The Associated Press / AP

The Associated Press / AP

Photo: Desmond Boylan/AP

Fernández de Cossío: “No Cuban troops in Venezuela”

Cuba has no troops in Venezuela and engages in no security operations there but maintains the right to carry out military and intelligence cooperation, a top Cuban diplomat said Wednesday in his government’s most detailed response yet to U.S. accusations that its forces are propping up President Nicolás Maduro. Carlos Fernández de Cossío, Cuba’s director-general of U.S. affairs, told The Associated Press in Washington that the U.S. is falsely accusing his country of having more than 20,000 troops and intelligence agents in Venezuela. De Cossío said there are roughly 20,000 Cubans in Venezuela but virtually all are medical workers. “There are no troops,” he said in English. “Cuba does not participate in military operations nor in security operations in Venezuela.” De Cossío said that despite the lack of Cuban boots on the ground, he could not deny the existence of intelligence cooperation because “I don’t have that information.” But broader intelligence or military cooperation would be “totally legitimate,” he added. “The United States has over 800,000 Americans stationed around the world with over 600-700 military bases anywhere in the world. Any two countries in our region have military or intelligence cooperation and we have it with many countries. So...

The self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, talking during a meeting with experts in electricity in Caracas, Venezuela, on Thursday, March 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Venezuela: Guaidó disqualified from participating in elections for 15 years

The Office of the Comptroller General disqualified Juan Guaidó, self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, from participating as a candidate in electoral events for 15 years for alleged falsification of data in his declaration of assets and for unjustifiably receiving money from abroad. In statements released by the state-run television, Comptroller General Elvis Amoroso said that an investigation determined "irrefutable inconsistency in his declaration of assets and the income that he has received as a deputy to the National Assembly, as well as inflated and excessive expenses in his lifestyle that do not correspond to those that can be financed by a deputy." Amoroso, a close collaborator of President Nicolás Maduro and member of the ruling Constituent Assembly, added that the Comptroller will continue to investigate and asked the Public Ministry and State agencies to join in the investigation against Guaidó. The opposition leader, head of the National Assembly, declared himself president in charge on January 23 in defiance of Maduro, arguing that the re-election of the socialist ruler last year was fraudulent. Maduro alleges that Guaidó is part of a plot led by Washington to overthrow him. President Donald Trump listens to Fabiana Rosales, a Venezuelan...

hoto taken on March 23, 2010 of then President Barack Obama signing in the White House in Washington the reform of the healthcare system. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Trump government asks court to repeal Obamacare

The Donald Trump administration made a request to a federal court of appeals that the health system reform promoted by the Barack Obama government be repealed in its entirety. The government filed the judicial appeal this Monday in the federal court of New Orleans, asking that the entire law known as Obamacare be annulled because it is unconstitutional. It is extremely unusual for the Justice Department to refuse to defend a federal law, but Trump and his Republican allies have for years tried unsuccessfully to repeal the law enacted in 2010. In June, government lawyers stopped defending vital parts of the law, such as guaranteeing that every citizen, regardless of their previous medical conditions, has the right to have health insurance. But the administration said that the rest of the law could remain in force. Millions of Americans benefit from the subsidized health insurance offered by the law, although the number of new affiliations is decreasing. It is expected that the Justice Department will submit a dossier to the court of appeals explaining better its position. In a letter, the department asks that the ruling issued in December by Judge Reed O'Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, be ratified. O'Connor ruled...

Trump about Bolsonaro: he did a “very outstanding job”

Trump about Bolsonaro: he did a “very outstanding job”

U.S. President Donald Trump praised Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on welcoming him to the White House last Tuesday, saying that the man who has been described as the "Trump of the Tropics" has done "a very outstanding job." Trump said that Bolsonaro had conducted "an incredible campaign" and that he felt "honored" that it had been compared to his own victory in the 2016 U.S. general election. When starting a joint press conference later, Trump predicted that both will have "a fantastic working relationship" and that they have "many points of view" in common. The two leaders were expected to discuss a number of issues during their first meeting, such as the expansion of trade relations, the increase in U.S. private investment in Brazil and the current political crisis in Venezuela. Both leaders are fierce critics of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Brazil, the largest and most populous nation in South America, has sought to become a "great non-member ally" of NATO to facilitate the purchase of U.S. weapons and reduce the barriers to military and other cooperation with the United States. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro addressing the Chamber of Commerce in Washington, on Monday, March...

Former Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez entering a court in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Monday, February 25, 2019. (AP Photo / Natacha Pisarenko)

Court of Appeals concludes that there is lack of evidence to prosecute Cristina Fernández

According to a resolution issued this Wednesday by an Argentinean Court of Appeals, there is currently no evidence to advance formal charges against former President Cristina Fernández in a case for alleged money laundering. The measure was ordered by the Federal Court of Buenos Aires backing the decision made in November by federal judge Sebastián Casanello, who argued in a ruling that "there isn’t sufficient merit to prosecute or dismiss" the former president (2007-2015) and current opposition senator in an investigation in which she was suspected of illegal maneuvers in conjunction with a construction entrepreneur. However, if the required evidence arises, she will be involved again. In that sense, the House ordered Judge Casanello to deepen the investigation. "It is inevitable for the judge to exhaust all those research channels that logic indicates...the objective platform on which the present investigation is based is still incomplete and does not allow a final judgment of the behavior of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner," said the resolution. The cause originated based on a journalistic report of 2013 according to which Lázaro Báez ̶ owner of a construction company and close to Fernández and her deceased husband and former President Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) ̶ had...

Mar-a-Lago Club, "The Winter White House," will be the event’s venue. Photo: Town & Country Magazine.

Trump will meet with leaders of five Caribbean nations

U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with the presidents of five Caribbean nations on Friday as part of a plan to strengthen cooperation on security and trade, the White House announced on Tuesday. The meeting will be held in Mar-a-Lago, President Trump's holiday resort, and will have as guests the presidents of the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Saint Lucia. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump will use the meeting to thank the presidents for their support for peace and democracy in Venezuela. She said the president will also discuss possible investment opportunities in the energy sector, adding that the United States continues being a good friend of the Caribbean and seeks to build a worthy legacy as the region's preferred partner.  

Photo: Raimundo Urrechaga

Three Havana residents tell their tornado stories

The tornado that hit Havana ripped off the concrete roof of an apartment building in the Regla district and sent it flying into an alley, leaving people trapped in their homes. Marlene Marrero Garcia, 77, said she was in her apartment on the ground floor with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren on Sunday night when she heard the electric transformers begin exploding. Then the tornado passed. "I saw like a flame, like a red thing, everything started falling," Marrero said. She added that she and her family were trapped by the rubble for almost half an hour before the firefighters arrived. Leanys Calvo was working Sunday night in a cafeteria in the 10 de Octubre neighborhood in Havana despite the heavy rain and wind when she heard "a terrible noise." "It was something that came down and went back up like a tower.... They were the most terrible seconds of my life," said Calvo, 38. The woman described it as "something that touched land and then took off again. It was like a tower" which she said was "red and green and that was here for 2-3 seconds, nothing more. They were the most terrifying seconds of my life." Julio Menéndez,...

Obama and the Democratic candidate for governor of Florida, Andrew Gillum. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Final appeals to voters: Obama vs Trump

Leaving aside his usual reluctance to speak in public, former President Barack Obama expressed on Sunday – in his final defense of the Democratic candidates - the need to apply a strong control over President Donald Trump’s policies in the mid-term elections, to be held this Tuesday. Obama was traveling to Gary, Indiana, to support Senator Joe Donnelly, who is facing a strong challenge by businessman Mike Braun. Later he was returning to Chicago to campaign for businessman J.B. Pritzker, Democratic candidate for governor of Illinois. After abstaining for months from openly confronting Trump, who is trying to dismantle everything he had done, Obama has come to the fore in recent months, accusing the president - although not by name – of lying and “exploiting fear” and warning the Democrats to not let themselves be distracted. Trump has counterattacked, accusing Obama of leaving a trail of broken promises in regards to trade, economic recovery and health. The presidential mid-term elections could have drastic consequences for the rest of Trump’s presidency. The Republicans run the risk of losing the majority in the House of Representatives. Trump is campaigning in Macon, Georgia, for the candidate to governor Brian Kemp and in Chattanooga,...

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