Newest act in Normalization Circus: Cuban arrested for greeting U.S. cruise ship with American flag

Si, se puede!  Como no: atrevete, si quieres.  Yes we can.  Sure: dare to, if you want.

A poor Cuban sucker who believed Obama’s platitudinous speech has been arrested for his faith in that speech.

The miserable wretch thought it would be okay to wave an American flag and yell “si se puede” at arriving American tourists.

Watch the video above to see the results.  He not only gets mobbed by a hostile crowd that shouts Castronoid slogans, such as “Viva la Revolucion, pinga!”– he also gets arrested.

Gee! How did that crowd of fervent believers in Castroism appear so spontaneously?  How did they know which slogans to shout?  Could it be that most of those allowed to greet the ship were rapid response brigades?

Could it be that this poor wretch was a rapid response brigadeer gone turncoat?  Naaah. It’s simple: all Cubans love Castroism and come to its defense automatically.  This guy with the American flag was one of those Miami Mafia agents sent by the CIA.

Change you can believe in, for sure!   Senkiu, meeeester Obama.

Daniel Llorente

From The Washington Times:

Cuban dissident waving American flag arrested as U.S. cruise ship made historic arrival

A Cuban dissident displaying an American flag was arrested at Havana Harbor on Monday as the Carnival cruise ship Adonia made its historic arrival.

Daniel Llorente was holding the flag across his back at the waterfront of the Sierra Maestra cruise terminal as the U.S. ship approached, Fox News Latino reported.

 A video of his arrest showed several plainclothes men manhandling the activist, still draped in his American flag, and whisking him into the back of a police car as the first cruise ship from America in nearly 40 years pulled into the harbor.

Mr. Llorente also made a speech about liberty prior to his arrest, Fox News reported. It’s unclear what charges he may face.

Another video showed a crowd forming around Mr. Llorente as he exchanged words with a woman who called him a “clown.”

“The American flag. What are you doing, for God’s sake?” the unnamed woman asked, Fox News reported.

Mr. Llorente responded by called the woman a hypocrite and praising the U.S. flag as “a symbol of American pride.”

“I’m not scared of talking. I’m not scared of the government,” he added, Fox News reported.

According to Noticias Marti, which first reported the arrest, Mr. Llorenterecalled the words of President Obama during his recent visit to Cuba. “Obama said already, it’s the Cuban people who have to make it happen,” he said.

Yes we can: we can arrest anyone I dislike!
Yes we can: we can arrest anyone who disrespects my absolute authority!

 

Obama’s ‘forward-looking’ Cuba policy takes us back to the future

And people still wonder why we are so cynical about Obama’s policy of surrender and appeasement to Cuba’s murderously repressive apartheid dictatorship.

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Cruising to Cuba Like its 1977

Despite the misleading headlines, this week’s Carnival Cruise to Cuba is not the first since 1959.

Kudos to CNN‘s Patrick Oppmann for actually doing some research.

In 1977, there was a similar cruise.

It’s also a reminder of how there’s nothing particularly new about President Obama’s Cuba policy. It’s simply a rehash of Jimmy Carter’s.

And just like Carter’s, Obama’s is already proving to be counter-productive.


oppmann cnn cuba cruise 1977

Obama’s failed foreign policy presides over increase in religious persecution in Cuba and Iran

 

rouhani castro iran cuba

After President Obama instituted his policy of coddling and effectively surrendering to the terrorist and repressive dictatorships in Cuba and Iran, religious persecution in those countries has been on the rise.

Via The Hill:

Religious freedom ‘under assault’ in Iran, Cuba, says government report

In Iran, religious freedom is “deteriorating,” according to a new government report.

Religious minorities are subject to arrest, torture and even execution “based primarily or entirely upon the religion of the accused,” the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom wrote in a report issued Monday.

The population of Iran is 99 percent Muslim, made up mostly of Shi’a Muslims. According to the report, the government discriminates against people of other faiths — such as Sunni Muslims and Christians — who are facing “increasing religious freedom abuses.”

“Since President Hassan Rouhani was elected president in 2013, the number of individuals from religious minority communities who are in prison because of their beliefs has increased,” the report noted.

The group’s paper casts a shadow on more than 30 countries where it said religious freedom violations are egregious, including China, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, North Korea, Iran and Cuba.

This comes as the Obama administration faces criticism for engaging in nuclear talks with Iran and restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, despite human rights concerns in those countries.

[…]

The report was also critical of the Cuban government, which it said “continues to harass religious leaders” and interfere with church matters.

“As part of the U.S.-Cuba ongoing discussions, the U.S. government should take significant action to convey that the change in policy does not diminish the Cuban government’s need to improve religious freedom conditions on the island,” the report noted.

Continue reading HERE.

As inevitable as Hell, or as Trump: Kardashians going to Castro Kingdom

Perfect match for the Castro family

Whew. What a day.

First, Donald Trump seizes control of the Republican party, guaranteeing the election of Hillary Clinton as president of the U.S.A.

Then, the Kardashians announce they’ll be filming their reality show in Castrogonia.

Well… you knew this was coming, right?  It had to happen.

And the showbiz press are already savvy enough to suggest that the newest modeling sensation — Tony Castro, grandson of Fidel — might end up having an “illicit tryst” with one of the younger Kardashians.

Expect this too: transgender Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner could join this tropical expedition and have a grand old time with Mariela Castro, perhaps even with King Raul, or young model Tony, who seems a bit mariquita.

How ironic: Tony Castro & amigito at a paredon

Nothin’ better for ree-ah-lee-tee tee-vee than a whole lotta Jell-o rasslin’ at the bottom o’ the barrel.  Yee-haw, bring out dem thong bee-kee-nees, and a truckload o’ Jell-o!

Hot-diggity-dawg, Mildred, don’t ya just love this groovy Normalization Circus?

Maybe they’ll show some of  ’em Ladies in White in skimpy outfits, maybe even in thong bee-kee-nees, drinkin’ mo-hee-toes and twerkin’ with the Castros an’ Kardashians!

And maybe the whole Trump family will join ’em, too! Yeah. Quite likely. That would be so Yuuuuge!  And so nouveau-Republican!

Gotta love it, Mildred!  Gotta love it!  Nothin’ beats watchin’ Jell-o raslin’, twerkin’, and the collapse of Western Civilization!

Bring out the Jell-o !!!
Bring out the Jell-o !!!

From Jezebel.com (Who else>)

The Kardashians are Headed to Cuba

Just one day after the landing of the first U.S. cruise ship to touch a Havana port in 48 years, People reports that the Kardashians will be voyaging to the island to film their reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, which began its 12th season on Sunday.

What implications does this have for our future ties to a nation still very much under the thumb of an oppressive Castro regime? And under which of the 12 approved travel categories will Kourtney, Kim, and Khloé be visiting? Their options, as listed on the freshly-minted U.S. Embassy website, include religious activities, public performances, athletic competitions, humanitarian projects and “support for the Cuban people,” among others. Honestly, it could be just about any of them.

The trio was reportedly en route on Tuesday evening, meaning they may or may not have made it in time to witness Tony Castro, grandson of Fidel, sauntering down the runway in Chanel’s Cruise collection show. Castro is 19, which incidentally makes him the perfect age for an illicit tryst with Kendall Jenner. It’s unclear whether she joined her sisters on the trip, but come on, who wouldn’t cancel plans to stay home and watch that episode?

Hey, I want a piece of the Kardashian action too!
Hey, I want a piece of the Kardashian action too… and some jello!

A melancholy response to a people-to-people tourist

An exile’s only link to Cuba

Someone who had read Waiting for Snow in Havana emailed me about her people-to-people tour of Castrogonia.

This reader is highly educated and a very successful professional who went on a people-to-people tour sponsored by the alumni association of a prestigious top-notch American university.

Although in some instances she was able to see the full horror of life in Castrogonia, she was also easily fooled into thinking that some aspects of life in the slave plantation offer hope for the future

Here are some of her observations, which amount to a yo-yo string of  ying-and-yang pluses and minuses:

*Disillusioned because the physician we saw in a rural clinic wouldn’t tell me much about why so many of her colleagues leave to practice in a foreign country.  (But honestly, would want to stay for $30 a month?)
*Encouraged by the privately owned paladares whose food and service rivaled that which we enjoy in the USA.
*Disillusioned with the lack of political and economical insight to incentivize employment and development within Cuba.
*Encouraged by the breadth and depth of artistic and musical talent of the youth.
*Disillusioned with the lack of public and personal regard for the environment.
*Encouraged by the restoration of historical buildings in La Habana Vieja.
*Disillusioned with the paltry state salaries for a security guard and that of his wife, an obstetric nurse, in Trinidad, who have no relatives in the US and little hope for their own future.
*Encouraged by our young tour guide, who is openly and viscerally angry with his government for hiring foreign construction workers instead of paying local workers a fair wage.
*Disillusioned with a failed regime that had no fairness nor foresight upon the collapse of the USSR, and sacrificed the health and welfare of their own people to maintain tyrannical control of their county.
*Encouraged by the intelligence and ingenuity of the Cuban people, who can create an organic farm to supply a village with sustainable nutrition and put German Diesel engines in a 1949 Chevy to keep it running.
*Disillusioned that the country still imports over 65% of its food.

classic_car_cuba_4201

Here is my response to this list.  I chose not to comment on the “disillusionments” — since they were all correct, more or less, or as close to correct as one could hope for.

Instead, I just delivered some comment on those “positive” Potemkin Village issues which her people-to-people tour had obviously emphasized.

graciela

Thanks so much for sharing your impressions, and for your good wishes. As the saying goes, from your mouth to God’s ears…. may the future be better.

For a long time I have accepted two cold hard facts:

1. That whatever I can call “Cuban” in me refers to a culture that died and will never be reborn, so, in essence, I will always be as an alien in present-day Cuba and all its possible futures.

2. That the future of Cuba is very, very bleak, and I will never get to see any improvement in my lifetime.

Since I have no family left in Cuba — and my family was only there for one or two generations — this means that my sole physical connection is to the crumbling city where I spent part of my childhood. So, in essence, all I can identify with is the ruins.

Everything that you say encouraged you has a much darker side for me.

The bright spots you saw could be compared to the trees I see every day on the New Haven green and my own town green here in Guilford: they are majestic trees, but under them lie human remains. Most New England town greens were burial grounds in the 17th and 18th century. The tombstones were removed in the 19th century, but not the dead who were buried there. A few years ago, when a hurricane blew down a century-old oak in New Haven, there were human bones entangled in its roots, and it was a little child who first spotted them.

Skeletal remains entangled in the roots

That’s more or less what I see beneath every potentially glossy surface in Cuba. Let’s say I have the equivalent of x-ray vision.

On the paladares: it’s easy to be fooled into thinking that these are family-run businesses, but these are still state-run enterprises, especially those that cater to people-to-people tours. They are part of a vast network of bribes and corruption, and linked to the oligarchy that runs the country. The best ones are all run by the military families who run the entire tourist industry. Ordinary Cubans (99% of the population) can’t eat in those establishments. They are reserved for foreigners and the privileged few. It’s a system not much different from the apartheid of the old South Africa.

On the artistic and musical talent of the youth: thank God the so-called Revolution couldn’t kill that. But nothing can be accomplished by those talented young people without the government’s permission, unfortunately.

On the restoration of historical buildings in La Habana Vieja: that restoration extends for only a handful of blocks and it was funded entirely by UNESCO, and it involved removing the Cubans who lived in those buildings, forcefully. Those restored buildings were then bequeathed to the military families who run the tourist industry.  The rest of Havana is in ruins, and will remain that way till long after I die. And the vast majority of Cubans will have to live in those ruins. Just last week, the Communist Party Congress once again affirmed that there is to be no private property in Cuba, and that no one will be allowed to accumulate any income whatsoever beyond a mere subsistence level  (save the oligarchs who run the country).

In addition, every paladar, every house, and every building was most likely stolen from its legitimate owners. With two million Cubans in exile, all of whom had to abandon their properties, most of the real estate that is left on the island –including the houses that belonged to my family — now belong to the military junta who run the government, and that government allows other Cubans who didn’t pay for that property to use it but never to own it.

Chances are, you might have had dinner at a house that was stolen from my family, or from someone I knew as a child.

Today's paladar?
Today’s paladar?

On the young tour guide who was angry with his government for hiring foreign construction workers instead of paying local workers a fair wage: his anger is justified and indeed an encouraging sign of discontent, but something must have gotten lost in translation, for the Cuban government does not allow foreigners to do construction work in Cuba and has never allowed any such thing. What he must have meant is that foreign companies get to do all the new construction, but the military end up owning the enterprises by at least a 51% margin. Those foreign companies can’t hire their own workers. They must hire those Cubans that they (the military) choose for the job. The military junta then forces the foreign firms to pay the Cuban workers European wages, but those wages get taxed at a 92% rate, which means that it is no different from slave labor. When Americans set up businesses –if that ever gets to happen –the same arrangement will be in place, for years to come. A law guaranteeing that arrangement was passed on Dec. 15, 2014, one day after the “normalization” process was announced in Havana and Washington D.C.

On the intelligence and ingenuity of the Cuban people, who can create an organic farm to supply a village with sustainable nutrition and put German Diesel engines in a 1949 Chevy to keep it running: nothing makes me weep more uncontrollably than this. Imagine what Cuba would be like now if the Castros had never come along, to crush and stifle Cuban ingenuity and make it totally subservient to their total control and to mere scrounging for survival.

Cuba’s bright future

Ay….. I hope I don’t sound like some Scrooge…. I just can’t help seeing nothing but desolation, hopelessness, and injustice with my x-ray vision, which is not available to visitors, or even to those Cubans who live there who were born after 1959.

Had the Castros not come along, Cuba would now be competing with Japan and South Korea, and most European nations, except for Germany and the U.K., maybe also France. Instead, it’s a third-world hellhole.

All I can say is “ay”… it’s a lot like getting blood drawn when one is dehydrated: one keeps getting pinched, over and over, in search for a usable vein… ay, ay, ay…. a dozen pinches later, one knows that there is no hope for comfort…. and that the pain will keep coming….

Such is anything related to Cuba – for me. A good vein will never be found, the pinching will continue indefinitely… and so will the pain.

The new Cuba

The Castros can be pressured

Ah, but IMO, the problem is Obama’s ideological affiliation with the left’s icons in Havana. His intended legacy is to align with the regime, and continue America’s “hope and change” decline down the socialist ladder, not to bring freedom and human rights to Cuba.

Via Diario De Cuba:

Yes, the Castros can be pressured

ROBERTO ÁLVAREZ QUIÑONES

protestacarnivalb0516
The Castro brothers’ caving in and allowing Cuban-Americans to travel to Cuba aboard Carnival cruise ships revealed that they are vulnerable. Despite their efforts to conceal it, it is clear that they can be successfully pressured.

Now it is time to demand an end to the outrageous requirement that Cubans have a visa to visit their own country, while those who have US citizenship can travel with their US passports, as the socialist constitution’s Article 32 actually prohibits dual citizenship.

The acquiescence to the Cuban exile community in the case of Carnival would have been unthinkable back in the days when Moscow was subsidizing Cuba with billions of dollars a year, or during the boom days of chavismoin Venezuela, when oil prices were sky high and the Castros were receiving some 36 million barrels of oil and billions of dollars in cashevery year.

But the Chaves-sponsored boon is over, and in Latin America changes are underway that have begun to erode that scenario of plenty and to aggravate the regime’s financial situation every day, already calamitous due to its unworkable socio-economic system.

It is true that the reason for the Castros’ consent had to do with the fact that Cuba does not have enough hotel capacity to accommodate the flood of tourists reaching the island every day, and the Government did not want to lose out on the money provide by a floating hotel in Havana Bay.

In addition, there is the devastating crisis in Venezuela, the increasingly likely fall of the professor of Marxism and former pro-Che activist Dilma Rousseff as the president of Brazil, and the rise to power in Argentina of Mauricio Macri, marking the end of the Kirchner era and a turning point, spelling the decline of leftist populism, dominant in Latin America since the beginning of the century, and a possible return to liberal democracy.

It should also be added that Evo Morales lost his referendum and may not be reelected in Bolivia, and Peru’s next president will not be a leftist, as neither of the two candidates on the ballot for the second round of elections there on 5 June are of this ideology.

The man from Havana, in danger

Nicolás Maduro actually lived in Cuba in the 80s and studied at the Communist Party’s Ñico López Advanced School in Havana. There he was recruited by the Castros’ intelligence division and began working for the Departamento América, headed up by Commander Manuel Pineiro (aka Barbarossa, or Red Beard), a coordinator of leftist terrorist groups in Latin America, many of them trained in Cuba. That is, Maduro had stronger personal ties to the Castroist cadre than Hugo Chávez. That’s why they requested that Maduro succeed him.

Well, apparently Maduro’s days at Miraflores are numbered. And, whoever replaces him, he won’t grovel to the Cuban dictatorship like Nicolás did – even if he is a Cháves disciple. Given the appalling crisis Venezuela is suffering, the subsidies for Cuba are bound to decrease, or even disappear, if the devotees of the late Chaves lose power. With these ominous signs on the horizon, and it being clear that neither Russia, China, Brazil or any other country is going to replace Caracas as a patron of the Castros, they need the United States.

If the Venezuelan and Brazilian subsidies (in Brazil there are thousands of Cuban doctors, the regime retaining 70% of their salaries) abate or disappear, the Island’s economy will depend on its northern neighbor; that is, on remittances and packages, and Cuban and American tourism, the only thing that can really grow, and quickly, if the embargo is ended, which would also allow Cuba to obtain international loans, and trade with the US.

But with all the bravado in the US Congress, it is unlikely that there will be enough votes to lift the embargo. And there’s the rub: the insolent rhetoric of Raúl and Fidel Castro, and the entire ruling elite at the recent VII Congress of the Communist Party lacks any economic or political foundation – much less a moral one.

Such posturing is really just for domestic consumption. The Castros should be pressured for them to tone it down. Sooner or later they will have to do, and at least to recognize the basic rights of their people, and lift existing prohibitions against self-employed and ordinary Cubans.

More vulnerable than ever

The Castros are losing, or about to lose, the political and economic protection provided them for decades by external subsidies and their collusion with populist Latin American governments. Never before they have they been so vulnerable.

This is something that the White House must now realize. With both commanders in power there will be no structural reforms in Cuba, but they are fragile. And Obama made all the unilateral concessions he could do as US president to placate Havana. Therefore, his administration should change course with its accommodating policies, based on turning the other cheek.

Castro’s return to his orthodox Stalinist rhetoric also shows something that the White House and the State Department have failed to realize: the tactic of embracing the Castros, to infect them with democracy, is not working.

It is true that Obama’s visit to the Island frightened the dictatorial leadership, as it showed Cubans how their dictatorship pales in comparison to a modern Western democracy. But we have already seen their reaction: an attempt to erase the “counterrevolutionary” effects of that visit, to the point of paralyzing the process for the normalization of bilateral relations.

This largely spoiled the legacy the American leader wished to leave, as a normalizer of relations with Cuba. It is one thing to have re-established diplomatic relations – like there were with the Soviet Union for almost 60 years – and quite another is a return to relations without political tension and pugnacious speeches against the United States. This has not been achieved.

“…or the game is over.”

The good intentions and optimism of Obama, the Democrats, and American businessmen, their desire to forget the past and focus on the future of bilateral relations, for the benefit of the Cuban people, clash with the retrograde nature of the Castroist hierarchy, only interested in staying in power. The welfare of Cubans has never been a priority for the Government.

But that same civil-military elite is obliged to reach agreements with Washington in order to continue governing. It’s a question of life or death. Of course, the regime still has enough strength left to control and repress the Cuban people. And that should also be the focus of both international and internal pressure.

The members of the Cuban diaspora, by demanding their right to travel to the island by sea, also demonstrated their strength, when properly channeled. This, and the increasing and admirable struggle of dissidents and political opponents, constitute a formidable weapon. The able coordination of joint efforts by these three factors could yield additional victories against Raúl Castro and his military junta. In the past this was not a possibility, but today it is.

And the White House should tell them, once and for all: “Move … or the game is over.”

Press freedom in Cuba is worse than in Iran and Syria

Never mind increased American tourism, the hype from media, and the usual “Cuba experts”, Obama’s new Cuba policy has not brought the Cuban people improvements in their standard of living, or respect for human rights. Cuba remains unfree.

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Cuba Ranks Among ‘Worst of the Worst’ in Press Freedom

In Freedom House’s 2016 new report on freedom of the press, Cuba ranks even worse than Iran and Syria.

Again, moving in the wrong direction.


Read the 2016 Freedom House Report HERE.

“Reforms”? We don’t need no stinkin’ “reforms”…

From Capitol Hill Cubans

As Predicted, Castro Keeps Reverting “Reforms”

Obama’s policy supporters long argued that normalizing relations and easing sanctions towards Cuba would encourage Raul’s “reforms.”

That misses the glaring fact that Castro’s regime only responds when it’s economically pressed. For example, “self-employment” — albeit a half-measure — was a temporary reaction to loss of Soviet subsidies. Years later, with the remnants of the Chavez-Maduro regime in Venezuela imploding, Cuba resorted to it again.

However, as we warned several months before the Obama-Castro deal (December 17th, 2014), once the Cuban economy stabilizes or begins to “bounce back,” the Castro government will reverse itself to freeze or revoke any “reforms.”

Lift U.S. sanctions and Cuba’s government will solely focus on strengthening its state conglomerates and the repression required to suppress change.

That’s exactly what has been happening.
Continue reading HERE

Just when you thought you’d heard enough about political prisoners in Cuba…

Okay.  We’ve just told you about four brave Cuban women who have been added to the list of political prisoners in Cuba.

But there is more to be said about this subject.  Much more.

And this deserves much, much more attention than the Carnival cruise to Cuba, which is all the news you will find about the Castro Kingdom if you Google “Cuba News”….

Marc Masferrer at Common Sense sheds a spotlight on a few Cuban political prisoners.

Jordys Manuel Dosil Fong

During President Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba in March 2016, dictator Raul Castro said he would be willing to release all political prisoners; all he needed was a list of names.

Only the biggest fool would believe him, but several groups almost immediately released their lists. Of course, there was no mass release.

On April 25, the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, one of the most credible sources in Cuba for information on political prisoners released its updated list of 93 political prisoners.

Five of these brave Cubans are Alexander Alan RodriguezCarlos Amaury Calderin Roca, Jordys Manuel Dosil Fong, Isain Lopez Luna and Ernesto Ortega Sarduy, all activists with the Patriotic Union of Cuba, were among demonstrators arrested last summer while carrying out peaceful anti-Castro protests in the Parque Central in Havana.

Carlos Amaury Ortega Sarduy

According to the human rights commission, Alan, Calderin, Lopez and Ortega face charges of “disrespect,” while Dosil has been found to be a “pre-criminal social danger,” the Orwellian “crime” the Castro regime brands many of its political opponents, and sentenced to 3 years in prison. The others have not been sentenced.

Soon after they were arrested, Alan, Calderin, Lopez and Ortega were among several activists jailed at the Valle Grande prison who went on hunger strike to demand the end of political persecution and repression of opposition activists; elimination of the “pre-criminal social danger” law; and the release of all political prisoners.

Continue reading HERE.

Political prisoners? What? No such thing here!

Corruption is ‘problema numero uno’ in Latin America

José Niño wrote a great post over at Latin American Post, a wonderful website about Latin America.

His article is about the 3 big problems facing most of the countries south of the border. He calls them “the three myths”. They are:

1) Who Creates Wealth?
2) “Good Socialism”; and the most important, in my opinion,
3) Corruption Is Just A Symptom.

The corruption point really hit the target:

Many analysts and experts mistakenly believe that the rampant corruption that characterizes Latin America is the region’s cause of unrest.

Actually, corruption is just the result of interventionist policies that increase the power and size of the state to lord over people’s needs.

It is easy to talk about corruption, which is merely a symptom of the real disease — an oversized state — without providing an alternative to addressing the existing problem.

When offering a solution, many often refer to government run by enlightened experts or officials.

Crony capitalism and rent-seeking through  privileges granted by the government are the disastrous results of an administration that operates out of its rightful role in society. When a nation exceeds its limitations, that becomes an incentive for businesses to resort to corruption.

Instead of creating commissions or Byzantine bureaucracies to investigate corruption, states must simply strive for the rule of law, repealing all bad legislation so that equality before the law and free competition flourish in society.

Frankly, the real problem with corruption is that most Latin Americans have put up with it. They’ve paid the price of corruption, bribes, for example, in exchange for political stability.

It’s like buying protection from an intrusive state: I pay a bribe and you stay out of my life.

Unfortunately, it has now become a way of life, for example in Brazil, where the cost of corruption is estimated at US$ 53 billion or about 2% of GDP. It also makes it more difficult to encourage foreign investment, such as U.S. companies forced to explain to their shareholders where the money is spent.

It corrupts the police and people can literally buy justice.

In Brazil, they used to say: “Rouba mas faz,” (“He steals, but gets things done”) They are probably saying now that he steals too much and does too little!

Yes, corruption is the biggest threat to growth in Latin America. Clean up crony capitalism and you will see a lot of the region’s problems disappear. Of course, I am also an optimist by nature.

 P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

More political prisoners added to King Raul’s invisible list

Jacqueline Heredia, prisoner of conscience

From Marti Noticias

Back in March, at his joint press conference with the current occupant of the White House, King Raul Castro said that there were no political prisoners in Cuba.

Well…ahemmm….excuuuuuse me…. everyone except certain cult followers of the Castro clan knew he was lying.

Today, we learn the identities of some new political prisoners added to the previously existing invisible number.

These new prisoners of conscience are Xiomara de las Mercedes Cruz Miranda, Yunet Cairo Reigada and Jaqueline Heredia Morales, who were arrested on 15 April for staging a pro-human rights demonstration in Havana’s Central Park.

As is normal in the Castro Kingdom, they were held at a police station jail without charges for a while before being transferred to a long-term prison, while still in limbo concerning specific charges.

According to Arcelio Molina, a member of the dissident organization UNPACU, Jacqueline Heredia has been transferred to San José prison, where all AIDS-infected Cubans are taken, and Xiomara de las Mercedes Cruz Miranda and Yunet Cairo have been taken to the women’s prison at Guatao.

(Yes, Mildred, the Castro Kingdom still tries to control AIDS by imprisoning all known AIDS-infected Cubans.  If you care to, Mildred, please take this up with your local LGBT rights chapter.)

You can listen to Arcelio Molina’s report HERE, in Spanish.

A fourth dissident arrested the same day at Havana’s Central Park, Marieta Martínez Aguilera, remains jailed at the Departamento Técnico de Investigaciones jail known as “la Quinta.”

More details HERE, in Spanish

Political prisoners?  We don't have none.
Political prisoners? We don’t have none. No more questions. Go home.