José Manuel García-Margallo
It looks as if Spain's Foreign Minister is about to make some deal with Raul Castro, not just on behalf of Spain and the European Union, but also on behalf of the current occupant of the White House.
Get ready. This tilt-a-whirl is about to start spinning.
What better way to establish his "legacy" than for this occupant of the White House to embrace Castrogonia after having just granted blanket amnesty to over five million illegal aliens.
From The Local (Spain's News in English):
Spain 'to act as US messenger boy on Cuba'
Spain's foreign minister arrived on Cuba on Sunday where he is set to deliver "very specific messages" from the US administration in the lead-up to a major pan-American summit in 2015, Spanish media are reporting.
Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo has travelled to Cuba to take stock of bilateral relations between Spain and Cuba.
During the visit, he is also expected to make use of the "very fluid connection" between Spain and the US to deliver messages from the Barack Obama administration on Cuba, according to Spanish daily El País.
While diplomatic sources quoted by the paper didn't specify what those messages were, Magallo is expected to discuss Cuban leader Raúl Castro's debut appearance at April's Summit of the Americas in Panama City — critical for the US as it is the only regular pan-American forum it attends.
At previous such events, various American nations had said they would not attend if Cuba was not invited.
US sources believe it would be very difficult for Obama to be seen with Castro unless there is a "gesture" on the part of Havana. Spain's foreign minister may be charged with making that suggestion, El País reported.
Among possible gestures is the liberation of US citizen Alan Gross, currently serving a 15-year prison term in Cuba after being found guilty of delivering satellite phones and computer equipment to the island's Jewish community without the necessary permission, according to his sentence.
Continue reading HERE.
And if you can't get enough of this news story go HERE (in the Castellano dialect)
Ganamos! (We won!)
By Fernando Damaso in Translating Cuba:
For months Cuban authorities have been waging an intense campaign to end the blockade (or embargo) imposed by the US government against the Cuban government. Among Cuba’s demands are the release of three spies now serving time in US jails and removal of the country from the list of states that sponsor terrorism.
All this is in the context of an “invitation to the government of the United States to a mutually respectful relationship based on reciprocity, sovereign equality, the principles of international law and the United Nations Charter,” in the wording of a speech by the Cuban foreign minister at the sixty-ninth session of the UN General Assembly in New York on October 28, 2014.
Moreover, in recent weeks the New York Times has published several editorials in support of the same position, which have been reproduced verbatim by Cuba’s government-run press — something never seen before — which has added its own severe criticism of civil society, accusing it among other things of corruption.
The convergence of opinion among Cuban authorities, the New York Times and some political, business and social figures of the United States is striking. It is no secret, though the parties involved refrain from confirming it, that something has long been cooking behind the backs or with the participation of only some members of Cuba’s civil society.
At the end of the 19th century the governments of the United States and Spain signed the Treaty of Paris, which ended hostilities in Cuba as well as Spanish control over the island. Neither the Cubans who had launched the initial revolt nor their political representatives took part in the treaty negotiations. This weighed heavily on Cuban-American relations during the era of the Cuban Republic and was considered by many responsible Cubans to be a politic mistake on the part of our neighbor to the north.
Trying to resolve the dispute between the governments of the United States and Cuba today, well into the 21st century, without the participation of Cubans who are neither part of the government nor in agreement with it would be making the same mistake twice.
The desires of Cuba’s current leaders to prolong the life of their failed system — albeit with surface embellishments and new faces — and the interests of certain American political figures cannot take precedence over the interests of the majority of the Cuban people who, unable to truly exercise their democratic rights, are hoping and fighting for real change.
Cuban Exile Gustavo Villoldo moved a step closer to collecting close to $3.5 billion in frozen Cuban government assets in U.S. banks.
Santana in El Nuevo Herald:
"Now they're saying that it was Muslims who discovered Cuba."
"That explains all the Taliban we have here!"
Via The Scrapbook in The Weekly Standard:
Doctors Yearning to Breathe Free
"Brain drain” is a phrase that first appeared in the 1950s, when London’s Royal Society expressed concern about the number of British scientists, engineers, and physicians being lured to the United States. Its concern was not misplaced: The Second World War had essentially bankrupted Britain, and in the wake of postwar privations and the nationalization of health care, the number of British professionals crossing the Atlantic to affluent America was substantial.
Since then, the phrase has been applied retroactively: The arrival of German Jewish refugees—novelists, scientists, scholars, composers—during the Third Reich was a “brain drain” for Germany but an unexpected bonus for us. So imagine The Scrapbook’s surprise, if you will, when the New York Times revived the term in a November 16 editorial (“A Cuban Brain Drain, Courtesy of the U.S.”).
Only this time it wasn’t about Scottish engineers taking high-paying jobs in Texas, or Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany for their lives. It was in reference to the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program, an eight-year-old U.S. immigration measure that puts Cuban health professionals who choose to defect on the fast track to American citizenship. And the Times is against it.
Since Cuba is a closely organized Communist police state, it has an educated population with limited opportunities to practice their professions. The typical bartender in a Havana tourist hotel (no Cuban customers allowed) holds a master’s -degree in electrical engineering. The same is true for the health sciences. Cuba trains a large number of nurses, technicians, and physicians, but the products of these programs are coerced into overseas service to generate foreign currency. Cuba trades health workers for oil from Venezuela, for example; more than a few Cuban physicians are treating Ebola patients in West Africa, and Havana seizes the bulk of their income.
The fact that many Cuban health workers might resent this state of affairs—and consider their overseas labor a form of indentured servitude—is self-evident. Even the Times acknowledges that “some doctors who have defected say they felt the overseas tours had an implicit element of coercion and have complained that the government pockets the bulk of the money it gets for their services.” Yet the editorial sympathy of the Times is extended not to exploited doctors—whose annual incomes, after a recent government raise, are a stupefying $720 a year—but to the Cuban government. The Times complains that the Castro dictatorship trained these health workers, and now the United States is offering them a life of freedom and prosperity!
The language of the Times editorial is telling. The author of the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program was the “hard-line Cuban exile” Emilio González, who headed the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during the Bush administration. And “the Cuban government has long regarded the medical defection program as a symbol of American duplicity.”
The Scrapbook begs to differ with the New York Times. The program is a lifeline for people who have dedicated their lives to health care and wish to practice their profession in freedom and dignity. It also undermines the coercive power of a dictatorship and illustrates why America remains a beacon to the world.
There is one word to describe those who sit comfortably in Manhattan—well paid, highly educated, free to speak their minds—and would shut the door on doctors and nurses who seek the basic freedoms American journalists take for granted. That word is “grotesque.”
What could possibly issue from this beautiful romance?
The so-called Democratic Republic of Congo is a a dictatorship ruled by Joseph Kabila, an avowed Marxist and friend of the Castro Kingdom.
This beautiful romance has become more intense than ever, especially after Kabila's top military leaders traveled to Castrogonia for an especially intense date and dance party with Raul Castro and his Military Junta.
Though there were no North Koreans mentioned in the news released by the Castro Ministry of Truth, that Asian dictatorship happens to be part of the relationship.
As Jaime Suchliki points out in "Cuba and North Korea: Brothers in 'Arms'", the potential consequences of this Congo-North Korea-Cuba triangle are much scarier than those of any romatic triangle or ménage à trois :
Congo is a major source of uranium, which North Korea needs for its nuclear program. Shipments of North Korean weapons bound for the Congo have been intercepted in the past. Are the Cubans and North Koreans gambling to support their comrades in the Congo?
The Director of the Sub-Saharan Department of Cuba’s Foreign Ministry and former Ambassador to the Congo, Hector Igarza, led a high level, little publicized, delegation to Congo in February of this year, perhaps offering Cuban support to the beleaguered Congo regime. In September 2011, Kabila visited Gen. Raul Castro in Havana.
If it is determined that the weapons were destined for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or any other nation, it could have significant implications."
If you would like more details on these developments, go to Capitol Hill Cubans HERE
Joseph Kabila and you-know-who
The Tampa Tribune is SHOCKED, SHOCKED to find out that Cuba's terrorist supporting and criminal apartheid dictatorship bilks American air carriers up to $62,000,000 a year for landing rights at Havana's airport. In comparison, Tampa's international airport only collects a measly $14 million annually in landing fees from international carriers.
This shocking revelation has led The Tampa Tribune to wonder if the illicit millions collected by Cuba's drug trafficking, arms smuggling, slave trading, money laundering Castro mafia is possibly being used to bankroll Cuba's apartheid regime.
Via The Tampa Tribune:
Fees for Americans a sore spot in Cuba travel
TAMPA — The battle for the Cuban charter flight business out of Tampa International Airport has landed in federal court, exposing what U.S. citizens must pay the secretive Cuban government for use of Havana’s José Martí International Airport.
The annual total is somewhere between $31 million and $62 million — more than any other nation pays, said one Cuba analyst — enough to make critics question whether the fee is covering actual costs or going to support Cuba’s ruling Castro regime.
Tampa International Airport, by comparison, received $14.6 million in landing fees during 2014 for flights from airlines based in every nation that lands here.
On a per-flight basis, the same U.S. plane that pays $275 for landing fees at Tampa International pays up to $24,000 in Havana.
The cost estimates on U.S.-Cuba flights is based on two factors: the revelation in court documents that landing fees range as high as $148 for each U.S. passenger, coupled with the projection that two-thirds of the 635,000 Americans traveling to the island nation in 2014 are destined for the capital city of Havana.
Continue reading HERE.
The former editors of "Espacio Laical"
A Tale of Bombast and Vitriol, Three Pro-Castro Publications, and Two Apparatchiks Disguised as "Moderates"
Having published a barrage of pro-Castro editorials in the past few weeks, the New York Times is now apparently trying to peddle Granma-style articles instead.
Yesterday's "article" was old news, but properly recycled through a Castronoid purifying filter.
The "article" focuses on Roberto Veiga and Lenier Gonzalez, the two former editors of Espacio Laical, the overtly pro-Castro communist journal published by Cardinal Jaime Ortega in Havana.
When Veiga and Gonzalez stepped down from their posts a few months ago, it seemed that they might have been fired. But now it's becoming clear that they have been commissioned to take their message to a wider audience, much larger than the handful of Cubans who read a diocesan Catholic newspaper.
Their "moderate" message is very moderate indeed, and very pleasing to Raul Castro: That there should only be two or three more shades of communist red in Cuba's political language.
Yes, all they did and continue to do is to propose that the Castronoid totalitarian state should be slightly tweaked rather than reformed or replaced with a free-market democracy. They have never proposed any real change, or the adoption of any color other than bright communist red.
Now that these two ñangaritas have been given permission to reach more people --obviously with the blessing of King Raul -- the New York Times is doing its best to promote them as a sign of "real" change in Castrogonia.
If you've been reading Babalu or Spain's ABC, you know all this already. But if all you read is the New York Times, well.... this is your Granma moment. This is when Victoria Burnett and the editors of the Times tell you how to interpret these two Castronoid toads as moderate "reformers" and as the shiny new face of the Cuba that the United States and the world must embrace, the Cuba where nothing ever really changes and the only color allowed to exist is the one shade of red favored by the island's absolute monarchy.
And, if all you read is the New York Times you might end up convinced that a "tiny civil society" actually exists in Castrogonia, and that all dissidents are "bitterly divided" and full of "bombast and vitriol."
Yeah. Some civil society. Sure. If you say so. How about several hard-hitting Watergate-style articles on the deaths of Oswaldo Payá and Berta Soler, or on the constant travails of Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antúnez), Oscar Elias Biscet, Martha Beatriz Roque, and all the hundreds of other real reformers who want to free Cubans from their slavery?
Oh, I forgot. That's asking too much. Well, how about a "moderate" compromise: How about some coverage of the Ladies in White, for starters?
Oh, gosh darn it, I forgot something else too. If you do dare to mention them, it will only be to paint them in the darkest light possible, as agents of divisive "bombast and vitriol." Forget it. Stick to the orders given to you from The Ministry of Truth in Havana.
You do such an excellent job of that already, and of camouflaging your own bombast and vitriol as nothing but clear-headed objective reporting.
And --don't forget, please --you are so close to being granted the privilege of openly calling yourself "Granma North" by the Castro monarchy. Why stop now?
Cuba's real "civil society"
Extolling Moderation to Get Cubans Talking About Politics
MEXICO CITY — FROM a lectern covered in a lacy, white cloth at a provincial Cuban church center last month, Roberto Veiga González and Lenier González Mederos took turns talking before about 60 intellectuals and activists about the value of political dialogue.
Not, perhaps, the most electrifying topic, but if politics is the art of the possible, it is a skill that the pair hope Cubans can master after wearying years of bombast and vitriol.
“A plurality of views can coexist,” said Mr. Veiga, a lawyer and former magazine editor who, with Mr. González, has come to represent an emerging, less confrontational, approach to Cuban politics.
Looking over his reading glasses at the opening of a two-day seminar on Cuban sovereignty, he added, “It is possible to think differently but work together.”
If that is a difficult view to peddle in Washington, it is an even tougher sell in Cuba, where the state has, for decades, stifled debate and the government and its opponents are bitterly divided.
“We Cubans are the enemies of moderation,” said Mr. González, a former journalist, by telephone from Havana.
Mr. González, 33, and Mr. Veiga, 49, have been criticized as too timid by some in the opposition. But their dogged efforts to get Cubans talking have won them a strong following in Cuba’s tiny civil society.
If you like to vomit or need to raise your blood pressure, continue reading more of this nauseating bilge HERE
Cuba's "tiny civil society": no bombast of vitriol here
By Miriam Celaya in Translating Cuba:
The Cuban “Sovereignty” Fable
In recent weeks we have seen a lot of media hype on the subject of US embargo against the Cuban government and the implications for lifting it. The New York Times led the way, with several inflammatory anti-embargo editorials which resulted in immediate answers from numerous other digital venues, pointing to the dangers of the unconditional and unilateral withdrawal of the sanctions that would allow the Island’s regime new possibilities for extending and consolidating power after half a century of dictatorship.
Without a doubt, the issue of the embargo constitutes the Gordian knot that marks the Cuba-US relations, though with a clearly differentiating thread: If lifting the embargo is today an element of crucial strategic importance for the survival of the Cuban regime, it is not a priority for the US government, and it does not constitute a strategic point in that country’s foreign policy agenda.
This antecedent, by itself, explains that the negotiations about the relations between both governments should not develop on the principle of “same conditions” as Cuban officials and its troupe of organic intellectuals (candidly?) claim, since, while the survival of the Castro regime depends to great measure on the lifting of the US sanctions, in Washington, it is neither an element of strategic importance nor an economic or political priority.
In addition, it is ridiculous to suppose that the Cuban government — after hijacking the rights of the governed and excluding them of all legal benefit — making a show of an unspeakable cynicism, pretends to establish itself as defender of the “American people”, which has been deprived by their own government of the ability to travel to or to invest in Cuba as they wish, even if it is a well-known secret that the US is currently one of the major trading partners with Cuba, especially in foodstuffs, and that the presence of Americans is an everyday event in the main tourist destinations on the Island.
But above all, all this foreign policy debate debunks the main pillar on which the foundation of the whole structure of the Cuban revolution has been created: the unwavering defense of sovereignty.
The fallacy of Cuban “sovereignty”
In the 70s, Fidel Castro publicly mocked the embargo (“blockade” in the revolutionary jargon). By then, the much overhyped Cuban sovereignty omitted its humiliating subordination to the Soviet Union, legally endorsed in the [Cuban] Constitution and, under which, Cuba stood as a strategic base of the Russian communist empire in the Western Hemisphere, including in those relations of servitude the failed attempt to create a nuclear warhead base in the early days of the Castro era, the existence of a Soviet spy base in Cuba, Soviet military troops on Cuban soil, building of a thermonuclear plant — which, fortunately, was never finished — sending Cuban troops to encourage and/or support armed conflicts in Latin America and Africa, among other commitments, whose scope and costs have not yet been disclosed.
As compensation, the Soviet Union supported the Cuban system through massive subsidies that allowed for the maintenance of the fabulous health and education programs on the Island, as well as other social benefits. By then, the so-called US “blockade” was reduced to teaching manuals and classroom indoctrination, or mentioned in some other official discourse, as long as it was appropriate to justify production inefficiencies or some shortage that the European communist bloc was unable to cover.
Continue reading Reports from Cuba: The Cuban ‘Sovereignty’ Fable
A rarely-seen monster of the deep has been caught at 1,800 feet under the sea in Monterrey Canyon.
And, as it turns out, this ugly fish is so remarkably similar to the Castro Kingdom and its rulers that it can easily serve as a living metaphor.
You don't believe it? Well, wise up, comrade.... learn a thing or two about this fish that lives in the inky depths of the ocean.
The female of the species feeds by dangling a luminescent tip at the end of a “fishing pole” that juts out from its head, using the “glowing lure” to attract unsuspecting prey. It then snatches that prey, usually a small fish or squid, with its long, sharp teeth, and gobbles it up quickly.
This sounds an awful lot like the way in which Castrogonia has lured most Latin American nations into its maw, especially Venezuela. The "glowing lure" has many names: revolution, socialism, Marxism, social justice, sovereignty, anti-imperialism, liberation theology, etc., but it's really only a single deadly lure.
The male of the species displays other traits that make it a perfect metaphor for the Castro Kingdom: Their sole purpose is to attach themselves to a female, and to live as a parasite. "If they don't find a female, they drown," University of Washington professor and deep-sea anglerfish expert Ted Pietsche told the Mercury News. "They're not even properly equipped to eat."
Castrogonia's parasitic existence is so well-known and so clearly evident that no examples need to be named. But, for the sake of those who miss the obvious: think of the U.S.S.R. and Chavista Venezuela. Without them, the beast starves because its economy has no way of keeping it alive.
So, there you have it: The female Black Devil lures its prey with a trick and devours it; the male Black Devil cannot feed itself and latches onto females as a parasite. To top it off, these deep-sea fish live in total darkness.
How about that? Castrogonia's behavior is natural, after all. The only difference between it and the Black Devils is the fact that the fish do look monstrous to nearly everyone and are never considered altruistic. The rulers of Castrogonia, unfortunately, disguise themselves very effectively and are often mistaken for beautiful angelic humanitarians.
Someone should start a campaign to change the name of this odd creature to Black Devil Castro fish. That would be a much more appropriate name.
For reports on this Castro-like beast (and more photos and video) go HERE and HERE.
Psssst... hermano....Cual de estos imbeciles nos vamos a comer hoy? (Pssst....brother....Which of these fools should we devour today?)
Venezuelan "cola" (queuing or waiting in line) at a pharmacy (Nov 2014)
From ABC Spain:
Venezuelans are now living a lot like Cubans, thanks to their “socialist” government and its embrace of the Castronoid economic policies suggested by Cuban advisers.
Just about everything is now in short supply, including medicines, basic toiletries, and insecticides that can control the spread of mosquito-borne epidemics.
An immediate consequence of these shortages is a high incidence of dengue and chikungunya fever. “Three million people have come down with some epidemic, and the number of cases in Venezuela is twice that of any other nation," says ex-minister of Health José Felix Oletta. According to him, 60% to 70% of all medicines, food, and consumer items are chronically scarce throughout Venezuela. “Right now no one can afford to get sick in Venezuela,” observes Oletta.
Venezuelan "cola" for basic toiletries (Oct 2014)
Mosquitos and epidemics are only part of the challenge for Venezuelans, as their standard of living is reduced to that of Cubans. Deodorants are in short supply, along with toothpaste, soap, shaving cream, shampoo, and other such items.
As Cubans learned over fifty years ago, daily life in a Marxist/Castronoid utopia becomes a constant struggle to “solve” problems (“resolver”). If bartering or cheating or stealing or buying on the black market fails to get you what you need, you are forced to “invent.” For instance, many Venezuelans are now mixing bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice to use as deodorant. What they will do when those ingredients become scarce –as is inevitable– remains to be seen.
Cuban "cola" for bread
This pathetic turn of events is made all the more wretched by the fact that it did not have to happen. If Venezuelans had taken a close look at what happened in Cuba, they would have immediately realized that Chavez and his 21st-century Bolivarian socialism would lead to disaster. To paraphrase George Santayana, those who aim to imitate the so-called Cuban Revolution are doomed to live as miserably as Cubans.
Compare the photos from Caracastan and Castrogonia: see any differences (other than the direction in which the lines are moving)?
To read the entire report in the quaint Castellano dialect go HERE
Cuban "cola" for potatoes
By Raul Rivero, Cuban poet and former political prisoner in Spain's El Mundo (translation by Capitol Hill Cubans):
Cuba: Open Hands, Clenched Fist
With Dilma Rousseff's prodigal generosity for the Cuban government now being watched carefully by a powerful opposition, and amid Venezuela's debacle due to falling oil prices and a talent for failure by Nicolas Maduro, the Cuban regime has intensified its search for money elsewhere in order to remain in power.
The principal figures of the dictatorship have spent months diligently, as we say colloquially, "begging for water through gesticulations" ("pidiendo el agua por señas"). Those cries for help have resonated in the European Union, in some sectors of North American society and among a group of rich Cubans -- pragmatic and with short memories.
The most important bites, both politically and economically, have been in the Old World. Europe has held two rounds of talks with the Castro regime to reach an agreement that would substitute the Common Position, which was proposed by the government of Jose Maria Aznar and adopted by the European Union in 1996. Another round of talks will be held in Havana this December.
The reality is that it hasn't been necessary to wait for the Europeans and the soldiers of real socialism to sign an agreement of cordiality, friendship and closeness.
In April, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius traveled to Cuba to cheer up the disguised Spring of the Caribbean. His colleagues from Norway and Holland also went to get some sun and, in October, Hugo Swire, the U.K.'s Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, enthusiastically responded to Cuba's SOS with a visit where he stressed to the "guayabera-clad" men: "I'm here to show the support the United Kingdom will give to the economic changes Cuba is undertaking."
Precisely, in October, nine dissidents were condemned to sentences of between two and seven years in prison and another 12 await for manipulated trials by the police. That same month, 413 arbitrary political arrests took place, 13 government opponents were victims of physical aggression and paramilitary squads attacked the homes of eight human rights activists.
None of the visitors peered at the streets through the windows of the limousines that take them to the luxury hotels, where they signed friendship accords and exchanged hugs with government officials.
Spain's Foreign Minsiter, José Manuel García-Margallo, is going to Cuba this month.