From The Plymouth Herald . . . 

NEARLY 20 years ago life was an idyll for Myron Riley, until a strange noise began.

He thought the roaring sound was a jet engine and he couldn’t understand why the din kept going.

But then the ground shook and Plymouth was buried under many feet of mud and the reality of what he’d been told hit him.

“The noise was the volcano erupting,” he says.



That’s Plymouth on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.

The capital of the ‘Emerald Isle’ was hit by a series of eruptions that made headlines around the world and led to the population of the British Overseas Territory being dispersed almost as widely.

The reawakening of the Soufrière Hills volcano, which had been dormant for centuries, began a chain of events that led to Myron settling in the original Plymouth in Devon.

He has experienced two rather different kinds roars in his ears in his new home city too.

One came from the throats of basketball fans as he shot yet another hoop.

The other greets the lead singer when he is on stage with one of his bands. There’s the ear-pounding sound from the speakers replaced by the loud appreciation of the crowd when a song ends.

He’s a big man (6ft 5in) with a personality to match who has earned a crust in two of the most competitive areas of life: sport and music.

Myron plays basketball only for fun these days, having moved on from professional sport with the Raiders. He continues to deliver entertainment as a front man and has hopes that new combo Antimatador will propel him and his bandmates on to the national stage.

It’s all a far cry from his days growing up on the 39 square miles of Montserrat, part of the Leeward Islands chain in the West Indies.

“There was a lot of freedom,” he says of his childhood. “There were no barriers, no limits to where you could go and explore.”

The islanders weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the liberating effects of peace and isolation. Montserrat’s greatest ‘export’ was music and its visitors included some of the most famous stars of the rock and pop world.

They came to make albums at George Martin’s AIR (Associated Independent Recording) studio, set up by the Beatles producer.

Elton John, Dire Straits, Duran Duran, Paul McCartney, The Police, Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd were among the many.

“They liked that they could wander about on the island and nobody would bother them,” says Myron, now 37.

Two natural disasters would change all that. First came Hurricane Hugo in 1989, which damaged the AIR complex. The moguls who by then were running the music industry did not want their superstar assets thousands of miles away and there was no will to rebuild the studio.

“Then there was the volcano. I didn’t know what was going on at first,” says Myron of the rumblings that preceded the July 1995 eruption.

“I thought it was a jet engine at first. But it went on for two weeks.”

Then came the eruption proper. Forget the idea of flows of highly-liquid lava making their way down the slopes and householders having plenty of time to sort out their affairs, pack their bags and move somewhere safer.

Instead there were clouds of choking ash that fell as a thick ‘snow’, engulfing everything rapidly.

But far more scary was the most dangerous type of volcanic activity, the pyroclastic flow. The fast-moving mixtures of hot gas and rock can reach speeds of 450 mph. The gas at a temperature of about 1,000Celsius incinerates everything in its path.

“It was harrowing. I had never seen or heard (about) anything like this before.”

The southern part of the island disappeared under 39 feet of mud and ash, destroying the airport and docks.

Myron, younger brother Omari and their mother Daphne were among half of the population that sought safety far from home.

They headed to Canada where they had relatives. Myron spent the rest of his youth in Toronto and Montreal.

“I’d spent a lot of holidays in Canada so it wasn’t too much of a culture shock because I knew it really well.”

Even so, Myron went off the rails. “I was not exactly on the nicest kind of road in life. That’s all I’ll say about that,” he says, with a guilty grin.

“I had the opportunity to come to England and my family encouraged it because they thought there would be more opportunities and less distractions.

“I was sent to live with an aunt in England.”

Now he did feel a culture shock, one he says he hasn’t fully got over. “The West Indies is more American than European and it’s the same in Canada. It’s different here and for me the biggest thing is that the English can laugh at anything. The hardest thing to adjust to is that sense of humour. You guys can laugh at anything.

“Somebody will say something and you think ‘what did you say?’ then you realise, ‘oh, right, it’s a joke’.”

The settling-in process was speeded up by the inclusion world of sport, though. “My aunt remembered that basketball was a big passion of mine and arranged a trial with the Birmingham Bullets development team.

“I got in and that changed me. Before that I didn’t want to be in England. I wanted to be in Canada. Basketball really started to make me feel at home.”

He would go on to play through the age teams but found himself on the bench in first team games. Rather than hang around at what was then one of the biggest clubs, he opted to get time on court with lower league side Birmingham Aces.

When the Raiders wanted to sign him, Myron, then 23, didn’t hesitate despite having no connection with Plymouth. The club’s association with what is now the University of St Mark and St John (Marjon) meant the opportunity to improve himself away from basketball, too.

“I was offered the chance to do a degree. I didn’t finish high school so that was big opportunity.”

He went on to complete his studies in IT and event management, which would ensure he could get a good job outside of sport when time required.

Meanwhile he was loving life on court, and Plymouth’s love of basketball.

“Bristol, Birmingham and London you associate with basketball. It’s to do with having large black communities. Plymouth doesn’t have that but the sport is still huge here.”

Myron spent four years with Raiders as the Pavilions-based team enjoyed great success. They would do the double of winning the English Basketball League and the National Cup in 2003/4.

“It’s a really, really great club with great fans and really, really friendly.” But he still felt the need to leave after four years, despite Raiders having moved up to the top tier, the fully profession British Basketball League, in 2004.

“My love for basketball started to dwindle. Once you lose that passion, and you start doing something for the money, whatever it is, you have to move on.”

By 2006 a new passion was taking over. “I wanted to learn to play guitar. I had lessons with a friend, James Hood, and learned a few basic chords.

“He asked me one time, ‘have you done any singing?’. I had sung around the house but never paid any attention to it, never saw it as a craft.

“I sang a bit and he said, ‘Why are you learning to play guitar? I’ll play guitar and you do the singing’.”

The next step was to sing in public. He made his debut in front of a few dozen at the Fresher and Professor pub and admits to being plagued by nerves despite having played in front of up to 6,000 fans in his basketball days.

“I sang Under The Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers – and I was terrified. When you are playing sport you are in your comfort zone. You are so focused on the game you don’t really notice the crowd.”

But the debut gig went well and Myron went on to sing regularly with James as part of 20Past4, a hip-hop/ska/funk outfit. Next came reggae combo 007 and more recently funky Freshly Squeezed. Now the latter has morphed into another eight-strong combo, hip-hop/soul/electronica/jazz Antimatador – the same personnel are in both.

The differences are that in the newer incarnation they sound more edgy, says Myron, and everything is original. He is one of the writers.

The aim is to take the band beyond the South West where Freshly Squeezed are widely known.

Myron still has a day job – his IT degree background helped secure work as an information analyst, based at Plymouth Railway Station (he helps provide data for train companies, including on customer satisfaction).

But the hope is that, one day, the band – with a highly skilled set of musicians (for example trumpet player Simon Dobson was voted UK Composer of the year in 2012) – will be full-time.

Myron’s own taste includes jazz/funk icon Stevie Wonder and rapper Tupac but is wide-ranging. “Abba is a guilty pleasure,” he says.

He reckons his sporting background helps him personally, and the band.

“As a sportsman you have to have discipline and be self-dependent and to work hard if you want to be successful. You have to sometimes give up a shot if somebody is better placed or they are the better shooter – you work for the good of the team. That’s important when there are eight in a band.”

Another factor Myron hopes will propel the band to great things is experienced manager Ray Rose. “He’s awesome.”

Currently the band is recording an album, as-yet untitled.

“Obviously we hope it will sell. I’d love to walk into HMV and see it there.

“We want to take this as far as we can. I really believe in going for something if you want it. You should never be afraid to fail.”

He has no problem about being recognised or any worries about fame – being 6ft 5in he is used to being noticed “and there aren’t too many other people around called Myron”.

So he doesn’t think he will ever feel the need, or the great desire, to seek anonymity under the volcano on the island where he grew up.

“Montserrat is probably the most beautiful place in the world,” he says about his other Plymouth home. “But I am not in any rush to go back. I’ve moved on.”

You can catch Antimatador next on Friday October 31 at Maker Heights for a Halloween party

For the original report go to http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/center-court-centre-stage-story-Plymouth-sports/story-23482302-detail/story.html#ixzz3HDdoRZMH

Posted by: lisaparavisini | October 25, 2014

A Double Dose of Trinidad: A Caribbean Outpost in Brooklyn

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This article by Elizabeth Flock appeared in The New York Times.

Every day of the week except Sunday, a line begins to form in the early morning outside a narrow storefront on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant, often before the sun rises and the shop opens. Customers wait in their cars or line up on the sidewalk as the spicy-sweet smell of fried doubles drifts out the door.

A&A Bake & Doubles Shop is famous for its doubles: a typical Trinidadian breakfast of curried chickpeas stuffed inside fried bread, flavored here with tamarind, apple and mango sauces, and hot pepper. When approaching the counter, it is important to know how to describe the level of pepper you want: “mild,” “plenty” or “slight,” slight being the standard answer. It means somewhere in the middle.

Late one morning on a recent Saturday, the talk in line — which was discouragingly long but moving fast — was about whether to go down to Trinidad for Carnival in February, where to watch the big Floyd Mayweather fight that night and how many doubles to order.

Omar McKenzie, 34, ordered two (for a total of $3), which, he explained, was because he had just come from the gym. But he also craves doubles after a late night out. “It’s the hangover breakfast,” he said.

Mr. McKenzie spotted a friend from Grenada eating at the shop’s wooden outdoor table, and they slapped hands.

“You didn’t get enough of this food growing up?” Mr. McKenzie joked.

At the end of the line was Carolann Spencer, 47, a Trinidadian who had been coming to A&A for almost a decade. She lives around the corner. “But when I’m out of the neighborhood, I travel to come here,” she said. She ordered saheena, a flash-fried spinach delicacy available only a few days a week. When she brings her grandchildren, they get pholourie, dough balls filled with split peas.

Most of A&A’s customers seem to come from Trinidad or surrounding islands. The owners of the place, Noel and Geeta Brown, who are also from Trinidad, run the business with the help of their daughter and several staff members, and have made every effort to keep it like home. Ingredients are shipped in from Trinidad every week. Soca music plays at full blast. The walls are plastered with colorful posters and pictures: Caribbean capital cities, a local soccer player and Nicki Minaj, who was born in Trinidad. All the sauces and sodas are from Trinidad; A&A does not sell Coke or Pepsi. It even accepts the Trinidad and Tobago dollar as currency.

“I’ve made a lot of friends here,” said Mr. Brown, who bought A&A with his wife 12 years ago after running a roti shop in Queens for several years. “This is home away from home.”

According to Mr. Brown, about half of his customers are regulars, and he estimates that he sells about 2,000 doubles on a Saturday. But as Bedford-Stuyvesant changes, A&A is attracting new customers. On this Saturday, a white couple walked by the shop deep in conversation and almost missed it, but they craned their necks to look after noticing the crowd. A young Latino man ordered doubles, left the store, and then walked back in to ask the staff how exactly to eat it. Mr. Brown laughed. “You fold it,” he explained. “There’s no fork or knife. And if you open it the wrong way, everything falls out.” Heading back out onto Nostrand Avenue, the man folded the double and took an enormous bite. “He’s got it now,” Mr. Brown said, and he smiled.

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For the original report go to http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/nyregion/a-caribbean-outpost-in-brooklyn.html?_r=0#

Posted by: lisaparavisini | October 25, 2014

Operation Pacuare: Sea Shepherd in Costa Rica

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This article by Jaime López appeared in The Costa Rica Star.

Readers of The Costa Rica Star are very familiar with our extensive reporting on the saga of Paul Watson, the controversial founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. In late September, we reported on the Sea Shepherd chapter in Costa Rica, which is actively involved in the protection of sea turtles in our Caribbean coast.

We now bring you an update by Sea Shepherd on Operation Pacuare, which departs from the action seen on Whale Wars, the reality television series broadcast by Animal Planet, in the sense that there are no scripted theatrics and the action does not take place aboard a Sea Shepherd vessel. This is wildlife conservation by means of direct action, and it honors the life of slain conservationist Jairo Mora. Text and photo by Sea Shepherd:

Operation Pacuare continues to make a strong presence in Costa Rica’s Limon province with nightly patrols in search of nesting sea turtles on Pacuare Beach. October has already proven to be a busy month for volunteers defending nesting sea turtles. The eggs from the nests found on the beach are relocated to a secure hatchery, where they incubate until they hatch. Volunteers then release the hatchlings to start their new lives in the ocean.

For the first five days of October, 156 sea turtle hatchlings, including 65 critically endangered hawksbill and 91 endangered green sea turtles, were all released to the sea. They represent lives that were saved from poachers, and are given the opportunity to swim freely in the oceans.

On October 6th, Sea Shepherd volunteers were able to save 151 endangered green sea turtle eggs from the destructive hands of poachers, and release 13 green sea turtle hatchlings into the ocean. As Sea Shepherd volunteers patrolled Pacuare Beach, they encountered a green sea turtle as she was camouflaging her nest in the beach berm. The volunteers kept a watchful eye over her as she finished the completion of her nest, being careful not to disturb the turtle. Once she was done, the volunteers removed 151 eggs from the nest, and relocated them to a hatchery for safekeeping during incubation.

Shortly after these eggs arrived and were securely placed in the hatchery, 13 green sea turtle hatchlings emerged from a separate nest. Each hatchling was weighed and measured for research, before they were returned to the beach. Once released, the hatchlings made their way to their rightful home in the ocean.

On October 8th, just two nights later, the tracks of a green sea turtle were spotted coming from the ocean, without any return tracks. Presumably, poachers had spotted her after she laid her eggs and began her journey back to the ocean. Quickly, the poachers removed the eggs from the nest, which would be falsely sold as aphrodisiacs, and dragged the turtle into the woods to slaughter her for meat

As the sun set and night settled in on October 9th, 238 green sea turtle hatchlings emerged from three different nests in the hatchery. The first, a nest of 103 hatchlings emerged at the start of the night, while 14 hatchlings emerged from a second just minutes later. Some of the newly emerged green sea turtle hatchlings were weighed and measured, and then immediately released to the ocean. Hours later, a third nest of green sea turtle hatchlings emerged. Eager to begin their new lives, the 121 turtles all scurried to the sea for the first time.

On October 10th, 95 newly laid green sea turtle eggs were saved from poachers. Our volunteer patrol came upon the nest just after the mother had finished laying her eggs, leaving only her fresh tracks as an indication that she had been there at all. After finding her camouflaged nest, the eggs were removed and transported to a hatchery. There, the eggs will safely incubate under the watchful eyes of volunteers until they hatch

In the first ten days of October, 246 green sea turtle eggs were saved from poachers, while 65 hawksbill and 592 green sea turtle hatchlings that were previously saved, were released into the ocean.

The nesting season for sea turtles will continue until the end of October (mainly green sea turtles at this time). Sea Shepherd’s Operation Pacuare will ensure that volunteers are present on the beach nightly to save sea turtles and their eggs as they nest.

For the original report go to http://news.co.cr/operation-pacuare-sea-shepherd-costa-rica/35569/

Dominican Republic Migrants

The Dominican Republic is rejecting a decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that found the Caribbean country discriminated against Dominicans of Haitian descent, the Associated Press reports.

The government called the decision “unacceptable” and “biased” in a statement issued Friday.

A Dominican court ruled last year that people born in the Dominican Republic to migrants living there illegally were not automatically entitled to citizenship, basically rendering thousands of people stateless. The government since then has pledged to resolve their status but has only offered residency and work permits under a new program.

The Inter-American Court gave the Dominican government six months to invalidate the ruling.

A U.N. study has estimated there about 500,000 undocumented migrants in the Dominican Republic, nearly 90 percent of Haitian descent.


A post by Peter Jordens.

Parveen Chopra of The South Asian Times writes that Dreadlocks Story is a documentary that explores how the matted hair lock of Rastas in Jamaica and Sadhus in India is a sacred covenant and a way to bond, to addresses freedom and misunderstandings and to promote a powerful state of mind outside the mainstream.

New York: When I met Linda Aïnouche early this year, she was still trying to raise money to complete her documentary titled Dreadlocks Story. But such has been her determination and focus that the independent filmmaker has managed to complete the film. To be released shortly, it is having its Dutch premiere in Amsterdam on November 1, 2014, in Rootical Vibrations, a cultural event that offers the Rasta experience through film, music and food, attended by her via Skype.

The 90-mintue labor of love, written and directed by Linda Aïnouche, reveals the hidden spiritual links between Jamaican Rastas and Indian sadhus. Dreadlocks Story opens up the history of Rastas. It goes into the history of the now smirked upon dreadlocks hairstyle and the roots of the Rastafari culture, which is entangled with the Hindu tradition in Jamaica.

The documentary was shot in France, India, Jamaica and the US with four different languages (French, Hindi, Jamaican Patois and English). It draws upon a part of Jamaican and Indian history. Linda has a PhD degree and is an expert on Jainism, having lived for long with Jains in India.

There are many misconceptions and judgments about the Rasta way of life, but few have taken the trouble to understand the why of what they do, says Linda in her statement about the film. “Hairstyle is the most universal and unavoidable form of body art. It is also one of the most interesting and commonly misunderstood. How and why can it be subject to prejudice and massacre?” she asks. Similarly, for Rastas, as for Indian sadhus, smoking cannabis (ganja) is a spiritual act, to open the gates of higher consciousness.

The Rasta movement began as slavery progressed. Rastafari pledges a response to African descendants to recover and rebuild their culture suppressed by brutal, stultifying European domination. In this context, it is an attempt for the survival of African culture and an upfront anti-slavery, anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggle.


British colonists ruled in Jamaica until 1962 and in India until 1947. Slavery ended in Jamaica in 1838 and Indian workers were brought to the island from 1845 to 1917. Both Afro-Jamaicans and Indians were kidnapped and sent to work on sugar and banana plantations throughout Jamaica where they forged warm relationships through their shared oppressive hardships. The history of Indian indigent workers in Jamaica reminds us that enslaved people have not come only from Africa.

What is the unique way of life arising from the cross-cultural mixing between the sons of African slaves, as well as African and Indian forced workers “under contracts” in the plantations?

Leonard Percival Howell, known as the First Rasta was the pioneer who spoke about Rastafari (1932). He empowered and promoted the belief that everyone is divine and equal through the figure of the Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. His first followers were mainly very poor, persecuted people. Jailed for two years by the colonial government, Howell wrote a pamphlet (1935) under a Hindu pen name, which showed commonalities between the lifestyles of Rastas in Jamaica and Hindu holy men in India.

In 1939, Howell became the first black man to purchase a piece of land called Pinnacle where he implanted a free, self-reliant community for his followers. Incessant persecutions followed for him and the Rastas. Pinnacle was destroyed by the colonists in 1958. The destruction of this autonomous society caused an exodus of Rastas throughout Jamaica. To wear dreadlocks became a mean of defiance and a blanket of protection against the Establishment.

Today, dreadlocks are not confined to Jamaica but fly throughout the Caribbean and their diasporas. Although, since Jamaica’s independence in 1962, some accommodation has been made towards Rastas, this minority community’s struggle against prejudice and discrimination continues.

For her documentary, richly illustrated with archival material, stills and videos, Linda has interviewed experts such as Hélène Lee, author of The First Rasta (1999, 2005), Verene Shepherd, Social History Professor at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica; and Professor Ajai Mansingh and Laxmi Mansingh, pioneer researchers of the Indian presence in Jamaica. She has also tried to elicit responses from Rasta men and women from different generations on how they see dreadlocks, how they regard Hindu influences on Rastafari history.

Finally, Linda asks, “Who knows if without Indians, Bob Marley would have met the same success?!”

For the original article, go to http://www.thesouthasiantimes.info/news-Film_finds_spiritual_links_between_Indian_sadhus_and_Jamaican_Rastafarians-69399-New%20York-112.html.

For more about Dreadlock Story, visit http://www.dreadlockstory.com and

https://www.facebook.com/dreadlockstory. Watch the trailer at http://vimeo.com/76819259.

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 25, 2014

The National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest


Calling all those talented Caribbean photographers! The National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest deadline is approaching. It is October 31, 2014.

Here is a selection of entries that will be judged in three categories: people, places and nature. The Grand Prize Winner will receive $10,000 and a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar in January 2015.

[Photo above and following caption by Chris Nolan is from last year’s entries: “Our home, the sailing vessel Navigator, rests on a mooring at the Pitons, St. Lucia, in the eastern Caribbean Sea.”]

See more information at http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/bigpicture/2014/10/24/the-national-geographic-photo-contest/nOkDxV2ZzAyalY3F6AWuNM/story.html

For all of the photos in the contest, visit http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-contest/2014/


Yeneily García García interviewed Laura de la Uz, who says that “life for a creative woman in Cuba is not perfect,” but that makes it all the more enriching. Cuban actress Laura de la Uz was recently acclaimed for her one-woman theatrical piece, “Reality Show.” García writes:

When they proposed to her closing the Festival Ellas Crean, Laura de la Uz did not think twice. ‘It was one of those intuitive moments I sometimes get and I said yes right away,’ said the winner of two ‘Coral’ awards for Best Female Performance at the Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana. ‘Can you do it?’ And I said yes. ‘Do you have anything ready?’ And I said no. I didn’t think twice, I have many things to say, as a woman, as an artist, and I had long dreamed of doing a one-woman show.’

[. . .] The idea of a work that would allow her to show the everyday life of a creative woman, in this case an actress, combined well with what Laura wanted to tell: as close to real life as theatrical language could allow.

[. . .] The intention was to show how life is for a woman who creates, and I loved it because it has a lot to do with what I wanted, which was a bit to tell my story. My things, what has happened to me, what I think, who I am, and I went home and immediately wrote dramatic plot line of the show and, gradually, there emerged a structure that had to do with a kind of tribute to music and women who have inspired great themes in the musical history of this country . . . all that, mixed in with my daily life, she said.

Following the codes of reality TV, in Reality Show there were even video segments filmed earlier in her real apartment in El Vedado, in which she wakes up, drinks coffee prepared by her mom, she jogs, takes her daughter to school, returns carrying groceries from the “agro” market, huffing and puffing as she climbs the stairs in the noon heat. [. . .]

Read full article at http://www.cubasi.cu/cubasi-noticias-cuba-mundo-ultima-hora/item/32339-ser-mujer-y-artista-en-cuba-reality-show-con-laura-de-la-uz-%20-fotos

Also see http://www.radioenciclopedia.cu/cultural-news/news/reality-show-with-laura-uz-20141018/

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 25, 2014

Film: Jeremy Whittaker’s “Destiny”


Cecelia Campbell-Livingston writes that Jeremy Whittaker’s film Destiny is doing well at the box office since its debut in Jamaica last week.

“We have noted that the support and word of mouth have been very good,” Melanie Graham, marketing manager of The Palace Amusement Company, told the Jamaica Observer.

Jeremy-Whittaker_8536The Jamaica-born Whittaker said he is pleased with the feedback he has been getting. “There is always a character in the movie that someone can relate to,” he said.

Destiny follows the character Lisa Collen (played by Jamaica-born, Canada-based Karian Sang) who visits Jamaica from Toronto to sell her family’s estate. She gets involved with Sean, a recording artiste (played by Chris Martin), and reconnects with her family.

The movie, which was filmed in Jamaica with additional footage shot in Canada, also stars several local personalities including Kerstin Whittaker, Munair Zacca, female dancehall artistes Grace ‘Spice’ Hamilton and Latifa ‘Tifa’ Brown, Ian ‘Ity’ Ellis, and Khadine ‘Miss Kitty’ Hylton.

For original article, see http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/Whittaker-facing-his-Destiny_17805804

Also see http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/Whittaker-s-Destiny_15121518 and http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/Jeremy-Whittaker-s-date-with-Destiny_17729233

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 25, 2014

Venezuela ceased to be the main partner of the Free Zone of Panama


Pan-American World reports that Venezuela ceased to be the main partner of the Free Zone of Panama, due to Venezuela’s alleged economic crisis. The article stated that Puerto Rico (regardless of its own major economic crisis) emerged in 2014 as the major buyer in the Panamanian shopping destination, the Colon Free Zone.

Due to the fall in sales to Venezuela, Puerto Rico emerged in 2014 as the major shopping destination of the Colon Free Zone (CFZ) in Panama, the second largest port forwarding goods after Hong Kong. Venezuelan importers stopped being the main historical client FTA without solution in sight to the debt they have with Panamanian suppliers.

It has not been diffused publicly the exact amount of Venezuelan debt (estimated between 1,700 and 2,000 million dollars), the crisis due the accumulated debt moved Venezuela to fifth in the relevant partners of a commercial enclave located in the area of port of Colon, on the Caribbean coast, operating since 1948 as a mechanism for tax exemption.

The president of the Association of Users of the FTA, Luis Germán Gómez Giraldo, explains that due the Venezuelan debt, “Free Zone companies adjusted inventories and receivables. The volume of sales to Venezuela declined significantly is a slashing. Some of the debts have been rearranged, but not at the speed that is required. ” Gomez argues that “much money is still in accounts receivable in Venezuela. There has even been the impetus of the Government of Venezuela to meet these obligations. “

On 5 March, due a bilateral friction with the Organization of American States by political violence that rocked Venezuela in February, Caracas broke diplomatic, political, commercial and economic relations with Panama. The mess of debts was in the center of the controversy and although the ties were restored in July, with the presidential change in Panama, the financial conflict has raged. [. . .]

For full article, see http://panamericanworld.com/en/article/venezuela-ceased-be-main-partner-free-zone-panama


Silvio Rodríguez is in the Dominican Republic to attend the opening program of activities to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the city of Baní in the Dominican Republic. Tonight (October 25), he will offer a free concert, opening the Regional Peravia Book Fair 2014, dedicated to the deceased Banian journalist Rafael Herrera. Dominican solo artist Maridalia Hernández will join him at the concert, to be held at the Luis María Herrera Stadium in Baní at 7:00pm. Here are excerpts of related articles:

On Friday, President Danilo Medina welcomed in his office the courtesy visit of Cuban singer and songwriter Silvio Rodriguez, who was accompanied by his wife Niurka Gonzalez and Minister of Culture Jose Antonio Rodríguez. The Dominican head of State and the renowned singer discussed various aspects, including the strong cultural and historical ties between the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Silvio will be taking part in the 250th anniversary celebrations of the founding of Bani, the city where General Maximo Gomez was born, one of the heroes of Cuba’s struggles for independence in 1895.

Among the many classic hits Silvio is expected to sing tonight are “Ojalá”, “La Maza”, “Unicornio”, “Te Doy una Canción”, “Pequeña Serenata Diurna”, “Te Amaré” y “Hoy Mi Deber”.

For full articles, see http://www.diariolibre.com/revista/2014/10/24/i852581_silvio-rodrguez-visita-presidente-danilo-medina.html in Spanish and http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2014/10/25/53132/Cuban-singer-Silvio-Rodriguez-visits-President-Medina in English.

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