Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Odds and ends

·         As the 15th round of Colombia peace talks proceed in Havana, Juventud Rebelde gives ample coverage to the Colombian government’s complaint that the guerrillas are dragging their feet and trying to add extraneous items to the agreed agenda.  Cuba acts as “guarantor” in the talks.

·         Herald: Panamanian officials say that some of the aircraft engines on the North Korean freighter seized in Panama were “brand new.”  They also say that “friends overseas” tell them that Cuba and North Korea have an arms trade agreement of uncertain scope; that the North Korean crewmen in detention are happy campers (air conditioning, clothes, food, cigarettes, time for soccer every day); and that while the crew have spoken to investigators they have declined to sign statements.

·         An “updating” of Cuba’s criminal justice procedures took effect October 1 and was explained by officials on a Mesa Redonda program.  Relatively minor offenses that had been handled in provincial courts will now be heard in municipal courts.  For certain minor offenses prosecutors will have discretion to impose administrative penalties (fines) rather than go to court to seek a prison sentence, although a defendant can insist on a court trial if he wishes.  The impact seems to be a streamlining and a shift of caseload to lower courts and, depending on how prosecutors use their discretion, lesser penalties for minor criminal offenses.

·         Canadian professor Steven Kimber makes the case for the Cuban Five in the Washington Post.

·         AP on the clash between el exilio and more recent Cuban immigrants.

·         Who’s investing in Cuba?  A smart B-School student figures it out at the bar at the Hotel Nacional.

·         Granma on the art of base stealing through the years.

·         EFE: The family of Oswaldo Paya, now living in Florida, acquires Spanish citizenship.

·         AP: A ceremony in the Colon cemetery in Havana to commemorate the terrorist downing of the Cubana airliner in Barbados in 1976.

·         In the National Interest, a look at the past and the future of Cuba’s intelligence services, “punching above their weight.”  The authors link to this interesting U.S. assessment (pdf): “Cuban Subversive Activities in Latin America, 1959-1968.”

·         In an advice column for Congress, former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson owns up to his bumbling in Havana in 2011.

No comments: