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  • TWFKAP: This is what the conservative (and slightly libertarian) base of the utterly soul-less GOP — the base that sat out 2008 and...

  • asombra: Whenever I see a Czech gesture like this, I reflexively ask why Spain isn’t doing it. We all know the answer, but it...

  • asombra: Good for Cruz, but it’s a no-win situation. His response will simply be twisted to make him look bad anyway. The game is...

  • asombra: I was traumatized by not having chewing gum or cheese as a child in Cuba. That means gum and cheese have to be banned, right?

  • Honey: Go Cruz!

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realclearworld

“La tragedia en Caracas”: Our friends in Venezuela are dumping “el bolivar”

 

 

 

Reports from Cuba: When the victim’s time comes

By Angel Santiesteban in Translating Cuba:

When the victim’s time comes
https://i2.wp.com/www.TranslatingCuba.com/images/angel/1430838330_cepero-paya.jpg

Harold Cepero and Oswaldo Payá

https://i2.wp.com/www.TranslatingCuba.com/images/angel/1430838330_laura-pollan.jpg

Laura Pollan

Since I became aware of the physical assaults and the corresponding arrests, an idea has remained fixed in my mind: “We have to expect this to happen in order for the international political community to understand that you cannot negotiate with totalitarian governments, that it is a dead end. That they only appear to adapt to the new times out of their economic desperation, as ‘parasite countries’ that suck what they can out of whatever economy they get near.”

Is an agreement with the United States and the European Union above the objective needs that civil society urges be resolved? By negotiating with the regime, these countries are establishing a dynasty that will last for generations. The shameful truth is that, Sunday after Sunday, the Ladies in White are abused. Now more so, as I learned during my recent call, because those criminal mobs inflicted bone fractures on these helpless women, who have not given up, nor will they give up on their desire for freedom. Even if the above statements fall on ears deafened and eyes clouded by the absurdities with which the Castro brothers enchant them, and make them dance to their tune.

I still hope that the governments involved in the openings understand that they are losing their valuable time, and retracing their steps, only to approach that truth which I have not doubted for a moment: the dictatorship will not submit to a truce in order to change this sad reality that has oppressed us for over half a century.

And I continue to declare that the more the dictatorship strengthens and sends out roots, the more suffering the Cuban people will continue to endure, as the powers reach a deal.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats
April 23, 2015, Border Prison Unit, Havana.

“Why did Elian’s mother leave Cuba? She was living the good life.” asks ABC’s Jim Avila

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"Why did Elian’s mother leave Cuba?” the furrow-browed Jim Avila asked the (then) NBC cameras in April 2000. “What was she escaping? By all accounts this young woman was living the good life.”

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"Would it occur to a presumably educated reporter to ask why someone tried escaping East Germany? Of course not. They’d be laughed off the screen. But as usual, the same thundering imbecility goes unnoticed with regards to escaping a Soviet-Bloc prison-nation in the Caribbean."

Apparently unsatisfied with his historic propaganda services for Castro’s Stalinist regime, ABC’s Jim Avila reported for duty again this week. Davila’s interview with 21 year old Elian Gonzalez is making major media waves.

The “interview,” by the way, was conducted from Cuba after Avila was (gleefully) granted a journalist visa by the Stalinist authorities—not that this could possibly influence the nature of Avila’s questions. And certainly not that most viewers of the alphabet media would notice anyway.

"I am his (Fidel Castro’s) friend but above all I consider him (Fidel Castro) my father, my grandfather. Fidel, he is an incredible person! I came to know Fidel. I began to see his kindness!” These were among the eye-opening scoops the hard-hitting Jim Avila was able to coax from Elian Gonzalez....

Some perspective on that “good life:” Between two and three hundred people (out of an average population over the decades of 18 million) died trying to breach the Berlin Wall or otherwise escape East Germany. Between sixty-five and eighty thousand people (out of an average population of 8 million over the decades) have died trying to escape Castro’s Cuba.

What makes these stats more horrific still is that prior to Castroism very few Cubans left Cuba. Indeed, prior to Castroism Cuba was swamped with more immigrants per-capita than the U.S., mostly from Europe. People from nearby Haiti jumped on rafts desperate to enter Cuba, which enjoyed a higher standard of living than much of Europe. Also, during the 1950’s when all Cubans were perfectly free to emigrate with all family, property, etc., and U.S. visas were issued to them for the asking, about the same number of Americans lived in Cuba as Cubans in the U.S. In 1953 more Cubans vacationed (then voluntarily went home) from the U.S. than Americans vacationed in Cuba.

Alas none of this features in The Godfather II. So it’s mostly unknown.

Our friends at Townhall help disseminate a few items not well understood outside the diminutive Cuban-American informational ghetto.

ezra49
"Le RRRONCA!!!"

Photos of the Day – Never before seen aerial photographs of Cuba

Aerial photographs that are just close enough to capture the raw beauty of Cuba and just far enough to miss the squalor and misery of life under the jackboot of a murderous apartheid dictatorship.

By photographer Marius Jovaiša (via Yusnaby Post):

http://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/1438970/unseen-cuba-marius-jovaisa.jpg

Viñales, Pinar del Rio

http://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/1438996/unseen-cuba-marius-jovaisa.jpg

Morro Castle

http://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/1439003/unseen-cuba-marius-jovaisa.jpg

Pico Turquino in the Sierra Maestra mountains

See more photographs HERE.

Cuba’s Castro dictatorship sent torturers to Vietnam to interrogate American POWs

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Lest we forget how truly vile, evil, and brutal Obama's new best friends in Havana truly are...

Dr. Larry Moore in The Paris Post-Intelligencer:

Cuban torturers sent to Vietnam to ‘extract’ information from American prisoners

It seems easy to find fault with the quick surprises foisted on the American public. Virtually overnight, President Barack Obama announced a new deal with Cuba.

Although trade between Cuba and the United States stopped more than 50 years ago, passenger ferries could again begin to run between Florida and Cuba.

This trade agreement rides the coattails of diplomatic ties in December.

Should any Americans be upset? We were angry when Russian missiles were headed for Cuba, which is only a mere 90 miles from the American coast.

We had so many troops put in Florida, many thought the state would flood and sink. But the President John F. Kennedy’s actions worked, and Russia backed off.

The following Cuban information was known by our Congress since 1999 and, as usual, they kept a terrible report under a blanket.

Get ready to be shocked if you do not know that Cuba sent interrogators who were known to be vicious and dangerous when working on prisoners under their treatment.

The vicious men were sent to help Vietnam’s Communist officials extract information and influence our Americans being held prisoner.

An excerpt from a House Hearing during the 106th Congress contains the full report from “The Cuban Program: Torture of American Prisoners by Cuban Agents.

This hearing was held before the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives beginning on Nov. 4, 1999.

The Geneva Convention prohibits ``violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture and outrages upon personal dignity and particular humiliating and degrading treatment.”

This is exactly what took place at a prison camp in North Vietnam known as ``The Zoo,’’ seen in a declassified aerial photograph during the period of August 1967 to August 1968.

This is where 19 of our courageous servicemen were psychologically tortured, some brutally beaten by interrogators assessed to be Cuban agents working under orders from Hanoi.

Described by some to be a psychological experiment, the goals of the ``Cuba Program,’’ as the torture project has been labeled by our Defense Department and our intelligence agencies, has been described in different ways as an attempt to test interrogation methods, to obtain absolute compliance and submission to captor demands, and ultimately to be used as propaganda by the international Communist effort.

Some Prisoners of war (POWs) were tortured and then instructed to copy a series of questions and answers given by their interrogators.

These excerpts on most occasions include statements declaring that the United States was waging an illegal, immoral and unjust war.

Prisoners were tortured — again, some psychologically, others physically — to ensure cooperation in appearances they were forced to make before visiting delegations.

Refusal to comply with the captors’ demands usually meant that “Fidel,” “Chico” and “Pancho” — as the Cuban torturers were called by our POWs — would be called in for more intense beatings of the prisoners.

From all appearances, these facts were squashed or otherwise withheld from the public, and here we are again pretending that we are the bad guys and the enemies should be treated with respect.

If you conduct a computer search, you will find much more specific and horrifying information on the treatment and death that resulted from the Cuban Project torturers and murderers of Americans.

What is running through Obama’s brain? Is it working?

Continue reading HERE.

Read more about the sinister role played by Cuba's apartheid Castro dictatorship in the vicious and merciless torture of American POWs in Vietnam HERE.

Fraudulent elections held by Cuba’s apartheid dictatorship exposed by Czech NGO

Via Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

Czech NGO reports on rigged votes in Cuba that try to pass for elections
No tangible results with Raul Castro's so-called "reforms"
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Elections In Cuba: The Dictatorship Lives On

Over the past few weeks, the international press has been all eager to inform the world that, for the first time in the history of Cuba (after the Revolution), two candidates of the opposition, Hildebrando Chaviano and Yuniel Lopez, stood as candidates in the election of delegates to the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power held on April 19. Recent thaw in relations with the United States has brought Cuba into spotlight and potential changes in the island’s governance toward a more democratic model certainly seem very appealing to foreign governments and investors from all over the world.

However, People in Need would like to draw attention to the Cuban electoral system, which hasn’t changed: it continues to be a hollow mechanism whose sole purpose is to ensure continuity of the one-party system. Despite the fact that every two years and a half there are elections with new candidates, we mustn’t forget that the elected delegates are at the lowest level of the strongly hierarchical system of government. As such, they are obliged to comply with the directives from the upper echelons of power.

There’s no denying that any citizen can propose a candidate for a delegate to any of the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power in Cuba. Elected delegates then choose the Presidents of People’s Council and these, in turn, elect the Chairman of the Municipal Administration, who must be a member of the Communist Party of Cuba and whose decisions are governed by the Municipal Secretary of the Communist Party. However, none of the candidates elected to posts at any of the levels will be able to defend any social or economic political program: they are all supposed to work in concert to implement the directives approved by the Communist Party, which is, in contrary to the principle of popular sovereignty, the actual governing power in Cuba under Article 5 of the Cuban Constitution.

On the other hand, it’s clear that two opposition candidates (both standing for election in Havana) in the mass of over 27,000 official candidates for delegates cannot, by any means, be thought to represent the Cuban society as a whole and its desires. Rather, they can be seen as a minor concession – an attempt to try to improve the semblance of an electoral system in which citizens’ votes lack real value. In addition, when the CVs of the candidates were published on April 1, 2015, those of Chaviano and Lopez contained information that the two men were related to “counter-revolutionary” groups. Although the Municipal Electoral Commission had previously warned them that this word will appear in their CVs, it wasn’t able to explain what the term “counter-revolutionary” meant.

Continue reading HERE.

Ted Cruz Don’t Take No Mess! (He unleashes his inner Cuban –mando la prensa pal carajo!, but very elegantly, no griteria)

pappa

pappapappa3

"Pappa Don't Take No Mess!" (and neither does Ted Cruz)

From Real Clear Politic (no less!)

Presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz made a campaign stop in Beaumont, TX on Tuesday, May 19. He was asked repeatedly by Kevin Steele from KMBT-TV about the issue of gay marriage, to which Cruz responds by turning the tables. (via Joe Walsh)

SEN. TED CRUZ: Let me ask a question: Is there something about the left, and I am going to put the media in this category, that is obsessed with sex? Why is it the only question you want to ask concerns homosexuals? Okay, you can ask those questions over and over and over again. I recognize that you're reading questions from MSNBC...

You're wincing. You don't want to talk about foreign policy. I recognize you want to ask another question about gay rights. Well, you know. ISIS is executing homosexuals. You want to talk about gay rights? This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS, the expansion of radical, theocratic, Islamic zealots that crucify Christians, that behead children and that murder homosexuals. That ought to be concerning you far more than asking six questions all on the same topic.

REPORTER: Do you have a personal animosity against gay Americans?

CRUZ: Do you have a personal animosity against Christians sir? Your line of questioning is highly curious. You seem fixated on a particular subject.

beck 3
"Se la comio el Ted!"

Absolute surrender to insanity: Boy Scouts of America ban squirt guns and water balloons

Spritzpistolen Verboten !!!

Spritzpistolen Verboten !!!

Okay.  This is it.  No further proof is needed to confirm the absolute collapse of Western Civilization.

Those of us who live in what used to be Western Civilization are now living in a weak and extremely pathetic insane asylum.

If you want to understand the larger context of the humiliating surrender to the Castro regime by the U.S.A. take a look at this piece of news from the Boy Scouts of America.

Boy Scouts can no longer shoot at each other with squirt guns, or engage in water balloon fights with projectiles larger than a ping-pong ball.

And as you read about this latest capitulation to insanity by the Boy Scouts,  keep in mind that at many universities and colleges, the faculty are being forced by students to censor the curriculum and to exclude texts that might be deemed offensive or traumatizing.

In other words: from cradle to grave,  Westerners are now expected to treat each other and everyone else in the world as fragile wimps.

At Columbia University, a group of students calling itself the Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board on Literature Humanities is demanding an intensive and extensive censoring of Western literature, especially of texts that might "trigger" traumatic responses in minorities or anyone who is easily traumatized.

Students at the forum expressed that they have felt that Literature Humanities and Contemporary Civilization’s curricula are often presented as a set of universal, venerated, incontestable principles and texts that have founded Western society. Such a presentation does not allow room for their experiences in the Western world or in class discussions. While these founding principles have been liberating in many ways, instructors should more consistently acknowledge during class discussions that many of these same principles have created an unjust, unequal, and oppressive existence for many...

[For example].....Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” is a fixture of Lit Hum, but like so many texts in the Western canon, it contains triggering and offensive material that marginalizes student identities in the classroom. These texts, wrought with histories and narratives of exclusion and oppression, can be difficult to read and discuss as a survivor, a person of color, or a student from a low-income background.

Beware: Really baaad stuff!

Beware: Really baaad stuff! No Apollo and Daphne for you!

All this ludicrous nonsense  is being promoted as ISIS blithely revels in barbarous cruelty with abandon, beheading people, stoning and burning them to death, tossing them from tall buildings, even blasting them off the face of the earth with bazookas.

So, moving up the ladder from the Boy Scouts to the Ivy League to the White House, this is the weird ethical code in play: let King Raul make whatever demands he feels like making, and meet all his demands.

We wouldn't want to traumatize him, would we?  Poor chap.  So badly abused for so many years.... and such a survivor!

We win!

Ganamos! Hasta sin pistolitas de agua!  (We won! Even without squirt guns!)

From Bryan On Scouting:

Water guns OK for target shooting, not for firing at other Scouts

As summer — and pool weather! — lingers on the horizon, it’s a good time to remind you that BSA policies prohibit pointing simulated firearms at people.

Yes, that includes water guns.

The official source for this information: the 2015 Boy Scouts of America National Shooting Sports Manualavailable as a PDF right here.

You’ll find the relevant sentence on page 99. It reads: “Water guns and rubber band guns must only be used to shoot at targets, and eye protection must be worn.”

Water balloons, meanwhile, have a size limit: “For water balloons, use small, biodegradable balloons, and fill them no larger than a ping pong ball.” (Page 100)

If you need more explanation, see page 61 of the Guide to Safe Scouting. The key paragraph reads:

“Pointing any type of firearm or simulated firearm at any individual is unauthorized. Scout units may plan or participate in paintball, laser tag or similar events where participants shoot at targets that are neither living nor human representations.”

Why the rule? A Scouter once told me this explanation I liked quite a bit: “A Scout is kind. What part of pointing a firearm [simulated or otherwise] at someone is kind?”

cry-babies

Reports from Cuba: Deportees in their own country

By Reinaldo Cosano in Translating Cuba:

Deportees in Their Own Country

Cuban Apartheid, suffered by families who abandoned their homes and went to Havana in search of a new life

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In Cuba, if you do not have permission to reside in Havana, they deport you to your province of origin (internet photo)

Cubanet.org, Reinaldo Emilio Cosano Alen, Havana, 15 May 2015 – Rodolfo Castro, from Santiago de Cuba, met with three other young men detained at the Guanabo police station east of Havana. Driven to the Central Train Terminal in a patrol car – so that they could not escape – they were put on the train and deported to their provinces, following imposition of a fine of a thousand Cuban pesos – some 50 dollars – each. So says Osmany Matos, of Guanabo, arrested for a traffic offense who witnessed the incident.

The “Palestinians” (as they ironically call those who come from the eastern provinces) Yordanis Reina, Maikel Cabellero and Edilberto Ledesma, from the rural area El Parnaso; and Amaury Sera, from the Manati township, all in the Las Tunas province, explained to Graciela Orues Mena, independent trade unionist:

We went to work at Guira de Melena in Mayabeque province, because here either we don’t work or they pay a pittance, always hired by a farmer. One afternoon we were walking through the city with work clothes covered in red dirt, when two police officers asked us for identification. We were arrested and deported for the crime of ‘being illegal.’ They put us on the train with the warning that if we came back we would wind up in the courts. They didn’t let us collect our pay for the time we worked or change clothes or get our belongings. We spent so many hours hungry on the train, without money. An abuse.”

The Crime? Not having a registered address in Havana.

Independent lawyer Rene Lopez Benitez, resident of Arroyo Arenas in Havana, explains: “The Law Decree 217 of April 22, 1997, Internal Migratory Regulations for the City of Havana and its Contraventions, better known as the Internal Immigration Law, tries to control immigration to Havana (also to the capitals of the western provinces). They justify its application because of the dire housing situation, difficulty getting work, public transportation crisis, the supply of water, drainage, electricity, domestic fuel, sanitation, the low level of quality in the provision of other services, which put great pressure on the capital’s infrastructure. The Decree arranges for the eradication of illegal persons and settlements in Havana and the other provincial capitals with work of the Interior Ministry and the National Housing Institute. They have carried out thousands of deportations, forced evictions. Appeals to the Government and the Communist Party for legal protection are a waste of time. The evictions seriously undermine the integrity of entire families, including children and elderly people, who had achieved labor, social and personal stability.”

Slums surround the country’s western cities. There are onslaughts of demolitions “in the name of urban order and discipline in the charge of the Institute of Physical Planning, whose director is the Division General Samuel Rodiles, which intends to eradicate the slum areas that have emerged in the face of the government’s construction paralysis. Now – with the failure of the state initiative – they are trying to increase housing construction through their own efforts and a policy of bank credits and subsidies,” adds Lopez.

Continue reading Reports from Cuba: Deportees in their own country

Juana’s addiction

Garrincha:

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Communism: When the only way out is death

By Fausta Rodriguez Wertz in Da Tech Guy Blog:

Communism: When the only way out is death

https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/418960147059179521/B8TlTE7J_400x400.jpegTwo headlines at Real Clear World today:

Desperate Chinese Turn to Mass Suicide – Robert Hunwick, Global Post
Why Cubans Are Still Fleeing to America – The Economist

The common thread between the two stories is that both countries live under stifling Communist systems.

Communism crushes the individual and the human spirit; indeed, it could be said that the word itself, communism, describes the erasing of the individual. Nowhere is this more simply and starkly explained than in the words of one of the Chinese workers who committed mass suicide:

“Our use of death is simply to testify that we were ever alive at all.”

The incidents of mass suicide in China, a closed society, are now frequent enough that they are making the international news.

Cubans in the island-prison at least can find easier means to escape. The Economist explains (emphasis added),

. . . in fact it is the Castro regime that bears final responsibility for the flood of migrants, because its policies—though admittedly exacerbated by the embargo—have produced the poverty and crippling lack of opportunity in Cuba that motivates many migrants in the first place. A series of reforms adopted since 2011 have allowed limited private enterprise on the island, and have sought to spur foreign investment. Yet a gap between the haves and have-nots is growing. As few as one-tenth of the labour force have their own businesses; the rest work in state-owned firms earning pitiful wages. State rations of basic staples like rice and beans add a meagre supplement to incomes, leaving remittances as the only meaningful option for households hoping to increase their earnings. Remittances from abroad are currently estimated at about $3 billion a year. Cubans who make the perilous journey to America are often on a survival mission for their families back home.

Scott Rae and Austin Hill, in their book, The Virtues of Capitalism: A Moral Case for Free Markets explain that the societies whose economic systems have helped a large percentage of its citizenry to enjoy social and economic success are those societies founded on classic Judeo-Christian virtues.

In the absence of those classic Judeo-Christian virtues, and lacking any other alternative, the individual’s only way out is death. In the words of Patrick Henry,

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s blog.

Getting nothing for something: Obama’s Cuba team are the worst negotiators ever!

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Obama's Cuba Team Are Worst Negotiators Ever

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This week, we posted the litany of concessions the Obama Administration has already made to the Castro regime, in order to establish diplomatic relations.

We also highlighted the three remaining obstacles for the establishment of diplomatic relations -- namely the restrictions on U.S. diplomat's movement; the inspection of diplomatic pouches for the mission and the Castro regime's police cordon to intimidate Cubans.

Thus, the question remained whether the Obama Administration would also cave as regards those demands from the Castro regime.

The answer came before today's negotiations even started.

According to Article 26 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, "the receiving State shall ensure to all members of the mission freedom of movement and travel in its territory."

Yet, even before the fourth round of negotiations began today, the lead Obama Administration negotiator, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, publicly agreed to accept restrictions on our U.S. diplomats, similar to those in China and Vietnam.

Instead, she stated the U.S. only seeks to "minimize" them.

(On a side note: Why do U.S. diplomats still have restrictions in China and Vietnam despite decades of normalized relations, trade and investment? Clearly, a failure of our engagement policy.)

The Castro regime is surely delighted to know this beforehand.

Of course, it is absurd for the U.S. to accept such restrictions on our diplomats anywhere in the world, specifically in the Western Hemisphere, where it is unprecedented.

The Obama Administration is opening a Pandora's Box, which will result in a great disservice to U.S. regional interests.

How long do you think it will take for Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and other Castro allies to begin requiring similar restrictions on U.S. diplomats in those countries?

The U.S. should have made it absolutely clear that any such restrictions were unacceptable.

But clearly the U.S. team is at a negotiating disadvantage.

U.S. news media in love with latest “historic” display of shameless Castro Chutzpah

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It's hard to find the right word in any language for what happened yesterday at a White House news briefing.

In Spanish, one could speak of this event as a display of "desvergüenza" (insolence, temerity), but that would be insufficient.  Even the Yiddish word "chutzpah" falls short.

The Castro regime sent some of its "journalists" to a White House press briefing, and one of them asked a "historic" question.

In other words, some Castronoid lackey spewed forth an offensive question that oozed contempt for the United States, and the White House Press Secretary provided a platitude-filled grovelling answer.

As one might expect, the American news media is drooling over  the significance of this "historic" moment.

Add this humiliating and nauseating display of sadomasochistic behavior to the long list of cringe-worthy "historic" events on the road to "normalization."

And get ready for many, many more.

Babalu has two questions for Mr. Earnest, the White House Press Secretary:

How about inviting and admitting real, independent Cuban journalists to all future White House press briefings?

And how about insisting that the Castro regime open itself for questioning by independent journalists?

facepalm

From ABC News:

Cuban Reporter Asks Question at White House Briefing in Historic First

It was an historic first at the White House: Press Secretary Josh Earnest took a question from a Cuban reporter during today's press briefing.

“Welcome to the United States and to the White House,” Earnest told a group of visiting Cuban journalists before taking a question from a reporter who identified her affiliation with Cuba’s government-run national television network.

“First, do you think that it's possible to see a scenario in which we will open embassies in Havana and Washington? In that future scenario, is the administration committed to be more respectful of the Vienna Convention towards the behavior of the American diplomats in Havana?” the reporter asked Earnest.

Continue reading HERE if you love feeling nauseous (includes video).

VOMIT

 

Reports from Cuba: Exclusion as a policy

By Fernando Damaso in Translating Cuba:

Exclusion as a policy

http://translatingcuba.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/bandera-cubana-sirve-simbolo-nacion_CYMIMA20150517_0002_16.jpg

14ymedio, Fernando Dámaso, Havana, May 17 2015 – The Cuban government, since it seized power on January 1959, has maintained an authoritarian and exclusive approach to politics. Patriots, Cubans and citizens are considerations that have only been extended to those who unconditionally support the establishment. Those who do not or who simply criticize it are deemed unpatriotic, traitors, and anti-socials.

This system is primitive in its simplicity, but it has been useful. This absurd and unnatural positioning has been applied to everything: democracy, liberty, human rights, unity, opposition and many other terms have been redefined according to the ideological and political interests of those who govern, giving the impression that the Island exists in an unreal political and geographical space, outside of planet Earth.

Difference has never been accepted; instead it has been repressed: a sad example is that of the so-called Military Units to Aid Protection or UMAPs (Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Producción), those camps where thousands of citizens were forced into labor because of their religion, sexual preferences, fashion choices, or rejection of the authorities.

Only a few years ago, more for circumstantial political convenience than humanitarianism, different religious and sexual preferences were officially accepted, although in day-to-day practice, they continue to be regarded with reticence by a large part of the authorities. However, never have ideological and political differences been accepted, according to authorities, “due to the need to maintain national unity in the face of the enemy’s aggressions.”

Lately, in line with the atmosphere of dialogue between the governments of Cuba and the United States, although neither the aggressive language nor the violence have stopped, some topics regarded as taboo for many years have been put on the table. That of civil society, which had been banished from official discourse, as well as that of democracy and human rights are now very much present. Of course, it could not be any other way, “our civil society” is now spoken of, and for some time now “our democracy” and “the human rights which we defend” are pronounced. They seem to be the government’s private property, which, ironically, it has always frowned upon. Once again, exclusion reveals itself.

There is only one civil society and it belongs to the country, it includes as many organizations and associations that support the government as it does those that question it, reject it or simply are not interested in politics and are dedicated to issues of ecology, religion, art, and others. To attempt, as is the case today, to internationally legitimize governmental organizations as the only members of Cuban civil society is aberrant.

The issue is not founded upon rejecting current organizations because they support the government, but because they are bodies of the same, which organizes, directs, controls, and finances them. Nobody accepts that they, with what their members may be able to contribute, can sustain themselves economically, maintain their bulky bureaucratic apparatuses, premises, transportation, defray intense propaganda campaigns and travel costs, organize and hold meetings, workshops, and even congresses, with the participation of dozens of foreign invitees, for whom all travel expenses are paid.

The Cuban nation is also only one, despite the authorities’ claims of owning it, taking into consideration only their supporters and excluding everyone else.

What’s even worse is that this governmental malpractice, perhaps due to having lived under its influence for too many years, has been adopted by some members of the opposition who not only apply it to the authorities but also to those who, within their own ranks, do not share their political opinions, not taking into consideration the serious injuries that doing so inflicts on themselves and, more importantly, on the opposition and, as a result, on Cuba. Today, we must do whatever it takes; leave personal differences aside and search for unity in order to save the country. There needs to be a real and responsible unity of all Cubans, regardless of how they think and without exclusion, for the good of the nation.

This month, we Cubans remember two important dates: May 19, the 120th anniversary of José Martí’s fall in combat, and May 20, which marks 113 years since the foundation of the Republic. In all of Cuba’s history, no one has been more inclusive than the Apostle, as José Martí is called among us. His thought, “the homeland is the fortune of all, and the pain of all, and skies for all, but no one’s fief or chaplaincy” and his dream of “a nation with all and for the good of all” still constitute matters unresolved. Let us dedicate our best efforts to their attainment.

Translated by Fernando Fornaris

Elian betrays his mother’s sacrifice