U.S. blacklists 7 Cuban companies, jeopardizing U.S. remittances

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the seven Cuban military-controlled companies were added to the Cuba Restricted List, barring Americans from doing business them.

Among those blackballed Wednesday include Fincimex, which Western Union uses to send remittances from Americans to their Cuban families.

Pompeo said it was included with the six other entities to “help address the regime’s attempts to control the flow of hard currency that belongs to the Cuban people.”

“We will continue to stop the flow of money into the pockets of those who oppress the Cuban people,” he tweeted. “61 years of oppression and dictatorship are enough. To the Cuban people: you deserve better and we stand with you.”
Ricardo Herrero, the executive director of the Cuba Study Group, lambasted the move as “inhumane and the height of hypocrisy” to say they stand with the Cuban people while cutting them off from needed funds amid a pandemic in order to deny the Communist government the revenue earned from a less than 15 percent tax on such monies.

“The Cuban people should absolutely have the freedom to decide what to do with remittances sent by their loved ones. But by sanctioning the state entity that channels & taxes those funds [without] providing an alternative, the Trump admin threatens to cut off all formal remittances,” he tweeted.

Being unable to use Fincimex, Cubans will resort to third-market transfer agencies and it will incentivize money laundering, he said. “Not to mention pile on even greater hardship of the Cuban people who this farcical policy pretends to ‘support.'”

In October of last year, the Trump administration re-capped remittances to $1,000 per quarter. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said then in a statement the move was being taken to “financially isolate” the Cuban regime.

“Through these regulatory amendments, Treasury is denying Cuba access to hard currency, and we are curbing the Cuban government’s bad behavior while continuing to support the long-suffering people of Cuba,” he said.

The Obama administration had lifted all restrictions on remittances and family travel to Cuba in 2009 as part of a then-U.S. policy shift toward the Caribbean nation that has experienced a reversal under President Donald Trump.

The other Cuban military-controlled companies sanctioned Wednesday include three hotels, two scuba diving centers and a marine park.

“The Cuban people deserve democratic government, freedom of speech and religion or belief, economic prosperity and respect for human rights,” Pompeo said in a statement. “The United States stands with the Cuban people as you struggle to achieve this vision and look forward to the day when the dream of freedom becomes reality.”

Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, rejected the sanctions Wednesday, stating they aim to harm Cuban families.

“Tightening the blockade during COVID-19 is both shameful and criminal,” he tweeted.

The announcement comes on the 89th birthday of Raul Castro, the leader of the Cuban government.

Kuwait recruits 300 Cuban doctors, nurses

Cuban doctors, protecting themselves from the rain with plastic bags, pass by images of Cuban late President Fidel Castro and late revolutionary hero Ernesto “Che” Guevara after a farewell ceremony before departing to Kuwait to assist, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Havana, Cuba

Abu Dhabi: Kuwait has recruited 300 Cuban doctors and nurses to be deployed to deal with COVID-19 infections, a senior official said.

Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Mutairi, assistant undersecretary for technical affairs at the Ministry of Health, said the Cuban doctors and nurses will be working in intensive care wards to deal with the cases of the novel coronavirus.

He added that the Cuban team had visited many countries, and in light of this Kuwait signed a memorandum of understanding in the health field to benefit from their experiences, explaining that the team’s visit will last for six months.

The Cuban Ambassador to Kuwait, Hoseluez Norwega, expressed his happiness at receiving 300 Cuban doctors and nurses, who will help “friends and brothers in Kuwait” to fight the coronavirus, explaining that this indicates the strength of relations between the two countries.

He added he felt proud this large Cuban medical team joins Kuwait’s front lines to fight the strain.

On Friday, Kuwait has confirmed 723 new cases of the novel coronavirus over the past 24 hours, taking the country’s infection tally to 30,664.

The Health Ministry also announced eight more deaths from COVID-19, raising the total such fatalities in the country to 244.

There are 197 patients receiving intensive care treatment, the official added.

The number of COVID-19 tests conducted so far in Kuwait has totalled 308,900.

Biden Says ’10 to 15 Percent’ of Americans ‘Not Very Good People’ While Slamming Trump’s Divisiveness

Former vice president Joe Biden estimated Thursday that about “10 to 15 percent of the people out there” are “just not very good people” and accused President Trump of dividing the nation, adding that as president he would bring Americans together.

“The words a president says matter, so when a president stands up and divides people all the time, you’re going to get the worst of us to come out,” Biden said during a Young Americans discussion with a group of black supporters that was moderated by actor Don Cheadle.

“Do we really think this is as good as we can be as a nation? I don’t think the vast majority of people think that,” the presumptive Democratic nominee continued. “There are probably anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the people out there that are just not very good people, but that’s not who we are. The vast majority of the people are decent, and we have to appeal to that and we have to unite people — bring them together.”

The former vice president’s remarks evoked memories of Hillary Clinton’s claim during the 2016 campaign season that half of Trump supporters could be put in a “basket of deplorables,” a comment that provoked outrage from Trump, his supporters, and other Republicans. In 2012, leaked video of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney showed him saying that 47 percent of voters would not vote for him because they are “dependent upon government.”

Biden’s comments come as the nation is rocked by protests and riots in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody after white Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes. Both peaceful protests and riots have broken out in Minneapolis and cities around the country, including Washington, D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, and Dallas.

Biden emphasized that people should not “allow the protesting to overshadow the purpose of the protest,” adding that, “there’s going to be a lot of folks that are going to want to cause trouble. Some cops, but some folks too.”

On Thursday, Attorney General William Barr said that since Saturday in Washington, D.C. alone, 114 law enforcement personnel had been injured during riots, including 22 hospitalizations, mostly for serious head injuries. On Monday, however, a largely peaceful protest was broken up by law enforcement minutes before Trump walked over to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which protesters had set fire to the previous night.

“Hate didn’t begin with Donald Trump, it’s not going to end with him,” Biden said during Thursday’s discussion.

“I thought we had made enormous progress when we elected an African-American president, I thought things had really changed,” Biden said. “I thought you could defeat hate, you could kill hate. But the point is, you can’t. Hate only hides, and if you breathe any oxygen into that hate, it comes alive again.”

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Texas Ranger statue removed from Dallas airport over racism concerns

A construction crew removes the bronze statue of a Texas Ranger, called “One Riot, One Ranger,” from the main lobby inside Love Field airport in Dallas.AP
A 12-foot-tall bronze statue of Texas Ranger Jay Banks was removed this week from Dallas Love Field Airport after a new book shed light on the figure’s racist history, according to new reports.

The statue, which has stood at the airport since 1962 and is captioned “One Riot, One Ranger,” was removed Thursday, the Dallas Morning News reported.

City and airport officials decided to remove the statue a day after reading troubling excerpts about Banks from Doug J. Swanson’s soon-to-be-published book, “Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers,” in D Magazine.

An infamous photo taken in 1957 shows Banks leaning against a tree outside Mansfield High School as a dummy in blackface hung from a noose above the school. Swanson writes: “Nearby a white mob had assembled. Some carried signs that threatened death for anyone attempting to integrate the school. Banks saw no need to remove the effigy or disperse the mob.”

Still, Swanson told the station he was “surprised” at the statue’s removal.

“I wasn’t consulted,” he said. “I have very mixed feelings about it. I think it’s really important for the history of the statue to be known.”

“I’m not for silencing or abolishing pieces of history,” he told the Morning News. “I am for explaining them and giving them context. In this case, this statue has a very rich and problematic backstory.”

A construction crew removes the bronze statue of a Texas Ranger, called “One Riot, One Ranger,” from the main lobby inside Love Field Airport in Dallas.AP

Tristan Hallman, a spokesman for Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, told the paper that “the mayor was not informed by the city manager’s office” of the decision to remove the figure and “was not aware of the controversy surrounding the statue.”

“[Johnson] believes it’s something that the City Council will probably want to weigh in on,” Hallman added.

The statue was sculpted by well-known Texas artist Waldine Amanda Tauch, according to the paper.

It’s been placed in storage while the city’s Office of Arts and Culture confers with the City Council about what to do with it next, according to KXAS-TV. Swanson’s book is out June 9.

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Florida man pointed gun at nurse after denied hospital entry amid coronavirus

A Florida man is accused of pointing a gun at a nurse and security guard last Friday after he was denied entry into a hospital to see his wife due to COVID-19 visitor restrictions, according to a report.

Eric Reitz, 57, was arrested that afternoon and remains in custody. He originally got in an altercation with the guard due to the visitation policy at Santa Rosa Medical Center in Milton — where his spouse was a patient, according to the Pensacola News Journal.

A nurse, who was standing next to the guard, told police he “racked” the weapon as if he was loading it and pointed it at them, the paper reported. Around that time, a security guard told a nearby patient to get behind cover.

After hearing police sirens in the distance, Reitz allegedly put the firearm back in his truck. Police said they found a 12-gauge shotgun and a .22 caliber rifle in Reitz’s vehicle, according to the Pensacola News Journal.

The arrest report said a bullet was in the chamber of the rifle, but the shotgun wasn’t loaded.

Reitz was charged with aggravated assault and booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail at 3:27 pm, according to jail records. His bond was set at $20,000. It’s unclear if he has an attorney.

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Three Colombian government officials to be investigated

Bogota, Jun 5 (Prensa Latina) Colombian citizens requested a disciplinary investigation against Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo, Foreign Minister Claudia Blum and Ambassador to the United States Francisco Santos for violating the Constitution and causing actions against Venezuela.

The request was made to the Attorney General’s Office after a review of their statements and actions from February 2019 to date, according to the newspaper Las2Orillas.

In a video published by this digital media, they explain that they began this recount because of the wounded and dead caused by the so-called humanitarian fence to introduce in Venezuela an aid that arrived to the border area of Cúcuta and was rejected by the government of that country and all the incidents generated there.

Then for the multiple actions, some of them of omission, others for commission in terms of preparation of actions from the Colombian territory or demonstrations and public statements of a plan for a military intervention in Venezuela.

They emphasized for what no official in Colombia or from any country outside the United Nations Security Council is authorized to do so, even if humanitarian causes are invoked.

This Tuesday, a troop from the United States arrived in Colombia to presumably advise this South American nation’s fight against drug trafficking.

The announcement of the troops was made by a note from the U.S. embassy without been previously notified to the senators.

The U.S. Embassy and the Colombian Ministry of National Defense have reported the arrival in the country of a U.S. Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB), which is coming to help Colombia in its fight against drugs,’ reads the message from the diplomatic headquarters.

Many personalities, social and political organizations rejected the foreign military presence on Colombian territory.

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Some 3,500 Cubans return home on humanitarian flights

Havana, Jun 5 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez announced today that more than 3,500 Cubans stranded in 35 countries returned to the country on humanitarian flights organized by the government and its counterparts.

Despite the epidemiological situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, efforts continue to guarantee the protection of our citizens, Rodriguez said on his Twitter account.

Without giving details, the foreign minister said that this return was possible thanks to Cuba’s efforts.

Meanwhile, in a tweet, the director general of Consular Affairs and Cubans Living Abroad, Ernesto Soberon, reported that a new group of Cubans is in Mexico about to return to Havana.

‘After their arrival, necessary isolation and, later, to enjoy theirs loved ones at home,’ Soberon said.

He also explained that the island’s consulates around the world continue to provide every possible support to their compatriots.

Since the Caribbean nation closed its borders, except for residents here, groups have returned from Ecuador, Mexico, the United States, Panama, Guyana, Peru, Angola and Russia.a>

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