(My new American Thinker post)
By any measurement, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez was a literary giant. He wrote some wonderful books and was hailed as one of the all time greats of Spanish literature.
We definitely agree with many of the compliments and obituaries, such as this one from CBC
"Garcia Marquez, who died Thursday at age 87, was eulogized in a brief ceremony Monday evening in the dramatic art deco lobby by the presidents of both Mexico and Colombia, two countries linked by the writer through his birth, life, heritage and career.
Though he was born in Colombia, Garcia Marquez lived in Mexico for decades and wrote some of his best-known works here, including One Hundred Years of Solitude."
My biggest problem is that Garcia-Marquez was just a bit too fond of Fidel Castro, the longest running dictatorship in the Americas. He never called for elections in Cuba and was just a bit too quick to repeat the dictatorship's talking points, such as blaming the US embargo for the economic problems.
Didn't Mr Garcia-Marquez know that Colombia, his native country, and Mexico, his adopted nation, do business with Cuba? Again, the problem is not the US embargo but the failed socialist and communist policies that turned Cuba into an impoverished island, the same one that had to reschedule its debts over and over!
Sadly, Mr Garcia-Marquez is part of a Latin American left that has always loved Castro a lot more than the Cuban people. They love having "rum and cola" with Castro and overlook the plight of the political prisons or the lack of freedoms.
Didn't Mr Garcia-Marquez know that Castro puts people in jails for writing against his regime? Was he that misinformed about Cuba?
Over the years, I've gotten into many debates with Latin American leftists over Cuba.
I've come to the conclusion that many of these leftists hate the US so much that they are willing to support any one as long as he is "anti-Yankee"!
RIP Mr Gabriel Garcia-Marquez. Shame on you for embracing of Fidel Castro.
P. S. You can hear my discussion about Garcia-Marquez with Cuban-American author Victor Triay plus young Colombia conservative Michael Prada & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.
Juan Cristobal Nagel in Caracas Chronicles:
Rationing the secrecy of the vote
We're following you!
Buenos Aires’ La Nación newspaper has a thorough feature story on the Tarjeta de Abastecimiento Seguro, the government’s new fingerprint-activated card to control how much you can buy at government stores.
For example, did you know the CNE is behind the whole operation? And that when you register for the card, they ask for a whole bunch of personal information? Hmm, I wonder what those two things have in common? What could the CNE possibly want with your purchase, employment, and contact information…?
The (terrifying) money quote …
According to official figures, starting April 1st more than 300,000 people have registered in the system, which is run by the National Elections Council (CNE), who has the information on Venezuelans’ fingerprints.
With their ID cards, and by providing the fingerprints for their index fingers and thumbs, any Venezuelan can register in the system.
Registration also requires providing a series of detailed personal information: is the person a public employee, do they belong to a communal council, do they shop at government stores, and whether or not they have participated in the government’s social programs. They also have to leave their phone number and an email, where in 45 days they will receive a message saying their caard is ready.”
In other words, the electoral council knows what you eat, where you shop, how the government helps you … and it also lets you vote.
(Kudos to CC’s Anabella Abadí for being extensively quoted in the piece, by the way.)
By Fernando Damaso in Translating Cuba:
The Eighth Congress of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC) recently ended, yielding very poor results, which was not unexpected to those of us who have been following it before the run-up and during the proceedings.
It began with a doctrinaire address by its president, who stated that “UNEAC is the Moncada Barracks of culture” and “from its beginnings UNEAC has done nothing but serve the Revolution.” This came as a surprise to no one, especially given the presence at the event of important figures from the Communist party and the government, which guaranteed there would be no deviations.
Discussions among the more than three hundred delegates from all over the country were led by various commissions—culture and media, art, the market and cultural industries, urban affairs and architecture, national patrimony and sculpture, regulation and litigation—were restricted to rehashing proposals presented at previous congresses, most of which have never been put into practice.
We are inundated with rhetoric about issues related to creativity, the analysis of contemporary aesthetic trends, the need to rethink radio, television and film while taking into account the emerging needs and expectations of the population, to confront all forms of corruption, indiscipline, waste, disorder and vulgarity, the need for more effective mechanisms for commercializing art, the need to define and implement policies for the built environment, the need to chart a policy for the city and for architecture through national development programs and the proposed changes in the legal statutes. It’s really hard to separate the wheat from all the chaff.
Once again there were the “genetic censors,” seeking to solve problems by creating committees to review and approve, a ludicrous approach in the current context. It is evidence of generational stagnation and the influence of the exalted sayings of the National Orator—ever-present if not physically present—who is remembered as our “greatest intellectual.”
It was pure theater in which every one of the participants knew by heart the lines he or she was supposed to say.
Booooo! When there's something strange in your stadium who you gonna call? Gabobusters!
Talk about magical realism! Ay caramba, this news story is straight out of Macondo.
It could also become part of the plot for Ghostbusters III.
It appears that a ghost decided to haunt a soccer stadium in Bolivia and that someone managed to film it.
Eat your heart out, Slimer.
Check out the spooky video HERE.
Never mind the fact that digital images can be very easily manipulated nowadays.
The fact that this apparition took place right after the death of Garcia Marquez is too much of a coincidence, even though the event took place in a country other than the author's native Colombia. After all, we're talking Bolivia here, one of the top Cubanized and Castronoid places in Latrine America.
Chances are that very high that this ectoplasmic entity wanted to show its support for the Revolution led by Evo Morales, another great friend of Fidel and Raul Castro. Next on his itinerary: Ecuador, Nicaragua, Argentina, Brazil. Gabo will probably stay out of Venezuela because Hugo Chavez's ghost has exclusive rights to haunt that country. And Castrogonia already has the demi-ghost of Gabo's beloved King Fidel.
So,there you have it, skeptics. It's quite possible that Gabo is still showing his support for Castroism from beyond the grave. And it's also highly likely that he got the idea from his other dead soul mate Hugo Chavez, whose ghost served as a goalie in a recent game between Colombia and Venezuela.
Check that one out HERE.
So, who's next in line at the door to this exclusive ghost club? Why not Nosferatu himself, the demi-ghost of Havana, the ailing Coma-Andante Fidel Castro?
And then watch out: once his ghost joins this club all bets are off. He will probably find a way to steal everyone's belongings and bring them down to hell.
John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:
Conflict Escalation in Cuba and Venezuela: Nonviolent dynamics and a call to action
"We have not chosen the path of peace as a tactic, but because it is inseparable from the goal for which our people are striving. Experience teaches us that violence begets more violence and that when political change is brought about by such means, new forms of oppression and injustice arise. It is our wish that violence and force should never be used as ways of overcoming crises or toppling unjust governments." - Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, Strasbourg, France December 17, 2002
640 days ago civic nonviolent leaders Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero were killed under extremely suspicious circumstances. Both men had led lives of nonviolent resistance to injustice. Today learned about, Orlando Lorenzo de Jesús Castellano Olivo. the latest Venezuelan youth to be shot in the head and killed.
Since February 12, 2014 43 have died during anti-government demonstrations and it has now been confirmed that at least some of the youth shot in the head, were shot by government agents. The struggle in Cuba has been going on for more than 55 years and Venezuela's now for 15 years. While reading Michael N. Nagler's new book, "The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action" read a passage that struck me with regards to the struggles now taking place in these two countries.
Continue reading HERE.
Via Capitol Hill Cubans:
The FARC's (and Castro's) Favorite Congressman
Here's what international human rights monitors have recently said about repression in Cuba:
"Repression of independent journalists, opposition leaders and human rights activists increased."
-- Amnesty International, 2013 Annual Report
"Cuba remains the only country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent."
-- Human Rights Watch, 2013 Annual Report
"The principal human rights abuses were abridgment of the right of citizens to change the government and the use of government threats, extrajudicial physical violence, intimidation, mobs, harassment, and detentions to prevent free expression and peaceful assembly."
-- U.S. Department of State, 2013 Country Reports on Human Rights
In contrast, here's what U.S. Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), one of Congress' staunchest opponents of U.S. policy toward Cuba, told the Boston Globe this weekend:
"It is difficult but it is not oppressive. It is not to minimize the human rights challenges, but there have been changes here that have resulted in more political space."
No Congressman, white-washing Castro's human rights abuses is exactly what you are doing.
Ironically (or hypocritically), this is the same U.S. Rep. McGovern, who stood on the House floor in 2011 to virulently oppose a free trade agreement with our democratic ally, Colombia, arguing:
"We should not be debating this FTA today. We should be waiting until we see real, honest-to-goodness results on the ground in terms of improvements of human rights. When it comes to human rights, M. Chairman, the United States of America should not be a cheap date. We should stand firm, and we should be unabashed in our support for human rights. Vote NO on the Colombia FTA."
No wonder he's the FARC's (and Castro's) favorite Congressman.
This is how the women in Venezuela are treated by Cuba's puppet dictatorship (via Maduradas):
Because there is no better mark than one you have scammed before.
Exclusive: Cuba may revive Paris Club debt negotiations
(Reuters) - Cuba and the Paris Club of wealthy creditor nations are working to resume talks over billions of dollars of official debt in a new sign the communist government is interested in rejoining the global economy.
A Paris Club delegation quietly traveled to Havana late last year to meet with Cuban bank officials, who were prepared with various proposals and appeared eager to strike a deal, according to Western diplomats.
Previous negotiations broke off in 2000 and obstacles remain to reviving serious talks, said the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
They said Cuba must first show creditors its books, which so far it has refused to do. Cuba considers its level of foreign reserves a state secret and publishes scant data on its current account and foreign debt, which it last revealed for 2010.
Still, the diplomats have taken Cuba's readiness to talk as an indication it may be willing to play by the rules of international finance.
Although it is still a long way off, any deal with the Paris Club would significantly reduce Cuba's debt, improve its reputation in financial markets and allow it to issue new debt.
In the latest of President Raul Castro's market-oriented reforms, Cuba recently approved a foreign investment law that it hopes will bring in billions of dollars.
It has also embarked on a monetary reform that would eliminate its two-currency system, another hindrance to foreign investment, and it is about to begin talks with the European Union on forming a new bilateral relationship.
"The positive is that Cuba has more or less been restructuring and meeting its debt obligations for the last three years. The negative is that they think that is enough and do not understand that we must know their financial capacity to live up to whatever agreement we might come to," one diplomat said.
In the past three years, Cuba has restructured its debt with China, Japanese commercial creditors, Mexico and Russia, each time obtaining substantial reductions in what it owed in exchange for payment plans it can meet.
The Paris Club is an informal group of 19 creditor nations: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.
The club has a special working group on Cuba that excludes the United States and it may be willing to waive the usual prerequisite of an International Monetary Fund agreement and be creative in looking for solutions, the diplomats said.
Continue reading HERE.
H/T Regina A.
Cuba is NOT a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Cuba is NOT a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Cuba is NOT a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Cuba is NOT a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Cuba is NOT a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Cuba is NOT a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Cuba is NOT a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Cuba is NOT a State Sponsor of Terrorism...
Just keep repeating that over and over and over again and perhaps no one will notice that Cuba IS in fact a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
Via Fox News:
Cuba sides with Iran at private meeting over UN ambassador dispute, sources say
Cuba piped up as one of the few countries to side with Iran at a meeting Tuesday of a United Nations committee where Iran formally protested – and the United States defended – the decision by the Obama administration to bar Iran’s U.N. ambassador pick from U.S. soil.
On Friday, President Obama signed legislation that effectively bars Hamid Aboutalebi from getting a U.S. visa because of his role during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis.
Iran appealed its case to a U.N. committee on Tuesday. Diplomats told Fox News that the Cuban ambassador spoke in defense of Iran, and used the meeting of the 19-member panel to criticize the United States for its handling of the situation.
The panel to which Iran was appealing also includes China and Russia.
Diplomats, though, told Fox News that the process of reviewing Iran’s case could take weeks, if not months.
Aboutalebi says he was only a translator at the time militants took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held it for 444 days. He also has been accused of being part of a 1993 political assassination of an Iranian defector in Rome, where Aboutalebi was serving as Iranian ambassador. However, he never was charged in that case and Iran’s mission to the U.N. told Fox News the allegation was nonsense.
Officials of the opposition Council of Resistance of Iran called on the U.N. to abide by Washington’s decision not to admit Aboutalebi.
Fox News' Eric Shawn and Jonathan Wachtel contributed to this story
Via Uncommon Sense:
Haydeé Gallardo Salazar
Cuban Lady In White Haydeé Gallardo Salazar and her husband Ángel Figueredo Castellón will stand trial Thursday on a charge of "disrespect," after they were arrested Easter Sunday on their way to Mass, according to Diario de Cuba.
They were released six hours after they were arrested. However, they were summoned back to a jail, where they have been held since.
Berta Soler, head of the Damas De Blanco, or "Ladies In White," said her membership will rally in support of the couple.
"They asked for milk for children, food for the people of Cuba and shouted, 'Down with Fidel.' We will go Thursday to the court to yell the same," Soler said.
Other activists recently jailed include Vicente Coll Campanioni, Julio González Díez and Lázaro Yosvani Montesinos Hernández, members of the Committee for Political Prisoners and Families (CAPPF), who were arrested April 18 after a protest in a Havana park.
Montesinos Hernández has started a hunger strike, according to the report.
Andrés Pérez Suárez, leader of CAPFF, said authorities told him the activists face prosecution on various charges.
Victor Triay, author and college professor, joins me for a chat about the Latin American left. We will also hear from Michael Prada.
We will look at the death of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, the well known author of the Spanish language, who died in Mexico City.
My concern is that Mr Garcia-Marquez is another one of those Latin American intellectuals who loved Fidel Castro more than the Cuban people. How else do you explain his fascination with Castro? Why the selective indignation?
Via Daniel in Venezuela News & Views:
Stand offing happily in Venezuela
Easter week came and went without anything being solved in Venezuela.
I have been very busy on my personal emergencies, and trying to rest in between. Little time for news, not that it matters. The stuff I know about, that I live first hand, is the ability to work and produce. And on this front there has been no improvement. Whether the regime has a stash of dollars somewhere it is is not making them available for production. Maybe they are going to Cuba, to China, to corruption, but true productive business are having all the trouble in the world to get dollars to remain open, let alone be productive.
The dialogue/debate/guarimbalogue is going nowhere fast. To begin with a very substantial portion of the opposition thinks that Aveledo and co. are not representing the true interests and needs of the people, and I am not speaking of opposition only (1). The point is that the guarimbalogue is discussing the sex of angels without addressing our disastrous economic policies, our dependency on Cuba, on the lack of attack on true corruption (has anyone read anything about an investigation on the 50 million "commission" to Diosdado in the Venezuelan press? In fact, read this apologist and cry).
Meanwhile protest continue though they are are in a shifting mode. But peace is nowhere around the corner and the economic crisis keeps rolling on. The black market rate is at 67 even though the alleged "free" bolivar of SICAD 2 is at 50, nobody knowing how that value is attributed besides the will of the regime holders. And the last paper that still had a complete edition, El Universal, has gone down to a reduced edition, even though it did not publish the list of Venezuelan officials that Marco Rubio want to be pressured by Obama. A paper saving measure by El Universal? Even at SICAD 2 there is no printing material as the regime keeps suffocating freedom of expression, guarimabalogue and all.
I think I am going to focus on survival because no one out there cares about my needs. If the opposition is not able to send a commission of representatives to take a stand at the OAS, there is nothing to keep waiting for. If Maria Corina Machado has been booted and tomorrow a session of the Nazional Assembly is called as if nothing, why should I take these people seriously?
Fuck Aveledo, Capriles, Borges, Allup and the MUD!
1- At least Aveledo had the wisdom to remind people that the student movement is autonomous from political parties.
By Alberto Mendez Castello in Translating Cuba:
Now People Don’t Want the “Chavitos” (CUCs)
Currency speculation has the island on the edge of mental collapse. Money with which to pay wages is scarce. Peso equivalents to the dollar aren’t sold. Informal money changes want real dollars.
Puerto Padre, Cuba — The State Currency Exchange (CADECA) resumed the sale of convertible pesos (CUC) today, after some interrupted for lack of non-convertible, i.e. Cuban pesos (CUP). “We are exchanging any quantify of convertible pesos for national money (CUP), without any problem,” an employee of CADECA said this morning, when asked by this correspondent. “For me, they changed 24 CUC at 24-to-one, and you see the 100 peso notes they gave me in exchange,” said a man after leaving CADECA.
Indeed, the curiosity of the young man was not unfounded: although the date on the notes was 2008, the paper and ink “smelled” as if it had just come off the presses. The private exchangers don’t accept CUCs now because, simply, people won’t by them.”
“I brought seven hundred CUC here and I haven’t sold one,” said the exchanger, about noon, regarding the convertible pesos popularly known as chavitos. “The people who don’t receive remittances don’t have money, and those who do receive them don’t need chavitos.”
In Puerto Padre, CUC used to be common in people’s pockets; a large community of immigrants, primarily based in the U.S., sent dollars relatives and friends which reached the recipients already changed into CUCs through Miami agencies engaged in this business.
The same applies to medical personnel or those of other institutions, who, in filling government posts in Latin America and Africa, are also holders of convertible pesos. Interestingly, these government collaborators are frequent customers of private moneychangers who operate illegally, buying U.S. dollars to carry on their missions abroad to buy appliances and other goods that it would otherwise be impossible to bring to Cuba with what are paid for their “internationalist” collaborations.
“I don’t buy chavitos now, only dollars in large bills, all they have,” whispers an underground exchanger on the corner. For every 100 dollar bill, today he pays 97 pesos.
Juan Tamayo in The Miami Herald:
A Wi-Fi network for Cuba? Maybe
A program financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development to develop the technology for a novel Wi-Fi network in Cuba has not been deployed on the island and is under review, a USAID spokesman said Monday.
USAID approved the grant to the Open Technology Institute (OTI) in Washington in 2012 as part of the agency’s efforts to promote Internet freedom, democracy and civil society in Cuba, said Matt Herrick, a spokesman for the agency.
The network, known as Commotion, “is not operational in Cuba” and no one has traveled to the country for the program, Herrick said. Cuban authorities have jailed USAID subcontractor Alan P. Gross since 2009 for a somewhat similar program.
OTI’s grant “is now under review. We are looking into it, to see if it’s consistent with the [OTI] proposal and achieves expected outcomes,” said the spokesman, declining to provide further details. The grant is set to expire Sept. 30, 2015.
The USAID grant to OTI was made public in 2012, but came under a new spotlight after The New York Times reported Sunday on a similar Commotion system in Tunisia, financed by the State Department, and mentioned the Cuba program.
USAID drew a lot of fire from critics of its Cuba programs after the Associated Press reported earlier this month that it financed a Twitter-like system for Cubans. The agency said the system was not secret but had to be “discreet” because of Cuba’s “non-permissive environment.”
In contrast to Cuba, which has branded the USAID programs as thinly veiled efforts at “regime change,” the Tunisia program was launched in December with the approval of authorities in the town of Sayada.
Gross is serving a 15-year prison sentence for delivering satellite phones to Cuban Jews so they could have uncensored access to the Internet. While Wi-Fi signals are easy to intercept and pinpoint, satellite phone signals are more difficult to locate.
OTI is required to develop the technology for a Cuba version of Commotion — basically a way of linking several Wi-Fi routers into a “mesh” that can bypass government snoops — but has not tried to deploy it on the island, according to knowledgeable sources.
The Wi-Fi program “is part of the U.S. government’s long-standing commitment to facilitate open communications among the Cuban people and with the outside world,” Herrick said.
The Times report said the Sayada network was started by Tunisian academics and computer geeks who took part in the 2011 uprising that overthrew President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. It described his government as “deeply invested in digital surveillance.”
Continue reading HERE.