Category: Cuba
Truth to Power: Next Cuban Leader Rejects US ‘Imperialism’
| October 8, 2017 | 8:49 pm | Cuba, Donald Trump, Fidel Castro | No comments
Backdropped by a monument depicting Cuba's revolutionary hero Ernesto Che Guevara, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, center left, and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, are accompanied by Cuba's Vice Prime Minister Miguel Diaz Canel, right front, during a ceremony at the Jose Marti Monument n Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016.

Truth to Power: Next Cuban Leader Rejects US ‘Imperialism’

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Havana’s anticipated next leader, Miguel Diaz-Canel, has refuted calls by Washington to change the island nation’s ways, declaring that “changes needed in Cuba will solely be carried out by the Cuban people,” in a stark rebuttal to US political and economic demands.

After stating his intention to step down in 2018, current Cuban President Raul Castro is expected to be replaced by the Caribbean island nation’s First Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Loud & Clear
Trump Moves to Kill ‘Detente’ With Cuba: A Policy in Need of a Pretext

Speaking on Sunday, Diaz-Canel unambiguously castigated the US for its heavy-handed economic, military and diplomatic tactics.

At a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Argentinian revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, who participated in a Bolivian revolt that echoed the 1959 Cuban overthrow, Diaz-Canel reminded his listeners that “imperialism can never be trusted, not even a tiny bit, never.”

In an apparent response to US President Donald Trump’s assertion that the US embargo on Cuba would not be fully lifted until Havana adopts Washington’s version of Western democracy and capitalism, Diaz-Canel said, “Cuba will not make concessions to its sovereignty and independence, nor negotiate its principles or accept the imposition of conditions,”

“The changes needed in Cuba will solely be carried out by the Cuban people,” the popular 57-year-old politician added, cited by Reuters.

With no direct elections for national office in Cuba, Diaz-Canel is projected to be the likely appointed replacement to iconic figure Fidel Castro’s younger brother Raul, now 86, and would make the relatively young leader the first Cuban head without the Castro name since the mid-20th century.

The US president claimed in June that sanctions on Cuba would be ratcheted back up to pre-Obama levels while concurrently gutting the staff at the US embassy in Havana.

Trump’s administration has issued travel warnings to US citizens seeking to vacation in the once-popular island nation.

“Some unnamed officials are propagating unusual nonsense without any evidence, with the perverse aim of discrediting the impeccable reputation of our country as a safe destination for foreign visitors, including from the United States,” Diaz-Canel claimed.

Cuba denounces expulsion of its diplomats from the U.S. as politically motivated
| October 4, 2017 | 8:09 pm | Cuba, Donald Trump | No comments

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Cuba denounces expulsion of its diplomats from the U.S. as politically motivated

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/10/cuba-denounces-expulsion-of-its.html
On September 29, 2017, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the decision to significantly downscale the diplomatic staff of the US embassy in Havana and withdraw all their relatives, claiming that there had been “attacks” perpetrated against US Government officials in Cuba which have harmed their health.
Once again, on October 3, the US Government, in an unwarranted act, decided that 15 officials of the Cuban Embassy in Washington should depart from the United States, claiming that the US had reduced their diplomatic staffing levels in Havana and that the Cuban Government had failed to take all appropriate steps to prevent “attacks” against them.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly protests and condemns this unfounded and unacceptable decision as well as the pretext used to justify it, for it has been asserted that the Cuban Government did not take the appropriate measures to prevent the occurrence of the alleged incidents.
In the meeting that, at the proposal of the Cuban side, was held with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, warned him against the adoption of hasty decisions that were not supported by evidence; urged him not to politicize a matter of this nature and once again required the effective cooperation from the US authorities to clarify facts and conclude the investigation.
It is the second time, after May 23, 2017, that the State Department orders two Cuban diplomats in Washington to abandon the country; that the US Government reacts in a hasty, inappropriate and unthinking way, without having evidence of the occurrence of the adduced facts, for which Cuba has no responsibility whatsoever and before the conclusion of the investigation that is still in progress.
Just as was expressed by the Cuban Foreign Minister to Secretary of State Tillerson on September 26, 2017, Cuba, whose diplomatic staff members have been victims in the past of attempts perpetrated against their lives, who have been murdered, disappeared, kidnapped or attacked during the performance of their duty, has seriously and strictly observed its obligations under the Geneva Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 referring to the protection and integrity of diplomatic agents accredited in the country, in which it has an impeccable record.
As was informed by the Ministry on August 9 last, since February 17, 2017, when the US embassy and State Department notified the alleged occurrence of incidents against some officials of that diplomatic mission and their relatives as from November 2016, arguing that these had caused them injuries and other disorders, the Cuban authorities have acted with utmost seriousness, professionalism and immediacy to clarify this situation and opened an exhaustive and priority investigation following instructions from the top level of the Government. The measures adopted to protect the US diplomatic staff, their relatives and residences were reinforced; new expeditious communication channels were established between the US embassy and the Diplomatic Security Department and a committee of experts was created to make a comprehensive analysis of facts, which was made up by law enforcement officials, physicians and scientists.
In the face of the belated, fragmented and insufficient information supplied by the US, the Cuban authorities requested further information and clarifications from the US embassy in order to carry out a serious and profound investigation.
The US embassy only delivered some data of interest on the alleged incidents after February 21, when President Raúl Castro Ruz personally reiterated to the Chargé d’Affairs of the US diplomatic mission how important it was for the competent authorities from both countries to cooperate and exchange more information. Nevertheless, the data supplied later on continued to be lacking in the descriptions or details that would facilitate the characterization of facts or the identification of potential perpetrators, in case there were any.
In the weeks that followed, in view of new reports on the alleged incidents and the scarce information that had been delivered, the Cuban authorities reiterated the need to establish an effective cooperation and asked the US authorities for more information and insisted that the occurrence of any new incident should be notified in real time, which would provide for a timely action.
Besides all of the above and in the interest of contributing to the investigation and legal process established by virtue of the Cuban Criminal Procedural Law, the US received from Cuba some requests for information as part of the inquiry procedure.
The information delivered by the US authorities led the committee of Cuban experts conclude that this was insufficient and that the main obstacle to clarify the incidents had been the impossibility to have direct access to the injured people and the physicians who examined them; the belated delivery of evidence and their deficient value; the absence of reliable first-hand  and verifiable information and the inability to exchange with US experts who are knowledgeable about this kind of events and the technology that could have been used, despite having repeatedly stating this as a requirement to be able to move forward in the investigation.
Only after repeated requests were conveyed to the US Government, some representatives of specialized agencies of that country finally traveled to Havana on June last, met with their Cuban counterparts and expressed their intention to cooperate in a more substantive way in the investigation of the alleged incidents.  They again visited Cuba in August and September, and for the first time in more than 50 years they were allowed to work on the ground, for which they were granted all facilities, including the possibility of importing equipment, as a gesture of good will that evidenced the great interest of the Cuban government in concluding the investigation.
The Cuban authorities highly assessed the three visits made by the US specialized agencies ,which have recognized the high professional level of the investigation started by Cuba and its high technical and  scientific component, and which, as a preliminary result, concluded that, so far, according to the information available and the data supplied by the United States, there were no evidence of the occurrence of  the alleged incidents or the causes and the origin of the health disorders reported  by the US diplomats and their relatives.  Neither has it been possible to identify potential perpetrators or persons with motivations, intentions or means to perpetrate this type of actions; nor was it possible to establish the presence of suspicious persons or means at the locations where such facts have been reported or in their vicinity.  The Cuban authorities are not familiar with the equipment or the technology that could be used for that purpose; nor do they have information indicating their presence in the country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs categorically rejects any responsibility of the Cuban Government in the alleged incidents and reiterates once again that Cuba has never perpetrated, nor will it ever perpetrate attacks of any sort against diplomatic officials or their relatives, without any exception. Neither has it ever allowed nor will it ever allow its territory to be used by third parties with that purpose.
The Ministry emphasizes that the US Government announced decision to reduce Cuba’s diplomatic staff in Washington without the conclusive results from the investigation and without evidence of the incidents that would be affecting their officials in Cuba has an eminently political character.
The Ministry urges the competent authorities of the US Government not to continue politicizing this matter, which can provoke an undesirable escalation and would rarify and reverse even more bilateral relations, which were already affected by the announcement of a new policy made in June last by President Donald Trump.
The Ministry reiterates Cuba’s disposition to continue fostering a serious and objective cooperation between the authorities of both countries with the purpose of clarifying these facts and conclude the investigation, for which it will be essential to count on the most effective cooperation of the US competent agencies.
Havana, October 3, 2017.
US State Dept. Confirms Departure of Embassy’s Non-Emergency Personnel From Cuba
| September 29, 2017 | 8:05 pm | Cuba | 1 Comment

https://sputniknews.com/latam/201709291057816672-us-cuba-embassy-personnel-departure/

US State Dept. Confirms Departure of Embassy’s Non-Emergency Personnel From Cuba
The U.S. flag flaps in the stiff breeze off the Florida Straits at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba. (File)

US State Dept. Confirms Departure of Embassy’s Non-Emergency Personnel From Cuba

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The United States has taken a decision to pull out more than half of its diplomatic personnel from the embassy in Havana. Routine visa operations are suspended.

The decision was made after an incident involving an audio device, a senior US Department of State official told reporters on Friday.

“On September 29, the [State] Department ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel assigned to the US embassy in Havana as well as all family members,” the official said. “Until the government of Cuba to ensure the safety of US government personnel in Cuba, our embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel.”

The United States does not eliminate the possibility of a third country being involved in sonic attacks against US diplomats in Cuba, the official added.

“We have not ruled out the possibility of a third country as a part of the investigation, but that investigation continues,” the official stated.

The official added US investigators do not know the methods, the means or how the sonic attacks were carried out.

The last report of attacks was received in August, the official noted. Meanwhile, the State Department has not confirmed that the incidents have completely stopped.

The Cuban government is cooperating with the United States in the ongoing investigation into the incidents, the official said.

The United States is suspending issuing visas in Cuba, the official told reporters.

“Routine visa operations are suspended indefinitely,” the official said.

Previously the US media reported the US was planning to withdraw most of its diplomats from Cuban capital of Havana after embassy workers allegedly suffered brain injuries caused by sonic weapons.

In August, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said diplomatic personnel working in the US embassy in Cuba were involved in an incident that resulted in physical symptoms. The investigation into injuries of US diplomats allegedly sustained in Havana had not found any evidence that ccould confirm the injuries’ origin.

The incidents, allegedly caused by a sonic weapon, have affected at least 21 diplomats, some of whom appear to have suffered permanent hearing loss and possibly brain injury, according to media reports.

On September 14, US senators sent a letter to State Secretary Rex Tillerson, urging the State Department to close the embassy in Havana and expel all Cuban diplomats from the United States, since Cuban authorities failed to ensure the security of US diplomats.

Last week, Tillerson told CBS that the US government was considering closing its embassy in Cuba. On Thursday, a meeting between Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and Tillerson took place in Washington. The talks between the two diplomats focused on ensuring the safety of US diplomatic staff.

Russia Will Help Cuba to Restore its Infrastructure After ‘Irmageddon’
| September 23, 2017 | 9:28 pm | Cuba, Russia | No comments

Russia Will Help Cuba to Restore its Infrastructure After ‘Irmageddon’

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Moscow prepares the considerable shipment of building materials and equipment for Havana, affected disastrously by the devastating Hurricane Irma.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia will supply more than 1,200 tonnes of construction materials as humanitarian aid to Cuba, hit by devastating Hurricane Irma, Emergencies Minister (EMERCOM) Vladimir Puchkov said Saturday.

Earlier in the day, the minister held talks with Cuban Council of Ministers’ Vice President Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz.

“In accordance with the decision of the Russian government, the Russian Emergencies Ministry has started the humanitarian action to deliver over 1,200 tonnes of construction materials upon your request,” Puchkov said, adding that the cargo would be sent via sea route from the port of Novorossiysk.

Ruiz thanked the Russian minister for the assistance provided to Cuba, noting Hurricane Irma had become the fifth hurricane of such power to hit the island.

“According to the data from our country’s institute, there have been only five such disasters. Furthermore, the previous hurricanes hit only certain parts of Cuba, while this hurricane had such parameters that it passed 10 provinces of Cuba, moving from east to west with the category 5 strength,” he said.

The official noted that the hurricane had caused huge damages to the energy and agriculture sectors, in particular to sugarcane crops. He also noted that due to the climate change disastrous storms were often followed by a severe drought in the Caribbean region. Ruiz added that the country would continue to examine hurricanes’ impact on environment, in particular — the threat of flooding of some areas in the country.

Recently, the Caribbean region and the southeast of the United States have been hit by a number of heavy storms. Irma is considered to be one of the most severe hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, which has already caused up to 81 deaths. The latest hurricane, Maria made a landfall on Puerto Rico on Wednesday, causing the entire island to lose power and resulting in deaths of 12 people.

Why Trump’s Foreign Policy May Result in 25 ‘Chernobyls’ in Asia-Pacific
| September 22, 2017 | 7:25 pm | Cuba, Donald Trump, DPRK, Iran, Venezuela | No comments
Nuclear explosion

Why Trump’s Foreign Policy May Result in 25 ‘Chernobyls’ in Asia-Pacific

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The US’ foreign policy may lead to a nuclear nightmare in Asia Pacific, compared to which the Fukushima disaster is a “firecracker,” an expert told Sputnik, adding that in his UN speech Donald Trump had repeatedly contradicted himself by calling upon nations to maintain their sovereignty while at the same time threatening to destroy North Korea.

US President Donald Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea in case the US is “forced to defend itself or its allies” means a potential atomic Armageddon for the Korean Peninsula, Konstantin Sivkov, a Russian military analyst and president of the Academy for Geopolitical Problems, told Sputnik China.

“We must keep in mind what a strike on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) may result in,” Sivkov said. “If the US decides to begin an all-out war against North Korea it will mean only one thing: 25 nuclear reactors in South Korea will be destroyed by a retaliatory attack from the DPRK. This equates to 25 Chernobyl disasters on the Korean Peninsula.”

It’s easy to guess what the consequences would be, the expert noted: the Korean Peninsula, considerable parts of China and Russia, let alone most of the territory of Japan will turn into a “dead zone.”

“In comparison with this, the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe would look like a firecracker,” Sivkov pointed out. “In fact, Trump is pushing [the peninsula] toward a nuclear collision, and it must be realized that if a nuclear strike is launched against North Korea, it is unlikely that China and Russia will stand idly by.”

In this context the US president’s call for tackling threats to national sovereignty sounds rather hypocritical, the expert said, referring to Trump saying: “We must reject threats to sovereignty from Ukraine to the South China Sea.”However, Trump didn’t specify who exactly poses a threat to the sovereignty of Ukraine and waters of the South China Sea, leaving the question open. In the eyes of Beijing the threat to its sovereign rights in the maritime region comes from the US. Therefore Trump’s comment could be interpreted as a call to protect China’s sovereignty from the US itself, the expert remarked.

According to Sivkov, while delivering his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump contradicted himself.

The expert drew attention to the fact that Washington doesn’t have a clear position on its foreign policy: On the one hand, Trump proclaims the inviolability of sovereignty, while on the other hand he declares his determination to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations.

Sivkov noted that the US president’s tough stance toward China has only accelerated further Sino-Russian rapprochement and military-strategic cooperation. According to the expert, the decision of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to focus more on the issues of military-political cooperation and fight against terrorism has come as a response to Washington’s “political games.”The expert stressed that the fight against “hybrid wars” also remains high on the agenda of the SCO and with good reason: “A hybrid war is the US’ main way of conducting operations against other countries.”

The Astana declaration of the Heads of State of the SCO signed on June 9, 2017, calls upon its members to team up in order “to counter common security challenges and threats, deepen dialogue and cooperation to ensure comprehensive security,  primarily  in  fighting  terrorism,  including  cyber-terrorism,  separatism, extremism, cross-border organized crime, illicit drug trafficking.”

According to Sivkov, the adoption of the declaration indicates that SCO member-states have united against potential aggression from the West and the US in particular.

Speaking to Sputnik, Zhou Yongsheng, a research fellow with the Center for International Relations Studies of the Diplomatic Academy of China, shared Sivkov’s stance that Trump’s speech was contradictory from the very beginning until the end.On the one hand, the US president called on the international community to respect the principle of state sovereignty, and on the other he threatened some countries with decisive actions, including total destruction, the Chinese academic noted referring to Trump’s threat to destroy North Korea.

According to Zhou, “Trump’s speech… demonstrates a lack of political culture.”

On Tuesday US President Trump delivered his first ever speech at the United Nations General Assembly issuing threats to a number of countries, including North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba and called upon UN member states to “confront together those who threat us with chaos, turmoil and terror.”

The delegation from North Korea left the conference room before Trump addressed the meeting and didn’t hear him calling the DPRK leader a “Rocket Man.” However, afterwards DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho compared the US president’s speech to “dog barking.”

For his part, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Alberto Arreaza stated that Trump is by no means the president of the world, adding that each country has its sovereign right to maintain the system it chooses.

“This is return to the cold world, for a moment, we didn’t know if we were listening to President Reagan in 1982 or to President Trump in 2017,” Arreaza noted.

China stood up for Caracas: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi signaled to his Venezuelan counterpart that Beijing believes that the Venezuelan government and people will manage to resolve their problems within a legal framework, Reuters reported.

Commenting on Trump’s first speech at the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called it “ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric.”

“By violating its international commitments, the new US administration only destroys its own credibility and undermines international confidence in negotiating with it or accepting its word or promise,” Rouhani emphasized addressing the UN General Assembly.

Cuba slams Trump’s defiant and disrespectful remarks at the U.N. General Assembly
| September 20, 2017 | 9:22 pm | Cuba, Donald Trump | No comments

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Cuba slams Trump’s defiant and disrespectful remarks at the U.N. General Assembly

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/09/cuba-slams-trumps-defiant-and.html
Once again, U.S. President Donald Trump demonstrated his political appetite as a provocative war-mongering imperialist. This time, speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, Trump lashed out at Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in a speech full of provocation and hate.
According to Reuters, Cuba on Tuesday slammed U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest comments about the island as “disrespectful, unacceptable and meddling,” while reiterating it was not involved in the alleged incidents that had harmed U.S. diplomats in Havana.
The sharply worded Foreign Ministry statement came after U.S. and Cuban delegations met in Washington to discuss bilateral relations, the first such high-level meeting between the Cold War foes since Trump took office in January.
Their meeting took place on the same day Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York, calling Cuba “corrupt and destabilizing.” He also said he would not lift the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba until it made “fundamental reforms.”
Cuba said it had voiced “strong protest” against his comments, as well against his new policy toward the Communist-run nation. The Republican president announced in June a partial rollback of the U.S.-Cuban detente forged by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.
“In the wake of the disrespectful, unacceptable and meddling statements made by President Donald Trump in his address to the U.N. General Assembly at a time when the U.S.-Cuba Bilateral Commission was sitting in session, the Cuban delegation voiced a strong protest,” the Foreign Ministry statement said.
Irma hits Cuba: Firm solidarity with the Cuban people
| September 10, 2017 | 8:21 pm | Cuba | No comments

Friday, September 8, 2017

Irma hits Cuba: Firm solidarity with the Cuban people

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/09/irma-hits-cuba-firm-solidarity-with.html
Source: Granma.
An Alarm Phase is declared for the provinces of Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Cienfuegos and Matanzas; an Alert for Mayabeque, La Habana and Artemisa; and the Informative Phase for Pinar del Río, as of 10:00am. Other provinces remain in the Alarm Phase. Residents of the Isle of Youth are to remain attentive to information released.
According to information from the Meteorology Institute’s Forecast Center, Irma continues to be a high intensity system with maximum sustained winds of 250 km/h, at the upper limit of a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
At 6:00am, the eye of the storm was estimated to be located some 168 kilometers north of Punta de Maisí in Guantánamo, and 180 kilometers east-northeast of Punta Lucrecia, Holguín. The storm continues moving northwest at 26 kilometers per hour (km/h), and will continue to do so at a reduced rate, in the same direction, close to the northern coast of the eastern and central regions of the country.
Considering the imminent impact on our territory, the decision was made to declare an Alarm Phase for the provinces of Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Cienfuegos and Matanzas; an Alert for Mayabeque, La Habana and Artemisa; and the Informative Phase for Pinar del Río, as of 10:00am. Other provinces remain in the Alarm Phase. Residents of the Isle of Youth are to remain attentive to information released.
State bodies and organs, economic entities, and social institutions in the provinces now in the Alarm Phase must implement measures established in their respective disaster mitigation plans, limit the movement of persons and means of transportation, as well as other activities which may endanger lives.
The population is urged to stay informed of the evolution of this hurricane via Hurricane Advisories released by the Meteorology Institute, and Civil Defense instructions, adopting, in a disciplined fashion, all measures as indicated by local authorities.
National Civil Defense General Staff.

Prevention, responsibility and discipline.

Given the proximity of Hurricane Irma, Defense Councils
were activated at all levels in the province of Granma.
Photo: Dilbert Reyes Rodríguez
Work is underway corresponding to each stage of preparations for the impact of Hurricane Irma, especially that relating to protecting the lives of the population.
This Thursday, September 7, saw a meeting of representatives of the strategic Western region of the island in the National Civil Defense Council’s Disaster Command Center to provide information on the possible impact of Hurricane Irma.
The presidents and vice-presidents of the Provincial Civil Defense Councils of Havana, Artemisa, Mayabeque, and Pinar del Río learned that – according to the Institute of Meteorology forecasts – the greatest damages in this region will stem from the impact of strong winds, rain and sea penetration, due to the reach of Irma’s spiral bands, while Irma’s recurve in its passage toward Florida could result in the hurricane affecting this part of the island over an extended period.
The member of the Party Central Committee Political Bureau and Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), Army Corps General Leopoldo Cintra Frías, stressed the importance of promptly and opportunely informing the population and, if necessary, advancing some of the measures envisaged in other preparation phases.
Major General Ramón Pardo Guerra, chief of the National Civil Defense General Staff, pointed out that the greatest danger stems from the extended period that the meteorological phenomenon could remain close to this region, during which its mass of water and wind will impact on the country.
In response to a query from Granma regarding the measures already being taken in the capital – one of the most vulnerable territories – the Party Political Bureau member, Vice President of the Council of State and First Secretary of the Party in Havana, Mercedes López Acea, noted that work is underway corresponding to each stage of preparations, especially that relating to protecting the lives of the population
Among other measures, López Acea explained that the opening times of local food rations stores have been extended, and efforts are being made to supply local markets and food processing centers, to guarantee certain essential products to the population.
She also outlined the measures to deal with flooding in areas at risk. “Everything will depend on the responsibility with which state agencies in each municipality act, and on the other hand, how the population, in a disciplined manner, responds to the guidelines.”
Also participating in the meeting was the member of the Party Political Bureau, Army Corps General Álvaro López Miera, first deputy minister of the FAR and Chief of the Army General Staff.