Because according to Obama, the best way to fight and defeat oppression is to embrace and support the oppressors.
Obama’s Lie, Starwood’s Ignominy
Since December 2014, President Obama has repeatedly said the purpose of his new policy was to “empower the Cuban people” and “promote their independence from the Cuban authorities.”
That is a lie.
This week, the agreement between the U.S.-based hotel company, Starwood, and the Cuban military’s tourism entity, Gaviota, was consummated.
Under the deal, Starwood will manage the Hotel Quinta Avenida in Havana for the Cuban military.
First and foremost, this arrangement is clearly inconsistent with U.S. law — it’s illegal and should be challenged as such.
Moreover, it proves Obama has not been forthcoming.
Allowing U.S. companies to partner directly with the most repressive security apparatus in the Western Hemisphere neither “empowers the Cuban people,” nor “promotes their independence from the Cuban authorities.”
It’s simply repulsive.
Obama claims his Cuba policy shows the “Cold War is over” — yet his policy harkens back to the darkest days of the Cold War, when the United States partnered with repressive regimes throughout the hemisphere.
There is no place for such immoral arrangements in the 21st century.
Adding insult to injury, the head of public relations for Starwood called the hotel — “a symbol of brotherhood and collaboration.”
With the Cuban military, that is.
The Obama Administration is bringing shame to the American flag by allowing it placed side-by-side with the flag of the Cuban-military’s cash-cow, Gaviota.
It is making the United States directly complicit with the repression of the Cuban people.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL):
“Every time I meet with Cuba’s dissidents, I am inspired by their heroism and reminded of the important work they are doing on the island to achieve a truly free and democratic Cuba. The men and women who visited me today have been jailed, beaten, threatened, censored and generally had their lives made miserable by the Castro regime. In Cuba, these men and women are feared for their principles and courage, but in America, they are always welcome in my office.
“I believe I will see a free and democratic Cuba in my lifetime, but only if the United States supports Cuban civil society groups and patriots like this, and stops enriching and supporting their oppressors. Individuals like these are the ones we should be defending, legitimizing, going to baseball games with, and doing everything we can do to support.”
Castro propaganda willingly disseminated by the media mixed with a healthy does of ignorance can make apartheid Cuba appear to be a great vacation destination. But when you strip away the propaganda and educate yourself about the reality of Cuba under the brutally repressive apartheid Castro dictatorship, it quickly ceases to look like a good idea.
Thinking about a vacation in Cuba? Don’t
“Tourism only fuels the [Castro] regime’s repressive machinery.”
— Sirley Ávila León
A U.S. tourist, returning from Cuba on an educational excursion, urged readers to “GO! Go for the history, old cars, art, music, beaches, marine life, beauty and people. Mostly, go for what you’ll feel in your heart.” Similar enthusiasm was expressed by visitors to Nazi Germany. In the foreboding years prior to World War II, foreign dignitaries, entrepreneurs, celebrities and tourists hobnobbed with Hitler and Nazi leaders.
Guests of the Third Reich, such as Charles Lindbergh and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, may or may not have been privy to Hitler’s draconian laws and violent persecution of Jews. Nonetheless, knowledge of ongoing atrocities against Germany’s Jews, and other perceived enemies of the Reich, was widely reported in U.S. newspapers of the 1930s. The substantive coverage of Hitler’s abuses did not dissuade pleasure-seekers and unscrupulous corporations from flocking to the Nazi state lending it legitimacy and revenue. Likewise, modern-day travelers to Cuba disregard the heightened repression, arrests and murder of defenseless Cubans, foreign nationals and journalists, and are willingly seduced by an illusion astutely crafted by Castro propagandists.
President Obama’s normalization speech, on Dec. 17, 2014, was premised on the false belief that the Cold War had ended and that an injection of tourism and commerce dollars would empower the Cuban people. In the case of China and Vietnam, rather than ameliorate egregious human rights abuses, U.S. financial resources further entrenched despotic rule in both authoritarian nations. Strikingly, decades of global trade and tourism with Cuba has not produced authentic reforms inducing greater individual liberties and legal protections.
Possessing cell phones that are censored, and operating small businesses whose licenses can be revoked, assets confiscated, and vendors jailed at the whim of Cuban authorities, does not constitute freedom. Entrepreneurs with connections to regime officials operate the “private” restaurants and lodgings, which are also subject to high taxes, extortion and surveillance.
The advertised “Potemkin village” tour is designed to fool foreign visitors. Tourists are shown the very best resorts, restaurants, hospitals and schools that the average, impoverished Cuban cannot access due to an enforced system of economic apartheid. The cultural education imparted during these tours are tinged with inaccurate Marxist interpretations of Cuba’s history fomenting misconceptions.
Visitors are taken to Havana’s notorious La Cabaña fortress, but the tour guides make no mention of the thousands of innocent Cubans executed within its walls and hastily thrown into mass graves.
In Cuba, the entire tourism industry is run by the military through GAESA, one of Castro’s monopolies. After Castro pockets the majority of the profits, the Cubans subcontracted by foreign companies receive a scant percentage in Cuban pesos. The Cuban military uses tourism money to finance domestic repression, global terrorism, drug-trafficking, weapons-smuggling and other illicit activities. The coveted bank credit and tourism dollars ensures the perpetuity of the Castro dictatorship.
Continue reading HERE.
As the White House’s Cuba narrative is dismantled and demolished by the reality of what is taking place on the island, President Obama responds by doing the only thing he knows how to do: Distract.
Obama’s Cuba Policy: Celebrity Distractions, Security Detraction
On Friday, a bipartisan delegation of House Homeland Security lawmakers were denied visas to travel to Cuba to inspect the safety and security of Cuban airports.
What was the reaction of the State Department?
To distract by announcing Shaquille O’Neal as a U.S. Department of State “Sports Envoy to Cuba.”
On Sunday, the headquarters of Cuba’s Ladies in White was violently assaulted by the Castro regime, which sought to steal their belongings and arrested dozens to prevent them from attending Mass.
What does the State Department do?
Distract by simultaneously holding a basketball clinic scheduled with the Castro regime, swarmed by the island’s state and foreign media, featuring Shaq.
As regards the latter, it’s no secret that Obama has relegated the well-being of Cuba’s courageous democracy leaders to his frivolous legacy.
But Obama is now also sacrificing America’s security interests.
In case you haven’t been paying attention over the last few months (or been successfully distracted by Obama’s celebrity circus), here’s a timeline of events:
— Amid Obama’s political expansion of direct commercial flights to and from Cuba, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials privately express concerns to House Homeland Security lawmakers regarding the security and infrastructure of Cuba’s airports.
— The House Homeland Security Committee schedules a hearing to analyze these concerns, but is stonewalled by The White House. (See here for more.)
— Under threat of subpoena, one relevant TSA official publicly testifies to the House Homeland Committee, but won’t discuss specifics.
— The Associated Press travels to Cuba’s airports with U.S. airline officials and highlights various security and infrastructure concerns. (See here for more.)
— A bipartisan delegation of House Homeland Security lawmakers are denied visas to Cuba to independently investigate these concerns.
— The State Department sends Shaq to distract.
Sadly, this is no laughing matter.
‘Who judges them?’
Doraisa Correoso Pozo was born in Santiago de Cuba on 11 April, 1969. When she was five years old she and her siblings witnessed the murder of their mother, Ladis Luisa Pozo, stabbed by a man who claimed to be in love with her. She was raised, above all, by her father, Salvador Correoso Martínez, with whom she lived for three years in the truck he used for work.
At 16 Doraisa was the victim of a rape that resulted in the birth of her only son, Frank Odelvis Deroncelé Correoso, in 1985.
In 1994 she tried to leave the country with her son. Her younger brother, Andrés Noel Correoso Pozo, who also sought to emigrate, was taken to prison for two years, but ended up serving eight. All that time, Doraisa explains, she sought justice for him.
In 1996 she joined the organisation “Followers of Chivás,” later dubbed the “Party of the People,” and began a life of intense activity in support of the opposition and political mobilisation.
In 2000 she backed the Varela Project, and went to on become a “Lady of Support” to the “Ladies in White.” She regularly attended in support of Laura Pollán in Havana, but on July 16, 2011 they decided to march towards El Cobre, headed by Belkis Cantillo Ramírez, then the representative of the women’s group in Santiago de Cuba.
There State Security forces awaited them, with individuals mobilised to attack them. Belkis Cantillo was stabbed in an arm and a truck hit Doraisa and knocked her down. The incident left her laid up at the Saturnino Lora Provincial Hospital for several days.
On February 10, 2016, Doraisa Correoso was very close to her house, in front of the Third (Motorised) Unit, located on Fourth Street, between Aguilera and Enramada. She was there demanding freedom for Lisandra Rivera Rodríguez when a group of policemen – or members of the military dressed as police – emerged from the facilities and brutally attacked the 11 protestors there, among them Enrique Figuerola, who suffered a broken jaw.
“They told me that Lisandra had been taken away by the police and was being held at the Third Unit. I told another sister of mine, and Enrique, and we all went to the Third with Damarys Rodríguez Ramos, Lisandra’s mother.”
“In Santiago, when someone is arrested or in trouble, we all lend our support, regardless of the organisation to which he or she belongs. We asked for her release, peacefully, because that’s what we are: peaceful fighters. Suddenly, and I don’t know why, a group of political police officers came out and gave us a terrible beating. Agents “Julio” and “Richard” (false names) were in charge of the operation.
Bush Gives the Medal of Freedom to a Cuban Hero
In 2007, President George W. Bush awarded the Medal of Freedom in absentia to the Cuban human rights and democracy activist Oscar Elias Biscet. This week, he was able to place the award on Biscet’s shoulders.
The 2007 citation read as follows:
Oscar Elias Biscet has dedicated his life to advancing human rights and democracy in Cuba. A medical doctor, he has been persecuted for his peaceful calls for a free Cuba. A former prisoner of conscience, he remains a powerful advocate for a Cuba in which the rights of all people are respected. Freedom-loving people everywhere are his brothers and sisters, and his sacrifices benefit all mankind. The United States stands with Oscar Elias Biscet in his heroic struggle against tyranny, salutes him for his courage, and honors him for his devotion to freedom and human rights.
Biscet could not receive the award because he was in one of Castro’s prisons. But this week he was able to travel to Dallas, where former President Bush gave him the award.
Here’s some of what Bush said:
Laura and I welcome you, we thank you. This is an extraordinary event, one that should lift the soul of every American.
In 2007, I awarded the Medal of Freedom to Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet. I did so because of his courage and devotion to freedom. He couldn’t be with us then because he was in a prison cell, locked away for daring to criticize Cuba’s communist regime and for demanding respect for the fundamental rights of the Cuban people. For the past several years, Oscar has entrusted his Medal of Freedom to the Bush Institute’s Freedom Collection….
There’s still a long road ahead before Cuba’s freedom is realized, but at long last, Oscar has finally been released from prison and allowed to leave the island. So, we welcome you, Oscar. We’ve been waiting for you and we are thrilled you’re here.
I want to read a few words from my speech in the East Room when we announced your Medal of Freedom. Here is part of what I said:
“Oscar Biscet is a healer — known to 11 million Cubans as a physician, a community organizer, and an advocate for human rights. For decades, he has told the world what he has seen in Cuba: the arrogance of a one-party state; the suppression of political dissent; the coercion of expectant mothers. For speaking the truth Dr. Biscet has endured repeated harassment, beatings, and detentions. The international community agrees that Dr. Biscet’s imprisonment is unjust, yet the regime has refused every call for his release.
“To the Cuban dictatorship, Dr. Biscet is a ‘dangerous man.’ He is dangerous in the same way that Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi were dangerous. He is a man of peace, a man of truth, and a man of faith. In captivity, he has continued to embody courage and dignity. His example is a rebuke to the tyrants and secret police of a regime whose day is passing.
Continue reading HERE.
More than a year after President Obama announced his new Cuba policy to “empower” the Cuban people by effectively surrendering to the apartheid Castro regime and showering the dictatorship with unrequited love, Cubans on the island are still waiting to see the benefits. What they have seen since Obama’s policy change, however, is a significant increase in violent repression, skyrocketing political arrests, and as we see below, ongoing zero tolerance for any materials that challenge the oppressive status quo on the island. There’s your “Hope and Change.”
Cuban Communists Seize “Counter-Revolutionary” Literature at Customs
Castro Regime’s “Openness” to the World Includes Censuring Non-Communist Ideas
Customs authorities have reportedly doubled efforts to fight drug trafficking and the smuggling of “counterrevolutionary” literature to the island.
Through May, customs agents captured six kilograms of cocaine, seven kilograms of marijuana and stopped a total of 41 attempts to smuggle narcotics. Thirty-one of these were for personal use and 10 looked to be for traffic.
The border agency also said it neutralized over 800 infractions in security lines, mentioning among the infractions the entry to the country of “literature with subversive content directed to counterrevolution”.
According to Cuban press, the deputy Director of the Republic’s General Customs (AGRC), Moraima Rodríguez, pointed out the attempts were neutralized, thanks to the skill of personel in the terminals and high tech equipment, like x rays and the advance information for risk detection technique.
Infractions included attempts to introduce devices, satellite equipment, weapons, brass knuckles, bow with arrows, rifles and handguns to the country, among other things.
“After a raise in the flow of international travelers, freight and the rise of containers in international transit, customs has created the necessary conditions for direct communication of information exchange and operational cooperation in real time with other countries,” officials said.
After a Swiss foundation named Havana, Cuba as one of the new 7 wonders of the world, there are many of you out there who would like to see just how wonderful Havana truly is. Well, here is a video tour just for you that takes you behind the scenes to see the real wonders of Havana:
Total Addiction to Power
Some years ago the Latin American left abandoned the guerrilla struggle as the main way to gain power, choosing to use, instead, the existing democratic institutions and mechanisms in their respective countries.
The problem presents itself when, through these same institutions and mechanisms, they must leave power. Then we see the machinations begin, the changing of constitutions, the setting aside of democratic institutions, abuses of power and other aberrations of a totalitarian character. The examples are endless.
In Argentina, since the opposition with Macri at the helm won the elections, former president Cristina Fernandez and her adepts have tried every possible way to make it difficult for them to exercise power.
In Venezuela, when the Chavistas lost their majority in the National Assembly, they started and still continue a process of disavowing the work of the Assembly, even going to the extreme of creating an unconstitutional monstrosity they call “the Congress of the Country,” which includes ignoring the call for a mid-term referendum.
The Chavistas are violating all democratic laws, documents and regulations, and continue to protest and even receive support from their external minions when they make a call to order.
In Bolivia, the self-styled “first indigenous president” tries to hold another referendum, ignoring the results of the previous one, so that he can be re-elected in perpetuity.
In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega is again nominated for president for the November elections.
In Brazil, the offensive against the government that replaced Dilma Rousseff has not ceased and now, as it that weren’t enough, former president Lula de Silva reappears, wanting to present himself as a candidate for president in 2018.
The left, when it gets a taste of “the honey of power,” becomes totally addicted. They must be urged to find an effective treatment to avoid this.
New York Times Apology: As a Venezuelan I Accept It — about Time!
Can We Forgive Years of Misreporting about Venezuela’s Authoritarian Leaders?
Since 1999, the New York Times’s reporters and editors consistently reported on Venezuela as if the country’s poor were neglected until a heroic and always well-intentioned Hugo Chávez arrived on the scene.
They ignored the fact that, since 1958, Venezuela’s democratically elected leaders were all either social democrats or Christian socialists. Parties of the right never even came close to winning national elections. Healthcare and public education, including universities, have been universally available and free since 1936.
Anyone with knowledge of Latin America or who visited the country in 1980 would have noticed that public health was not only available to everyone but also as good as the best private healthcare found in the rest of the continent.
Yet, reading NYT’s coverage of Venezuela over the last 17 years, one finds nothing but praise for Hugo Chávez and his “unprecedented” social programs.
President Carlos Andrés Pérez, whom Hugo Chavez, and the NYT contributor Nicolás Maduro, tried to overthrow in a bloody coup in 1992, was the darling of the “progressive world” for two decades. Mr. Pérez, who re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1974, nationalized foreign and domestic oil and mining companies.
Beginning with his administration, foreign investment was not allowed in telecommunications, food distribution or banking, among many other fields. Billions were spent on creating giant state-owned steel and aluminum companies and oil production was curtailed because oil riches “corrupted the values of the Venezuelan citizen.”
These same policies were not only continued but were deepened by the administrations that followed. All presidents before Hugo Chávez belonged to parties with membership in the International Socialist Movement.
Over the past 40 years, private companies in Venezuela were free to set the prices for the goods they sold without prior government approval for only three years (1991-1994).
For years, however, NYT reporters and editors conveyed the impression that Venezuela was a capitalist economy prior to Hugo Chávez’s wonderful socialist paradise. The poor, they claimed, were never better off.
Human Rights Watch, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC), the U.S. State Department, and the European Parliament made many pronouncements regarding the total loss of judicial independence in Venezuela.
During the last two presidential elections, the European Union refused to send observers, stating clearly that the Venezuelan government would not provide an adequate environment for the experts to do their jobs.
Yet the NYT and its editors kept making references to Mr. Maduro’s legitimate election as Venezuela’s leader in 2013.
Finding evidence of Cuban involvement within the Venezuelan administration is rather easy. Spain’s most prominent newspaper, El País, ran an extensive series of very well documented articles on that very subject.
Any Venezuelan lawyer can provide ample evidence of rules, laws and treaties now in force that allow Cuban police officers and other security personnel to carry weapons in Venezuela and even make arrests inside Venezuela.
Copies of contracts given to Cuban government companies for the automation of Venezuela’s national ID and passport systems, its property and commercial registry and all notaries, are easy to obtain for anyone who tries.
But as late as 2014, the NYT reported from Caracas that the opposition leaders “offer little hard evidence to back their suspicions” of Cuban involvement.
Continue reading HERE.
You may be asking yourself: Which Americans are welcomed in Obama’s Cuba and which are not? Well, it depends.
If you are a celebrity traveling to Cuba to support and promote the brutally repressive apartheid Castro dictatorship, then you have the green light to come on over. On the other hand, if your visit may reflect badly on the regime and expose it for the repressive, corrupt, and terrorist sponsoring entity that it is, then you simply are not allowed in.
While Shaquille O’Neal was enjoying his visit to apartheid Cuba yesterday as the White House “envoy of sports,” dozens of Ladies in White and peaceful human rights activists were brutally arrested by the U.S.-backed Castro dictatorship in yet another Sunday of violent repression. Obama’s Cuba may be wonderful for American tourists, but it is proving to be quite treacherous for Cubans.
Ladies in White arrested and reporter filming repression is attacked
The reporter described the actions of the people in the street attacking the activists as “very violent.”
A group of 16 Ladies in White and 5 human rights activists were arrested this Sunday in Havana’s Lawton neighborhood. An independent journalist was also attacked as he filmed the repression.
Carlos Manuel Figueroa, a Cubanet reporter, told Martí Noticias that he was attacked by a group of people carrying out an “act of repudiation” against the participants of the Todos Marchamos (We all march) campaign.
“I had climbed up on the porch fence and was filming the repression when a young man hit me in the stomach with a club and then ran away,” said Figueroa.
The reporter described the actions of the people on the street as “very violent” and said “they were also throwing rocks at the house and screaming obscenities with no regard for the women that were there.”
“Many violations were committed today because they even climbed up on the eave of the roof to reach a video camera installed inside the house that was filming the scene in the street through a window,” he said.
According to Figueroa, “the theft” of the camera installed in the window was to stop the filming of the attacks against activists.
Luisa Ramona Toscano, a Lady in White who remains behind at the house to watch over it when the other ladies go march said that “they beat them and handcuffed them” before they were transported to a bus.
Furthermore, they received reports that another 11 Ladies in White and two male activists were also arrested when they tried to attend church services at Santa Rita church.
Before being arrested, Berta Soler, the representative for the Ladies in White Movement, told Martí Noticias that “the surveillance of the headquarters beginning at dawn has now become commonplace.”
She added that they had received reports of arbitrary detentions of twelve women from the Palma Soriano municipality in Santiago de Cuba for a “short period” to prevent them from attending church services.
Before being arrested as well, former political prisoner and Soler’s husband, Angel Moya, published photos on social media showing what was happening around the headquarters.
“They have surveillance cameras set up to watch the headquarters and since early this morning they have placed cars, police cruisers, and the bus they use to transport those they arrest when we come out to carry out Todos Marchamos,” Moya told Martí Noticias.
This Sunday’s attacks make 59 incidents of repression against the participants of the Todos Marchamos campaign.
This past June 19th, the Ladies in White suffered repression upon leaving the opposition movement’s headquarters in Havana. On his YouTube channel, Moya is documenting what takes place every Sunday when the activists come out to march.
Hear the reports and see the attacks against peaceful human rights activists in Cuba HERE.