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Leonel Suarez holds Cuban flag
1500 metres decathlon
World Athletics Championships Berlin
Leonel Suarez of Cuba holds up his national flag as he celebrates after the 1500 metres event in the men's decathlon during the world athletics championships at the Olympic stadium in Berlin August 20, 2009.

After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.

Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.

Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.

Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.

Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.

Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.

Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.

The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.

Photo: REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler     

Leonel Suarez of Cuba holds up his national flag as he celebrates after the 1500 metres event in the men's decathlon during the world athletics championships at the Olympic stadium in Berlin August 20, 2009.
After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.
Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.
Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.
Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.
Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.
Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.
Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.
The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.
Photo: REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler
 
22 August 2009
The vegetable gardeners of Havana
By Sarah Murch
BBC Two's Future of Food
Climate change, drought, population growth — they could all threaten future food supplies. But global agriculture, with its dependence on fuel and fertilisers is also highly vulnerable to an oil shortage, as Cuba found out 20 years ago.
Oxen organic farming Cuba

With no petrol for tractors, oxen had to plough the land.

With no oil-based fertilizers or pesticides, farmers had to turn to natural and organic replacements.

Today, about 300,000 oxen work on farms across the country and there are now more than 200 biological control centres which produce a whole host of biological agents in fungi, bacteria and beneficial insects.

Havana has almost 200 urban allotments - known as organiponicos - providing four million tons of vegetables every year - helping the country to become 90% self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables.

Alamo Organiponico is one of the larger co-operatives employing 170 people, which was built on a former rubbish-tip that produces 240 tons of vegetables a year.
Oxen work on farms in Cuba
Around Cuba's capital Havana, it is quite remarkable how often you see a neatly tended plot of land right in the heart of the city.
Sometimes smack bang between tower block estates or next door to the crumbling colonial houses, fresh fruit and vegetables are growing in abundance.
Some of the plots are small — just a few rows of lettuces and radishes being grown in an old parking space.
Other plots are much larger — the size of several football pitches.
Usually they have a stall next to them to sell the produce at relatively low prices to local people.
Twenty years ago, Cuban agriculture looked very different.
Between 1960 and 1989, a national policy of intensive specialised agriculture radically transformed Cuban farming into high-input mono-culture in which tobacco, sugar, and other cash crops were grown on large state farms.
Cuba exchanged its abundant produce for cheap, imported subsidised oil from the old Eastern Bloc.
In fact, oil was so cheap, Cuba pursued a highly industrialised fuel-thirsty form of agriculture — not so different from the kind of farming we see in much of the West today.
But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the oil supply rapidly dried up, and, almost overnight, Cuba faced a major food crisis.
Already affected by a US trade embargo, Cuba by necessity had to go back to basics to survive — rediscovering low-input self-reliant farming.
City allotments
With no petrol for tractors, oxen had to plough the land.
Vegetable plot in Havana, Cuba

Havana has almost 200 urban allotments — known as organiponicos — providing four million tons of vegetables every year — helping the country to become 90% self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables.

Alamo Organiponico is one of the larger co-operatives employing 170 people, which was built on a former rubbish-tip that produces 240 tons of vegetables a year.

The organiponico uses raised beds filled with about 50% high-quality organic material (such as manure), 25% composted waste such as rice husks and coffee bean shells, and 25% soil.

'We produce all different kinds of vegetables,' says farmer Emilio Andres who is proud of the fact that his allotment feeds the local community.

'We sell to the people, the school, the hospital, also to the restaurant and the hotel too.

It's important because it's grown in the city, it's fresh food for the people, it's healthy food, and it provides jobs for the people here too.

We don't spray any chemicals. We only spray biological means like bastilos — a bacteria and fungus to kill the pests. And we use repellent plants like marigolds to keep away the pests.

When I see all of these healthy crops, without too many pests, grown without any chemicals, it's amazing for me — I am making a contribution for the people that get healthy crops, healthy products.
Vegetable plot in Havana
With no oil-based fertilizers or pesticides, farmers had to turn to natural and organic replacements.
Today, about 300,000 oxen work on farms across the country and there are now more than 200 biological control centres which produce a whole host of biological agents in fungi, bacteria and beneficial insects.
Havana has almost 200 urban allotments — known as organiponicos — providing four million tons of vegetables every year — helping the country to become 90% self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables.
Alamo Organiponico is one of the larger co-operatives employing 170 people, which was built on a former rubbish-tip that produces 240 tons of vegetables a year.
There are a wide range of crops planted side by side and brightly coloured marigolds at the edges.
"We produce all different kinds of vegetables," says farmer Emilio Andres who is proud of the fact that his allotment feeds the local community.
"We sell to the people, the school, the hospital, also to the restaurant and the hotel too.
"It's important because it's grown in the city, it's fresh food for the people, it's healthy food, and it provides jobs for the people here too.
"We don't spray any chemicals.   We only spray biological means like bastilos — a bacteria and fungus to kill the pests.
And we use repellent plants like marigolds to keep away the pests.
When I see all of these healthy crops, without too many pests, grown without any chemicals, it's amazing for me — I am making a contribution for the people that get healthy crops, healthy products."
Healthy diet
The organiponico uses raised beds filled with about 50% high-quality organic material (such as manure), 25% composted waste such as rice husks and coffee bean shells, and 25% soil.
As well as marigolds, basil and neem trees are planted around the containers to keep the aphids and beetles at bay.   Sunflowers and corn are also planted around the beds to attract beneficial insects such as lady bugs and lace wings.
Sticky paper or plastic funnel-shaped bottles are positioned throughout the beds to trap harmful pests that do get into the garden.
And the methods work. Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach herbs and many other crops are grown in huge quantities and sold cheaply.
Mangoes are 2 pence (3 US cents) a pound. Black beans 15p (25 cents) and plantain, just 12p (20 cents).
At the time of the oil shock, average calorie consumption in Cuba dropped by a third to dangerously low levels.
Since then they have bounced back and Cubans eat just a little less than people in the UK.
The biggest difference is that a Western diet includes about three times as much food energy from animal products like meat and dairy.
The Cuban diet is much less fatty and requires less fuel to produce.
A far less varied diet than in the West, it is also much healthier.
The standard lunch for the farm workers is black beans, potatoes and rice.
Cuban agricultural researcher, Fernando Funes reckons the rest of the world has something to learn from the Cuban agricultural story.
"Well, do you have oil forever?
And there also other considerations like global warming, nature conservation... the conventional way of farming generates a lot of damage to the environment and to human health.
Developed countries as well as developing countries should pay a lot of attention to this kind of agriculture which takes care of land, people, environment and is also efficient and productive.
You can combine both."
© MMIX
Yarelis Barrios of Cuba
Women's discus
World Athletics Championships Berlin
Yarelis Barrios of Cuba competes in the women's discus qualification at the world athletics championships at the Olympic stadium in Berlin August 19, 2009.

After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.

Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.

Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.

Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.

Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.

Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.

Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.

The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.

Photo: REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach     

Yarelis Barrios of Cuba competes in the women's discus qualification at the world athletics championships at the Olympic stadium in Berlin August 19, 2009.
After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.
Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.
Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.
Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.
Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.
Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.
Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.
The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.
Photo: REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
 
Cuba: Gardening its Way Out of Crisis
20 August 2009
Council on Hemispheric Affairs
Dancers perform at the 'Friends of Benny' tavern in Havana
Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.
Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.
Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.
After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.
Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.
Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.
Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.
The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.
Former Cuba President Fidel Castro meets visiting Ecuador President Rafael Correa
Crisis to Bounty
Cuba turned to urban agriculture out of necessity.
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the termination of trade with the Soviet-based Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), the industrial agriculture on which Cuba had relied since the 1970s disappeared.
Almost overnight, diesel fuel, gasoline, trucks, agricultural machinery, spare parts for trucks and machinery, as well as petrochemical-based fertilizers and pesticides, became very scarce commodities.
Like many large metropolitan centers, Havana was a food consumer city, completely dependent upon comestible imports from the Cuban countryside and abroad.
Havana had no food production sector or infrastructure, and had little land dedicated to cultivate this vital industry.
In light of the severe agricultural crisis, a shift to urban agriculture seemed an obvious and necessary solution.
Urban production minimized transportation costs and smaller-scale operation decreased the need for machinery.
Urban agriculture necessitated production sites near highly populated areas, and at the same time avoided the use of toxic petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides, which were no longer available.
Roots of Growth
Although Castro began installing 'organoponicos' (rectangular-walled constructions containing a mixture of soil and compost) in military facilities in 1987, it was not until the end of 1991 that the first civilian organoponico began operation.
This governmental experiment prepared at least some parts of the Cuban institutional structure for the impending food crisis.
Vintage car drives during tropical downpour
By 1994, an organization was created to oversee the systematic introduction of organoponicos along with intensive gardens into urban agriculture.
Since the development of urban agriculture in Havana, production has increased exponentially, with the harvest of fresh herbs and vegetables jumping a thousand fold from 4,000 tons to 4.2 million tons between 1994 to 2005.
The introduction of locally grown, organic agricultural products has significantly benefitted the typical Cuban diet.
The environment of Cuba’s cities has immensely profited in terms of both climate change and aesthetics.
Plots that were previously eyesores and de facto garbage dumps have been transformed into productive land.
The social and economic environment has enjoyed the creation of sizeable sources of urban employment as well as the robust incorporation of women and youth into the workforce.
Although Havana constitutes only 0.67 percent of the total area of the island, 20 percent of Cuba’s population is concentrated in the capital.
The immense agricultural production capable in this small area could be considerable.
This production rate is largely due to the overarching organizational structure of Havana’s urban agricultural model.
Clearly fundamental to the success of this paradigm is the coherent, central direction that the socialist government provides.
In spite of this collective approach, a certain amount of decentralization exists allowing citizens wide pathways to guide marketing and production.
The central government offers support and an organizational backbone, while the decentralized arms furnished by the planning model permit decision-making to be made by producers and encourage local solutions to local problems.
Thus, urban agriculture in Havana is a model of urban self-sufficiency worthy of imitation.
Batida troupe from Denmark perform in Old Havana
Havana and the Outside World
By incorporating modern farming methods into its economy, Cuba has experienced considerable advancements that have allowed the country to address many of its structural as well as life-style shortcomings, particularly the security of its people, the environment and the economy.
The former food-supply problem plunged the Cuban economy into a downward spiral of hunger and despair.
However, by fostering agricultural awareness, the country was able to attain enhanced levels of food sovereignty and security.
This increased allocation of edibles has contributed enormously to the opening of society.
Resources are now accessible and affordable to the general public and the creation of infrastructure accommodates more labor and increased wages.
Thus, the changes Cuba has made have generated a positive interaction between the community and economy.
Many worry whether Cuba’s budget and planning services will be able to maintain its commitment to urban agriculture and sustainable methods, as the country enters the global economy and faces pressures to restructure its economic and political system, especially as Washington nears a decision to lift the U.S.- Cuba trade embargo.
As the economy opens, the tourism industry and multinational food corporations will compete for urban land and attempt to flood the Cuban market with cheap imported food products that could undermine the urban agricultural system.
Havana must develop policies that will protect their growing agricultural sector, but also allow for international influence and trade to flourish.
Although the opening of trade relations threatens local food production, Cuba’s success in the agriculture industry makes it a substantial contender in the global market.
Its products are competitively priced and thus, have the ability to generate a considerable profit for the island nation.
Not only will increased participation in international trade boost revenue, but it could also promote social reform in the country.
Cuba’s urban centers, once underdeveloped and filthy, are now encouraging progressive goals, targeting rising living standards and sanitation concerns, while promoting national initiatives that will support future improvements in the urban landscapes.
Hangs up clothes on balcony of apartment in Havana
Agriculture for the Future
Cuba’s successful implementation of urban agriculture should serve as a model for other developing countries, particularly in Latin America.
By embracing more modern and effective methods of farming, countries theoretically have the opportunity to transform their local markets, augmenting the labor force and cultivating capital and infrastructure.
Introduction to the global market would allow a country like Cuba to become an important economic actor, ultimately expanding its profits through competitive transactions and trade.
Considering the increasingly overbearing nature of contemporary power-house economies, as well as the improvements that would address many of the social and economic issues that plague struggling nations, Latin America, as well as other regions, should acknowledge the practicality of a low intensity urban approach to agriculture, if only as a supplement to other major approaches.
Agricultural urbanization is not only inevitable, but also may be the best available option in ensuring food sovereignty and security for increasing populations, and facilitating economic opportunities for the poor.
The prospect of growth and development, as well as increased global cooperation and communication, should serve as incentive for industrializing countries to integrate and harmonize urban agriculture into their local communities.
This analysis was prepared by COHAResearch Associates Christina Conell and Tara Patel
      http://www.coha.org/      
      http://www.scoop.co.nz/      
Raul Castro brother of Cuba's former President Fidel Castro, who was head of Cuba's armed forces and has now been chosen as President of Cuba, attends an event in Havana March 13, 2007.

Raul Castro, who turned 76 on June 3, 2007, stepped out from the shadow of his famous elder brother Fidel Castro 10 months ago to act as leader.

After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.

Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.

Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.

Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.

Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.

Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.

Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.

The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.

Photo: REUTERS/Claudia Daut 

Raul Castro brother of Cuba's former President Fidel Castro, who was head of Cuba's armed forces and has now been chosen as President of Cuba, attends an event in Havana March 13, 2007.
Raul Castro, who turned 76 on June 3, 2007, stepped out from the shadow of his famous elder brother Fidel Castro 10 months ago to act as leader.
After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.
Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.
Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.
Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.
Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.
Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.
Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.
The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.
Photo: REUTERS/Claudia Daut
June 1, 2007
47 Years Later in Havana
Return to Cuba
By SAUL LANDAU
I landed at Jose Marti International airport in May of 1960, 17 months after a young, bearded man and his fellow barbudos had captured control of the island and sent a hated dictator fleeing.
Musicians played a lively tune as the passengers deplaned, a young woman pushed a rum-flavored drink into my hand and I spotted a young, uniformed man with lieutenant's bars on his shoulders.
I gave him the note that Raulito Roa (of the Cuban UN delegation) had given me in New York, saying I was a young progressive writer and to provide me with help in understanding the revolution.
Cuba signs trade agreements with Vietnam General Secretary Nong Duc Manh
Bola de Nieve performing at Hotel Nacional where Meyer Lansky ran Mafia operations until January 1959
Richard's velocity of speech outpaced my meager comprehension of Spanish, but I did understand that "the revolution had opened the prisms of hope in the eyes of the Cuban people," and that I should wait outside the Hotel Presidente at 8 a.m. to get picked up for a trip to eastern Cuba.
I spent a few hours walking around Havana and trying to engage people in conversations.
I had a rum drink at Club Red and heard a singer called La Lupe.
I saw a sign for Bola de Nieve performing at the Hotel Nacional where Meyer Lansky ran Mafia operations until January 1959.
I saw the sign Habana Libre, flashing from the hotel that used to say Havana Hilton.
Wins silver
Yarelis Barrios of Cuba displays her medal during the awards ceremony for the women's discus at the world athletics championships at the Olympic stadium in Berlin August 22, 2009.

Dani Samuels of Australia won the gold ahead of Barrios who won silver and Nicoleta Grasu of Romania who won bronze.

After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.

Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.

Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.

Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.

Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.

Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.

Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.

The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.

Photo: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay 

Yarelis Barrios of Cuba displays her medal during the awards ceremony for the women's discus at the world athletics championships at the Olympic stadium in Berlin August 22, 2009.
Dani Samuels of Australia won the gold ahead of Barrios who won silver and Nicoleta Grasu of Romania who won bronze.
After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.
Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.
Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.
Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.
Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.
Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.
Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.
The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.
Photo: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
 
Disabled children and dolphins play
Cuba's National Aquarium has been helping children with special needs
I hadn't yet realized Santeria played a more powerful role in spiritual life of the island than the Church
I didn't hear explosions and shooting in the street, although the CIA's terrorist campaign from Florida was well underway.
I walked along the Malecon (the ocean walk), passing couples necking, others fishing.
In the morning, a jeep stopped in front of the hotel, a young man asked my name, introduced himself as Julio, grabbed my suit case and motioned for me to hop in.
I shared the ride with three Chileans back to the airport, bound for Santiago de Cuba, some 500 miles to the east.
What kind of revolution is this, I thought, filled with music and dancing in a Catholic country — I hadn't yet realized that Santeria played a more powerful role in the spiritual life of the island than the Church.
Marta, one of the Chileans, questioned Cuba's growing connection to the Soviet Union as well as the ever advancing role of the Cuban Communist Party in revolutionary decisions.
Dolphins, sea tortoises and sea lions all get into the action
We cruised the countryside outside Santiago de Cuba seeing the revolution's new construction and slum clearance projects
In the October 1959 election for head of Cuba's National Labor council Fidel personally had stepped in to prevent the victory of David Salvador who was an outspoken anti-communist.
In the same time period, Fidel personally arrested Huber Matos, who commanded Camaguey Province.
Matos had objected to the sweeping land reforms and to the growing relationship with Moscow.
The militant anti-imperialist and anti-Yankee language of Che Guevara, for example, and Raul Castro's past links with Cuba's Communist Youth movement had provoked U.S. newspaper columnists and Congressmen alike to question Fidel's commitment to the very axioms of the Cold War: anti-Sovietism uber alles.
By June 1960, we cruised the countryside outside Santiago de Cuba and saw the revolution's new construction and slum clearance projects; I heard only praise for the Soviets from revolutionary cadre.
Marta's skepticism increased.
 Cuba's National Aquarium
April, 11, 2007
Disabled child watches
The slum neighborhood seemed endless as we trudged through mud and slime
The Manzana de Gomez, a slum neighborhood in Santiago, seemed endless as we trudged through mud and slime, rickety shacks made of every leftover substance one could imagine on either side.
A trickling stream filled with garbage and feces wound its way through the center of the makeshift street.
One middle aged man, seemingly drunk, offered a girl, of about 13 or 14, to the Chilean men and me.
His daughter?
The Cuban guides said something harsh to him.
He laughed.
Some women seemed intent on sweeping their dirt floors; some even looked clean, with ironed dresses.
Mostly, I recall the barefoot kids, the emaciated dogs
Mostly, I recall the barefoot kids, the emaciated dogs, my sense of being inside chaos and cacophony.
It had seemed like hours of watching a live horror show. My watch indicated that we had only walked for ten minutes.
"Seen enough?" one of the guides asked.
You can not make this stuff up folks
The United States is in Spain asking that Spain use its influence to get Cuba to change its ways
It should not be permitted for human to live like this
One of the Chilean men shook his head, his complexion slightly green.
Marta looked angry. "It should not be permitted for human to live like this," she said:
"But in Chile there are similar shantytowns.
I would imagine that almost every city in Latin America has them."
By the end of the visit Marta had become convinced that Cuba could not rely on any help from the United States, and had no option but to turn to Moscow. "But in Chile there are similar shantytowns.
"This one won't be here long," one of the Cubans pledged.   "But in Chile there are similar shantytowns."
"The plans to raze it and construct new housing are well underway.
But under the old regimes no one cared to do anything about such conditions.
This is why we're showing it to you, so you'll understand why we had to make a revolution."
 
Jose Rivero plays the guitar in front of a photo of Cuban famous singer Benny More at the 'Friends of Benny' tavern in Havana, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009.

After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.

Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.

Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.

Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.

Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.

Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.

Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.

The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.

Photo: AP/Franklin Reyes     

Jose Rivero plays the guitar in front of a photo of Cuban famous singer Benny More at the 'Friends of Benny' tavern in Havana, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009.
After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.
Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.
Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.
Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.
Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.
Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.
Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.
The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.
Photo: AP/Franklin Reyes
 
No, you really cannot make this up
Rice reproaches Spain for its business contacts with Cuba, says Spain should be killing more Afghanistan people as the United States is doing.
Madrid, Spain
June 1, 2007
 
Guillermo Martinez of Cuba celebrates winning the second place in the men's javelin throw final during the world athletics championships in Berlin August 23, 2009.

After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.

Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.

Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.

Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.

Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.

Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.

Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.

The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.

Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble     

Guillermo Martinez of Cuba celebrates winning the second place in the men's javelin throw final during the world athletics championships in Berlin August 23, 2009.
After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.
Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.
Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.
Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.
Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.
Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.
Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.
The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.
Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble
The jeep took us about a thousand feet up into the Sierra Maestra where the guerrillas successfully operated for two years between late December 1956 and their successful capture of the island in January 1959.
I asked Julio how a few hundred men could possibly have defeated an army that numbered some fifty thousand.
He smiled.
"We had will, determination, the cooperation of a large underground organization and the vast majority of the people.
The Batista government had no support, except from Washington.
They not only tortured and murdered; they did nothing for the people.
Look around.
Moreover, Cuba's institutions did not function, which made it ripe for revolution."
The villages we saw had neither electricity nor running water.
Kids ran barefoot.
I saw no school or a church in most of the villages.
In two, I noticed a crude, hand painted sign: "El Dios se encuentra aqui. (God is here)"
"Protestants," explained our guide.
"Some kind of primitive religion," said Julio.
The sun seemed to toast the ground.
The villages had no electricity or running water.
The thatched-roof houses, bohios, had existed even before Columbus, one guide asserted.
I didn't ask how he knew.
The rocky dirt roads worsened as we climbed.
Patches of corn and malanga, clusters of coffee trees and unhealthy farm animals dotted the landscape.
The villagers filled sacks with ripe coffee beans, loaded them on burros and brought them down the dirt roads to market.
      Saul Landau      www.counterpunch.org      June 1, 2007
 
US Terror State
US Militarism
Canberra, Australia
47 Years Later in Havana
— Return to Cuba
By SAUL LANDAU
D ark-skinned peasants, in dirty yellowish hats and weathered faces waved or nodded as we passed their caravans of animals with jingling bells on their necks.
Often the men rode on horseback; their wives — I presumed — walked next to them.
"Seen enough?" Julio asked, as one Chilean complained of physical discomfort — kidney exercise in the jeep.
I tried to imagine Fidel and his bearded men disembarking to face an ambush, cries of betrayal amidst rifle and machine gun fire
Then the guides brought us to the place near Manzanillo where the yacht Granma landed in early December 1956.
I tried to imagine Fidel and his bearded men disembarking to face an ambush, cries of betrayal amidst rifle and machine gun fire, the sight and smell of human blood on the road lined with white shelled crabs, crawling to and from the swampy grasses on either side of the road.
Fidel and a small group of sick, wounded and exhausted guerrillas somehow escaped and climbed to the high points of the nearby mountains.
One of the guides told us of Fidel peering across the island and commenting to the weary survivors: "The days of the dictatorship are numbered."
US Militarism
US Terror State
Madrid, Spain
As we drove downhill, I wondered whether President Eisenhower, who had supposedly authorized the CIA to organize anti-Castro Cuban exiles to in the near future invade the island and overthrow the revolutionary government, had any idea of the already living legend he would be facing.
Plans to redistribute wealth to and make investment in the impoverished countryside
Julio talked of plans to redistribute wealth to and make investment in the impoverished countryside.
The revolutionaries had already expropriated large estates and many other businesses, including major U.S. companies.
Shortly after I returned to Havana, in July 1960, Fidel took over the U.S.-owned oil refineries, which had refused on orders from Washington to refine imported Soviet oil.
Eisenhower retaliated by cutting the Cuban sugar quota, depriving Cuba of badly needed cash and credit as well.
Walking from the bus to the Tropicana to hear a jazz combo, we ran into Guillermo Cabrera Infante, then editor of Lunes de Revolucion, the cultural supplement of Revolution, the government's newspaper, and passed a demonstration denouncing Ike.
"Sin cuota pero sin amo" read the placards carried by chanting marchers.
US detention center, Guantanamo, Cuba
Cabrera Infante sneered: "Sin cuota pero sin ano."
(Without a quota but without an ass).
I chuckled at his wit.
I also feared both slogans might be right.
(Lunes de Revolucion was closed in 1961. Cabrera Infante served as Cuba's cultural attaché in Belgium. He defected in 1964 and in England wrote several acclaimed novels before his death.)
When I left Cuba in February 1961 I saw young men hoisting four barreled anti aircraft guns onto the roof of the lobby of the Hotel Riviera.
Others planted dynamite under bridges.
All of Cuba awaited the U.S.-backed invasion that finally came in April 1961 at the Bay of Pigs.
When the battle ended, Cuba had symbolically lost its boss and still had its ass.
Over the next decades it struggled to keep it.
 
Boy buys bread at Agro (farmers market)
March 1962, Cuba guarantee citizens a basic amount of food at low prices
Havana
I would look that way also if I were a member of the U.S. congress visiting Cuba, May 29, 2007
Rice is in Spain two days later reproaching Spain for its business contacts with Cuba, saying Spain should be killing more Afghanistan people as the United States is doing
 Kisses Dolphin
 
Ecuador's Vice President Lenin Moreno tours Old Havana during his official visit to Cuba May 27, 2007
 
Mexico
They initially asked for 300 pesos, or $20.00 USD
San Quintín Valley — You come here and sell everything because you haven’t got a cent and here is definitely worse, because you come with promises, illusions, and nothing happens.
Grassroots mobilizations and work stoppages, caravans and tours through different towns and cities in Baja California and the country to publicize their fight and make alliances.
Complicity between the State and business owners not only promotes this state of affairs, but also assumes that the economically and politically powerful can act above the law.
The money that the workers should, but do not, receive is therefore redirected to employers.
Haiti and the US — a classic game of the criminal blaming the victim
Aristide, through two terms in office — both of which he was deposed in the middle of — was sabotaged at every step by the U.S. CIA, USAID, the European Union, the Canadian government, the IMF, and the World Bank.
After perpetrating a reign of superpower terrorism that includes 33 coups d’etat, financing right wing paramilitarism, the terrorizing, abduction and murder of human rights activists, the hijacking of loans meant to establish sources of clean, potable water, hospitals, and clinics, dismantling the democratic election process, forbidding the existence of the largest political party in the country, Fanmi Lavalas, and fomenting the spreading of disease, starvation, mass murder and U.S. hegemony via the Monroe Doctrine, many Haitians believe that the U.S. State Department is now in firm control of the monster it has created.
     UN soldiers shoot at Haitian mourners       
     Pictures and images of Haiti     
       Haiti victim of US imperialism    
Haiti poor
verses the one percent that owns the world
A daughter arrives at her parents’ house high in the hills of Port-au-Prince, her father is home, lying in the yard, under a tree, vomiting
Also in Meille was a battalion of Nepalese UN military working for MINUSTAH, the United Nations Controlling The Poor Mission in Haiti
This same strain of cholera had broken out in Kathmandu on 23 September 2010, shortly before the UN military forces left for Haiti to control the poor and preserve the status of those who have money
In Haiti, which means the poor have nothing, the rich have everything
US destroyed Fallujah as it tries to destroy the rest of Iraq
Published on Monday, July 4, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
by Sheldon Drobny
Justice O'Connor's decision in Bush v. Gore led to the current Bush administration's execution of war crimes and atrocities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places in the Middle East that are as egregious as those committed by the Third Reich and other evil governments in human history.
The lesson is clear.
Those people who may be honorable and distinguished in their chosen profession should always make decisions based upon good rather than evil no matter where their nominal allegiances may rest.
Justice O'Connor was quoted to have said something to the affect that she abhorred the thought of Bush losing the 2000 election to Gore.
She was known to have wanted to retire after the 2000 election for same reason she is now retiring.
She wanted to spend more time with her sick husband.
Unfortunately, she tarnished her distinguished career with the deciding vote in Bush v. Gore by going along with the partisan majority of the Court to interfere with a democratic election that she and the majority feared would be lost in an honest recount.
She dishonored herself and the Supreme Court by succumbing to party allegiances and not The Constitution to which she swore to uphold.
And the constitutional argument she and the majority used to justify their decision was the Equal Protection Clause.
The Equal Protection Clause was the ultimate basis for the decision, but the majority essentially admitted (what was obvious in any event) that it was not basing its conclusion on any general view of what equal protection requires.
The decision in Bush v Gore was not dictated by the law in any sense—either the law found through research, or the law as reflected in the kind of intuitive sense that comes from immersion in the legal culture.
The Equal Protection clause is generally used in matters concerning civil rights.
The majority ignored their basic conservative views supporting federalism and states' rights in order to justify their decision.
History will haunt these justices down for their utter lack of justice and the hypocrisy associated with this decision.
Sheldon Drobny is Co-founder of Air America Radio.
Unspeakable grief and horror
                        ...and the circus of deception continues...
— 2018
— 2017
— 2016
— 2015
— 2014
— 2013
— 2012
— 2011
— 2010
— 2009
— 2008
— 2007
— 2006
— 2005
— 2004
— 2003
Circus of Torture   2003 — now
He says, "You are quite mad, Kewe"
And of course I am.
Why, I don't believe any of it — not the bloody body, not the bloody mind, not even the bloody Universe, or is it bloody multiverse.
"It's all illusion," I say.   "Don't you know, my lad, my lassie.   The game!   The game, me girl, me boy!   Takes on interest, don't you know.   T'is me sport, till doest find a better!"
Pssssst — but all this stuff is happening down here
Let's change it!
Mother her two babies killed by US
More than Fifteen million
US dollars given by US taxpayers to Israel each day for their military use
4 billion US dollars per year
Nanci Pelosi — U.S. House Democratic leader — Congresswoman California, 8th District
Speaking at the AIPAC agenda   May 26, 2005
There are those who contend that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is all about Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.   This is absolute nonsense.
In truth, the history of the conflict is not over occupation, and never has been:  it is over the fundamental right of Israel to exist.
The greatest threat to Israel's right to exist, with the prospect of devastating violence, now comes from Iran.
For too long, leaders of both political parties in the United States have not done nearly enough to confront the Russians and the Chinese, who have supplied Iran as it has plowed ahead with its nuclear and missile technology....
In the words of Isaiah, we will make ourselves to Israel 'as hiding places from the winds and shelters from the tempests; as rivers of water in dry places; as shadows of a great rock in a weary land.'
Pelosi
       Afghanistan — Western Terror States: Canada, US, UK, France, Germany, Italy       
       Photos of Afghanistan people being killed and injured by NATO     

 
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