Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Odds and ends

  • Your tax dollars at work: American Express pays a $5.2 million fine because its offices overseas sold airline tickets from third countries to Cuba – 14,000 tickets over six years.  AP notes that the Cuban government has complained about this and other fines, including one against an Italian bank for transactions it made between 2004 and 2008, before President Obama took office.

  • Former players for the Industriales, the Havana baseball club, plan to play two games in Miami to celebrate the team’s 50th anniversary.  The games will be part of a reunion celebration, with former players from Cuba coming to join others who now live in the United States.  Florida International University agreed to allow the use of its ballfield, but cancelled meekly at the last minute due to “contractual” reasons.  Pathetic.  The U.S. organizers are determined to find another venue but the dates and the event itself are in doubt.  (AP, El Nuevo Herald)  Attorney Jose Palli sums it all up in Diario las Americas.

  • Dissident Oscar Elias Biscet, in El Nuevo, argues that Cuba should join NATO someday.

  • In Juventud Rebelde, Fidel Castro writes a letter to the foreign delegations visiting Cuba for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the attack on the Moncada Barracks.  He gives a long account of the events of 60 years ago.  He also makes brief reference to the North Korean ship detained in Panama: “In recent days slander has been attempted against our Revolution, trying to present the chief of state and government of Cuba as tricking the United Nations and other chiefs of state, imputing two-faced conduct.”

  • The International Court of Arbitration issued a $17 million judgment in favor of Chilean businessman Max Marambio, who ran a food company in Cuba, was accused of corruption in 2010, and was convicted in absentia in a Cuban court.

  • For the record, here are the statements issued at the end of the U.S.-Cuba migration talks that took place in Washington earlier this month: the Cuban and the U.S. statement.  The migration accords provide for periodic talks to discuss migration issues and the functioning of the accords.

  • Reuters: Just-published data on 2012 farm production show mixed results that are not enough to reduce food import costs significantly.  Looking at the data, production of root vegetables was up 4.5 percent over 2009, plantains up 32 percent, garden vegetables down 17 percent, grains up 15 percent, beans up 15 percent, citrus down 51 percent.  Sugar production remains low by historical standards at 1.4 million tons, but that amount is grown on one third the land in sugar production a decade ago and the yield per acre, while lower than that of the 1980’s, is higher than at any time in the past 20 years.

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