Oscar Elias Biscet in Europe, headed for U.S.

Biscet in Madrid, with a copy of the 1940 Cuban constitution

Cuban dissident Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet held a press conference in Madrid yesterday.  This is the first time he has traveled outside of Cuba since he was freed from prison in 2011.

He also visited Hungary, where he spoke with prime minister Viktor Orban, and is scheduled to visit Washington D.C. , where former president George W. Bush will present him with the Medal of Freedom he was awarded in 2007, while still in prison.

The leader of The Lawton Foundation for Human Rights –who spent eleven years in prison, where he was repeatedly tortured — had much to say about the Normalization Circus, which he exposed as a total charade.

Here are some of his observations:

 “The benefits created by this opening of relations between two governments are out of reach for the Cuban people; all they will ever get is a few economic crumbs, not any freedom.”

“This is just a deal between two governments that are eager to make their administrations look good… [in Cuba] the government-run monopolies are benefiting from it, and some people have been able to buy cell phones and property…but there has been no improvement whatsoever in the civic and political sphere. ”

“The only thing that has changed for Cubans is that they no longer need to fear being beaten up when they wave American flags.”

«I have to return to Cuba.  It’s a matter of conscience;  I need to struggle for freedom alongside my fellow Cubans.”

For more details, go HERE (ABC Spain, in Spanish)

Circus

 

Four innocent dissident women rot in a Castro gulag in Cuba, and neither Obama nor the world cares

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Ponder Image: Four Female Cuban Political Prisoners, Awaiting ‘Trial’

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Four female Cuban dissidents arrested on April 15th, 2015, remain imprisoned and are awaiting trial for the “crime” of “disobedience.”

They are Yaquelin Heredia Morales, Marieta Martinez Aguilera, Xiomara de las Mercedes Cruz Miranda and Yunet Cairo Reigada.

These four dissidents were arrested pursuant to a peaceful protest held at Fraternity Park in Central Havana. They are members of The Ladies in White and the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU).

Ponder their image very carefully.

Why is the Castro regime so afraid of these peaceful female activists?

Moreover, where is the pressure from the international community that the Obama Administration promised upon its change of policy?

It seems the world if following Obama’s lead on these abuses — by remaining shamefully silent.

Vietnam and Cuba: What Obama still doesn’t get about communism

The way I see it there are only two explanations for President Obama’s disturbing fetish for communist dictatorships: Either he is dreadfully naïve or an insidious true believer. Neither bodes well for America and the cause of freedom for the oppressed throughout the world.

Seth Lipsky in The New York Post:

What Obama still doesn’t get about Communism

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President Obama, standing in front of the American and Communist flags, announced in Hanoi this week that he’s ending the embargo that has for 50 years blocked US arms sales to Vietnam. The move, he said, would end a “lingering vestige of the Cold War.”

Between North Korea, Red China, Cuba and Vietnam, it’s a bit of a trick telling one lingering vestige from another. How about the lingering vestige of the Communist Party? When are we going to end that?

It’s not my intention here to re-litigate the Vietnam War. (In my opinion, history will vindicate the hawks and go hard on the Congress, where America’s hard-earned battlefield victory was given away in pursuit of an illusory peace.)

Yet it’s just bizarre that Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry seem to think that our embargo was more of a problem than the Communism itself. Even if Red China is itching for a war in the South China Sea.

Arms to Vietnam have a certain logic. It’s like Winston Churchill saying, when the Nazis entered Stalin’s Russia, that if Hitler invaded Hell he’d at least make a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.

In Southeast Asia the theory is that the Communists in China are more of a threat to American interests than the Communists in Vietnam, China’s traditional foe. Yet Obama is denying that the end of the arms embargo is linked to China.

It was, he insisted, based on “our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalization with Vietnam.” But he has brushed aside all sorts of red flags about the nature of the regime.

Human Rights Watch sent him a letter nearly a month ago, warning of what he was dealing with in Vietnam’s Communist camarilla. It called Vietnam’s government “one of the most repressive in the world.”

It noted that expression, association and assembly are “extremely limited,” that the press is controlled and censored and that the Communist Party “controls all public institutions and uses them to maintain its hold on power.”

Human Rights Watch characterized the elections in Vietnam as “a form of political theater.” The president with whom Obama has been treating, Tran Dai Quang, it noted, is the thug who headed Vietnam’s “notorious Ministry of Public Security.”

In Hanoi this week, Obama insisted that any arms deals would have to meet the usual requirements, including human rights. But who believes him after the hash he made of the Iranian appeasement?

Obama doesn’t seem to grasp that the Communism is the human-rights violation. Speaking to students in Argentina two months ago, he brushed off the distinction between capitalism and Communism as “interesting intellectual arguments.”

“Just choose from what works,” Obama said. It was one of the most ridiculous comments of his presidency, given that if the century since the Bolshevik revolution has taught us anything, it’s that we know which one works.

Continue reading HERE.

Meanwhile back in Caracastan: Venezuelapocalypse

21st century socialism

As the Normalization Circus continues to gain strength,  the Castronoid colony of Caracastan is going into an ever steeper death spiral.

It seems that  the final unfolding of the Bolivarian Revolution has arrived.

It’s dreadful, as dreadful as dreadful ever gets…. as dreadful as it was in the island nation formerly known as Cuba some fifty-odd years ago.

In that Cuba of long ago it only took about two years to reach the implosion now being experienced by Venezuela.

And in that long-dead Cuba — now known as the Castro Kingdom — the implosion has been going on for over half a century.

Can Venezuela find a way out?  Perhaps.  But only if King Raul’s storm troopers are sent back home immediately

Oh, the wonders of 21st century socialism!

But don’t expect to find many journalists blaming the Venezuelapocalypse on socialism.

No.  All of these calamities are due to falling oil prices, “mismanagement,” and political turmoil caused by those selfish bastards who can’t appreciate socialism.

Venezuela has nothing

 

From the BBC:

Sugar shortage cuts Coca-Cola production in Venezuela

A sugar shortage has forced Coca-Cola to stop producing soft drinks in Venezuela amid an escalating food and energy shortage.

Coke said that suppliers in Venezuela will “temporarily cease operations due to a lack of raw materials”.

The announcement comes after the country’s biggest brewer, Empresas Polar, closed plants due to a barley shortage.

Continue reading HERE.

We are dying of hunger

From Granma Lite (AP) via the Winnipeg Free Press:

Bridgestone abandons crisis-wracked Venezuela after 62 years

Tire maker Bridgestone is selling its business in Venezuela after six decades in the country, the latest blue chip company to abandon the country as a result of runaway inflation and strict currency controls.

Bridgestone Americas says in a statement Monday that it is selling its Venezuela assets to Grupo Corimon, a local industrialist. It says the company will be called Alice Neumaticos de Venezuela. Bridgestone says the sale will have no financial impact because it already has written off its investments in the crisis-wracked country.

The Nashville-based company joins other foreign multinationals including Halliburton, Ford Motor and Procter & Gamble who have either slowed or abandoned their investments in Venezuela.

 

From Granma Middlebrow (Time Magazine):

Venezuela’s Murder Epidemic Rages on Amid State of Emergency

There is fierce debate about exactly how many people are murdered in Venezuela, but all sources find sky-high rates.

The government says there were almost 18,000 murders in this South American nation last year, giving it a rate of 58 homicides per 100,000 – compared to 4 in the United States.

The independent Venezuelan Violence Observatory claims there were really almost 28,000 murders.

An annual comparative survey classified Caracas as the most homicidal city outside a declared warzone in 2015, with 119 homicides per 100,000.

Against this backdrop, opposition leaders are attempting to bring to an end 17 years of rule by the socialist party of the late Hugo Chavez. This month, opposition leaders, who now control the congress, presented almost two million signatures for a referendum on Maduro’s rule. A survey found more than 60 percent of Venezuelans said they would vote him out, and only 28 percent would vote for him to continue.

Read the whole story HERE.

From Town Hall:

Thanks To Venezuelan Socialism, A Burger Costs $170

How bad is inflation in Venezuela? The country’s disastrous dalliance with lefty-economic theories has not only led to hospitals lacking basic medical supplies, like soap, food, and electricity, but burgers that now cost $170. Need a place to stay in Venezuela (though I don’t know why you would visit in the first place)? No problem—it’ll only cost you $6,900 a night (via AFP):

If a visitor to Venezuela is unfortunate enough to pay for anything with a foreign credit card, the eye-watering cost might suggest they were in a city pricier than Tokyo or Zurich.

A hamburger sold for 1,700 Venezuelan bolivares is $170, or a 69,000-bolivar hotel room is $6,900 a night, based on the official rate of 10 bolivares for $1.

But of course no merchant is pricing at the official rate imposed under currency controls. It’s the black market rate of 1,000 bolivares per dollar that’s applied.

But for Venezuelans paid in hyperinflation-hit bolivares, and living in an economy relying on mostly imported goods or raw materials, conditions are unthinkably expensive.

Even for the middle class, most of it sliding into poverty, hamburgers and hotels are out-of-reach excesses.

“Everybody is knocked low,” Michael Leal, a 34-year-old manager of an eyewear store in Caracas, told AFP. “We can’t breathe.”

Continue reading HERE

From ABC News (U.S.):

Mob Burns Venezuelan Man Alive Over $5 as Justice Fails

The mob didn’t know at first what Roberto Bernal had done, but he was running and that was enough.

Dozens of men loitering on the sidewalk next to a supermarket kicked and punched the 42-year-old until he was bloodied and semi-conscious. After all, they had been robbed of cell phones, wallets and motorcycles over the years, and thought Bernal had a criminal’s face.

Then a stooped, white-haired man trailing behind told them he’d been mugged.

The mob went through Bernal’s pockets and handed a wad of bills to the old man: The equivalent of $5. They doused Bernal’s head and chest in gasoline and flicked a lighter. And they stood back as he burned alive.

“We wanted to teach this man a lesson,” said Eduardo Mijares, 29. “We’re tired of being robbed every time we go into the street, and the police do nothing.”

Vigilante violence against people accused of stealing has become commonplace in this crime-ridden country of 30 million, once one of the richest and safest in Latin America. The revenge attacks underscore how far Venezuela has fallen, with the lights flickering out daily, and food shortages fueling supermarket lines that snake around for blocks.

The ebbing price of oil has laid bare years of mismanagement. The economy is unraveling, and with it, the social fabric.

Continue reading HERE.

Have a good socialist day!
Prosperity, Castro-style: get ready for this, Venezuela

Why Socialism has failed and will always fail

Mark Perry in the Foundation for Economic Education:

Why Socialism Failed

Collectivism Is Based on Faulty Principles

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Socialism is the Big Lie of the twentieth century. While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery.

In the same way that a Ponzi scheme or chain letter initially succeeds but eventually collapses, socialism may show early signs of success. But any accomplishments quickly fade as the fundamental deficiencies of central planning emerge. It is the initial illusion of success that gives government intervention its pernicious, seductive appeal. In the long run, socialism has always proven to be a formula for tyranny and misery.

A pyramid scheme is ultimately unsustainable because it is based on faulty principles. Likewise, collectivism is unsustainable in the long run because it is a flawed theory. Socialism does not work because it is not consistent with fundamental principles of human behavior. The failure of socialism in countries around the world can be traced to one critical defect: it is a system that ignores incentives.

In a capitalist economy, incentives are of the utmost importance. Market prices, the profit-and-loss system of accounting, and private property rights provide an efficient, interrelated system of incentives to guide and direct economic behavior. Capitalism is based on the theory that incentives matter!

Under socialism, incentives either play a minimal role or are ignored totally. A centrally planned economy without market prices or profits, where property is owned by the state, is a system without an effective incentive mechanism to direct economic activity. By failing to emphasize incentives, socialism is a theory inconsistent with human nature and is therefore doomed to fail. Socialism is based on the theory that incentives don’t matter!

In a radio debate several months ago with a Marxist professor from the University of Minnesota, I pointed out the obvious failures of socialism around the world in Cuba, Eastern Europe, and China. At the time of our debate, Haitian refugees were risking their lives trying to get to Florida in homemade boats. Why was it, I asked him, that people were fleeing Haiti and traveling almost 500 miles by ocean to get to the “evil capitalist empire” when they were only 50 miles from the “workers’ paradise” of Cuba?

The Marxist admitted that many “socialist” countries around the world were failing. However, according to him, the reason for failure is not that socialism is deficient, but that the socialist economies are not practicing “pure” socialism. The perfect version of socialism would work; it is just the imperfect socialism that doesn’t work. Marxists like to compare a theoretically perfect version of socialism with practical, imperfect capitalism which allows them to claim that socialism is superior to capitalism.

If perfection really were an available option, the choice of economic and political systems would be irrelevant. In a world with perfect beings and infinite abundance, any economic or political system–socialism, capitalism, fascism, or communism–would work perfectly.

However, the choice of economic and political institutions is crucial in an imperfect universe with imperfect beings and limited resources. In a world of scarcity it is essential for an economic system to be based on a clear incentive structure to promote economic efficiency. The real choice we face is between imperfect capitalism and imperfect socialism. Given that choice, the evidence of history overwhelmingly favors capitalism as the greatest wealth-producing economic system available.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: In search of the owner of the city

By Pedro Armando Junco in Translating Cuba:

In Search Of The Owner Of The City

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Camagüey is one of Cuba’s largest cities and is more than 500 years old

14ymedio, Pedro Armando Junco, Camagüey, 21 May 2016 — Every city rests on the man who safeguards it. He can be called mayor, administrator or public official; ultimately the label is the least important. This is his charge, like the steward of the millionaire’s mansion. His obligation lies in the zeal with which he is able to optimize the performance of the city’s people. For this he counts on public economic resources and the necessary personnel.

He is, almost always—as he always should be—the ideal citizen. He is the man everyone knows, who knows everyone’s name and where they live, because, among his reasons for being, his priority is to be ready to hear the needs of the last inhabitant of the village at any time.

However, in Camagüey this citizen never shows his face, no one knows his name, or where he resides; and worse, when we assume who he is and where he is, it is impossible to address him and we can not establish a dialogue with him even through the press.

The certainty of not having been democratically elected lies in that nobody knows him. Despite his phantasmagoric existence, when he takes measures in search of “perfecting” the city, they are arbitrary and counterproductive. I have given this man the name: “The Owner of the City.”

Camagüey, despite its narrow winding streets due to its five hundred years of existence, was a city where it was easy to circulate. Dozens of traffic lights ordered the path of the cars, police officers took care of traffic violations, to the point that the least of its alleys was accessible to traffic, and both the sidewalks and the pavement were kept clean and in perfect state of repair. It is said that Camagüey once qualified as one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Above all, at any hour of the night or in the earliest hours of the morning, the citizenry enjoyed a high level of security.

The Camagüey of today is far from what it once was. The Owner of the City is pleased to close streets for the slightest reason. Martí Street, an important artery through the historic center and the main route to the east for the fire brigade, has been permanently blocked in front of Agramonte Park. An outdoor café has been placed in the street to serve international tourism, as the snacks sold there are priced in hard currency not attainable by ordinary Cubans.

Also to attract tourists, they have unearthed the rails that were sleeping under El Gallo Plazoleta, so that the visitors can see that there were once trams in the city, although the result has been too turn this into the most inconvenient and dangerous crossing—over those sharp steel strips—and on occasion bicycles and motorcycles come to grief there.

The parking lot at Merced Plaza—now called Workers Plaza—was dismantled and vintage benches have been placed around the central ceiba tree, so that those who visit us will have the most beautiful image of the place, although cars in the business center of the province now have to park on another street, under permanent guard. It seems, that the Owner of the City wants to convert Camagüey into a showcase for tourism, to the detriment of its permanent residents.

The most important streets in the center—Cisneros, Independencia and San Esteban—have been closed for many months under the pretext of repairing the abutting buildings, and Republica Street has been modified into a boulevard for pedestrians only, while San Martin Street is in such a state of disrepair that it is very difficult to travel on it, without anyone showing any interest in its restoration.

Everyone who knows this city could intuit that these being the exclusive thoroughfares of the historic center, its viability is reduced by nearly half and thus its potential, while intersecting streets are overburdened by traffic.

Read more

Obama, Ho & Che

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang shake hands at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam, Monday, May 23, 2016. The president is on a weeklong trip to Asia as part of his effort to pay more attention to the region and boost economic and security cooperation. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Obama’s last year in office has been marked by two awful photos.

The first one was in Cuba with Che in the background.   It caused an outrage as many of you remember reading in this blog.

President Obama’s latest photo will upset more than just Cuban Americans. In other words, most Americans remember Ho Chi Minh and the 60,000 troops lost in Vietnam.

President Obama did not have to stand in front of these tributes to Che and Ho.

He could have told the leaders of Cuba and Vietnam that such displays were unacceptable.

So what does it say about President Obama?   It tells us that he is ignorant of history and not too concerned about the families of those killed in Vietnam.    He is the Obama who sat in Reverend Wight’s church all of those years!
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Why do Hispanic voters prefer big government?

Dr. Jose Azel in PanAm Post:

Why Do Hispanic Voters Prefer Big Government?

Eligible Hispanic Voters Will Reach a Record 27 Million This Election Cycle

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Cuban voters are surprisingly split almost 50-50 on their approval of big government.

Recent surveys by the Pew Research Center reveal that eligible Hispanic voters will reach a record 27.3 million this election cycle, an increase of over 19 percent since the 2012 election.

As a “category,” the Hispanic electorate will make up a record 11.9 percent of all US-eligible voters, nearly the same as black voters, who make up 12.4 of the electorate. Youth is a bigger defining characteristic of Hispanic-eligible voters than for any other group.

And though specific interest-group issues such as US immigration policy are often offered as the main drivers for the Hispanic vote, there is a more fundamental sociopolitical factor at play.

For the Hispanic population, the post-colonial experience of Latin America has created a vastly different understanding of the role of government than the one embraced by the US founding fathers.

According to the Pew Research Survey, “When it comes to the size of government, Hispanics are more likely than the general public to say they would rather have a bigger government providing more services than a smaller government with fewer services.”

But the difference is not small. Overall, 75 percent of Hispanics prefer bigger government, compared with only 41 percent of the general US public. Interestingly, Hispanic support for large government declines after more time immersed in American values.

For 81 percent of first-generation Hispanic immigrants, a bigger government is more desirable. For the second generation, the preference drops to 72 percent. By the third generation, only 58 percent prefer bigger government.

Hispanic preference for bigger government prevails regardless of party affiliation, and Hispanic Catholics are particularly supportive of a larger government. Overall, 56 percent of U.S. Hispanics either identify with the Democratic Party or are independent but lean democratic, while 21 percent identify with or lean toward the Republican Party. Parenthetically, Cubans are somewhat of a political anomaly. Cubans who are registered to vote are closely split in party affiliation: 47 percent identify with the GOP, while 44 percent tilt toward the Democrats.

Clearly, the political philosophies of classical liberalism that limit the role of government are not nearly as ingrained in Hispanic heritage as they are in the American sociopolitical historical discourse. Classical liberalism does not come naturally to Hispanics. To some degree, the Hispanic sociopolitical heritage undermines the pluralistic participation of Hispanics in the civil institutions of free societies.

Continue reading HERE.

Evo Morales meets with Fidel to discuss Latrinapocalypse

You want my advice? Really?

Call it Latrinapocalypse.  Call it Castrodämmerung.  Call it whatever you want.  Any name will do, and any name would be joyous, for the phenomenon being named is the collapse of the Castronoid alliance in Latrine America.

First Argentina, now Brazil, tomorrow Venezuela…maybe…. The dominoes are falling one by one.  Latin American socialist/communist governments seem to be facing extinction.

Evo Morales, elected dictator of Bolivia, recently lost his bid for a fourth term in office.  He’s getting nervous, of course, so he went to visit Fidel in his lair, and the two spent many hours devising strategies to stem the democratic tide in Latrine America.

Evo has never hidden his love for the Castro brothers.  Rumor has it that he has an illegitimate child named “Fidel.”  Evo’s stupidity and moral turpitude knows no bounds.  Imagine going to Fidel for advice on anything at all.  The man has proven over and over again that he has the opposite of the Midas Touch.  Nothing he touches turns to gold.  Instead, everything he touches turns to mierda.

Call it the Mierda Touch.  Call it le don de merde, or the scheisslich Hand, or whatever you want.  Any way you look at it, Fidel’s touch is guaranteed to bring nothing but ruin.

Los tres chiflados / The three stooges

From Granma Euro-Lite (Reuters):

President of Bolivia discusses “imperialist” aggression with Fidel Castro in Cuba

Retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Bolivian President Evo Morales discussed “imperialist efforts” to undo leftist progress in Latin America during Morales’ two-day visit to the Communist-ruled island, Cuban state television reported on Saturday.

Two major powers in the region have moved to the right in recent months. Argentina’s Peronists were voted out of office late last year while in Brazil, Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party was suspended as president earlier this month due to impeachment.

Leftist countries such as Cuba have called Rousseff’s suspension a “coup” while the president of El Salvador went as far as to say he would not recognize the centrist interim government.

Morales and Castro spoke “of the events happening in Latin America and the imperialist efforts to revert the political and social movement in our region,” state television reported. No images of the encounter were shown.

Continue reading HERE.

Twilight of the Latrines?

EU strikes deal with Cuba’s apartheid dictatorship behind closed doors, refuses to make agreement public

There is no need to wonder what the EU is hiding. We know exactly what they are hiding: their complicity and support of a murderously repressive apartheid dictatorship.

Via Diario de Cuba:

The EU opposes publishing its agreement with Havana because it could ‘undermine’ its process of dialogue with the regime

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EU Foreign Affairs High Representative Federica Mogherini shakes hands with Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez

The European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s diplomatic division, has refused to disclose to the “general public” the contents of the bilateral treaty signed on March 11 with the regime since, as indicated in a letter – to which DIARIO DE CUBA has had access – publishing it now “could undermine the process” and “harm relations between the EU and Cuba.”

The missive, dated 27 April, bears the signature of the head of the Parliamentary Affairs division of the EEAS, Gabriele Visentin, and is the answer to a request by Erik Jennische, Director of Latin American programs for Civil Rights Defenders, after he had requested access to the document publicly signed in Havana on March 11.

The document in question, “Political dialogue and cooperation agreement between Cuba and the European Union concluded on 11 March, 2016” is, according to Visentin, “provisional in nature and part of a negotiation that is still in progress.”

Invoking European regulations, the diplomat insists that the content of the text may not be published, either partially or totally.

The document was signed by the EEAS’s Secretary-General for Economic and Global Affairs, Christian Leffler, and Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno.

The document was signed in the presence of the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.

Erik Jennische told DIARIO DE CUBA that he believed that denying access to the agreement constitutes a violation of the EU’s “principle of transparency.” The activist also observed that it is a contradiction to state that the document is provisional when its negotiating teams signed it “in the public spotlight.”

Jennische expressed regret about the exception that the EU has granted the regime in Havana, and reported that he has already appealed this decision. “If the EU signed a similar agreement in a democratic country in Latin America, there would be no problems publishing the document.”

In this case, the activist believes that the regime in Havana is calling the shots. “Cuba says that it cannot be published, which means that the Cuban government is deciding what the EU and cannot do, excluding its own citizens from the debate.”

Continue reading HERE.

Cuba’s Ladies in White suffer another Sunday of repression by U.S.-backed apartheid dictatorship

Another Sunday of repression against the peaceful Ladies in White took place in Cuba yesterday as State Security agents and mobs organized by the U.S.-backed Castro dictatorship carried out a violent “act of repudiation” against the human rights activists. The regime and its mob were successful in preventing the women from attending church services at the Santa Rita church. In order to attract the largest mob possible to surround the headquarters of the Ladies in White, the Castro dictatorship brought bands and clowns to make the violent attack look like a party.

Martí Noticias has the report (my translation):

Garish act of repudiation prevents the Ladies in White from marching

Members of the Rapid Response Brigades and police agents surrounded the group’s headquarters since the early morning hours of Sunday, preventing the activists from attending the first church service of the new Archbishop of Havana.

act of repudiation ladies in white 2016-05-22

Cuban authorities prevented 31 Ladies in White from leaving the opposition movement’s headquarters in the Lawton neighborhood this Sunday. They were planning on attending the first service of Havana’s new Archbishop, Monsignor Juan de la Caridad Garcia Rodriguez.

Berta Soler told Martí Noticias that dozens of Rapid Response Brigade members, accompanied by police and State Security agents, surrounded the house in the early morning hours of Sunday to stop them from taking to the streets and marching.

“They are carrying out an act of repudiation. They have put on music, there is a band and clowns, and people are attacking us, throwing rocks into the house,” she said.

“Only three Ladies in White were able to make it to the cathedral,” she added.

Angel Moya, a former prisoners of conscience and husband of Berta Soler published photographs on Twitter documenting what happened in front of the opposition movement’s headquarters early that morning.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CjEwdDKUYAAKShO.jpg:large

Continue reading (in Spanish) HERE.

American tourism dollars will do nothing to help the people of Cuba

Contrary to what President Obama, the pro-Castro/pro-apartheid lobbyists here in the U.S., and the media would like to you believe, pumping millions or billions of U.S. dollars into the coffers of Cuba’s murderous apartheid dictatorship will do nothing to help the Cuban people.

Todd Moss via Medium:

Why Your Tourism Dollars Aren’t Helping Ordinary Cubans

cuba tourism

The news out of Cuba lately is all glamor and glitz. Usher made a visit. A Carnival Cruise ship arrived packed with excitable tourists. French luxury goods maker Chanel turned a Havana boulevard into a fashion show runway featuring sparkling cocktail dresses and sequined black berets.

Next up: The Kardashians are filming their reality television show in Cuba. On the heels of President Obama’s historic visit last March, it might be easy to get the impression that this explosion of American attention is all part of Cuba’s speedy march toward modernization.

Let’s not fool ourselves. It’s one thing to reopen our embassy and allow limited tourism and investment. It’s quite another to expect these steps to quickly lead to transformation of what’s still, lest we forget, a one-party communist dictatorship 90 miles from Florida. Diplomatic normalization plus a celebrity patina does not equal real reform.

America’s true goals in Cuba are to restore democracy and bring the island back into the global economy. We aim to bury half a century of enmity and to seek resolution for thousands of people who lost their homes, their businesses and in many cases, their loved ones. Cruise ships and fashion shows are, at best, irrelevant.

It may seem exciting for American tourists to finally be able to ride a floating shopping mall right into Havana harbor. And many Americans yearn for throwback experiences like the Copacabana nightclub. But it’s a delusion to believe that throngs of tourists will in any way help to promote political freedom. Visiting Cuba may seem suddenly adventurous to Americans, but the island already received 3.5 million tourists last year, mainly from Europe and Canada.

For some, it may appear romantic or avant-garde to hold radical chic fashion shows among the crumbling buildings of Havana. But these spectacles will make no difference to the lives of the average Cuban. Chanel’s goods are not sold in Cuba and, even if they were, 70 percent of the population works for the government on an average salary of $25 per month.

The pop stars, fashionistas, and mass tourism could even be counterproductive by providing the regime with the false appearance of normalcy and a financial lifeline for a bankrupt system. Without the usual donations from Venezuela, the Cuban economy is today deeply reliant on tourism. This is happening just as some of the modest economic improvements are actually being reversed.

At a secretive Communist Party congress last month, the government backtracked on market reforms in food distribution and pricing. The state still owns nearly 80 percent of arable land and is forced to import most of the nation’s food. Inflation is reportedly getting worse, but no one really knows since basic data collection is not allowed. That’s precisely because the Cuban government hopes a normal relationship with the United States will boost their sagging economy, without touching its closed political system.

Continue reading HERE.

Speculators betting on huge Castro debt again: $1.2 billion

Last year Russia, Spain, and France forgave billions and billions of dollars in debt owed by Castro, Inc.

A substantial amount of debt was also restructured, to be paid back over a long period of time for cents on the dollar.

As it turns out, however, the colossal amount forgiven and restructured was only part of what Castro, Inc. owes other creditors.

And as the Normalization Circus continues, some capitalists are now trying to claim some of the money still owed by the largest crime syndicate in the Western hemisphere.

Of course, the article below makes no mention of the additional debt Castro, Inc. would begin to incur if the so-called U.S. embargo is lifted.

Expect a Castronoid shopping spree — and credit debt — the likes of which the world has never seen.

The genius writers at the Simpsons seem to be among the very few who understand the way Castro, Inc. does business.  See video above (from “The Trouble With Trillions”).

 

From Granma Euro-Lite (Reuters) via The Daily Mail:

Creditors holding $1.2 billion of Cuban debt are talking to Havana

A creditor group formed to negotiate with Cuba over defaulted debt has already started talks with Havana, its newly appointed coordinator told Reuters, warning of a need to speed up the process.

The ad hoc committee holds obligations representing $1.2 billion worth of Cuban debt and includes three funds – Stancroft Trust, Adelante Exotic Debt Fund and CRFI Ltd – according to Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal, a law professor at London’s Queen Mary University.

Their holdings amount to about 40 percent of Cuba’s private-sector debt, plus interest, according to Olivares-Caminal, a sovereign-debt restructuring expert who was appointed to the committee earlier this month.

“We are opening the process now … aiming at starting meaningful discussions,” Olivares-Caminal said. He has been in touch with the stakeholders and the Cuban government, he said.

The debt mainly pertains to development loans taken out from private, non-U.S. banks in the 1970s and 1980s, before a 1986 default by the island’s Communist government.

Stancroft and funds like it bought the paper for as little as 1.5 cents on the dollar. Stancroft has held the paper for more than a decade, Reuters has reported.

Investors have been buying up Cuban’s defaulted debt since last year’s breakthrough in U.S.-Cuba relations. Brokers say is now quoted at 30-odd cents on the dollar for high-quality, hard-currency-denominated loans, albeit in an illiquid market. The debt traded at 25 to 30 cents a year ago.

Olivares-Caminal declined to comment on potential recovery values. He said he was collating data on how much debt is out there and hopes to enrol more creditors on the committee.

He said he was in touch with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Paris Club of sovereign creditors and the Institute of InternationaL Finance, a global financial industry body.

Cuba has already reached agreements with Russia, France and Spain on debt forgiveness. In December creditor nations from the Paris Club agreed to forgive $8.5 billion of debt. In total, Havana is estimated to have restructured some $50 billion in old debt in the past few years.

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Reports from Cuba: Capitalism from afar

By Ivan Garcia in Translating Cuba:

Cuba: Capitalism From Afar

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Eight months haven’t been enough for the state-owned employer in the tourism sector to hire Yasmani, 23, a black guy nearly six feet talk who is perfecting his English in a private academy in Havana and who has wasted time and money learning the secrets of golf at a club south of the city.

Almost a year ago, on a night of drinking and reggaeton, Yasmani, with a degree in tourism, met a British businessman who wants to do business in Cuba in high class tourism.

“Do you know golf?” the man asked me. “I told him a remembered reading somewhere about Tiger Woods, little more. He said to try to learn the sport, with my command of English and the education I have, maybe I could get a job as a caddy,” said Yasmani, speaking from the doorway of his house.

The olive-green regime buried golf, labeling it aristocratic. One morning in 1961 Fidel Castro and Ernesto Guevara planned a round of golf at the old Havana Biltmore Country Club, with the intention of staging a parody of the golf parties in the United States were Eisenhower and Nixon played.

Five and a half decades later, Raul Castro, hand-picked by his brother, has among his master strategies the development of golf courses in the country in exclusive luxury resorts for tourists with checkbook balances ended in six zeros.

In Cuba, there aren’t even a hundred a people who play gold. The majority are the children of the Communist bourgeoisie officials bewitched by haute couture, the bon vivant, and consumer luxuries. While their fathers speak through tight lips about the proletariat, they pull out all the stops living like magnates from Wall Street.

But this doesn’t matter to Yasmini. “Some friends have told me that in one day working as a caddy you can stuff your pockets,”boasts the young man, still hopeful of being hired by the state company.

The criolla autocracy pays no attention to the voices of citizens who warn of the environmental risks and the ecological strategies of maintaining land that wastes a ton of water.

In 2013, the British company Esencia Hotels and Resorts and the Cuban company Palmares agreed to the creation of a joint venture, Havana Resort, for the development of golf courses. The Carbonera Club, with 18 holes, about 15 kilometers from Varadero and worth about 350 million dollars, was presented as the first initiative of this association, while similar projects are being negotiation with investments from China, Spain, Vietnam and Russia.

Guy Chartier, President of Wilton Properties, confirmed in February that the company plans to start a mega project with an investment of 1.4 billion dollars, in Jibacoa 60 kilometers east of Havana, to build buildings and a luxury hotel, surrounded by seven beaches, golf courses and tennis courts, an equestrian center and a ’village’ for artists.

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