mercredi, novembre 08, 2006

Actualité - Examples of Adverse Effects of U.S. Blockade

U.S. Blocks Internet

As the result of U.S. restrictions to the internet, the bandwidth allowed for the entire country of Cuba to connect to the internet is almost the same as the one granted to private or corporate users in other countries, the daily newspaper Juventud Rebelde reported.

In Australia, Bangladesh, Great Britain, Italy, or the U.S., an internet user can access a high speed service with chances of direct transfer of up to 24 megabytes per second. In Norway or Japan, that figure tops 100, the newspaper said.

However, Cuba, a country with over 11 million people, can use through satellite, only 65 megabytes per second of bandwidth for output and 124 megabytes per second for input.

Since the internet was created, the U.S. has been hindering Cuba's use of the worldwide information network, while strongly accusing the Cuban government of depriving the peoples access to the internet.

Due to the U.S. blockade laws, Cuba cannot connect to international fibre optic channels that pass very close to its coasts, forcing it to connect via satellite, which is more expensive and limited. As a result, Cuban authorities give priority to its social use by physicians, scientists, students, professionals, research institutions, cultural personalities, among others.

International organizations have rated that strategy as a model for developing countries. In Cuba there are 1,370 websites, 940,000 e-mail users, and another 219,000 internet users, Juventud Rebelde says.

U.S. Double Morality on Migratory Matters

Addressing the Heads of State and Government during the 16th Ibero-American Summit held recently in Montevideo, Uruguay, Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage denounced U.S. double morality on migratory matters. Highlighting the example of U.S. relations with Cuba, Lage explained that the U.S. has maintained for decades a policy whose aim is to provoke a massive exodus as a pretext for a campaign against the island and military aggression.

A Latin American who decides to live in the United States is an immigrant, while a Cuban is a political exile who escaped from a communist regime, Lage said.

An illegal emigré who is Latin American is returned to his/her country, but if the person is a Cuban, once he is in the United States, by virtue of the Cuban Adjustment Act, he immediately receives residency and permission to work. After a year there, he receives permanent residence automatically.

"The Bush administration," stated Lage, "suspended migratory talks, limited remittances to $300 quarterly and restricted trips to the island of Cuban emigrés to every three years, only for grandparents, sons or grandchildren and siblings."

U.S. Blocks Remittances and Trade

Remittances to Cuba, funds sent home by family members working abroad, are limited to $300 per quarter for Cubans working in the U.S. Violations of these arbitrary regulations are subject to fines by the U.S. Treasury and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which this year imposed $265,270 in fines on U.S. companies and private citizens for violating the blockade. Twenty-three people were fined a total of $57,265 and four companies paid $208,000 for violating such regulations, including exceeding the limit on remittances to Cuba.

A recent OFAC report says fines on private people ranged from $1,000 to $17,500 per violation, while in 2005 it charged $529,000 dollars to eight companies and 487 people.

Among the victims of this policy are Dresser-Rand Group ($171,305), Archer Daniel Midland consortium and its subsidiary Finora Canada Ltd ($13,750) and Augsburg College, Minn. ($9,000).

World Health Organizations Denounce Blockade

The World Health and Pan-American Health Organizations have expressed their opposition to the U.S. government's blockade on Cuba, Cuban newspapers reported.

Both institutions state the country's importance for developing health, capacity of research, willingness to include results and innovations and its solidarity with other countries, Prensa Latina wrote.

Difficulty and denial of visas to Cuban health scientists and authorities, as well as to U.S. scientists to travel to Cuba are other consequences of the blockade.

The U.S. also forbids publishing and broadcasting Cuban scientific articles in the U.S. and restricts common mechanisms of access to technologies, goods and equipment.

(Prensa Latina)

(The Marxist-Leninist Daily - November 8, 2006)

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