Cubas first daughter has gone beyond Castro name

first_img Comments   Share   But no matter how much Castro desires to set her own course, controversy will follow her on her trip to San Francisco precisely because of her father and uncle, both reviled by many Cuban-Americans and enemies of Washington for more than half a century.When word came last week that the State Department had issued an entry visa to Castro _ as well as at least 60 other Cuban scholars _ Cuban-American politicians were quick to pounce. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio accused her of bringing a campaign of anti-Americanism to U.S. shores, while New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez said he was “indignant” over her presence.They and others noted that U.S. rules prohibited Communist Party members and other high-ranking Cuban government officials from entry without special dispensation. While Mariela Castro is not officially part of the government, her personal ties to Cuban leaders are clearly evident.The State Department has refused to comment on individual visa cases. Castro is due to chair a panel on the politics of sexual diversity in San Francisco and to meet with the local LGBT community. On May 29, she is to participate in a talk at the New York Public Library.As head of Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education, or Cenesex, since 2000, Castro has acquired a much higher profile than her siblings and cousins, becoming a leading advocate for gay rights in Cuba, Latin America and beyond. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona That tendency to go against the grain stuck, and four decades later Castro is still speaking her mind.“It would be very easy for me to repeat what the whole world wants to hear, not contradicting anybody, being sweeter and more accepted. But my work obliges me to present realities that not everyone wants to face,” Castro said at the book launch. “I’m not going to stop doing and saying what I believe in. The day I can no longer do that, I might as well spend my time planting lettuce instead.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system Attractive, intelligent and quick to smile, Castro has a flair for dressing elegantly in bright colors. She is commonly seen heading up annual gay pride marches in the capital, flanked by six-foot-tall transvestites. Outspoken and self-confident, she meets regularly with visiting dignitaries, including a delegation of U.S. women last year, and travels the world giving talks about gay rights.In conversation she looks questioners directly in the eye, is quick to speak and punctuates her words with animated gestures. She is reported to have two children with her husband, a Sicilian-born photographer, and a third child from a previous marriage, though even those basic details are not easily confirmed in Cuba.And while Castro does not regularly give interviews, she is far from reclusive.She is the only member of her famous family to really embrace Twitter; Fidel and Raul’s accounts are dry and impersonal, apparently managed by underlings. She’s also not afraid to mix it up with critics, as she did last year in a very public Twitter spat with dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez.Grumbling about “despicable parasites” criticizing her just hours after her debut on the social media platform, Castro tweeted: “Were you ordered by your employers to respond to me in unison and with the same predetermined script? Be creative.” Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familycenter_img “She has put herself at the forefront of the struggle for rights for the LGBT community,” said Gloria A. Careaga Perez, a professor of psychology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico who will be on Mariela Castro’s panel at the San Francisco gathering of the Latin American Studies Association on Thursday. “What she does is praiseworthy because she is a pioneer, an academic and political authority who stands up for human rights.”Requests to interview Castro were not granted ahead of her trip, and four friends and admirers declined to speak on the record, a symptom of Cubans’ deep misgivings about openly discussing members of the Castro family.But while others are shy of giving their name, Castro has not been, particularly when it comes to her signature issue. She has lobbied for years for her father’s government to legalize same-sex marriage, something he has not done. Earlier this month, Castro said the president privately shares her views on gay rights, and declined to push him to go public.While she has no doubt benefited from her surname, Castro says it has always been important to her to have a separate identity.“I never wanted any part of that, `the daughter of …’” she said several years ago at a book launch in Havana. “I despise people who get on that kind of carriage, and I love myself very much for not doing so. I never did, and I never will.” It was a rare moment of direct confrontation between a Castro and one of the dissidents, who are officially disparaged as counterrevolutionary sellouts doing the bidding of Washington, and it showed her willingness to depart from the prepared script, even if in defense of the government.She was born July 27, 1962, to the power couple of the Cuban Revolution: Raul Castro and Vilma Espin, also a prominent guerrilla who later was president of the Federation of Cuban Women, a member of the Communist Party’s Central Committee and Fidel’s first lady stand-in for years when he had no official partner. Espin died in 2007.Mariela, who bears a close resemblance to Espin, cites her mother’s influence and has called her work a continuation of Espin’s labor to advance women’s rights in Cuba and Latin America.“She was very sweet and tender. She passed along her values in educating us,” Castro once said. By contrast, Castro sometimes quarreled with her father, though she has said she was always proud of his accomplishments.It was at college in the late 1970s that Castro had her eyes opened to the gay rights movement, as a student leader who successfully fought off attempts to have gays expelled for their sexual orientation. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories Associated PressHAVANA (AP) – She has her uncle’s penchant for speaking her mind. From her father, she inherited a disciplined tenacity.But Mariela Castro, a married mother of three and member of Cuba’s most powerful family, has paved her own way in making gay rights her life’s cause. And now the 49-year-old daughter of President Raul Castro is about to make a controversial visit to the United States for a conference on Latin America. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationlast_img

Correction ArubaRefinery story

first_imgKINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) – In a story Sept. 3 about a refinery in Aruba that is being converted into a fuel storage facility, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Hess Corp. closed the Hovensa oil refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands earlier this year. Hovensa, a joint venture of Hess and Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, closed the refinery.A corrected version of the story is below:Aruba refinery to turn into storage facility 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 0 Comments   Share   The company’s local subsidiary has notified employees that it will require a significantly smaller workforce. The reorganization and workforce reduction is expected to be completed before the end of the year.From Aruba, Valero spokesman Bill Day said about 600 employees are currently at the site. They were kept on the payroll during the suspension of refinery operations.“Valero hasn’t determined the number of employees to staff the terminal operations yet; that will be done over the next several days in meetings with employees and union representatives,” Day said.A spokesman for the Independent Oil Workers Union of Aruba did not immediately return calls for comment on Monday.At a press conference, Prime Minister Mike Eman said he is hopeful a new buyer or partnership can be found and refinery operations can restart. He said there are “different groups still interested in the refinery” but declined to provide specifics. Aruba must find a way to offset the economic damage if the restart doesn’t happen, he said.“But we know we have a valuable partner that will remain part of the Aruban economy, which is Valero,” Eman told reporters. Sponsored Stories How do cataracts affect your vision?center_img Valero said it will continue to invest in Aruba with upgrades to the terminal. It will also continue to supply gas, diesel, jet fuel and fuel oil to the island just north of Venezuela. In recent years, the company has said it represented more than 12 percent of Aruba’s gross domestic product.Refineries in the Caribbean and on the U.S. East Coast have struggled in recent years because the crude oil they use has been priced higher than the oil available to refiners in the middle of the U.S.Earlier this year, the massive Hovensa oil refinery, a joint venture of Hess. Corp and Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, was closed in the U.S. Virgin Islands, stunning nearly 2,000 workers on the island of St. Croix. Plans call for that Caribbean refinery to also be converted into a fuel storage terminal.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Valero to convert its shuttered oil refinery on Aruba into a fuel storage facilityBy DAVID McFADDENAssociated PressKINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ Valero Energy Corp. announced Monday that it will convert its shuttered oil refinery on the southern Caribbean island of Aruba into a fuel storage facility, leaving hundreds of employees jockeying for positions at the downsizing operation.The San Antonio, Texas-based company suspended refining operations in March at the Aruba refinery, which processed heavy, sour crude and once had a capacity of about 275,000 barrels a day. It said it stopped producing gasoline and other fuels at the site due to high oil prices and “unfavorable refinery economics.”On Monday, Valero announced that it had decided to reorganize the unprofitable site into a storage terminal on the Dutch Caribbean island of just over 100,000 inhabitants. For years, Valero has been trying unsuccessfully to sell the Aruba refinery, which the company says is still ready to restart if a buyer can be found.Valero Chairman and CEO Bill Klesse said Aruba’s deep-water and smaller berths will give the terminal flexibility to load the biggest crude ships. “We believe that Aruba has the assets to compete as a world-scale crude and refined products terminal,” Klesse said in a statement. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Check your body, save your lifelast_img read more

US proposal would ease voting access for American Indians

first_img The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “The legislation we recommend today will make this nation stronger by extending meaningful voting opportunities to native populations, by encouraging full participation in our democratic institutions, and by bringing us closer to our most cherished ideals,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.The proposal is designed to ease the voting process for American Indians, who often have to travel long distances to vote and are a population that the Justice Department says is underrepresented at the polls.Tribes with large populations or territories would be able to request more than one polling place, and states could also meet their obligations by creating new polling places or relocating existing ones.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Top Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img ErrorOK.. ErrorOK Sponsored Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Thursday proposed legislation to make it easier for American Indians and Alaska Natives to vote.A legislative proposal sent to Congress would require states and territories that are home to Indian reservations or tribal lands to have at least one polling place in a site selected by the tribal government.Among other things, the proposal would also require states to make voting machines and ballots available at tribally located polling places, and to use the same voting procedures that are in place at other polling locations in the state. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   last_img read more

NATO chief We will not be dragged into arms race

first_img BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO’s secretary-general is flatly rejecting accusations the alliance is fueling a Cold War-style rivalry with Russia, but says it must upgrade its military capabilities to be able to defend itself.Jens Stoltenberg told reporters Wednesday “NATO will not be dragged into an arms race, but we must keep our countries safe.”The NATO chief spoke as alliance defense ministers gathered in Brussels for a meeting that is expected to increase the size of NATO’s Response Force and streamline procedure for deployment of its new, ultrafast “spearhead” unit of 5,000 ground troops. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Top Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Comments   Share   NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, and Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak, right, look on after the NATO Noble Jump exercise on a training range near Swietoszow Zagan, Poland, Thursday, June 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Moscow accuses NATO of threatening it by building up forces near its borders.But Stoltenberg said NATO is only adapting to face today’s realities, like Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, large-scale Russian military exercises and a rash of nuclear rhetoric.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

USled coalition unleashes wave of airstrikes on Raqqa

first_img Top Stories BEIRUT (AP) — U.S.-led coalition aircraft unleashed a wave of airstrikes targeting the Islamic State group’s stronghold of Raqqa in eastern Syria in what the coalition said Sunday was one of its most sustained aerial operations carried out in Syria to date.IS said at least 10 people were killed and many others wounded in the attacks which activists said triggered successive explosions that shook the city and created panic among residents. The U.S.-led coalition often targets IS-held towns and cities in Syria, but the overnight strikes on Raqqa were rare in their intensity. The IS-affiliated Aamaq news agency released a video of what it said was the effects of shelling Saturday by a U.S. drone on Raqqa. It showed several wounded men on a stretcher and at least three young boys being treated for wounds at what appeared to be a hospital.A Raqqa-based anti-IS activist network reported eight civilians were killed by the coalition airstrikes, including a 10-year-old child.The casualty figures could not be independently confirmed.The network, called Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered, said at least one airstrike targeted a group of IS members in the city center. Another targeted an IS checkpoint while a third destroyed large parts of an IS-held brick factory in the city. It said seven bridges used by civilians inside the city were also destroyed.In the remote northeastern city of Hassakeh, IS suicide bombers detonated an explosives-laden truck near a main power plant Sunday. State-run news agency SANA reported casualties and damage in the plant on the southern edge of the city.Fighting has raged in Hassakeh since the IS group attacked several southern neighborhoods held by government troops earlier this month. The violence has forced tens of thousands of residents to flee. The predominantly Kurdish city was split between government forces and Kurdish fighters, who have been fighting the IS group separately. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Comments   Share   Top holiday drink recipes Mesa family survives lightning strike to home In a statement, the coalition said it carried out 18 airstrikes throughout Raqqa province, destroying a number of IS vehicles and 16 bridges. An earlier statement said the attacks also destroyed vital IS-controlled structures and transit routes in Syria.“The significant airstrikes tonight were executed to deny Daesh the ability to move military capabilities throughout Syria and into Iraq,” said coalition spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Gilleran, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.“This was one of the largest deliberate engagements we have conducted to date in Syria, and it will have debilitating effects on Daesh’s ability to move” from Raqqa, he said.Raqqa is the de facto capital of the so-called Islamic caliphate declared a year ago by the Islamic State group in territories it controls in Iraq and Syria. The sustained airstrikes add pressure on the militants in Raqqa, still reeling from last month’s loss of the border town of Tal Abyad to Kurdish fighters. The town on the Turkish border was a major avenue for commerce and smuggling for the group.A militant website said 10 people were killed and dozens of others wounded. An IS-affiliated Facebook page said one civilian was among those killed and 10 were wounded including women and children. It also said the bombing destroyed several bridges.center_img In Iraq, a Defense Ministry statement said government forces repelled an IS attack Sunday morning on the town of Haditha and the nearby Haditha dam in Anbar province. At least 20 militants were killed in the failed attack, said the statement, which did not provide any further information.Iraqi forces, backed by Shiite militias, have been struggling to recapture areas lost to the IS group in the country’s west and north.In May, the militant group scored a stunning victory, overrunning Ramadi, the provincial capital of western Anbar province. Yet, Haditha and some other towns remain under control of government forces and allied Sunni tribal fighters.In Lebanon, some 200 Kurdish nationals staged a demonstration in downtown Beirut in solidarity with their brethren in Syria who are fighting against IS militants.___Associated Press writers Sameer N. Yacoub in Baghdad and Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

In Bahrain 2 police officers killed 6 wounded in bombing

first_img Comments   Share   4 sleep positions for men and what they mean The Interior Ministry described the bombing as a “terror blast,” and said it took place in the largely Shiite community of Sitra, just south of the capital, Manama. One of the wounded officers sustained serious injuries, the ministry said.Bahrain is a Sunni-ruled kingdom that is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, whose responsibilities include patrolling the busy waters off Iran.The opposition movement in Bahrain is dominated by the country’s Shiite majority, which has long complained of discrimination and heavy-handed treatment by security forces.Although opposition rallies largely attract peaceful demonstrators, young activists frequently set up makeshift roadblocks and clash with police in Shiite villages. Anti-government activists have planted bombs that have killed or maimed police in the past.The largest Shiite opposition group, al-Wefaq, condemned the killing.Tuesday’s blast occurred just days after Bahraini authorities announced they had broken up an attempt to smuggle assault rifles, ammunition and explosives into the kingdom. The cargo intercepted earlier this month off the country’s coast included nearly 44 kilograms (97 pounds) of C-4 plastic explosives and detonators. Sponsored Stories Police linked the smuggling attempt to Iran, alleging that one of the suspects they arrested received military training in the Islamic Republic, and that he and another suspect admitted to receiving the shipment from Iranian handlers.Iran has denied involvement.___This story has been corrected earlier to show that the two officers first mentioned were killed, not wounded. Six were wounded.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Quick workouts for men 5 ways to recognize low testosterone DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Two Bahraini policemen were killed and six were wounded in a bomb attack south of the island kingdom’s capital on Tuesday, according to authorities.The blast was the latest in a series of bombings in recent years targeting security forces in the Gulf nation, which continues to face low-level unrest more than four years after widespread protests demanding greater political rights.last_img read more