After death of dictator Fidel Castro, a wave of repression sweeps over Cuba

Like in all dictatorial regimes, the death of a dictator causes extreme fear and panic among its elite members. They must maintain control at all costs and in Cuba it has not been any different. Since the death of dictator Fidel Castro, the apartheid Cuban dictatorship has unleashed yet another wave of repression on the island.

Via Dissident:

Repression in the Wake of Castro’s Death

This article will be updated as Dissident learns of new developments in these cases or other cases of political repression going on right now. On Sunday, December 4th, VOC will host a candlelight vigil to honor these and other victims of the Castro regime.

castro-speech-dissident

Though the former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro has died, the tyrannical regime he built is still very much alive. During this period of forced mourning after Castro’s death, Cuban activists, artists, and ordinary citizens are being detained, harassed, and assaulted by the regime’s state security services.

(12/3) 11:40 Joanna Colombié was released under the warning not to travel outside of Havana until after December 10th.

(12/3) 5:58 Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado has reported that his food in prison in Guanabacoa was drugged with sleeping pills and that this is why he is not eating any prison food.

(12/3) 4:46 PM: Zaqueo Báez, the activist from the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) who was arrested during the Papal visit for handing Pope Francis a list of prisoners, has been detained. Three other UNPACU activists have also been detained: Yuselín Ferrera Espinosa and Radamés Lozada Sánchez in Santiago and Edel Ruiz Hechavarría in Palma Soriano.

(12/3) 7:34 AM: Joanna Columbié of the group Somos+ has been detained. Her whereabouts are unknown.

(12/2) 4:08 PM: VOC has been made aware that El Sexto has declared a hunger strike until he is freed.

(12/2) 3:22 PM: Leandro Miguel Hernandez Ferreira, a non-activist Cuban, was beaten and arrested for “not mourning.” Because he is not an activist himself, many of his family and friends are concerned he will not have an active network of support to call for his release.

Danilo Maldonado, the graffiti artist who goes by “El Sexto,” was arrested and badly beaten on Saturday after spraypainting the words “he’s gone” on a wall in Havana. He remains in state custody, and because he is an asthmatic, his fiancée fears for his life. El Sexto became internationally known when he was awarded the Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent by the Human Rights Foundation in 2015 for his work supporting the freedoms of speech and conscience in Cuba.

Reinaldo Escobar, the head editor of the independent digital publication 14ymedio, who is also the husband of the blogger Yoani Sánchez, was arrested on Thursday along with a Spanish journalist to whom he was giving an interview. The Spanish embassy lobbied for the pair’s release, and they were released four hours later. When Escobar asked what crime he had committed he was told it had been a “prophylactic” measure.

Eduardo Cardet, the national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), was detained and severely beaten by police. According the MCL’s website, state security has said that he “met with people he shouldn’t have during his trip to the United States last week.” He is accused of contempt of public officials and disrespect for Fidel Castro, and is being threatened with 15 years in prison.

Eduardo Pacheco, an activist from Cárdenas, was beaten so severely that he now needs surgery. However, he does not feel safe having the surgery, as the medical system is state run and has been used in the past to harass and injure political dissidents. His wife was told this morning that he will be charged with a crime; the details are as yet unknown.

Cuban citizens without a history of political activism have also been targeted. Leonardo Miguel Hernández Ferreira, for example, was beaten and arrested on Saturday for “not mourning.” Cases such as these may be especially dangerous because non-activist citizens have not built up the networks of support that experienced activists have.

The police have also put heavy pressure on the opposition in Matanzas province and in other parts of the island, with temporary detentions and warnings not to engage in public protests.

Sunday reading: Fidel’s hatred of religion

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The ashes of the Monster have been laid to rest.

(Probably not in the public spot of yesterday’s obscene ritual, but rather in some hidden spot where they cannot be easily desecrated).

The Castrophilia on display over the past week was hard to take, but one dimension of the adulation that was especially galling was the way in which Fidel’s hatred of religion was ignored.

Here is a brief overview of this aspect of Fidel’s legacy.

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From The National Catholic Register

Fidel Castro’s War on Religion

COMMENTARY: Among the worst of Castro’s crimes and legacies, consider what he did to religious faith in this once-great Catholic nation.

by Paul Kengor

Fidel Castro, from 1959 to 2006 the world’s longest-running Marxist dictator, is dead at the age of 90. He was no friend of the Cuban people, or of Cuban Catholics. He was a brutal leader who was responsible for the deaths of thousands, and who silenced the prayers and voices of many more.

Sadly, one would never know this from President Barack Obama’s statement on the death of Castro.

“We know that this moment fills Cubans — in Cuba and in the United States — with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families and of the Cuban nation,” said Obama. “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

It is not clear if Obama meant this as a negative or positive. Reading the statement in full, it could easily be interpreted as positive. The official statement makes no mention of a single negative regarding Castro.

Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban emigrants, best described the president’s statement as “pathetic.” If you think that’s harsh, then you know nothing about Cuba under Fidel Castro. And among the worst of Castro’s crimes and legacies was what he did to religious faith in this once-great Catholic nation.

Being a devoted communist, Fidel Castro was possessed with a hatred of religion. In Cuba, like everywhere else, communists launched their standard war on faith. From country to country, no ideology has so consistently and viciously attacked Christianity like communism — starting with the Bolsheviks in 1917 and resounding throughout the century ahead. As Mikhail Gorbachev put it, communists launched a systematic “war on religion.”

Cuba was no exception. From the moment that Castro took hold in January 1959, churches were in trouble. The regime quickly launched a propaganda campaign against the faithful, describing Catholics as “social scum.” By the late 1960s, Christmas was banned on the island. Churches were shut down. Priests and their parishioners were silenced, arrested or placed under tight surveillance, with every word of every service or homily monitored by government church-watchers infiltrating the pews. Any criticism, especially of the Marxist regime, was very dangerous. One could not be a member of the Communist Party in Cuba (the only party legally permitted, including for any government jobs) without professing a belief in atheism.

Much more…. Continue reading HERE….

Sic transit gloria mundi: El Comandante now

Reports from Cuba: Fidel Castro’s 13 most notorious failures

By Zunilda Mata in Translating Cuba:

Fidel Castro’s 13 Most Notorious Failures

“Now it begins, The Great 10 Million [ton] Harvest.” Fidel Castro promoting the 10 million ton of sugar harvest from 1969 to 1970.
“Now it begins, The Great 10 Million [ton] Harvest.” Fidel Castro promoting the 10 million ton of sugar harvest from 1969 to 1970.
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 30 November 2016 – Cuba’s official press and, oddly, a good part of the international media, never stop repeating that Fidel Castro brought Cubans free education and healthcare for all. Cuba was already, however, one of the most developed countries on the continent before the Revolution, much more so even than some European countries such as Spain. Currently, the healthcare system is in a calamitous state since the USSR and Venezuela suspended their enormous subsidies for Havana, and education, despite being universal and free, is totally at the service of an ideology.

These are the 13 most notorious failures of the last 57 years, all attributable to the Maximum Leader.

  1. One of Fidel Castro’s first promises in 1959 was to drain the Zapata Swamp, the largest wetland in the Caribbean islands, and to use it for planting rice. After investing substantial resources and mobilizing a large labor force, the project was abandoned. The failure of this idea of Castro’s was fortunate for the ecosystem, and today the area is included in the National System of Protected Areas and is a breeding ground with more than 10,000 rhombifer crocodiles, a species native to Cuba. A natural resource that would have been lost with the expansion of agricultural crops.
  2. In a public speech in the sixties, Castro said that in a short time there would not be a single marabou bush to be found anywhere on the island. Five decades later, the advance of this invasive plant has hampered agriculture to the point that his brother Raul re-issued the promise in a speech in July of 2007, during the annual commemoration ceremony for the assault on the Moncada Baracks, but the problem remains unresolved.
  3. In the early sixties Fidel Castro promised that milk production in Cuba would be so great that although the population was expected to triple, Cubans would not be able to consume all the milk that was going to be produced. Currently, milk is a rationed product distributed only to children under seven (and those with special medical needs), who receive a kilogram of powdered milk every ten days. In 2007, Raul Castro expressed a desire that all Cubans would be able to “drink a glass of milk” every morning.
  4. The October Crisis, also known as the Missile Crisis, represented a major defeat for the Maximum Leader, when the Soviets ignored him and made an agreement with the United States to withdraw their nuclear arms without considering his opinion. The Cuban people were barely aware of how close they came to perishing in a global cataclysm. In the streets of the island people chanted, “If they come, they stay,” and “Nikita, pansy, what is given isn’t taken back,” (in a rhyming version in the original Spanish), an allusion to the withdrawal of the warheads.
  5. Starting in late 1968 the island began preparing for a 10 million ton sugar harvest in 1970, but managed to produce only 8.5 million tons. The country turned its entire attention to the cane cutting, with the end of year holidays suspended to concentrate on harvesting and sugar production. The economy was left in ruins, fields dedicated to other crops were turned over to sugar, and the damages to the environment were never revealed.
  6. The Alamar neighborhood to the east of the capital, built through a system of microbrigades – people diverted from their normal workplaces to construction brigades – was exposed as the Cuban model of socialist architecture. In Alamar’s concrete blocks would live the “New Man,” an individual without ambitions who would know nothing of markets or exploitation. Today the Alamar apartments represent the lowest price point in the capital’s housing market. Not only for their architectural ugliness, but because this bedroom community lacks an adequate cultural, economic and commercial infrastructure.
  7. In 1967 it was proposed to create what would be called “the Havana cordon” around the capital, with the planting of coffee interspersed with pigeon peas, a miraculous bean to feed cattle. Thousands of Cubans were mobilized for the cultivation and the official press predicted a notable improvement in food supplies. The project was abandoned and its final fate never explained. [Ed. note: Among other problems, Havana does not have a climate conducive to coffee growing.]
  8. In the late seventies it was planned that the Isle of Youth would be Cuba’s first communist territory. Experiments were established to eliminate money and extend free goods and services. Numerous schools were built to welcome students on fellowships from 37 countries. Today most of these schools are abandoned, their hallways and classrooms overrun by vegetation.
  9. The genetically superior cow was one of the most persistent obsessions of the Comandante en Jefe. Crossing Holsteins with native cattle would create the F-1 and later F-2 animals that would guarantee the national cattle herd. The emblematic animal of this project was a single cow named White Udder, which set several records, producing more than 100 liters of milk a day. The year 2015 closed with slightly more than 4 million cows on the island, almost two million fewer than in 1958, while the population had doubled.

Read more

Questioning the double standard: Should Papa Che be called Castro’s Pope?

Ever since he assumed the papal throne in 1939 Pope Pius XII has been accused of coddling Adolf Hitler.

He has even been held partly responsible for the Holocaust.

Resarch has shown, however, that Pius XII — who was virtually a captive of Hitler’s close ally Benito Mussolini — could not act overtly without imperiling Catholics under the rule of the Third Reich.

All efforts by Catholic bishops and clergy to denounce Nazism were met with brutal reprisals.

In the Netherlands, for instance, the Nazi occupiers retaliated to all condemnations by Catholic bishops by rounding up and executing Catholic lay people at random.

In Poland, the Catholic Church was dismantled, and it is estimated that over 1,800 priests died in concentration camps.

Pope Pius XII’s silence led to him being called “Hitler’s Pope.”

Pius XII: Hitler’s Pope?

Now we have Pope Francis, who is no one’s captive, and who could speak freely about repression in Cuba without fear of brutal reprisals, even within Cuba, for the Castro regime now depends on the Catholic Church for many social services.

Yet Francis, who is not just silent, but overtly speaks and acts as if he has a fondness for the Castro regime, has yet to earn the title “Castro’s Pope.”

This double standard is examined by Father Dwight Longenecker.

Mixed signals ?

From Patheos:

Francis: Castro’s Pope?

by Father Dwight Longenecker

Remember when the secular Catholic hating media started crowing about Pius XII being “Hitler’s Pope”?

Funny how they thought it was wonderful when Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, B16 and Francis all paid a visit to Cuba and knocked on Castro’s door.

History is now showing that Pope Pius XII put up stout resistance to the Nazis as he was able.

Pope John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis have taken a more diplomatic approach to Castro’s regime–visiting the murderous tyrant and hoping by diplomacy to do some good.

Pope Francis went so far as to express “sorrow” at the death of Castro.

Pius XII handled Hitler with diplomacy as well, but think of the brouhaha if Pius XII would have written to the Hitler family at the dictator’s death expressing “sorrow” at his loss.

To be consistent, shouldn’t the secular media be finger pointing and name calling Francis as “Castro’s Pope”?

But no, in True (deau) style most of them are giving the Cuban Mao a hero’s send off and presumably think Pope Francis is a marvelous fellow.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Pope Francis struck the right tone in being personal and pastoral, but it wouldn’t go amiss in the days to come if our Catholic leaders and media people were a bit more clear about Castro’s horrible legacy.

Furthermore, in addition to the personal condolences to the family of the deceased it would be great to hear an official statement from either the Vatican or the Cuban bishops along these lines:

“While we greet the death of any person with sadness, and offer sincere condolences to the family of Fidel Castro. We pray for the repose of his soul, hoping that in his final hours he may have turned to Christ Jesus in repentance and faith.

We also offer our prayers and condolences to the families of those he and his regime imprisoned, tortured and murdered. We pray that with his departure the shadow over Cuba might be lifted and true freedom and prosperity will be established for all Cubans.”

Will we hear that, or will we be presented with some wishy washy Liberation theology mumbo jumbo?

And, in case you wish to compare Father Longenecker’s wishful rendition of a proper papal message (above in light purple font) to the one actually sent by Papa Che to King Raul upon the death of Fidel, here is the full text:

On receiving the sad news of the death of your dear brother, His Excellency Mister Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, former president of the State Council and of the Government of the Republic of Cuba, I express my sentiments of sorrow to Your Excellency and other family members of the deceased dignitary, as well as to the people of this beloved nation. At the same time, I offer prayers to the Lord for his rest and I entrust the whole Cuban people to the maternal intercession of our Lady of the Charity of El Cobre, patroness of that country.

 

Superb assessment of relations between Fidel & Catholic Church

Plenary indulgence

The National Catholic Register is the oldest national Catholic newspaper in the United States.

Its influence is immense.

Victor Gaetan, who has followed the plight of the Catholic Church in Cuba for years, provides the world with a very enlightening essay in the most recent issue of the Register.

The subject is the tangled history of Fidel’s relations with that Church and of the Church’s response to all of his abuse.

Highly, highly recommended reading, and a much-needed counter-balance to all of the laudatory ordure that has polluted the atmosphere in the past week.

Best friends forever

The Death of a Dictator: Fidel Castro (1926-2016)
NEWS ANALYSIS: Cuba’s strongman brutally persecuted the Church.

by Victor Gaetan

At least three popes prayed for his soul, but Commandante Fidel Castro, the Jesuit-educated dictator who tyrannized Cuba for almost 50 years, resisted their merciful intercessions.

His death at age 90 on Nov. 25 was announced defiantly on Cuban TV by his brother, President Raul Castro, 85.

Nine days of public mourning features mass rallies in Havana and Santiago de Cuba, but no Mass of Christian burial for this baptized Catholic, whose revolution of 1959 targeted the Catholic Church as an enemy.

In fact, churches on the island have been visited by Communist Party bureaucrats and asked to cancel Mass, Eucharistic adoration and any musical programs. (The response has been rightly uncooperative.)

Fidel’s relationship to the Catholic Church was known for its ambiguity. He saw the Church in utterly opportunistic ways, desperate to co-opt its moral authority in the 1990s, after demolishing it for more than 30 years.

To the end, he gave signs of fascination with God, religion and Christianity’s powerful attraction, but his ego seemed unable to confess sin or seek reconciliation.

Nosferatu and the German pope

Cubans directly affected by Fidel Castro’s guerilla insurgency against President Fulgencio Batista’s military dictatorship in 1959 emphasize that Castro took power deceptively, claiming he would advance freedom against oppression. Yet he deployed violence and intimidation within two years of overthrowing Batista — revealing his true identity.

In 1950s Cuba, Juan Clark was involved with Catholic Student Youth and Catholic Action, an international movement encouraging priests and laypeople to work for social justice. He and his colleagues thought Castro, like them, wanted a more democratic, uncorrupt government.

As Castro’s tactics became increasingly totalitarian — Catholic bishops issued a pastoral letter in August 1960 condemning the “growing advance of communism,” describing its ideology as irreconcilable with the Catholic creed. Clark escaped to the United States in 1960, joining a group of men intent on resistance.

He returned to the island in 1961 as a paratrooper with the ill-fated, U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion — and ended up in a Cuban jail for 20 months, until the U.S. government paid Castro $53-million ransom for more than 1,000 men.

“Fidel Castro was a diabolical genius,” Clark told the Register in a 2011 interview.

“He was a unique case, probably, in the history of the world,” Clark said. “He came to power with a lot of charisma and positive publicity generated in Cuba and the United States,” especially by The New York Times.

“He came to power with one banner. In the beginning, he even had support from the Church hierarchy,” Clark remembered.

“Less than two years later, Castro switched to another banner, an unpopular one — communism,” the former professor continued. “Although, having spent my life researching this, I believe the Soviet Union was involved with Castro even when he was in the Sierra Maestra Mountains” in the late 1950s.

The relationship between Castro and the Church continued to disintegrate through 1961: In May, the vast network of Catholic schools was confiscated and seminaries closed, including the Catholic schools Fidel had attended.

In September, he forced almost 20% of the island’s remaining priests and religious (including a bishop), onto a boat and expelled them.

Among the priests Fidel evicted was a high-school teacher and mentor, Jesuit Father Amando Llorente, who disguised himself as a shepherd to reach the revolutionary while he was still in the Sierra Maestras and challenge the younger man’s behavior.

Other priests were sent to labor camps in 1965, including Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who served as Havana’s archbishop from 1981 to 2016.

Continue reading HERE… much more…

The Polish saint and the Cuban monster

 

Rosa Maria Paya: Let Cubans choose their future

An editorial by Rosa Maria Payá in The Washington Post:

Let Cubans choose their future

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Rosa María Payá Acevedo is president of the Latin American Youth Network for Democracy.

rosamariapayaThe tyrant is dead, but his tyranny is still alive.

Today on the island, the communist Castro-totalitarianism regime survives the corpse of its most visible head. That is why the repression continues and in fact intensified a few hours after the news of Fidel Castro’s death, with the arrests and harassment of opponents.

And it is why the universal value of the right to decide our future must now take center stage. This is a right that belongs to all Cubans by virtue of our humanity. It is a right that has been violated for more than half a century and that today is denied to us by the Cuban constitution, which prohibits us, as a people, from determining the economic, political and social system under which we want to live.

One after another, the world’s authoritarians have proclaimed their mourning for Castro. From them, we expected it. But it is always disappointing, if not surprising, to see presidents of democratic countries and world religious leaders join the likes of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in sentiments of regret for Castro’s passing.

Castro died without facing the consequences of his actions, with impunity, but that record cannot be erased and should not be ignored. He is directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of more than 97,000 people, a number that accounts for only a part of the documented cases.

Among them is my father, Oswaldo Payá, who in 2012 was run off the road by agents of the Castro regime. Castro had vowed to take measures against my father, winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, when the time was right. “We will act, come what may and whatever it costs,” he told Spanish intellectual Ignacio Ramonet.

And so we Cubans confront the double challenge of peacefully ending an orphaned dictatorship and dealing with the hypocrisy disguised as protocol from a good portion of the international community, including the European Union, the United States and the young Canadian leader Justin Trudeau. That’s part of the reason we have turned to basic values and undeniable principles to shape our future.

The Cuban people still live under a regime tailored by the Castro clan — communist and exclusionary. It is the same one that engendered and incubated Latin America’s so-called Socialism of the 21st century, the euphemism used to disguise and propagate authoritarian regimes in our hemisphere, with the support of the Cuban intelligence apparatus and petrodollars provided by Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela. Now, it is believed that its portion of the Colombian-Venezuelan drug trade, if it isn’t doing so already, will be the next source of sponsorship of Cuban totalitarianism.

That is why the Cuba Decide initiative invites everyone, including the mourning international leaders, as well as presidents-elect and incumbents, to support holding a binding plebiscite in Cuba on the option of exchanging tyranny for a democratic system. It is the only tool remaining to guarantee that all of our citizens will be able to design their own future, and so to start a transition that cannot truly begin until all Cubans are a part of it.

Continue reading HERE.

Troglodyte Cuban exile writes yet another essay on the Monster’s death

 

Such chutzpah!

(Synonyms for “chutzpah”: impudence, impertinence, effrontery, cheek, insolence,  audacity, temerity, presumption, nerve, gall, shamelessness, impoliteness, disrespect, bad manners, sass)

From First Things:

Requiem for a Despot

Dead at last, dead at last. Fidel Castro has shuffled off this mortal coil, at the age of ninety. Unfortunately, his death comes a bit too late—about sixty years too late. Millions of his people had been awaiting this moment for well over half a century. And as we Cubans rejoice, we weep. Our losses over the past six decades have been far too great, and so our glee is far from unbridled.

Slavery is what Fidel’s revolution was about. Brooking no dissent, he enslaved a nation in the name of eternal class warfare, creating a new elite dedicated to suppressing their neighbors’ rights. He pitted Cubans against one another, replacing all civil discourse with invective and intimidation.

Fidel boasted that he was loved by the Cuban people and spoke for us, that he was our very embodiment. But these were some of the boldest of his many big lies. The Cuban people he spoke for were but a monstrous abstraction, a figment that he projected onto the world stage. Flesh-and-blood Cubans had to be forced to attend his interminable speeches, or, as now, his funeral.

Dissenters were demonized. If you objected to his self-anointing as Maximum Leader or disdained his dystopian vision, two painful choices were open to you. Just two.

You could oppose him. But if you dared, even by murmuring in the dark, you faced imprisonment, torture, or death. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans were brave enough to suffer these consequences, but the world beyond the island’s shores ignored them, even denied their existence.

The other option was to beg for the privilege of banishment. Nearly two million Cubans chose that route, but millions more never got the chance. No one knows how many have died trying to escape by sea without his magnanimous permission.

Fidel portrayed those who fled his dystopia as selfish troglodytes. These nonconformists were vilified not just by Fidel but by all those around the world who believed his lies, including many eminent intellectuals, artists, and journalists in free, affluent nations. Lately, the tyrant even seemed to gain approval from His Holiness, Pope Francis, who paid him a very cordial visit.

For the millions of Cubans who remained in Fidel’s kingdom, the losses were even more profound. As they waved tiny Cuban flags at mass rallies and waited in line for necessities with their ration books in hand, as they listened to Fidel’s promises of a very distant glorious future, these Cubans watched others leave by the hundreds of thousands. When nearly two million refugees flee from a small island nation, everyone who remains is touched by loss. The exodus is all the more galling when those who have fled prosper in exile and those who remain become ever more destitute.

Why does the First World display so little indignation over Fidel’s labor camps and prisons, his torture chambers, and the summary executions with which he purchased his shamefully inadequate healthcare and indoctrination programs? Why do so many well-heeled tourists flock to the ruin Cuba has become? Why are so few of them offended by Cuba’s endemic racism, or the apartheid laws that deny ordinary Cubans access to the finest beaches and hotels in their own homeland? And why is it that poor folk from neighboring countries such as Haiti or Mexico have never, ever fled to Cuba?

Fidel justified his repressive policies by insisting that the Cuban people were incapable of achieving social justice by any other means. Likewise, many of Fidel’s First-World admirers view Cubans as postmodern equivalents of Rousseau’s noble savage—as primitives who are uncorrupted by civilization and incapable of comprehending Enlightenment notions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—or perhaps as swarthier versions of Mussolini’s unruly Italians, that is, hot-blooded Latin rustics in need of a strong leader who can make their trains run on time.

Trying to convince such folk that their condescension toward “persons of colour” in the Third World verges on racism is usually futile. These progressive neocolonialist elites think of themselves as quite different from Ruyard Kipling and kindred bigots of yesteryear. Nonetheless, in order to admire Fidel Castro in our day, one has to overlook his human rights abuses or argue that in benighted places such as Cuba “social justice” can be achieved only through repression. One must assume that those victimized by Castro cannot be “victims,” because they lack the feelings, desires, and reasoning capabilities possessed by those who live in the First World.

How else but by such bigoted logic could Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, propose that a tyrant who impoverished his country and imprisoned, tortured, and executed thousands of his countrymen had displayed a “tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people”—who in turn “had a deep and lasting affection” for him? Trudeau’s bigotry is subtle but as reprehensible as that of any white supremacist. One must assume that he regards Cubans as inferior to Canadians, for he cannot have been elected Prime Minister of Canada without acknowledging that private property, free speech, elections, labor unions, and a free market economy—all of which are denied to Cubans—are the birthright of every Canadian. If all human beings are equal, then all are entitled to the same rights. This principle, apparently, is lost on Trudeau.

Something very frightening has been made evident in the past few days: the fact that there are many people like Trudeau in this world, who not only are comfortable with the crimes of a cruel despot, but who actually find those crimes praiseworthy.

Fidel’s most amazing triumph was to convince a great number of people around the world that he was a good man, despite all the suffering he inflicted on the people he ruled. Who can measure the suffering he caused? Ask those Cubans whose ranks he has just joined, those thousands he murdered. Ask the thousands who died at sea, trying to escape from him. Ask the dead, yes, if you somehow know how to do so. Ask those hundreds of thousands of Cubans who were crammed into his prisons, and those who were tortured in ways too horrific to imagine, and those who still languish in those dungeons of his. Ask any Cuban who has been forced to attend his interminable speeches, or any Cuban child who has had to spend every summer as a slave in an agricultural labor camp in order to pay for his or her “free” education. Ask any Cuban who has been subjected to an “act of repudiation” by his or her neighbors, or who has in any way run afoul of those other Cubans who run their local Committee for the Defense of the Revolution.

And while you’re at it, ask any Cuban who obeyed Fidel’s baneful commands how they felt about harassing, threatening, and abusing fellow Cubans who disagreed with the Maximum Leader. After all, Fidel did not rule without help. Some ordinary Cubans made his dictatorship possible, indulging their own vainglory. Fidel urged his own people to hate one another, strangling political discourse and poisoning whatever common future they hoped for.

Fittingly, his arrogant deceitfulness extended past his death. In Havana, tens of thousands of Cubans were forced to trudge to the Plaza of the Revolution, to bow before his ashes. Attendance was mandatory—as it was whenever Fidel needed to be surrounded by a throng of slaves—but the ritual was grotesquely hollow. After they had waited in line for hours, all that those Cubans got to see was a small framed photo of the ex–Maximum Leader and a kitschy display of some of his medals, guarded by four young soldiers. The ashes were not there. They were at the Ministry of the Armed Forces headquarters, accessible only to the top brass of the Castro military junta. For a final time, Fidel had hoodwinked his slaves, and the aging oligarchs gathered around his relics probably laughed.

So, good riddance. Let the despot slither into oblivion, along with all his loathsome achievements. History will never absolve him, or those acolytes in charge of his ashes.

The Maximum Leader

 

The ‘accomplishments’ of Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba nothing but a load of B.S.

For decades, the media and academia have been parroting Castro propaganda and touting the many “accomplishments” in Cuba made by the Cuban dictatorship and its so-called revolution . In reality, all the accomplishments celebrated by the apartheid Cuban regime and its sycophantic supporters in the U.S. and throughout the world is nothing but a load of bullshit.

Marian Tupy at Human Progress:

Castro’s ‘Accomplishments’ in Cuba a Load of Nonsense

Justin Trudeau sure as heck stepped in it, hasn’t he? Of course, the Canadian prime minister was not alone in praising Fidel Castro’s “significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.” Here is a compilation of the usual suspects (CNN, MSNBC, NBC, etc.) fawning over the dead dictator’s “legacy.” And, since fish stinks from the head down, let’s not forget President Obama’s lionization of the Castro brothers’ “accomplishments” when he visited Havana earlier this year.

Sure, our 44th president acknowledged that Cubans are pathetically poor and lack basic human rights, but then he took the sting out of his condemnation of the Cuban dictatorship by saying that the Cuban government “should be congratulated” for giving each child basic education and every person access to healthcare. I wonder if our president would perform a similar rhetorical summersault when talking about General Augusto Pinochet, whose economic policies have turned the once backward Chile into Latin America’s richest country in one generation.Looking on the bright side, at least nobody has claimed that Cuban education and healthcare are of world-beating quality. That Cubans should be literate is to be expected. All communist dictatorships taught their people how to read and then they gave them all the reading material that the government propaganda ministries have managed to print.

tupy-cuba-humanprogress

When it comes to healthcare, let’s get a few things straight. All socialist regimes have had a two tier healthcare system—one for the senior communist party members (with excellent and motivated doctors, and western drugs and medical equipment) and one for the hoi polloi (with apathetic medical staff and shortages of, well, everything). I know this because I grew up under socialism and spoke to Cubans, whose stories are very similar to my own.

And to drive my point about healthcare and socialism home, here is a New York Times story about Venezuela’s socialist healthcare entitled, “Dying infants and no medicine: inside Venezuela’s failing hospitals.”

As I keep telling my progressive friends, all you need to know about a country is whether foreigners are trying to get in (viz. USA) or natives are trying to get out (viz. Cuba). Incidentally, while Justin Trudeau’s Canada is a beautiful place, stories like this one, “Canadian Politician Comes to U.S. for Heart Surgery,” do not inspire much confidence in Canada’s government-run healthcare system.

But let’s turn back to Cuba and note the ultimate, almost comical, irony of the Castros’ rule. Everything good that has happened under communism would, almost certainly, happen under a different social and economic system. While verified data are difficult come by and need to be cleared from the fog of Cuban propaganda, the U.S. Department of State tried to do just that, by comparing improvements in human wellbeing in Cuba between the 1950s (i.e., the last decade of the hated Batista regime) and 2000.

Continue reading HERE.

A lifetime of MSM reporting Cuba fake news

It cannot be reported to often just how in bed with the dictator the MSM has been since the moment he first appeared on the scene.

Good article by Mona Charen in National Review:

The Media Has Been Reporting Fake News about Castro and Cuba for Years

While the media melts down over “fake news,” Castro’s death generates more of it.

A panic is sweeping the land — or at least something like it has unnerved CNN, Vox, and other precincts of progressive sensibility. They are alarmed that millions of Americans are being misled by “fake news.”

As someone whose inbox has lately bulged with items about Hillary Clinton’s impending demise due to a concealed, terminal illness; who has shaken her head at “breaking news” that Turkish coup plotters had gotten their hands on NATO nuclear weapons at Incirlik air base; and who has sighed at the endless iterations of stories like the “47 Clinton friends who mysteriously turned up dead,” I don’t deny that misinformation, disinformation, rumors, and malicious gossip appear to have achieved new salience in the national conversation. I shun right-leaning publications and sites that traffic in this sort of drivel.

You know there’s a “but” coming, and here it is: The death of Fidel Castro reminds us that the respectable press, the “two-sources” press, the press that enforces standards and performs reality checks and practices “shoe leather” journalism and all that, has been peddling “fake news” about Cuba and Castro for 60 years.

The mainstream press has been soft on Fidel since he first grabbed a pistol and started granting interviews to credulous reporters in the Sierra Maestra. The joke that made the rounds in 1980s was that Castro could have been featured in one of those ads boasting “I got my job through the New York Times!” Starting in 1957, Times reporter Herbert Matthews visited with the rebel leader and published accounts of his selfless commitment to “his” people. “Power does not interest me,” Castro told Matthews. “After victory I want to go back to my village and just be a lawyer again.”

The evidence of Castro’s monstrousness was available more or less immediately after his victory. Battista’s supporters were shot en masse — some in a carnival atmosphere in front of stadiums of people making the thumbs down gesture. Former revolutionary allies were next to mount the scaffold for the modern equivalent of the guillotine. Independent newspapers were closed. Unions were forbidden to strike. Religious colleges were closed and priests were forced into exile (they had plenty of company). Those who resisted the regime were arrested, denied medical care, and sometimes tortured. Their families were harassed. Castro promised free elections within 18 months. That was 708 months ago. Cubans are still waiting.

The New York Times and other liberal outlets entered a profound senescence where Cuba was concerned. Stories about neighborhood spies, beatings and jailings of the Ladies in White, shortages of all basic commodities (yes, even sugar and cigars), forced labor, and the rest of the miseries that a despotic government can inflict were hard to find. You discovered them mostly in right-leaning journals, or in human rights watchdog publications, or in memoirs like Armando Valladares’s wrenching account of 22 years in Castro’s prisons, Against All Hope (one of the most harrowing prison memoirs of the 20th century).

A sin of omission, you may say. Yes, but there was the other piece — the diligent myth tending. As Jay Nordlinger, National Review’s indefatigable voice for the oppressed, has pointed out again and again, the myth of Cuba’s wonderful, free, universal health care system Will Not Die. President Obama lauded it. Michael Moore beatified it. Bernie Sanders cited it to shame the United States by comparison!

What can you say to people with such a profound need to believe? Their faith is religious in nature and accordingly very resistant to logic or argument. Again, to cite Jay Nordlinger: There are actually three health services in Cuba. There is one for tourists, featuring state of the art equipment. There is a second for high-ranking communists, the military, approved artists, and so forth. This too is a good system. And then there is the squalid, dirty, understaffed, massively under-equipped medical system that ordinary Cubans (the vast majority) must endure. In the third system, overworked doctors re-use latex gloves, antibiotics are scarce, and patients must “bring their own bed sheets, soap, towels, food, light bulbs — even toilet paper.”

A 2014 report from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting found that in Cuban hospitals “the floors are stained and surgeries and wards are not disinfected. Doors do not have locks and their frames are coming off. Some bathrooms have no toilets or sinks, and the water supply is erratic. Bat droppings, cockroaches, mosquitoes and mice are all in evidence.”

And yet, even such an august publication as The Atlantic (I say that sincerely) published a piece after Castro’s death titled “How Cubans Live as Long as Americans at a Tenth of the Cost.” You can call it invincible ignorance. You can call it journalistic malpractice. You can even call it “fake news.”

Foto:  DailyMail
Foto: DailyMail

Uh oh… Did the Trumpinator try to buy hotels in Castro Kingdom six months ago?

 

Maybe yes…. Maybe no……

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg hates Donald Trump.  That’s no secret.

Bloomberg News is now reporting that the Trumpinator seriously looked into buying hotels in Cuba a mere six months ago, while he was running for president.

This information is attributed to a Spanish hotel tycoon, Miguel Fluxa, executive chairman of Iberostar, who made these allegations to Spain’s ABC, a newspaper that is highly critical of the Castro regime and of Castro supporters.

Iberostar owns many apartheid hotels and resorts in the Castro Kingdom.

And… by sheer coincidence… (yeah, sure)…. Iberostar announced yesterday that it will be opening twelve more apartheid hotels in Castrogonia.

If the story about Trump is true, it’s very disturbing.

If it’s not true, it will be but one more false accusation made against the Trumpinator by his detractors.

Either way, the news is not good.

Miguel Fluxa, Spanish apartheid hotel tycoon

From Bloomberg:

Trump Considered Buying Hotels in Cuba, Iberostar Chief Says

President-elect Donald Trump was looking at buying hotels in Cuba as recently as six months ago, according to a top Spanish hotel executive who learned of it from industry contacts. That would be at odds with Trump’s stated Cuba policy and could have violated U.S. law against promoting tourism there.

The hotelier, Miguel Fluxa, executive chairman of Grupo Iberostar, made the comments to reporters at an event in Mallorca on Thursday to celebrate the closely held company’s 60th anniversary. The firm, which has more than 100 hotels, manages Havana’s five-star Parque Central, the city’s top-ranked hotel on TripAdvisor Inc. for several years.

Fluxa learned of Trump’s efforts from industry contacts in Cuba, not from the president-elect himself, an Iberostar spokesman said. Trump hasn’t offered to buy any of Iberostar’s 11 hotels in Cuba, said the spokesman, who asked not to be named, citing company policy. Fluxa’s comments were first reported by Spain’s ABC newspaper.

 Michael Cohen, executive vice president at the Trump Organization, and Breanna Butler, an outside spokeswoman for the company at Hiltzik Strategies in New York, didn’t immediately respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment on Fluxa’s assertion.

Trump’s interest in buying Cuban hotels would be hard to square with his plan to reverse President Barack Obama’s moves there. Obama has eased sanctions since 2014, allowing U.S. cruise ships to dock at ports on the island and letting U.S. airlines fly to Havana. Trump says he would reverse Obama’s opening unless Cuba allows more political and religious freedoms.

“If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate the deal,” Trump said in a Twitter post Monday.

Trump on Saturday tore into the newly deceased ruler of the island, a socialist thorn in America’s side since the 1959 revolt that brought him to power.

“Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights,” Trump said in a statement.

Until mid-October, promoting tourism in Cuba violated U.S. sanctions. Before that, “U.S. persons could not lawfully go to Cuba for hotel prospecting relating to tourism” without a license from the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said Richard Matheny, chairman of the national-security and foreign-trade regulation practice group at Goodwin Procter in Washington.
Executives from the Trump Organization have traveled to Cuba to look for golf course developments, Bloomberg Businessweek reported in July. When Trump was asked by CNN in March if he’d be interested in opening a hotel in Cuba, he said: “I would, I would — at the right time, when we’re allowed to do it. Right now, we’re not.”

In September, Newsweek reported that a company controlled by Trump spent $68,000 on a 1998 business trip to Cuba.

Trump said this week he would be leaving his business “in total” and is drawing up legal documents to confirm the separation, which he plans to outline at a Dec. 15 news conference with his children. He hasn’t said whether he plans to sell or give his business to his children or only hand over management of the Trump Organization to them while he’s president.

Ex-mayor Bloomberg

Biscet: “El momento es perfecto”

Dear brave Dr. Biscet, this self-sacrificing warrior, along with other opposition members in Cuba, they are why, after thirteen years Babalu is still here with our prayers, hopes, and dreams of a free Cuba. This is the answer to the besotted mourning left, and the hateful bigots who believe that Cubans are happy, smiling, dancing, and content living in poverty with their so-called free education, healthcare, and no rights. They can all go to hell with fidel.

Vladimir Turró Páez in CubaNet:
(Very roughly translated)


Biscet: “No le vamos a dar ni un ápice de tregua a la dictadura”

El opositor cubano dice que “el momento es perfecto”

héroe cubano
héroe cubano

HAVANA, Cuba-in the middle of the funeral procession of the ex Cuban ruler Fidel Castro Ruz, the Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Oscar Elías Biscet, met with Union Party for Cuba Libre (PUNCLI) activists Wednesday in a park in the Vedado section of the capital Havana.

“We are not going to give an iota of truce to the dictatorship, it is the perfect time to overthrow them and achieve the freedom of the Cuban people,” said Biscet.

At the meeting, they discussed with those present positions to face the new stage of fight with the goal of achieving democracy in Cuba.

“Dios está de nuestro lado. Ya salimos de uno, y al otro, a Raúl, le vamos arrebatar el poder muy pronto”

During the gathering, there were numerous people parked in the surrounding area to listen to the debate. They also gave them Emilia Project ballots.

“The most important thing is to continue to work as we are doing, and conquer these public spaces, to remove the peoples fear, join together to achieve a regime change in Cuba”, said Biscet.

Carlos Manuel Pupo Rodriguez, national coordinator of the PUNCLI, said to CubaNet that the meeting was very fruitful, addressing important issues and ideas made to put an end to the Cuban system.

“We have to take advantage of the circumstances, it is the time to join forces to put an end to the Castro’s dictatorial political system, we have already suffered enough repression over 57 years,” Pupo said.

Rosa Aviles, another participant, claimed that the women’s faction within the Emilia Project has launched several ideas, stressing that they will be soon put into practice.

“We women of the project are growing and all together will put the end to the Castro Government, now that one has already left, we are closer to freedom”.

Opponents also complained about the Cuban Government imposing mandatory mourning on Cubans, subjecting them to a dry law with the prohibition of sales of alcoholic drinks, and by not allowing them to listen to music over nine days.

“Mourning must take it who feel it, and yet Cubans have it imposed on us as a coup of repression”, said Elías González, activist of the PUNCLI. “El luto debe llevarlo quien lo sienta, y sin embargo a los cubanos nos lo han impuesto a golpe de represión”

Read more in Spanish HERE.

Read about the Emilia Project at Dr. Biscet’s website HERE.