Friday, August 11, 2017

Santiago Conference on African and Afro-American Culture April 2018


XVII INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
                                AFRICAN AND AFRO-AMERICAN CULTURE
                                                      SANTIAGO DE CUBA
                     Dedicated to: Africa and its influence on the countries of the region
                                                   From 12th to 16th of April 2018
The Fernando Ortiz African Cultural Centre, the Romulo Lachatañeré Chair of Afro-Caribbean Studies, the Provincial Directorate of Culture, the Directorate of   International Relations of the CAP, the Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Oriente and the UNESCO Chair in Afro-Ibero American Studies of the University of Alcalá, have the pleasure of announce the XVII International Conference on African and African-American Culture, to be held in Santiago de Cuba from 12th to 16th of April 2018.

The event proposes to bond experts, scholars and people interested in African and African American issues, opening a space for reflection on the most urgent problems of the subject, from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Researchers from the social sciences, artists, doctors, filmmakers, musicians, choreographers, dancers, priests and practitioners of folk religions of African origin and the public in general are convened to establish a debate on the following topics:
I- GENERAL THEMES
        Pre-colonial Africa: social, political and economic structures.
        The Atlantic slave traffic. Its treatment in the current historiography. The slave and forms of manumission. Palenque and maroons.
         Africans attitude facing the trading.
        Colonial Africa. Major European establishments. Creation of countries and nationalities in Africa. Wars of Liberation. Africa's relationship with the world.
        The African contribution as a component of the national identity of the Americas people and the Caribbean for an acknowledgement of our historical subject.
        Diachrony and synchrony in linguistic, philosophical, historical and literary studies on Africa, Afro-America and Afro-Caribbean.
        Culture and identity within the African continent.
        Gender, race and cultural identity.
        Africans and Afrodescendant in the New World.
        Multiculturalism, acculturation and re-Africanization as current trends to provide treat the African component in the New World.
        The political and cultural relationship among Africa and the peoples of the Americas and the Caribbean.
        African religions and its contemporarily en the New World
        Contemporary African and American religions.
        The so called universal religions in Africa. Catholic, Protestants, Islamic, etc.
        Current situation of the African traditional religions in the continent.
        Africa in the twenty-first century. The current cultural problems of the continent.
        Historiography written by Africans.
II- WORKSHOPS
A- Workshop, "Color and Shape"
Dedicated to all manifestations of the visual arts where the African trace. Painters, sculptors, ceramists, engravers, photographers may participate and attend to theoretical works about the following topics:
        The African influence in the visual arts of the New World. Spheres of contacts and influence.
        The visual arts in the African continent.
        The artist's concept in Africa and America.
It may also participate with an exhibit of their work, with no more than three pieces, which will be displayed in a collective hall previously coordinated with the management of the event.
Registration regulations comply with the general regulations of the event.
B- Workshop "Images"
Dedicated to ethnological film and video, that collects the image and treatment given to the African influence on American culture, and to the African cinema.

Participants can show films, videos and present theoretical work on topics such as:
        Literature, film and video. Treatment of African descendants by the media.
        Ethnological video. Its contribution to the knowledge of African reality and its process of transculturation in the New World.
        Audiovisuals and cinema perspectives in Africa.
Audiovisuals reception will be until December 15th, 2017. Must include a thematic and technique summary of the play and the filmmakers data. Videos and other film materials may not exceed 30 minutes. The Committees decision is unappealable.

Registration regulations comply with the general regulations of the event.
C- Workshop "The Ancestral Rhythm"
Dedicated to music and dancing of African origin.
Choreographers, musicians, dancers, musicologists and scholars in general may participate; they will discuss the following topics:
        African music: history, evolution and current situation in the continent.
        The African influence in the music and dancing of the New World. Analogies, differences, changes and creation process towards the formation of the national music.
        The African element as a base for staging musical and dance works.
        Present times of the music and dancing in Africa.
Performances not exceeding 10 minutes, with no more than 4 dancers may be presented. In the case of groups that decide to participate in full, scenic areas of the city will be provided to perform, being understood that these functions are part of their exposure during the event and will not be charged.

Registration regulations comply with the general regulations of the event.
D - Workshop "Mask"
Dedicated to the theatre. The African influence, and the afrodescendant on stage, to a contemporary view.

Actors, theatre directors, set designers and students of theatre in general may participate; they can exchange experiences from the following topics under discussion:
        Presence of African elements in theatrical productions
        African descent on stage, both as subjects of history and as playwrights
        The theatre in Africa.
        African literature and its theatrical representation.
In the case of groups that decide to participate in full, they will be provided scenic areas of the city to perform, being understood that these functions are part of their exposure in the event, and will not be charged. Registration regulations are those general regulations of the event. In the case of theatre groups who wish to participate and prior coordination with the management of the event, a special registration fee may be established per group.
III- SYMPOSIUM: Medicine and Culture
A space dedicated to the relationships established between the medical sciences and disciplines of social sciences from the practice of the Cuban internationalist medicine and other health agencies, which also set intercultural contacts through the medical channel. A space dedicated to the medicine doctors, where they can present their experiences, both in the field of medicine, with works of their specialty and the challenges experienced  due to the cultural shock.

Papers could be presented on: 
        Traditional African medicine. Its evolution and relationship with others in the New World 
        Tropical Medicine in Africa and Afro-America 
        Homeopathic medicine.
        The Cuban medical experience in Africa. Relations among medicine and culture 
        Doctors without Borders and other similar organisations in their practice of medicine and culture 
        The World Health Organization and its role in Africa.
        Medicine, medical policies and human relationships.
        Endemic diseases in Africa and America.
        Disease and ethnicity.
        Epidemics, viruses and control of the spread of disease 
IVº- GENERAL RULES OF PARTICIPATION

A- Reception of dissertations and communications
The papers should provide general information includding: title, full name of the author or authors, scientific degree, educational category, institution and country of origin, address, phone, fax, e-mail.
The papers may not have more than two authors and they may not appear in more than two publications.
The author or co-author who cannot attend the event will receive his diploma of speaker and a disc with the publication if he pays the registration fee.
In the case of the workshops, both theoretical works and photographs of art exhibitions, abstracts and records of filmic works and data of the exhibit must be submitted for inclusion in the Proceedings of the Conference.
They thesis may have a maximum length of 12 pages - if this length is exceeded, the paper will not be published - and 15 minutes of presentation. The papers will be published on a DVD, for which it must be delivered in digital format: double spacing, Arial 12 for the text and Arial 10 for bibliography and notes (the lastest will be placed at the end of the document and its extension does not count in the number of pages).
Papers will be accepted until 15 December 2017.
Only the papers that meet the above requirements will be published. The Organizing Committee is not responsible for the publication of the works that arrive after the deadlines provided as admission or do not meet the requirements of this announcement.
The verdict of the Scientific  Committee and the Editorial Department is unappealable and the it will be informed until the January 15th, 2018.
C-Workshops 
In the case of visual artists, they should send a short CV with no more than two pages and photographs of the exhibit they will present for inclusion in the Proceedings; also, playwrights and dancers will accompany the synopsis of their works, with a curriculum no more than one page; and if it is a group, information about its history no more than three pages
D- Tickets
The Organizing Committee is not responsible with the transportation from and to their provinces of origin.

E- Registration fee
Speakers and delegates: 200.00 CUC / MN
Students: 100.00 USD / MN
In the case of interested in participating during an specific moment of the event there will be a different fee coordinated with the direction of the event.
50.00 MN/CUC per workshop
30.00 MN/CUC per participation of one day during a work commission.
NOTA, THE PAYMENT IS IN CUCs, NO OTHER CURRENCY ALLOWED.


E- Accommodation 
There will be modules of affordable accommodations in hotels of the city, which may be requested through the Organizing Committee or the tour operator Paradiso Agency.
F- Languages
English, French and Spanish

G- Contacts
Dra. Marta E. Cordiés
Director: Fernando Ortiz African Cultural Centre
General Coordinator of the XVII Conference
Ave. Manduley No. 106 esq. A 5ta
Reparto Vista Alegre, Santiago de Cuba, CP: 90400
Telefax: (53-22) 642487
(53-22) 623893 (nights)
Lic. Maria Liduvina Bergues
Esp. / International Affairs
dayanet@sc.sc.rimed.cu
Lic. Martha Martinez Verges
President Scientific Committee
Dr. Luis Mancha
International coordinator
UNESCO Chair in Afroiberoamericanos Studies 
Professional Congress Organizer (PCO):
Paradiso
Commercial Specialist
Paradiso turismo cultural
Santiago de Cuba
Phone: 53 22 620214/654814
Note: Please send communications and acknowledgment through the three e-mail addresses to facilitate prompt communication.



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Revised OFAC Travel FAQs (7/25/17)

UPDATED JULY 25, 2017
Department of the Treasury
Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)

Frequently Asked Questions on President Trump’s Cuba Announcement

1. How will OFAC implement the changes to the Cuba sanctions program announced
by the President on June 16, 2017? Are the changes effective immediately?

OFAC will implement the Treasury-specific changes via amendments to its Cuban Assets
Control Regulations. The Department of Commerce will implement any necessary
changes via amendments to its Export Administration Regulations. OFAC expects to
issue its regulatory amendments in the coming months. The announced changes do not
take effect until the new regulations are issued.

2. What is individual people-to-people travel, and how does the President’s
announcement impact this travel authorization?

Individual people-to-people travel is educational travel that: (i) does not involve
academic study pursuant to a degree program; and (ii) does not take place under the
auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction that sponsors such
exchanges to promote people-to-people contact. The President instructed Treasury to
issue regulations that will end individual people-to-people travel. The announced
changes do not take effect until the new regulations are issued.

3. Will group people-to-people travel still be authorized?

Yes. Group people-to-people travel is educational travel not involving academic study
pursuant to a degree program that takes place under the auspices of an organization that is
subject to U.S. jurisdiction that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people
contact. Travelers utilizing this travel authorization must: (i) maintain a full-time
schedule of educational exchange activities that are intended to enhance contact with the
Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s
independence from Cuban authorities, and that will result in meaningful interaction
between the traveler and individuals in Cuba; and (ii) be accompanied by an employee,
consultant, or agent of the sponsoring organization, who will ensure that each traveler
maintains a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities. In addition, the
predominant portion of the activities engaged in by individual travelers must not be with
prohibited officials of the Government of Cuba or prohibited members of the Cuban
Communist Party (as defined in the regulations). Once OFAC issues the new regulations,
new individual people-to-people travel will not be authorized.

4. Will organizations subject to U.S. jurisdiction that sponsor exchanges to promote
people-to-people contact be required to apply to OFAC for a specific license?
No. To the extent that proposed travel falls within the scope of an existing general
license, including group people-to-people educational travel, persons subject to U.S.
jurisdiction may proceed with sponsoring such travel without applying to OFAC for a
specific license. It is OFAC’s policy not to grant applications for a specific license
authorizing transactions where a general license is applicable.

Once the State Department publishes its list of entities and subentities with which direct
transactions will not be authorized and OFAC issues its regulations, no new transactions,
including travel-related transactions, may be initiated with these identified entities and
subentities. Prior travel arrangements that may involve these entities or subentities will
still be authorized. See FAQ 8.

5. How do the changes announced by the President on June 16, 2017 affect individual
people-to-people travelers who have already begun making their travel
arrangements (such as purchasing flights, hotels, or rental cars)?

The announced changes do not take effect until OFAC issues new regulations. Provided
that the traveler has already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as
purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) prior to the President’s announcement
on June 16, 2017, all additional travel-related transactions for that trip would also be
authorized, including if the trip occurs after OFAC issues new regulations, provided the
travel-related transactions are consistent with OFAC’s regulations as of June 16, 2017.
Once the State Department publishes its list of entities and subentities with which direct
transactions will not be authorized and OFAC issues its regulations, no new transactions
may be initiated with these identified entities and subentities. Prior travel arrangements
that may involve these entities or subentities will still be authorized. See FAQ 8.

6. How does the new policy impact other authorized travel to Cuba by persons subject
to U.S. jurisdiction?

The new policy will also impact certain categories of educational travel as well as travel
under support for the Cuban people, as set forth in the National Security Presidential
Memorandum signed by the President on June 16, 2017. In addition, following the
issuance of OFAC’s regulatory changes, travel-related transactions with prohibited
entities identified by the State Department will not be permitted, unless otherwise
authorized by OFAC. Guidance will accompany the issuance of the new regulations.

7. Will persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction be required to apply to OFAC for a specific
license to engage in Cuba-related travel and transactions consistent with the other
authorized categories of travel?

To the extent that proposed travel falls within the scope of an existing general license,
persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may proceed with such travel without applying to
OFAC for a specific license. It is OFAC’s policy not to grant applications for a specific
license authorizing transactions where a general license is applicable. Once the State
Department publishes its list of entities and subentities with which direct transactions will
not be authorized and OFAC issues its regulations, no new transactions may be initiated
with these identified entities and subentities. Prior travel arrangements that may involve
these entities or subentities will still be authorized. See FAQ 8.

8. How do the changes announced by the President on June 16, 2017 affect authorized
travelers to Cuba whose travel arrangements may include direct transactions with
entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be
implicated by the new Cuba policy?

The announced changes do not take effect until OFAC issues new regulations.
Consistent with the Administration’s interest to avoid negatively impacting Americans
for arranging lawful travel to Cuba, any travel-related arrangements that include direct
transactions with entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services
that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy will be permitted provided that those
travel arrangements were initiated prior to the State Department listing of the entity or
subentity. Once the State Department adds an entity or subentity to the list, new direct
financial transactions with the entity or subentity will not be permitted, unless authorized
by OFAC.

9. How do the changes announced by the President on June 16, 2017 affect companies
subject to U.S. jurisdiction that are already engaged in the Cuban market and that
may undertake direct transactions with entities related to the Cuban military,
intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy?

The announced changes do not take effect until OFAC issues new regulations.
Consistent with the Administration’s interest in not negatively impacting American
businesses for engaging in lawful commercial opportunities, Cuba-related commercial
engagement that includes direct transactions with entities and subentities related to the
Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new Cuba
policy will be permitted after the issuance of new regulations by OFAC, provided that
those commercial engagements were in place prior to the issuance of the forthcoming
regulations. For example, businesses will be permitted to continue with transactions
outlined in contingent or other types of contractual arrangements agreed to prior to the
issuance of the new regulations, consistent with other CACR authorizations.

10. Does the new policy affect the means by which persons subject to U.S jurisdiction
may purchase airline tickets for authorized travel to Cuba?

No. The new policy will not change the means by which persons subject to U.S.
jurisdiction traveling to Cuba pursuant to the 12 categories of authorized travel may
purchase their airline tickets.

11. Can I continue to send authorized remittances to Cuba?

Yes. The announced policy changes will not change the authorizations for sending
remittances to Cuba. Additionally, the announced changes include an exception that will
allow for transactions incidental to the sending, processing, and receipt of authorized
remittances to the extent they would otherwise be restricted by the new policy limiting
transactions with certain identified Cuban military, intelligence, or security services. However, consistent with the President’s policy announcement, changes will be made to the definition of prohibited members of Government of Cuba that may exclude certain persons from receipt of such remittances.

12. How will the new policy impact existing OFAC specific licenses?

The forthcoming regulations will be prospective and thus will not affect authorized
transactions under existing specific licenses, unless explicitly noted.

13. How will U.S. companies know if a Cuban counterpart is affiliated with a prohibited
entity or subentity in Cuba?

The State Department will be publishing a list of entities and subentities with which
direct transactions generally will not be permitted. Guidance will accompany the
issuance of the new regulations. The announced changes do not take effect until the new
regulations are issued.

14. Is authorized travel by cruise ship or passenger vessel to Cuba impacted by the new
Cuba policy?

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will still be able to engage in authorized travel to
Cuba by cruise ship or passenger vessel.

Following the issuance of OFAC’s regulatory changes, travel-related transactions with
prohibited entities and subentities identified by the State Department generally will not be
permitted. Guidance will accompany the issuance of the new regulations.

For more information on the National Security Presidential Memorandum visit:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2017/06/16/fact-sheet-cuba-policy.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_faqs_20170725.pdf

Sunday, July 23, 2017

New Organization of Tour Operators for Defense Against Trump

U.S. Cuba tour operators gird for Trump travel crackdown

Marc Frank and Sophia Kunthara


HAVANA/NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. tour operators that send Americans to Cuba are banding together to try to limit damage to business from tighter restrictions on travel to the communist-run island expected in September from the Trump administration.

U.S. President Donald Trump in June rolled back parts of Barack Obama's historic opening to Cuba, saying his predecessor negotiated a “terrible and misguided deal.”

The revised approach includes stricter enforcement of a longtime ban on Americans going to Cuba as tourists. Among changes are limiting visits to 12 existing categories of non-tourist travel and a ban on the use of hotels and other facilities owned by Cuba's military.

Cruise ships are permitted, the administration said, but not independent visits by solo travelers and families under the popular people-to-people travel category which Trump charged was being used to violate the tourist ban.

Many Americans took Trump's message to mean travel to Cuba, except on cruise ships, was again off limits, U.S. tour operators said. It is a misconception they hope to change with a trade group formed in the last month to influence the debate on Cuba and help would-be visitors navigate new rules.

“We need to share information and speak as a united voice on issues that are important to us,” said Cuba Cultural Travel's Michael Sykes, who founded the group American Tour Operators in Cuba (ATOC) that now counts more than 30 U.S. companies.

"Pall" Over Cuba

Trump's move to roll back Obama policies introduced after the 2014 U.S.-Cuban detente has yet to have a significant impact on the number of U.S. travelers visiting the island, according to a survey of a dozen U.S. tour operators by Reuters.

But travel companies fear a hit on future demand from Trump's combative tone and regulations, with some concerned it could even spook U.S. banks that help them do business with Cuba.

“We can work with the new rules with minimal changes, but a pall has been cast over the business and that has me worried going forward,” said Steven Cox, president of Alabama-based tour operator International Expeditions, an ATOC member.

    “Many American travelers are not so well informed and believe that travel to Cuba is being shut off and that just isn’t true,” he added.

Some 300,000 Americans, excluding those of Cuban descent, visited Cuba in the first six months of 2017, more than twice last year's number during the same period, according to the Cuban government. Of those, 40,000 traveled outside organized groups using online booking, tour companies estimated, the majority under the people-to-people category.

Operators said they had been inundated with inquiries from clients worried about future travel and are revising itineraries to avoid Cuban hotels operated by the military.

“We are receiving requests from a lot of small groups, families, couples’ trips, birthday parties and the like, that were already planning on going to Cuba but don’t know what to make of the new rules and how to ensure they are in compliance,” said Collin Laverty, who runs Cuba Educational Travel, another member of the trade group.

Priceline Group Inc (PCLN.O), which agreed in March 2016 to make hotel rooms in Cuba available to U.S. customers through its subsidiary Booking.com, is still taking reservations "within the allowable guidelines and categories," spokeswoman Leslie Cafferty said in an emailed statement.

Online travel agent Expedia Inc (EXPE.O) declined to comment.

Airlines and Banks

Janet Moore, owner of California-based operator Distant Horizons, said new rules could make it difficult for individual travelers to visit Cuba and force airlines to cancel flights, making her tour scheduling more complicated.

Carriers such as American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O) announced moves late last year to cut the frequency of Cuba flights as demand lagged initially high expectations.

Moore also expressed concern about transferring payments to Cuba.

The trade embargo has always made U.S. banks nervous they could be held responsible if a client was not operating within Treasury Department rules.

Operators said a more hostile Trump administration might raise pressure on banks to ensure clients were in compliance and increase the number of regulations they had to check.

    "What concerns me is if the regulations become even more complicated, the banks are going to be really, really holding on and making sure everything's legitimate. And they may decide 'this isn't worth it to us,'" Moore said.

Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by Andrew Hay

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cuba-travel-idUSKBN1A80IN

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Scaramucci Pro-engagement

New White House communications director has traveled to Cuba to scout investment opportunities
BY NORA GÁMEZ TORRES

Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, has traveled to Cuba several times to explore the possibility of doing business on the island.
Scaramucci, whose appointment on Friday led to the resignation of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, is the founder of the global investment firm SkyBridge Capital. He also is behind the annual SkyBridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference that brings together business and government leaders. In 2016, the conference — for the first time —included a panel on Cuba in which the Cuban-American businessman Hugo Cancio was one of the speakers.
At the offices of OnCuba in Havana, a digital media outlet owned by Cancio, Scaramucci was quoted in an interview published in May 2016 about his idea of ​​creating an investment fund for Cuba, adding that, we are eager to exchange (ideas)... about the best ways in which we can contribute to the development of the country, the services and the quality of life of citizens.”
Scaramucci told OnCuba that he first traveled to the island in 2012.
“When I saw that the U.S. policy of rapprochement was heading to reconciliation and the ease of the embargo, I started to get in touch with people to get an idea of whether it was really possible to implement my projects here,” he said

On his Facebook page, Scaramucci shared the interview on a May 4, 2016 post and wrote that during his visit to Cuba he "saw a very beautiful country. I am very hopeful for the future of Cuba and excited to welcome the Cubans to the SALT Conference!”


The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cancio confirmed that Scaramucci is “a good friend.
“He is a very successful businessman and I hope his new vision will be good for the White House and President Donald Trump,” Cancio said.
Trump recently took steps to tighten U.S. policy toward Cuba and ban business with companies linked to the Cuban military, which controls most of the Cuban economy. It also imposed some limitations on individual travel by Americans to the island and ordered more audits for travelers. However, he did not entirely undo all of the easing of restrictions implemented by former President Obama.
Before taking a harder approach on Cuba, several media outlets, including NewsweekBloomberg and the Miami Herald reported the Trump Organization’s interest in doing business with Cuba, even though the U.S. embargo prohibits it.
“I think the situation is oversimplified to one country being capitalist and the Cuban system originating from communism, and as a consequence, there’s an embargo,” Scaramucci said in the interview. “However I think that many Americans would like to get in touch with Cuba and its culture.”
“I have always said that to speak and give an opinion about Cuba, people should travel to the island and be in contact with all kinds of Cubans,” said Cancio, who has served as an adviser for several U.S. companies interested in business on the island. “Anthony has had that opportunity and I hope he can be a new, more calm and coherent voice about Cuba's past and present.”
“Today I sleep more calmly that there is a person close to Trump who can share that vision stemming from the experience on his visits to Cuba,” he added.


http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article162991893.html