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The latest on US-Cuba talks with Jorge Ponce

GUEST:  Jorge Ponce, Cuban American writer and contributor to Babalu Blog.....We will look at the latest in US-Cuba talks......the removal of Cuba as a terrorist nation........the impact of the Cuba decision on 2016 politics......also a quick update on an upcoming show with Professor Alfred Lopez about his new book about Jose Marti.....

Click to listen:

Reports from Cuba: Cuba increases control over its doctors

By Roberto Jesus Quiñones in Translating Cuba:

Cuba Increases Control over Its Doctors
The government is trying, among other measures, to curb hiring of its professionals by foreign clinics

cuban doctors

Cubanet, Roberto Jesus Quinones Haces, Guantanamo, 20 April 2015 — The exodus of Cuban health professional does not stop, and the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) apparently has decided to act to counter a phenomenon that is damaging domestic medical services but much more the country’s income.

A document attributed to the senior management of MINSAP, adopted in a meeting held in mid-March of this year, has been making the rounds in the e-mail of health professionals in which the sector’s new policy is expressed. This event was confirmed to CubaNet by an official from the Provincial Management of Public Health in Guantanamo, whose identity we do not reveal for obvious reasons.

The document has 18 instructions. The first three are focused on the re-organization of services and the re-location of professionals as a result of the staff review carried out last year.

The other 15 are directed to curbing the exodus of health professionals through private contracts or other avenues and steering the application of the measures in each case.

The document

One of the most controversial, instruction number 4, establishes that Cuban doctors in Angola must be relieved, but without increasing the collaboration with that country, until its authorities stop handing down measures that discourage the hiring of Cuban professional in private clinics or institutions.

Another measure, number 5, directs the withdrawal of the passport, in the airport itself, of professionals who later return from the completion of a mission.

Measures 6, 7 and 8 aim to get the private clinics of other countries to hire Cuban doctors through MINSAP, an agency that claims the right to review the professional’s individual contract, obviously so that the doctors pay the corresponding tax to the Cuban government and in no way receive all the money that is due them from the agreed upon wage.

Measure number 10 requires concluding the process of cancelling the diplomas of the 211 professionals who left service without authorization, and number 11 directs MINSAP’s vice-minister of International Relations to carry out a study of the existing rules in the International Labor Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), as it relates to the migration of the sector’s professionals.

Punishing the “undisciplined”

Rule 12 considers it a serious breach for a health professional to not return to Cuba upon fulfillment of his mission abroad without good cause verified by MINSAP, and it requires final separation from the profession by those who engage in said conduct, with the subsequent withdrawal of the degree.

Meanwhile, Rule 13 orders the creation of records of disqualification for those professionals who violate the established procedures for leaving the country. If any of them repents and returns, Rule 14 directs that they cannot be re-located in their previous workplace but in an inferior status.

Another cage for the army of white coats

Rules 16 and 17 of the document are intended to promote meetings with ambassadors of the countries where Cuban health professionals travel, largely for the purpose of discouraging their being recruited to remain and practice in that country.

The heads of Cuban medical teams and ambassadors have received that same instruction. Besides interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, this shows one of the thus-far-discouraged facets of Cuban medical collaboration, which is none other than exerting pressure over the countries receiving these types of services to make them faithful to the regime’s policy, which is clearly established in instruction number 4 with respect to Angola.

Finally, number 18 establishes a monthly coordination between MINSAP and the Department of Identification, Migration and Foreign Affairs of the Interior Ministry so that it will report to MINSAP on the doctors who leave the country as well as those who have begun proceedings for that purpose, in order to take appropriate measures.

Continue reading Reports from Cuba: Cuba increases control over its doctors

Obama administration is ignoring Cuba’s ‘fugitive issue’

Frank Calzon in The Miami Herald:

Obama administration ignores ‘fugitive issue’ Obama’s actions to remove Cuba from the State Department’s list of terrorist states is stripping the United States of its leverage to achieve economic and political reform in Cuba.

Cuba’s removal from the list has been the Castro brothers’ No. 1 goal, facilitating Cuba’s access to international financial institutions and trade credits. To remove the designation is to ignore their engagement with terrorist organizations and their provision of safe haven to convicted felons and fugitive terrorists.

During the Obama administration, the same State Department that just recommended to the president to remove Cuba from the list had conducted five annual reviews concluding that Havana’s ties to international terrorism were still relevant. The U.S. Congress might want to ask Secretary of State John Kerry what has changed since April 2014 when the the department made its last such determination.

Kerry’s supporting memorandum to Congress takes note of the “fugitive issue” but proposes no solution, and parts of it read as if they were written by a pro-Cuban government advocate. It is silent about Cuba’s aggressive history and makes no mention of the convictions of the Cuban spies who fed information to Raúl Castro, then defense minister and now president of Cuba, that led to the Cuban air force MiG attack on two civilian American planes flying over international waters in the Florida Straits, killing four men.

It also makes no mention of the evidence federal prosecutors presented during the spies’ trial based on American intercepts of Havana’s instructions requesting suitable places for landing of Cuban personnel and weapons in South Florida. And it leaves out Fidel Castro’s not-so-veiled 1976 threat: “The fact that the Cuban Revolution has never used terrorism does not mean that we will not do so. That’s a warning.”

Within the last six months, Colombia’s navy has intercepted the Chinese freighter, Da Dan Xia near the Port of Cartagena. It was carrying “100 tons of gunpowder, almost 3 million detonators and some 3,000 cannon shells” bound for Barranquilla but then on to Havana. The Kerry memo pointedly states, “The government of Cuba has been particularly helpful in facilitating the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC and, in addition, the ELN.” So, where were those munitions to be unloaded?

On this issue, as on everything else, some will blame the embargo for Cuba’s weapons trade with China and North Korea. But Cuba can buy weapons in Europe and elsewhere, and the real question is: Why go through all the trouble of smuggling weapons under foodstuffs and risking discovery and international condemnation? There is also some confusion about the impact of removing Cuba from the list on Havana’s access to international banking institutions. Removing Cuba from the list has the propaganda value for the regime and ethical considerations for Obama.

Continue reading HERE.

Beat It!: Red Army style

China's Red Army rocks Michael Jackson's Beat It!:

Beat it.

Posted by Shanghaiist on Sunday, April 26, 2015

Question for delusional Obama: When has Cuba’s Raul Castro unclenched his fist?

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

When Has Raul Castro "Unclenched" His Fist?

Last week, Sydney Seiler, the Obama Administration's envoy to North Korea, urged the Kim regime to "learn" from Iran, Burma and Cuba, which have “responded to our offer to reach out a hand to those who would unclench their fist."

He must be delusional.

Is he talking about Iran, which continues taking American hostages and where executions have surged since nuclear talks?

Is he talking about Burma, which has regressed on most of its reforms since Obama embraced its military junta?

And just when has Raul Castro "unclenched his fist"?

Since the Obama Administration began secret negotiations with the Castro regime in June 2013, there have been well over 15,000 political arrests in Cuba.

Nearly 2,500 of these have been since the Obama-Castro was sealed on December 17th, 2014.

And repression continues to steadily rise.

Just today, over 100 dissidents were beaten and arrested in Havana, half of whom were members of the pro-democracy group, The Ladies in White.

Meanwhile, in Holguin, the headquarters of The Ladies in White was set on fire.

Castro hasn't "unclenched his fist" one bit.

To the contrary, the Obama Administration's policy has been a unilateral freebie -- ignoring his own doctrine.

Colombia pays price for its surrender to Cuba-backed FARC terrorists

Mary Anastasia O'Grady in The Wall Street Journal:

Devilish Dealmaking in Colombia

The FARC terrorists repay President Santos’s peace negotiations by executing 11 soldiers.

Image provided by Colombia's Presidency shows Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (R front) attending the funeral of a soldier who died after FARC attack, after a mass in Bogota, Colombia, on April 17, 2015. Photo: Zuma Press

The predawn execution of 11 Colombian soldiers in the province of Cauca by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on April 15 is shaping up as a defining moment for President Juan Manuel Santos. Mr. Santos has staked his presidency on peace negotiations with the FARC. But the talks, now in their fourth year, have polarized a nation that was once united against the rebels.

With the massacre in Cauca, the divide has deepened, and simmering public resentment of what some see as their commander in chief’s deference to the guerrillas has exploded. At a Bogotá road race to honor fallen military heroes days after the killings, the president faced a barrage of jeering and booing.

Days later the government denied rumors that Mr. Santos will now seek special powers, via a referendum, to negotiate and seal a deal without congressional or public review. Colombians I talked to expect the president to try just that, noting that he is running low on time and credibility.

Mr. Santos didn’t help last week when he released a Chinese ship carrying an undeclared weapons cache, which had been seized in Cartagena in early March. The Da Dan Xia’s bill of lading claimed it was carrying grain. But according to press reports Colombian authorities found 100 tons of gunpowder, 2.6 million detonators for bullets, 99 “projectiles” (rocket-propelled grenades, to venture a guess) and 3,000 artillery shells—in other words, the stuff of guerrilla warfare.

Once freed, the floating armory went to Cuba, which according to China had ordered the low-tech hardware. But then why the false documentation and why won’t the Colombian government say what the ship was delivering to Colombia?

The FARC rebels aren’t much for negotiating. They say they won’t go to jail for atrocities, they won’t turn over their weapons, and they won’t give up the wealth and land they acquired at gunpoint.

Continue reading Colombia pays price for its surrender to Cuba-backed FARC terrorists

Cuba: Over 100 dissidents violently arrested yesterday by Obama-backed apartheid Castro regime

Over 100 of Cuba's Ladies in White and their supporters, peaceful dissidents calling for respect of human rights on the island, got an up close look at President Obama's Hope and Change yesterday after church services. As it has done almost every Sunday for years, the now U.S.-backed apartheid dictatorship of the Castro brothers unleashed another wave of horrific violence and repression.

Gracias, Obama!

Via Uncommon Sense:

Castro police arrest more than 100 Ladies In White, other activists as they leave Havana church

President Barack Obama's rapprochement with Cuba has been accompanied by a plethora of stories about how neat-o -- the travel, the music, the food, etc. -- it will be when full diplomatic relations with the Castro dictatorship are restored.

Missing from most of the coverage is how the prospects of the lifting the embargo, reopening of embassies, etc., has not been accompanied by an improvement in the human rights situation on the island.

Maybe that's because maybe it's actually getting worse..

For instance, for the umpteenth Sunday in a row, the Castro goon squads earlier today were unleashed to attack the Damas De Blanco, or "Ladies In White," and their supporters as they left a Havana church after Mass. More than 100 arrests were reported.

The international media, especially the American media, will ignore today's events and even if they are aware, most will stick with the previous narrative.

Fortunately, there are many in the Cuban opposition who know how to use Twitter.

Continue reading HERE.

Lucy’s revolutionary “interracial” marriage again makes headlines! (definition of marriage courtesy of a Harvard cum laude employed by Huffington Post)

blazing-saddles lucy2

(Best of all: for their little "mulatto" (presumably?) son they cast a cajun from Lafayette La. named Keith Thibodaux!)

"Lucille Ball had to fight the network to portray Lucy and Ricky's interracial marriage."

"Lily Karlin graduated cum laude from Harvard University, where she studied English and creative writing. "


Reports from Cuba: The revolution and its functional illiterates

By Jorge Olivera Castillo in Translating Cuba:

The Revolution and its Functional Illiterates to a close friend, no fewer than half of the graduates of Cuban universities during the last 50 years, have been graduated in vain.”

Such an assertion might be considered distorted and extremist, but the reality outweighs the data that continue to have no place in the official press nor in the other spaces controlled by the State-Party.

From the start, what counted was massiveness. The only insurmountable barrier to higher education is ideological divergences. The slogan about the university being “only for revolutionaries” is kept as current as on the first day it was proclaimed from the platforms and acclaimed by the multitudes.

Intelligence and suitability became secondary factors to be considered during the university admissions process.

If we add to such follies the regression in teaching methodologies and the limitations in using new technologies, conclusions are easily reached that have nothing in common with the statistics that overstate successes and promote perspectives that are realized, only and exclusively, in the reports by the officials.

In this scenario it is normal for the diploma which documents a university graduation to often be a false trail.

At times, all it takes is a simple conversation to confirm ignorance about key topics in national history and other subjects that taught in junior high and high school.

There are cases in which abilities are limited to a subject studied and do not signify an excellent education.

The future consolidation of capitalism in Cuba is a prospect that generates little enthusiasm for many who display with ill-concealed pride their university degree.

In such a context it will be impossible to cover up the many gaps in knowledge.

What will dictate standards is competitiveness – not participation in acts of revolutionary reaffirmation and other contrivances that exemplify the culture of social parasitism and the institutionalization of fraud as a norm of citizenship in the struggle for survival.

It is a shame to have invested so many material and human resources for such poor results.

The collapse of the paradigms of Caribbean-style socialism is a phenomenon undergoing its final phase.

Among the ruins that exceed their figurative framework to showcase their leading role across the country are those of the Ministry of Education.

In this act of the tragedy, what stands out is the army of functional illiterates coming out of the classrooms of the Revolution.

One of the legacies of a project that failed and whose founders refuse to accept the verdict of history.

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

Photo of the Day – Disney’s Mickey & Donald arrive in Cuba, free of intellectual property rights

Intellectual property rights? We don't need no stinkin' intellectual property rights!

Yusnaby Perez has the photos and the story (in Spanish) HERE.

Female reporter from Putin’s RT-tv roughed-up and robbed by blacks in Baltimore (while reporting on “the oppression of innocent blacks in racist U.S.”)

("Te JODISTE, chica!" laughs SCOUNDREL(!!!) on top left)

Like Cuba's KGB-founded media, KGB Colonel Putin's TV station (RT) in kleptocratic/communist Mother Russia loves to report on the "oppression of innocent blacks in the U.S." blah...blah...


Well, while in this very process yesterday one of Putin's reporters (a female, no less) was robbed and beaten in Baltimore by those very "innocent and shamefully oppressed blacks"

"GEEEEVE EEET BACK!!!....GEEEEVE EET BACK!" Shrieks the commie reporter-ette, as the "innocent and oppressed" blacks run off with her purse. Watch video below and laugh:

What befell that Russian reporter-ette yesterday befell about 5 million Cubans in 1959-68 at Russian instigation and tutelage. But much more than their purses were robbed. Their entire life savings were snatched by Valdimir Putin's predecessors, mentors and idols. (To say nothing of what befell tens of millions of Russians, Poles, Ukranians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Estonians, Bulgarians, etc. at the hands of that Russian reporter-ette's employers.) But let one of those Cuban (or Czech, or Lithuanian, etc.) robbery victims even hint at "Give it back"---and what does RT say?


Rosa Maria Paya: A path to democracy in Cuba unveiled

Via PanAm Post:

Rosa María Payá Unveils Path to Cuban Democracy

NGO Cuba Decide Invites Engagement for Free, Fair, Plural Elections

Cuban activist Rosa María Payá wants change in Cuba, change in line with her compatriots’ wishes. On Monday, March 7, she introduced Cuba Decide, a citizen initiative that allows Cubans to share the reforms they would like to see on the island, and to vote in a plebiscite.

“We are conscious that only Cubans should be deciding and defining the changes that our society needs to develop our national project,” the Cuba Decide website says. “But for citizens to be allowed to design, decide, and build its future, they need the law to guarantee the protection of their rights and an environment of trust and respect for everyone.”

Payá introduced the project during the second Forum of Youth and Democracy underway in Panamá, the same week that regional leaders are set to meet at the OAS Summit of the Americas from April 10 to 11.

 “One’s political position makes no difference, because Cubans can’t express their will and have never been consulted or been able to decide in free and fair elections,” Payá says in an explanatory video.

According to the website, the goal of Cuba Decide is to push for a plebiscite that would allow Cubans to answer the following question: do you agree to hold free, fair, and multiparty elections based on a new electoral law and environment, that would allow all Cubans to run for office and be democratically elected, exercising freedom of expression and press and organizing freely in political parties and social organizations with full plurality?

The new initiative seeks to continue the effort led by late Cuban activist and father of Rosa María Payá, Oswaldo Payá, who died in suspicious circumstances in 2012. His initiative Project Varela collected over 25,000 signatures in 1998, to demand that the Cuban National Assembly enact a law to allow freedom of expression, association, and free elections in the country.

Despite collecting more than the necessary 10,000 signatures to present a bill, the Cuban Congress rejected the proposal, alleging it didn’t comply with the law.

Maduro turns mango thrown at him into propaganda gold

Maduro and his mango

Maduro and his mango

Wow! What a story!

A woman throws a mango at Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro, it hits him on the head, and then he turns the event into a propaganda extravaganza.

Never mind all the horrors unfolding in Cubazuela.

This is the kind of news from Latrine America that folks around the world love to read about.

A story like this can only seem funny to those bigots totally devoid of concern for "inferior" Lateeen-ohs.

Maduro and his propaganda mango, again

Maduro and his propaganda mango, again

From the fluff-loving, stiff-upper-lip folks at the BBC:

Venezuela mango-thrower gets flat from president

A Venezuelan woman has had her wish for a flat granted by President Nicolas Maduro after she made her point by hitting him on the head with a mango.

Marleny Olivo threw the fruit at the president while he was driving a bus through the central state of Aragua.

It had a message on it, in which she pleaded for his help.

Mr Maduro displayed the mango with her telephone number on it during a live television show afterwards. He said he had agreed to her request for a flat.

The move, he said, was part of the "Great Housing Mission of Venezuela".

Ms Olivo had written a message on a mango - "If you can, call me" - along with her name and phone number. She got as close to the bus as she could when it passed and then tossed the fruit at him.

In a video that has gone viral in Venezuela, the president can be seen lowering his head when he is hit just above the left ear. He then calmly picks up the mango and displays it to the crowd.

Later the president discussed the incident in one of his regular live TV broadcasts in which he displayed the infamous mango.

"She had a housing problem, right? And, Marleny, I have approved it already, as part of the Great Housing Mission of Venezuela, you will get an apartment and it will be given to you in the next few hours.

"Tomorrow, no later than the day after tomorrow, we will give it to you."

Ms Olivo said that there was "no evil intent" behind the incident only a desire to fulfil her dreaming of owning a home before she dies.

The president - who is a former bus driver and likes to connect with ordinary Venezuelans by touring local communities at the wheel of a coach - added that the fruit was ripe and that he would eat it later.

What a hilarious story!

So hilarious!  Gotta luv those Lateeeeen-ohs!


“Polls show that!”……blah…blah


We've all seen the "polls" that show "that 80-90 per cent"...blah...blah... "of Americans"...blah...blah..."support Obama's opening to Cuba"..."lifting the Cuba embargo"..."removal from list of terror-sponsors"....blah...blah.

As if you can just walk down the street, ask around, and most Americans are fully-informed on this issue!

Well, here's an item from our friends at PJ Media that probably explains the educational level of most of those (along with many other) poll respondents:

Poll: 1 in 4 Say the Sun Revolves Around the Earth

A poll from the National Science Foundation report released this week has some alarming information about the level of scientific knowledge of Americans.

To the question “Does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth,” 26 percent of those surveyed answered incorrectly.


Reports from Cuba: Elections in Cuba: The never-ending farce

By Jeovany Jimenez Vega in Translating Cuba:

Elections in Cuba: The Never-Ending Farce

Municipal delegate elections. Vote 2015 Cuba.

When on this day, Sunday, 19 April 2015, the last poll closes, nothing transcendent will occur. Despite the statistics manipulated by the newspaper Granma and its libels about an electorate that presumably will have gone to the polls freely and massively to give its “absolute support” to the Revolution, at this stage that never-ending story will deceive very few people.

Irregularities at the polls; ballots that can only be marked “with pencil!” so that they can later be adulterated and thus avoid generating inconvenient statistics; candidacy commissions controlled by the only legal party in Cuba (the Communist one) who handpick the president of every assembly from the municipal level on up to the Council of State: assemblies all of which from San Antonio on the west to Maisí on the east will decide nothing outside the line approved by the one dictatorial party, and they will question nothing, but rather during their time in office they will do nothing more than unanimously approve every “guidance” emanating from Olympus.

The people of Cuba know only too well that they cannot expect anything new from this farce, that this scheme is all played out and will never offer new paths, that it is only more of the same. Thus I will not beat a dead horse but rather today I will reflect on one detail that emerged weeks ago on various online sites: in an event practically without precedent, two dissidents from Havana managed to be nominated as candidates as potential delegates to the National Assembly of People’s Power by their respective districts – something almost unheard-of in today’s Cuba.

Even so, Hildelbrando Chaviano, from the Plaza de la Revolución municipality, and Yuniel López O’Farrill, from the Arroyo Naranjo municipality, had to resign themselves to being branded as “counterrevolutionaries” in their published candidate biographies, as being part of what the nomenklatura calls “splinter groups,” among other pejorative names — outright calumnies and propagandist accusations.

But beyond it being certain that these candidates in effect openly oppose that concept of “Revolution” sustained by the Demagogues-in-Chief of the Communist Party of Cuba, I ask myself: And the other candidates, what about them?

Perhaps it will not be published in the rest of the biographies, for example, that a certain candidate, despite being an “honorable” Communist militant, also increasingly embezzles the resources of the state-owned enterprise that he runs?

Or that other one, a fervent member of a Rapid Response Brigade and participant in multiple repudiation rallies “in defense of the Revolution,” has been expelled from various positions because of continued stealing?

Or that this one, always the enthusiast in any Mayday parade that is organized, nonetheless also manages to loot any state-run warehouse that falls into his clutches?

Or that this dedicated Party comrade does not live off of her salary, but rather thanks to the natural talent that her prostitute-daughter has deployed in a chupa-chupa — something she is well aware of and approves?

Continue reading Reports from Cuba: Elections in Cuba: The never-ending farce