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  • asombra: Doesn’t Nosferatu look adorable? Isn’t this what every country should aspire to as its patriarch? Lord, the shame.

  • asombra: Cubans should stop expecting any better than this, because this is perfectly normal, strictly speaking. The longer we keep...

  • asombra: Actually, Batista, who was much more a man of the people than Fidel, tried and worked hard to look and act like a gentleman, and...

  • asombra: It’s not hard to manipulate those who practically beg for it, so if the manipulator’s halfway competent, it’s...

  • Rayarena: The Batista anecdote is a classic! LOL! What can one expect of Batista? He was definitely an uncouth and low class mulatto....

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Dictator Rafael Correa challenged as unrest grips Ecuador

l_ecuador_protest_06292015_1

Basta ya!  Enough already....

Ecuadorians are taking to the streets and calling for Correa's resignation.

It seems many are fed up with Correa's repressive governance and his so-called "citizens' revolution."

Stay tuned.  This can only get worse.  Correa doesn't deal well with criticism or challenges to his awesomeness.

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From World Politics Review:

Mass Protests Challenge Correa’s ‘Citizens’ Revolution’ in Ecuadori

Unlike his predecessors, Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, has enjoyed consistently high approval ratings since coming into office in 2007. And while support for some other regional leaders, hit hard by economic slowdowns and corruption scandals, are nearing rock-bottom levels, Correa’s rule has also been relatively free of political turbulence. But over the past several weeks, that has changed.

Growing protests reveal that many Ecuadoreans are increasingly disaffected and no longer afraid to take to the streets and openly defy a self-assured president intent on carrying out his so-called citizens’ revolution. The biggest protests came late last week in the country’s largest city, Guayaquil, where thousands of Ecuadoreans marched in the streets and called for Correa’s resignation. Guayaquil’s long-time mayor, Jaime Nebot, one of Correa’s fiercest critics, led the demonstrations and warned that Correa was leading Ecuador down the path of nearby Venezuela.

Protests first hit Ecuador in early June following the announcement of two proposed bills that would hike taxes on property appreciation and inheritance—initially up to 77 percent on the latter, though Correa later lowered that to 45 percent. In keeping with his populist rhetoric aimed at the country’s traditional elite, Correa argued that the taxes would only affect the rich, enabling him to continue financing development and infrastructure projects to help the poorest sectors. Indeed, the law’s official name is “the wealth redistribution law.”

Although Correa last week decided to temporarily withdraw the bills from Congress until after Pope Francis’ visit in early July due to the large public backlash, protests have not stopped. Indeed, they build on cumulative discontent by civic groups resisting the concentration of presidential power and erosion of democratic safeguards. The dramatic drop in oil prices—in a country where oil exports account for 11 percent of its GDP—hasn’t helped Correa’s cause, contributing most to Ecuador’s troubled economy. In response, the government has eliminated up to 40 percent of state contributions to retirement pensions and added tariffs, some as high as 45 percent, to more than 2,500 imported products.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: Private sector entrepreneurs feel smothered by the government

By Ivan Garcia:

Cuba: Private Sector Entrepreneurs Feel Smothered by the Government
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Santería religious items for sale at a stall in Havana. From El Nuevo Herald.

Iván García, 17 June 2015 — Amid spider webs and musty smells, in a corner of his garage where things that no longer work go to retire, Leonardo has stacked molds for making candies and desserts.

There are also three rolling pins, an electric oven outfitted with parts lifted from a state-owned factory, two chrome sandwich makers and a microwave still in its original box. Everything is now for sale.

“I didn’t realize what I was myself getting into. A relative of my wife who lives in Miami gave us $5,000 in 2012 to start a business selling pizzas, desserts and lunches on our front porch. We had to close last year because of losses. I still owe $1,500. I was never able to make the numbers add up,” says Leonardo.

Just as in sports, in any given field of business there are winners and losers. Leonardo’s frustrations stem from the Machiavellian system for private businesses designed by Cuba’s military strongmen.

They tolerate private businesses but they do not love them. The conservative state sector continues to view them as potential criminals. They are considered dangerous types. Restrictions such as high taxes, excessive regulation and corrupt inspectors make doing business an expensive proposition.

“First, the government’s rules make it very difficult to generate profits. Secondly, there is ignorance. They know absolutely nothing about marketing or publicity. The only ones who do well are those who have access to government funds or good contacts in the black market,” argues Leonardo.

According to statistics from the ONAT (National Tax Administration Office), close to seventy thousand people in recent years have forfeited their private business licenses. But if you were to ask the owners of those businesses, 90% say they are just getting by.

“You live better than working for the state. The fact is you have to work like a dog. I drive a cooperative taxi for twelve or thirteen hours a day. I earn 550 to 700 pesos a day, but the high cost of living and inflation eat up all my earnings. With what I make on the side, I can buy food for my family and own a car in good condition,” says a Havana taxi driver.

The most profitable businesses are in food, lodging and taxis. Armando, the owner of a private bar in the town of 10 de Octubre, claims that only a few have been able to make a lot of money.

“There are some who are probably millionaires, like the artists Kcho and Colomé Ibarra, the son of the interior minister. Because of their relationships with people in power, they have a clear path. Others succeed through talent, such as the owner of La Guarida or La Fontana. But most have to rely on illegalities and tricks to get ahead,” says Armando.

Nevertheless, one can detect among small business owners the emergence of a future middle class. On June 6 several travel agencies were introducing a special all-inclusive summer rate at the Havana Libre hotel.

Continue reading Reports from Cuba: Private sector entrepreneurs feel smothered by the government

Castro regime increases repression while U.S. senators visit

CUBA EEUU

Photoshopped image of Senators Heller, Leahy, and Cardin

From Capitol Hill Cubans:

Castro Sticks Thumb in Senators' Eyes, Arrests Over 160 Dissidents

While another delegation of U.S. Senators was being charmed by Castro regime officials, over 160 dissidents were being violently arrested by their hosts.

(Update: Independent journalists from Hablemos Press have documented over 226 arrests this weekend.)

The delegation, led by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), along with U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Dean Heller (R-NV), visited Havana and Santiago over the weekend.

In Havana, over 50 members of The Ladies in White, and a dozen accompanying activists, were arrested.

The Ladies in White is a pro-democracy group composed of the wives, sisters, daughters, mothers and other relatives of Cuban political prisoners.

They were taken to a military prison in Tarara.

Meanwhile, in Santiago de Cuba, 103 activists of the dissident group, the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU), were arrested.

In another incident, former political prisoner Yojaine Arce Sarmiento's motorbike was rammed by a jeep belonging to a Communist Party official. Arce had been prohibited from riding the motorbike for having painted the word "CAMBIO" ("CHANGE") on it.

In what has become a constant trend since the Obama-Castro deal, the visiting delegation of U.S. Senators did not meet with any Cuban democracy leaders -- for that would upset their hosts.

And a trip to Cuba would be incomplete for Senator Leahy without staying at his favorite establishment, the luxury Hotel Saratoga -- a property that has been twice-confiscated by the Castro regime.

Is this the "positive change" in Cuba that Senator Leahy claims is taking place?

Obama's new policy towards has taken solidarity with Cuba's courageous democrats to a tragic and unprecedented low level.

That's hardly positive. It's shameful.

Actual unretouched photo of Senators Heller, Leahy, and Cardin

Actual unretouched photo of Senators Heller, Leahy, and Cardin

policía cubana y mercenarios1

Change you can believe in!

Obama fights for rights in Cuba: #DictatorLoveWins

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The musician calling BS on the ‘Cuba Libre’ lies

Lizzie Crocker in The Daily Beast:

The Musician Calling BS on the ‘Cuba Libre’ Lies
Jorge Gomez has always fallen afoul of the Cuban authorities—and now he’s planning a musical about growing up under Castro’s dictatorship.
http://cdn.thedailybeast.com/content/dailybeast/articles/2015/06/29/the-musician-calling-bs-on-the-cuba-libre-lies/jcr:content/image.crop.800.500.jpg/1435569307299.cached.jpgGrowing up in Cuba, Jorge Gomez would sneak up to his roof with a metal coat hanger late at night and fashion it into a makeshift antenna, desperate to pick up sound waves from Miami radio stations.

The fuzzy, clipped beats and melodies that crossed the ocean were unlike anything he’d heard in the streets of Cuba—and forbidden in Castro’s police state.

They niggled him while he labored over Liszt, Beethoven, and Brahms in Havana at La ENA, Cuba’s only music conservatory. He never dreamed that he would one day arrive on the shores of Florida and listen to this music on his own static-free radio, with the volume dialed all the way up.

Having fled Castro's dictatorship twenty years ago, Gomez, 44, is a pianist, songwriter, and the founding member of Tiempo Libre, which bills itself as “the first authentic all-Cuban timba band in the United States.” (Their sixth album, Panamericano, comes out on Tuesday.)

Arriving in the U.S. in 2000, Gomez settled in Miami and reunited with childhood friends whom he studied with at La ENA. Within a year, he convinced six of them to start a timba band and bring Cuban dance music to the States.

Music producers were convinced timba would never take off in the U.S.

“People would say I needed to play Mexican or Country music to sell albums,” Gomez tells me in his heavy Spanish accent. “But I didn’t come to this country to sell albums. I came to play my music. I came to be happy with what I do and who I am.”

They were wrong about timba: U.S. audiences loved its unique sound of Afro-Caribbean rhythms and jazz harmonies infused with funk and contemporary R&B beats. And Gomez did sell albums, three of which have been nominated for Grammy awards, including Bach in Havana (2009), which earned Tiempo Libre respect from the classical community.

That same year, they collaborated with renowned violinist Joshua Bell on his album, At Home With Friends, and performed with him on The Tonight Show. Fusing Baroque and Afro-Cuban music was an innovative passion project for Gomez and the other Tiempo Libre bandmembers who were forbidden to play anything but classical music at the conservatory.

Gomez’s life in Cuba couldn’t have been more different from the affluence displayed in T magazine several weeks ago in a story a provocatively titled “Cuba Libre.”

It featured a recently restored, pre-revolution Havana mansion, where an American woman, Pamela Ruiz, lives with her Cuban husband, the artist Damian Aquiles.

Ruiz immigrated to Cuba in the mid-90s after meeting Aquiles while scouting locations there for an American ad campaign. (Critically, Ruiz maintained her U.S. citizenship and, with it, her savings and income.)

Several years after arriving, Ruiz began a nine-year process of acquiring a dilapidated,100-year-old estate from an old woman. Ruiz and Aquiles have hosted a slew of rich and famous Americans since completing renovations last year, including Will Smith, his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith, and fashion designer Proenza Schouler.

Six months after President Obama lifted the 50-year embargo against the island, restoring diplomacy between the two countries, the magazine’s glossy feature of Ruiz and Aquiles’ “cultural salon” offers a utopian vision of a new Cuba: wealth in the form of art deco furniture instead of capitalist monstrosities like McDonald's and Starbucks, and Cuba’s rich culture not just preserved but revitalized.

But outside the confines of Ruiz and Aquiles’ Havana villa, there is no "Cuba Libre."

“It’s very easy to talk about things you don’t really know. You have to live it,” says Gomez, “Tourists go to Cuba and stay in hotels where they have everything they need. If you’re Cuban, you have nothing.”

Continue reading HERE.

Rosa Maria Paya’s message: Let the people of Cuba decide their future

Marc Masferrer in Uncommon Sense:

Rosa Maria Paya's message: Let the people of Cuba decide their future

11667305_10153028268237712_1392000658551176001_nRosa Maria Paya

The struggle for freedom in Cuba is not for anyone afraid of what appear to be insurmountable odds or without the faith to believe that they will eventually prevail. After more than 56 years of communist dictatorship, winning Cuba's freedom is not a task for the meek or the faithless.

Rosa Maria Paya is neither.

She is committed to change in Cuba but not change for change's sake or as she puts it, a "fraudulent change" -- for example, economic "reforms and and the normalization of relations with the U.S. -- that leaves the dictators in power. But a change based on the will of the Cuban people.

To determine that that will, Paya and others have launched the CubaDecide campaign, which seeks a national plebiscite to ask Cubans what they want for their nation and their futures. Specifically, it wants to put on a ballot this question:

"Are you in favor of free, just and pluralistic elections that give all Cubans the right to be nominated and elected democratically; the freedom of expression and of the press; the right to organize freely into political parties and other social organizations? Yes or No?"

CubaDecide is extension of her late father Oswaldo Paya's Varela Project campaign, which in 2003 presented to the Castro regime thousands of petition signatures demanding a similar referendum. The regime responded with the "black spring" crackdown that left several Varela Project organizers -- but not Paya -- in prison.

Rosa Maria, 26, assumed her father's mantle after he died in a suspicious car crash in 2012 that his daughter and others have blamed on the Cuban secret police.

Paya and other CubaDecide organizers were in Tampa this weekend to debut their campaign in the United States.

“Everyone needs to help us exert pressure and spread the word that Cubans have the right to choose their government,” Paya told the Tampa Tribune before her visit. “No matter your party or political affiliation, this is about supporting real change in Cuba.”

Before a full house at Casa de Cuba, Paya laid out her simple but very powerful message for the Castro dictatorship and the world: Cubans must be free to decide their future.

Paya is not a wild-eye idealist. She understands the magnitude of the challenge -- she knows what happened to her father and to many of his followers. And she understands that the Castro regime is not about to allow a national referendum on a question whose answer could mean their demise.

But as she repeated many times, change will not happen unless she and other Cubans demand it. If not know, when? If not us, who?

Continue reading HERE.

Aaaaay! “Normalization” of relations with U.S. endangers Cuba’s utopian ecologically-friendly “sustainable” food production system

crying-baby-girl

Ay, ay, ay!  Boo-hoo!  Paradise is about to be ruined.

Yes, ruined.  As every green-blooded postcolonial organic sustainable globalist knows, the Castro regime has made Cuba a perfect model of green correctness as well as political and social justice correctness.

For many greenies, Castro's Cuba is an ecological, social, and political paradise of sorts, with a long list of stellar accomplishments.

High on the list of praiseworthy achievements is the creation of "peri-urban" agriculture, that is, of small farms in and around cities, planted, tended, and harvested by ordinary citizens in their spare time.

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Noble Cuban savages farming the land near their lovely Soviet-era apartments

Imagine such a paradise: no large-scale farming, no full-time farmers, no fertilizers, no pesticides, and over half of the island's arable land lying fallow.

Wow!  What a "sustainable" organic paradise, especially for noble savages!

Imagine this too: not enough food for the islands 11.5 million inhabitants!  Cuba now imports about 80% of the food it consumes and practically all of its food supply  is strictly rationed.

Yes, that's quite a plus!  You see, importing 80% of your food and rationing every ounce of it is what "sustainable" farming is all about.

So, unsurprisingly, green extremists are bemoaning the fact that Cuba may be forced to abandon its ecologically and morally sound "sustainable" food production system.

The villain in this story is U.S. agribusiness, which is gearing up to flood Cuba with food, chemically-altered seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.

What a nightmare!  And on top of that, Cubans could end up eating at McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Wendy's, etc.... and all those awful restaurant chains that make America such a hell-hole.

Aw.  Poor noble savages.  Starbucks on every corner, instead of hydroponic organic mini-farms.

Next thing you know, they'll be farming with fossil-fuel burning machinery instead of animal power.   As one greenie-commie web site sees it, this would be lamentable.  The caption on the image below says it all, and it's taken verbatim from that site.

Animal traction is a strategy to reduce Cuba's reliance on farm machinery.

Animal traction is a strategy to reduce Cuba's reliance on farm machinery.

From Global Research:

Cuba’s Warming Relations with the US May Undermine its Agroecological City Farms

Cuba is a global exemplar of organic, agroecological farming, taking place on broad swathes of land in and around its cities, write Julia Wright & Emily Morris. These farms cover 14% of the country’s agricultural land, employ 350,000 people, and produce half the country’s fruit and vegetables. But can they survive exposure to US agribusiness?

Centralised, large scale production systems still exist. But while peri-urban agriculture in other countries may bring conventional agriculture nearer to the city, Cuba is taking its model of organic urban production out to the countryside.

For more than 20 years, Cuba has been developing a sophisticated urban and suburban food system, producing healthy food, improving the environment and providing employment.

But how will the sector survive if the economy opens up to US agricultural and industrial trade and investment...

...US companies are already lining up to export agricultural chemicals and processed foods to Cuba. Soon foreign investors may begin to arrive in search of opportunities for export agriculture.

Cheaper imports, new finance and the development of the agricultural export trade would change the economics of Cuban food production. It would create pressure for changes in farming methods, land use and distribution, and consumption patterns. The drastic impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement on Mexican smallholder farmers comes to mind.

Continue reading this offensive nonsense HERE.

organic-cuba-urban

Aaah! The joys of being a noble savage!

Reports from Cuba: Why the beatings?

By Mario Lleonart in Translating Cuba:

Why The Beatings?

Mario Lleonart, 5 June 2015 — Beatings of peaceful demonstrators in Havana have been in the news for eight consecutive Sundays. In one of the first rounds, the son of the labor leader Jesús Menéndez was dragged for several yards along the ground with no concern for his advanced age.

On the seventh Sunday, between beatings and more beatings, it was obvious that another attempt was made to kill Raúl Borges Alvarez, this time with a sure blow to the chest–no matter (or, actually, because of) his having undergone heart surgery.

Even so, with respect to Raúl, officials from State Security warned his son, Ernesto, in prison, and his other son, Cesar, on the street, about the the possibility of Raúl’s imminent demise from his additional ailment of “chronic pancreatitis”–the same condition that killed Juan Wilfredo Soto García on 8 May 2011, following a beating by police three days earlier–because of course death can be a natural consequence of a beating, especially if one has prior health problems, and it is well known that the area of the pancreas is another preferred target of the attackers.

Some of us had hoped, following the announcement about normalizing relations between the US and Cuba, that there would be a stop to–or at least a lessening of–the beatings, but we now know that what is happening is precisely the opposite.

It would seem that the beast is feeling mightier and able to strike with impunity. This is borne out by the 641 arrests in May, the highest number of detentions of dissidents in the last 10 months, and which always, in some fashion, involve violence.

During the beatings and acts of repudiation against the Ladies in White, the political authorities have not hesitated to shamelessly transport the tormentors on buses that were brought to Cuba by the “Pastors for Peace” Caravan–an unintended purpose for these vehicles, we assume.

Experiences such as the recent Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama show that the regime that is an expert in beatings is willing to export this modality of intolerance to whichever location in the world will receive it. The international community can confirm that the system which, for survival’s sake, accedes to dialogue with its historical enemy, with the world power, with the “empire,” is not ready to do the same with its own people–and even less so if the issue is about accepting differences of opinion. It’s through strikes and blows that it tends to resolve any matter with its citizens.

The worst part is that many in the population have assimilated this modus operandi learned from Papa State, and it is thus that they prefer to resolve any problem, with or without reason: by hitting.

Any male or female citizen in Cuba, however peaceful he or she may be, is exposed to the blows that come directly from the State, or from any of its many Frankensteins, its “New Men” as evoked by Guevara, who prefer to use their neighbors as punching bags before resolving differences through dialogue.

Blows abound when words–and especially reasons–are scarce.

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

“N*gger!” taunted my Castroite jailers between tortures,” recalled the world’s longest suffering black political prisoner.“We pulled you down from the trees and cut off your tail!”the Castroites laughed.

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"N**ger!" taunted my jailers between tortures,” recalled the world’s longest suffering black political prisoner to this writer. "We pulled you down from the trees and cut off your tail!" laughed my torturers. For months I was naked in a 6 x 4 foot cell. That's four feet high, so you couldn't stand. But I felt a great freedom inside myself. I refused to commit spiritual suicide.”

eusebio
(Eusebio Peñalver, a Cuban jailed and tortured by the Castro regime longer --and much more horribly--than Mandela was by South Africa's--yet utterly unknown to the world..)

Eusebio Peñalver's jailing (without trial, unlike Mandela whose trial was open to the public and attended by multitudes of international observers, most of them hostile to the South African regime) and torture at the hands of the Castro regime stretched to 29 years, surpassing Nelson Mandela's record in time behind bars and probably quintupling the horrors suffered by Mandela during this period. In fact the emblem (Che Guevara) that Wal-Mart proudly merchants represents the regime that jailed and tortured the most and longest suffering black political prisoners in the history of the Western hemisphere—many more than were jailed for political offenses by Apartheid South Africa.

Many Cubans (many of them black) suffered longer and more horrible incarceration in Castro’s KGB-designed dungeons than Nelson Mandela spent in South Africa’s (relatively) comfortable prisons, which were open to inspection by the Red Cross. Castro has never allowed a Red Cross delegation anywhere near his real prisons. Now let’s see if you recognize some of the Cuban ex-prisoners and torture-victims:
Mario Chanes (30 years), Ignacio Cuesta Valle, (29 years) Antonio López Muñoz, (28 years) in Dasio Hernández Peña (28 years) Dr. Alberto Fibla (28 years) Pastor Macurán (28 years) Roberto Martin Perez (28 years) Roberto Perdomo (28 years) Teodoro González (28 years.) Jose L.Pujals (27 years) Miguel A. Alvarez Cardentey (27 years.) Eusebio Peñalver(28 years.)

No? None of these names ring a bell? And yet their suffering took place only 90 miles from U.S. shores in a locale absolutely lousy with international press bureaus and their intrepid “investigative reporters.” From CNN to NBC, from Reuters to the AP, from ABC to NPR to CBS, Castro welcomes all of these to “embed” and “report” from his fiefdom.

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(Fidel Castro being hailed to high heavens in Harlem.)

Our friends at Townhall help disseminate some items utterly unknown outside of a few tiny ethnic enclaves in south Florida and northern New Jersey.

StosselSHow41-ronca

Le RRRRONCA!!!

Los Pichy Boys for President

Los Pichy Boys:

Maikito pare Presidente

Maikito Quiere ser el Nuevo presidente de Los Estados Unidos. Tu Votarias por el?

Posted by Los Pichy Boys on Wednesday, June 24, 2015

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Cardinal Sins: A Castro cleric brings disgrace

Jay D. Homnick in The American Spectator:

Cardinal Sins

A Castro cleric brings disgrace.

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Have you heard about the awful Cardinal hack scandal? It brings shame and obloquy upon a respected organization which has spent many years building up its good name. How could moral myopia prevail at such a critical time? What manner of insensitivity and obtuseness would lead to such unconscionable behavior?

What’s that you say… the Saint Louis Cardinals hacking into the Houston Astros scouting reports…?

Oh, no, no, not about baseball at all. I was referring to the Cardinal of Cuba, Jaime Ortega, revealing himself to be a shameless political hack. Yes, it is true. The cleric, in Spain for a conference, was asked by reporters about the conditions of political prisoners in Cuba. His response: THERE ARE NO political prisoners in Cuba. Mercifully he stopped right there and did not treat us to a treatise about the exemplary democracy of the island nation, thriving merrily under the avuncular gaze of those benevolent Castro brothers.

So, I suppose, Yippee! Castro’s prisons are empty now, leaving extra space for other uses. Perhaps they can open more of those wonderful medical schools Michael Moore featured in his documentary. A Castro Convertible, as it were.

This whole Cuban business is thoroughly disheartening. A formerly thriving country had its kleptocracy replaced by a theocracy, the theology in this case being Communism. In the old days the government made out like bandits and the people made out like people. Instead the government is a bunch of superannuated sanctimonious creeps and the people are a mass of penniless hostages. Greed has been replaced by need: how lovely!

All this happened over half a century ago. The United States expressed its moral disapproval in the form of an economic embargo. The result has been a pathetic standoff where we do not buy their cigars nor sell them our cars. None of this has fazed the Artful Codgers who run the place like a failed experiment. If political science is a form of science (questionable premise) then Cuba is a dysfunctional world out of political science fiction.

Along comes President Obama to point out that the policy has not “worked” and it is time to try a new approach. That sounds great for the five seconds requisite to withstand TV news scrutiny. Naturally the “new approach” turns out to be moral abdication. This reminds us of the famous remark by an elderly gentleman in the 1960s: “This New Morality sounds to me a lot like the old immorality.”

Of course the old approach has not “worked” if working is limited to complete success in restoring the island nation to normalcy. However, the policy has worked very well indeed at achieving its moral objective. It has left Cuba isolated as a moral pariah, a cautionary tale, a stink bomb. When we lift the embargo we lift the white flag of moral surrender.

“We are beginning a new relationship with the people of Cuba,” intoned our trend-setting President, thereby committing the Sobran Fallacy. The late Joseph Sobran was the first to identify this rhetorical trick of the Left. They speak of their fraternization with the captors as if it is a form of communion with the captives. If, say, we initiate friendly talks with Boka Haram in Nigeria, is that a way of beginning a new relationship with the schoolgirls they have kidnapped? No way! Sucking up to the Castros is not a way to reach out to the people of Cuba.

Here in South Florida the media are happy to be the mouthpiece for this drivel. We hear a steady drumbeat of cheerful echoes supposedly emanating from the island. Yes, Cubans are excited! They are ecstatic! They are upbeat! They are hopeful! Then the propaganda is upended by that pesky bugaboo of the left; namely, reality. A few days ago Hallandale Beach bathers were startled to be joined by four desperate rafters. Apparently they still like their chances better broke and barefoot in Florida than basking in the Communist paradise.

Which brings us back to the pathetic hack, Cardinal Ortega, who went to Spain and ran with the bulls***. His congregants look to him in vain for guidance along the pathways of conscience. If businessmen have sold out, if politicians have sold out, our last slender hope reposes in the hardy souls of our clergy. When they betray that hope, the tyrants own us outright.

Cuba’s corrupted Catholic church expels Ladies in White from service, bans them from wearing white in church

The corrupted Catholic church in Cuba led by Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the nefarious shepherd who advances and protects his own interests by feeding his sheep to the Castro wolves, continues to align itself with evil.

Via Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

Cuban women told not to dress in white if they want to attend Mass
"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:10, New American Bible

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Eight ladies dressed in white were expelled from the Catholic parish in Aguada de Pasajeros in Cienfuegos by Father Tarciso. The priest who removed them from the Church told them, "you can continue coming to Church because this is God's house, but wear another color." The women are members of a human rights movement known as the Ladies in White who in recent months have faced rising repression at the hands of the Cuban dictatorship.

Unfortunately, one cannot expect much in the way of assistance appealing to the Cuban Cardinal for help in this matter. On June 5, 2015 Cardinal Jaime Ortega in a radio interview claimed that there were no political prisoners remaining in Cuba. Following the announcement by human rights groups in Cuba that at least 71 political prisoners remained in prisons there, the Cardinal requested that a copy of the list be given to him. News of the Cardinal's statements are now circulating in the United States painting him in a negative light.

These are difficult times for Cuban Catholics and for Christians generally in Cuba.

Keeping track of the ordure: Three U.S. Senators visit Castrogonia, push for opening of tourism floodgates

CUBA EEUU

Photoshopped image of Senators Heller, Leahy, and Cardin

From our Severe Sewage Overflow department:

There's a whole lot of ordure flowing down the Cloaca Maxima*  that now links Washington D.C. and Havana.

It stinks to high heaven, as one would expect, and the stench is strong enough to kill, but one must keep track of it in order to survive.

One must know exactly which evil clowns are responsible for ensuring that the Cuban people remain slaves for generations to come.

Actual unretouched photo of Senators Heller, Leahy, and Cardin

Actual unretouched photo of Senators Heller, Leahy, and Cardin

Yeah. This is deadly stuff.  Knowing how it's flowing and who's in charge of the flow is essential, though awfully unpleasant, especially since Republicans are now joining the Cloaca Maxima team.

With Republicans surfing on the waste stream down the Cloaca Maxima, Cuba is doomed, for sure.

(*Cloaca Maxima: main outlet of ancient Rome's sewer system, which dumped the city's waste into the Tiber River.)

Sen. Leahy and Faux Dauphin Diaz-Canel

Photoshopped image of Sen. Leahy and Faux Dauphin Diaz-Canel

From TribLive News:

HAVANA — Three visiting U.S. senators said on Saturday that they hope Congress would support President Obama's opening toward Cuba, including lifting a ban on American citizens traveling to the Communist-run island.

Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Ben Cardin of Maryland joined Republican Dean Heller of Nevada on a trip to Cuba where they met First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez as well as ordinary Cubans.

A number of Cuba initiatives are pending in the Senate, including a bill to remove the travel ban on Americans and a more ambitious measure to rescind the decades-old U.S. economic embargo.

Obama, a Democrat, has called on Congress to act, but the legislation is opposed by the Republican leadership in control of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The House rejected a measure this month that would have relaxed travel restrictions. But the senators said there were better prospects for progress on Cuba legislation in their chamber.

“We think that can be achieved this year, and we can make additional progress next year,” Cardin told a news conference. “We're optimistic this path that President Obama and President (Raul) Castro started will be continued.”

Heller, one of a few GOP senators to side with Obama on Cuba, encouraged members of Congress to visit the island nation and engage with ordinary Cubans.

Continue reading HERE.

Actual unretouched photo of Sen. Leahy and Faux Dauphin Diaz-Canel

Actual unretouched photo of Sen. Leahy and Faux Dauphin Diaz-Canel

Cloaca Maxima

Actual unretouched photo of the Cloaca Maxima in Rome

 

Reports from Cuba: Open Letter to El Sexto

By Angel Santiesteban in Translating Cuba:

Open Letter to El Sexto
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“This too shall pass.” Photo courtesy of Lia Vallares

Havana, May 28, 2015

Dear brother in the arts and in the fight, Danilo Maldonado (El Sexto):

I received with joy the news that you were honored for your creative dissent by the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) with the important 2015 Vaclav Havel Prize.

I was excited for three reasons: first, you’re a Cuban artist; second, you maintain a dissenting attitude, both in your artwork and your social activism; and third, you find yourself serving an unjust imprisonment.

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After several attempts to arrest you, in that stubborn resolve of the dictatorship to silence those of us who express ourselves freely, they did it while you were traveling in a taxi carrying two live pigs, each painted green, on which you had written in red letters two names too important for the repressors: “Fidel” on the body of one and “Raul” on the other.

Like you I could not foresee the maneuver that they would finally get me with, after several tries and four years of cooking up the alleged crime of gender-based violence that they hung on me. They had also tried that with you because they know the general rejection that sex abuse produces and by that method they seek to torpedo international solidarity toward those who think differently on this island. International public opinion is their main objective, knowing that they won’t have problems with native artists: most will abide by the ruling order. In the end, two pigs were the excuse to lock you up.

I guess the dictator should take pleasure knowing you are now behind bars. But the same thing will happen as in my case: never before has our creative work been so free and fruitful and profound.

I also recently learned that when the award was received on your behalf by the artist and dissident Lia Villares, she announced your decision to dedicate the award to our worthy Ladies in White and to me, a gesture for which I humbly thank you.

Your solidarity, at a time when you suffer unjust imprisonment as much as I do, doubly fills me with pride because, besides in dedicating it to me you have placed my name beside those worthy women who seek justice relentlessly, despite the beatings and arrests they suffer Sunday after Sunday, without which their forces would fade and their demands, through repetition, would lose a bit of humanism and justice.

The totalitarian regime does not worry that the world checks on its injustices, nor care that it appears ridiculous before international human rights organizations, because they are dictators, unfortunately. Understanding their dictatorial and inhuman essence helps us explain and then project into our works art all their aberrations.

I know your human worth and your courage in facing the black bird that has perched over your life seeking to trample your rights. I pray for you every day, that your heart will not wilt as you experience firsthand the abuse and humiliation that men who suffer captivity are subjected to in this country, and I hope that, on the contrary, you will be filled with hope and your work will be nourished with justice and humanity. May God protect you.

Take care of yourself and receive the brotherly embrace of Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

May 28, 2015

Border Unit Prison, Havana

“Normalization” story of the day: tourist enjoys contact with Cuban diving instructor a bit too much

Hayley Dimmock

British tourist Hayley Dimmock and friend

Ahh, the benefits of tourism!

Shagadelic!  British schoolchildren from an exclusive private academy were taken on an excursion to Castrogonia, and one of their teachers had a really good time.  Maybe too much of a good time.

The teacher had  intimate contact with a Cuban diving instructor, and apparently enjoyed that tryst so much and so loudly  that the students she was supposed to be chaperoning -- and other teachers on this trip -- were scandalized.

So, maybe this proves that the current occupant of the White House is correct: increased tourism may indeed make life a little more enjoyable for a few Cubans every now and then.

But what's going on with these school trips to the hellhole of Castrogonia?

This is the second news story to surface recently that involves sexual debauchery and visiting schoolchildren.  Cant't remember the previous one?  Go HERE.

Very happy Cuban diving instructor

Very, very happy Cuban diving instructor

From the one and only New York Daily News

U.K. teacher banned from classroom for 3 years after she had sex with diving instructor during school trip to Cuba

A 29-year-old teacher who had sex with a diving instructor while on a school trip to Cuba is banned from the classroom for at least three years.

Hayley Dimmock was a chemistry teacher at Bedford School in England, an exclusive establishment which charges approximately $15,000 a term, reports the Times of London.

But Dimmock lost her job after she was spotted by other teachers having sex with the instructor. The sexual encounter happened in the instructor's room, which was below the students' accommodations, reports the Times.

Despite curtains to the room being drawn, teachers said they could hear what was happening as they passed by and they had to prevent students from walking past in case they saw anything.

By spending the night with the instructor she could not supervise the children.

Hayley Dimmock

Hayley Dimmock, naughty tourist

Dimmock was also said to be too intimate with some of the pupils.  A disciplinary hearing said Dimmock was spotted on the trip allowing one of the pupils to run his hand along her inner thigh and touch her bottom. She also drank alcohol.

Dimmock, who had taught at Bedford for two years, admitted the allegations.  She has been banned from teaching for at least three years, when her penalty can then be reviewed.

Prior to the incident, she was considered an excellent teacher of good character.