Cuba’s campaign of terror in Angola: Fidel Castro’s colonial massacre

Propaganda and revisionist history notwithstanding, Angola was just another victim of Cuba’s notoriously brutal dictator, Fidel Castro.

Spyridon Mitsotakis in The Daily Wire:

Fidel’s Colonial Massacre

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In October 1977, Civil Rights hero and former Martin Luther King aid Bayard Rustin wrote an 11-page condemnation of Fidel Castro’s war in Angola for Commentary magazine, titled “Africa, Soviet Imperialism & the Retreat of American Power.” In this brilliant essay, there is a half-sentence that is so innocuous that it is easy to miss: “the Cubans put down a coup attempt in May.”

Nothing more is said about this in Rustin’s essay, but the event is so significant in Angola that last year, after arresting 13 men for the crime of attending a pro-democracy reading group, Jose Eduardo dos Santos — who is currently in his 37th year as the nation’s “President,” publicly warned: “It must not be allowed for the Angolan people to suffer another dramatic situation such as the one from May 27, 1977, over a coup d’etat. … The one who chooses the means of force to take power or uses unconstitutional means for it is no democrat. He is a tyrant or a dictator. They have accused the MPLA and its militants of being intolerant, but lies are short lived.”

The Stalinist MPLA party has ruled Angola with an iron-fist since 1975, when Fidel Castro plotted with a departing Portuguese colonial official, a pro-Communist viceroy named Rosa Coutinho, to bring thousands of Cuban military personnel and tons of equipment to the Angolan capital of Luanda. With this assistance, the MPLA seized control. Rosa Coutinho then canceled the election Angola’s three independence armies had agreed to — sparking a civil war that left a million Angolans dead and drew the neighboring countries and the superpowers into the conflict. (Coutinho was filmed bragging about this in a 1987 interview, featured in the video below.)

On May 27, 1977, a hard-line black nationalist faction of the MPLA attempted a coup against then MPLA leader and President Agostinho Neto. Thanks to the Cubans, the coup failed and the plotters were executed. But the killing didn’t stop there.

What commenced next was a systematic campaign of terror that is the subject of Lara Pawson’s book In the Name of the People: Angola’s Forgotten Massacre. This book, published in 2014, is the only in-depth study of the rampage launched by the Cubans and MPLA with a speech by Neto declaring “There will be no contemplations … Certainly we will not waste time with trials. We will be as quick as possible.” They were to kill their enemies in the name of the People.

Angolans began to disappear. Not just those suspected of black nationalist sympathies, but their families — as well as anyone who would dissent from the Party. Cuban tanks were brought in to level houses in poor neighborhoods, and one Cuban doctor remembers being brought to witness a mass execution and then handed pre-written death certificates to sign, “In every case, the stated cause of death was acidente de viacao — road accident.” A new term entered Angolan vocabulary, “To be sent to Cuba,” which could mean literally (as thousands of Angolans were sent there to be brainwashed or trained as killers), but it also became slang for “To be sent to death.”

Continue reading HERE.

Maduro’s busted narco-nephews start singing like birds, expose corruption in Cuba’s Venezuela

Sabrina Martin reports in PanAm Post:

Narco-Nephew Squeals on Maduro’s Corruption in US Trial

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Nicolas Maduro and Diosdado Cabello

“Nicolás Maduro and Diosdado Cabello divided up Venezuela between themselves after Chavez’s death.” This was the affirmation of Efraín Campo Flores, one of the “narcosobrinos” of the Venezuelan presidential family, according to recordings that were released to the American newspaper El Nuevo Herald.

In a report published by Antonio Maria Delgado, the “inheritance” Chavez to his two closest allies was the sharing of power: “Diosdado Cabello controlled tax revenues, mining, and food” while Nicolás Maduro controlled oil revenues.

This explanation was given by the “narco-nephew” when he divulged the power accumulated by Cabello in a meeting with an alleged representative of the Sinaloa Cartel, who was actually cooperating with the American DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency).

Another of the shocking revelations detailed the use of drug funds to finance the electoral campaigns of Chavismo, as well as the arbitrary use of the judicial system to imprison those who represented a threat to the executive branch.

Campo explained that part of the proceeds from the 800 kilogram cocaine shipment would be sent to leaders of Chavismo located in different states in order to buy votes, with around USD $100 budgeted per vote.

According to El Nuevo Herald, all these statements were made at the end of an October 2015 meeting between Campo Flores and DEA informant José Santos Peña, which took place in Caracas.

“We made a pact, behind closed doors” and Cabello said: “Leave these three things to me (the collection of taxes, mining, and control of preferential dollars linked to food imports) and you have complete control of petroleum,” Campo explained in the conversation, which had been organized in order to negotiate multiple shipments of cocaine to the United States.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: Weeping (or faking it) at Fidel Castro’s farewell

By Ivan Garcia in Translating Cuba:

Weeping (or Faking It) at Fidel Castro’s Farewell

Cubans viewing displays honoring Fidel Castro after his death.
Cubans viewing displays honoring Fidel Castro after his death.

The flag with the three blue and two white stripes, red triangle and solitary star in the middle hung from a black flagpole. For the Rodriguez family, it served as the perfect diversion, taking the attention of the neighborhood’s informers and die-hard supporters off them.

They live right in the heart of the oldest part of Havana, in a poor, largely mixed race neighborhood, which is a hotbed of hustling and guile. Residents here think twice as fast as other Cubans.

They have always relied on illegalities and whatever fell off the truck. It seems to have served them well. In the morning they would wildly applaud a speech by Fidel Castro while at night they would stockpile sacks of detergent stolen from a state-run store.

Those born in Cuba know these tricks all too well. While the Rodríguez family appears loyal to the regime, everyone in the neighborhood knows they sell cooking oil at thirty pesos a liter.

“You do it so you don’t stand out. You know how it is. In order to survive in Cuba, you have to be be ’inventive.’ You learn to play along these people (the regime),” as one of them points out before boarding a bus to the Plaza of the Revolution to participate in a public farewell to Fidel Castro, founder the first communist state in Latin America.

Daniel, a Spanish journalist assigned to covering the funeral, cannot understand the stories he reads and hears outside of Cuba about autocratic methods, repression and widespread discontent.

“You look at hundreds of thousands of people waiting in line under a blazing sun in order to sign a book of condolence and you ask yourself how it is possible that these people are paying tribute to a guy who built a system that has so drastically impoverished them,” wonders the astonished reporter outside the Havana Libre Hotel.

The reason is that Cuba is not a typical country. Only those who have lived under a dictatorship can understand such unexpected and widespread human behavior.

Read more

Communism and Fidel Castro’s apartheid dictatorship is no friend to black people

Perhaps one of the top achievements of the Castro regime’s propaganda machine was to convince many American blacks that the apartheid Castro dictatorship was not racist. In reality, if you are black, one of  the last places you want to live is in Castro’s Cuba.

Terrell Jermaine Starr in the Washington Post:

Fidel Castro and communism’s flawed record with black people

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[…]

Be it the U.S.S.R. or Cuba, communism, as a political system, is not the oasis of racial harmony most black Americans believe it to be. As a Fulbright Scholar who has studied how black peoples from America, Africa and the Caribbean experienced communist states, I can tell you that for every Assata Shakur who finds safe haven in Cuba, there are jails full of “darker-skinned Cubans” who have never received the dignity of their American exile guest. And for every Langston Hughes who was treated like royalty in Moscow, there are people such as Pierre Kalmek, a sailor from Francophile Africa, who lived in the Moscow during the early 1930s and complained that locals regularly spat on him.

Over the past week, Castro was lionized for his freedom-movement activities across Africa and his embrace of black civil rights figures in the United States. After Angela Davis was acquitted of murder, in 1972, she visited Cuba to thank its people for supporting her during her murder trial. And when Black Panther Party members Eldridge Cleaver and Huey Newton needed refuge, Castro opened the doors of Havana to them.

But in Communist Cuba, all black lives do not matter.

One of the first mistakes Castro made when he took power in 1959 was to determine that racism was solved in Cuba. Like Castro, Soviet officials made similar ill-advised declarations that allowed even more racism to fester. In Cuba, 62 percent of the population is black, but 71 percent of its public leadership is white, according to a 2009 study. What’s even more disturbing: In 2009, 70 percent of black Cubans were unemployed; 60 percent of black Cubans cited racial discrimination as the cause.

[…]

Kimberly R. Lyle, a black American of Cuban descent, wrote in Fusion that one of her uncles, a chemist, was left homeless after he requested permission to leave the country and her cousin expressed anger that he had to flee Cuba to be, in her words, “a free man.”

“Does it matter to African-Americans that the penalties for speaking out against the Cuban government are beatings and the threat of rape or death?” she asked. “Are we concerned that black Cubans are incarcerated at higher rates than white Cubans? Do we care that black Cubans still can’t enter many hotels or restaurants? Does it matter to us that Castro could not liberate black people in his own country? This, too, is Castro’s legacy.”

Read the entire article HERE.

Fidel may be gone, but the left has thousands of little Castros here in America

After watching the American left over the past several years and especially their reaction to the presidential elections, the resemblance their tactics have with Fidel Castro’s totalitarian method of quashing dissent is quite difficult if not impossible to overlook.

Andrew Cline in National Review:

In America, a Thousand Little Castros

For many social-justice warriors, systematic oppression of dissent is a feature, not a bug.

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Totalitarianism employs three primary methods of silencing dissenters: convert them, marginalize them, or eliminate them. The Castro regime’s success in pursuing these ends was evident in the public silence that followed the government’s declaration of a nine-day mourning period after Fidel Castro hopped that Edsel to Hell. In Havana, the streets were quiet, in accordance with the government decree.

In the United States, there was another eerie silence. From the Left’s ever-churning outrage factories, which hum 24/7 with the din and clatter of denunciations and pronouncements on every topic that can be bent to political use, we heard only the white noise of spinning gears.

As a general rule, the Left refrains from denouncing its own. Movement solidarity is a hallmark of leftism. But this does not fully explain why so many self-proclaimed champions of justice and human rights have ignored, dismissed, or explained away the corruption and murderous oppression of Fidel Castro and other socialist dictators. Something darker is at work.

For many romantic leftists, socialism is a glorious utopia that one day will magically separate itself from the strong men who somehow always manage to clamber to the top of the People’s Ladder. If only the enlightened thinkers on the Harvard Bookstore’s e-mail list could be put in charge!

Others are not so naïve. They understand that socialism is systematic oppression — but they see this as a feature, not a bug. To them, as it was for Castro, who wandered his way to Marxism, socialism offers a system in which the social and political orders are overturned and the leftists at long last can be on top. With the levers of power finally in their grasp, the redistribution — and the retribution — can begin.

If this seems a little far-fetched, grab a Donald Trump sign and go loiter in the quad of your nearest lefty college campus for an hour. Or play “Sweet Home Alabama” in a Brooklyn supermarket. Castro forced every Cuban to face this daily choice: comply or be punished. This is precisely the choice America’s would-be totalitarian leftists dream of imposing upon as many Americans as possible.

Continue reading HERE.

Cuba’s State Security beats jailed dissident artist, feeds him food laced with sedatives

The brutality and savagery of Fidel Castro lives on as life in Obama’s apartheid Cuba gets tougher every day.

Elizabeth Llorente via Fox News:

Dissident artist jailed in Cuba beaten and fed sedative-laced food, family says

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One of Cuba’s most prominent anti-Castro artists is refusing to eat food served by his jailers, alleging that they have laced it with pills that induce drowsiness, those close to him say.

Danilo Maldonado, known as “El Sexto,” was taken by Cuban security agents the day after the death of former leader Fidel Castro. Maldonado, 33, still has not been charged, but those familiar with the graffiti artist’s actions that morning say
that he posted a Facebook message seemingly gloating over Castro’s death and urging people to “come out to the streets…and ask for liberty.”

Maldonado also is said to have spray-painted “El Sexto” on a wall near Hotel Habana Libre.

His girlfriend, a writer who lives in Miami, said that Maldonado has been transferred several times since his arrest on Nov. 6. Alexandra Martinez told FoxNews.com Monday that Maldonado’s mother, Maria Victoria Machado, who has been allowed to visit her son briefly twice since he has been in the custody of Cuban security police, told her that the artist was beaten the day he was taken from his apartment, as well as last Tuesday.

“He’s an artist, he’s a human being who is just using his voice” and art for peaceful expression, Martinez said. “There are still no charges. He was taken to police stations and now a detention center that is maximum security.”

Maldonado had been slated to be at a Miami premiere of an HBO documentary that features him titled “Patria o Muerte: Cuba, Fatherland or Death” last week, Martinez said.

“The Cuban authorities have a history of detaining El Sexto ahead of many planned performances, but Castro’s death appears to be the impetus for this particularly aggressive assault,” said Julian Schnabel, the producer of the HBO documentary, in a statement quoted by the Miami Herald.

Other Cuba experts say that while Cuban authorities routinely detain prominent dissidents without pressing charges before, during or after a high-profile event, in recent years they have kept them in custody for less than a day, usually a few
hours.

They say that Maldonado’s extended detention is particularly hard-line.

Continue reading HERE.

The dissident and Cuba’s brutal dictator Fidel Castro

The story of Armando Valladares and his incredible courage is one that can never be told enough.

Lee Habeeb in National Review:

The Dictator and the Dissident

Armando Valladares’s story says more about Fidel Castro than any obituary could.

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It’s a part of the Fidel Castro story Michael Moore and Sean Penn won’t tell, or don’t know. It’s a story you certainly didn’t hear from the media as they endlessly opined about Castro’s “complicated” legacy. But it reveals so much more about the dictator than they ever could.

The year was 1959. Castro, a young revolutionary, had seized Cuba’s imagination with talk of democracy and a new vision for its people. It didn’t take long, however, for one follower to discover Castro’s true nature, and for Castro to run up against the limits of his own earthly power.

Armando Valladares may not have been the first man to challenge the Cuban dictator, but he eventually became the best known.

By his own account, the young Valladares was an early supporter of Castro’s revolution, taking a job in the Office of the Ministry of Communications for the Revolutionary Government, where he worked as a postal clerk. But all of that changed when he was asked to put a communist slogan on his desk. It comprised three simple words: “I’m with Fidel.” He refused.

A young artist and poet who also happened to be a Christian, Valladares understood the meaning of the request. What he did not know, and could not know, was how far his own government would go to bend him to its will. Soon after his refusal to comply, Valladares was arrested by political police at his parents’ home. Faced with trumped up charges of terrorism — a favorite tactic of the Castro regime for silencing dissent — he was given a 30-year sentence.

Valladares would spend time in different prison camps for the next 22 years. The first, La Cabaña, forged some of the very worst memories. “Each night, the firing squad executed scores of men in its trenches,” he told the Becket Fund, which last year honored him with its Canterbury Prize, given annually to a person who embodies an unfailing commitment to religious freedom. “We could hear each phase of the executions, and during this time, these young men — patriots — would die shouting ‘Long live Christ, the King. Down with Communism!’ And then you would hear the gunshots. Every night there were shootings. Every night. Every night. Every night.”

Years passed, and the communists fixated on enrolling prisoners in reeducation programs. Valladares, still early in his sentence, was offered the chance at “political rehabilitation” but refused to comply. He was sent to an even more brutal prison, and the government ramped up its efforts to break his spirit.

“I spent eight years locked in a blackout cell, without sunlight or even artificial light. I never left. I was stuck in a cell, ten feet long, four feet wide, with a hole in the corner to take care of my bodily needs. No running water. Naked. Eight years,” Valladares recalled. “All of the torture, all of the violations of human rights, had one goal: break the prisoner’s resistance and make them accept political rehabilitation. That was their only objective.”

After nearly a decade, prison officials adjusted their terms. If Armando would simply sign a document renouncing his beliefs and embracing Communism, he could return to his family. The choice was simple: physical freedom or spiritual liberty.

“For many people, it wasn’t practical to resist. Better to sign the paper and leave,” Valladares said. “But for me, signing that paper would have been spiritual suicide.”

Continue reading HERE.

Zoé Valdés recalls the most terrible things of living in Cuba under Fidel Castro

Via The Daily Beast:

Zoé Valdés on the Most Terrible Things About Life Under Castro

The legendary Cuban writer who was exiled to Paris will shed no tears for the late dictator, and has slim hope for her home island’s future.

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PARIS — The moment exiled Cuban novelist and poet Zoé Valdés learned of Fidel Castro’s death last Saturday she felt ecstatic, and draped a Cuban flag from the window of her apartment overlooking the Seine.

“I was joyous,” she told The Daily Beast during an interview at her home in Paris. However, her euphoria was short-lived.

“Immediately afterwards I began to remember all the people who died in exile, as well as all of the people he murdered,” she said. “And then my thoughts turned to his victims.”

She specifically names fellow Cuban artists, including writer and activist Lydia Cabrera, who died in exile in Miami in 1991, as well as singer Celia Cruz, often referred to as the “Queen of Salsa,” who died more than a decade ago in New Jersey. She thought also of her late parents who never returned to Cuba. Her father, she added, was jailed for five years under the Castro regime before fleeing the country.

The author of over 20 novels and the winner of the prestigious Azorín Prize for Fiction, Valdés was born in 1959, the same year Castro came to power. She relocated to Paris in 1995 following the publication of her debut novel, La nada cotidiana (published in English in 1999 as Yocandra in the Paradise of Nada), a sad, humorous, and sexually frank tale of a young woman in revolutionary Cuba. Castro, unsurprisingly, was none-too-pleased with her candid account of life under the regime, and Valdés was sentenced to exile. She has lived in the French capital ever since.

Valdés has a warm smile, dark hair, and bright eyes. She is 57 years old, but looks younger than her years. She was wearing Ugg-type boots inside, which I thought was funny and charming. There’s a trace of melancholy in her voice when she recalls, in heavily accented French, her early memories of Havana. This tranquil demeanor belies her reputation as one of the Castro regime’s most outspoken critics, whose novels are known for their emotional intensity and highly graphic sex scenes. We chatted in her spacious living room with classic bohemian touches, from the garnet-hued drapes framing the tall windows, to the haphazard stacks of paperbacks on the floor. A corpulent calico cat dozed nearby on a red Persian carpet.

Valdés never knew pre-Castro Cuba, but she told The Daily Beast that she was about six years old the first time she sensed something amiss in her country.

“My family told me, ‘You must not repeat at school what you hear at home about Castro,'” she recalled. “And it was something that really left an impression on me because at home my mother and grandmother were against Castro, but at school everything that I heard was pro-Castro. So from a very early age I was taught two opposing ways of speaking and two opposing value systems.”

“I learned that if I thought differently (from the government’s party line) I was not to say it or to express it, and to be discreet,” she added.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: Placing remains of Fidel Castro with those of Martí divides Cubans

By Pedro Campo in Translating Cuba:

Placing The Remains Of Fidel Castro With Those Of Martí Divides Cubans

The mausoleum that holds the remains of José Martí in Santa Ifigenia cemetery, Santiago de Cuba.
The mausoleum that holds the remains of José Martí in Santa Ifigenia cemetery, Santiago de Cuba.

14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Miami, 3 December 2016 – Genius and figure to the grave, the boy born in Birán, who led an armed Revolution from the Sierra Maestra and governed Cuba for almost 60 years from Havana, wanted his ashes placed for eternity in Santiago de Cuba, near to the tomb of José Martí, in the Santa Ifigenia cemetery.

This could become one of the most controversial of all Fidel Castro’s decisions made throughout his life, for a simple reason: When we need equanimity and closeness between all Cubans, this could stimulate more divisions, given that the figure of Martí is ecumenical, while that of Fidel is divisive and, for many, a figure of conflict.

The location of the remains of the former president near to those of Martí is already being taken as a provocation by an important share of Cubans, and it is possible that some may not rest until they see them well away from those of Martí.

There are sad precedents in our history. Suffice it to recall the consequences of an alleged desecration of the tomb* of Don Gonzalo de Castañón in colonial times or disturbances during the armed and outrageous attack during the reception of the ashes of Mella in the Republic in 1933. Those events generated great confrontation among Cubans and left enduring marks.

The choice of this place, in addition to being controversial, will demand an enormous security effort and a substantial cost in resources and measures to guarantee the protection of the ashes. Given the foreseeable threats, a broad deployment of surveillance may be necessary, with a great number of professionals and technically sophisticated measures, because the ways in which people will attempt to remove the remains from there could be wide-ranging.

The personal security of Fidel Castro does not rest with his death. To avoid future complications, it might be suggested to the government of his brother that his remains rest only a few days in Santa Ifigena and then be taken to a less controversial place, where they can be honored by his admirers without causing litigation as, for example, the Sierra Maestra, symbol of the struggle, perhaps on Pico Turquino itself, the highest peak in Cuba, where there is a bust of Martí placed by Celia Sanchez, the unforgettable combatant close to Fidel.

Something like the general president thought of for himself, on the 2nd Front.

That might be a wise decision by Raul Castro’s government and an important contribution to the future reunification and peace of the Cuban homeland, for which Martí will always be the Apostle, founder of the nation, and shelter of all its children, while Fidel Castro is considered only by his followers as the most distinguished of his successors.

*Translator’s note: In 1871 eight medical students were executed after having been purposely but falsely accused of desecrating the tomb of this Spanish journalist.

Cuba’s Fidel Castro and human dignity

By Mary Anastasia O’Grady in The Wall Street Journal:

Castro and Human Dignity

Five or six prisoners would be confined for days in very narrow 6-foot-long cells.

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Notwithstanding the celebrations in the streets of Miami, the most widespread reaction among Cubans—at home and abroad—to the demise of Fidel Castro seems to be relief. One of the great narcissists of all time, father of nearly 60 years of national torment, has returned to dust. That alone is consolation.

Castro left a once-prosperous and promising land in dire poverty. But his legacy is far worse than the material ruin of a nation. His insatiable appetite for absolute power was manifest in an obsession with hunting down every last nonconformist, stripping away the human dignity of the population.

This reality is worth revisiting as the world offers retrospectives on Castro’s life, almost always adding that the tyrant gave Cuba great health care. If it were true it could not justify his brutality. And it is not true, as we learned in 2007 when Cuban doctors botched his treatment for diverticulitis and a Spanish specialist had to be flown in to save him. The truth is that the regime doesn’t give a fig about human life.

Castro thrived on a maniacal ambition to possess and dominate the Cuban soul, and nowhere are the consequences more visible than in the country’s sky-high abortion rates. In a Nov. 22 story for the news website CUBANET, independent journalist Eliseo Matos cited an abortion study by Cuban doctors Luisa Álvarez Vásquez and Nelli Salomón Avich. They found that since 1980, one-third of all Cuban pregnancies have been terminated.

Equally troubling, abortion rates are high among adolescents and often mandated by the state. You don’t have to be religious to see this as a national existential crisis—the reflection of a society struggling against nihilism.

This didn’t happen overnight. It is the output of decades of living under a dictatorship that demands nothing less than total surrender to the will of one person. In a 1986 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Armando Valladares, who was a Castro prisoner for 22 years, described the regime’s use of the “drawer cells” in its dungeons. Five or six prisoners would be confined, for days, in these very narrow, 6-foot-long spaces. “They had to sit with their knees against their body. There was no room to move; prisoners had to urinate and defecate right there,” Mr. Valladares explained.

All torture was used “to break the prisoner’s resistance,” Mr. Valladares said. If a prisoner said “he had been wrong, if he denied his religious beliefs, saying they were from the obscure ages, and if he admitted that he now understood that communism was the solution to mankind’s problems and he wanted to have the opportunity to re-enter the new communist society, then he could escape the cell and be put in a re-education farm.”

There could be no higher power, no one revered more than Fidel. God was a problem so priests and nuns were imprisoned and exiled, religion was outlawed and the regime did all it could to destroy the Cuban family.

Read more

After dictator’s death, Cuba’s regime demands USSR and North Korea-style ‘mourning’

Cuba’s communist dictatorship rules in the same repressive and murderous fashion as Stalin did in the Soviet Union and the Kim family dictatorship continues to do so in North Korea. It is then no surprise the Castro regime also demands its enslaved citizens to mourn the death of their tyrannical leader in the same manner.

John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

Castro’s departure in Cuba reminiscent of Russia’s Stalin and North Korea’s Kim il Jong

Castroism like its North Korean counterpart is Stalinism light

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Cuba under the Castro brothers is not only a communist dictatorship that systematically violates human rights, threatens world peace but Castroism also maintains its Stalinist characteristic regarding the death of a tyrant. Those who are not actively mourning the dictator’s death are being subjected to violent beatings, arrests and the threats of lengthy prison terms.

Crowds passing by in tears for Fidel Castro today as other crowds in the same manner paid their respects to Soviet tyrant Josef Stalin in 1953 and Kim il Jong in North Korea in 2011. These are examples of how totalitarianism operates and is still present in the world today with both North Korea and Cuba being high profile examples.

In 2012 reports appeared that North Koreans who did not mourn sufficiently the passing of the great leader were sent to forced labor camps. Today in Cuba reports arrive of a Cuban medical doctor and dissident, Eduardo Cardet, badly beaten and jailed by secret police for speaking critically of Fidel Castro and he has been threatened with a 15 year prison sentence. Other cases are emerging but one must also recall that in Cuba there is no free press and this type of news is difficult to come by.

Continue reading HERE.

Hundreds gathered in Miami yesterday to honor victims of Cuba’s dictator, Fidel Castro

There are millions of stories that describe the pain, anguish, and misery of life in Castro’s Cuba. Some of them have been told, but the vast majority of them remain secret and untold. Nevertheless, although each sad and painful tale is unique to the individual, they all share a common villain: Fidel Castro.

Alfonso Chardy in The Miami Herald:

Hundreds in Miami honor those who died under Fidel Castro’s dictatorship

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The name of José Andrés Rodríguez Terrero is etched onto a small square, one of thousands lining the black marble walls of the Cuban Memorial honoring martyrs of the Cuban regime.

Rodríguez Terrero’s brother, José Oscar, pointed proudly to the black square at Tamiami Park bearing José Andrés’ name, noting that he had been executed by a firing squad on Jan. 23, 1963, after being captured during a guerrilla uprising against Fidel Castro in eastern Cuba two years earlier.

José Oscar was one of the more than 300 Cuban exiles on Sunday who honored people like his brother, José Andrés, during an emotional ceremony at the Cuban Memorial. The ceremony recognized those who were executed, or rafters who fled the island and drowned while trying to escape. Also honored were exiles like four members of Brothers to the Rescue whose small planes were shot down by a Cuban MiG in 1996.

The ceremony, organized by the Assembly of Cuban Resistance and other exile groups, was meant to convey the message that Castro’s real legacy was the thousands of people killed after he seized power in Cuba.

It took place only a few hours after the ashes of Castro, who was 90, were deposited into a crypt in a cemetery in Santiago de Cuba — nine days after he died and was cremated in Havana.

About 10,000 names are etched onto the black marble squares at the memorial, but one of the organizers of Sunday’s event, Sylvia Iriondo, said the total number of victims far exceeds that number.

“We are here gathered at the monument of the Cuban Memorial to honor the martyrs and victims of dictator Fidel Castro and the Castro tyranny,” said Iriondo, president of the group MAR for Cuba, which stands in Spanish for Mothers and Women Against Repression. “In this sacrosanct site are the names of who died and offered their lives for freedom or in search of freedom. This is the legacy of dictator Fidel Castro.”

See more photos and video HERE.