos, según los acuerdos migratorios de 1994 y 1995, y la Sección de Intereses (USINT) en La Habana ha entregado dsde el 2013 más de 65,000 visas para visitas familiares, intercambios culturales y viajes de negocios, en su mayoría válidas por cinco años, la intensidad del éxodo cubano se ha multiplicado.
El mar, segunda opción
En este período fiscal las aventuras marítimas en embarcaciones rústicas y operaciones de contrabando han tenido un alza notable, aunque sin llegar al volumen que experimentaron entre 2003 y 2008. En reportes recientes se ha mencionado que al término del 2014, se registraron 3,722 cubanos en intentos de llegar a las costas de la Florida, afirmándose erróneamente que es el mayor flujo de la década.
Es importante aclarar que la cifra de 3,722 incluye tanto los cubanos interceptados en el Estrecho de la Florida (2,059) como a aquellos involucrados en otras operaciones marítimas hacia Bahamas, Islas Cayman, Islas Vírgenes y otros destinos en  el mar Caribe y el Océano Atlántico que no eran considerados en las evaluaciones de años precedentes. Las tablas oficiales del Servicio Guardacostas registran exclusivamente a los capturados en el Estrecho de la Florida.
Por lo tanto, la cifra mayor de interceptaciones de cubanos en los últimos años en viajes hacia Florida siguen siendo las del 2007 y 2008, cuando los guardacostas estadounidenses detuvieron en el mar a 2,868 y 2,216, respectivamente, aunque la referencia general a los flujos migratorios en el Caribe pueda dar una dimensión más completa del fenómeno cubano.
La muralla contra el flujo migratorio ilegal desde Cuba se fortificó con las medidas de seguridad puestas en marcha tras los atentados terroristas del 11 de septiembre del 2001, y logró frenar las operaciones de tráfico humano. La preocupación por las fronteras marítimas derivó en un aumento de las embarcaciones y los agentes patrulleros, mayor equipamiento tecnológico de los guardacostas y uso de información de inteligencia.
Pensando en la Ley de Ajuste
Esa relativa contención de lancheros y balseros desde el noroeste cubano incentivó a la búsqueda de itinerarios alternativos desde la isla con destino a México y Centroamérica.
El panorama migratorio cubano hacia Estados Unidos  muestra un desplazamiento de la opción maritima que prevaleció en los años 80 y 90 del pasado siglo por la entrada ilegal a través de estaciones y puntos fronterizos. De hecho, la avalancha por la vía terrestre y aeropuertos está planteando serias preocupaciones en términos de gastos federales, pues quienes solicitan refugio son beneficiados con una ayuda monetaria, cupones de alimentos y beneficios de salud por al menos ocho meses.
Y esta permeabilidad de la frontera estadounidense respecto a los cubanos pudiera ser un factor de reconsideración de las provisiones de elegibilidad que se fueron añadiendo a la CAA a partir de 1999, aun cuando se mantenga intacto el cuerpo de la ley.
Fue a partir del memorando “Clarificación de Elegibilidad para la Residencia Permanente bajo la Ley de Ajuste Cubano”, emitido por el Servicio de INmigración y Naturalización el 26 de abril de 1999, que los cubanos que arribaban por cualquier punto de Estados Unidos, una estación migratoria, puerto o aeropuerto establecido, tuvieron luz verde para recibir un parole y ser elegible para ajustar su estatus como residente legal por la CAA, pues hasta ese momento miles se encontraban en un limbo migratorio.
Recientes casos de detenciones y juicios de inmigración a cubanos llegados por la frontera pudieran ser indicios de futuros reajustes en la aplicación de una ley que se aproxima a cumplir 50 años en circunstancias muy distintas a las que la generaron en 1966.
ESTADISTICAS DE INMIGRACION ILEGAL DESDE CUBA (2005-2014)*
Entradas por puntos fronterizos
2005- 11,524 (7,267 por la frontera mexicana)
2006- 13,405 (8,639)
2007- 13,840 (9,566)
2008- 11,146 (10,030)
2009-  7,803 (5,893)
2010-  6,286 (5,570)
2011-  7,051 (5,973)
2012-  9,191 (8,273)
2013-  16,184 (13,664)
2014-  22,567 (16,247)
Total: 118,997 (91,122)
Interceptados en el mar
2000- 1,000
2001-  777
2002-  666
2003- 1,555
2004- 1,225
2005- 2,712
2006- 2,810
2007- 2,868
2008- 2,216
2009-  799
2010-  422
2011-  985
2012- 1,275
2013- 1,357
2014- 2,059
Total (desde 2005)17,503
Arribos marítimos en el Sur de la Florida
2000- 1,820
2001- 2,406
2002- 1,335
2003- 1,072
2004-  995
2005- 2,530
2006- 3,075
2007- 3,914
2008- 2,915
2009-  637
2010-  409
2011-  685
2012-  354
2013-  427
2014-  815
Total (desde 2005)15,761
* Compilación de CaféFuerte a partir de cifras entregadas por CBP, Patrulla Fronteriza y USCG. Las estadísticas reflejan el año fiscal.
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sábado, octubre 11, 2014

Cuba: "In Everyone's Eyes (en todas las miradas)" - Documentary

The 6th Annual Louisville International Festival of Film, which began Thursday and runs through Saturday evening, invites filmmakers and film lovers to experience a weekend of over 150 screenings. The LIFF screens artistic films not usually presented through commercial venues, and giving independent filmmakers a place to showcase their work.
One of those filmmakers is Lloyd Frost, a Canadian singer-songwriter, whose short musical film "In Everyone's Eyes (en todas las miradas)" screens Saturday at the Galt House. (Here's a schedule.) The film, which falls at just over six minutes, takes a subversive look at the silent politics in Cuba—where freedom of speech is obviously a contentious issue. It is based on a song of the same name written by Frost.
I spoke with the filmmaker about his process in creating the musical short.  
What specifically inspired you to produce this film?
"In Cuba, free speech and human rights don't exist, and haven't, since the revolution in 1959. If you say or do something the state doesn't like they call it counter-revolutionary, and this can affect your ability to work, or you can be detained, beaten up or even sent to prison. So most people learn to keep certain thoughts or desires to themselves, and instead put on a facade of outward happiness, even show outward agreement with the state. It's simply safer for them."
Which came first—the song or the film?
"I've made 10 visits to Cuba, and I'm impressed at how strong and resourceful Cubans are in dealing with how the state controls them, and so that's what inspired me to first write the song, and afterwards make the short film."
What was the most poignant experience you had while filming in Cuba?
"On one of my recent visits a Cuban guy told me, 'We live on a beautiful island, but it's an open prison,' and I think that's a pretty strong message."
What do you want viewers to take away from the film?
"The message of my film is hidden by a facade, just like the facade Cubans need to use so they can get by. In my case, the facade is an upbeat melody that you can dance to, and I filmed mostly in sunny, colorful places in Cuba. But the lyrics give the message: obey or else. And the infamous Modelo Prison on the Isle of Youth makes several grim appearances through the film. Today it's empty and derelict, but you see the tiny cells and the massive courtyard where the prisoners would walk, watched over by the lone guard tower in the center of the courtyard. It took very few guards to control the large cell block population."

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domingo, octubre 05, 2014

The Economist: On Cuba's Foreign Investment Climate


Event
Three Canadian businessmen working for the Tokmakjian Group (a Canada-based automotive and transport group) were sentenced to prison on September 28th on charges of bribery, fraud, tax evasion and falsifying bank documents. In addition to prison time for the businessmen, which includes the company's CEO, Cy Tokmakjian, the company had US$100m of its assets in Cuba seized by the government.

Analysis
The Tokmakjian Group sold transport, mining, and construction equipment in Cuba, and was the sole distributor of a South Korean automaker, Hyundai, in the country. Tokmakjian Group earned an estimated US$80m a year for the almost 20 years that it operated in the country. Mr Tokmakjian, as well as two Canadian aides and 14 Cubans, were arrested in September 2011 on corruption charges as part of an anti-corruption campaign carried out by the government. Although the prison sentences for the accused Cubans have not been made public, Mr Tokmakjian was sentenced to 15 years, and his two Canadian associates, Claudio Vetere and Marco Puche, received sentences of 12 and eight years respectively.
The case was criticised by the defence's lawyers and foreign governments, particularly that of Canada, for its speedy proceedings and lack of transparency. The case took place behind closed doors, and the government has made little public about the proceedings. Cuba has arrested or expelled several foreign executives from Canada, Europe, and South America on charges of corruption or bribery. Around a dozen foreign executives have been sentenced to prison, along with employees of state companies found to be on the receiving end. The targets of such corruption investigations often have their assets seized by the government.
The latest sentencing comes against the backdrop of a new foreign investment framework passed in March that aims to attract around US$2bn-US$2.5bn in foreign direct investment to the country each year, largely through tax incentives for working with the state. However, many foreign executives cite transparency and lack of rule of law as the main concerns for investing in the country. The sentencing will do little to ease these concerns.

Impact on the forecast
The event underlines our forecast scenario that concentration of power in the one-party system, which leads to unpredictable and sudden policy changes or decisions and to a de facto limited autonomy of the judiciary, will remain one of the major drawbacks in Cuba's business environment.

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viernes, octubre 03, 2014

Risky Business in Cuba

Column by Peter Foster in Canada's Financial Post:

Risky business in Cuba

After forty years of ‘constructive engagement’ with Cuba, government-backed Canadian investment has effectively propped up the regime

The Canadian government has for three years asked the Cuban authorities either to lay charges against Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian or release him. Unfortunately they got their wish last week, when the 74-year old was tried and sentenced behind closed doors to fifteen years in jail.

The conviction appears outrageous, as does the sentencing for shorter periods of two of his executives, Claudio Vetere and Marco Puche. But the affair raises many questions. Did Mr. Tokmakjian not realize he was operating in a corrupt system that could turn on him at any time? Did he see himself as an agent of change? Was he naïve? To what degree were his Cuban operations financed by the Canadian government? Is such financing defensible?

Businessmen should be allowed to risk their capital wherever they want. Investment in Cuba, as in China and Russia, is also often presented as a subtle way of undermining repressive regimes, but it is clear now, after forty years of “constructive engagement” that government-backed Canadian investment has effectively propped up the regime.

The days have long gone when the Cuban regime can blame the U.S. embargo for the endlessly dismal state of its economy, but the loosening of the U.S. embargo has resulted in as little reform as has investment from other countries.

Tokmakjian Group is a classic story of Canadian immigrant success. Starting with servicing diesel engines, Mr. Tokmakjian, an Armenian immigrant, moved into transit and shuttle bus services both in Canada and abroad. In Cuba, where he set up shop more than 20 years ago, his company distributed Hyundai vehicles and equipment, along with other types of mining equipment.

Mr. Tokmakjian was swept up in a move against “corruption” when Raul Castro took over from his ailing brother Fidel in 2011.

Earlier this year, another Canadian businessman, Sarkis Yacoubian, who was arrested before Mr. Tokmakjian, was expelled from Cuba one year into a nine year sentence. The circumstances are unclear but Mr. Yacoubian reportedly “cooperated” with the Cuban authorities, and may not only have played a part in fingering Mr. Tokmakjian, but in unleashing the whole anti-corruption campaign.

We assume that there is lots of quiet diplomacy taking place on Mr. Tokmakjian’s behalf. According to government spokesman John Babcock, “We continue to follow this case closely and remain actively engaged at senior levels. Consular officials continue to provide assistance to Mr. Tokmakjian and his family.” Somewhat bland, but grandstanding can be dangerous when one of your nationals is in jail under a barbaric regime. That makes it all the more puzzling why Canada remains one of that barbaric regime’s major aid donors and trading partners.

Some still naively – or self-interestedly – claim that Canadians have an “advantage” in Cuba because they are not American. That apparently includes Marc Whittingham, the head of the Canadian Commercial Corp., a shadowy Crown Corporation that specializes in state-to-state deals in areas such as armaments, and which may have provided finance to Tokmakjian Group. He reportedly told a Cuban audience that Canada had also been invaded by the U.S., in 1812, and had responded by burning down the White House. In other words, “We’re all anti-American here.”

The section on Cuba on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development is a masterpiece of pussyfooting. It notes that “The Government of Cuba has acknowledged that its centralized political structure poses a barrier to economic productivity.” I guess “centralized political structure” is more diplomatic than “corrupt dictatorship.”

According to the document, “Cuba needs assistance in developing modern business practices and increasing accountability and transparency of public institutions.” In fact, Havana has zero interest in increasing accountability and transparency, and modern business practices require the rule of law. The Tokmakjian Group’s mission statement stresses “respect, honesty and integrity,” three virtues that could not be more antithetical to a regime whose only priority is to maintain power.

It is almost sickening to read the Canadian government congratulate the island Gulag for meeting targets on “universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women; and reducing child mortality.” Even worse is the declaration that “The country is on track to meet the targets for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger” when it is the Castro regime that has created extreme poverty and hunger in the first place.

The most obvious explanation for arresting Mr. Tokmakjian was simply to seize his business. Communist regimes have never needed lessons in theft, but in this case Vladimir Putin’s expropriation of Yukos might have been a model, since “Putinismo” is seen in Cuba as a possible transition from the disaster of Communism to crony statism. Clearly the fact that an international arbitration court ordered Russia to pay former Yukos shareholders $50 billion didn’t deter Cuba. Nevertheless, Tokmakjian Group has launched a $200 million lawsuit against the Cuban regime.

Mr. Putin may have thoughts about reestablishing the links with Cuba that were severed when the Soviet empire collapsed. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, for whom Fidel was a role model, eventually took up the slack of subsidizing the Cuban economy with cheap oil, but Venezuela too is now a basket case, so the return of Russia may be timely if the Castros are to continue their geriatric chokehold.

None of this is good news for foreign investors, for whom Mr. Tokmakjian’s experience is a warning. Let’s hope quiet diplomacy works soon in his case, but let’s also stop taxpayer backing for Cuban trade and investment. And let’s hope all those Canadian tourists who flock to Cuba every year give a passing thought to what their dollars are supporting.

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Canadian Taxpayers Flip the Bill for Business (Confiscations) With Cuba's Regime

By now, we're all familiar with the 15-year prison term the Cuban regime recently handed to Canadian businessman, Cy Tokmakjian, who was one of Castro's biggest business partners.

Moreover, that the Castro regime confiscated over $100 million worth of the company's assets in Cuba.

And finally, that Cuba's military generals asked for an additional $55 million ransom to release Tokmakjian.

Today's news, which should come as no surprise, is that all of Tokmakjian's business in Cuba was financed and guaranteed by the Canadian government -- to the tune of nearly $400 million.

And now, Canada's taxpayers are stuck with the hefty bill.

Note: Canada's credit agency provided the financing directly to Castro's regime.

That's quite a deal -- for Castro.

From Reuters:

Canada agency financed C$418 million in Cuba deals for Tokmakjian firm

A little-known Canadian federal agency helped put in place a total of $418 million ($373 million) worth of Cuban deals for a firm headed by Cy Tokmakjian, the businessman jailed for corruption in Havana last week.

The Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) acts as Canada's international contracting and procurement agency, helping Canadian firms bid for procurement contracts with foreign governments.


When acting as a prime contractor the CCC helps mitigate risks by signing a contract with a foreign government and then a separate contract with a Canadian supplier. This ensures that a company does not need to worry about being paid as long as it fulfills the term of the contract.


In Cuba, the CCC helped Canadian businessmen like Tokmakjian by providing trade financing to Cuban government buyers.

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lunes, septiembre 29, 2014

Cuba asked for $55-million, assets to release Canadian CEO

Allison Martell
Cuba had offered a deal to release a Canadian executive sentenced to 15 years in prison last week in return for $55-million and company assets, the Canadian firm’s officials said on Monday.
Cy Tokmakjian, 74, was convicted of bribery and other economic charges. Two of his aides from the Tokmakjian Group, an Ontario-based transportation firm, received sentences of 12 and 8 years. Fourteen Cubans were also charged.
The Tokmakjian Group, which did an estimated $80-million in business annually with Cuba until it was shuttered in September, 2011, filed claims worth more than $200-million through the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris and an Ontario court.
The case has strained Cuba’s relationship with Canada, one of its biggest trading partners. Western diplomats have said it would dissuade foreign investors at a time Cuba is actively seeking partners from abroad to do business on the communist-ruled island.
After Tokmakjian was detained in 2011, company lawyers met with Cuban officials about the case.
“They were ... told ‘We’re taking all your assets and in addition you’re going to have to send another $55-million down before Cy will be released,’” Lee Hacker, Tokmakjian Group’s finance vice-president, told reporters at the company’s Ontario headquarters. He did not say why the deal fell through.
Cuba has yet to comment on the verdict or the sentencing. A call on Monday to the Cuban embassy in Ottawa for comment was not returned.
Other attempts at negotiation have failed, partly because Tokmakjian does not want to admit to crimes he has not committed, his son Raffi Tokmakjian said. Efforts to strike a deal have also been stymied by lack of direct contact with decision makers.
Tokmakjian Group’s Cuban lawyers said the government also wants international claims dropped.
“The problem is we don’t know who we’re talking to. It’s like we’re dealing with a ghost,” Hacker said.
The charge of economic crimes against the state involved the alleged late delivery of equipment, while the bribery charges included salary top-up payments to employees in joint venture operations, the company said.
Tokmakjian is the distributor for Hyundai vehicles and construction equipment in Cuba, as well as other mining equipment.
“The bribery charges are things that are also ludicrous,” Hacker said. “We would pay incentives to our staff in Cuba like every company does in Cuba. Everything we did in Cuba was normal.”
Hacker said Tokmakjian Group’s practice of making incentive payments to joint venture employees – the firms were majority owned by Cuban entities – seemed to have triggered concerns.
“We would pay incentives to everybody, from the lowest person to the highest person, and it was clear that there was no link between any incentive payments versus any advantage that was given to Tokmakjian whatsoever.”
Tokmakjian, the company’s founder and president, has been transferred to a military hospital, his son said on Monday.

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sábado, septiembre 27, 2014

Cuba: 15-year sentence for Canadian businessman

Cy Tokmakjian
HAVANA — A Canadian company says its president has been sentenced in Cuba to 15 years in prison on corruption-related charges that Cuban officials call part of a widespread campaign against graft.
The Ontario-based automotive company Tokmakjian Group says its lawyers were notified Friday that Cy Tokmakjian was convicted and sentenced on a variety of charges. Company vice president Lee Hacker tells The Associated Press that firm managers Claudio Vetere and Marco Puche got shorter sentences.
Cuban officials have provided few details about the case. But dozens of Cuban executives and government officials and a series of foreigners have been swept up in what is described as an attack on a culture of payoffs by foreigners.
The arrests sent a chill through international business people investing in Cuba.

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domingo, septiembre 14, 2014

Quebec man's Cuban marriage a nightmare

The moron
Jean -Francois Racine | QMI AGENCY
MONTREAL- A Quebec man says he's out $90,000 after falling in love with a Cuban woman, marrying her, and moving her to Canada.
He also claims that when she arrived, she was pregnant with another man's baby and left him after six days.
Michel Beaudry told QMI Agency that he wants to share his story to help other Canadians avoid making the same mistake.
The 62-year-old met a 25-year-old woman while on an all-inclusive Cuban vacation in March 2013.
"At first," said Beaudry, "I thought it was impossible that she would want to be with me."
The relationship blossomed, bolstered by Beaudry making about 10 trips to Cuba to visit. They married in September 2013.
In June 2014, his wife was given permission by the Canadian government to move to Canada.
From the first day, she explained to Beaudry that she didn't want to lead a normal married life with him.
"She said she loved me like a father figure. I slept on the sofa while she slept in my room."
Beaudry says his wife also announced she was pregnant. He had a vasectomy, and knew he could be responsible for a child that wasn't his.
Six days after her arrival, she asked for $50,000 to buy a home for her relatives in Cuba. When Beaudry refused, she packed her bags and left.
"She lied all along," said Beaudry. "She only wanted money."
Reynaldo Marquez, Beaudry's lawyer, told QMI that they are seeking an annulment of the marriage. "I want her to leave the country," Beaudry said.



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martes, septiembre 02, 2014

Un segundo gimnasta escapa en Canadá de la selección nacional

AmericaTeVeCanal41
leer en diariodecuba >>


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Turismo canadiense en Cuba:  A Templar cubanitos y a apuntalar con dólares a la Tiranía

Por Carlos Carballido
turismo canadiense 
Desde que se destoletó el Muro de Berlín, el turismo ha sido para el Castrismo la segunda fuente de ingreso neto más fuerte que durante más de 20 años sin bloque comunista, le ha permitido al desgobierno cubano mantenerse en el  poder y continuar  su historial represivo y controlador de toda la sociedad.
Pero  lejos de ser la isla un destino recreativo divertido y sano , es en realidad el paraíso mas barato y sabroso de los turistas sexuales  según afirma una investigación del diario canadiense  Toronto Star en la que se revela que Cuba es el imán de hombres y mujeres deseosos de mantener relaciones sexuales con niñas  y niños  pre-púberes .
El diario utilizó reportes confidenciales del Canada’s Access to Information Act que identifica a la Mayor de Las Antillas  como uno de los destinos de turismo sexual infantil en América Latina, pero que por obra y gracia de la casualidad, ha encontrado poco eco en la prensa regional o mundial además de que el propio Gobierno Canadiense, amigo de Castro, ha hecho muy poco por impedir este flagelo.
El reporte indica que los turistas sexuales de todo el mundo viajan a Cuba debido a que una noche de sexo violento y alocado con una preadolescente solo cuesta un promedio de 30 dólares, casi el 70 por ciento menos de lo que costaría el Tailandia, el otro paraíso de la morbosidad y el desenfreno sexual.
De tierra y Sol sana, Cuba ya no tiene nada. Y cuesta admitirlo pero cuando un turista va a Cuba, por lo general lleva en su mente una vagina o un pene tierno, casi con olor a bebito, que puedan disfrutar por un módico precio. Después de las remesas que Castro obtiene de los  exiliados, el turismo es quizás la más importante fuente de divisas para la Tiranía. Y de acuerdo a los registros, son los canadienses los mas activos según reportes del Toronto Star que además trabaja directamente con la línea aérea Sunwing.
El rotativo  indicó que los turistas canadienses son los más entusiastas a la hora de buscar y pagar por sexo infantil y juvenil en Cuba y que por demás encuentran ofertas de viajes atractivas con la aerolinea antes mencionada.
Desde 1991 , unos 25 millones de turistas de Canadá han visitado la isla y de ellos casi el 2 por ciento son viajeros regulares lo cual ha levantado múltiples sospechas de que el turismo sexual infantil es más que un lucrativo negocio. De ese porcentaje una buena cantidad esta fichada por la Policía Montada canadiense como depredadores sexuales pero se han negado a dar los nombres de los fichados debido a una clausula legar que lo impide.
Lo que llama la atención es que la mayoría de los turistas canadieses que viajan a los destinos turísticos cubanos, utilizan las instalaciones  hoteleras y villas  dirigidas por militares que por lo general tienen mejores precios que la red normal de servicios al turismo extranjero. Estas instalaciones militares se caracterizan por la organización de fiestas subidas de tono, poca vigilancia de la policía ordinaria  y el suministro de tabacos y bebidas nacionales a muy bajo costo.  El promedio de gasto diario de esos turistas es por si elevado y pasa directamente a las arcas estatales o cuentas militares que se sospechan están en el extranjero.
El gobierno de Stephen Harper, que pregona su compromiso de tomar medidas enérgicas contra los depredadores sexuales, ha resultado hasta ahora un ojo casi ciego al turismo sexual. Sólo cinco individuos han sido condenados por delitos contra los niños fuera del país. Aunque Canadá ha tenido una ley contra el abuso de menores en el extranjero desde 1997, se ve socavado por la incapacidad de los funcionarios encargados de hacer cumplir la ley para vigilar los delincuentes sexuales a medida que se deslizan fuera del país.
El resultado: los canadienses están “entre los clientes más entusiastas del comercio sexual infantil cubana.” A menos que hagan algo estúpido – como tomar fotos pornográficas a una salida comercial para la impresión – existen muy pocas posibilidades de que van a ser capturados.
Esta realidad tampoco es mencionada por los grupos de presión de EE UU y cubanoamericanos que abogan por  levantar las sanciones al gobierno comunista de La habana. Jamás se han hecho eco de congresistas como Joe García o como lobistas del tipo de Saladrigas y compañía, Fanjul  y Cancio, por citar a algunos,  que  están haciendo todo lo que pueden por  cambiar las cosas y abrazarse con castro en un bonito dialogo. ¿Sera que también gustan del turismo sexual y nada mejor que ir a Cuba a buscarlo sin mucho problema.. ..Quién sabe.

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domingo, agosto 17, 2014

Wife fights to keep sponsored Cuban hubby's family out of Canada

Deborah Parsons and husband Raul Oscar Alvarez-Hervas. (Supplied photo)
TORONTO -- Deborah Parsons thought she had secured love and a happy future when she sponsored her new Cuban husband to Canada nine years ago.
Instead, she brought home violence, debt and a now-convicted domestic abuser intent on bringing the rest of his family to his new country. And despite her repeated warnings to the immigration department about her husband’s past since coming to Canada, they won’t tell her what they are doing to ensure members of his family are not allowed to come here as well.
“Now that the veil of control and abuse has lifted, my hindsight has become quite clear,” Parsons, 45, wrote in a letter to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. “I was only used for sponsorship, then required to be the bread winner, a maid, a chef, a laundress, a secretary, an employment agency and a charity organization.”
She urged the minister to stop her husband from sponsoring his family and to provide her with information on the case to “ease the pain of the shame I carry daily for bringing someone like this to Canada.”
In an e-mail that arrived Thursday, Parsons was assured CIC is well aware of her concerns regarding her husband. “All information received will be carefully assessed and considered and the appropriate action taken.”
But it also said the Privacy Act prevents them from sharing any information about the “initiation or outcome of any investigation.”
Parsons was aghast. “Why, if I am still married to this (man) and am the Canadian who sponsored him, do I have no right to know what’s going on?” she demands. “Why does a whole Cuban family get sponsored to Canada on the back of (an alleged) fraud?”
In February 2003, a vacationing Parsons met lifeguard Raul Oscar Alvarez-Hervas at a Cuban resort when he rescued her sister following a paragliding accident. After a whirlwind telephone and e-mail romance, she returned to marry him three months later. “I was a stupid girl who thinks, ‘Isn’t this amazing, the poetry, the dripping flower e-mails. Isn’t he so romantic?’”
It took two years and thousands of dollars spent on paperwork, long distance phone bills, 10 return flights and gifts for him and his family before she managed to sponsor him here. But, just five months after his arrival, Alvarez-Hervas disappeared and Parsons wouldn’t see him again for 18 months.
Lucky for him, he came to Canada before a 2012 change was made to the immigration act to combat marriage fraud. Now an immigrant spouse must live with their Canadian sponsor for at least two years or their permanent resident status will be revoked.
Alvarez-Hervas, who did not respond to numerous telephone messages asking for comment, was in the clear.
Her husband returned to Toronto in 2008 and convinced her he was now ready to settle down. Foolishly, she took him back. But it was a tumultuous reunion and on June 24 of that year, she says Alvarez-Hervas beat her. Toronto Police charged him with theft under $5,000, two counts of threatening death and assault with a weapon.
As the trial date approached, she was asked if she wanted it to go ahead or see her husband diverted to the Partner Assault Response anger management program for abusive spouses. “I opted for PAR, feeling mercy is always the best choice,” she recalls.
They reconciled yet again and were together for another 18 months before he left once more. In 2012, he was back, begging her to move in with him. “I fell for it,” admits Parsons, who runs an event staffing business.
Soon she was paying for his son and mother to come from Cuba for a summer visit; she also saw the paperwork her husband had begun to sponsor them here permanently.
“Once his family left,” she recalls, “he stopped talking to me and told me I had to leave. I told him I would go, but first he’d have to pay back what I’d spent on his family. He went bananas and he started to attack me.”
On Oct. 26, 2012, police charged him once again with assault. Alvarez-Hervas pleaded guilty this past April and was sentenced to another anger management program as well as six months of probation. She hasn’t seen him since.
Now drowning in his bills — “everything is in my name” — and shame, Parsons blames her own lovestruck blindness. But her eyes are wide open now and she hopes those of the immigration department are as well.
“I don’t mind the injury that has occurred, it is of my own doing,” she admits. “But please don’t add insult to it by allowing him to sponsor his mother and his son.”

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sábado, agosto 09, 2014

Cy Tokmakjian – Imprisoned in Cuba No Charges. No Justice


Vaughan businessman Cy Tokmakjian-ft 

On Sept. 10, 2011, Cy Tokmakjian was in Havana, about to hop into his car. He had a quick chat with his son Raffi, who had arrived in Cuba a week earlier with a delegation of young company presidents to encourage them to invest in the island, which appeared to be opening up for foreign businesses. While Raffi was talking up Cuba’s virtues, the Tokmakjians’ import/export company, the Tokmakjian Group, was being audited by the country’s Communist regime. “My father said: ‘They’re doing an audit, it shouldn’t be a problem. It should be over in a couple of days. I’m driving myself to the investigators to try and get this done.’”

That was the last time Cy spoke to his son as a free man. “This is a tricky situation,” says Raffi. Cy, 74, the Tokmakjian Group’s founder and owner, has been a prisoner in Cuba since that day, imprisoned without charges and then accused of bribery and “economic crimes” that the family and many others insist are false and which appear to be part of a political struggle.
Headquartered in Vaughan, Ont., the Tokmakjian Group is a transportation and import company that has done business in Cuba for two decades. It was the largest private business in Cuba. As the exclusive distributor for Hyundai product, it had approximately $80 million in total annual revenues. “Obviously, it’s a struggle for us,” Raffi says. “Our father, the grandfather of our kids, has been gone for three years. We’ve had illnesses in the family that we’ve kept hidden from him, so as not to upset him. We’ve gone through everything that comes with having a family member locked up.”
Cy was on good terms with Fidel Castro, who was Cuba’s president from 1959 to 2008. Things went sour for the Tokmakjian Group — and other Canadian and international businesses — when Raúl Castro, Fidel’s brother, became president. The Raúlistas profess to be open to foreign investment and new business. They have been easing relations with long-time enemy the United States and passing a package of tax cuts, tax breaks and investment security guarantees in the Cuban National Assembly this year. Symbolically, at Nelson Mandela’s funeral in December 2013, Raúl Castro shook hands with American President Barack Obama, though their two countries have not had diplomatic relations since January 1961.
Yet Cy was held for nearly two and a half years before even being charged, and his top managers, fellow Canadians Claudio Vetere and Marco Puche, were also arrested. “I’ll just tell you that he has been thrown in prison for a large part of his stay there,” says Raffi, his 37-year-old son and now president of the Tokmakjian Group. “That’s what happens to convicted criminals [not people who face charges and await trial]. He was in a cell with 48 other people.”
Cy has spent much of his time languishing in La Condesa, a prison for foreigners in the middle of a sugar cane plantation. “It’s better than an ordinary prison, but it’s still jail and it’s dangerous,” says Lee Hacker, spokesperson for the family and vice-president of finance of Tokmakjian Ltd. La Condesa may be better than a domestic jail in Cuba, but that’s not saying much, explains Raffi. “There are four small complexes there,” he says, estimating the inside of each 48-prisoner building to be about 20 feet by 80 feet.
Going by his memory of a drawing shown to him by a former prisoner, Raffi says, “There are two rows of 12 bunk beds, separated by a walkway. There’s a substandard-level kitchen facility, and they share doorless toilets.”The prisoners have a common dirt field for exercise. “Apparently the mosquitoes, flies and other insects are horrendous, and in the summer months the heat is overwhelming — they don’t put in any air conditioning,” Raffi says.
The prisoners in La Condesa are all foreigners, but that’s small comfort, he adds. “There are other Canadians, South Americans, Europeans.” Some are business people accused of “economic crimes” like his father, but others range from “drug smugglers, contract killers to pedophiles.” It’s not pleasant. “He’s in a military hospital right now,” Hacker adds. “He had some health issues; he was bitten by a scorpion at one point. But he sounds OK when I speak with him on the phone.”If Cy is indeed “OK,” it speaks to his resilience and determination to weather an ordeal that has already cost him years of freedom and could cost more, including the fortune he and his company built doing business with Cuba since 1996.
His family and friends hope that, even if he is convicted this summer, he will be expelled, free to go to Canada. Then the Tokmakjian Group can pursue recovery of the millions seized by the Cubans in court. While waiting for an outcome from the Cuban justice system, the Tokmakjian Group has launched its own proceedings in the Ontario Superior Court and in the Barbados, where it also does business, as well as at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, seeking more than $250 million from the Cubans in restitution and damages.
“Cy is a very personable man and he gets along with people very well. He had no reason to see why he would be targeted,” Hacker says. “We’ve been very upfront. We tell them [the Cubans]: we’re taking you to international court and you’re going to lose. But it’s like talking to a ghost.” After waiting since 2011 to find out what they might face from the Cuban justice system, Cy and his co-managers were put on trial from June 9 to 21. A verdict is expected any day.
The Cubans have already seized more than $91 million in personal and company assets. If convicted, Cy could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, and his managers for up to eight to 12 years. As well, 10 Cuban officials of the company face imprisonment. Cuba’s Communist Party daily, Granma, said that Cy and the others accused “were afforded all rights associated with their defence, and their lawyers presented evidence and arguments which they considered necessary.”
Nonsense, says Hacker. “We use the word ‘infirmities.’ The process is really embarrassing,” he says. “You have Cuban lawyers that represent you. They’re generally pretty good, but you know they can’t do everything they might want to do.” The Cuban defence lawyers were restricted in the evidence they could call that might exonerate Cy and the other defendants, Hacker says. “The charges were trumped up and the trial was a farce,” says Peter Kent, Member of Parliament for Thornhill, the Tokmakjians’ home, and a former minister of state for foreign affairs (Americas).
“It’s a warning that any investor today is at risk of running into the same, unacceptable fate as Cy Tokmakjian,” says the Conservative MP, who has followed the case closely, visited Tokmakjian in Cuba and offered his support. The Canadian government, which maintains diplomatic relations with Cuba, has also been supportive, and both the current and former Canadian ambassadors to Cuba attended the 12-day trial.
Nevertheless, Raffi (who was advised by the Canadian government not to attend because of security concerns), says the outcome seems preordained: “What I can say is that we expect them to find him guilty. Not because he’s guilty but because that’s the way they do things down there.”It’s hard for outsiders to understand why the Cubans, who are desperate for investment and economic growth, would send a shivering signal to investors around the world by arresting and trying someone like Cy Tokmakjian. He is by no means the first foreign businessman to suffer such a fate in Cuba. In February, another Canadian businessman, Sarkis Yacoubian, was suddenly expelled from Cuba where he had first been held without charges like Cy and then sentenced to nine years at La Condesa. Yacoubian, who operated a $30-million transport company called Tri-Star Caribbean, was arrested in July 2011, two months before Cy, yet was only charged in April 2013, accused of bribery, tax evasion and “activities damaging to the economy.”
Yacoubian was convicted and sentenced even though he agreed to cooperate with Cuban authorities. French national Jean-Louis Autret and British businessman Stephen Purvis were also jailed, and later freed, with their assets being seized by the Cuban interior ministry.
“Their stories, like Cy’s, have created a climate of uncertainty and concern among foreign companies that remain invested in Cuba,” says Kent. Last year, Purvis, who was freed after 15 months in jail, wrote to the British magazine The Economist saying that he met other foreigners in Cuba who faced charges of “sabotage, damage to the economy, tax avoidance and illegal economic activity.”
The widespread crackdown seems to have cast a chill on other businesses. While 50 per cent of Cuba’s tourists are still Canadians desperate to escape the harsh winter, other Canadian companies who once worked happily in Cuba are escaping the island.
“We are no longer doing business with Cuba and don’t have any comments,” says Domenic Primucci, president of the popular Pizza Nova chain, once prominent in Cuba. Pizza Nova had expanded to six restaurants since 1994, but pulled out abruptly in 2011. (The company’s departure coincided with the regime’s moves against foreign businesses, though Primucci has said the decision was unrelated to the Tokmakjian case.)
Raffi says none of the accusations levelled against his father should apply. “Everything we did was according to the jurisdictions we dealt with. Everything was kosher.” What seems to be happening is that certain foreign businesses are being targeted by Raúl Castro’s regime to send a message to other would-be investors, says John Kirk, professor of Latin American Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
“My interpretation is that he [Raúl Castro] wants to set down a marker that business has got to be done with great transparency,” he says. “Strategically it seems to me to be the wrong way to encourage foreign investment,” Kirk adds. But the one-party regime may have its own internal reasons for picking on foreigners.
The regime believes that a number of its own senior officials have been taking kickbacks from foreign companies, and the government wants to send a message that there is only one way to do business in Cuba — the government’s way.
This would explain why only some businesses and executives seem to face jail — and, maybe later on, charges — under the Cuban justice system. Brazil, for example, has invested with impunity, putting some $10 billion into new harbour facilities at Mariel, just west of Havana, Kirk says. Hacker suggests that another reason for the harsh treatment of Cy and other executives might be a power struggle within the regime. “All the Fidelistas are out and all the Raúlistas are in,” he says.
But Kirk says this is likely overblown; the regime is fairly consistent, even if its principles are hard for outsiders to understand or condone. “Cuba at the moment is in the midst of massive social change,” Kirk adds. The Cuban government now allows people to sell those exotic vintage American cars from the 1950s that were lovingly held together by ingenious mechanics since the United States embargo banned imported American vehicles more than 50 years ago. “They’re opening economically to a mixed economy, but they also want you to play by their rules of the game,” Kirk says.Indeed, in a 25-minute televised speech in July, Raúl Castro signalled that the regime will continue to be cautious — and maybe continue to be harsh — when it comes to economic reforms.
Reforms are advancing “but have great complexity,” Castro said. “The process, to be successful, must be conducted with the appropriate gradualness and be accompanied by the permanent control of different party and government structures at all levels. “Gradualness is not a whim, much less a desire to delay the changes that we must make,” he added. “On the contrary, it is about a need to ensure order and avoid gaps that would lead us directly to mistakes that distort the proposed objectives.”
Reading between the lines, it might seem that the regime is not about to remove its firm grip on the way business is done in Cuba. Hacker concedes that Cy has been outspoken and candid with his Cuban colleagues, but both he and Raffi say that’s partly because he has always considered himself among friends.
“One of the things [Cy] kept on saying in court is ‘I’ve done more to help people than your own government has.’ That’s something they hate to hear,” Raffi says.
If he sees his father again, Raffi says, “I guess I would just hug him, say good for you, that I’m proud that he stuck by his morals and that he didn’t give up.” Raffi can’t see how businesses can continue to operate in Cuba when people can be thrown in jail without charges as his father was. Yet Hacker says that Cy might think differently.
“Cy’s been there for 22 years, he loves the country, he loves the people. For them to do this to them, it’s really hurting him in his heart.”
As of printing this article, Cy Tokmakjian is still being held in Cuba, waiting for the final verdict of his case.

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jueves, julio 24, 2014

Yunieski Gourriel juega en béisbol canadiense

Marlys Rodriguez Francisco, periódico Escambray 
La presencia de un Gourriel ha acaparado titulares de los medios canadienses. Desde el pasado 10 de julio Yunieski Gourriel se encuentra en Canadá para formar parte del equipo los Capitales de Quebec.
Sin el bombo mediático que han recibido las incorporaciones a equipos asiáticos de Frederich Cepeda, Yulieski Gourriel y Alfredo Despaigne, el mayor de los hijos Gourriel (Gurriel para el béisbol foráneo) también es noticia en Quebec, Canadá, donde ya es parte de la escuadra de los Capitales.
El exjardinero espirituano, ahora de los Industriales de la Habana, había dado algunas informaciones a través de su página personal en la red social Facebook, donde se le puede ver entrenando, vistiendo el uniforme del conjunto quebequense y hasta paseando en helicóptero, sin embargo poco se conoce en la prensa de la isla acerca de su contrato.
Les Capitales de Québec, nombre oficial en francés del equipo, pertenece a la Liga Pro Can-Am (Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball) y no tiene afiliación con la MLB por lo que la contratación de Yunieski no tuvo inconveniente alguno.
La Can-Am League, como se le conoce informalmente en inglés, fue fundada en el 2005 y es un torneo independiente de béisbol profesional que se considera de nivel A. En la actualidad está formada por cuatro equipos: New Jersey Jackals (Little Falls, Nueva Jersey), Rockland Boulders (Ramapo, Nueva York), Trois-Rivières Aigles (Trois-Rivières, Quebec) y los actuales campeones y máximos ganadores del torneo (6) Québec Capitales (ciudad de Quebec , Quebec).
Según informaciones del sitio www.lapresse.ca,  el acuerdo fue rubricado entre el presidente de los Capitales, Michel Laplante, la Federación Cubana de Béisbol y el Inder a finales de junio.
El pasado 10 de julio Yunieski Gourriel arribó a Canadá donde manifestó sus deseos de comenzar a jugar lo antes posible y asistió a la derrota de su equipo 0-5 ante los Rockland Boulders.
Sus anhelos no se hicieron esperar y ya tiene su estreno pactado para hoy miércoles, según anunció el manager del conjunto Patrick Scalabrini, quien expresó que cuentan con jugadores bastante ofensivos en la escuadra pero que desean aprovechar las cualidades defensivas del cubano, a quien consideran excelente guante en mano.
En un evento competitivo sin mucho “ruido” en la arena internacional, la presencia de un Gourriel ha acaparado titulares de los medios canadienses, y hasta el mismísimo Yunieski manifestó “Vengo de una familia conocida, estoy acostumbrado. No importa dónde juguemos, siempre seremos el centro de atención”.

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miércoles, julio 02, 2014

Peter Kent, Member of Canada's Parliament On Doing Business in Cuba

capitolhillcubans
Peter Kent [r] with Cy Tokmakjian 
The trial was, from almost any measure, extraordinarily unfair and rigged. I would suggest that before any international investor considers putting a penny into Cuba, they take a look at the way Cy and other businessmen have been treated ...What appears to be the intent of this whole farce is they will seize these very valuable companies, lock up the legitimate owners and try and run the companies as their own.
-- Peter Kent, Member of Canada's Parliament, on imprisoned Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian who is facing a 15-year prison term in Cuba, Financial Post, 7/1/14
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Also  Cuba Is Open For Business That Might Land You in Jail
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lunes, junio 30, 2014

Concluso para sentencia proceso penal contra empresarios extranjeros y exfuncionarios cubanos

Durante los días del 9 al 21 de junio del presente año, se realizó por la Sala Segunda de lo Penal del Tribunal Provincial Popular de La Habana, el juicio oral y público por los delitos de Cohecho, Actos en Perjuicio de la Actividad Eco­nómica o de la Contratación, Fal­sificación de Documentos Ban­carios y de Comercio, Es­tafa, Trá­fico de Divisas y Evasión Fiscal, contra los empresarios canadienses Vahe Cy Tok­makjian, Marco Vinicio Puche Rodríguez y Clau­dio Franco Vetere.
La Fiscalía General de la Re­pública acusó a Vahe Cy Tokmakjian de utilizar mecanismos fraudulentos y corruptores para obtener be­neficios en las negociaciones con entidades cu­banas, provocando afectaciones considerables a nuestra economía; realizar sin la autorización correspondiente operaciones de intermediación financiera; extraer del país ilícitamente cuantiosas sumas de dinero; alterar la información de registros contables y declaraciones juradas con el propósito de eludir sus obligaciones tributarias; así como efectuar retribuciones monetarias a varios trabajadores, quienes en realidad realizaban funciones distintas a las autorizadas legalmente o no estaban contratados por entidades nacionales.
Además, fueron acusados los exdirectivos cubanos pertenecientes al extinto Ministerio del Azúcar, Nelson Ricardo Labrada Fer­nán­dez (exviceministro); Ma­nuel Her­iberto Fer­nández San­tiesteban, Leonardo Fidel Del­gado Dorta, Jorge Luis Machado Pérez y José René Rubio Escobar; del  exMinisterio de In­dustria Básica, Alberto Cirilo Pantón Grahan (exdirector general de Cu­baníquel), Ernesto Gómez Cum­plido (exdirector de Ferroníquel Minera S.A.) y Fidel Penín Oliva; así como Jorge Luis Melo Reyes, exdirector de la Asociación Eco­nómica Internacional CISTUR del Ministerio de Turismo.
También se imputaron hechos delictivos contra Edmundo Javier Cabrera Díaz, An­tonio Gilí González, Boris Ernesto Barber Ve­lis, Armando Enrique Martínez Ganfo y Elsa Fer­nández Proenza, quienes ocupaban diferentes responsabilidades en la Sucursal Tok­makjian Group en Cuba.
La Fiscalía interesó la comparecencia en el proceso penal como terceros civilmente responsables, a las compañías extranjeras Tok­makjian Group Inc; Tokmakjian Limited, C.Y.M.C. y Tokmakjian International Inc.
En el juicio oral se examinaron las declaraciones de los acusados y numerosas pruebas documentales, testificales y de los peritos de la Contraloría General de la República, la Oficina Nacional de Administración Tributaria (ONAT) y el Ministerio de Comercio Ex­terior y de la Inversión Extranjera. Los acusados y las compañías que comparecieron como terceros ci­vilmente responsables, contaron con todas las garantías para el ejercicio de la defensa y sus abogados propusieron las pruebas y expusieron los argumentos que consideraron necesarios.
El Fiscal, en su informe final interesó para Nelson Ricardo Labrada Fernández y Vahe Cy Tokmakjian las sanciones de 20 y 15 años de privación de libertad, respectivamente, y para el resto de los acusados entre 8 y 12 años de privación de libertad.
La Fiscalía solicitó al Tribunal, además, disponer la obligación de los acusados de abonar más de 91 millones de dólares que como daño económico causaron a varias entidades cubanas y a la Administración Tributaria, los que interesó sean retribuidos, en parte, con los bienes y dinero ocupados durante el proceso investigativo a Vahe Cy Tokmakjian y a las mencionadas compañías.
El Tribunal declaró el proceso concluso pa­ra sentencia y pronunciará su decisión en los próximos días.

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lunes, junio 16, 2014

En marcha juicio contra empresario canadiense arrestado en Cuba

Tokmakjian02-display
Cy Tokmakjian (izq.) durante la visita que realizara el miembro del Parlamento canadiense, Peter Kent, a la prisión de La Condesa, a fines del pasado año.
Por Redacción CaféFuerte
El juicio contra el empresario canadiense Cy Tokmakjian, detenido hace más de dos años bajo acusaciones de corrupción en Cuba,está en marcha en un tribunal de La Habana y se espera que se extienda por al menos dos semanas, indicaron fuentes relacionadas con el caso.
Tokmakjian, de 74 años, está siendo juzgado desde el pasado 9 de junio en el Tribunal Provincial Popular de La Habana, junto a otras 16 personas involucradas en las operaciones de su empresa registrada en Cuba, el poderoso Grupo Tokmakjian. El juicio se desarrolla a puertas cerradas, con un reducido acceso de familiares de los acusados.
La fuente indicó que representantes de la Embajada de Canadá en La Habana asistieron a las audiencias la pasada semana.
El proceso judicial pone fin a una prolongada investigación por supuestos actos de soborno, evasión de impuestos, transgresión de contratos y otros delitos comerciales cometidos por Tokmakjian y sus subordinados, y los acusados podrían encarar condenas de entre ocho y 15 años de cárcel,
Enconado caso de corrupción
Pero la celebración del juicio parece encaminarse no solo a resolver uno de los más enconados casos de corrupción de las empresas extranjeras en Cuba durante la última década, sino también a buscar una salida a la encrucijada que representa la detención indetenida de Tokmakjian para el gobierno de Raúl Castro.
Tokmakjian es el más notorio de los ejecutivos extranjeros que permanecen arrestados en la isla tras las redadas por corrupción desatadas por el régimen cubano desde el 2009. Pero con la Ley de la Inversión Extranjera a solo días de entrar en vigor y la urgencia de atraer capital foráneo para impulsar la maltrecha economía nacional, la vía de encontrar una solución para este caso parece lo más razonable.
“Creo que en este momento lo menos que necesita Cuba son detenciones y litigios con empresarios y compañías extranjeras”, dijo a CaféFuerte una fuente diplomática que pidió anonimato. “Tener a un empresario detenido por dos años y medio sin formularle cargos no resulta muy estimulante a los oídos de los inversionistas”.
En abril del 2013, el gobierno cubano canceló oficialmente las operaciones del Grupo Tokmakjian, una de las mayores empresas extranjeras que operó por los últimos 25 años en Cuba, argumentando violaciones incurridas en sus actividades comerciales dentro del territorio nacional.
Demanda en Canadá
El Grupo Tokmakjian respondió con una demanda contra el gobierno cubano, presentada ante el Tribunal Superior de Ontario, en Canadá. La demanda alega que los activos del Grupo Tokmakjian fueron indebidamente confiscados y culpa a las autoridades cubanas de interferir las relaciones comerciales de la compañía con sus clientes.
En septiembre del 2011, agentes de la Seguridad del Estado ocuparon y sellaron los locales de la firma en el cuarto piso del edificio Barcelona del Miramar Trade Center, en La Habana. Tokmakjian fue detenido y permanece desde entonces en la cárcel para extranjeros de La Condesa, en el municipio de Güines, Mayabeque.
La medida fue acompañada por una comunicación del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y el Consejo de Estado, enviada a las empresas cubanas, para que detuvieran todas sus operaciones comerciales con el Grupo Tokmakjian.
Radicado en Ontario, el Grupo Takmakjian era la segunda empresa extranjera con mayores operaciones comerciales en Cuba después de Sherritt International. Facturaba anualmente unos $80 millones de dólares en ventas de equipamiento para la construcción y la minería.
La compañía era además la distribuidora exclusiva de Hyundai en Cuba y estaba asociada con otras dos empresas para el remplazo de motores de equipos de transporte de la era soviética.
Serias preocupaciones
A través de un comunicado emitido esta semana, el Grupo Tokmakjian ratificó la inocencia de su máximo ejecutivo y enfatizó que en ningún momento las operaciones de la firma transgredieron las leyes cubanas.
“Las acusaciones y los cargos presentados por las autoridades cubanas contra el Grupo Tokmakjian son completamente infundados y la defensa lo demostrará claramente”, dijo Lee Hacker, portavoz de la familia Tokmakjian y vicepresidente de finanzas de la compañía.
Sin embargo, Haker agregó que existen serias preocupaciones por la falta de un debido proceso, la transparencia y la independencia del sistema judicial cubano, por lo que la familia teme que el resultado del juicio ya esté determinado.
El proceso contra Tokmakjian tiene lugar exactamente un año y un mes después de que otro importante empresario canadiense, Sarkis Yacoubian, fuera juzgado y condenado a nueve años de prisión bajo acusaciones de soborno,  evasión de impuestos y actividades perjudiciales para la economía nacional. Yacoubian, que permaneció detenido desde julio del 2011, cooperó con las autoridades cubanas y fue liberado el pasado febrero, permitiéndosele regresar a Canadá sin cumplir el resto de su condena.
Ambos empresarios -de origen armenio- comenzaron juntos sus negocios en Cuba y luego decidieron seperarse. Tokmakjian firmó su primer contrato con el gobierno cubano en 1988.
En junio del 2013, los empresarios británicos Amado Fakhre y Stephen Purvis, director ejecutivo y jefe de operaciones de la firma Coral Capital hasta 2011, fueron también liberados tras permanecer en prisión por casi dos años y enfrentar un juicio por corrupción. No trascendió si les fueron retirados los cargos o el tribunal les impuso una sentencia de menor cuantía.

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miércoles, junio 11, 2014

Canadian family discovers how “very sinister” Castrogonia can be

Babalú Blog
Mr. Gigel Tonea
Canadians are the world's biggest supporters of the Castro regime.
Every year, they flock to the slave plantation resorts by the hundreds of thousands and make up about one half of the total number of tourists.
These tourists could not care less about human rights issues.  Obviously, they consider Cubans inferior beings lacking in the same human dignity as Canadians, and they care nothing about the abuses suffered by the enslaved  Cubans who wait on them hand and foot.
Every now and then, however, a story surfaces in the Canadian news media about some Canadian family that ends up being treated like Cuban natives.
When this happens, the Canadians involved howl in protest. "How can they treat us like this?, " they ask.
Sad as all these stories are -- and natural as it is to feel compassion for these Canadians -- one cannot help but wonder why these true life accounts do nothing to stem the flow of tourists to the island.
Will they ever admit how wrong they are?  Will they ever mount a campaign to shun this tourist destination?
Don't hold your breath.
This story involves a death and the cruel twists and turns experienced by the dead man's family.  Read on.  But also add this detail, missing from the news story: when foreigners die in Castrogonia, their loved ones are charged exorbitant fees for the handling of the corpse.  It's one of the cruelest means of extortion practiced by the Castronoids, yet that gross detail hardly ever surfaces in any of these news stories.
....And... don't even ask what has happened to the other tourist who killed this Canadian with his rented speedboat.
From Metro:
Toronto man’s death by speedboat in Cuba shrouded in secrecy
Sitting on the shore of Cuba’s Santa Lucia beach last month, Anca Tonea could see a speedboat stopped in the bright blue waters, close to the reef where her husband, Gigel, was snorkeling.
When she saw a passenger lift a man out of the water, Tonea knew something wasn’t right. The man’s flippered feet, she says, were dangling off the side of the boat, lifeless.
Tonea watched the boat speed away, and when her husband failed to return to the beach, she knew it had been his body hoisted aboard.
After a chaotic few hours seeking answers — Where was her husband taken? Could she see him? How was he doing? — she says she was brought to the hotel lobby, where a resort employee delivered the devastating news.
Gigel, a vibrant 66-year-old dental technician and father of three, was dead.
The Toronto man’s grieving family is now left with questions about what led to Gigel’s death and reeling from the way they say Anca was treated.
The Toneas say Cuban officials did not allow Anca to see her husband’s body, asked her to identify him using just the mass-produced flippers he had brought from Toronto, and — most painfully — failed to inform her of the cause of death while she was still in Cuba. Until she arrived in Toronto the following day, Anca says, she believed Gigel had suffered a stroke or gone into cardiac arrest in the water.
It wasn’t until her three kids used Google to translate the Spanish police report, they say, that they learned he was run over by a speedboat while snorkeling.
“It was the word ‘propeller’ that told us,” said her eldest, Alexander Dandy, referring to a Cuban police report that says Gigel suffered fatal injuries to his head and back after being struck by the boat. “The idea that she left Cuba without knowing how he died, that’s very sinister.”
Continue reading HERE >>

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sábado, abril 19, 2014

Tussle mars Halifax flight from Cuba

A flight from Cuba to Halifax was delayed and two unruly female passengers were denied entry to the jetliner after a disturbance at the Varadero airport, another passenger said Friday.
“It took four Cuban security guards to pull the two girls apart,” said a woman who flew back to Halifax aboard Air Canada Flight 717. She didn’t want her name used.
“They were drunk. Every word out of their mouths was an obscenity.”
The flight, which was ultimately delayed for about 21/2 hours, arrived in Halifax at about 1:30 a.m. Friday, the woman said.
She said the two combatants in the scuffle were part of a group of four females who were travelling together with three children and had taken the same flight that she took to Varadero on April 10.
The women arrived at the Varadero airport on Thursday night for the return flight with drinks in their hands, she said, and one of them hollered at the children in the terminal when they asked for something to eat.
“One of the blonds yelled at the kids, ‘You should have (expletive) eaten at the (expletive) resort because now we have no money,’” the passenger related.
“Everyone in the airport could hear them.”
Within earshot of the four women, she told the pilot she didn’t think they should be served alcohol on the flight to Halifax, she said.
“So the one girl says to me, ‘It’s none of your (expletive) business, lady,’” the woman recounted.
“So I said to the pilot we didn’t want to get on a plane with people like this and she chimed in, ‘So what if we’re (expletive) strippers, so what.’”
The passenger said she felt the four travelling companions had been over-served by flight staff on the trip to Cuba a week earlier.
“We were all wondering if they’d show up for the flight home,” she said.
“It was just like (the reality TV show) Jersey Shore, no sense of decency or shame, and so loud.”
But she said she felt the plane’s captain “handled the situation as well as it could be handled” at the airport before the return flight.
Two of the women weren’t allowed to board the plane and the other two weren’t served liquor on the flight, she said.
Asked whether the incident had ruined her vacation, the woman replied, “Oh no, I had a great vacation.”
A request for comment from Air Canada went unanswered Friday. It wasn’t known if the two women refused passage on the flight had yet returned to Halifax.
No other passengers of the flight could be contacted to verify the woman’s story.

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martes, marzo 25, 2014

Ottawa father drowns during vacation in Cuba

Yue Liu of Ottawa drowned last week at a beach resort  in Varadero Cuba. His 7-year-old son, Connor, narrowly survived.
Yue Liu Liu was playing in the ocean with his son last Wednesday when a strong wave overtook them and the two were caught in a current.
Liu's wife Fanyan Bu, was at the hotel pool with their 9 year daughter Crystal.
Witnesses say Liu managed to keep his son's head above water and was screaming for help.
Another Canadian man on the beach, jumped in to save them.
As his son was being rescued Liu said to him "I cannot save you anymore", those were his last words. When Liu was finally pulled from the water he could not be resuscitated.
Ottawa's Chinese community is rallying to support the family with fundraising efforts.

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martes, marzo 18, 2014

Eliseo Diego: "Para que sirvo yo?" y la manipulacion castrista con la tarja de Heredia en las Cataratas del Niagara

Un comentario de    al articulo de  Josefina de Diego, hija del poeta Eliseo Diego en ocasion del vigesimo aniversario de su fallecimiento, da cuenta de la siguiente anecdota:

"Cuando el fue a develar la tarja de Heredia en el Niagara (el canadiense, el torrencial) se enfermo -se refiere a Eliseo Diego-. Tu mama y yo estabamos a su lado. En un momento quizas penso que estaba solo y murmuro (!ese murmullo suyo!)
-?Para que sirvo yo?"

El hecho que en el Niagara "torrencial" el turista ocasional puede constatar la sensibilidad de un poeta cubano de principios del siglo XIX ante la majestuosidad del accidente geografico es sobrecogejor. Lo que es infame es que con el pretexto del deterioro de la tarja original emplazada alli en 1955 por el Contingente de Scouts Cubanos al 8vo Jamboree Mundial, en 1989 el regimen cubano la sustituyo por la actual, sin hacer referencia a los patrocinadores originales. 
 Ante la consumacion de la infamia en la que habia sido enrrolado el poeta honesto murmuro adolorido: "para que sirvo yo?"
Cualquier precision historica al respecto se agradece.
Una exhaustiva cronica de los hechos puede apreciarse en: 
http://www.scoutdecuba.org/Los%20Scouts%20de%20Cuba%20y%20el%20Niagara.htm
Tarja original/ ©Foto por Victor Ivan Lopez, junio de 1989
Cataratas del Niágara, Canadá - Viernes, 26 de agosto de 1955Oficiales de la comisión de Parques del Niágara, se reunieron en la tarde de ayer con prominentes residentes cubanos, para recibir una tarja conmemorando al exiliado patriota y poeta del siglo XIX, José María Heredia, quien escribiera el poema "Niágara". De izquierda a derecha, encontramos a: Maxim T. Gray, gerente general; Domingo Romeu, scout cubano; Fred M. Cairns, vicepresidente de la junta de directores; Dr. José Borrel, presidente del consejo nacional de los Scouts de Cuba; Mons. Alfredo Muller, obispo auxiliar de La Habana; y la señora Maud de Corona, comisionada nacional de los Lobatos de Cuba. (Foto de: Norman Slingerland).
La nueva placa foto ©Victor Ivan Lopez, junio 2005

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"Hablame"

"EN TIEMPOS DIFÍCILES" - Heberto Padilla

A aquel hombre le pidieron su tiempo

para que lo juntara al tiempo de la Historia.

Le pidieron las manos,

porque para una época difícil

nada hay mejor que un par de buenas manos.

Le pidieron los ojos

que alguna vez tuvieron lágrimas

para que contemplara el lado claro

(especialmente el lado claro de la vida)

porque para el horror basta un ojo de asombro.

Le pidieron sus labios

resecos y cuarteados para afirmar,

para erigir, con cada afirmación, un sueño

(el-alto-sueño);

le pidieron las piernas

duras y nudosas

(sus viejas piernas andariegas),

porque en tiempos difíciles

¿algo hay mejor que un par de piernas

para la construcción o la trinchera?

Le pidieron el bosque que lo nutrió de niño,

con su árbol obediente.

Le pidieron el pecho, el corazón, los hombros.

Le dijeron

que eso era estrictamente necesario.

Le explicaron después

que toda esta donación resultaria inútil.

sin entregar la lengua,

porque en tiempos difíciles

nada es tan útil para atajar el odio o la mentira.

Y finalmente le rogaron

que, por favor, echase a andar,

porque en tiempos difíciles

esta es, sin duda, la prueba decisiva.

Los Aldeanos: "El Socialismo en Tiempos del Colera: Toda Una Nación"

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La columna de Cubanalisis

NEOCASTRISMO [Hacer click en la imagen]

NEOCASTRISMO [Hacer click en la imagen]
¨Saturno jugando con sus hijos¨/ Pedro Pablo Oliva

Seguidores

Carta desde la carcel de Fidel Castro Ruz

“…después de todo, para mí la cárcel es un buen descanso, que sólo tiene de malo el que es obligatorio. Leo mucho y estudio mucho. Parece increíble, las horas pasan como si fuesen minutos y yo, que soy de temperamento intranquilo, me paso el día leyendo, apenas sin moverme para nada. La correspondencia llega normalmente…”

“…Como soy cocinero, de vez en cuando me entretengo preparando algún pisto. Hace poco me mandó mi hermana desde Oriente un pequeño jamón y preparé un bisté con jalea de guayaba. También preparo spaghettis de vez en cuando, de distintas formas, inventadas todas por mí; o bien tortilla de queso. ¡Ah! ¡Qué bien me quedan! por supuesto, que el repertorio no se queda ahí. Cuelo también café que me queda muy sabroso”.
“…En cuanto a fumar, en estos días pasados he estado rico: una caja de tabacos H. Upman del doctor Miró Cardona, dos cajas muy buenas de mi hermano Ramón….”.
“Me voy a cenar: spaghettis con calamares, bombones italianos de postre, café acabadito de colar y después un H. Upman #4. ¿No me envidias?”.
“…Me cuidan, me cuidan un poquito entre todos. No le hacen caso a uno, siempre estoy peleando para que no me manden nada. Cuando cojo el sol por la mañana en shorts y siento el aire de mar, me parece que estoy en una playa… ¡Me van a hacer creer que estoy de vacaciones! ¿Qué diría Carlos Marx de semejantes revolucionarios?”.
¨La patria es dicha de todos, y dolor de todos, y cielo para todos, y no feudo ni capellaní­a de nadie¨ - Marti

"No temas ni a la prision, ni a la pobreza, ni a la muerte. Teme al miedo"
-
Giacomo Leopardi

¨Por eso es muy importante, Vicky, hijo mío, que recuerdes siempre para qué sirve la cabeza: para atravesar paredes¨Halvar de Flake [El vikingo]

"Como no me he preocupado de nacer, no me preocupo de morir" - Lorca

"Al final, no os preguntarán qué habéis sabido, sino qué habéis hecho" - Jean de Gerson

"Si queremos que todo siga como está, es necesario que todo cambie" - Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

"Todo hombre paga su grandeza con muchas pequeñeces, su victoria con muchas derrotas, su riqueza con múltiples quiebras" - Giovanni Papini


"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans" - John Lennon

"Habla bajo, lleva siempre un gran palo y llegarás lejos" - Proverbio Africano

"No hay medicina para el miedo" - Proverbio escoces

"El supremo arte de la guerra es doblegar al enemigo sin luchar"
- Sun Tzu

"You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother" - Albert Einstein

"It is inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office" - H. L. Menken

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented" - Elie Wiesel

"Stay hungry, stay foolish" -
Steve Jobs

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five years ther'ed be a shortage of sand" - Milton Friedman

"The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less" - Vaclav Havel

"No se puede controlar el resultado, pero si lo que uno haga para alcanzarlo" -
Vitor Belfort [MMA Fighter]

Liborio

Liborio
A la puerta de la gloria está San Pedro sentado y ve llegar a su lado a un hombre de cierta historia. No consigue hacer memoria y le pregunta con celo: ¿Quién eras allá en el suelo? Era Liborio mi nombre. Has sufrido mucho, hombre, entra, te has ganado el cielo.

Para Raul Castro

Cuba ocupa el penultimo lugar en el mundo en libertad economica solo superada por Corea del Norte.

Cuba ocupa el lugar 147 entre 153 paises evaluados en "Democracia, Mercado y Transparencia 2007"

Cuando vinieron

Cuando vinieron a buscar a los comunistas, Callé: yo no soy comunista.
Cuando vinieron a buscar a los sindicalistas, Callé: yo no soy sindicalista.
Cuando vinieron a buscar a los judíos, Callé: yo no soy judío. Cuando vinieron a buscar a los católicos, Callé: yo no soy “tan católico”.
Cuando vinieron a buscarme a mí, Callé: no había quien me escuchara.

Reverendo Martin Niemöller

Martha Colmenares

Martha Colmenares
Un sitio donde los hechos y sus huellas nos conmueven o cautivan

CUBA LLORA Y EL MUNDO Y NOSOTROS NO ESCUCHAMOS

Donde esta el Mundo, donde los Democratas, donde los Liberales? El pueblo de Cuba llora y nadie escucha.
Donde estan los Green, los Socialdemocratas, los Ricos y los Pobres, los Con Voz y Sin Voz? Cuba llora y nadie escucha.
Donde estan el Jet Set, los Reyes y Principes, Patricios y Plebeyos? Cuba desesperada clama por solidaridad.
Donde Bob Dylan, donde Martin Luther King, donde Hollywood y sus estrellas? Donde la Middle Class democrata y conservadora, o acaso tambien liberal a ratos? Y Gandhi? Y el Dios de Todos?
Donde los Santos y Virgenes; los Dioses de Cristianos, Protestantes, Musulmanes, Budistas, Testigos de Jehova y Adventistas del Septimo Dia. Donde estan Ochun y todas las deidades del Panteon Yoruba que no acuden a nuestro llanto? Donde Juan Pablo II que no exige mas que Cuba se abra al Mundo y que el Mundo se abra a Cuba?
Que hacen ahora mismo Alberto de Monaco y el Principe Felipe que no los escuchamos? Donde Madonna, donde Angelina Jolie y sus adoptados around de world; o nos hara falta un Brando erguido en un Oscar por Cuba? Donde Sean Penn?
Donde esta la Aristocracia Obrera y los Obreros menos Aristocraticos, donde los Working Class que no estan junto a un pueblo que lanquidece, sufre y llora por la ignominia?
Que hacen ahora mismo Zapatero y Rajoy que no los escuchamos, y Harper y Dion, e Hillary y Obama; donde McCain que no los escuchamos? Y los muertos? Y los que estan muriendo? Y los que van a morir? Y los que se lanzan desesperados al mar?
Donde estan el minero cantabrico o el pescador de percebes gijonese? Los Canarios donde estan? A los africanos no los oimos, y a los australianos con su acento de hombres duros tampoco. Y aquellos chinos milenarios de Canton que fundaron raices eternas en la Isla? Y que de la Queen Elizabeth y los Lords y Gentlemen? Que hace ahora mismo el combativo Principe Harry que no lo escuchamos?
Donde los Rockefellers? Donde los Duponts? Donde Kate Moss? Donde el Presidente de la ONU? Y Solana donde esta? Y los Generales y Doctores? Y los Lam y los Fabelo, y los Sivio y los Fito Paez?
Y que de Canseco y Miñoso? Y de los veteranos de Bahia de Cochinos y de los balseros y de los recien llegados? Y Carlos Otero y Susana Perez? Y el Bola, y Pancho Cespedes? Y YO y TU?
Y todos nosotros que estamos aqui y alla rumiando frustaciones y resquemores, envidias y sinsabores; autoelogios y nostalgias, en tanto Louis Michel comulga con Perez Roque mientras Biscet y una NACION lanquidecen?
Donde Maceo, donde Marti; donde aquel Villena con su carga para matar bribones?
Cuba llora y clama y el Mundo NO ESCUCHA!!!

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