Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cuban ambassador: Panama summit is a "clandestine event"

InterContinental Miramar Panama
Organizers of the {think} Cuba summit have done an excellent job keeping party crashers out of their private bash in Panama.
Employees of the InterContinental Miramar Panama, the purported summit site, said Thursday they had no knowledge of the event.
"It´s very strange," said a hotel employee after reviewing the {think} Cuba website that says the summit was scheduled for April 25-29 at the hotel. "People have been asking about the event all week."
She said she hasn´t been able to tell anyone anything about the event because she knows nothing.
Another female employee, who helps arrange events and banquets at the hotel, said she had not heard of the event, either.
The{think} Cuba website describes the event like this:
A summit of elite movement leaders convening to support Cuban activism and strengthen their individual skills as they form a consortium united for the positive development of Cuba and our world.
A California activist named Stephanie Rudat - see LinkedIn profile - organized the summit, the {think} Cuba website says.
Rudat´s profile lists her as a partner at Absot Marketing, described as "a global firm that generates, strategically implements, and maintains the digital presence of businesses, causes, and individuals in conjunction with traditional marketing efforts..."
Absot Marketing´s Panama office is on the 13th floor of the Century Tower. A receptionist sitting just inside the door at Absot said Thursday that Rudat was not in. Nor was Vanessa Fuentes, listed as the company´s founder. The receptionist said she didn´t know the status of the {think} Cuba summit, whether it had started, was underway, or had wrapped up.
The Century Tower, Panama
Rudat is a co-founder of the Alliance for Youth Movements, which received $225,690 in State Department funds to gather a group of activists and entrepreneurs in Mexico City from Oct. 14 to Oct. 16, 2009, USASpending.gov records show.
Rudat has not responded to a request that she disclose whether her organization has received U.S. government funds to pay for - or help pay for - the {think} Cuba summit.
Also unclear is if, when or where the event took place. Event collaborators posted tweets in mid-April that seemed to show the event was underway, but perhaps at that point they were merely selecting participants.
It is certainly possible that the summit proceeded according to plan at the InterContinental, and hotel employees were told not to talk about the private event. Or the meeting could have been moved elsewhere.
"Who knows?" said Reinaldo Calviac, the Cuban ambassador in Panama. "Up until now it has been a clandestine event."
The {think} Cuba website says the summit ends Friday. The mystery surrounding the event does not.

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