"Hummmm?..Can't say that I remember any such degrees when Cuba was a "Tourist Playground?"
When Cuba was a HUMILIATED(!!!) DISGRACED(!!!) and DEGRADED(!!!) "Tourist Playground" under "U.S.-Backed Dictator-Batista(!!!)"--where such degrees offered in Cuba's many and easily-affordable institutes of higher learning?...Just asking...?
A Bachelors Degree in Tourism, a New Educational Offering in the University of Camagüey
These rafters made it.
All the way from the southern reaches of Cuba to Texas. Over one thousand miles.
So many try, so few actually make it.
And now, after they arrive, these "refugees" can no longer bring back tons of stuff form the USA for their relatives!
Those Grinches in Havana don't want the black market flooded with consumer goods.
So maybe, pretty soon, these guys will feel a bit crestfallen. Freedom is no longer their main goal. Supplying their enslaved relatives with stuff seems more important.
But you've got to hand it to these guys. This was no Diana Nyad escapade.
Cuban "migrants" wash up on Texas beach
McALLEN, Texas — Authorities in Cameron County are used to encountering illegal immigrants, however on Labor Day they made an unusual find when a group of Cuban immigrants arrived at South Padre Island after a 1,200 mile voyage.
The six men originally from the island of Nueva Gerona, just south of Cuba, washed ashore, just north of the tourist area, sometime early Monday morning. The area is under the watch of the Cameron County Park Police, said Police Chief Horacio Zamora.
“A person driving north on the beach saw their boat on the shore,” Zamora said. “He took pictures of the boat and continued driving north. As he was driving north he ran into the group and helped them.”
The Good Samaritan took the immigrants into the police station where Zamora’s officers checked them out before turning them over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for processing.
Whole story HERE.
We encountered this issue a few months ago, amigos.
The plagiarism this time involves a long video and podcast. And again this shameless plagiarist bills himself--SURPRISE!--as a "libertarian." This means ( again like Communists) that they reject (other people's) "intellectual property rights." This also means they can scam their brain-dead cult followers into marveling at what a --oooooh!_aaah!-- "brilliant!" and "original! thinker this latest "libertarian cult leader" (but I repeat myself) is--after he stole others ideas' and insights and claimed them as his own.
This libertarian scam artist's (but I repeat myself) name is Stefan Molyneaux and he hosts a popular, among dupes and credulous libertarians (but I repeat myself,) podcast called Freedom Domain Radio. Fully half of his video (starting where Che meets up with Raul and Fidel in Mexico) is lifted LITERALLY word for word from my book. But no one would have a clue, except those who've read my book. And it so happens that some have pointed this out in the comments.
As mentioned, I run across a fair amount of this stuff, but I've never run across anything this blatant and shameless.
Just putting this out there so that everyone knows.... turns out others have detected other forms of malfeasance on the part of this Freedom Domain Radio.
I wish I could afford a good lawyer.
Juan Cristobal Nagel in Caracas Chronicles:
Was the government “strengthened” after the protests?
People who put all blame for the opposition’s current woes on the #LaSalida protests – we need a hashtag for them, can we call them the #2019 folks? – say that the street protests enden up “strengthening the government.” (Re. Masó, Fausto, last Sunday’s El Nacional).
Now, we can argue all we want about the wisdom of the #LaSalida movement, but it seems to me that claiming the government was strengthened would require showing, first off, that the government is strong. This line of thinking is having a very difficult time surpassing a little something called reality.
Case in point: the latest Datanalisis poll, published by well-known journalist and sometimes CC-nemesis Puzkas, among others. A sizeable majority of Venezuelans – 83% of us – think the country is in bad shape. The radicals, those of us who think the country is in really bad shape, are 43.5% of the population. And who do they / we blame for this? A majority blames the government. The same government the #2019 folks think came out “strengthened” by the street protests.
The numbers in the rest of the poll are equally damning. A majority of Venezuelans want Maduro to either resign or for a recall referendum to be called in 2016. And while only a very small portion believe a Constitutional Assembly is the way to go, the fact that a full 32.4% of Venezuelans want Maduro to resign speaks volumes about the proposals of the “radical fringe.”
The main cause of these dismal figures is the economic crisis. Most people now perceive their purchasing power has diminshed substantially. Scarcity and crime remain the two big issues on the agenda, and only chavista believers appear to give the government the benefit of the doubt. The government has lost both the opposition and the independents, and that’s a good two thirds of the population right there.
Look, we’re no fans of #LaSalida, but we also think putting the blame of our current woes on poor Sairam Rivas is an apalling lack of basic empathy. Leopoldo López may be many things, but he is not the reason why Maduro is still in power. People who keep repeating this are basically playing politics in favor of the opposition’s third-most popular leader. As many in the opposition think that we need to go out and convince people, my question is: convince them of what? That this is a terrible government? It seems as though we’re a bit late for that.
If the protests “strengthened the government,” tell us #2019 folks, what would Maduro’s numbers look like had the protests not happened? What, exactly, is your counter-factual?
Via Civil Rights Defenders:
The EU must put pressure on Cuba to respect human rights
The EU and Cuba held subsequent negotiations concerning the possibility of future political dialogue and assistance between the two sides. To ensure that the agreement will lead to human rights improvements in Cuba, Civil Rights Defenders, together with the Cuban Campaign, Por Otra Cuba, have developed a platform on how these negotiations should be conducted and what should be included in the agreement.
Negotiations between the EU and Cuba, to achieve a bilateral agreement on the subjects of political dialogue and assistance, began in early 2014. Cuba is currently the only country in Latin America the EU has no bilateral agreement with, the reason being the total lack of respect for human rights in the country.
When the Cuban government signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in 2008 it represented a first step towards change. But since then, no real improvements have followed as far as human rights is concerned.
Civil Rights Defenders calls on the EU to put pressure on Cuba to ratify and implement human rights conventions – before any discussion on an agreement can continue. Prior to any final agreement it is essential that the EU includes civil society in Cuba and the political opposition in the dialogue in order for it to have legitimacy amongst the population.
During the negotiations, it has also emerged, that the EU, in addition to the agreement on political dialogue and assistance, intends to initiate a trade agreement with Cuba. The platform states that no trade agreement should be entered into before Cuba ratifies and implements the two human rights conventions.
Read the full platform here
Visit Por Otra Cubas website: in english / in spanish
Via Cuba Confidential:
US Honors Sergeant For Role in Cuban Spy Case
The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) awarded its Bronze Medal to Master Sergeant Tessa M. Fontaine for helping lead a counterespionage investigation that resulted in a 13-year sentence for an unidentified Cuban spy. Then assigned as the chief of NRO’s Counterintelligence and Cyber-Counterintelligence Inquiries, her spy case protected a five-billion dollar intelligence system. As part of this investigation, Fontaine also orchestrated 148 hours of spy debriefings and documented 16 hours of Cuban espionage operations. The Air Force subsequently named her Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. She now serves at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
No further information is available at this time.
(Corrected) Editor’s Note: The NRO designs, builds, launches, and maintains all US spy satellites. Cuba has no space program and its military infrastructure is grossly outdated, rendering it of little interest to NRO. As NRO poses no threat to the Castro regime, it would seem that Havana would have NO interest in NRO. Very curious….
Just when you thought Cuba's repressive (but benevolent, the media and "Cuba Experts" assure us) apartheid Castro dictatorship could not be anymore magnanimous and generous with their "reforms," here comes another one.
Can you really have too much of a good thing?
Via The Guardian:
Cuba imposes restrictions on goods in travellers' luggage
Government clamps down on large amounts of foreign-bought merchandise brought into the island
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans and Cuban-Americans fly to and from the island each year thanks to the easing of travel restrictions by the US and Cuban governments over the past five years.Their Cuba-bound checked baggage has become a continuous airlift that moves nearly $2bn (£1.2bn) of products ranging from razor blades to rice cookers. The baggage carousels at Cuba's airports often look like they're disgorging the contents of an entire Wal-Mart or Target store. Many families bring special trailers to carry the bags of their returning family, which often weigh many hundreds of pounds and include items such as bicycles and flatscreen TVs.
But the Cuban government on Monday is enacting new rules sharply limiting the amount of goods people can bring into the country in their luggage, and ship by boat from abroad.
The government says the restrictions are meant to curb abuses that have turned air travel in particular into a way for professional "mules" to illegally import supplies for both black-market businesses and legal private enterprises that are supposed to buy supplies from the state.
Among ordinary Cubans, reactions have ranged from worry to outrage that their primary, and for many only, source of high-quality consumer goods may be throttled.
"People are really unhappy," said Maite Delgado, a 75-year-old retired state worker. "All the clothes and shoes that I have come from my granddaughters in Spain or my siblings in the US."
The rules that come into effect Monday run to 41 pages and give a sense of the quantity and diversity of the commercial goods arriving in checked bags. Travellers will be allowed to bring in 10 kg of detergent instead of 44; one set of hand tools instead of two; and 24 bras instead of 48. Four car tyres are still permitted, as are two pieces of baby furniture and two flatscreen televisions. Cuban customs also bars passengers from bringing in items worth more than $1,000. Rather than examining receipts, customs agents are given a long list assigning pre-set values to certain goods ($250 for a video-game console, for example.) Those prices rise sharply under the new rules, making it far easier to reach that $1,000 limit.
The new rules similarly increase the duties paid on goods shipped from abroad, another major source of foreign merchandise for the island.
Continue reading HERE.
Remember how her swims "had nothing to do with politics?"---just like the Juanes concert "had nothing to do with politics"?
Juanes went on to sign the letter to "Free The Cuban Five.
And now Diana Nyad swoons over an award personally pinned on her by the Castro family's eunuch (laughably nicknamed "Cuba's Vice President) Miguel Diaz-Canel:
Anyone surprised that Diana Nyad is attracted to these type of men? :
HAVANA – One year after becoming the first person confirmed to have swum from Havana to Key West, Florida without a shark cage, U.S. endurance swimmer Diana Nyad was back in Cuba to receive that country's Order of Sporting Merit award.
After a ceremony led by First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Saturday, Nyad said she dreams of uniting Cubans and Americans to walk with her the length of the island of Cuba "as good neighbors and friends."
Diaz-Canel called Nyad's feat "a symbol of the friendship between our peoples," referring to the United States and Cuba.
Between those who claimed from day one that Juanes and Nyad were propaganda tools of the Castro regime as opposed to those who claimed these celebrities were heart-warmingly well-meaning and apolitical--any guesses which the media will continue to treat as "experts?"
Garry Kasparov is considered by many to be the greatest chess Grand Master of all time.
Of course, we Cubans prefer to assign that distinction to our own José Raúl Capablanca.
Kasparov is now involved in politics and the defense of human rights, and has penned an essay for Time magazine that should be required reading for anyone who can read.
As Kasparov sees it, we are all skating on very thin ice. The so-called "free world" is ignoring Putin in ways that call to mind the late 1930's.
As we all know, ignoring the obvious back then had dire consequences for millions of people.
What does this have to do with Cuba? If you have to ask, then you haven't been paying attention to Putin's outreach to Latrine America, or to the total collapse of the U.S.A. on the world stage.
Face it, the U.S.A. is now as much of a world power as Bolivia or Lithuania.... Or Ukraine.
The party is over. We are done for. Get ready to be ruled by one of these three: China, Russia, or the Islamic State. Or maybe a lethal combination of the three. And get ready for the entire globe to resemble Castrogonia.
As Russian troops and armored columns advance in Eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian government begs for aid from the free world it hoped would receive it and protect it as one of its own. The leaders of the free world, meanwhile, are struggling to find the right terminology to free themselves from the moral responsibility to provide that protection. Putin’s bloody invasion of a sovereign European nation is an incursion, much like Crimea — remember Crimea? — was an “uncontested arrival” instead of Anschluss. A civilian airliner was blown out of the sky just six weeks ago –—remember MH17? — and with more than 100 victims still unidentified the outrage has already dissipated into polite discussions about whether it should be investigated as a crime, a war crime, or neither.
This vocabulary of cowardice emanating from Berlin and Washington today is as disgraceful as the black-is-white propaganda produced by Putin’s regime, and even more dangerous. Moscow’s smokescreens are hardly necessary in the face of so much willful blindness. Putin’s lies are obvious and expected. European leaders and the White House are even more eager than the Kremlin to pretend this conflict is local and so requires nothing more than vague promises from a very safe distance. As George Orwell wrote in his 1946 essay on language right before starting work on his novel 1984 (surely not a coincidence): “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” The Western rhetoric of appeasement creates a self-reinforcing loop of mental and moral corruption. Speaking the truth now would mean confessing to many months of lies, just as it took years for Western leaders to finally admit Putin didn’t belong in the G-7 club of industrialized democracies....
....I feel the irony in how it has quickly gone from scandal to cliché to compare Putin to Hitler, for better and for worse. Certainly Putin’s arrogance and language remind us more and more of Hitler’s, as does how well he has been rewarded for them. For this he can thank the overabundance of Chamberlains in the halls of power today — and there is no Churchill in sight.
As long as it is easy, as long as Putin moves from victory to victory without resistance, he gains more support. He took Crimea with barely a shot fired. He flooded Eastern Ukraine with agents and weaponry while Europe dithered. The oligarchs who might have pressured Putin at the start of his Ukrainian adventure are now war criminals with no way back. The pressure points now are harder to reach.
Read the whole essay HERE.
By Fernando Damaso in Translating Cuba:
In my far-off childhood, extracurricular organizations — whether public or private — were concerned principally with sponsoring weekend trips to interesting natural locations, cultural institutions or factories.
The goal was to encourage our love of nature, expand our general knowledge, provide opportunities to attend age-appropriate entertainment events, enhance participation in sports, arrange excursions to the beach, and other such activities.
We were also involved in social service activities such as participating in public health campaigns, collecting donations for the blind, cancer treatment, park improvements and other causes. We were interested in all of them. They motivated us and taught us civic and social responsibility. We were never used as tools for political or ideological ends.
I noticed that the Pioneers of Cuba* have recently announced changes for the upcoming season of activities. It will be interesting to see if these changes are intended to depoliticize the organization by prohibiting children from participating in acts of repudiation to a reggaeton beat, public protests against the “eternal enemy” with speeches written by their teachers, gatherings in support of the “eternal commander,” and similar activities which have been routine for years. I believe these changes are intended “to test the maturity, initiative and sense of responsibility of the pioneers, and their ability to discern, decide and act.”
The organization’s designated president — an official from the Young Communist Pioneers well past the age of her members — has also decreed that beginning September 1, the season’s start date, children and adolescents will be required to condemn subversive actions by U.S. government against Cuba, and participate in actions in solidarity with the Cuban Five, the children of Palestine and other peoples. Very appropriate childhood activities, I am sure.
Why not let children be children and allow them to experience their childhoods without imposing adult hatreds? From the moment you are born, you are allotted a pioneeer neckerchief in your ration book, even if neither you nor your parents want it. Most people just go along because, if they refuse, “the road to hell” awaits them. Ironically, most of those who have emigrated or are in the process of emigrating were once pioneers.
In reality there should be other changes, such as dropping the requirement that children join the Pioneers. As things stand now, the change that has been announced simply amounts to more of the same.
*Translator’s note: A communist youth organization with activities similar to those of the Boy Scouts but with an additional focus on communist ideology. Children enter into the organization in elementary school and continue until adolescence, at which point they often join the Young Communist League. In Cuba members’ uniforms include a characteristic red or blue neckerchief.
Via The Devil's Excrement:
There Is Too Much Money To Be Made In The Bolivarian Revolution I: The Gasoline Racket.
“You will never win this war when there is so much money to be made. Never”
Jhon Popeye Velasquez alias “Marino” in an interview before he was released.
To those that watched Escobar, El Patron del Mal, the character Marino is one of the worst guys in the book and series. It turns out that this week he was freed from jail after serving twenty eyars and has been in the press quite a bit. The sentence above hit me, because that is one of the things that I fear may happen in Venezuela: there is so much money to be made, that those trying to change the Government may never be able to. While “Marino” was referring to the drug war, I am referring to all of the corrupt businesses allowed and nurtured by the revolution. Everything in the rveolution has been turned into some form of business or arbitrage. From drugs, to Cadivi, to Fonden, to gas. Thus, do you really think those in control are going to give up these rackets so easily?
The basic question I want to answer is: How much money or profit are we talking about?
In this post I make a very rough estimate of one the biggest businesses (Billion dollar plus) where the boliburgoise and Government officials, civilians or not, have gotten rich, filthy rich. I make many assumptions, attempting in the best case to be under the correct amount, rather than over. I will try to make a series out of this. Today, gasoline
1) The gasoline racket.
When did it become such a big business to take gasoline out of Venezuela? Since Chavez became President in 1998, the price has been frozen. When he got to power, a liter of gas was about Bs. 90 (0.09 of today’s Bolivars) and a dollar was about Bs. 600 (Bs. 0.6 of Bolivares Fuerte). Even at that level it was a good deal to send gas to Colombia. But it did not become such an organized activity until the difference was so large, that the cost of gas was irrelevant. Let’s say a factor of 50, that is, when the parallel market rate became Bs. 5. I am going to assume that this is when the racket began to become massive. We are talking around 2007. And I assume it reached the current massification when the factor became 100. This happened in 2012.
Continue reading HERE.
Following declarations from Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) clearly show why he is a breath of fresh air in foreign policy discussions. He is one of those rare politicians who calls a spade a spade – regardless of the political ramifications.
Here he is telling CNN Anchor Candy Crowley on August 31, 2014, what the U.S. Government needs to do to deal effectively with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. His blunt talk explains why rogue states like the Cuban Government want to discredit him and remove him from his current, powerful position as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
See CNN interview at http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/2014/08/31/senator-menendez-on-cnns-state-of-the-union-russia-in-ukraine-is-clearly-an-invasion/
Frank Calzon in Democracy Digest:
Cuba: religious freedom violations continue to rise
Pastor Esmir Torreblanca standing in the ruins of his church and home. Photo: CSW.
The Cuban government continues to repress religious believers and its Office of Religious Affairs, responsible for official permits to worship, continues to monitors and harasses churches, according to a new report from the widely-respected, UK-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide. The well-documented report, which covers a period of 19 months ending in July of this year, includes details of the destruction of churches and notes that the Office of Religious Affairs is an official organ of the Cuban Communist Party, writes Frank Calzon, Executive Director of the Center for a Free Cuba.
Religious leaders say that if there is a need for supervision of the churches, it should be done by the government, and not by an arm of the ruling Party. This unique situation was alluded to by Pope John Paul II when he visited Cuba and called on the authorities to set aside “antiquated structures.”
The report calls on the European Union, the United States government, and other governments around the world not to ignore both religious repression in Cuba and the fact that “over the past decades the Castro regime has proved adept at sleight of hand tricks to convince the international community that it is committed to improvements in the human rights situation. Its approach to religious freedom has been no different.”
“Despite government claims of increased respect for religious freedom, reported violation of religious freedom in Cuba continued to increase dramatically,” CSW says. The report entitled “Cuba: Religious Freedom” says that “government agents continued to employ more brutal and public tactics than witnessed in the first decade of the millennium.” Christians in Cuba continue to report varying levels of discrimination in educational institutions and in their places of employment,” CSW says.
The scarcity of Bibles and other religious literature is due to “harsh government restrictions on the import of Bibles and other religious materials and a lack of access to printing infrastructure in the island.” The organization says that it has received “sporadic reports of violent beatings of Protestant Pastors and lay workers in different parts of the country.”
“Week after week, scores of women were physically and violently dragged away from Sunday morning services by state security agents,” and in many parts of the island, particularly in rural areas “the government has destroyed church properties.”
“On 2 July 2014 Cuban government agents including state security and Cuban Communist Party officials, destroyed a church and home affiliated with the Apostolic Movement in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba. The unannounced demolition of the Establishing the Kingdom of God Church began at 6am while the owners of the home and their young children were sleeping inside.”
“They arrived and violently broke down the front door which was locked, the police entered with batons alongside a group of men carrying machetes. They began to destroy and occupy the properties of the pastor and the church,” according to Pastor Marcos A. Perdomo Silva, a church leader.
“Photos taken at the scene show uniformed officers directing a bulldozer leveling the area where the church and home stood… Pastor Esmir Torreblanca, his wife, and his two children aged two and seven were left homeless…The following Sunday, members of the church met at the site for open air worship.”
Frank Calzon is Executive Director of the Center for a Free Cuba.