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  • Rayarena: Another example of yet another of our dear, dear Latrine brothers supporting us in our struggle. Yes, sir, Ernesto Londoño,...

  • Griffin: You’re brother got the better haircut. ; ) Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours.

  • TWFKAP: Amen. Thank G-d for this country.

  • Rayarena: Of course, Ernesto Londoño whom as we all know is currently in Cuba and was tweeting about his wonderful visit to Granma...

  • La Conchita: ….and “the people” of Cuba, Geeee, I wonder what “people” they’re talking about?

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realclearworld

Actor who played Che to receive “Lifetime Achievement” award at Castronoid film festival

che-benicio-del-toro-7045801-2560-1769

"Please don't kill me! These beans will be worth a lot more if I'm not dead!"

In Spain he won a "Goya" award for his portrayal of Che Guevara in Steven Soderbergh's hagiographical film "Che."

In France he won the best actor award at the Cannes Film festival for the same role.

Now, a few years later, the Castronoid gnomes at the Ministry of Truth in Havana have decided to shower him with a "Lifetime Achievement" award at their totally bogus film festival.

Never mind the fact that Benicio Del Toro is only 47 years old.   Che died when he was 39, so Benicio's measly 47 seems like a long lifetime in comparison.

Benicio played the role of  a foul-smelling psychopathic mass murderer but still managed to convince millions that this so-called hero of the so-called Revolution  was a saintly altruist, so... naturally... he deserves accolades from the Ministry of Truth.

Since this faux festival must always outdo itself, it is also honoring Fidel's best buddy posthumously, the ethically-impaired and now dead Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Stunts like these make the Havana Film Festival an important arbiter of quality and objectivity in the world of infotainment.

Two questions remain unanswered:

First, does the Goya award come with a lifetime supply of Goya products?

Second, does a Lifetime Achievement award from the Havana Film festival force the winners to live like average Cubans for the rest of  their lives, and --if so-- does it entitle them to at least one rustic vessel or raft and one chance to flee the island?

large_Benicio Che Goya

Haaaaaabichuelas!

From Express

Benicio Del Toro to be honoured at Havana Film Festival

Puerto Rican actor BENICIO DEL TORO is to be feted for his career achievements at the upcoming Havana Film Festival in Cuba.

The "Traffic" star will receive a lifetime achievement award at the 36th annual edition of the festival next month (Dec14).

Del Toro previously portrayed Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara in the acclaimed 2008 film Che.

Organisers will also honour late Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who was one of the original founders of the festival in 1979. He passed away in April (14), aged 87.

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Spoiler alert: This is how the film "Che" ends... The CIA crushes Che with a giant can of Goya black beans....

marquez_castro (1)
Psst, Gabo, te apuesto un Nobel que no puedes adivinar ni cuantos frijoles hay dentro de esta lata....ni a cuantos Cubanos les encantaria quitartela....

nude-maja-1800

Happy Thanksgiving

Carlos & Tony arrive in Bloomington IL 1963

Tres Fotutos and his taller brother arrive in Bloomington, Illinois, 1 September 1963. (Haircuts courtesy of the Miami Barber College)

I thank God and my parents several times each and every day for my escape from Castrogonia.

And I thank the generous country that took me in.

With nearly 20% of Cubans living in exile, it's highly likely that many of them feel the same way.

Today -- a feast my mom used to call San Gibin -- is a very special day indeed for all of us who imitated the Pilgrims and started a new life in a place where we could live freely.

Whether we left by boat or airplane or raft, alone or with family, in childhood or adulthood, chances are we all remember that day very clearly.

And chances are we are thankful for our escape.

As the Castronoid poster below reminds us:  most of us were not welcome in our own native land.  And it wasn't just the government that made life intolerable for us.  Our own hate-filled neighbors and fellow Cubans gladly and eagerly chased us out.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Castellano dialect:  the poster says that dissenters are worms ("gusanos") who need to be boiled to death in order to purify Cuba.  The last sentence says: "The [Cuban] people wholeheartedly agree with this prophylactic measure." (Go HERE for a larger image)

Fleeing was the wisest thing to do.  Fleeing remains the only hope any Cuban who is not an oligarch can have for a decent life.

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rafters

Why all of the turkey posters? My first Thanksgiving

 

Anti-Castro dissidents assaulted and stabbed at the home of Guillermo Fariñas

Guillermo Fariñas

Guillermo Fariñas

Disturbing news from Castrogonia.

Let's hope this is not the start of some new approach to dissidents.

From Capitol Hill Cubans:

Castro Regime Operative Stabs Two "Ladies in White"

Last night, a Castro regime operative forcefully entered the home of Cuban democracy leader and Sakharov Prize recipient, Guillermo Fariñas, and physically assaulted dissidents gathered there.

Jose Alberto Botell Cardenas, a known regime operative, stabbed four dissidents with a knife, various of whom had hovered to protect Fariñas.

Among those stabbed were two members of the pro-democracy group, The Ladies in White -- Maria Arango and Isabel Fernandez Llanes.

Arango remains hospitalized in critical condition, as she was stabbed in the chest.  This morning she suffered respiratory arrest.

Also, stabbed were two male dissidents, Miguel Fariñas Key and Jesus Aristides Hernandez.

Pursuant to the stabbing, Botell Cardenas (the regime operative) was cheerfully greeted by a senior secret police official, Captain Reinier Rodriguez Conde, who had been staking-out the dissident's meeting.

He was later seen drinking alcoholic beverages at a local park in Santa Clara.

Despite dissident's calls for his arrest, Botell Cardenas remains free.

This morning, he also threatened to kill another member of The Ladies in White, Dayami Villavicencio, and her son.

Castro Kingdom’s Ministry of the Interior trashes trash collectors

Basura00-display

Ever since 1959 nothing has worked well in Castrogonia, except for three things: propaganda, espionage, and repression.

Trash collection has been a constant problem for over half a century, but in recent years this issue has become increasingly acute and ever more noticeable.

Aside from turning non-tourist parts of Havana into stinking hell-holes, the garbage-clogged streets have also become a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes and other vermin.

Dissidents such as Martha Beatriz Roque have been trying to expose this problem for months, sometimes by taking photographs and emailing them to exiles abroad.

So, how does the Castro Kingdom handle a problem that can no longer be ignored, principally because it could turn into a public relations nightmare?

Charge dozens of people with "corruption," of course.

Is there any better way to make it look as if the problem was not caused by the government itself, which is in charge of absolutely everything?

Is there any better way to shift the blame to ordinary Cubans who work within a totally corrupt system in which the verb "to steal" (robar) no longer exists and  "solving one's problems"  (resolver) is the guiding ethic?

Prepare the scaffold for the sacrificial victims.

IMAG0047

From Cafe Fuerte:

Sixty people involved in trash collection charged with corruption

An investigation by the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) and other government agencies has uncovered massive corruption among employees and directors involved in the collection of trash in Havana, and this discovery has led to the indictment of sixty individuals on charges of corruption.

The corruption charges cover theft, misuse of government property, falsification of documents, and other crimes that led to the loss of millions of dollars and to the endangerment of public health in Havana.

Havana's government-run provincial newspaper, Tribunal de la Habana, had this to say about the garbage crisis: "All you had to do to notice that we had a problem in Havana was to simply walk out your front door onto the street."

Among the many crimes committed by those charged --other than simply failing to do their jobs -- the following stand out:  diverting gasoline for private use, cannibalizing trash-collection equipment for parts, falsifying receipts and work schedules, ignoring needed repairs, and embezzlement.

Officials involved in this investigation warn that they are not done yet and that it is highly likely that more indictments will be issued.

Read the whole story HERE in the quaint  Castellano dialect.

garbage6

 

A sad night compounded by criminal behavior

 

Take a few days off DGI eavesdroppers! (Ernesto Londoño’s already securely in the bag!)

londono45londono78
"You DGI eavesdroppers and stalkers have been working HARD lately companeros!" (say Raul and Ramiro.) "What with all these U.S. "People-to-People" visitors! Londoño's different. He self-programs...So take a couple days off...!"
londono3londono56

Though Thanksgivings was never a Cuban holiday, the DGI dept. charged with bugging, videoing and tailing VIP U.S. visitors (especially journalists) for potential blackmail got a Thanksgiving vacation--thanks to the New York Times Ernesto Londoño, who's visiting Cuba this week. In these penny pinching times, reasons the Castro dynasty, why waste resources on a visitor who requires no "persuasion" whatsoever to lick their boots?

londono4

The KGB radio room, from which Soviet agents eavesdropped on guests in the Viru’s (Estonia) many bugged hotel rooms and sent coded messages back to headquarters. The KGB tapped 60 rooms, installed mics in the plates in the dining room, instructed elevator attendants to keep track of guests’ comings and goings, and drilled holes through hotel room walls to take photographs and keep a watch on suspected guests, which included visiting journalists and Finnish visitors More here.

Daily Double: Chile joins Spain in Castronoid investment rush

lemmings-p_50 Spanish politicians and businessmen are not alone in their search for a quick buck in Castrogonia.

Chile has just sent a delegation to Havana to drum up business for Chilean investors.

Are these people aware of the perils of investing in a totalitarian state that has abolished private property and imprisoned several foreign investors?

Probably.

But they think the potential profits outweigh the risk.  To hell with such worrying and also with human rights issues.  Such concerns don't even enter the picture.

So, good luck Spain and Chile.  Buena suerte.  You're going to need it, eventually.  In the meantime, enjoy wearing The Mark of the Beast on your foreheads, you lemmings.

Spanish Foreign Minister Garcia Margallo

Spanish Foreign Minister Garcia Margallo

From Shanghai Daily.com:

Spain to Expand Investment in Castro Kingdom

HAVANA, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Spain is set to expand its ties with Cuba as Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo concluded Tuesday night an official 48-hour visit to the island country.

During his visit to the Caribbean island country, Garcia-Margallo held talks with several top Cuban officials, though he was not received by Cuban President Raul Castro. Garcia-Margallo discussed with First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel the prospect of bilateral relations, in particular, in the economic and trade and investment spheres, as well as international and regional issues, according to an official release. Garcia-Margallo also held talks with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez, Vice President Ricardo Cabrisas, and Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca.

In their meetings, the visiting Spanish diplomat stressed Spain was interested in boosting the trade and investment ties with Cuba. Spain is Cuba's third commercial partner, after Venezuela and China. Trade value in 2013 between Havana and Madrid reached 1.5 billion U.S. dollars.

More details  HERE

michelle_bachelet_y_fidel_castro_1

Chilean president Michelle Bachelet and The Beast

From Bermana (Malaysia):

Chile Wants To Strengthen Links With Castro Kingdom

Chilean Foreign Affairs Minister Heraldo Munoz evaluated the recent visit by Chilean entrepreneurs to Cuba as very positive, and expressed the intention of the Chilean government to strengthen the relations with the government and the people of Cuba, and also increase cooperation.

In exclusive statements to Prensa Latina Tuesday Munoz pointed out that everything which means to strengthen economic and bilateral links, is beneficial for the peoples of Chile and Cuba. "I think this is clear. Chilean entrepreneurs are now seeing very interesting opportunities to invest in Cuba. The government will try to open doors and facilitate opportunities for business and cooperation, " he stated....

... We would then like to make cooperation with Cuba, we are ready for it, said Munoz. Chilean Government officials and representatives of more than 15 companies visited the Caribbean island this month to boost investment, trade and cooperation issues.

More details  HERE monopoly-jail[6]

Are “people to people” exchanges with Cuba only for regime supporters?

Darryl Ferret, the son of former political prisoner Darsi Ferret who is now living in exile, was denied a visa by the US Interest Section in Havana, Cuba. He was invited by the organization "Conciencia Cívica", to participate in an academic event scheduled for December in Miami. The event is driven by the spirit of the "people to people" exchange visits supposedly supported by the White House, so why was his visa denied? Castro family members, musicians and others sponsored by the regime seem to have no problem gaining entry to the US.

Does the Obama administration support democracy as stated, or is support for the so-called democracy programs, "people to people", and "cultural exchange" just a ruse to allow the Castro regime's propagandists access to US audiences?

From Darsi Ferret, (in Spanish) via Facebook and email:

El cuestionable rol de la Oficina de Intereses de EEUU en Cuba

Por Dr. Darsi Ferret
25 de noviembre de 2014

En la Oficina de Intereses de los EEUU en Cuba acaban de negarle la visa a mi hijo, Daryl Ferret, al que invitamos a través de la organización "Conciencia Cívica", para que participara en el evento académico que tenemos planificado acá en Miami para diciembre, e impulsados por el supuesto espíritu del programa sostenido por la Casa Blanca, "Pueblo a Pueblo". Seguro que como nunca fui castrista ni represor del régimen no somos bienvenidos ni del agrado de esos funcionarios.

En EEUU se les da entrada a cuanto familiar de los Castro solicita visa, a los golpeadores de Damas de Blanco, a los músicos alabarderos del régimen, a los hijitos de generales, a cuanto abusador de los cubanos se les ocurre sacar pasaporte y pedir que los acepten en este país.

Debe haber algún trato entre la Oficina de Intereses y el Consejo de Estado de los Castro para cuidarse y protegerse mutuamente, además de despreciar a los cubanos que somos adversarios de los Castro y su dictadura. Me asquea el comportamiento vil que se traen entre manos.

Al final les anexo un pequeño extracto de lo que representa la postura hipócrita de los llamados "amigos del pueblo cubano". Tomando como justificación el galardoncito al que se hace referencia, el régimen de los Castro pudo meterme preso por los años que quisieran declarándome "agente de un gobierno extranjero", como tanto les gusta calificar a quienes se les oponen.
Ahora no se si el premio se me otorgó como reconocimiento a mi labor pro democracia o sirviéndome en bandeja de plata en las garras de los Castro
Se supone que mi familia, en especial mis hijos, lejos de ser castristas, lo que son es de las victimas odiadas por la dictadura, en represalia a nuestra férrea oposición al régimen.

Extracto de articulo del periódico español El Mundo (23/03/2010)

DISIDENCIA | Por su labor de derechos humanos

Estados Unidos premia al disidente cubano encarcelado Darsi Ferrer

El preso político cubano Darsi Ferrer.| ELMUNDO.es dpa | Washington

Estados Unidos ha concedido al disidente cubano encarcelado Darsi Ferrer una 'mención honorífica' del Premio a los Defensores de la Libertad 2009 que otorga el Departamento de Estado, anunció este martes el portavoz del organismo, Philip Crowley.
Este galardón "reconoce el trabajo y valentía del doctor Ferrer en la defensa de los derechos humanos en Cuba", explicó Crowley en su rueda de prensa diaria, destacando que se trata de la única persona del Hemisferio Occidental que fue premiada este año.
Ferrer, un médico de profesión implicado desde hace años en actividades políticas, como las tradicionales marchas silenciosas que lideraba coincidiendo con el Día Mundial de los Derechos Humanos, el 10 de diciembre, está encarcelado desde julio de 2009 acusado de un delito común.
Desde entonces, no ha sido llevado a juicio y permanece retenido en una prisión de máxima seguridad en La Habana destinada a presos encarcelados por crímenes violentos, según denunció en febrero Amnistía Internacional, al anunciar que lo adoptaba como uno de los 55 presos de conciencia que reconoce en Cuba.
Según explicó este martes Crowley, la víspera el secretario de Estado adjunto para la Democracia, los Derechos Humanos y el Trabajo, Michael Posner, celebró una teleconferencia con la esposa de Ferrer, Yusnaymi Jorge, y el resto de la familia del disidente "para hablar de su caso"............................................

Daryl with his father, and younger brother Daniel who is also exiled with his mother, Yusnaimy.

Daryl with his father, and younger brother Daniel who is also exiled with his mother, Yusnaimy.

New York Times “reporter” proudly tweets from Granma offices, boasts of carte blanche to publish more pro-Castro editorials

photo

Ernesto Londoño -- the new kid on the New York Times's Castrogonia beat--  is making no effort to disguise the nature of his Thanksgiving trip to Havana.

One of his recent tweets includes a photo of his real home office: the digital newsroom at Granma, otherwise known as The Castro Ministry of Truth.

You've got to hand it to this Colombian Castro-lover. he wears his heart on his sleeve. Or perhaps he knows that in order to keep his job at the NYT he has to display effusive affection for all things Castro.

Apparently, Londoño's recent barrage of pro-Castro editorials is just the beginning of a crusade of sorts.  When asked about these editorials, Londoño said: "We intend to publish more!"

But boy, oh boy, get a load of that digital newsroom.  If that photo really does reveal the real digital newsroom of Granma, then it must mean that they are still processing the news exactly as in Orwell's novel 1984, cutting and pasting and shredding and re-writing on typewriters.

Long live progress!  Long live the great achievements of the Revolution!  Long live Granma, and also Granma North!  Long live Big Brother and the Ministry of Truth! Long live communist "journalists" in tight-fitting fruit-colored t-shirts!

To regress is to make progress!  Slavery is freedom! Ignorance is strength!  He who controls the past controls the future!  He who controls the editorials controls the world!

GranmaDigitalNewsroom

From Fishbowl NY:

There is an additional Twitter journalist account to be aware of this holiday weekend (if you are not already): @londonoe.

That handle belongs to New York Times editorial board member Ernesto Londoño who, for the first time since he was a college student, has traveled to Cuba. The Colombian-born, NYC-based foreign affairs writer – previously covering the Pentagon for the Washington Post – arrived November 22 and is scheduled to be there through the weekend. He has been sharing all sorts of fascinating glimpses of his visit, including a shot of the digital newsroom at Communist newspaper Periódico Granma.

Ese colombiamito es mio, mio, requetemio.... no se atrevan a molestarlo..

Ese colombianito es mio, mio, requetemio.... no se atrevan a molestarlo, gusanos de mierda...

Reports from Cuba: Not many negro or mestizo businessmen in Havana

By Ivan Garcia:

Not many negro or mestizo businessmen in Havana

Cuba-Mar-2011-620x330

Just as with most successful businesses in Cuba, the owners of Leyenda Habana, an elegant restaurant in El Cerro, surrounded by ranch houses, are white.

Two miles to the east of Leyenda Habana, in the poor and mostly black neighbourhood of San Leopoldo, the iconic private La Guarida restaurant, where US congressmen and the Queen of Spain have dined, also has a white proprietor. And, unless something has changed, the chef is black.

I invite you to visit glamorous bars like El Encuentro in Linea and L, Vedado: Shangrilá, in Playa, or El Slopy’s in Vibora Park, very near to La Palma; central crossroads in Arroyo Naranjo.

Apart from being comfortable and with efficient service, the common denominator is that the owners are white. Black people work in the kitchen, or, if they are very qualified, and look good, they dispense daiquiris and mojitos behind the bar.

The waitresses usually are white, young girls with beautiful faces and spectacular bodies. Could be pale-skinned mulattas who spend a fortune on straightening their hair to be similar to many white women.

The owners of rental properties with swimming pools or luxury apartments are also white. Or the owners of fleets of American cars and jeeps from the 40’s and 50’s, fitted with modern diesel engines, used as private taxis in Havana.

Ignacio, who has sun-tanned white skin, owns six automobiles and three Willys jeeps, made sixty years ago in the Detroit factories. Every day he turns over 600 Cuban convertible pesos (CUC).

“Part of the money I invest in gasoline and in maintenance of the cars. I make juicy profits, but my business is in a judicial limbo as it is not something envisaged in the self-employment regulations. For the moment, the government lets us do it,” he indicated while he drinks a German beer.

When you ask him why it is that in the most successful private businesses, 90% of the owners are white, he replies: “Several reasons, ranging from subtle or open racism on the part of many business people, to economic reality, in that black Cubans are the ones with the lowest standard of living and receive fewer remittances from family abroad.”

Carlos, a sociologist, considers that not all of the blame for negroes and mestizos not occupying prominent positions in private businesses can be attributed to the Fidel Castro regime.

“This is a long-running story. When in 1886 they abolished slavery in Cuba, the negroes and mestizos started off at a disadvantage. They didn’t have property, knowledge or money to invest in businesses. They moved from being slaves to wage earners. They gained prestige and a better position in society by way of sport, music and manual trades.”

According to the sociologist, “The Revolution involved the negroes in the process, dressing them up in olive green and sending them to risk their lives in African wars. But in key positions in the economy, politics or audiovisual media, there was an obvious white supremacy.”

For Orestes, an economist, “We cannot overlook the detail that 80% of the Cubans who have done well in exile are whites. The first wave of emigrants to Florida were educated white people, nearly all business people with capital. And those who left without money, thanks to their knowledge and hard work, moved forward and triumphed in the US society.

Continue reading Reports from Cuba: Not many negro or mestizo businessmen in Havana

Tweet of the Day – Viva communism! And my Mastercard…

By Cuban dissident journalist Yusnaby Perez:


https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B22IzkdIcAAQkU-.jpg

"Long live communism!" they yelled as they held up a Cuban flag while holding a foreign passport and a Mastercard in their other hand.

Update: The Adventures of Spanish Foreign Minister Margallo in Castro Wonderland

Margallo meats Castrogonia's Minister of Foreign Trade and his Guayabera brigade

Margallo meets Castrogonia's Minister of Foreign Trade and his Very White Expensive Guayabera Brigade (Brigada Blanquisima de la Guayabera Carisima)

Excellent adventure: All is well, all is swell, all shall be well  for Castro's hell

ABC Spain reports that Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo  gave a speech in Havana yesterday in which he lectured an audience of Castronoid diplomats and apparatchiks about the virtues of democracy and human rights.

Margallo's speech to the Superior Institute of Foreign Relations was not really a call for change in Cuba, but rather a very long and detailed history lesson on Spain's transition to democracy in the 1970's after the death of Generalisimo Francisco Franco.

Don't count on this timid and quasi-scholarly lecture to make the slightest dent in the policies of Raul Castro or his military junta.

Margallo is not  in Cuba to promote regime change, but rather to drum up business deals that take advantage of Cuban slave labor.

Margallo's lilly white audience

Margallo's lily white audience

According to some reports he is also there to relay messages from the current occupant of the White House and to work out some "reconciliation" between the U.S. and Castrogonia.

What you can count on is this: an increase in the number of Spanish tourists, the building of more apartheid beach resorts and marinas, the exploitation of Cubans, and perhaps some major U.S. concessions to the Castro regime.

Good luck finding any such analysis or any gritty details about the business angle in news reports of Margallo's visit.

CUBA ESPA-A

From EFE via Fox News Lateeeeeeeeeen-oh.

Spanish foreign minister: Visit to Cuba is going "well"

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said Monday that his first official visit to Cuba "is going well," after meeting with Cuban authorities and speaking with them about the state of Spain-Cuba relations and relations between Cuba and the European Union.

"The visit is going well, how could it be otherwise? ... We've talked about cooperation projects and we're speaking, as is natural, with Cuban political authorities," said Garcia-Margallo in a brief appearance before the media after heading a conference on the Spanish transition from dictatorship to democracy.

The head of Spain's diplomatic corps on his first day of meetings in Cuba held discussions with Cuban Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca and with State Council Vice President Ricardo Cabrisas....

...Garcia-Margallo's official visit will continue on Tuesday with a meeting with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez, and he is also scheduled to be received by President Raul Castro.

Read the whole article HERE

And for the ABC Spain version of the story go HERE (includes a link to the full text of Margallo's speech).

Requeteganamos!

Requeteganamos! (Ñoooooo!!!)

 

The Iran-Cuba-Venezuela Nexus

Mary O'Grady in The Wall Street Journal:

The Iran-Cuba-Venezuela Nexus

The West underestimates the growing threat from radical Islam in the Americas.

Oranjestad, Aruba

Regular readers of this column will remember that in July the U.S. asked local officials here to arrest Venezuelan Gen. Hugo Carvajal and to extradite him on suspicion of drug trafficking with Colombian guerrillas. He was detained but the Netherlands stepped in, refused the extradition request and let him go.

The general had been sent here to become Venezuelan consul and spread Bolivarian propaganda. He would have been an important intelligence grab for the U.S. So it wasn’t too surprising that Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua and Cilia Flores, the wife of Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro, celebrated the Dutch decision by meeting his plane when he returned to Caracas.

The third person in the high-level greeting party at the airport—the governor of the state of Aragua, Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah—seemed out of place because he is not in the national government. That is until you consider his résumé: One part master of Middle-Eastern networking, one part honorary Cuban revolutionary, and one part highly ambitious chavista, Mr. El Aissami is a dream come true for Tehran and Havana. That makes him a powerful man in Venezuela.

Tareck El Aissami Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Although President Obama is being lobbied by left-wing activists to change U.S.-Cuba policy before the next Summit of the Americas in Panama in April, his options are limited by laws that require congressional action to change. But one important decision in his hands is whether to remove Cuba from the U.S. State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism. Before the president does that, Americans ought to learn about allegations by a regional security analyst of Cuba-supported work by Mr. El Aissami on behalf of radical Islam.

The West is well aware of the growing presence of Islamic fundamentalism in the Americas, but policy makers may be underestimating the threat. Joseph Humire is a security analyst and co-editor of “Iran’s Strategic Penetration of Latin America,” a book published earlier this year. In an interview in New York last week, Mr. Humire described Iran’s significant progress, over three decades, in setting up operations in the region.

The earliest stages of the process have featured clandestine operatives using mosques to make connections inside Muslim communities and then using those connections to access wealth and gain political prominence. Where these initial forays have been successful, says Mr. Humire, Iran has opened embassies and established commercial agreements that allow operatives to create businesses, which can be used as fronts for covert operations.

In Venezuela and Bolivia, Iran has moved to the next level, developing a military presence through joint ventures in defense industries. In Venezuela, the state of Aragua, where Mr. El Aissami is now governor, is ground zero for this activity.

Havana applauds this Islamic intervention. Since the rise of chavismo, Cuba has supplied intelligence services to Venezuela and its regional allies, notably Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador. Mr. Humire says it has also supplied passport-information technology to allow these countries to process individuals from the Middle East, hand out new documents and maintain the secrecy of true identities. Cuba has used this capacity to exchange information with like-minded nations, including Russia and Iran.

Continue reading The Iran-Cuba-Venezuela Nexus

“Cafe Cubano” & recipes with Sonia Martinez & Marta Verdes Darby