HAVANA, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The world must confront Ebola in
West Africa to prevent what could become one of the worst
pandemics in human history, Cuban President Raul Castro told his
closest allies on Monday.
“I am convinced that if this threat is not stopped in West
Africa with an immediate international response … it could
become one of the gravest pandemics in human history,” said
Castro, who is sending 461 Cuban doctors and nurses to West
HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba and its closest allies from Latin America and the Caribbean meet in Havana on Monday to set plans for protecting their countries from Ebola and seek ways to help West Africa.
Ebola has killed more than 4,500 people since March in the worst outbreak on record, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban doctors and U.S. military personnel could work side-by-side in West Africa as part of international efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak, possibly leading to improved bilateral relations, a top Cuban health official said on Friday.
The two long-time adversaries are among the countries aiding West Africa, where Ebola has killed some 4,546 people since the outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever began there in March.
HAVANA (Reuters) – The authors of a new book detailing 55 years of informal communications between the United States and Cuba see a rare opportunity to normalize relations, provided President Barack Obama wants to seize the moment.
William LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh co-wrote “Back Channel to Cuba,” which was officially released on Monday and explains the informal and secretive “back channel” means that Havana and Washington have used to speak to each other despite their hostilities.
HAVANA (Reuters) – Inside an abandoned movie theater on a noisy avenue in a working-class section of Havana, some 70 Cuban children as young as nine pursue their dream of joining the circus.
Aspiring acrobats climb a rope while young jugglers toss pins back and forth, and others take turns on the trampoline or parallel bars. No one seems to mind the dilapidated conditions, at least as long as the weather is dry. Several corrugated tin laminates are missing from the roof, exposing the sky.
HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba has received no indication the Obama administration might change U.S. policy toward Cuba despite increasing support within the United States for closer ties, a top Cuban official said on Wednesday.
“We don’t have those indications (of any policy change),” Josefina Vidal, chief of the Cuban foreign ministry’s U.S. division, told reporters in Havana after attending a forum discussing the U.S. embargo.
HAVANA (Reuters) – Defense lawyers for a Canadian executive sentenced to 15 years prison in Cuba on bribery and other charges released a raft of documents on Sunday seeking to bolster their case that Cy Tokmakjian was denied a fair trial.
Tokmakjian’s transportation company said crucial evidence prepared by the defense team was not accepted by the five-judge panel during the two-week trial in June, and relevant witnesses including experts were denied a chance to testify.
HAVANA (Reuters) – Dinners at fancy restaurants, week-long family vacations and a flat-screen TV: the bribes that Cuba accused Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian of giving Cuban officials were modest by corruption standards in many developing nations.
But they have cost him dearly.
Tokmakjian, 74, was sentenced last week to 15 years in prison and $100 million of his company’s assets were seized.
TORONTO/HAVANA, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Cuba offered to free
jailed Canadian executive Cy Tokmakjian in return for $55
million and company assets, his company said on Monday, but the
deal fell through because the firm didn’t have the money and the
businessman wanted to clear his name.
Tokmakjian, 74, founder and chief executive of
transportation firm Tokmakjian Group, was sentenced to 15 years
in prison on Friday after being convicted of bribery and other
economic charges in a case that lawyers and diplomats called a
chilling development for potential foreign investors.
HAVANA (Reuters) – Fourteen Cubans, including two high-ranking officials, were convicted and sentenced to jail terms ranging from 6 to 20 years in a corruption case that also condemned three Canadian executives, the Canadian company said on Sunday.
The case has come under deep skepticism from Western diplomats who have considered the evidence weak and say it threatens to scare off foreign investors at a time when Cuba is actively seeking business partners from abroad. It has also strained Cuba’s relationship with Canada.