Why the Brigada 2506 Bay of Pigs veterans group endorsed Donald Trump

An analysis by John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

The reason why Brigade 2506 endorsed Donald Trump

Why in a tight race in Florida the Cuban vote could be decisive


The Brigade 2506 Veterans Association formally endorsed Donald Trump for President yesterday afternoon and received him at The Bay of Pigs Museum in Little Havana. This is the first endorsement for President ever made by the Brigade in its six decade long history.

As the insults rain down from those partisans upset with the Trump endorsement a natural question arises: Why after more than a half century of formal neutrality in Presidential elections did the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association decide to endorse a candidate?

There are a number of reasons for this decision and why Cuban Americans may vote for Trump in huge percentages:

Freeing a murderer of four Cuban Americans and downplaying state terrorism

On December 17, 2014 President Barack Obama announced that he was normalizing relations with the Castro regime, and he commuted the prison sentences of three Cuban spies. One of them Gerardo Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the murder of four members of Brothers to the Rescue on February 24 1996.  To add insult to injury two days later on December 19, 2014 at a year end press conference President Obama downplayed the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down as a “tragic circumstance” and not the premeditated act of state terrorism that had been plotted weeks in advance of February 24, 1996.

The Clintons’ terrible record on Cuba policy: then and now

The Clinton Administration engaged in unilateral concessions to the Castro regime and ended up with a mass exodus in 1994, a worsening human rights situation in Cuba, four young humanitarians murdered in an act of state terrorism over international airspace ordered by Fidel and Raul Castro on February 24, 1996. Despite all of this Bill Clinton refused to enforce the law tightening sanctions in 1996 in response to the shoot down, shook hands with Fidel Castro in 2000 and opened up trade with the Castro regime. In 2015 former President Clinton warmly greeted and met with Raul Castro despite his role in the murder of American citizens.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: Judge, then lawyer, now imprisoned Julio Ferrer Tamayo talks about corruption in Cuban judicial system

Waldo Fernandez Cuenca in Diario de Cuba:

A judge, then an independent lawyer, and currently in prison, Julio Ferrer Tamayo talks about the corruption of the Cuban judicial system


Before becoming an independent lawyer, Julio Ferrer Tamayo had a long career as a judge and attorney within the Cuban judicial system. During those years (1988-2004) Ferrer witnessed the lack of adherence to the law, and repeatedly corrupt practices affecting the administration of justice in the country.

Thus began Tamayo Ferrer’s disenchantment with the Castro regime, until in 2005 he was expelled from Bufetes Colectivos, the only entity from which citizens are allowed to contract legal services.

Ever since Tamayo Ferrer has been constantly butting heads with the authorities over their irregularities. The lawyer agreed to share his experiences and opinions about corruption in Cuban society, especially its judicial system, a scourge that prevents fair and impartial access to justice, and that in the future will hamper the Island’s transition towards a State governed by the rule of law.

Over the course of your career as a lawyer, how many instances of corruption have you faced, and of what types?

The most common form I have faced has been institutionalized corruption, coming from the top down. While working in the Court System the authorities repeatedly pressured subordinates to violate the law, invoking all manner of justifications, like “the good of the Revolution” or “the good of society,” invariably in the interest of some supposed social benefit, when the real beneficiary was a certain individual, who could be the son of a senior leader, or a certain civil servant they wanted to protect.

Any manifestation of corruption does damage. What, in your opinion, is the worst or the most widespread in Cuba?

I think the worst thing is, as I said before, institutionalized corruption. There is another kind: when an official working at an institution commits a corrupt act for certain personal reasons, or in the pursuit of profit, whether to benefit himself or someone else.This is easier to combat and eliminate. Institutionalized corruption, on the other hand, is especially harmful, because in these cases the highest authorities of a body are the ones issuing instructions to violate the law or to protect someone illicitly.

Can you cite any specific examples?

A good example is straight from my own life. I have suffered it, personally. The first time I was accused of a crime I did not commit, and for which I was imprisoned for 8 months, from 2005 to 2006, was a result of instructions from the highest levels of the Justice administration; Arnel Proenza Rizo, of the Western Regional Military Tribunal, acknowledged in private (and I was able to find out) that the president of the Supreme Court had issued orders to sanction me, at all costs.

I filed a complaint at that time with the National Assembly, and have yet to receive any response.

My case is not an isolated one. This is common practice in Cuba’s justice administration. Legal proceedings are subject to instructions issued by high-ranking officials, and judges’ decisions depend on those orders, not on legislation.

What is your assessment of the current state of corruption in the country?

I believe that corruption in the country has been on the rise, and become an everyday phenomenon in Cubans’ lives.

And my assertion is supported by what the authorities themselves responsible for detecting and combating the scourge have reported; in June of this year both the Minister of Finance and Prices, Lina Pedraza, and the Comptroller General, Gladys Bejerano, at a Council of Ministers meeting, recognized the tax evasion perpetrated during the first half of the year, this being divulged to the regime’s official press. Figures of 102 million Cuban pesos were cited, and thousands in convertible currency.

The Comptroller noted the difficulties they encountered in their work with the authorities and administrative staff, who often obstruct audit and internal control work precisely because they are corrupt themselves.

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Iran sets up a second home in Castro’s Cuba

Over the last eight years it has become painfully obvious that President Obama’s theory on foreign policy is that the interests of the United States are best served when we surrender to brutal dictatorships who are America’s enemies and shower them with millions of dollars in exchange for absolutely nothing. That dubious and desperately failed policy then eliminates any surprise that Iran and Cuba, two America-hating dictatorships that are major beneficiaries of the president’s ill-advised largess are becoming very good friends.

Via The Hill:

Cuba, Iran’s island in the sun


The Obama administration thinks Iran’s influence in Latin America is waning. That means it does not view the 80 or so cultural centers Iran has established across Central and South America as a threat.

Tehran begs to differ. It views these centers as a vehicle for the spread of its revolutionary ideology to America’s backyard. Iran’s official state visits, diplomatic agreements, commercial relations and volume of trade with the region do not come out to much. Far more important to the ayatollahs are the thousands of Latin American converts who, thanks to the centers’ missionary work, flock to the regime-run Al Mostafa International University in Qom each year for indoctrination.

Cuba is the most recent and unlikely addition to Iran’s growing network of missionary centers. In the last three years, Iran has established a Shiite cultural center and a mosque in Havana that is actively recruiting and converting Cubans. Many of its converts have already travelled to Iran, including one who is training as the first Cuban-born Shiite cleric.

Iran wants to preserve and expand this operation, especially now that Havana has relations with the United States.

So far, Iran has only won over a handful of people: Havana’s Shiite community amounts to no more than 70 members so far. But far more important than the numbers is the fact that the community exists at all: Communist Cuba is not exactly a haven for religious freedom and proselytism is forbidden.

Regardless, Iran says that the Shiite center on the island was established with the full knowledge and blessings of Cuban authorities. Given that there was no Shiite community on the island before Iran began proselytizing, Iran could not have made inroads with the communist regime in Havana under the pretext of serving local Muslims.

Iran came in to proselytize and the Castro government let them in.

Continue reading HERE.

Venezuela’s Reichstag moment

Daniel Duquenal in Venezuela News & Views:

Our Reichstag moment


It never ends well when a group uses its hordes to take a properly elected assembly (reichstag, French revolution) [via Twitter]

This is the tropics, this is a banana republic. What else could one expect but the picture above which should be making a few international front pages tonight.

The assault was planned as a mob scene. There is even an intercepted audio that may suggest active military involvement, instead of guaranteeing the security of a special Sunday National Assembly session. Whatever it was, it had no spontaneity whatsoever. It was a group coming from “colectivos” which are nothing more than a cross between S.S. and Cuban “comités de defensa de la revolución”. The whole led by Caracas mayor, Jorge Rodriguez, who managed to look more the dissociated psychopath than ever. There is an actual doubt as to whether he was running the show. It is probable that at some level he realized that the regime did not need further discredit this week… Then again….

At any rate, eventually the National Assembly managed to vote a resolution and it is a a red line. Crossed by the regime, by the way. Using the article 333 of the constitution (the 350 for outright rebellion is reserved for soon enough, I suppose) the National Assembly has decided that Maduro has perpetrated a coup and thus the Assembly needs to do the following:

– Demand that international organizations take notice and apply the necessary sanctions

– That Maduro should be brought for trial in front of the Assembly for the constitution violations and his own questioned right to be president

– Renew all the powers that helped Maduro commit the coup, namely the electoral Board CNE and the constitutional court TSJ

– Demand that the army, once and for all, decides which side of the constitution they stand

So now the regime has either to close down the National Assembly, or Maduro needs to resign, or, as the Church has apparently suggested, everybody resigns and we vote on EVERY elected official.

My bet is on the first one.

Continue reading HERE.

Hope and Change in Obama’s Cuba: Castro State Security ransack offices of human rights activists

repression cuba ladies in white damas de blanco

Obama’s Cuba policy has certainly brought many changes to the island, many of which are obvious and measurable. These “changes” include such things as a drastic increase in political arrests, more violent beatings of dissidents and women, and a surge in violent attacks against human rights activists.

“Hope and Change,” indeed.

Via Freedom House:

Cuba: Police Ransack Human Rights Offices

In response to Cuban authorities’ illegal raid of the Consejería Jurídica de Abogados Independientes de la Corriente Agramontista, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“Police targeted human rights defenders by unlawfully raiding four homes serving as offices for the Consejería Jurídica de Abogados Independientes de la Corriente Agramontista,” said Carlos Ponce, director for Latin America programs. “The lack of a warrant and the arrest of the organization’s director, Dianelys Rodriguez Morejon, shows their utter disregard for fundamental human rights.”


With a staff of six lawyers, Consejería Jurídica de Abogados Independientes de la Corriente Agramontista offers pro bono legal advice, workshops on human rights and present cases before international bodies. The group works closely with the Instituto Cubano por la Libertad de Expresión y Prensa.

Cuba is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2015.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

The high price in human life the world has paid for Communism

Via the Victims of Communism organization’s Dissident blog:

What Has Communism Cost The World?


How many deaths is too many? VOC’s #CommunismKills campaign begins with the premise that each individual life taken by communism is one too many. Communism has killed over 100,000,000 people over the last 100 years and continues to do so in the countries of China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, and Laos. This staggering number represents more than just an aggregate; it represents one hundred million individuals, each with his or her own history, dignity, and humanity.

In the last 100 years, since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, over 100 million people have been killed by communism. Many were executed directly by communist revolutionaries and functionaries who justified this murder as one more step toward an imagined communist utopia. Others were caught in the crossfire of civil wars, revolutions, and invasions as communist forces tried to expand their dominion by military force. Most, however, died as a result of massive famines caused by communist economic policies. In the Soviet Union and China, where most of communism’s victims lie, the famines were not incidental or accidental. Stalin directly targeted ethnic Ukrainians by seizing their property and food in the name of common ownership. Mao Zedong, upon hearing that his people were starving due to his communist economic policies, famously said, “Educate peasants to eat less.”

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the United States Congress worried that the “heroic sacrifices of the victims of communism may be forgotten as international communism and its imperial bases continue to collapse and crumble.” In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed Public Law 103-199, establishing the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, and reminding the world that Congress finds that, since 1917, the rulers of empires and international communism led by Vladimir I. Lenin and Mao Tse-tung have been responsible for the deaths of over 100,000,000 victims.”

The 100,000,000 number is made all the more upsetting by the fact that it’s inexact and growing. Unlike the Nazis, communists did not keep accurate records of the amount of people they killed. In places like China and Ukraine, government archives have only opened in the last decade, revealing that there are tragically more and more victims to be discovered, counted, and memorialized. Over the course of the past decades, many scholars have attempted to establish solid numbers for communism’s victims, some of which can be found here. The numbers that we use for the #CommunismKills campaign all come from The Black Book of Communism,[i] except for the figure that we use for the Soviet Union, which comes from Alexander Yakovlev’s A Century of Violence in the Soviet Union.[ii] Yakovlev was a Politburo member in the 1980s who was tasked with investigating Soviet crimes; his numbers still reflect a conservative estimate of victims of Soviet communism. All told, we have taken the scholarly estimates in The Black Book of Communism, which was published in 1999, and updated it in light of newer scholarship that comes from recently opened archives in China and former Soviet states like Ukraine.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: ‘It’s hard for the government to tolerate professionalism of independent journalists’

Joanna Columbie in Translating Cuba:

“It’s Hard for the Government to Tolerate the Professionalism of Independent Journalists”

Ignacio Gonzalez, journalist and editor of Free Hot Press agency
Ignacio Gonzalez, journalist and editor of Free Hot Press agency.

14ymedio, Joanna Columbie, Havana, 21 October 2016 – Ignacio Gonzalez is frequently seen in the streets of Havana with microphone in hand recording citizens’ reactions to a flood, a historic baseball game or the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the governments of Cuba and the United States. Independent journalist and editor of the Hot Free Press (ECPL) agency, the young man aspires to continue excelling professionally and thinks that non-government media are experiencing a time of growth.

Recently Gonzalez spent 48 hours under arrest at a police station as a consequence of his work as a reporter, an arrest that is among the repressive acts carried out against independent journalism in recent months.

Columbie: How was Hot Free Press born?

Gonzalez: It comes from the idea that people are again gaining confidence in the independent press, which had lost a little due to government propaganda that says that it involves unqualified and mercenary journalists. We interview not only the regime’s opponents but also doctors, engineers, can collectors, mechanics, carpenters… people like that.

Columbie: You suffered an arrest recently. What happened?

Gonzalez: I was doing a report together with another colleague on a study of central Havana, and an operation began with a patrol car, five police officers and two agents from State Security. They took us to the fourth police unit and interrogated me in one of the offices. They made me undress and squat forwards and backwards in order to see if I had hidden any USB drives. I felt denigrated.

Then I was transferred to a police station on Zanja Street and later to the 10th of October, located on Acosta Avenue. I was detained for 48 hours, which had never happened to me, because they had always detained me between three and four hours.

Columbie. Were you accused of some crime or are you now subject to some investigative process?

Gonzalez. They told me that they had a file on me and that I am a counter-revolutionary. Although they assured me that my detention was not because of political problems, but because I was committing an illicit economic activity, since I had an agency where it was known that I paid workers and that I had no license to practice this activity nor was I accredited in the country. They also threatened me that my equipment could be seized. I did not sign nor will I sign any paper. There is no accusation as such, what I have is threats.

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Cuba’s Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) releases statement on WikiLeaks Podesta email regarding Oswaldo Paya


Via the website of the Movimiento Cristiano Liberacion:

MCL Declaration on email of John Podesta, campaign manager for Hillary Clinton

“The truth will set them in solidarity with our freedom”


In a July 2015 email disseminated by wikileaks, John Podesta, campaign manager for Hillary Clinton says the phrase “Yes. Oswaldo Payá. The Cuban government forced him off the road and killed him almost certainly.”

That a very important person, also linked to the administration of President Obama and now the Democratic candidate, to make such a statement indicates that in the upper echelons of power in the United States they have evidence or details that allow them to make that statement.

The Christian Liberation Movement from the outset spread this message “Angel says that a vehicle forced us off the road” sent by Aron Modig, who traveled with Angel Carromero as a passenger in the vehicle that suffered the attack.

Since then we have been divulging all the details that we have known about this tragedy and called for an independent investigation to clarify what happened. Not only the United States, governments such as the Spanish, the Swedish and many foreign ministries have information about what occurred on July 22, 2012 on the road from Bayamo.

We hope that whoever wins the election demand and directly support this independent investigation into the death of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero and to support our demand, “One Cuban, one vote” for the freedom that Oswaldo and Harold Cuba lived and died for reach the hand of the sovereign decision of the people. This is the way for the democracies to have a relationship of total solidarity with Cuba that is also all of us Cubans who do not have rights.


Cuba’s U.S.-backed apartheid regime violently arrests more than a dozen dissidents in another Sunday of repression


More of Obama’s “Hope and Change” in Cuba as the brutally repressive apartheid dictatorship responds to the president’s latest unilateral concessions with more violence.

Via Diario de Cuba (my translation):

About a dozen Ladies in White and two activists arrested by State Security

A total of 11 Ladies in White and two activists were arrested this Sunday in Havana when they stepped outside of the women’s movement headquarters to participate in another march of the #TodosMarchamos (We all march) campaign that State Security forces continue to block.

Antonio Rodiles, the leader of the Forum for Rights and Liberties that sponsors the campaign for the release of political prisoners told DIARIO DE CUBA that at least six women had been arrested in the vicinity of the group’s headquarters in the Lawton neighborhood when they attempted to join the rest of the participants.

Rodiles added that during the usual act of repudiation, another four Ladies in White and two activists were violently arrested. Among them the leader of the group Berta Soler and former political prisoner Angel Moya.

Moya has been reporting via his Twitter account that a surveillance operation has been in place around the headquarters in Lawton since Thursday. This morning he denounced on Twitter that State Security incorporated a mentally disabled person in the surveillance operation and published several photos of their deployment.

A plea to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to demand Castros stop beating Cuba’s women

John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

Cuban plea to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Please tell Castro to stop ordering the beating of women and harboring of terrorists


On the eve of the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, “The Rebel Yell”, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas student newspaper published a full page ad urging them to “prod the Obama Administration to condition any future negotiations and affirmative responses to General Raul Castro’s requests to … the immediate end to beatings and abuses of peaceful dissidents by the regime’s police.”

The ad “calls on all Americans to petition General Raul Castro to stop beating and abusing these women.”

The petition, issued by the Center for a Free Cuba, an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the promotion of human rights in Cuba, says that “despite President Obama’s hopes since December 17, 2014 when he announced [his Cuba outreach], political repression including the beatings resulting in bone fractures and the dragging of the Ladies in White, mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters of political prisoners have increased.”

The ad includes five photographs of Cuban police assaulting the women, including two photographs showing them with broken arms. Among them in the photos is Laura  Pollán, the founder of the “Ladies in White” with a broken arm and her hand showing the “L” sign for liberty. Ms. Pollán died under suspicious circumstances at a Cuban hospital. The autopsy report has yet to be released.Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America, Mari Carmen Aponte and Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Tom Malinowski carried out diplomatic negotiations last week with Cuban officials. It is not known if the death of peaceful dissidents was discussed.

The petition asks Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump to urge General “Raul Castro [to permit] the International Committee of the Red Cross and Amnesty International to visit Cuba’s political prisoners.”

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: Cuba after a hurricane

By Ivan Garcia in Translating Cuba:

Cuba After a Hurricane

Elderly married couple married in their house which was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in Jesús Lores, El Marrón neighbourhood, Guantánamo.
Elderly married couple married in their house which was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.

One week. Perhaps two. That’s the shelf-life of news in Cuba about the recovery process after a hurricane has passed through. You can read information, which has a slight smell of triumphalism, about  the various teams of linesmen who re-establish communications and power.

A gallery of moving photos of the disaster provoked by the hurricane in Baracoa. The account is always related in military terms. As if it were an epic battle. If you can believe the newspaper headlines, the olive green big cheeses and first secretaries of the Communist party in the eastern regions really got down and touched base with the people.

While they are inspecting the devastation, they promise to build strong new houses, and they ask the people in neighbouring areas for more work and sacrifice, and tell them they can be absolutely sure that “the revolution will never abandon them”. After that, the news focus fades.

Then the state scribblers turn to concentrate on the starting of the new sugar harvest or in the “innumerable production successes”, which can only be effectively conveyed in the black ink of the national and provincial press.

The human drama starts up precisely on the day after a natural catastrophe terminates. Ask any of the 35 families who are surviving in precarious conditions in a big old dump of a place in the town of Cerro. The run-down development, number 208, is located way down in Domínguez Street.

The authorities declared the building uninhabitable in 1969. Its occupants have seen a dozen hurricanes pass through. As a result of the floods of April 29, 2015, caused by torrential downpours, Raúl Fernández lost all the electrical appliances his wife brought from Venezuela. “I am 46 and I was born in this place. I have spent years asking for an apartment so I can leave here and, up to now, my requests have been in vain. The town council is well aware of the situation of the families here and they do nothing”.

Some tenants say that the only things they have received have been foam mattresses. “But, if we wanted them, we would have to pay, in cash or installments. It is 900 pesos for singles and 1,400 for the bigger ones. Government corruption. Because insurance doesn’t work, or works badly in Cuba, people have to pay for the fuck-all that they give you — a mattress, a rice cooker and a packet of spoons and cups, says Magaly, who has lived in Domínguez for 20 years.

In 2015, by way of Resolution no, 143, The Ministry of Finance and Prices put out a regulation containing the procedure for valuing, certifying, setting prices, accounts, finance, fees, and risk and damage management in cases of natural, health and technological disasters.

That’s to say a family which loses its possessions needs to pay for what the state can give it at the commercial retail price level. If it can’t, they authorize a credit which has to be repaid in accordance with the terms set out by the bank.

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WikiLeaks: Hillary campaign manager John Podesta admits Cuba’s dictatorship murdered dissident Oswaldo Payá

Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero
Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero

In the latest batch of emails released by WikiLeaks from John Podesta, the Hillary Clinton campaign manager admits that Cuba’s Castro regime murdered Cuban human rights activist Oswaldo Payá. In July of 2012 Payá and Harold Cepero were assassinated by the Cuban government when the car they were traveling in was rammed off the road by State Security agents and crashed into a tree.

 Aron Modig's napmobile
In a response to an email asking about Payá, the former Clinton White House Chief of Staff and Counselor to President Obama replies that the Cuban dissident was “almost certainly” killed by the Cuban government:

Yes. Oswaldo Paya. Cuban government ran him off the road and killed him almost certainly.


For Rosa Maria Payá, a human rights activist and the daughter of the slain Cuban dissident, this latest WikiLeaks revelation divulges nothing new regarding the murder of her father. She believes that the Obama administration is very aware of the fact that her father was assassinated by State Security agents of the Castro government. In an interview with Martí Noticias, Rosa Maria Payá responded to the WikiLeaks email with the following (my translation):

“What WikiLeaks reveals is nothing new. We all know that what happened to my father was an assassination. We know that the U.S. administration is aware that the death of my father and Harold Cepero came as a result of an assassination carried out by the Cuban government’s State Security.”

Despite being aware of the Castro regime’s assassination of Payá and Cepero, the Obama administration has nevertheless continued its policy of unilateral concessions to the island’s apartheid dictatorship. Furthermore, as violent repression on the island has increased dramatically since the president’s policy change, the Hillary Clinton campaign has vowed to double-down on Obama’s failed Cuba policy. Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine says a Hillary administration will continue to move forward in normalizing relations with Havana’s apartheid regime and will definitely not take any steps backward.

In other words, Hillary Clinton will continue Obama’s policy of not holding the apartheid Castro regime accountable for its imprisonment and violent attacks against peaceful human rights activists or its assassinations of dissidents.