Tag Archives: Cuba

Uganda To Import Cuban Doctors

Uganda government is planning to import 200 Cuban doctors and even hire several retired medical professors of its own country to reduce manpower gaps. It is learned the government has constituted an ad hoc committee to work out the plan in details and it will be chaired by Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng. A Cabinet source meanwhile mentioned the hiring ...

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Cuba suspends US consular services as bank pulls out

The Cuban government says it has suspended consular services in the United States after an American bank decided to withdraw its facilities. Castro (left) said the handshake with Obama (right) was an unplanned gesture Cuba says it will not be able to renew passports and process visas unless it finds an alternative to the M&T bank. The bank said its decision was taken for business reasons. The move is likely to prevent tens of thousands of people travelling from the US to Cuba every month and could have a big impact on the economy there. The US broke off diplomatic relations with the communist-run island in 1961 and imposed an economic embargo a year later. In the absence of bilateral contacts, consular services have been handled by the Cuban Interests Section in Washington. In a statement, the Cuban government blames the trade embargo for its failure to find a new bank “in spite of huge efforts made”. The M&T bank announced last year that it would stop accepting deposits from 17 February, which is a public holiday in the US. “The section regrets any inconvenience this situation may cause,” read the statement. It says it will only be able to handle “humanitarian cases”. ‘Recent thaw’ More than 40,000 people on average travel to Cuba from the US every month, most of them Cuban-Americans, according to the Miami-based Havana Consulting Group. Americans who do not have Cuban nationality are also allowed to travel if they are taking part in cultural exchange programmes. The suspension of consular services comes amid a recent slight thaw in relations, says the BBC’s Sarah Rainsford. At Nelson Mandela’s funeral in December, Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro shook hands for the first time. Cuba and the US also announced the resumption of official talks on immigration and postal services between the two countries. Earlier this week, the European Union agreed to open negotiations aimed at restoring full relations with Cuba. On Thursday, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said President Obama should proceed with a similar gesture and follow the example of the EU. BBC

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Isles keen on improving health service delivery

Zanzibar President Ali Mohammed Shein said that health care was a high national priority ...

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Obama, Cuban President Raul Castro Shake Hands at Nelson Mandela Memorial

U.S. President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro today at a memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela — an almost unprecedented moment between two deeply opposed neighbours. Barack Obama, Raul Castro shake hands at Mandela memorial The handshake came during a ceremony focused on Mandela’s legacy of reconciliation. The U.S. and Castro have been enemies since the Cuban revolution led by Castro’s older brother, Fidel, in 1959. After U.S. businesses in Cuba were nationalized without compensation, the U.S. broke off diplomatic relations and imposed a trade embargo. Obama was greeting a line of world leaders and heads of state attending the memorial in Johannesburg just before he spoke to the gathered thousands at FNB Stadium in Soweto. The U.S. and Cuba have taken small steps toward peace in recent years, raising hopes they could be on the verge of a breakthrough in relations. Still, skeptics caution that the two countries have shown signs of a thaw in the past, only to fall back into old recriminations. Canada, for the most part, has maintained warm relations with Cuba since the days of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau’s visits to the country in the 1970s. He and Fidel Castro, who fell ill in recent years, remained on good terms. Shark-infested straits Obama also shook hands with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who followed him onto the podium during the Mandela memorial, and has clashed with Obama over alleged National Security Agency spying. Cuba has been a hot button in U.S. politics for decades. The southern coastal state of Florida is home to thousands of Cuban refugees and their descendants. The shark-infested Florida Straits, known for difficult currents and sudden squalls, separate the southeast coast of Florida from Cuba. Many would-be Cuban immigrants to the U.S. have died trying to cross the straits as they flee their Communist-ruled homeland. CBC’s Peter Mansbridge noted that Obama spoke of the Mandela legacy even as leaders such as Castro, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and South African President Jacob Zuma sat nearby — all of them criticized in recent years for acts of oppression against some of their own people. “We, too, must act on behalf of justice,” Obama said. “We, too, must act on behalf of peace. “There are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba’s [Mandela's] legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality.” The BBC reported in 2000 that then U.S. President Bill Clinton had shaken hands with the Cuban president at the time, Fidel Castro, at a UN summit in New York. The White House originally denied that the handshake had taken place, but later admitted it had occurred, the BBC said.

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Cuban envoy stresses health, education ties

Cuba is keen on strengthening the bilateral cooperation with Rwanda in the areas of health and education, the Cuban envoy to Rwanda has said. Amb. Javier Viamontes Correa made the remarks during a courtesy call on Speaker Donatille Mukabalisa at the Parliamentary Buildings, Kimihurura. Amb. Correa’s call on the speaker was part of his two-day visit to Rwanda aimed at, among others, gathering support for his country’s fight against economic blockade dating as far back as 1962. “There is a scholarship programmme for Rwandans and we have a group of Rwandans already studying medicine in Cuba,” Correa said on Friday, noting that there are currently about seven Rwandan medical students in Cuba. “After five years, they will return as doctors to work in Rwanda.” In May, 2011, after presenting his Letters of Accreditation to President Paul Kagame, Correa told reporters that he will embark on promoting Rwanda-Cuba co-operation in health and education.  At the time, he stated that 30 Cuban doctors had just served up their contracts in Rwanda and that the two countries were working on a new agreement to continue the programme. Rwanda support The Cuban diplomat, who has permanent residence in Kampala, emphasised that Cuba as well gains much in terms of “friendship and solidarity” as it seeks Rwanda’s support in areas of international diplomacy, especially at the United Nations. Cuba wants the United Nations to lift the trade embargo mainly championed by the United States, but the Caribbean nation also seeks to have a seat on the United Nations Council on Human Rights. “We presented our candidature to the human rights council.

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Colombian rebels release US hostage

Colombia’s Farc rebels have freed a US hostage, former Marine Kevin Scott, after several months in captivity. The American, who had been held in a remote jungle area in the south of the country since June, was released to representatives of the International Red Cross. He is reported to be in good health. The leftist Farc has promised to stop kidnapping as a condition for peace talks with the government taking place in Cuba. Mr Scott was seized by the Farc in a region known as a conflict zone while hiking towards Brazil. The rebels accused him of being involved in a counter-insurgency operation, in the guise of a security contractor. The Farc said later they would release him to contribute to a positive mood, and asked for a former senator, Piedad Cordoba, to act as mediator. The Colombian government rejected her mediation efforts, as well as those of the American civil rights activist, Jesse Jackson. President Juan Manuel Santos said only the Red Cross should be involved, because he did not want what it called a media spectacle. Agencies

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David Lung’aho says standards of volleyball improving

Zurich, Switzerland: Kenya Prisons head Coach David Lung’aho says standards of volleyball in Africa are improving fast. Kenya Prisons coach David Lung’aho (second left) with other coaches in Zurich. Photo: FIVB Lung’aho told a press conference on Tuesday that the Kenya Prisons team has shown improvement in the FIVB World Club Championships over the last three-years. “When we participated in this event for the first time in 2010, we were not able to win a set. But my team has managed to snatch a total of four sets in the last two Championships and that means we’re catching up with the rest of the world,” said Lung’aho. Lung’aho expects his team to maintain the upward trend and achieve better results at this year’s tournament that started in Zurich Wednesday. Lung’aho said; “African volleyball is still developing and we are here to gain more experience. Prisons are the only team in the Championships with semi amateur players. Volleyball in Africa has a strong fan base and attracts wide media coverage. I believe that there will come a time when African teams will be at par with the rest of the world.” Most teams that are participating in the tournament have invested heavily in acquisition of professional players. Hosts Volero Zurich of Switzerland have just two players from home, the rest are from Brazil, Serbia, Cuba, Japan, Croatia and Romania.

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