- - Monday, October 11, 2010


Lawyer says Gitmo plea deal broken

SAN JUAN | The attorney for a former al Qaeda cook said Monday that the government did not deliver on a promise that led him to plead guilty to supporting terrorism, and she said that could discourage other inmates at Guantanamo Bay from reaching deals with prosecutors.

Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al-Qosi of Sudan was removed from a communal-living compound over the weekend and placed in more isolated confinement, despite a recommendation in the plea agreement that he stay, a Pentagon official said.

His defense attorney, Navy Cmdr. Suzanne Lachelier, said the move could make other detainees reluctant to accept plea deals.

There was no guarantee that al-Qosi would stay in the prison camp reserved for the most cooperative detainees, but that was the recommendation of the Pentagon official who oversees the tribunal system and prosecutors made personal pledges to ensure that it happened.

Al-Qosi, 50, had been held in Camp 4, a section of the prison where detainees live in communal, dormlike units and can spend the day outdoors.


Cuba ready to allow small loans for reforms

HAVANA | Some European countries are quietly working to bring hard-currency loans to Cuban farmers, an idea the communist-led government has traditionally resisted but now looks ready to accept to help its economic reforms.

A small flow of Spanish money for credits in Cuba is set to start up in 2011, and there are hopes it can grow as Cuba modernizes its state-dominated socialist economy.

The first loans will be financed by Spain’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, which next year will donate $680,000 for agriculture, a priority for the cash-strapped Caribbean state dependent on food imports.

Cuban officials have long been wary of “microcredits” because they worry the small loans to groups of individuals could undermine the country’s socialist principles, especially if coming from abroad.

But Western diplomats say Cuba’s government now appears ready to give such financing a try, even though it does not want to talk openly about “microcredits.”

Hard-currency loans would allow groups of Cuban farmers, who lease land from the state, to buy the imported supplies, ranging from irrigation systems to seeds, they badly need to increase production, said Juan Diego Ruiz, local coordinator of the Spanish government aid agency.

Cuban President Raul Castro has made a series of reforms aimed at boosting agricultural output, and he unveiled plans last month to lay off 500,000 state workers in the next six months.

The government says many of those being laid off will be allowed to enter the private sector in the boldest reform since Mr. Castro succeeded his older brother Fidel in 2008.


President to attend miners’s rescue

QUITO | Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said Monday he intends to wait with the families of 33 trapped miners for the men to be winched to safety in an operation likely to start within hours.

“The rescue is even closer than ever,” Mr. Pinera said during a trip to Ecuador. “And I intend tomorrow, Tuesday, to be with the families of the 33 miners to share this amazing moment.”

Officials said earlier that the operation to bring the men to safety would begin around midnight Tuesday. It is likely to take more than a day, and possibly two, for them all to be hoisted back up from the bottom of the San Jose mine, in northern Chile.

The men have been trapped since a partial cave-in on Aug. 5.


New museum brings lessons of genocide

MEXICO CITY | A new museum is bringing the lessons of the Holocaust and its grim cousins to new generations of Mexicans — and reminding them that the intolerance that feeds genocide can even grow close to home.

The five-story glass-and-concrete building inaugurated Monday beside Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department takes visitors through chilling displays on the Nazi Holocaust and how it was seen from Mexico, then continues through other horrors, including the slaughters of Armenians, Tutsis and Sudanese.

The 75,300-square-foot museum, a decade in the making, is the dream of Sharon Zaga, whose grandmother moved to Mexico from Czechoslovakia as World War II broke out and whose great-aunt survived Auschwitz.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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