Author Archives: Agence France-Presse

DISIDENCIA CUBANA NO LOGRA NOMINAR CANDIDATOS A ELECCIONES MUNICIPALES

Agence France Presse, 13 de noviembre de 2017 8:49 PM

Original Article: Disidencia No Logra Candidatos

La Habana

Tres organizaciones opositoras cubanas que se habían propuesto nominar cerca de 550 candidatos independientes a delegados en las elecciones municipales del 26 de noviembre fracasaron en su propósito, admitieron este lunes sus directivos.

“Ninguno ganó la nominación por la intervención de la policía política fundamentalmente, no solamente por la detención de las personas que se iban a postular, sino por su presencia proactiva en las asambleas”, dijo a Julio Antonio Aleaga, de la agrupación Candidatos por el Cambio.

El proceso de postulación que terminó el 2 de noviembre se hace en asambleas de barrio, donde se proponen y aprueban a mano alzada los candidatos a delegado. Según la Comisión Electoral, se realizaron 60,870 propuestas para nominar 27,221 candidatos, entre los que se escogerán los 12,515 delegados en voto directo y secreto el día 26.

La plataforma Otro 18 buscaba postular a 182 opositores, la agrupación Candidatos por el Cambio promovió a 306 y el Partido Autónomo Pjnero 60.

Este es el inicio de un proceso electoral, primero municipal y luego general, que debe concluir con febrero de 2018 con la elección de un nuevo Parlamento y un presidente, que sustituirá a Raúl Castro.

“Ahora mismo, en la situación que está el país, un posible cambio de gobierno, era muy difícil, porque además se vive en una dictadura, era muy difícil que pudieran ganar los candidatos independientes”, opinó Aleaga.

Según Manuel Cuesta Morúa, de Otro 18, “no pudieron nominarse porque las autoridades desplegaron una batería de actos violatorios en todos los casos de la Ley Electoral y de la Constitución, que impidieron que estas personas pudieran ser nominadas”. Citó detenciones temporales, procesamientos jurídicos por diferentes causas, intimidaciones, cambios de fecha y hora de las asambleas y otras “artimañas”.

El intento de cambiar la situación política cubana participando en el juego electoral oficial es rechazada por parte de la disidencia.

“La oposición se divide ahora muy claramente en los que no creen en el proceso electoral y los que creen que se debe participar en los procesos electorales como forma de modernizar el país”, dijo Aleaga.

Pero ambos dirigentes sostienen que a pesar del fracaso en nominar, el hecho de participar significa avances.

“No es necesariamente una derrota de la estrategia, porque para nosotros la estrategia tenía tres puntos fundamentales: primero legitimarnos frente a la ley, luego frente a la sociedad y tres, obviamente, tratar de lograr que algún candidato pudiera competir”, dijo Cuesta.

Nomination meeting for candidates for Municipal Assembly, Havana.

Perfect and enthusiastic accord.

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Cuban Merchants Defy Ban on Sale of Imported Clothes

Original Article here  Cuban Merchants…..

Privately-owned small retailers in communist Cuba are defying a government order to stop selling imported clothing or face stiff fines.

Imported clothing is in high demand in Cuba because foreign apparel is cheaper and of higher quality than threads sold in state-run stores.

“We have been here for three years selling without a problem and abiding by the law, and now they say that this is over?” asked Nadia Martinez, 32. “We are not going to close our business.” Martinez has a government license to work as a seamstress, but in practice runs a modestly successful business selling imported clothes on Galiano Street, one of Havana’s busiest commercial avenues. The clothes are not imported by the government, but rather brought in by Cubans traveling to places like Ecuador, Mexico, Spain and the United States.

Until now, the government had seemed to look the other way as she stretched the scope of her legal employment. But it now appears it may regulate away her economic success story.

In 2010 President Raul Castro expanded the list of government-approved self-employment occupations as part of a very gradual reform of its Soviet-style economy. Castro announced that over the following years he would also be slashing the country’s five-million strong bureaucracy — this on an island with a population of about 11 million — as a cost-cutting measure. Today more than 430,000 Cubans work for themselves or in small businesses. Authorized job categories include restaurant owners, barbers, electricians, plumbers, mechanics and other skilled trades. Privately owned beauty salons and family-owned restaurants known as “paladares” proliferated, often operating from the back of people’s houses. The government, however, remains the country’s largest employer, and central planners still try to control the cash-strapped economy.

Deputy Labor Minister Marta Elena Feito recently announced that the government would fine businesses and people found selling imported apparel or re-selling clothing that originated in state-run stores. Authorities have long tolerated the clothing vendors, and even though Feito said the measures would be enforced “immediately,” no vendor has been forced to shut down.

“We’re waiting for them to come explain the unexplainable to us, because closing us down cannot be a solution,” said Ledibeth Sanchez, 29, another Galiano Street vendor. A few blocks away Carlos Medina, 44, works at the “Fashion Passions” boutique on Dragones Street. The well-stocked store sells jeans, blouses, T-shirts and imported dresses.

“Everything was going very well and suddenly they change it all,” said Medina. He said vendors and store employees are fretting about being potentially being forced to shutter. “Nobody has notified us, but if they give us the order to close, we’ll close,” he said in a resigned tone.

Omara Cambas, 46, a former Communist Youth national leader, opened the “Catwalk Workshop” clothing boutique in the Havana neighborhood of El Vedado just three months ago. “This measure would affect us a lot — the fact is, I’d be without work,” said Cambas.

A key reason so many people have joined the ranks of self-employed — aside from state job cuts — is that state salaries average around $20 a month. Though people may not have to pay for housing here, that is not enough for most to put food on the table for their families or buy clothing.

Castro, 82, took over from his ailing older brother Fidel in 2006 and has chosen not to dramatically open up Cuba’s economic or political system. Fidel Castro led the nation through five decades of Cold War strains with the neighboring United States. Raul Castro has sought to liberalize Cuba’s socialist economy a bit and encourage more private entrepreneurship, but at the same time maintain a key role for the Cuban state through joint ventures.

Since 1962, Cuba has been under a full US trade embargo. But US goods routinely move through third countries or are resold by people traveling into Cuba.

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