¡A la reja!: Miami Dade College hosts tribute to Tres Patines, legendary Cuban comedian

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As a kid growing up in Little Havana, I remember how much I enjoyed the comedy of Leopoldo Fernandez and his Tres Patines character and living in Miami, I was lucky to enjoy both his radio and television shows. To this day, his comedy is just as hilarious as it was back then.

Thankfully, Miami Dade College is hosting a tribute to this legendary comedian:

Cosa Más Grande: Memories of the Legendary Tres Patines at Miami Dade College West Campus

Event to celebrate the life and career of acclaimed Cuban comedian Leopoldo Fernandez

Miami, Aug. 16, 2016 – Miami Dade College’s (MDC) West Campus will host Cosa Más Grande: Memories of the Legendary Tres Patines (Memorias del legendario Tres Patines), a tribute event to honor internationally-acclaimed Cuban comedian/actor Leopoldo Fernandez, better known as Tres Patines. Presented as part of Hispanic Heritage Month, the opening ceremony will take place Monday, Sept. 19, starting at 6 p.m. Free and open to the public.

The opening ceremony will feature an exhibition of personal artifacts and photographs of the late comedian, audio recordings of his radio and TV broadcasts, portraits painted by well-known local artists, musicians playing songs written by Fernandez himself, the Cristina Masdueños’ dancers, and the showing of the film Olé Cuba, which is considered by some as one of the best examples of Cuban society in the 1950s.

Cuban musicians Vitico Valdes, Jorge Triana, and Bobby Ramirez will interpret Fernandez’s most popular compositions, including Ahorita Va a Llover. Portraits and caricatures of Fernandez will be showcased by local artists Mariana Altamirano, Aristide, Yovani Bauta, Gustavo Garcia, Garrincha, Pedro Hernandez, Esther Mendoza, Armando Mejias, Alex Morales, Jose Riera, Emilio Rodriguez, and Rogelio Serrano.

Fernandez is best known for his character “Jose Calendario Tres Patines,” depicting a perpetual and comic criminal, on the radio show La Tremenda Corte, launched in Cuba in the 1940s.  He also created the character “Pototo,” who appeared on television in El Show de Pototo y Filomeno. In 1959, Fernandez was exiled to Miami, where he continued performing in theaters, television, and movies throughout the U.S. and Latin America. He is widely regarded as being one of the most popular comedians in Hispanic culture. To this date, radio, as well as TV programs that were filmed in Mexico and Peru in the 1960s are still broadcasted.

The exhibition will remain on display through Oct. 14.

Reports from Cuba: Camagüey has no water despite $40-million loan from Saudi Arabia

Ignacio de la Paz in Translating Cuba:

Has No Water Despite a 40 Million Dollar Loan from Saudi Arabia

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The water supply crisis suffered by Camaguey, the third largest city in Cuba, worsened this August despite the spring and summer rains. Although the supply in some areas of the city presents no difficulties, in the historical district the situation is truly critical and citizens must resolve it as they can.

“I get water every day, clean and with good pressure,” said Luis, a resident of the Avenue of the Martyrs, in the neighborhood of La Vigia, in the north of the city. “I boil the water, treat it with sodium hypochlorite and we drink it.” Quite another thing happens to Roberto, who lives on Calle San Pablo, in the city center.

“I haven’t had water for three days. The water here comes very irregularly. Sometimes there’s no water for a week, and I’ve spent a whole month without water. I don’t have the strength to carry water. I was operated on for a hernia, but I still have to carry buckets of water from the tanks at workplaces. I live on a corner, I can’t dig a well, or install a tank, because the sewer pipe runs under the house. Nor can I install a “water thief” (a makeshift pump that “steals” water) because there is almost never water in the tap.

“Here in the higher area almost no one has water, and it’s the same in Hermanos Agüero and Principe Streets,” complains Heriberto, a resident of Cisneros Street. “The little that comes is taken by the Marquis and La Sevillana tourist hotels, which have huge tanks.” A resident of Havana Plaza, Hilda says that the water supply in the area is irregular and the greatest problem “is that it is very dirty.” She adds, “You have to let it sit for several days before you can use it. I don’t know why the water problem hasn’t been solved, when there was a big hullabaloo in the press about Saudi Arabia providing a loan to solve Camagüey’s water problem and now we don’t hear anything more about it.”

The official newspaper Adelante, in its issue of 20 August 2016, addressed the problem of water with a series of justifications based on lack of resources and investments. However, it omits mention of the soft loan of 40 million dollars from Saudi Arabia, granted in December 2014, to improve Camagüey’s water and sewer systems.

In an interview with Radio Camagüey on 13 April 2016, Luis Palacios Hidalgo, director of the Aqueduct Rehabilitation Project, and an official of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources Delegation, promised that starting in June of this year the province would have – thanks to the credits granted – the “technological equipment and devices necessary for the aqueduct, guaranteeing the quantity and stability of water for the people.” To do this, he detailed, 1.8 million pesos will be dedicated to a water treatment plant.

These promises have not only not been fulfilled, but the situation has gotten worse. As for the Saudi credit, there has been no information about where the 40 million dollars is, how much of it has been used and how and why the project has been so delayed. Meanwhile, Roberto, Heriberto and so many other Camagüeyans continue to carry buckets of water in the afternoon for bathing and cooking.

Notoriously corrupt Cuba mysteriously left out from annual report on money laundering and terrorist financing

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Cuba Conspicuously Missing From 2016 Basel Bank Transparency Index

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Last month, the Basel Institute on Governance released its 2016 Basel AML Index.

The Basel AML Index is the most renowned, annual ranking assessing country risk regarding money laundering/terrorism financing. It focuses on anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CTF) frameworks and other related factors such as financial/public transparency and judicial strength.

The Index measured 149 countries, including such troubling actors as Iran, Venezuela, Myanmar, Sudan, China, Vietnam, Russia and Zimbabwe.

Yet, Cuba is conspicuously missing from its report. 

The other two nations notably missing are Syria and North Korea.

Perhaps the reason for their absence is the lack of publicly available data sources for Cuba, along with Syria and North Korea.

But that — in itself — doesn’t bode well for transparency.

Yet, the Obama Administration is encouraging banking transactions with Cuba’s wholly state-owned, non-transparent banking system?

The Obama Administration is authorizing dollar transactions abroad (U-turn) by Cuba’s secretive banks?

The Obama Administration recruited a small, local, real-estate bank with no international experience, South Florida’s Stonegate Bank, to open a correspondent account and handle transactions with Cuba’s shady banks?

Would Obama do the same for Syria and North Korea? Well, actually, never mind…

Just recently, we had noted how Cuba’s Banco Financiero Internacional was now directly taken over (overnight) by Castro’s military conglomerate, GAESA. This state-owned bank is solely empowered by the Castro regime to conduct commercial banking operations in convertible currencies. Virtually every foreign company and person engaged in business on the island must open an account in this bank.

These are not “positive steps” as The White House’s “echo chamber” likes to propagate.

Obama may be willing to sacrifice transparency and security for his “legacy,” but regulators and other career officials that will outlast his presidency definitely should not.

Day 35: Fariñas visited by two low-level European diplomats

Tragic impasse

On the 35th day of his hunger strike, Guillermo Fariñas was visited by representatives of the European Union and the German embassy.

These two low-level functionaries spent an hour with Fariñas, trying to convince him to give up his hunger strike.

Fariñas told his visitors that he will keep fasting until the Castro regime stops abusing Cuban dissidents.

The visitors claim that they have expressed their concerns about Fariñas’s health to the Castro regime.

Whether or not they have asked the Castro regime to agree to Fariñas’s demands remains unknown.

Given the long-term behavior patterns of the Spanish government and the European Union toward the Castro regime, the chance that they have finally asked King Raul to free his slaves is very slim.

Exceedingly slim, slimmer even than Fariñas’s body will be when this hunger strike ends his life.

For more details go HERE (in Spanish)

After decades of turning a blind eye, OAS suddenly sees tyranny in Venezuela

Karina Martin in PanAm Post:

OAS Secretary General Foresees “End of Democracy” in Venezuela

Luis Almagro Lays Out Complaints about Troubled Country in Open Letter

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Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro published an open letter this week on his thoughts regarding the state of Venezuela.

In the letter, he said the corruption and violence that exists in Venezuela as well as the incarceration of opposition leader Leopoldo López mark the “end of democracy” in the country.

“To be honest, at first, after your arrest, I did not know you were a political prisoner,” the letter began. “Only when I read the decision did I assimilate the political dimension of the horror lived in your country.”

In the letter — dedicated to his “friend” — Almagro highlighted the “intimidation” tactics created by the Venezuelan government against their opponents in Venezuela, as well as the corruption of senior officials, explaining that this has become “the corollary of an ineffective government.”

Almagro called Maduro’s adminstration a “regime,” saying the biggest problem the country has is its “tyranny,” while reiterating the importance of having a recall referendum this year.

“Under no circumstances should power be used … to prevent the people from expressing themselves,” he said.

“(The Venezuelan government) seeks to maintain power to deny the people the possibility of deciding by vote, by resorting to violence against those who manifest or have other opinions,” continued the former foreign minister of Uruguay.

“No regional or subregional forum can ignore the reality that today in Venezuela there is no democracy or rule of law,” Almagro said and insisted that the recall should take place this year.

In May this year, Almagro sought to activate the Democratic Charter of the OAS for Venezuela, an unprecedented mechanism for suspending the country from Mercosur.

“Those of us who suffered dictatorships know that trying to eliminate opposition or dissident voices is a true reflection of the ignorance of tyrants,” he said.

Source: Sumarium; El Tiempo

Guess who is coming to dinner with Raul Castro?

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(My new American Thinker post)

As the world turns, we are watching some rather amazing things in year 8 of “hope and change”:

First, kids are killed in Aleppo and those lives don’t seem to matter to anyone, especially anyone at the Obama White House;

Two, Russian planes are taking off from Iranian bases;

Third, Cuban dissidents are in jail rather than doing the wave at a baseball game; and,

Fourth, Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif is starting off his tour of Latin America with a stop in Havana. (By the way, Raul Castro will greet this visitor at the airport. Unlike President Obama, who was greeted by a low-level Cuban official, the Iranian visitor will get to shake hands with Raul.)

Is this how we were supposed to be respected around the world? Or is this the smart foreign policy that we were promised?

Let’s take a look:

Iran’s foreign minister kicked off a Latin American tour Sunday in Havana, saying the Iran nuclear deal has “removed obstacles” for closer ties between his country and the region.

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will visit Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela, reported the Tasnim News Agency.

Zarif said he plans to sign oil, energy and maritime transport agreements during his tour.

But the visit is raising concerns with a key Republican lawmaker.

“The timing of Zarif’s trip is significant as Iran could use many of these rogue regimes to circumvent remaining sanctions, undermine U.S. interests, and expand the drug trafficking network that helps finance its illicit activities,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) in a statement.

“Tehran’s classic playbook is to use cultural centers, new embassies or consulates, or cooperative agreements on various areas to act as façades aimed at expanding Iran’s radical extremist network.”

Save for Chile, the countries Zarif is visiting align with the region’s ideological left and tend to have difficult relations with the United States.

So the Iran nuclear deal has removed obstacles for Iran to develop relations with anti-U.S. regimes in Latin America? Nobody told me that that was one of the objectives of the deal. I always understood that it was to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon rather turn it into an international power using its new found wealth to cut deal with cash starved regimes in Cuba and Venezuela.

Don’t you love this new smart foreign policy? I can’t wait to see Javad do the wave with Raul in Cuba! It will be fun to watch Raul in Cuba and Madero in Venezuela explain baseball to their new friend!

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Guillermo Fariñas & The Papa Che

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Cuban Human Rights Dissident Guillermo Fariñas is near his death after conducting a hunger strike with the intent of forcing the Cuban Government to stop harassing dissidents. Considering that the Papa Che played such a crucial role in President Obama’s Cuba opening, my question is why has he not interceded to save the life of this honorable Cuban?!!!

But when I look around the atrocities that radical Islamic terrorists have carried out against Catholics and Christians, I ask myself about the moral leadership and advocacy that the Pope Che has exercised?!!! Nowhere to be found!!!

Ted Turner-Founded CNN (“Castro News Network”) Celebrates Fidel Castro’s Birthday

“Fidel Castro is one hell of a guy!” Ted Turner gushed to a capacity crowd at Harvard Law School during a speech in 1997. “You people would like him! Most people in Cuba like him.”

Within weeks CNN was granted its coveted Havana Bureau, the first ever granted by Castro to a foreign network. Bureau chief Lucia Newman (now with Al Jazeera) assured viewers, “CNN will be given total freedom to do what we want and to work without censorship.”

Hard-hitting stories immediately followed. To wit: CNN soon featured Fidel’s office in its “Cool Digs” segment of CNN’s “Newsstand.” “When was the last time you saw a cup full of pencils on the boss’s desk?” asked perky CNN anchor Steven Frazier. “And they do get used – look at how worn down the erasers are! Years ago, our host worked as an attorney, defending poor people. … He’s Fidel Castro, Cuba’s leader since 1959!”

Actually, CNN is upholding a long and sniveling tradition among networks. No serious Cuba-watcher expects a network bestowed a Havana bureau by KGB-trained apparatchiks to even feign honesty, or even play-act their professed duty: “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

Given that the Castro regime has:

*Jailed and tortured political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin’s during the Great Terror.

*Murdered more Cubans in its first three years in power than Hitler’s murdered Germans during its first six.

*Converted a nation with a higher per-capita income than half of Europe and a huge influx of (first-world) immigrants into one that drove twenty times as many people to die attempting to escape it as died attempting to escape East Germany — and boasts the highest suicide rate in the Western Hemisphere.

(Everything above thoroughly-documented here.)

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Given the above tally of the wantonly and horribly “afflicted” you might think CNN faced an easy job when reporting on Castro’s birthday, right? Think of all the riveting “human-interest” stories in that mix!

HAH!  Instead the only “afflicted” CNN chose to comfort was the agent of the horrors catalogued above.

Our friends at Frontpage Magazine help disseminate some items not well-understood outside the tiny Cuban-American informational ghetto.

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All items above fully-documented in these internationally acclaimed books.

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“Fontova’s book teaches us truths about Castro’s island that are very discomfiting for many intellectuals.” Ana Botella (Spain’s former First Lady while giving a book reading in Madrid, upon “Fidel; HFT” release in Spain)

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“Le RRRONCA!!!”

Reports from Cuba: Machado’s fall and today’s crisis

By Dimas Castellanos in Diario de Cuba:

Machado’s fall and today’s crisis

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In the center, in white, Gerardo Machado y Morales.

On 12 August, 1933, 83 years ago, Gerardo Machado y Morales was ousted from power. This class of development, a constant in our political history, is closely linked to militarism (the predominance of the military element in government), rule by strongmen, and weak civic education.

José Martí, convinced of militarism’s perniciousness, on October 20, 1884 wrote to Generalissimo Máximo Gómez: “What guarantee can there be that public freedoms, the only object justifying launching the country into a fight, shall be better respected tomorrow? Just as it is admirable to give one’s life in the service of a great idea, it is abhorrent to use a great idea to serve one’s personal hopes of glory or power, even if this means risking one’s life.”

Although the Constitution of 1901 set the presidential term at four years, and that one could serve as president for two consecutive periods, and even, with an absence in between them, for a third, for the Cuban military class this was insufficient.

The most honorable president Cuba had, Tomás Estrada Palma, who rose to the rank of general in the Independence Army,  made the decision to stand for re-election, thereby sparking the Guerrita of August 1906. Similarly, in 1917 General Mario García Menocal, upon the conclusion of his first presidential term, announced his intention to run for re-election, leading to a rebellion known as La Chambelona.

Gerardo Machado, also a general in the War of Independence – although in 1924 he had declared that “his greatest glory would be not to aspire in any way to reelection,” and reaffirmed this in June of 1926: “I think that in our country a presidential reelection is dangerous, and experience compels us to recognize this “saw to the passage into law of a constitutional reform measure (that presidents Mario García Menocal and Alfredo Zayas had previously supported) in order to remain in power. Machado’s extension prompted student protests that led to a general strike, which eventually drove him from power on August 12, 1933.

During his administration Machado did give the country’s economic development a powerful boost. His attempt to revitalize public life, struggle for order, and flashes of progress, indicate this. Anticipating Keynes, to an extent, he embraced government intervention as regulator of the economy; developed a vast construction plan: Cuba’s Central Highway, Malecón (Havana’s breakwater and esplanade), the university steps, the Capitol Building, the Avenue of Missions and Fraternity Park, among others; implemented a policy of tariffs based on more modern concepts to stimulate domestic production; and initiated the development of the processing industry. Therefore, some economic scholars consider him “the most estimable president of his time.”

Amidst a strong global economic recession that led to a drastic deterioration in living conditions, Machado responded to those who opposed the extension of powers with repression, and, though he assured that no strike would last more than 24 hours, was driven from power by the fiercest strike in the history of Cuban labor.

Read more

Obama’s Cuba and Iran policies join forces to further threaten the United States

The legacy of President Obama’s epic foreign policy failures only gets worse.

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Obama’s Cuba Policy Opens Doors — For Iran

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During a radio interview this week, Democrat vice-presidential nominee, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, stated that Obama’s Cuba policy “has already opened doors in the Americas with other countries.”

Opened doors for Iran, perhaps.

Senator Kaine’s statement seems particularly out-of-touch as Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, is currently in Cuba for the kickoff of a Latin America tour.

It’s also out-of-touch as Cuba’s puppet-regime in Venezuela further radicalizes and Nicaragua transitions from democracy to dictatorship.

A word of advice for Senator Kaine: Be weary of Ben Rhodes’ talking points.

From AFP:

Iran seeks closer Cuba ties, ‘praises resistance’

Iran wants to forge a “new path” in its relations with Cuba by tightening ties, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday at the start of a Latin American tour.

“It’s a very opportune moment to extend our relations,” he told journalists at the start of a meeting with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

“We have always been on the side of the great Cuban people in the face of the atrocities and unjust sanctions they have faced, and vice versa,” he said, in an apparent reference to Cuba’s long history of enmity with the United States.

“We are going to forge a new path in our bilateral relations with Cuba,” he said, mentioning the energy, industrial and technology sectors as possible areas for cooperation.

Rodriguez for his part reiterated Cuba’s support for Iran in its dispute with the United States and other world powers over its nuclear program.

Iran sealed a deal last year with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US to limit the program in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

But although the deal took effect in January, Iran says it is still largely cut off from the international financial system.

“We continue to oppose all sanctions and unilateral coercive measures, especially in the financial domain,” said Rodriguez.

Zarif, who is traveling with a large delegation of officials and business executives, will also visit Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela on his trip, according to Cuban state media.

Quote of the day: The shamelessness of Cuban “refugee” Yo-Yo’s

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A former presidential candidate comments on the scandalous Cuban “refugee” Yo-Yo phenomenon.

“Although we continue to see many Cubans fleeing to the U.S. because they fear for their lives, we also see many more who should be regarded as economic migrants instead of political refugees. Present conditions have led many Cubans to migrate to the U.S.and  to collect benefits as refugees, but they return repeatedly to Cuba, to the very same country from which they have supposedly fled.  This type of abuse wasted more than $680 million dollars in 2014, a figure that has undoubtedly increased since then.”

—- Senator Marco Rubio, quoted in Marti Noticias 

Yo-Yo lifestyle

“Reformer” King Raul warns Cuban artists and intellectuals not to disagree with him

Never, ever stray from the Party line

Information from Marti Noticias:

King Raul of Castrogonia sent a “congratulatory” five-paragraph letter to the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists, (Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba –UNEAC) on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of that organization.

The octogenarian monarch briefly praised the Union for being in “the service of culture for more than five decades” and reminded them that his older brother King Emeritus Fidel considered the organization “the sword and shield of the nation.”

Ah, but there was scolding, too.  King Raul warned that his kingdom’s communist system is currently imperiled by nefarious forces, both internal and external.

“Today we are doubly threatened in the cultural field by subversive projects that aim to divide us and by a wave of global colonization.”

King Raul reminded UNEAC and its ever-subservient president Miguel Barnet that the organization “must continue to face these complex challenges with courage, intelligence, and revolutionary dedication.”

Miguel Barnet: the greatest of all Cuban intellectuals, ever

Jawohl, mein Führer.

The king’s letter provided no specifics on the nature of these “threats” and “challenges,’ but indicated that dissent of any sort was totally unacceptable.

King Raul’s five-paragraph letter was read to UNEAC members by its director Miguel Barnet, and it was also published in all of the news outlets of Castrogonia’s Ministry of Truth.

Read more HERE, in Spanish.

Super-genius Barnet and his master