Reports from Cuba: They married us to a lie…

By Rebeca Monzo in Translating Cuba:

They Married Us to a Lie…

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It is a sign of lack of civility and decorum on the part of the Cuban regime to blame to the so-called US blockade for the shortages and difficulties, whose real cause is the inability and mismanagement of the economy, wealth and and riches of our country, by the leadership of the island. It is extremely well-known that they have “thrown everyone overboard,” dedicating their efforts and money to propaganda and proselytizing abroad, to present a completely untrue image of the internal situation.

When the Soviet “pipelines” were open to Cuba, in the media here, especially on television, there was an abundance of caricatures and ads where a popular character mocked the blockade, throwing all kinds of taunts at.

Why now this exhausting campaign against the blockade, that exceeds all limits of popular assimilation and acceptance? Why not have the civility and honesty to recognize the inability to lead and the squandering of the income obtained from the government’s share of the family remittances from the United States and the huge business established by the government to “rent out” doctors and professionals to other countries, which bring juicy dividends to the regime and from which our doctors and specialists receive only a pittance?

In the face of this so-called “solidarity” it is the people who suffer the consequences of the lack of medically qualified professionals and specialists remaining in Cuba, in schools and hospitals. “Candle in the street, darkness in the house,” as the popular saying goes. That is, we put on a big show for the outside, while we lack everything at home.

They married us to a lie… and forced us to live with it all these years.

 Translated by Jim

New Russia-Castro deal: $ 4 billion gift, plus nuclear power

An update on the latest deal struck by Grand Putinia and Castrogonia.

It looks as if Czar Vlad the New Impaler is willing to invest some rubles in a potential new colony.

Czar Vlad has already forgiven billions owed to him by King Raul.

But Czar Vlad is no philanthropist or ideologue.

He knows King Raul is a deadbeat.  Obviously, Vlad thinks this “investment” will benefit Russia in some way.

From Russia Behind the Headlines:

Russia has offered Cuba 55 bilateral cooperation projects with a total value of about $4 billion, Russia’s Deputy Minister of Economics Nikolai Podguzov told TASS on Monday.

“Cuba was offered 55 projects to be implemented in 2016-2020, totaling almost $4 bln,” the Russian deputy minister said after a meeting of the working group for trade and economic cooperation and priority projects of the Russian-Cuban Intergovernmental commission for trade and economic, scientific and technical cooperation, which was held in Cuba’s capital of Havana.

“Given the change in the commodity market climate, we need to find new drivers for economic growth and reduce our dependence on commodities exports,” the Russian deputy minister stated. Taking into consideration “the establishment of a new economic agenda in Russia” he believes that Russian and Cuban economics complement each other.

“We are offering Cuba indispensable industrial equipment, infrastructure development options that can build a good foundation for economic growth on the island state,” Podguzov noted. He added that “these are important projects for the development of Russia’s economy as well.” That is why, in his words, “both sides have been taking a pragmatic approach towards these projects that can help Russian-Cuban relations reach a new level.”…

…Podguzov said projects in the energy, railway infrastructure, information technology, aircraft industries are those taking priority, saying that “substantive efforts were being made” concerning their implementation. Meanwhile, all these projects involve exporting Russian goods to Cuba. In particular, the investment company Sinara Group is going to export locomotives and deliveries are likely to begin in 2017. The transport machine-building company, Transmashholding, will export passenger railcars, the energy corporation Inter RAO plans to partake in constructing the Maximo Gomez and East Havana thermal power plants’ power units and also to upgrade the operating power units of Cuban thermal power plants…

Continue reading HERE

And that’s not all.

Grand Putinia has also agreed to help King Raul develop nuclear capabilities.

Just what the world needs: a Caribbean Chernobyl, and nuclear missiles aimed at the U.S., again…

… and all this in the hands of Castrogonia’s chief nuclear expert, Fidelito Castro, son of Nosferatu, who was in charge of building Cuba’s failed nuclear power plant.

From Russia Beyond the Headlines:

Russia and Cuba have signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of atomic energy for peaceful purposes on the sidelines of the 60th session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on Sept. 27, TASS correspondent reported from the signing ceremony.

The document signed by the deputy head of Russia’s Rosatom State Corporation for Atomic Energy Nikolai Spassky and Cuba’s Deputy Science Minister Jose Fidel Santana lays a legal foundation for bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the field of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, including such areas as radioisotope production and their use in industry, medicine, agriculture, security and environmental research.

Fidelito Castro, chief nuclear expert in Castrogonia

The challenges faced by American investors in apartheid Cuba

The University of Miami’s Dr. Jaime Suchlicki in Focus on Cuba:

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Challenges for Investors in Cuba

President Obama’s recent visit to Cuba encouraged many in the United States to expect that economic relations would bring about major changes in the island. There is a strong belief among U.S. policymakers that economic considerations can influence Cuban policy decisions and that an economically deteriorating situation will force the Castro brothers to move Cuba toward a market economy and, eventually, political reforms.

This is not happening. General Raúl Castro introduced limited economic reforms in an attempt to muddle through a difficult situation. Yet the reforms are not structurally profound, nor are they propelling Cuba toward a free market. In Cuba, economic decisions are determined by political and ideological considerations.

The changes introduced by General Castro are not liberalizing foreign investment regulations, as most Cubans cannot partner with foreign investors. Investments in Cuba are only allowed with joint ventures controlled by military leaders or in partnerships with Grupo Gaesa, a large military group of state businesses directed by General Castro’s son-in-law, General Luis Alberto López Calleja.

Investors in Cuba face a maze of difficulties. These include the inability of bureaucrats to make decisions at the local level. Fearful of making mistakes, they tend to seek permission from higher authorities. Widespread corruption and cronyism make it difficult to navigate the island’s investment requirements.

These are not the only problems U.S. investors will face after the embargo is terminated. American businesses will be competing with European, Asian and Latin American companies already established in the island. With a bankrupt economy, Cuba will need substantial international credit in order to purchase U.S. goods. A corrupt and government-controlled legal system, where judges and lawyers are appointed by the state, will complicate legal transactions and limit access to courts to litigate commercial issues.

From the Cuban government’s point of view, the critical challenge facing General Castro is to balance the need to improve the economy and satisfy the needs of the population while maintaining continuous political control. Rapid economic reforms may lead to a loosening of political control, a fact feared by General Castro, the military and other government allies bent on remaining in power. The Cuban regime welcomes American tourists while limiting U.S. trade and investments and maintaining an anti-U.S. posture. Indeed, Cuba is a close ally of Iran, Russia, Syria and North Korea. The Castro brothers are strong supporters of Hamas and other enemies of Israel.

Under the current, slow reform scenario, only limited political and economic changes can take place. While a significant number of U.S. citizens are expected to visit Cuba if the U.S. travel ban is lifted, investment is likely to be on a small scale. If the U.S. embargo is modified or lifted, U.S. companies will attempt to enter the Cuban market and claim market share, as some Canadian, Asian and European companies have already done.

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Putin names close adviser of Cuba’s Castro regime as new head of Russia’s intelligence agency

President Obama, the 1930s called and they want their foreign policy back…

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Putin Names Cuba Adviser as Russia’s New Intel Chief

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Naryshkin (with a red cap) recently taking a tour of Old Havana, the Cuban military’s newest tourism holding.

Earlier this year, General James R. Clapper, the U.S Director of National Intelligence, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that:

The threat from foreign intelligence entities, both state and nonstate, is persistent, complex, and evolving. Targeting and collection of US political, military, economic, and technical information by foreign intelligence services continues unabated. Russia and China pose the greatest threat, followed by Iran and Cuba on a lesser scale.

Only one of these nations is in the Western Hemisphere — just 90 miles from the United States.

In the last week alone, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Havana to discuss (further) strengthening ties with Castro’s regime.<

In other words, contrary to the argument of President Obama and his supporters, The White House’s new Cuba policy has only emboldened and coalesced these anti-American regimes.

Also this week, Russia’s Vladimir Putin named Sergei Naryshkin as head of its notorious foreign intelligence service, known as the SVR.

Naryshkin is a long-time Putin confidant. They first met as pupils at the KGB’s “training school” in the late 1970s.

He is also a long-time Cuba hand.

Naryshkin travels to Havana frequently and has very close relationships with senior Castro regime officials, whom he recently referred to as “Russia’s most trustworthy partners in Latin America.

“He led the effort to forgive 90% of Castro’s debt to Russia and has been a proponent of Cuba forming part of Russia’s political-military alliance, Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

(Learn more here.)

In The Washington Post last week, U.S. officials estimated that Russia’s SVR, now led by Naryshkin, is believed to have 150 or more operatives in the United States.

Add to that Cuba’s vast network of intelligence operatives in the United States, which has been exacerbated by Obama’s new policy — along with the Castro regime’s unprecedented access to U.S. officials, Members of Congress, celebrities and business leaders — and it’s a bonanza for intelligence collection, influence and blackmail.

An emotional night in Miami yesterday as teammates honor Jose Fernandez at Marlins Park

Miami is still weeping over this tragic loss.

Via CNN:

Miami Marlins remember star pitcher Jose Fernandez

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Miami (CNN) The Miami Marlins honored their late pitching ace Jose Fernandez on Monday night, a day after he was killed in a boating accident — a death that stunned and saddened the baseball world.

His teammates took the field at Marlins Park before their game against the New York Mets decked in jerseys with his last name and number 16.

Marlins and Mets players stood holding their caps on their hearts as a trumpeter played “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Players from the teams hugged each other and the Marlins converged on the pitcher’s mound to rub dirt on their pants in honor of the late pitcher, who used dirt on the mound instead of a rosin bag to keep his hands dry.

The Marlins, in honor of their fallen star, beat the Mets 7-3.

‘We will always remember you’

Fernandez was one of baseball’s premier pitchers.

He made his big-league debut against the New York Mets on April 7, 2013. For five innings, he baffled hitters with fastballs and curves, surrendering one run and striking out eight on his way to being named National League Rookie of the Year.

Fernandez, who defected from his native Cuba at 15, died early Sunday in the boat crash at the entrance of Miami Harbor. The Marlins canceled their Sunday game against the Atlanta Braves as news of his death has stunned the baseball community, with players and fans alike taking to social media to express their grief.

The fans loved Fernandez, enjoying his energy and admiring his talent. Before Monday’s game, they lined up to purchase Fernandez jerseys, which were flying off the shelves and people paid their respects at a makeshift shrine outside the stadium.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: Havana: Tourism boom leads to increase in prostitution

By Ivan Garcia in Translating Cuba:

Havana: Tourism Boom Leads to Increase in Prostitution

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Empty bottles of rum and Domincan beer lie scattered around the courtyard as five people drink and talk about sports and business. A Reggaeton tune, “Until the Malecon Runs Dry” by Jacob Forever, plays in the background.

Meanwhile, four girls take turns inhaling a mixture of cocaine and tobacco, known locally as cambolo, from a discarded soda can.

The party could well cost the equivalent of two hundred dollars. Eduardo, a mid-level bureaucrat in the Foreign Trade office, adds up the costs: “Forty-eight convertible pesos (CUC) for two cases of beer, forty CUC for five bottles of rum, twenty five for five kilos of chicken and two cans of tuna, and a hundred CUC for drugs and whores.”

And what are they celebrating? “Nothing in particular. A success or a failure. We’re not going to solve the economic crisis by getting all worked up. If a little money comes your way, you throw a party. That’s all there is to it,” says Armando, the owner of an auto repair business.

This is now routine, at least in Havana, where a group of friends might rent a pool or a house, buy some food, hire some prostitutes and have a good time. In summer, hookers like Elisa often take advantage of this period of prosperity to pad their wallets.

In privately owned bars, discotheques and downtown areas of Havana, the hookers roam freely. Their extremely short, tight fitting skirts and overpowering perfumes make them instantly recognizable.

“The customers are like flies to honey. I’ve made as much as 250 CUC a night. An Italian in the morning, a Spaniard in the afternoon and a Cuban who thinks he is a bigshot at night,” says Elisa.

And the economic crisis? Or the period of austerity? “That’s for state workers. Those who own businesses, work in tourism or make money under the table are still enjoying the high life. Just kick a can and the hookers come out of the woodwork. There are always more of us,” adds Elisa.

Read more

Jose Fernandez and Miami’s Cuban American community: ‘He was us. He was our story’

Fabiola Santiago in The Miami Herald:

José Fernández: He was us. He was our story.

Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez hugs his grandmother after defeating the the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 25, 2015, at Marlins Park.
Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez hugs his grandmother after defeating the the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park.

It didn’t take him any time to become one of us, a Miamian.

José Fernández — a baseball prodigy from Cuba who fled the island by boat — embraced this city as if he had been born into it, and the Miami Marlins as if it were the hometown team he’d grown up cheering on to two World Series wins.

Miami loved its star baseball pitcher back.

He was fun to watch, not only for his talent but for the warmth he projected, his jovial spirit on and off the field, his generosity to fans, and his love of family. At a time when fans were mad as hell at the team owner and management,  Fernández happily put a positive face forward, smiling and expressing gratitude.

“I’m so lucky to be here,”  Fernández often said with sincerity and a disarming Cuban Miami accent.

He never tired of showing how grateful he was to be in this country, how miraculous his good fortune to be in the city of his dreams.

It’s stunning and sad that he died in the waters where he said he liked to go to find serenity. The 32-foot boat he was riding in with two friends capsized after hitting a treacherous jetty barely visible at high tide at Government Cut between Miami Beach and Fisher Island. There were no survivors.

This is every parent’s nightmare.

He was only 24, his death a loss amplified by the news he recently posted on social media of his girlfriend at the beach sporting a baby bump. He won’t get to be a father to his child, and his child will miss experiencing the joyful man who played like a kid in the field, giving it all and wearing his emotions without filters.

We woke up to the heartbreaking tragedy of it all, an unspeakably sad day not only for South Florida’s sports community but for everyone who was touched by the story of a boy who fled his country by boat when he was 15.

His story resonated in Miami, city of refuge.

Born in the central city of Santa Clara, he was raised by his mother, Maritza, and his grandmother, Olga, a devoted baseball fan  Fernández called “the light of my life.” She was his first baseball teacher. He had to leave her behind when he fled Cuba with his mother on a boat on his fourth try.

That night on the high seas, someone fell over board. Fernández didn’t hesitate to jump in, only to find it was his mother whose life he was saving.

The grief of his mother and grandmother today is unimaginable.

Continue reading HERE.

Female political prisoners in Cuba increasing as apartheid regime’s violent repression intensifies

More of Obama’s Hope and Change bearing rotten fruit in Cuba.

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

ALERT: Number of Female Cuban Political Prisoners Grows, Violence Intensifies

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The Castro regime is taking full advantage of the Obama Administration’s policy distractions — and the media’s willful blindness — to intensify repression against female democracy activists and add new political prisoners to its roster.

Please take note of the following cases of grave concern:

Yaquelin Heredia Morales (pictured below), of The Ladies in White and Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU), remains held at a prison for patients with HIV/AIDS (Yaquelin does not have AIDS) since April 15th, 2016, for staging a peaceful pro-democracy protest in Havana’s Fraternidad Park. On September 12th, Yaquelin was brutally beaten by the military head of the prison, Jorge Luis Castillo.

Marietta Martinez Aguilera, of the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU), was transferred from the Prisión de Mujeres de Occidente (Guatao) to the Women’s Prison in Holguin province. Meanwhile, Xiomara de las Mercedes Cruz Miranda, of The Ladies in White, who was also confined at the Guatao Prison, was transferred to Bellote Prison in the city of Matanzas. Marietta and Mercedes were both participants alongside Yaquelin in the April 15th protest. They remain arbitrarily imprisoned without trial.

— Aimara Nieto Muñoz, of The Ladies in White, was arrested on April 11th, 2016, and accused of “disorderly conduct” for publicly distributing pro-democracy leaflets. She remains imprisoned without trial at at the Prisión de Mujeres de Occidente (Guatao).

King Raul strikes deals for freebies from China, Russia

Raul: “Oye, Li, antes teniamos muchos chinitos, pero ahora solo nos quedan negritos.”

King Raul has been very busy lately, posing for photos and signing trade deals with other despots.

This week’s visiting despot was Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

The king must be so, so happy.

So many trade deals, so many loans, so many freebies, just because he hates the United States.

It pays to have the right enemies.

And it pays big time to always default on one’s loans….

Raul: “Como me encantan estos comemierdas.”

 

From Xinhua:

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has wrapped up his trip to Cuba aimed at boosting bilateral cooperation.

Li’s trip to Havana, the first official visit to Cuba by a Chinese premier since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1960, has attracted attention from the world’s influential media.

Reuters underlined the business deals Li and Cuban President Raul Castro signed when Li visited the island country following President Xi Jinping’s visit in 2014.

“The two leaders oversaw the signing of around 30 agreements on economic cooperation in various sectors,” the British news agency quoted the Cuban state media as saying.

Raul: “Quiza si me porto bien, Vlad se quita la camisa”

Aaaah!  But that’s not all.  King Raul gets a bonus this week.

A Russian trade delegation is in Havana to strike up deals.

The Russians are ready to build power plants and sell airplanes to King Raul and his merry men.

More freebies!

From Pravda:

Russia has proposed to build small power plants in Cuba and purchase long-haul aircraft at the meeting on trade and economic cooperation, the Russian trade representative in Havana Aleksandr Bogatyr reported.

Meeting of the Russia-Cuba working group of intergovernmental commission is to take place on 26 September.

‘The Russian company Rusgidro will offer to build small power plants in Cuba. There are no big rivers in Cuba, but it’s possible to produce small hydropower,’ Bogatyr said.

Aleksandr Bogatyr: “You will pay back loans, correct? Not like last time.”

According to him, Russia will also propose to consider purchase of the Russian MS-21 aircraft. As Bogatyr noted, the project has been just launched, and its presentation will be held in Cuba.

The Cubans plan to discuss production of citrus fruit and cooperation in this field. The case may be about supplies of equipment and fertilizers from Russia. ‘The Cubans consider to restore former volumes in order to export them to Russia as well then,’ Bogatyr pointed out. Now, the Cubans keep delivering sea foods to Russia.

As Pravda.Ru reported, Cuba is still one of the main Russia’s partners in the Western hemisphere.

Ah! The good old days!

 

After surviving Cuba’s Castro dictatorship, a tragic death for Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez

The death of any 24-year-old is a tragedy, but after everything Jose Fernandez went through to escape enslavement in Castro’s Cuba, it is all the more tragic.

Via Reason Magazine:

Miami Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez, Survivor of Cuba’s Castro Regime, Dies at 24

The father-to-be was one of three killed in a late-night boating accident.

josefernandezMiami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, one of the top young hurlers in Major League Baseball (MLB) and a leading contender for this year’s National League (NL) Cy Young Award, has died at the age of 24 in a boating accident off the coast of Miami Beach. The tragic mishap also claimed the lives of two other people early this morning, Miami’s Local News 10 reports.

Fernandez, the 2013 NL Rookie of the Year and a 2-time All-Star, had recently announced he and his girlfriend were expecting their first child.

In a 2013 interview with the Miami Herald, the Cuban-born Fernandez said he had spent a year in prison as a teenager for “illegally attempting to leave the country.” In Fernandez’s telling, it would take four attempts for he and his family to finally be able to successfully flee the impoverished island prison run by the Castro brothers since 1959.

When they crammed themselves onto a speedboat headed for Mexico and eventually the U.S., they had to avoid “flying bullets from Cuban coast guard boats” and then had to endure days “in the solitude of the the ocean,” according to the Herald. When one of the people in the boat fell overboard, Fernandez says he immediately jumped into the sea in an attempted rescue. He was successful, and only after securing the person did he realize the life he saved was his mother’s.

Despite the re-opening of the U.S. embassy in Havana and the normalizing of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, Raul Castro still presides over a corrupt and inept one-party communist government which brooks no dissent and severely restricts the free flow of information. It shouldn’t be surprising that Cubans continue to flee their home country, but that they are reportedly leaving in 78 percent greater numbers than they were a year prior demonstrates that Cubans sense their special status—allowing them an easier path to naturalization in the U.S. than any other country’s migrants—might be on its way out as a result of better relations between the two countries’ governments.