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Published: 04/18/11

Cuba's Communist Party Approves Sweeping Changes

By  not in system - AOL News
Cuba's Communist Party Approves Sweeping Changes

HAVANA -- Communist Party delegates gave their blessing to a sweeping slate of economic changes designed to breathe life and a bit of free-market spirit into Cuba's moribund economy, and also voted in a new party leadership at a historic summit Monday. State television announced the unanimous approval of about 300 economic proposals in a full session of the Party Congress, but it did not give details. Newscast presenters said the party's new leadership has also been decided, without naming names. Ismael Francisco, AP Cuban President Raul Castro, left, Revolution commander Ramiro...

Published: 04/16/11

Cuba Marks Bay of Pigs, Opens Pivotal Party Summit

By  not in system - AOL News
Cuba Marks Bay of Pigs, Opens Pivotal Party Summit

HAVANA -- Cuba kicked off a crucial Communist Party congress Saturday with a big military and civilian parade to mark 50 years since the defeat of CIA-backed exiles at the Bay of Pigs, still celebrated here as a landmark triumph over the island's powerful neighbor to the north. Thousands of soldiers high-stepped through sprawling Revolution Plaza as martial music blared from loudspeakers, not far from an iconic sculpture of Ernesto "Che" Guevara that gazes down from the side of the Interior Ministry building. Helicopters whirred and jet fighters in combat formation roared overhead while...

Published: 03/30/11

Carter Leaves Cuba Without Jailed US Contractor

By  not in system - AOL News
Carter Leaves Cuba Without Jailed US Contractor

HAVANA -- Former President Jimmy Carter met with a jailed American contractor Wednesday but said Cuban leaders had made it clear they do not plan to release him. The announcement was a disappointment to supporters of Alan Gross after the trip had raised expectations the 86-year-old former American president would be allowed to bring the Maryland native home. Gross is serving a 15-year sentence after being convicted earlier this month of bringing communications equipment into Cuba illegally. Franklin Reyes, AP U.S. government contractor Alan Gross, left, is surrounded by security...

Published: 03/22/11

Fidel Castro: I Quit as Party Chief 5 Years Ago

By  not in system - AOL News
Fidel Castro: I Quit as Party Chief 5 Years Ago

HAVANA -- Fidel Castro said Tuesday he resigned five years ago from all his official positions, including head of Cuba's Communist Party, a position he was thought to still hold. It was the first time the 84-year-old revolutionary icon has said he no longer heads the Communist Party, which he has led since its creation in 1965. The Communist Party website still lists him as first secretary, with his brother President Raul Castro listed as second secretary. Castro wrote in an opinion piece that when he got sick in 2006, "I resigned without hesitation from my state and political positions,...

Published: 03/12/11

US Contractor Gets 15-Year Sentence in Cuba

By  not in system - AOL News
US Contractor Gets 15-Year Sentence in Cuba

HAVANA - A Cuban court on Saturday found U.S. contractor Alan Gross guilty of crimes against the state and sentenced him to 15 years in prison, a verdict that brought a swift and strongly worded condemnation from Washington. The court said prosecutors had proved that Gross, 61, was working on a "subversive" program paid for by the United States that aimed to bring down Cuba's revolutionary system. Prosecutors had sought a 20-year jail term. Gloria Berbena, a spokeswoman for the U.S. diplomatic mission on the island, termed the decision "appalling" and called on Cuba to release Gross...

Published: 03/8/11

Guantanamo Bay Military Trials to Resume: What Do the Pundits Think?

By  Steven Hoffer - AOL News
Guantanamo Bay Military Trials to Resume: What Do the Pundits Think?

It was a top priority in his 2008 presidential campaign, but it appears that Barack Obama won't be closing Gitmo anytime soon. The White House announced on Monday that military trials will resume at the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, where a new executive order signed by the president now creates a system in which prisoners could be subject to indefinite detention. Besides reigniting the debate surrounding the legality of military tribunals, the decision will also likely allow the prosecution of Guantanamo detainees such as alleged 9/11 organizer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who wasn't...

Published: 03/5/11

In Havana, Trial Opens for American Accused of Threatening Cuba's Independence

By  Luisita Lopez Torregrosa - Politics Daily
In Havana, Trial Opens for American Accused of Threatening Cuba's Independence

A U.S. government contractor charged with committing acts threatening Cuba's independence has gone on trial in Havana in a controversial case that has become a thorny political issue between the Castro regime and Washington. The contractor, Alan Phillip Gross, 61, is accused of illegally distributing sophisticated satellite communications equipment for Internet access under an American program that is outlawed and considered subversive by the Cuban government. He faces a possible 20-year sentence for "acts against the integrity and independence" of Cuba. Related...

Published: 02/5/11

White House Condemns Prosecution of American Alan Gross in Cuba

By  Tom Diemer - Politics Daily
White House Condemns Prosecution of American Alan Gross in Cuba

Hope for improved relations between the U.S. and Cuba suffered a setback this week as the White House condemned the island nation's plan to prosecute an American contractor, apparently suspected of being a spy by the Cubans. Alan Gross, 61, was arrested in late 2009 in Cuba while working as a contractor for the U.S. government. He was said to involved in the distribution of satellite phones and computer equipment to Jewish people so they could communicate with Jews in other countries. On Friday, Cuban prosecutors said they would charge Gross with "acts against the integrity and independence"...

Published: 01/24/11

Cuba to Get High-Speed Internet, Thanks to Venezuela

By  Lauren Frayer - AOL News
Cuba to Get High-Speed Internet, Thanks to Venezuela

One of the world's most unplugged countries is about to get high-speed Internet, courtesy of an old friend. A specialized ship began laying fiber-optic cable under the Caribbean Sea from Venezuela toward Cuba this past weekend, launching a $70 million project to connect the communist island nation with better phone and Internet service. Internet access in Cuba currently has to go through satellites to get around U.S. embargo restrictions, which ends up being costly and slow. The new fiber-optic cable is being laid by a French-flagged ship from the company Alcatel-Lucent, and paid for jointly...

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