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NY Transfer's RHC News update-02 June, 2001

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    Via NY Transfer News * All the News That Doesn t Fit Radio Havana Cuba - News Update - 02 June 2001 . *US DENIES VISAS FOR ALARCON, 3 OTHER OFFICIALS TO VISIT
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2001
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      Via NY Transfer News * All the News That Doesn't Fit

      Radio Havana Cuba - News Update - 02 June 2001

      .

      *US DENIES VISAS FOR ALARCON, 3 OTHER OFFICIALS TO VISIT PUERTO RICO

      *HAVANA BAY CLEAN-UP IS ATTRACTING WILDLIFE BACK TO THE CAPITAL

      *GALICIAN LEADER SEEKS BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF EU TOWARDS CUBA

      *REMOTE CLASSROOMS RECEIVE TV/VIDEO HOOKUP VIA SOLAR POWER

      *COLOMBIA: FARC-GOVERNMENT POW EXCHANGE IMMINENT

      *ARGENTINA: MORE LABOR UNREST, PROTESTS AGAINST PRIVATIZATION

      *NKOSI JOHNSON, 12-YEAR-OLD SYMBOL IN STRUGGLE AGAINST AIDS, IS DEAD

      .

      *US DENIES VISAS FOR ALARCON, 3 OTHER OFFICIALS TO VISIT PUERTO RICO

      Washington, June 2 (RHC)--The United States has denied visas to an official
      Cuban delegation planning to visit Puerto Rico. The visas were denied to the
      President of Cuba's Parliament, Ricardo Alarcón, as well as to three other
      Cuban officials. The Cubans had been invited to Puerto Rico to attend a
      commemoration of the founding of the Puerto Rican Mission in Havana 35 years
      ago.

      The head of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, Fernando Ramirez,
      will now represent the Cuban government as he is allowed to travel to Puerto
      Rico on his diplomatic passport. Anti-Cuba congressional representatives
      Ileana Ros Lehtinen and Lincoln Diaz Balart had both lobbied hard to have
      the visa request denied, saying that Alarcón wanted "to meddle in the
      internal affairs of Puerto Rico."

      The political party PNP, which supports the full integration of Puerto Rico
      as the 51st state of the U.S., also worked to have the visas turned down.
      The clearly political reason behind the denial comes in the wake of Cuba's
      support for the people of Vieques in their attempt to stop the U.S. Navy
      from using the island for any further military exercises, which have cost
      the life of one inhabitant and affected the health of many others.

      Congressional Representative Jose Serrano criticized the move by the U.S.
      State Department, saying that the sad thing was that Alarcon's visit had
      nothing to do with Vieques, and that the decision smacked of a colonial
      mentality.


      *HAVANA BAY CLEAN-UP IS ATTRACTING WILDLIFE BACK TO THE CAPITAL

      Havana, June 2 (RHC)--As Havana prepares for an international environmental
      conference, the Havana Bay Task Force is slowly bringing back to life the
      waters that border the capital.

      Havana Bay was deemed to be one of the most heavily polluted bays in the
      world according to the United Nations Development Program. That is, until
      recently, says Maria Josefa Rodes, an environmental expert with the Task
      Force.

      In comments to reporters, Rodes said that thanks to a concerted clean up
      effort that began a few years ago, the Bay is recovering. She cited the
      increasing number of sea birds returning to Havana Bay as proof. Pelicans
      and seagulls are being seen in the skies above Havana once more, although
      the environmental manager pointed out that the water of the inner bay was
      still not safe for swimming.

      Frequent oil spills as well as cruise ship and freighter pollution, the
      city's aging sewer system and the fact that three rivers empty into the Bay,
      have been the cause of what was an environmental disaster until the Havana
      Bay Task Force took over in 1998.

      Measures have been taken that have already reduced the flow of contaminants
      into the Bay, such as improving the technology of an oil refinery on the
      water's edge, building a water treatment plant on the Luyano River and
      purchasing state-of-the-art containment booms and oil skimmers to clean up
      oil spills from passing ships.

      The Task Force is responsible for public education on maintaining the
      environmental integrity of the Bay as well as designing economic incentives
      for companies that choose to join its efforts to conserve the environment.
      Maria Josefa Rodes acknowledges that there is still much work to be done,
      but says her organization has begun to reverse the catastrophes of the past.


      *GALICIAN LEADER SEEKS BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF EU TOWARDS CUBA

      Havana, June 2 (RHC)--The spokesperson of the Spanish autonomous party, the
      Galicia National Block or BNG, Jose Manuel Beira, considers Cuba to be the
      First World of the future.

      Beira came to the conclusion after meeting with Cuban government, party and
      institutional authorities, including Fidel Castro, as well as people on the
      street over the past few days. He said that in Europe it is difficult to
      alter what he called a euro-centric attitude toward Cuba. Politicians from
      the EU should be more willing to analyze Cuban society rather than condemn
      it outright. Beira said that in Cuba, for instance, there was a very
      positive participation of the people in the island's political process and
      that there was clear evidence of progress in many things such as ecological
      agriculture and city restoration work.

      He remarked on what he termed the tremendous vitality of President Fidel
      Castro and said that they had discussed diverse subjects of international
      current affairs, one of which was the Washington-sponsored Free Trade Area
      of the Americas. The Galician politician said that while integration of
      Latin America was essential for its survival there had to be found an
      alternative to that proposed by the US. A system by which the region retains
      its voice and controls its own destiny.

      Jose Manuel Beira is the BNG candidate for the presidency of the Autonomous
      Region of Galicia. The BNG groups different left wing political groups into
      one central party.


      *REMOTE CLASSROOMS RECEIVE TV/VIDEO HOOKUP VIA SOLAR POWER

      Cumanayagua, Cienfuegos, June 2 (RHC)--In one of the most remote areas of
      Cuba's Escambray Mountains, the Oscar Salas Blanco Primary School in the
      town of Cumanayagua continues to provide its six pupils with the same
      education as the biggest schools in Havana. However, it has always done so
      without electricity for the tiny rural community it serves is not yet hooked
      to the nation's grid.

      Then the Ministry of Education decided to include some photocells in the
      school supplies for the year. The installation of solar panels has ensured
      that the children have access to television for the first time in their
      lives and, with it, the educational programs that are broadcast daily. It is
      the only TV for a 15-kilometer radius. The school also has two light bulbs
      to augment whatever light comes in through the windows and door.

      The Oscar Salas Blanco School is part of a program the Ministry of Education
      has developed to bring audio and video to the island's most remote
      classrooms. Very often the new school supplies have had to be brought in by
      mule, so far into the mountains are these tiny rural communities. There are
      now 53 other such installations of solar-powered televisions in the
      Escambray Mountains, and 15 of them have also been provided with video
      equipment. The project aims to provide a TV and video to every classroom in
      the country.


      *COLOMBIA: FARC-GOVERNMENT POW EXCHANGE IMMINENT

      Bogota, June 2 (RHC)--Colombia's Revolutionary Armed Forces insurgency has
      announced an imminent exchange of prisoners of war with the government.
      Guerrilla spokesman and peace negotiator Raul Reyes said that 95 percent of
      the POW exchange agreement has already been hammered out, and that the last
      details should be fine-tuned on Saturday.

      Reyes also announced that besides an exchange of captured soldiers for
      imprisoned guerrillas who are in a poor state of health, the rebel
      organization will unilaterally release another 100 soldiers and police as a
      humanitarian gesture. The exact number of soldiers and guerrillas to be
      released has not been defined.

      Since 1997 the leftist rebels have captured more than 500 soldiers and
      police, while some 350 guerrillas are in Colombian prisons. If the accord is
      finally hammered out, it will be the first since the rebel government peace
      process began in November, 1999.


      *ARGENTINA: MORE LABOR UNREST, PROTESTS AGAINST PRIVATIZATION

      Buenos Aires, June 2 (RHC)--The dissident wing of Argentina's General Labor
      Confederation has called a boycott against Spain's investments in the
      country and a 24-hour general strike next week. Labor leader Hugo Moyano
      said Spaniards have stolen the money that has left the privatized Argentine
      Airlines in bankruptcy, calling on Argentines to boycott the numerous firms
      and banks in the country controlled by Spanish capital.

      Argentine Airlines was privatized in 1990 when the firm had no debts and
      11,000 workers. Today it owes $900 million, has less than 6000 workers and
      has been shut down by its striking employees.

      The executives of firms controlled by Spanish capital have reportedly
      requested an urgent meeting with Spain's ambassador in Buenos Aires.
      Regarding the 24-hour general strike called for next Friday, Moyano said
      that it was to protest Argentina's economic model of exclusion and hunger.

      He said Argentines should not continue allowing the government to lie to
      them, deceive them and sell them illusions. Among the lies mentioned by the
      labor leader was the $40 billion bail-out loan granted to the country last
      December by the International Monetary Fund and other international credit
      agencies.

      President Fernando de la Rua had promised that the loan would bring an end
      to Argentina's prolonged recession, but the severe economic slump continues.


      *NKOSI JOHNSON, 12-YEAR-OLD SYMBOL IN STRUGGLE AGAINST AIDS, IS DEAD

      Johannesburg, June 2 (RHC)--A South African child considered an
      international symbol in the struggle against AIDS has passed away in
      Johannesburg. Twelve-year-old Nkosi Johnson was born with AIDS, transmitted
      by his mother, and was given only months to live.

      But by the age of seven, he had become a nationally recognized anti-AIDS
      activist and the HIV-infected child who had survived the longest in South
      Africa. In 1997, Nkosi enrolled in elementary school, completing four years
      of studies and playing with his classmates as if he weren't condemned to
      die, according to the school's director.

      He became internationally acclaimed last July when he spoke as an invited
      guest of honor at the 13th International Conference on AIDS in Durban, South
      Africa, where in an eloquent address he said that HIV-carriers are human
      beings and should be treated as such. Nkosi was one of the 70,000
      HIV-infected children born every year in South Africa.

      (c) 2001 Radio Habana Cuba, NY Transfer News. All rights reserved.

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