Regarding Alan Gross' latest assignment please see here.
"Do tell, Mr Karras. Do tell! Not only did we get our spies back. Best of all, we planted a new agent-of-influence in the U.S. to rival Peters and Sweig! (of course, it GREATLY helps to have a negotiating "opponent" like Obama!"
"Julia, Phil...check your messages...better watch out! I'm catching up QUICK!"
But remember folks: "The embargo is "Castro's best friend!"--he "secretly favors it!"
By Angel Santiesteban in Translating Cuba:
Angel Santiesteban-Prats, Unidad de Guardafronteras Prison, Havana, April 10, 2015 — President Obama is surrounded by Castros. In front he has the old wolf Raul, taking his turn as tyrant. To his left is Raul’s grandson and chief bodyguard. To his right, just behind Ban Ki Moon, is Raul’s son Alexander, wearing his faux-angelic expression, because he was suddenly promoted from colonel to brigadier general, and directs the black hand of State Security.
Raul Castro appears not to understand anything that Obama is saying. Alejandro displays a look of delight, of orgasm, of dreaming of reaching power with the approval of the Americans. When in a change of plans Obama shows up alone, the grandson clumsily shields his diminutive grandfather, and in his officiousness almost knocks Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez to the floor.
I don’t think the Castros are off the hook, at least not for the time being, if before they didn’t arrange to put their house in order, to organize the truths and the lies, to present, in the matter of human rights, something that relates to the present day.
Santana in El Nuevo Herald:
"Everyone out to the Plaza on May 1st!"
I don't know how this will end. At the same time, I hope that Baltimore's politicians are ready for the very real possibility that a jury may come back with an acquittal......Click to read:
From our You-Knew-This-Was-Coming Department:
That photo of Che Guevara in Alan Gross's lawyer's office gave everyone who spotted it a significant clue.
Gross might have been a victim of the Castro regime, but he seemed quite happy to pose for photos under that image of sociopath Che.
Now it seems that Alan Gross has moved on to express all the tell-tale signs of Stockholm Syndrome.
This syndrome, also known as "capture bonding" is defined as: " a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors."
A previous well-known case of this strange phenomenon is that of wealthy heiress Patty Hearst, who ended up joining the terrorist organization that kidnapped her and held her for ramson, The Symbionese Liberation Army.
Patty Hearst, hostage-turned-terrorist
From Granma North (The New York Times)
American Released by Cuba Plays Role as U.S. Relations With Havana Thaw
For five years, Alan P. Gross, an American aid worker, sat in a Cuba prison growing so despondent that he openly considered suicide.
Now Mr. Gross is contemplating a return visit to Cuba, and helping a new political action committee raise money to support elected officials and candidates promoting freer trade and travel to the island.
He will appear at a fund-raiser on May 4 in Miami at the home of his lawyer, Scott Gilbert, in support of New Cuba PAC, whose leaders said they hoped to capitalize on the détente between the United States and Cuba to push for broader access to the island for Americans.
Mr. Gross will lead an “off the record discussion on modernizing U.S.-Cuba policy” at the fund-raiser, which suggests contributions of $1,000 to $5,000.
Mr. Gross declined an interview, but he has emerged on Twitter as a loquacious commentator on United States-Cuban affairs. In February, he testified in Congress in support of restoring diplomatic relations and easing trade and travel restrictions as a step toward increasing the flow of information to Cuba.
Mr. Gilbert said Mr. Gross had “transcended the imprisonment he suffered for five years” and had promised since his release to “do what he could to promote a more constructive relationship” between the countries.
Ultimately he would like to return to Cuba, Mr. Gilbert said, “in a different capacity” than the trip that led to his jailing, if it would help promote relations — and, of course, if Cuba would be as forgiving as he has been.
Whole piece HERE.
Gotta luv this Gross guy!
Via The New York Post:
Former bodyguard unmasks Fidel Castro’s corrupt double life
For 17 years, Juan Reinaldo Sanchez served as a bodyguard to Fidel Castro. But when he became disillusioned with the Cuban dictator’s hypocrisy and tried to retire in 1994, Castro had him thrown in prison. Sanchez made 10 attempts to escape the island, finally making it to Mexico by boat, then across the Texas border in 2008. Now he reveals all in his new book, “The Double Life of Fidel Castro.” In this excerpt, Sanchez explains how he lost faith in the revolution — and “El Jefe.”The end of 1988. A day like any other was coming to a close in Havana. In a few minutes, my life would be overturned.
Fidel had spent his afternoon reading and working in his office when he stuck his head through the door to the anteroom, where I was, to warn me that Abrantes was about to arrive.
Gen. José Abrantes, in his 50s, had been minister of the interior since 1985 after having been, notably, the commander in chief’s head of security for 20 years. Utterly loyal, he was one of the people who saw El Jefe daily.
While they met, I went to sit in my office, where the closed-circuit TV screens monitoring the garage, the elevator and the corridors were found, as well as the cupboard housing the three locks that turned on the recording mikes hidden in a false ceiling in Fidel’s office.
A moment later, the Comandante came back, opened the door again, and gave me this instruction: “Sánchez, ¡no grabes!” (“Sánchez, don’t record!”)
The interview seemed to go on forever .?.?. one hour went by, then two. And so, as much out of curiosity as to kill the time, I put on the listening headphones and turned Key No. 1 to hear what was being said on the other side of the wall.
Their conversation centered on a Cuban lanchero (someone who smuggles drugs by boat) living in the United States, apparently conducting business with the government.
And what business! Very simply, a huge drug-trafficking transaction was being carried out at the highest echelons of the state.
Abrantes asked for Fidel’s authorization to bring this trafficker temporarily to Cuba as he wanted to have a week’s vacation in his native land, accompanied by his parents, in Santa María del Mar — a beach situated about 12 miles east of Havana where the water is turquoise and the sand as fine as flour. For this trip, explained Abrantes, the lanchero would pay $75,000 — which, at a time of economic recession, wouldn’t go amiss .?.?. Fidel was all for it.
But he expressed a concern: How could they ensure that the parents of the lanchero would keep the secret and not go and blab everywhere that they had spent a week near Havana with their son, who was supposed to live in the United States?
The minister had the solution: All they had to do was make them believe their son was a Cuban intelligence officer who had infiltrated the United States and whose life would be gravely endangered if they did not keep his visit to Cuba absolutely secret. “Very well .?.?.” concluded Fidel, who gave his agreement.
It was as if the sky had fallen in on me.
I realized that the man for whom I had long sacrificed my life, the Líder whom I worshipped like a god and who counted more in my eyes than my own family was caught up in cocaine trafficking to such an extent that he was directing illegal operations like a real godfather.
Continue reading HERE.
A trailer for a new documentary that will be featured at a new exhibition at History Miami opening June 26th titled: Operation Pedro Pan: The Cuban Children's Exodus.
Here's the trailer for our next exhibition at HistoryMiami, Operation Pedro Pan: The Cuban Children's Exodus. Opening June 26th, 2015. Proud to be curating this exhibit with Carmen Valdivia and Maria Del Carmen Romanach from Operation Pedro Pan Group, Inc.
Posted by Jorge Zamanillo on Friday, April 24, 2015
By Gladys Linares in Translating Cuba:
No More Blackouts?
“If water and electricity have the same owner, why do they turn off my power when I need it most?”
The blackouts occur very frequently “at the time of the water,” in those 4 or 5 hours on alternate days that the liquid arrives at our houses
Cubanet.org, Gladys Linares, Havana, 28 April 2015 – The word “blackout” was eliminated by the Electric Company. Nevertheless, blackouts continue, managed, disguised, masked with terms like free channel, breakdown, maintenance, pole change, broken cables, etc., causing a thousand and one miseries among the population.
For Andres, a self-employed man who sells pizzas, spaghetti and smoothies in Lawton, the blackouts, he says, have turned into a nightmare. He says that recently he cannot sell a smoothie because the fruit pulp was spoiled in a blackout, and as his oven is electric, when the lights go out he cannot make pizzas, either.
Several times a week the same hell confronts those who are obligated to cook with electricity; without it there is no food. There are those who solve the problem with a cylinder of gas (almost always bought on the black market because few have the 500 pesos necessary for getting a contract for the unrationed gas canisters).
The Island stopped in time
The first electric plant was established in Cuba in 1889 (in Cardenas), only seven years after New York’s first electric plant was inaugurated. For the republic’s half century, few complained about blackouts. But after 1959, the Cuban electric system did not escape the disaster, and as in so many spheres of our calamitous economy, it was at the point of collapse.
In the Tribune of Havana newspaper of August 15, 2010, the program’s chief engineer, Pedro Felipe de las Casas, declared that he had carried out 75 percent of the necessary improvements in order to offer a high quality service to the capital’s clients, and among those works he mentioned were: rush changes, increased transformer capacity, improvements in street lighting – though not in the outlying neighborhoods – and to conclude he said, “So far 3,109 low voltage areas have been eliminated which stands out as one of the results most noticed by the people.”
Power lines and untrimmed trees in Calzada de Porvenir, Lawton
In spite of the government’s triumphant propaganda about energy efficiency, frequent fluctuations in voltage continue which damage appliances, and in the neighborhoods we spend long hours without electricity.
The pruning of trees that damage lines that hang from poles is only carried out in a marathon manner in the face of an imminent cyclone. The branches are another of the frequent cause of electric service interruption or of accidents. On Friday, April 10 in the suburb of Abel Santamaria, a 12-year old boy climbed a tree to knock down mangoes and was electrocuted by a line that passed through the branches.
The lights go out when the water arrives
The blackout happens very frequently at the “water time,” that is to say, in those 4 or 5 hours in which on alternate days the vital liquid arrives at our houses. When this happens, you can hear the curses of the neighbors who had washing machines going (although many have to wash by hand). Worse occurs in the case of multi-family buildings or other multi-story houses: without electricity the motors don’t start, and without motors to run the pumps, the water does not get to them.
Continue reading Reports from Cuba: No more blackouts?
New statistics were released by the Castro regime concerning last Wednesday's torrential rains.
The new official tally (always questionable, especially in the case of disasters that might make the Revolution look less than glorious):
Three deaths, 1,200 people evacuated from their homes, and 47 building collapses.
All storm drains and sewers in the capital city date from the pre-Castro era and are in dire need of repair.
Long live the Revolution! Long live Cuban happiness! The worse things get, the happier Cubans will be!
Let's go there now, Mildred, before American tourists spoil the beauty of this place!
For more details go HERE (in Spanish).
What do we have here? Who forgot to pay his taxes?
It’s Mr. George Soros:
“George Soros may soon face a monumental tax bill — of nearly $7 billion — after years of playing hard-to-get with the IRS.
Despite Soros having advocated for higher taxes on the wealthy, the liberal billionaire reportedly has delayed paying his own for years thanks to a loophole in U.S. law.
That loophole was closed by Congress in 2008. But before that, Bloomberg reports, Soros used it to defer taxes on client fees. Instead, he reinvested them in his own fund, and they grew tax-free.
Bloomberg, citing Irish regulatory filings, reported that Soros has made $13.3 billion in this way. Factoring in the various tax rates that would apply, one tax expert estimated this would leave Soros with a roughly $6.7 billion bill.
While Soros did not comment on the estimate, Bloomberg reported that Soros deferred his taxes for so many years by reinvesting client fees. While he technically was able to do this for U.S.-based funds, offshore funds were apparently preferred because otherwise clients would face negative tax implications.
Congress closed that loophole in 2008, ordering fund managers to pay up by 2017.
According to Bloomberg, Soros moved assets shortly before the change to Ireland, seen as a possible shelter from the law. But tax attorneys told Bloomberg they don’t know of a way for money managers to avoid the bill in 2017.”
This is really something. Mr Soros, the left's # 1 wallet, used all kinds of tax loopholes to get around his tax obligations.
Isn't that something?
What a neat story! George Soros using fancy loopholes to avoid taxes!
(Educational program beneficiary Rashawn Williams, above left, with father.)
"The Negro is lazy and indolent and spends his money on frivolities and drink," from the diaries of the icon on the "self-respecting" black kid's t-shirt)
From the WSJ article written by The Heritage Foundation's Stephen Moore:
"The parents and students point out that the scholarship program has extraordinary benefits—they use phrases like “a godsend for our children,” “a life saver” and “our salvation.” One father, Joseph Kelley, a tireless champion of the program, says simply, “I truly shudder to think where my son would be today without it.” (He and his son, Rashawn Williams, are pictured on this page.)...Ms. White believes that beyond the improved academic standards, a big plus with Cornerstone was a curriculum the public schools won’t touch: “character development.” These religious schools try to instill basic values like integrity, honesty, hard work and smart behavior like not getting pregnant before marriage. The students are required to wear uniforms, a rule that she believes is “tremendously important to develop self respect.”
Can I suggest a book for this "godsend" of an educational program for the building of "self-respect" among black kids?
Among the valuable historical items the students will learn from this book:
"The Negro is lazy and indolent and spends his money on frivolity and drink." from the diaries of Ernest Guevara, the icon seen on the t-shirt of the "self-respecting" black student pictured above.
Via Capitol Hill Cubans:
Lula Investigated for Being Odebrecht's "Trafficker-in-Chief"
According to Brazil's Epoca, former President Lula da Silva is being investigated by the federal authorities for influence trafficking on behalf of the construction company, Odebrecht.
The investigation is looking into projects brokered by Lula -- and financed through billions of dollars in Brazilian taxpayer money -- with some of the world's most disreputable regimes.
Featured prominently among these is the $800 million that Odebrecht received to build the new Port of the Mariel facility, in partnership with the Cuban military.
Since then, Odebrecht has become the Castro regime's most prized foreign business partner.
Odebrecht is also under investigation by Brazilian prosecutors for corruption, slave labor, inhumane conditions, international human trafficking, curtailment of freedom, retention of documents and other violations.
We've long been critical of this company's immoral practices and out-sized role in taxpayer projects in Miami-Dade County.
Its business with Castro's dictatorship is so treasured (and obviously greased) that it chose to go to court, rather than abide by a Florida law -- overwhelming passed by the state legislature and supported by Miami-Dade County voters -- which would have required it to end its dealing with Cuba prior to receiving any further taxpayer money.
Many have sought to whitewash Odebrecht's behavior -- but ultimately, the truth always prevails.
Self-confident Cuban woman
Why is it that so many people throughout the world are ready to believe that the Castro regime has created some kind of paradise?
And why is it that this peculiar belief hinges on the assumption that Cubans are really much happier than everyone else in the world because they live in a repressive, poverty-ridden labyrinth of ruins?
It's easy to lose count of the number of myths about Castrogonia that pop up daily in the world's news media.
And it's also easy not to be surprised by the level of infantile gullibility displayed by those who readily accept fairy-tale assumptions about one of the worst hell-holes on earth.
Today, however, one such assumption took me by surprise. This one is off the charts on the puerile imbecility scale.
The subject is standards of beauty for women.
I bet you might be surprised too: Did you know that all Cuban women are happy with the way they look because they are never exposed to "capitalist-driven" advertisements?
Wow... this must explain why Smokin' Graciela exudes as much self-confidence as those evil models from Victoria's Secret!
Evil negative "capitalist-driven" role models
From the Daily Telegraph (UK)
Can we be comfortable in our skin one day?
by Yassmin Abdel-Magied
It’s bizarre that Western standards of beauty are applied to people who are structurally different.
I’m an Arab-African woman, so how will I ever look like Jennifer Lawrence or Emma Watson? I can’t, and yet somehow subconsciously I expect to be able to mould my body to a genetically different norm.
I heard that in Cuba, no matter what a woman looks like, she has an inner sense of self-confidence.
How? Because, apparently, growing up in a country without advertising from the nearby US and the West, she isn’t constantly bombarded with capitalist-driven images of what ‘ideal beauty’ looks like.
She grows up thinking the way she looks is beautiful, and just fine the way it is.
Isn’t that incredible? Beauty and body image are peculiar concepts....
....I look forward to living in a world where women feel comfortable in their own skin and their self-worth is not defined by a constrained, unachievable standard of beauty.
Perhaps then there will be some of that Cuban spirit in us all!
Read the whole piece HERE.
Via Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:
Cuban hunger striker in intensive care in Cuba
Activist near death, mother asks to pray for her son
Photo by @IvanLibre of Yuriet Pedroso on hunger strike in March 2015
Opposition activist Yuriet Pedroso González was transfered to intensive care in the Hospital Arnaldo Milián Castro, in Santa Clara, due to his deteriorating health status following 60 days on hunger strike reported his mother, Mavis González Tápanes, according to a video and audio published by Radio Republica.
González Tápanes said that her son "suffers collateral damage in a kidney", among other complications. The 34 year old activist is a member of the Central Opposition Coalition and has been hospitalized since April 13th.
Yuriet started the hunger strike on March 2, 2015 demanding that he be exonerated from the charge of "assault" made against him and that he considers a "manipulation." His actual "crime" was to place posters critical of the regime in public locations of Esperanza, in Villa Clara, according to dissidents.
Hablemos Press reported that state security agent Osmani Ruiz, in Villa Clara, told the hunger striker's mother, Mavis González Tápanes, that "if he dies that is not our problem."
Continue reading HERE.