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Cuban Daily News Digest 10-31-2000

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  • Walter Lippmann
    NOTE BY WALTER: This is a highly informative service originating in Canada. It culls sources I don t regularly see and sends so it provides even more
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2000
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      NOTE BY WALTER:
      This is a highly informative service originating in Canada.
      It culls sources I don't regularly see and sends so it
      provides even more information than I get on my own.
      _________________
       
      CUBAN DAILY NEWS DIGEST - OCTOBER 31/2000
      " A compilation of news articles about Cuba gathered from various news sources and presented without bias."
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      NOTE: My apologies for not sending out the CDND for the last few days, but I have been busy helping put the final touches to the filing documentation for the PharmaChem/AVC deal. I will catch up over the next few days.



      Toronto - National Post - Seven Britons who were arrested by Cuban police after being caught with sophisticated spying equipment were indeed on a surveillance mission -- but they were hired by a jealous wife, not a foreign power. British officials and news reports said the six men and one woman were apparently hired by a woman who suspected her wealthy husband of having an affair with a Cuban girlfriend, and hoped to catch them in the act. The Britons were arrested on Oct. 8 after being caught with an array of high-tech spying devices. The incident sparked a diplomatic row between Britain and Cuba after British officials complained they hadn't been allowed access to the detainees. The fact that Cuba had blocked access to the group had led to speculation the case could involve drug trafficking or industrial espionage. But reports indicated the real nature of the mission was less dramatic. Ken Lodge, owner of London-based SIP Services International Ltd., and his team apparently flew into Havana on Sept. 30. They had been hired by a firm of London lawyers working for the Panamanian wife of millionaire businessman Mike Nahmad. Mrs. Nahmad believed her husband was having an affair with a Cuban woman and had had a child with her. Mr. Nahmad, who lives in Panama but is described as a Cuban national, frequently visits Cuba for seven to 10 days at a time. His company, Powergen SA, is the only 100%-owned foreign venture allowed to operate in the country. Last year it won a US$15-million contract to provide electricity to most of the island. The Britons entered the country with tourist visas. Six were working for SPI; the seventh was the girlfriend of one of the men. But their baggage included equipment more likely to appear in a James Bond movie -- miniature cameras, bugging devices, video recorders and directional microphones. "We were using state-of-the art spying gear to try and trap one of the most powerful businessmen in the country," Simon Palmer told the British tabloid the Sun yesterday. Mr. Palmer took part in an earlier surveillance effort in September, but remained in England during a second mission after an argument with his boss. The job consisted of watching Mr. Nahmad round the clock, Mr. Palmer said. "At first we were very cagey about even trying to tail him because we were told his wife had actually bragged to him he was under surveillance, which wasn't very clever. "He was clearly clued up, and he was always looking around in his chauffeur-driven car." It was unclear how the Cuban police became aware of the spying equipment, or where the team was arrested. At SPI's modest offices in east London nobody was prepared to talk. The firm, which bills itself as "the ultimate in investigation and security services," has been in business for 30 years and does much work abroad. Peter Heims of the Association of Investigators told the BBC he had known Mr. Lodge for 25 years. "I was surprised to hear the news because he is a reputable and experienced private investigator ... I certainly would never have undertaken an operation like this however much money I was offered. "For one thing it's Cuba -- you'd have to be well acquainted with what you can or cannot do before going out there."

      HAVANA - (PL) - Approximately 50 German firms will attend Havana's International Fair (FIHAV), at Expocuba Exhibition Center, German diplomatic sources informed. The German commercial delegation will travel to Cuba supported by the Federal Economy and Technology Ministry and Leipzig Fairs Society (DMA), Prensa Latina confirmed. The 18th Havana International Fair will be held October 29 to November 5, and representatives from 62 nations (two more than last year) have already confirmed attendance, Organizing Committee president Abraham Maciques announced. Traditionally at Expocuba, Cuba's most important trade fair is expected to welcome 1,500 foreign firms and over 300 nationals, in 24,000 square meters. The pavilion will have participation and room levels similar to those of 1999, but with better presentation, quality, and variety.  FIHAV 2000 will welcome Malaysia, Ghana, Gambia, and Armenia for the first time. Japan -with 15 firms- and Portugal will have large independent pavilions. As on previous occasions, Spain, Canada, Italy, France, and Mexico will be the most represented, said Maciques, who highlighted participation of 18 official delegations. Havana Conference Center, Cuban Foreign Trade MInistry, and the Chamber of Commerce are the event's sponsors. Some 1,766 foreign firms from 60 countries attended the 1999 Fair.

      HAVANA - (PL) - Cuba has 236 protected areas, approximately 22 per cent of Cuba's total territory and comprising its largest ecological and social relevance zones, official sources reported. According to the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry data cited by Granma newspaper, there are 79 maximum interest areas outstanding for their valuable resources and historic and cultural importance on this list. Among these protected areas, the newspaper highlights six Biosphere Reserves in Guanahacabibes, Sierra del Rosario, Cienaga de Zapata, Buenavista, Baconao and Cuchillas del Toa; Vinales Humanity Cultural Landscape and Humanity's Natural Patrimony "Desembarco del Granma".  There are also 14 National Parks, 25 ecological reserves and other natural reserves, animal preserves and special sustainable development regions.  Among these last, Granma mentions the mountains of Guaniguanico, Guamuhaya, Sierra Maestra and Nipe-Sagua-Baracoa, and Los Canarreos and Sabana-Camaguey archipelagos. In order to regulate the National Protected Areas System legal affairs, a law establishing procedures to propose and declare new areas was approved last December.

      BUENOS AIRES - (PL) - Representatives of Cuban tourist groups and chains concluded a huge promotion in Argentina today in several cities and with participation in the Buenos Aires International Fair. Over the last weeks, a caravan went through urban centers, Mar del Plata, Mendoza, Cordoba, Rosario and the capital, advertising Cuban tourism. According to Omar Cisneros, Cuban Tourism Ministry representative, the convoy's objective in South America was to promote Cuba as a destination as well as the products of the participating companies. There were also direct contacts with travel agents through workshops and seminars for sales training, exchange of experiences with Argentinean official and private tourism firms and with professors and students. All the groups, chains and tour operators included in the campaign met their objectives of contracts and new travel agents in Argentina, Cisneros confirmed to Prensa Latina. Next season's (2000-2001) Cuba programs and tour packages were also coordinated, he added. The official confirmed that until September, over 42,000 Argentinean tourists visited Cuba, more than the total registered the year before.  Argentina increased the number of visitors to Cuba by 20 per cent, one of the greatest registered in the world if not the greatest, Cisneros pointed out.  Most-requested Cuban destinations from here are Varadero, Jardines del Rey, Holguin, Cayo Largo, Santa Lucia and the capital. The promotion activities included the performance of Havana's famous Tropicana Cabaret of Cubanacan hotel chain, in some cities. Besides Cubanacan, Gaviota, Gran Caribe, Horizontes, Isla Azul, Cubatur, Rumbos, Havanatur, Havanautos, IberoStar, Beaches Varadero, Marinas Puerto Sol, LTI and Sol Melia, both from Cuba, also participated in the campaign.

      HAVANA - Associated Press - Growing up in south Texas, Septime Webre grew dreamy listening to the stories of his Cuban mother and aunts about the Caribbean island where they were born and raised, then left behind to seek a new life in America. Now 37, Webre has traveled to the Cuba he once heard of, bringing with him a whole dance company to interpret a ballet he choreographed about the anecdotes of his mother, Juanita, and his aunts Mercedes and Betty. It is the first performance by a professional American ballet company on the communist island in 40 years. "My American side extends to you the hand of friendship," the artistic director of the Washington Ballet said, speaking in Spanish before a crowded Mella Theater in the Vedado neighborhood where his mother and aunts lived as young girls. "My Cuban side gives you all a fraternal hug," Webre added to thunderous applause as the curtain went up. The Washington Ballet, which arrived in Havana, will give four performances in Cuba before returning to the United States. Alicia Alonso, Cuba's grande dame of dance and the founder of the internationally renowned National Ballet of Cuba, invited Webre to bring his company to Havana for last week's International Ballet Festival. Webre's Cuban mother and American father both left Cuba shortly after the 1959 revolution. They initially moved to Bahamas, then later settled in Brownsville, Texas, on the U.S. border with Mexico. Among the pieces Washington Ballet performed was "Mercedes y Betty," a combination of Cuban and jazz rhythms that recalls Webre's aunts. Cuban musicians joined American band members in interpreting the tropical orchestra sound of the 1920s and 1930s. "I feel like I am reclaiming part of who I am," Webre said backstage before the performance. He said the memories his mother and aunts recounted "were not my memories, but I knew that they were part of who I am. Now I am finally discovering the part of me that is Latino." The company also performed two more traditional pieces, and a fourth piece set to American blues music. The Washington company is part of an American delegation of close to 130 people -- dancers, musicians, painters and others -- who came as part of a program called "Dialogues in Dance: Cuba 2000." The program, begun a year ago, seeks to increase artistic exchanges between Cuba and the United States, part of President Clinton's stated policy to increase "people to people" contacts between the countries. Webre said he has been fascinated by the Cubans he has met, and impressed by their love of dance and the other fine arts, and their great love of books. "There is truly something in the Cuban heart that celebrates life," said Webre. "How can it be that in a country with so many economic problems there can still be so much fine art?"

      Pinar del Rio - (RHC) - Visits to the famous tobacco plantations of Vueltabajo in the western province of Pinar del Rio, meetings with tobacco planters and a trade fair, are all part of the island's International Tobacco Festival slated to run from December 14th through the 21st. The activities, which are taken from local traditions, are designed to promote commercial and scientific exchanges among tobacco executives and professionals from the Central American and Caribbean region, according to the President of the Festival's organizing committee, Alfredo Gonzalez. Gonzalez added that Cuba's world famous "Habanos," or cigars, are made from the excellent tobacco of the Vueltabajo region, some 150 kilometers west of Havana. Researchers, producers and business executives will take the opportunity to exchange their experiences on tobacco and its relationship to Cuban culture, soil, botany, genetics and sustainable agriculture. Vueltabajo, located in western Pinar del Rio province, provides 70 per cent of the island's tobacco production.

      Havana -  (RHC) - The Latin Jazz film "Calle 54" by Spanish film maker Fernando Trueba, will be shown in Havana next December 13th, as part of the island's International Festival of New Latin American Film. Fernando Trueva, winner of an Oscar award, has dedicated his latest film to Latin Jazz and renowned musicians like Chucho Valdes, Michel Camilo, Gato Barbieri and other Ibero American Jazz greats. According to the film maker, the screening of the documentary on the island, is in honor of Cuba's contribution to Latin Jazz.

      Havana - (RHC) - A bronze statue of Mexican patriot, Benito Juarez, will be unveiled on November 6th in Havana's Vedado municipality. The statue stands 3.2 meters high and will be placed on the capital's Avenida de los Presidents, where other statues of important Latin American figures are located, including one of slain Chilean President, Salvador Allende. Meanwhile, a statue dedicated to Mexican musician-composer, Agustin Lara, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his death, will be unveiled in December.

      Havana - (RHC) - Representatives of the Cuban and German business communities are holding bilateral talks in a wide variety of eonomic sectors on opportunities for bilateral trade and investment. The Germany- Cuba Cooperation meeting, which got underway in Havana, will run through October 31st, and is aimed at improving economic relations. The event is gathering executives and representatives from 30 German entreprises in the fields of Biotechnology, medical equipment, food, transportation and metal goods, as well as offering seminars and discussions on entreprenurial advice and banking. Particpants are exchanging information on their companies and future bilateral exchange, as well as taking the opportunity to learn about potential opportunities in a variety of Cuban economic sectors. The Cuba- Germany Cooperation Meeting is taking place as a 50 company representation from that European country is preparing to participate in Havana's International Trade Fair which will open its doors at the Expocuba Exhibition Complex. In a recent communique to the cooperation meeting, the German Government expressed its support of the German business delegation that will take part in the Fair. The document also lists the export-oriented small and medium enterprises that will be exhibiting their products and services in a joint pavilion. The Communique announces that Germany's Information stand at the Fair will provide information on export and import opportunities offered by German companies.

      New York - (RHC) - An international contingent of religious and community leaders is challenging the U.S. blockade of Cuba. The U.S.-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan is once again on the road -- traveling from north to south, down six different routes and stopping in 75 cities along the way. Caravanistas hold informational events about Cuba and collect material aid on their way to the U.S. border with Mexico. This weekend, the participants of this 11th Pastors for Peace Caravan were in San Antonio, where they will prepare to cross the border into Mexico and continue on to Tampico. According to organizers of the caravan, in Tampico, the volunteers will load a Cuban ship with the aid and then fly to Havana for a weeklong program of activities. This caravan is dedicated to Cuba's innovations in energy and transportation alternatives. The director of Pastors for Peace, the Reverend Lucius Walker, told reporters that caravanistas will attempt to deliver medicines, medical supplies and equipment, school supplies, busses and other vehicles, computers and sports equipment - all without applying for a U.S. government license. Reverend Walker added that caravan organizers will also attempt to deliver humanitarian aid aimed at supporting Cuba's commitment to alternative energy, such as solar panels, batteries, fluorescent lamps and transceivers - necessary to provide an alternative energy source for rural schools and medical clinics. Building upon this theme, caravanistas will take part in a round-trip bicycle tour between the Cuban provinces of Havana and Pinar del Rio, as well as bring a mobile bicycle repair shop to the island. This 11th Pastors for Peace caravan is also timed to coincide with the Second World Meeting of Friendship and Solidarity, slated for here in the Cuban capital from November 10th through the 15th. At the upcoming solidarity conference, more than 4 thousand activists from around the world plan to converge on Havana to discuss ways to promote greater friendship between the Cuban people and the rest of the world. According to Reverend Lucius Walker: "Cuba has never ceased to practice solidarity with Third World nations, which Fidel Castro reiterated during his recent visit to the United States to address the United Nations." The founder and director of Pastors for Peace referred to the Cuban leader's offer to provide medical school scholarships -- free-of-charge -- to poor and disenfranchised U.S. students, with their only commitment being that they return to their country and practice medicine in poor communities. Reverend Walker told journalists that coordinating the Friendshipment Caravan with the international solidarity meeting provides people with a way to reciprocate the profound sense of friendship and solidarity that the U.S. people have historically experienced with the Cuban people. Pastors for Peace has been organizing caravans to Cuba since 1992 and has delivered more than 2,500 tons of aid to the island.

      Havana - (RHC) - Cuba and Haiti have taken an important step forward in relations between the two countries with the signing of three bilateral accords. The agreements were signed by the Cuban Minister of Culture, Abel Prieto, and his Haitian counterpart, Paul Antoine Bien-Aime. The new bilateral accords will increase the number of medical personnel offered by Cuba to its Caribbean neighbor -- from 400 to 600 -- and provide for increased cooperation in the fishing industry. Cuba will also continue helping with a literacy campaign in Haiti, as well as lending assistance in cultural and artistic programs. The accords were signed during the official working-visit of Haitian President Rene Preval, who is heading his country's delegation to the Third Inter-governmental Mixed Commission, taking place in the Cuban capital. Speaking with reporters, the Haitian president stated that he greatly admires the development of Cuba, despite the fact that the island has been economically blockaded by the United States for 40 years.

      Havana - (RHC) - Preparations are in full swing for the 19th edition of Havana's International Jazz Plaza Festival. The chair of the Organizing Committee, critically acclaimed Cuban jazz pianist Jesus "Chucho" Valdez briefed the press on confirmed participants, and scheduled concerts. According to Valdes, this year's festival will be dedicated to honor renowned US trumpet player and showman Louis Armstrong, on the centennial of his birthday. Jazz performers who have confirmed their attendance include the New Orleans-based band Cubanola, led by Terrence Blanchard, with the participation of Nicholas Paton, currently two of the top trumpeters in the international jazz scene; the Ronnie Mathews Trio, the Kenny Barron Trio, and Dave Valentin, among other artists coming from the United States. The Cuban music representation will include, among others, Orlando Valle "Maracas" band, Bobby Carcasses, Frank Emilio Flynn, Bellita and Jazz Tumbata and Chucho Valdez Jr. Sponsored by the Cuban Music Institute, and the General Society of Spanish Authors -SGAE-, the event is held every two years in the Cuban capital. Since it first started in the small patio of the Plaza Municipality Cultural Center, the festival outgrew those premises to become a must in the international jazz circuit.

      Havana - (RHC) - The 3rd international arteriosclerosis conference is underway at the Havana Libre Hotel in the Cuban capital. Hundreds of specialists from 20 nations in Europe and the Americas are participating in FRATEROS, as the conference is known, in efforts to halt arteriosclerosis - the first cause of death of hospitalized patients in many countries. The event includes a symposium on risk factors and the biological consequences of arteriosclerosis, as well as a number of master conferences. One of the personalities attending FRATEROS is Dr. Ros Rahola from Spain who is the President of the Ibero Latin America society of arteriosclerosis. Dr. Ros delivered a talk on cholesterol in people's diet and associated cardiovascular risks. Special conferences have been scheduled in which the German Bayer and Merz Pharma companies will participate. The conference is sponsored by the Ministry of Public Health, the World Health Organization, the Panamerican Health Organization, and the Howard Foundation from Cambridge.

       
      CARABOBO, Venezuela - National Post - Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, sang a duet during a marathon radio show in which they celebrated a shared passion for leftist revolution -- and baseball. From a makeshift studio at the 19th century independence battleground of Carabobo, the two Latin American radicals sang a homage to Venezuela on the fourth day of Mr. Castro's five-day state visit to the oil-exporting country. Both dressed in combat fatigues, the two recounted tales of the Venezuelan independence struggle and joked about Saturday night's baseball game between the two countries, which Cuba won. Mr. Chavez played first base, while Mr. Castro, 74, managed his national team to a convincing victory. Relations between Venezuela, the world's number three oil exporter, and the U.S-embargoed Communist island have blossomed since Mr. Chavez took office last year, not least because of their leaders' common love of baseball. Mr. Chavez was famous in his younger days as a pitcher and dreamed of becoming a major leaguer in the United States. Mr. Castro, whose pitching skills at the University of Havana are legendary -- he was a southpaw, naturally -- was scouted by the Washington Senators before leaving the bullpen for the president's palace. The leaders are expected to sign an oil supply deal under which Venezuela will finance up to a quarter of the cost of Cuba's $1-billion annual oil import bill and help the island nation explore for new petroleum reserves. Mr. Castro said Mr. Chavez, who staged a failed military coup in 1992 before winning elections in 1998, is an invaluable force for change in Venezuela. "I could disappear today, tomorrow or at any moment and our revolution would continue," Mr. Castro said. Turning to Mr. Chavez, he added, "You have no substitute at the moment in this country because we want you to save many children, help plenty of people and undo many wrongs."
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      In 1994, and re-confirmed in 1999, OFAC (The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C.) issued an opinion which stated that a U.S. company or individual may make a secondary market investment in a "third-country company" that has commercial dealings with the Republic of Cuba as long as this investment in the "third-country company" is not a controlling interest.
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      I love this Cuban comment: "We can't connect your call, so maybe you should just go over there."

      Jim Hitchie
      P.O. Box 30003,
      North Vancouver, B.C.
      Canada V7H 2Y8

      email: info@...       
      PharmaChemUSA/AVC stock symbol -
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