PINAR DEL RIO


support babalú


Your donations help fund
our continued operation

do you babalú?

what they’re saying


bestlatinosmall.jpg

quotes.gif

activism


ozt_bilingual


buclbanner

recommended reading





babalú features





recent comments


  • Humberto Fontova: Hate to say it, but Lopez was dumb to meekly surrender in a show of “good faith.” There is no such thing...

  • asombra: Yes, Carlos, the world is full of shit, and Cubans would be entitled to hold most of it in contempt–if only so many Cubans...

  • asombra: Kerry’s face is dysmorphic, like he’s got a medical syndrome. But facial weirdness aside, I have no problem with him...

  • Honey: Castro Si, Israel No! It’s chickenshit for Israel and praise for Castro. So what else is new with this administration? And...

  • Rayarena: As I always say, we Cuban Americans have really dropped the ball. We can’t expect our adversaries, our enemies to have...

search babalu

babalú archives

frequent topics


elsewhere on the net



realclearworld

Unhappy Halloween: Very Scary Stuff From the Castro Colony of Caracastan

Leopoldo López

Leopoldo López

From ABC Spain (full story in Spanish HERE)

Castro-style torture in Venenozuela

Venezuela’s imprisoned dissidents are being subjected to a new and more extreme form of torture. According to Lilian Tintori, wife of dissident Leopoldo López, her husband and other prominent political prisoners at the military prison of Ramo Verde are enduring a savage barrage of Castro-style harassment.

Leopoldo López, who was mayor of Chacao until his arrest, became a leading figure of the anti-Chavista protests that shook Venezuela eight months ago. Three other former mayors and several other prominent dissidents are in the same prison.

Ramo Verde prison

Ramo Verde prison

Up until now, these prisoners at Ramo Verde have lived in nearly total isolation from their families and the outside world in grimy cells, with severely limited and carefully-monitored  visits, phone calls, and mail. Now, they are being subjected to a more aggressive form of torment by warden Homero Miranda.

Lilian Tintori says that three new forms of torture were unleashed on her husband and the other prisoners on October 24, in retaliation for statements she made about repression in Venezuela while she was visiting Spain. Her revelations led to a tense diplomatic scuffle between Spanish Prime Minister Manuel Rajoy and Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro.

These physical and psychological horrors, which have long been part of the Castro prison system, are intended not just as retaliation for Tintori’s statements abroad, but as a warning to the families of other prisoners, to keep them quiet.

1. The leading dissidents at Ramo Verde are being pelted with human excrement and urine. As plastic bags full of these substances are smashed against their jail cell windows by prison guards, water and electricity are shut off, so that the prisoners cannot clean themselves or their cells. The urine and the excrement are provided by the prison guards, who have been ordered by the warden to relieve themselves in those plastic bags.

2. Loud sirens, whistles, and Chavista hymns are being blasted into their cells, to prevent them from sleeping. The lyrics to the hymns consist of nothing but propaganda lines such as «Chávez vive, la lucha sigue» (Chavez lives, the struggle continues).

3. Prisoners are being stripped down to their underwear and subjected to violent beatings, and are refused medical attention afterwards.

So, it looks as if the Castronoid Cuban “advisers” have been very busy, playing the role of teachers at the Ramo Verde prison.

Leopoldo López in his prison cell

Leopoldo López in his prison cell

Happy Halloween: Scary stuff from the first page of Google News

IMG_0477 (1)

Awoooooooooo!

Be scared.  Be really scared.  This is worse than anything a ghost or ghoul could come up with.   And far scarier than the Halloween decorations at the Eire household, on display in this post as a point of comparison.

Here is a sampling of some of the items that can be found by doing a search for "Cuba" on Google, in the "News" section.  And these are just a few of the stories that can be found on the first page.

Nothing but bad news for the people of Cuba and good news for its despotic government.  Castrogonia continues to win the propaganda war.   And, as some of these news stories reveal, it is also gaining ground in its continual battle to gain universal recognition as a noble and praiseworthy utopia.

IMG_0530

Imagine being a non-Cuban who knows nothing about Castrogonia searching Google for news about Cuba.  This is what you will find.  (The titles are links to the full articles, in case you want to really scare yourself.)  Good luck finding any stories that shed light on the hellishness of  daily life in Castrogonia or on dissidents and political repression.

First item: The Obama administration sends a government official to an ALBA conference in Cuba.  Might as well renew full diplomatic ties today and lift the embargo.

U.S. attends Ebola meeting in Cuba called by leftist bloc

U.S. government officials joined health experts from throughout the Americas at an Ebola conference in Cuba on Wednesday, the latest show of cooperation between the historic adversaries ... The meeting organized by ALBA, a bloc of leftist-governed countries.

 Second item: The New York Times publishes four letters from readers who praise its pro-Castro editorials.  Although they probably received hundreds --if not thousands -- of letters from irate Cuban exiles and others who know the truth about Castrogonia, this despicable newspaper prints only letters that agree with its viewpoint.  Once again, those who really understand Castrogonia are shut out.

Mending U.S. Relations With Cuba
Your three editorials about Cuba this month are a welcome acknowledgment that the embargo is a fossilized Cold War fiasco The United States is losing opportunity and credibility by maintaining it against universal condemnation....LINDA BACKIEL, San Juan, P.R

 Bravo to The New York Times for a third editorial on Cuba policy this month. As a former congressional staffer, I had the privilege of visiting Cuba on a fact-finding mission in June. Our group visited Cubans in their homes and workplaces and saw firsthand how the economic reforms are improving the lives of many Cuban women and their families....JIRAIR RATEVOSIAN, San Francisco

I fully support your recent calls for changing our Cuba policy.... It is time that we abandon these attitudes, which hark back to pre-1959, when Cuba was our client state. ... MANUEL R. GOMEZ, Washington, D.C.

Your editorials make a very good case for restoring diplomatic ties between the two countries.  Yet they don’t mention an important consideration: Guantánamo Bay....Cuba regards the American presence in Guantánamo Bay as illegal and a violation of international law. It’s foolhardy to think that the United States can restore diplomatic relations without placing Guantánamo Bay on the negotiating table....NEIL DWORKIN, Naples, Fla.

Third item:  Castrogonia continues to receive international acclaim for its reckless and hollow medical crusade in Africa.  To boot, it also gains further diplomatic ground with European nations.

British government praises Cuba for its work fighting Ebola
The British government has said it is "proud" to work alongside Cuba in the international fight against Ebola. Foreign Office minister Huge Swire made the comments while on a visit to the country, the first such trip by a UK minister in 10 years. He is set to hold meetings with senior government figures on the island.

Fourth item:  Score another point for illusory "reform": gooooooooooool!   As happened when the Knights of Columbus paid for the building of a new seminary in Castrogonia, the press is eating up this new story about the building of a new church.  Of course, of course, yes, things are really changing.  The Castro regime is now so tolerant, so open to religion, so utterly benign and lovable.  Add to this the fact that the building is being funded by Cuban exiles in Tampa, and you score an extra point: even those nasty exiles are now involved in accepting the Castro status quo.

Cuba Allows The Building Of First New Catholic Church In 55 Years
"The construction of a church is a clear demonstration of a new phase, of an improvement, in relations between the church and the state," said Enrique Lopez Oliva, a professor the history of religions at the University of Havana.

Fifth bonus item:  While Castrogonia polishes its image, Cubans continue to flee the island prison in record numbers, but God help you if you are seeking any analysis of the this situation.  Those pesky ingrates who fail to appreciate that utopia are simply creating an extra burden for the U.S. Coast Guard.   The latest incident: As they were searching for two missing Cuban "migrants" from a sunken "rustic vessel," the Coast Guard stumbled onto an additional horror. Thirty-three Cubans packed into another sinking "rustic vessel" had to be rescued a mere seven miles offshore near Boca Raton.  Imagine making it that far only to be sent back to Castro hell.

Dozens of Cuban migrants rescued near Florida coast

Officials say the boat was “grossly overloaded” and the migrants jumped into the water after it began to sink.

 

 

John Kerry Lauds Cuba’s Magnanimous Contributions Against Ebola

kerryraul5fid1

"Already we are seeing nations large and small stepping up in impressive ways to make a contribution on the frontlines…Cuba, a country of just 11 million people, has sent 165 health professionals and it plans to send nearly 300 more.” (U.S. Sec. of State John Kerry as quoted by Reuters, Oct. 17)

“Jorge Perez, (Communist medical apparatchik) said he received a "boost" from the (Kerry) comment and he believed Kerry was pressing other countries to follow Cuba's lead,” the Reuters story continues.

Does it occur to the top diplomat of the world’s most powerful-nation that a Stalinist regime his own State Department classifies as a Terror-Sponsor, that used poison nerve gas (Sarin) against anti-Soviet Africans in Angola, that jailed and tortured the longest suffering black political prisoners in modern history, that tortured its own subjects at a higher rate than Stalin’s, whose own subjects suffer the highest suicide and (attempted) emigration rates on earth –that such a regime might have more in mind than the welfare of African Ebola-sufferers?

“U.S. CDC (Center for Disease Control) and Cuban health officials sat together in Havana on Wednesday to discuss Latin America's response to Ebola…The CDC is one of the U.S. agencies with a record of sending representatives to Cuba and hosting Cuban medical officials in the United States.” (AP, Oct. 29.)

Does it occur to the top diplomats of the world’s most powerful nation to question the health figures and medical qualifications put out by a propaganda ministry founded and mentored by the KGB?

Our friends at Townhall help disseminate items utterly unknown outside the miniscule Cuban-American informational ghetto.

UNPACU uncovers a plot by Cuban state security

In English:
Press Release
UNPACU uncovers a plot by Cuban State Security to assault its headquarters in Santiago de Cuba

Two citizens, Enma Isaac and Manuel Sanchez, seriously threatened to justify the assault
Link to press release in HTML: http://www.unpacu.org/la-unpacu-denuncia-complot-de-la-seguridad-del-estado-para-asaltar-su-sede-en-santiago-de-cuba/
For further information, please contact:
José Daniel Ferrer, Executive Secretary of UNPACU. Telephones: (+53) 53 74 0544 / (+53) 58 14 6606 / (+53) 58 32 3612 / (+53) 53 14 6740
Best regards,
Unión Patriótica de Cuba
www.unpacu.org
email: info@unpacu.org

En español:
Nota de Prensa
La UNPACU denuncia complot de la Seguridad del Estado para asaltar su sede en Santiago de Cuba

Dos ciudadanos, Enma Isaac y Manuel Sánchez, fuertemente amenazados para facilitar la excusa para el asalto
Enlace a Nota de Prensa en HTML: http://www.unpacu.org/la-unpacu-denuncia-complot-de-la-seguridad-del-estado-para-asaltar-su-sede-en-santiago-de-cuba/
Si desea mayor información puede ponerse en contacto con:
José Daniel Ferrer, Secretario Ejecutivo de la UNPACU. Teléfonos (+53) 53 74 0544 / (+53) 58 14 6606 / (+53) 58 32 3612 / (+53) 53 14 6740
Un saludo cordial,
Unión Patriótica de Cuba
www.unpacu.org
email: info@unpacu.org


Continue reading UNPACU uncovers a plot by Cuban state security

Shame on the Democrats for playing “the race card”

 

That mess in South America known as Venezuela

 

Antonio Rodiles: “The time for our fundamental rights has come”

Antonia Rodiles of Estado de Sats, continues fighting for the God-given human rights of the Cuban people.

Capitol Hill Cubans:

AntonioRodilesSATS

Rodiles: We Must Accept Nothing Less Than Fundamental Freedoms
at 9:21 AM Thursday, October 30, 2014
Excerpt by Cuban democracy leader and head of the independent think-tank, Estado de Sats, Antonio Rodiles:

The temptations of some political actors to enter into a political dialogue with the regime and defend a quasi-unconditional reconciliation can be many. Some dissidents, like [Catholic activist] Dagoberto Valdes, defend this thesis. Yet, it's important to note that without a broad social base to exercise sustained pressure against the old elite and its allies, it would be very difficult to advance in the direction of political changes. Venezuela, where the Cuban regime has already shown its cards, is a good example. They used those who decided to dialogue in order to silence and weaken the student movement and -- once that movement was under their control -- they ended the supposed dialogue as well.

The Cuban situation can become even more complicated. Missteps would create conditions that would place us on the path to becoming a failed state, whereby in addition to our current economic and social disaster under iron-fisted political control, we would have high levels of insecurity and the establishment of criminal organizations. The embargo, like every other international sanction, should be a tool to pressure the regime to accept the substantive measures necessary to prevent the tragic experiences that many former Communist republics encountered on this journey. Why repeat the same mistakes?

We are faced with a regime on a regressive count, but with the ability to transmute. It's not the time to grant anything to oppressors who treat their citizens with such disdain. The time for our fundamental rights has come -- a simple and powerful idea, which should not be overshadowed by any other argument or supposed strategy. We are weary of those who would be satisfied by less or who wish to "dialogue" for less. Politically, the door should not be closed, but neither opened to the point where we become a loyal opposition.

That every Cuban, inside and outside the island, can fully exercise their fundamental rights. That we obtain a firm commitment with respect to our freedoms by ratifying and implementing the U.N.'s human rights conventions. Only then would we be talking about real reforms.

Why do Cubans refuse to procreate? And why do so many kill themselves?

Guess which one of these Cubans is the oligarch?

Okay.  The Castro Kingdom has the highest suicide rate in Latrine America and also the lowest birth rate.

In other words, Cubans kill themselves in record numbers and refuse to procreate.

Could these two statistical benchmarks be related to the political repression endured by those who live in that Caribbean island prison?

Could it be due to the fact that only a tiny number of repressive oligarchs can enjoy life in this world and rest assured that their children will not be slaves?

Naaaaaah.  Of course not.  This is due to other factors, such as great access to birth control, stellar job opportunities for women, a "tough economy" and housing shortages.  In other  words, there are only two reasons for these statistics: the great success of the socialist utopia and the great evils caused by the U.S. "blockade."

It's a socialist paradise.  And the U.S. is to blame for making that paradise less wonderful than it could be.  Never forget that.  Political repression has nothing to do with Cuban attitudes towards life in this world.

130027vx4no8g81914xogw

From NBC News Lateeeeeeeeen-oh:

Castro regime to Women: Please Have More Babies

The Cuban government is encouraging women to have babies and turn around its falling birth rate, which is now the lowest in Latin America.

Authorities announced this week they will soon be unveiling financial incentives for couples who are thinking of starting a family. The government has already expanded maternity, and in some cases paternity leave, to a full year with pay. In addition, Cuba has opened dozens of special centers for infertile couples and special maternity units where women can live full time during high-risk pregnancies.

"We've been evaluating this low birth rate for years," said Roberto Alvarez Fumero, chief of the maternity and child health unit at Cuba's Ministry of Health. "Now we're taking action to improve sexual and reproductive health, which can help drive up the country's birth rate."

The average Cuban woman had nearly five children in the 1960s but the birth rate has fallen to less than two children since the late 1970s. Due to decades of fewer births, the number of working-age people in Cuba is expected to shrink starting next year, which is bad news for an island trying to improve its economy.

In socialist Cuba, the decades-long falling birthrate is attributed to several things, including more women in the workforce, wider access to contraception and abortion, a tough economy, housing shortages and high levels of emigration among young people.

Make more slaves for me!

Make more slaves for me!

 

Isn’t the NY Times’ Ernesto Londono’s obsession with succoring Castro getting a little creepy?

londono456londono

Yet another NY Times editorial by Ernesto Londono (on right) pleading for a U.S. financial bail-out of the Castro regime appeared just yesterday. That makes FIVE in three weeks!...so just wondering....?

londono31987, FATAL ATTRACTION

The elections in Brazil plus other US-Latin America stories with Fausta Rodriguez Wertz of Fausta’s Blog

 

Letter to the Minister of Justice of Cuba

Who are Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Arnaldo Ramos Lauzurique, Jorge Olivera Castello, Hector Fernando Maseda Gutierrez, Angel Juan Moya Acosta, Oscar Elias Biscet Gonzalez, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, Eduardo Diaz Fleitas, Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, Felix Navarro Rodriguez, Diosdado Gonzalez Marrero, and Librado Ricardo Linares Garcia? They are all members of the group known as the 75 Cuban political prisoners of the “La Primavera Negra", the Black Spring.

I say are members instead of former members, because these twelve are among the group of prisoners who refused to accept exile as a condition of release. They are free from prison but only under an “out-of-prison license” that leaves them in legal limbo and subjected to threats and harrassment. Though they no are no longer surrounded by the concrete and bars of a Cuba prison, they remain political prisoners, denied legal status and the right to travel that supposedly all Cubans are now able to enjoy.

Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello has written to Cuba's Minister of Justice on behalf of herself and those on the list above wherein she demands what ever measures are necessary to restore their rights and grant them their right to travel. "Por todas estas razones, exigimos se tomen cuantas medidas sean menester a fin de que se nos restituyan los DERECHOS CIVILES que no disfrutamos con el fin de poder viajar al exterior, los que así lo consideren."

Read her letter, in Spanish at Hablemos Press.

Explanation of U.S. vote on U.N. Cuba resolution

Here's the text of Explanation of Vote by Ambassador Ronald D. Godard, U.S. Senior Area Advisor for Western Hemisphere Affairs, on the Cuba Resolution in the General Assembly Hall.

Ambassador Ronald D. Godard, U.S. Senior Area Advisor
New York, NY
October 28, 2014

AS DELIVERED

Mr. President, as do all member states, the United States conducts its economic relationships with other countries in accordance with its national interests and its principles. Our sanctions toward Cuba are part of our overall effort to help the Cuban people freely exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms, and determine their own future, consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the democratic principles to which the United Nations itself is committed. We therefore stand in opposition to this resolution.

Mr. President, the Cuban government uses this annual resolution in an attempt to shift blame for the island’s economic problems away from its own policy failures. The Cuban government now publicly recognizes that its economic woes are caused by the economic policies it has pursued for the last, past half-century. We note and welcome recent changes that reflect this acknowledgement, such as those that allow greater self-employment and liberalization of the real estate market. But the Cuban economy will not thrive until the Cuban government permits a free and fair labor market, fully empowers Cuban independent entrepreneurs, respects intellectual property rights, allows unfettered access to information via the Internet, opens its state monopolies to private competition and adopts the sound macro-economic policies that have contributed to the success of Cuba’s neighbors in Latin America.

Mr. President, the United States remains a deep and abiding friend of the Cuban people. The Cuban people continue to receive as much as $2 billion per year in remittances and other private contributions from the United States. This support has made possible - was made possible - by U.S. policy choices. By the Cuban government’s own account, the United States is one of Cuba’s principal trading partners. In 2013, the United States exported approximately $359 million in agricultural products, medical devices, medicine and humanitarian items to Cuba. Far from restricting aid to the Cuban people, we are proud that the people of the United States and its companies are among the leading providers of humanitarian assistance to Cuba. All of this trade and assistance is conducted in conformity with our sanctions program, which is carefully calibrated to allow and encourage the provision of support to the Cuban people.

Mr. President, the United States places the highest priority on building and strengthening connections between the Cuban people and the people of the United States. U.S. travel, remittance, information exchange, humanitarian and people-to-people policies updated in 2009 and 2011 provide the Cuban people alternative sources of information, help them take advantage of limited opportunities for self-employment and private property and strengthen independent civil society. The hundreds of thousands of Americans who have sent remittances and traveled to the island, under categories of purposeful travel promoted by President Obama, remain the best ambassadors for our democratic ideals.

Mr. President, the United States strongly supports the Cuban people’s desire to determine their own future, through the free flow of information to, from, and within Cuba. The right to receive and impart information and ideas through any media is set forth in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the Cuban government’s policies that continue to prevent enjoyment of this right. The Cuban government now claims to share our goal of helping the Cuban people access the Internet. Yet the Cuban government has failed to offer widespread access to the Internet through its high speed cable with Venezuela. Instead, it continues to impose barriers to information for the Cuban people while disingenuously blaming U.S. policy.

Moreover, the Cuban government continues to detain Alan Gross, a U.S. citizen who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for facilitating Internet access for Cuba’s small Jewish community. The United States calls on Cuba to release Mr. Gross immediately, allow unrestricted access to the Internet, and tear down the digital wall of censorship it has erected around the Cuban people.

Mr. President, this resolution only serves to distract from the real problems facing the Cuban people, and therefore my delegation will oppose it. Though Cuba’s contributions to the fight against Ebola are laudable, they do not excuse or diminish the regime’s treatment of its own people. We encourage this world body to support the desires of the Cuban people to choose their own future. By doing so, it would truly advance the principles the United Nations Charter was founded upon, and the purposes for which the United Nations was created.

Thank you, Mr. President.

For a primer on the embargo's history read Lift the Cuba Embargo? by Henry Gomez, from April 2009.

My parents saw this movie about ‘soaking the rich”

 

Surprising expertise by a British Cuba “expert” (somebody screwed up)

aaaxszsweig2

Apparently Cuba experts across the big pond need more "dialogue" and "engagement" with their U.S. counterparts. The two sets of experts have their talking points oddly out of sync. To wit:

Putin's Ria Novosti (his regime's propaganda organ) just published this interview with Univ. of Kent's Dr.George Conyne--and Castro's CubaSi reprinted it. Didn't The New York Times get the word? Somebody f*cked up seriously here. Heads will roll. To wit:

US Maintains Cuba Embargo to Secure Florida Vote...The US politicians oppose lifting the Cuban embargo in order to secure the Cuban-American vote in both Florida state and national elections..."In order to secure the Cuban-American vote that often decides state elections, these groups must oppose lifting the embargo," Dr. George Conyne, a history professor at the University of Kent told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

Whoops!!!....But if most Americans (and especially most Cuban-Americans) oppose the embargo--as claimed by the New York Times and their pet Cuba experts--how can this be?

"There were no real disadvantages (to maintaining the embargo) Americans have not paid attention to UN votes for many years," he said...Besides, the professor underlined that the embargo had the advantage of never hurting the US, since Cuba doesn't produce anything most Americans want. So, although free trade with the US would strengthen the Cuban economy, there would not be a great difference."

Whoops!!!...But the New York Times and their pet Cuba "experts" all claim that the embargo costs U.S. businessmen mucho $billions in lost revenue and gravely damages U.S. diplomatic leverage, especially in Latin America?

"The embargo was enacted in 1960 after Cuba nationalized properties belonging to US citizens and corporations."

Whoops!!!...but the New York Times and their pet experts always leave out this teeeeenzy little detail.

raul334

Ros-Lehtinen: UN resolution against U.S. embargo on Cuba’s dictatorship another example of the world-body’s dysfunction

From the offices of U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL):

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-toDIqUghQOE/UnqyIKEUjgI/AAAAAAAAC4c/yYOlzBdZW1s/s1600/download+(2).jpg

UNGA Resolution Against the U.S. Embargo on Cuba is Yet Another Example of the Dysfunction of the World Body, Says Ros-Lehtinen

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement on the United Nations General Assembly vote against the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“For the 23rd time, the representatives at the UN General Assembly have demonstrated their disconnection from the realities in Cuba by ignoring gross human rights violations and the lack of fundamental freedoms for the Cuban people as a result of Castro’s tyrannical regime. The international community should focus its efforts on being a voice for pro-democracy forces in Cuba and condemn the abuses perpetrated by the regime of Havana.

“The vote at the United Nations General Assembly negligently overlooks the duplicitous behavior of the Castro regime at the international stage when a shipment of military equipment originating from Cuba, was intercepted in Panama destined for North Korea, in violation of several UN Security Council Resolutions.

“We commend and thank our close friend, the democratic State of Israel for joining us in voting against this senseless resolution.”