Despite Obama’s amorous advances, Cuba’s Castro regime remains a prime enemy of the U.S.

They say love is blind. And in the case of Obama’s unbridled love for Cuba’s notoriously repressive apartheid Castro regime, it is also blind to the millions oppressed, the tens of thousands viciously murdered, the despicable apartheid, and the Castro dictatorship’s never-ending threat to U.S. national security.

Ana Quintana in Newsday:

Raul Castro’s demands for Gitmo plus reparations show Cuba still a prime enemy!/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/display_600/image.jpg

Late last month, Cuban President Raul Castro stood before the U.N. General Assembly to berate the U.S. and demand a host of concessions from Washington.

Topping his list of demands was America returning Guantanamo Bay to Cuban control and paying reparations for its decades-long trade embargo against the regime.

Neither demand is reasonable, much less in America’s national interests.

Guantanamo rightfully belongs to the U.S. Legally, the terms of America’s lease are indisputable.

At the conclusion of the Spanish-American War, the U.S. Congress passed the Platt Amendment. The legislation required the U.S. to ensure Cuba’s freedom and stipulated that, in exchange, Cuba must “sell or lease to the United States the lands necessary for coaling or naval stations.” The benefits of this arrangement were not lost on the Cuban government. A 1902 amendment to their constitution reflected as much, and one year later, the U.S. leased the current location of the naval base.


The strategic value of having a neighbor free from Spanish rule and agreeable to facilitating the regional operations of the U.S. Navy was undeniable. And it remains undeniable today.

Arguments supporting reparations for the Cuban government are ill-founded as well. The trade embargo was imposed in response to Fidel Castro’s illegal nationalization of American assets then worth $1.8 billion. Decades later, the almost 6,000 claims certified by the U.S. Department of Justice are valued at over $7 billion.

This figure does not include the property confiscated from hundreds of thousands of Cubans before and after they were forced to leave Cuba by the Castro regime.

The embargo cannot legally be lifted until the claims issue is resolved. Havana’s counterclaim for damages suffered as a result of their initial malfeasance is asinine.

Unfortunately the Obama administration has chosen to unilaterally “normalize” relations with this regime, the last vestige of Cold War communism.

Read it all HERE.

Obama’s normalizing of relations with Cuba’s dictatorship leads to escalation in repression on the island

Nat Hentoff at the Cato Institute:

Normalizing U.S. Relations with Cuba Leads to Escalation in Repression of Cuban Dissidents Dec. 10, 2014, the Cuban government marked the 64th anniversary of international Human Rights Day with sweeping nationwide arrests of pro-democracy dissidents. One week later, on Dec. 17, President Obama announced that the United States and Cuba had agreed to begin the process of normalizing relations.

The agreement, reached after 18 months of negotiations, included plans to reopen the U.S. and Cuban embassies in Havana and Washington, D.C., and a promise by President Obama to advocate for an end to the economic embargo of Cuba. In exchange, Cuba released 53 political prisoners on a list presented by the U.S. negotiators.

The Cuban government’s response at each stage in the process of reconciliation has been a steady escalation in the arbitrary harassment, abuse, arrest and detention of Cuba’s pro-democracy dissidents.

Human Rights Watch reports that “the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) — an independent group the (Cuban) government views as illegal — received over 7,188 reports of arbitrary detentions from January through August 2014, a sharp increase from approximately 2,900 in 2013 and 1,100 in 2010 during the same time period.”

Before CCDHRN’s blog stopped being updated in June, its monthly arrest reports reflected that Cuban security police had made over 2,000 detentions for peaceful political activity since President Obama announced the normalization of relations in December 2014.

“Detention is often used pre-emptively to prevent individuals from participating in peaceful marches or meetings to discuss politics,” Human Rights Watch noted in its 2015 report on Cuba. “Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.”

Yilenni Aguilera Santos is a member of the Damas de Blanco (“Ladies in White”) protest movement, a group of wives and family members of former and current political prisoners. On June 22, 2014, she reported suffering a miscarriage following a severe beating by Cuban security police during her detention in Holguin.

On Sept. 27, 2015, the website Diario de Cuba reported that the 21-year-old daughter of Damas de Blanco member Daisy Basulto was arrested, violently stripped, forced to urinate in front of police officers and then held in a cell at a police station in Cotorro, where she was exposed to a toxic chemical that made her ill.

The Cuban government prides itself on the excellence of its free nationwide healthcare system. But it maintains an “overcrowded,” “unhygienic” prison system, where “unhealthy conditions lead to extensive malnutrition and illness,” according to Human Rights Watch. Inmates “who criticize the government, or engage in hunger strikes and other forms of protest, are subjected to extended solitary confinement, beatings, restrictions on family visits, and denial of medical care.”

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: Children without milk

Boris Gonzalez in Translating Cuba:

Children Without Milk

14ymedio, Boris Gonazales, 7 October 2015 – My son will be seven years old this Thursday, October 8. For decades, seven has been the age chosen by Fidel Alejandro Castro and maintained by his brother Raul Modesto for Cubans to stop drinking milk.

Every ten days a Cuban child under age 7 receives 2.2 pounds of powdered milk for the price of 2.50 in Cuban pesos, about 10 cents in US dollars. The minimum Cuban wage is around $10 a month, and the average is about $18 a month, and however prices are adjusted for markets around the world, you can see it would be impossible for a Cuban worker. In Spain and Brazil it is possible to buy a quart of milk for the equivalent of $0.70 on the US dollar, but such a figure approaches a day’s wages for a Cuban teacher.

Outside this milk quota received by my son, which he shares with his older sister, Cubans who want to drink milk or give it to their children or parents, have to buy it in the market in dollars. But there the price of milk far exceeds what is charged for children under seven, and also exceeds what it costs in most markets in the world. More than four times what it costs abroad, and a quarter of the Cuban minimum monthly wage. The milk sold at such a price is often already expired on the shelves. As of age seven, not even Cuban children can drink milk, nor will they be able to do so for the rest of their lives.

The times of White Udder are past, she was a cow with a tumor and the attention of one no less damaging than Fidel A. Castro. In the ‘80s she broke the world record for the most milk produced in a day. They say the comandante paid filial attention to the beast, making her into a star of articles, documentaries, frequent visits from specialists from around the world and, according to a computer engineer who emigrated, it was an honor in those years to be invited by Fidel A. Castro to toast with a glass of milk from those diseased udders.

It is known that the comandante’s passions were, for decades, objects of national worship. The Yankees were hated until last 17 December, Celia Sanchez was the truest flower, PPG – a pill to regulate cholesterol – came to rub shoulders with the rest of the national symbols, and five spies charged with involvement in murder were made into heroes.

Aside from delirium, to exalt the Cuban dairy industry was a propaganda move. The Revolution had triumphed, among other things, to bring a glass of milk to every child and one cow was enough to meet this ambitious goal, according to the logic offered by the Party leader. If we consider that the Communist organization emphasized greed more than bringing together members who believed in the supposed aims of the Revolution, we can understand why this particular heroine is stuffed in a livestock research institute like Lenin in his mausoleum.

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Inside Cuba’s ‘World-Class’ hospitals: What the Castro regime doesn’t want you to see

By Belen Marty in PanAm Post:

Inside the Cuban Hospitals That Castro Doesn’t Want Tourists to See

Island’s “World-Class” Health Care Is a Myth Wrapped in Propaganda
The reality of the Cuban health-care system is far from the paradise promoted on billboards.

By the time I climbed the steps of the emergency room entrance in San Miguel, Havana, I could already tell that the supposed first-class health care provided in Cuba was a myth. Hospitals in the island’s capital are literally falling apart.

Friends told me to dress “like a Cuban” and not to speak while inside, since my Argentinean accent would give me away the moment I said hello. A member of the opposition Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) party came along to guide me in my journey to the core of communist-style medicine.

We entered the hospital at 10 p.m. on an ordinary Saturday night in September. Three out of the hospital’s four stories were closed. Only the ER was operational.

“We have been waiting for an ambulance for four hours,” yelled a man wearing green scrubs, who seemed to be a doctor. I sat on one of the four plastic chairs in the waiting area. My friend kept still and gestured to let me know I should remain silent and listen to the patients and their relatives.

Twenty minutes went by, and still no ambulance. The man in green scrubs remained at his mother’s side on an improvised stretcher, trying not to lose his patience. They looked like characters from the play Waiting for Godot.

The scarce equipment available gave the building the appearance of a makeshift medical camp, rather than a hospital in the nation’s capital. stood up and continued my tour. Two nurses stared at us but didn’t say a word as we entered an intensive-care unit, where the facility’s air-conditioned area began.

My guide — a taxi driver for tourists who don’t get to see this part of town — told me that all the doctors working the night shift are still in school. Indeed, none of them appeared to be older than 25.

The only working bathroom in the entire hospital had only one toilet. The door didn’t close, so you had to go with people outside watching. Toilet paper was nowhere to be found, and the floor was far from clean.

I saw biological waste discarded in a regular trash can. The beds had no linen, and the only equipment around was the bag of IV fluids hanging above them. All doctor’s offices had handwritten signs on the doors, and at least four patients waited outside each room. The average wait time for each was around three hours.

Orderlies were also nowhere to be seen. A young man had to push his mother on a stretcher until he reached the line of those waiting for an ambulance.

Continue reading HERE.

Obama’s Secretary of Commerce goes to Cuba to promote Castro regime’s criminal corruption and slave labor

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Why is Pritzker Promoting Kleptocracy and Labor Violations in Cuba?

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker is on a two-day visit to Cuba, as part of the Obama Administration’s new policy of promoting business — despite it being against the law — with Castro’s dictatorship.

The highlight of her trip yesterday was a tour of Castro’s new Port of Mariel facility, which serves as a model of everything that’s wrong about business in Cuba.

(Pablo Diaz Espi, editor of Diario de Cuba, explains why — here.)

In short, the Port of Mariel was built by the Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht, in minority partnership with a shadow company of the Cuban military (Almacenes Universal, S.A.).

It was financed with money fleeced from Brazilian taxpayers, which is now under investigation.

Odebrecht’s CEO, Marcelo Odebrecht, is in prison as part of a major corruption scheme.

Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva is under investigation for influence-peddling on behalf of Odebrecht in Mariel, which included various “gifts” to dictator Raul Castro.

Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff suddenly “classified” all documents regarding the Port of Mariel dealings, a shady and unprecedented move.

Cuban weapon shipments to North Korea, in violation of international sanctions, were being smuggled from the Port of Mariel even prior to its completion.

Odebrecht has been found guilty of slave-like labor practices.

Moreover, why would Pritzker promote business and investment — despite it being against the law — with a regime that violates every essential international labor norm.

In other words, why would she lobby to allow American companies to partake in such gross violations of international law, including the:

Forced Labor Convention (No. 29) and Abolition of Forced Labor Convention (No. 105);

Freedom of Association and Protection to Organize Convention (No. 87);

Protection of Wages Convention (No. 05);

Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention (No. 98);

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (No. 111);

Employment Policy Convention (No. 122); and

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 23).

Is promoting kleptocracy and labor violations a new centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s Cuba policy?

Is now the right time to lift sanctions on Cuba’s corrupt Castro regime?

Once again, the comically preposterous theory that you can eliminate Cuba’s apartheid Castro dictatorship by investing billions of U.S. dollars in it gets obliterated.

Pablo Diaz Espi in Diario de Cuba:

Is Now the Right Time?

Will a lifting of the US embargo be beneficial with the Castros still in power?

The most recent and vocal proponents of the lifting of the American embargo on Cuba wield as their main argument that this measure will benefit the Cuban people, improving their quality of life and, in the mid term, facilitating the spread of democracy to the island. It is worth analyzing how valid and accurate these arguments really are.

A few days ago the Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo provided a glimpse of what could happen in a Cuba free of commercial restrictions but still under the Castros’ control. During a visit to the island by former president Lula da Silva, in 2011, the Odebrecht Group, a construction giant responsible for the work in the area of Mariel —featuring a new container terminal covering 465 km2 for free trade, located to the west of Havana— allegedly lavished gifts on Raúl Castro.


The argument that a lifting of the embargo would be a blessing for the island’s people warrants very careful reflection. Let us suppose that all the economic and commercial restrictions are actually lifted, and that the regime acquires access to loans and the green light to negotiate with any and all capitalists dropping by the gardens of the Hotel Nacional. Who will oversee those loans for Cuba? What institutions?  Who will decide what to buy, and at what price?  General Rodríguez Callejas? The state that has striven to stymie a system of dual currency?

The immense debt and the corruption generated by a state without institutions or freedoms would be another heavy weight to be borne by all Cubans —above all by the poorest: the black population, residents in rural areas, those without access to the hard currency or the information society; those who the Castro regime keeps marginalized.

In this regard, though it may seem counter-productive, the current embargo in its present configuration —with Havana free to acquire medicine and foods, the increase in permitted money wires, the ease with which one can travel, and Washington’s offer to develop telecommunications on the island— just might be a better deal for the Cuban people than its elimination. In the long run, maintaining it may help to reinforce an institutional framework that is necessary for the country’s future. To lift it would open the door to more corruption, more opportunism, and more wrongdoing.

If the embargo is lifted now, who shall ensure justice, fairness and reason when it comes to contracting debts and investing, and defend the true interests of the Cuban people?  Who will decide what course to follow as a nation? Capitalist partners, companies like Odebrecht, or the state which has squandered billions of dollars on a demented “Battle of Ideas” and dispatched thousands of agents and troops to infiltrate half the world?

Read the entire article HERE.

Obama’s engagement with Cuba’s corrupt dictatorship: Helping democracy or kleptocracy?

Via Democracy Digest:

Engagement helps Cuban democracy – or kleptocracy?

The United States could end its embargo on Cuba “before full democracy exists” on the island, says US Secretary of State John Kerry. He told Chilean TV that a “full democracy requires time, but there is progress.”

“For instance, we don’t have full democracy in Vietnam, but we eliminated the embargo because we saw progress (…) There was no democracy in China when we normalized our relations and began to make progress,” said Kerry. “Personally, I believe the embargo should be lifted, because it would help the people of Cuba,” he concluded.

He also described Venezuela as a “democracy in trouble,” adding that the upcoming parliamentary elections (Dec. 6) would offer a “measure of what sort of democracy it is.”
Antonio Rodiles

But Cuban opposition activists fear that the US rapprochement will legitimize the Communist authorities rather than facilitate democratic change.

“Legitimizing the [Castro] regime is the contrary path to a transition,” Cuban democracy leader Antonio Rodiles [who was recently beaten by pro-government thugs – right] told Diario de Cuba. Other analysts argue that economic engagement with a corrupt government is more likely to consolidate kleptocracy rather than cultivate democracy.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: Independent journalist Roberto de Jesus Quiñones arrested in Guantanamo

14yMedio in Translating Cuba:

Independent journalist Roberto de Jesus Quiñones Arrested in Guantanamo

Independent journalist Roberto de Jesus Quiñones.

At six in the morning on Monday, a group of 15 Interior Ministry troops stormed the house of lawyer and an independent journalist Jesus Quiñones Haces, in the city of Guantanamo. The troops conducted a thorough search and took the reporter, without specifying the reasons for his arrest or his final whereabouts.

According to his mother, Maria Haces, 77, among those who participated in the operation were men in olive-green uniforms and others in blue and black, plus individuals in plainclothes. The entire search process was filmed with a small camera and they ultimately seized a computer, several disks and documents. The arrest occurred in the absence of the Quiñones’s wife, who is traveling in the United States.

The reporter is also a member of the Corriente Agramontista association of independent lawyers. His reports on events in his province are published by the agency CubaNet and one of his last works denounced the poor state of the road known as La Farola, in the Nipe-Sagua mountain range of Tánamo-Baracoa.

Before turning to independent journalism, he was a member of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) and collaborated with the official press on reviews of the cultural life of his city.

No references of any facts that led to the police action, as it is not the exercise of their professional activities. An official present in the operation said the mother of the detainee no later tonight or tomorrow, Tuesday would be released.

The arrest occurs within hours of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA). during its meeting in Charleston (South Carolina, USA), expressing its concern about the situation of the press in Cuba and repression against independent reporters.

A day in the life of the Cuban regime’s most feared man

Belen Marty in PanAm Post:

A Day in the Life of the Cuban Regime’s Most Feared Man

José Daniel Ferrer Preserves the Fight for Freedom on the Communist Island
José Daniel Ferrer (center) lives in Santiago de Cuba, but travels frequently to Havana to spread a message of freedom.

“Are we being followed?” I ask with a shaky voice, without shame. We are driving around Havana in a white car from the 1980s with three members of the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU), including José Daniel Ferrer, its general coordinator and the regime’s most feared man.

Even though Ferrer was born and raised under the island’s communist rule, he managed to survive government indoctrination. He’s been a fighter for democracy and the rule of law for years. He believes all men are born free, and Cubans should have the right to speak their minds without fear.

“They follow us to find out where I am, and where I’m going; who’s with me; who I meet with; and what our plans are. Our organization is known for carrying out activities in parks and public spaces,” he says.

He tells me about UNPACU’s upcoming events while I capture everything on film, even though a car with two Cuban intelligence officers are tailing us.

“UNPACU’s priorities are to secure the release of three activists who tried to get close to Pope Francis during his visit last month: Zaqueo Báez Guerrero, Ismael Bonet Reñé, and Lady in White María Josefa Acón Sardiñas,” Ferrer explains.

He says all three began a hunger strike after the police arrested them. “Their situation is very concerning.”

I invite him to lunch at a pizzeria, and he sits next to me and lowers his voice. While we wait for our food, he tells me about the time he was nearly killed.

“They were going to shoot me. A man was sent to my jail cell to persuade me to leave the country, or they would kill me. I told them, ‘go ahead and kill me then.’”

Continue reading HERE.

10 months after Obama’s surrender to Castro regime: Unceasing beatings and arrests in Cuba

The U.S. surrender to Cuba’s apartheid regime has resulted in more repression on the island. And not only is President Obama not surprised by this, neither does he seem at all bothered by it.

The Editorial Board of The Miami Herald:

Unceasing beatings and arrests in Cuba
A man is grabbed by a Cuban security officer as another one collects leaflets they threw as Pope Francis was arriving for a Mass at Revolution Plaza in Havana.

Two reports this week put the human-rights problem in Cuba into stark, and discouraging, relief. In the period since the landmark agreement in December reestablishing full diplomatic relations with the United States, the Castro government appears to be doubling down on repression.

One report, delivered Tuesday at the General Assembly of the Inter American Press Association, is contained in a depressing overview of press freedom in the Americas. No country is safe from the wave of censorship sweeping the region, the report says. Yet Cuba is a special case:

“In Cuba, despite the reestablishment of relations between the Cuban and U.S. governments, little progress has been made in freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of the press, and two journalists remain behind bars. The methods of repression include censorship of critical websites, inspection of emails, suspension of mobile phone service and physical and verbal attacks on activists and independent journalists.”

In other words, nothing has changed: Expressing an independent opinion in Cuba is hazardous to your civil liberties. On Monday, the independent Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation put it into numbers: The Havana-based group said it recorded 882 political detentions in September, the most in the past 15 months.

Continue reading HERE.

Obama’s Cuba policy desperately trying to shift focus away from human rights atrocities of apartheid Castro regime

The last thing President Obama and his State Department want to talk about is the abysmal human rights record of the apartheid Castro dictatorship and the marked increase in violent repression in Cuba since his surrender to the regime in Havana. Instead, Obama and his Cuba policy are hell bent on shifting the focus away from the human rights atrocities taking place on the island and is concentrating its efforts on talking about something else. Anything else. Whatever comes to mind as long as it doesn’t make the Castro dictatorship look bad. Cigars, fish, the world’s tallest bicycle… You get the picture.

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Obama’s Cuba Policy: Distract from Human Life, Focus on Marine Life

On the same day human rights monitors were reporting over 882 political arrests by the Castro regime in September 2015 — documenting an exponential rise in human repression on the island —  Secretary of State John Kerry was in Chile promoting some vague marine life agreement with the Castro regime.

Talk about misplaced priorities.

Meanwhile, The New York Times, which found no space to report on the increase in human repression in Cuba, lavished praise on the marine life agreement.

From The New York Times:

Cuba and U.S. Agree to Work Together to Protect Marine Life

The Cuban and American governments have agreed to work hand in hand to protect marine life in the seas that join their countries, a move that represents the first environmental dividend of a thaw between the two Cold War foes.

Under an agreement announced Monday at an oceans conference in Valparaíso, Chile, government agencies from Cuba and the United States are to map marine life in protected areas in the Florida Straits and Gulf of Mexico and compile an inventory of shared species.

Reports from Cuba: Incident at the airport yesterday

By Eliecer Avila in Translating Cuba:

Incident at the Airport Yesterday

Somos+, Eliecer Avila, 5 October 2015 — Everything appeared normal until I got to the immigration desk. There the official meeting me had a sign on his screen with the word “CONTROLLED” flashing in red. With more or less discrete gestures, the young official started dialing code numbers to his superiors to come to the booth to “deal” with me. In three minutes his boss appeared who indicated I should follow him and who took my passport.

After about half an hour a different official appeared who accompanied me passing through immigration and told me to collect my things… As usual, many people waited about an hour for their bags from the Madrid-Havana flight because they arrived in dribs and drabs… When my suitcase finally appeared, I’d just picked it up when two other officials, this time from Customs, indicated I should accompany them for a “routine control.”

Knowing these things and how they work, I tried to advise my wife who was desperately waiting outside but they told me I could not use my phone. Nevertheless I managed to tell her, “things are looking bad.”

First I passed the suitcase, the little hand luggage and the laptop through another special X-ray machine, and then they brought me to the tables prepared for this purpose and began to minutely search my luggage with the meticulousness of a surgeon performing brain surgery.

They noted everything, at the same time asking me questions about my trip. With special interest they set aside four books, four journals and blog notes. Also 8 flash memories I’d been given by the Spanish think tank Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies (FAES), which they gave to all the Cubans.

The titles of the books were: Digital Citizenry, European Union – Latin America, Autobiography of Gandhi, and Letters to a Young Spaniard by J.M. Aznar.

They read several fragments of all of these, and especially Aznar’s book, which had a large photo of him on the cover. The customs officer asked me, “Is he a writer?” I told him no, he’s the president of Spain.

They also spent a long time examining a magazine that talked about Australia and its great human development. The problem with the magazine is that it attributes the success to three factors: Democracy, Market, and Transparency. For those responsible for censorship in Cuba today there are certain words that will trigger an alert that something must be confiscated from a passenger, and the two most dangerous of these are “Democracy” and “Human Rights.”

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