Mr. President I have followed your visit to Cuba with great interest upon learning that human rights would be part of the dialogue during your stay. Only to be disappointed by what appeared in the press and your past praise for Fidel Castro. Cuba has suffered under a totalitarian communist dictatorship for 58 years. The Castro regime has demonstrated over that time a complete disdain for human rights including conditioning both access to healthcareand education to loyalty for the dictatorship.
I would hope that in your continuing conversations with General Raul Castro that you request that physician, family man, Christian Democrat and Amnesty International designated prisoner of conscience Eduardo Cardet Concepción be freed. Even outside of political considerations both education and healthcare leave a lot to be desired in Cuba despite the government propaganda.
I would also hope that you raise the plight of 24 year old David Mauri Cardoso, a student expelled from the University of Cienfuegos in Cuba a few days ago after he honestly answered politically loaded questions in what was supposed to be a Spanish literature exam.
Next week February 24th marks 21 years since the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down when two civilian planes were blown out of international airspace by Cuban MiGs on Fidel Castro‘s and General Raul Castro’s orders in an act of state terrorism. Four men were killed and two of them were friends of mine and the day still resonates with me.
There are thousands of other cases of extrajudicial executions carried out by the Cuban dictatorship. They still go on and within that context to claim that the Castro dictatorship has a “commitment” to human rights falsely legitimizes the regime while ignoring the victims.
Please speak up for David and Edward they can still be helped.
Senator Marco Rubio has released videos of a hearing he held in Washington recently.
Rubio solicited testimony from Danilo Maldonado (El Sexto), recently freed from prison in Castrogonia, and also from Russian dissident and world chess champion Garry Kasparov, and Dr. Halah Eldoseri from Saudi Arabia.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues, chaired a hearing Thursday with prominent human rights activists and experts.
Mr. Garry Kasparov, a Russian activist living in exile in America; Dr. Halah Eldoseri, a Saudi Arabian women’s rights activist; and Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado Machado, a Cuban artist, testified about the oppression they’ve experienced under the governments of their respective home countries and the critical role the United States has to play in safeguarding the fundamental human rights of all people.
Partial transcripts and links to videos of the hearing’s key moments and Rubio’s opening statement are below.
RUBIO: After the president visited Cuba and left, what was government – the Castro government’s reaction to the people who met with him? Did you notice a change in their behavior after he left? Did they become more repressive after the fact?
RUBIO: What would the impact be on our credibility, on America’s standing in the world and quite frankly our national security but in particular I want you to opine on our credibility and our standing in the world as a nation who promotes democracy and liberty and the rights of all people, what would it do to our standing if despite all of these things that we now know we somehow enter a geopolitical deal with Moscow in which we are willing to overlook all these things and sovereignty of nations like Ukraine in exchange for their supposed cooperation in Syria. What would the impact be on America’s standing in the world if we going into a deal with a criminal like this?
KASPAROV: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I agree with everything that you said about Vladimir Putin and his regime. I think it’s important to emphasize that the United States of America and Putin’s Russia – let me emphasize Putin’s Russia – have no common values, no common ground, and no common interests.
Look at this number: 680 Cuban migrants denied asylum and returned to their island prison in the past eight weeks.
This includes two Cuban women who arrived in the U.S. via Europe, but were sent packing yesterday.
Various news outlets said they were “the first to be deported” since Obama’s January executive order, but this is simply not true. Call it “fake news” if you wish.
Today’s AP report exposes that lie. So do other reports, official and unofficial. Deportations of Cubans began immediately after Obama revoked the wet foot- dry foot policy.
Where’s the outrage? Where are the demonstrations?
Yesterday, the Associated Press falsely reported that the Trumpinator was about to use the National Guard to round up migrants, and even though the news was proven to be”fake”almost immediately, the usual subjects went ballistic, and are still raging.
Aaaaaah. But all those other migrants they care about aren’t Cuban.
Cubans are different. Yes, Mildred, they all deserve to be sent back, even those that have been living in the U.S. since the 1930’s.
Nothing new here, of course. But it’s always a shock to see the hypocritical double standard and the bigotry so clearly exposed.
I’m reminded of the audience member in Westport, Connecticut, who shouted at me “You people are ruining this country! It’s because of you people that everything has gone wrong here! Why don’t you shut up and go back where you came from!”
Ironically, this elderly gentleman was a Holocaust survivor.
It also reminds me of a colleague here at my institution to whom I was first introduced about twelve or thirteen years ago.
After being introduced, the first words out of his mouth were: “Oh, another member of the Cuban mafia?”
This colleague is revered in liberal political circles and holds one of the most prestigious chairs at Yale.
Hatred of Cubans runs deep in the veins of most liberals, for our “villainy” is part of their creed, an essential dogma, and it’s transmitted much like a virus, much like anti-Semitism.
And this virus can infect even those who should know better than to call for anyone’s expulsion or extermination.
680 Cubans returned home since end of ‘wet foot, dry foot’
About 680 Cubans have been returned to the island from various countries since then-President Barack Obama ended a longstanding immigration policy that allowed any Cuban who made it to U.S. soil to stay and become a legal resident, state television reported.
Cuba’s government had long sought the repeal of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which it said encouraged Cubans to risk dangerous voyages and drained the country of professionals. The Jan. 12 decision by Washington to end it followed months of negotiations focused in part on getting Havana to agree to take back people who had arrived in the U.S.
Cuban state television said late Friday that the returnees came from countries including the United States, Mexico and the Bahamas, and were sent back to the island between Jan. 12 and Feb. 17. It did not break down which countries the 680 were sent back from.
The report said the final two returnees arrived from the United States on Friday “on the first charter flight especially destined for an operation of this type.”
Florida’s El Nuevo Herald newspaper reported that the two women were deemed “inadmissible” for entry to the United States and placed on a morning flight to Havana.
Wilfredo Allen, an attorney for one of the women, says they had arrived at Miami International Airport with European passports. The women requested asylum and were detained.
The repeal of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy was Obama’s final move before leaving office in the rapprochement with the communist-run country that he and Cuban President Castro began in December 2014. The surprise decision left hundreds of Cubans stranded in transit in South and Central America.
Before he assumed the presidency on Jan. 20, Donald Trump criticized the detente between the U.S. and Cuba, tweeting that he might “terminate” it.
Irish President Michael Higgins is visiting Castrogonia, sucking up to his living idol –King Raul — and offering praise for his dead idols, Fidel and Che.
The Irish press says he is there to discuss “human rights” issues.
What they mean is that he is bringing up issues that interest the the “LGBT community worldwide.”
Of course, everyone knows that for leftists, this is the only area of human existence to which the concept of “human rights” applies.
Never mind the following human rights repressed in Castrogonia: freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, free elections, freedom of religion, freedom of collective bargaining, a free market, and the freedom to own property, and so on…
No. Whether or not gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people are respected, that is what really matters.
Yes indeed. Viva Che, the partly-Irish sociopath who loathed sexual “deviants” and imprisoned and tortured them. Viva Fidel, who hated and persecuted all such “deviants” too. Viva King Raul, who is rumored to be the same sort of “deviant” and has long attempted to hide his sexual orientation by persecuting anyone like himself.
Aye, mate. Viva the so-called Revolution.
And let’s have a sumptuous dinner at the former Presidential Palace, now known as the Palace of the Revolution, and let’s eat and drink all sorts of stuff that’s unavailable to 99 percent of Cubans!
Twisted bastard. Cretin. Bigot. Evil Leprechaun. Such horseshit.
You have to admit, anyone who thinks that the Castro brothers and Che were good for the Cuban people has to be a bigot who regards Cubans as sub-human idiots.
From the moronic Irish Examiner:
Human rights and history fills President Higgins first day in Cuba
A potent mix of human rights, civil liberties, culture and history strongly dominated President Michael D Higgins’s four-day official visit to Cuba this week.
The trip marked the first time an Irish head of state visited Cuba while in office. The fact that it comes during a particularly turbulent time in world affairs, and during Cuba’s historic transition from a relatively isolated state to one cautiously opening itself up to globalisation, appeared all the more appealing to the president.
“Michael D” as he was affectionately referred to by those who had come to join in the carefully co-ordinated programme, is widely known to follow keenly, politics and culture of Latin and South America, the evolution of which he told the audience during his speech at the opening of the Irish in Latin America exhibition, is “close to my heart”.
On Wednesday, he spent four hours with his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, including a bilateral meeting and a dinner at the Palace de la Revolucion. No agenda was set. A range of regional, national and global issues was discussed, including opportunities for greater Irish-Cuban trade and cultural links, as well as enhancing Cuba’s ties with the EU. Another matter close to the president’s heart is the rights of members of the LGBT community worldwide; which he said that he addressed with the Cuban leader.
The links between Ireland and Cuba were strongly portrayed through the two countries’ shared history of revolution, literature and freedom. The rebellious zeal of Cuban hero Ernesto Che Guevara Lynch was directly attributed to his descendants of the tribes of Galway. His father is once said to have commented: “In my son’s veins flowed the blood of Irish rebels.”
Continue plowing through the horseshit HERE, if you care to.
Wow. A very Castro-friendly news organization has been taken off the air in Venenozuela (none other than CNN).
So, the progress of Cubanization is now reaching new extremes.
Maduro & company must now be perusing the back pages of their Castronoid playbook, in the special section for “final steps.”
To balance things, as Maduro stepped up repression, the Trumpinator gave him a very public bofetada (face slap) this week by meeting with Lilian Tintori, one of the most prominent anti-Chavistas in Venezuela.
Hang on to your dentures. Rough ride ahead…
from NBC News:
CNN Pulled in Venezuela; Trump Meets Opposition Leader’s Wife
One by one, cable providers started dropping CNN Español’s signal off their air in Venezuela as millions flipped through the channels, bewildered.
The decision to ax CNNE came swiftly in the form of an administrative order from CONATEL, the national telecommunications commission.
This time, the catalyst was CNN’s investigation that allegedly uncovered “serious irregularities in the issuing of Venezuelan passports and visas, including allegations that passports were given to people with ties to terrorism.” The accusations came from Misael Lopez, the former legal adviser to the Venezuelan Embassy in Iraq.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez said CNN aired fake, manipulated information in its passport investigation. And she alleged that the report’s main source was “a delinquent who tried to steal Venezuela’s money.”
“CNNE started a psychological war, an operation of war propaganda, based on falsehoods,” Rodríguez said.
As the CNN decision was coming down in Venezuela, President Donald Trump was meeting at the White House with Lilian Tintori, the wife of imprisoned Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. Trump tweeted asking for the release of Lopez, who has been detained since February 2014 by the government of President Nicolás Maduro.
Let’s see if this “agreement” in principle turns into any real change in policy.
Sounds good. Sounds great.
But the proof is in the pudding, and that pudding is just a recipe at this point in time.
May the pudding turn out well, and may it also be stuffed into a nice pastelito.
From Eljeral (Miami Herald):
President Donald Trump said during a press conference Thursday that he shares Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio’s views on Cuba.
“We had dinner with Senator Rubio and his wife, who was by the way, lovely, and we had a very good discussion about Cuba because we have very similar views on Cuba,” Trump told journalists.
“Cuba has been very good to me, in the Florida elections, you know, the Cuban people, Americans,” he added in reference to the support of Cuban American voters.
Former rival Rubio and his wife had dinner with Trump and First Lady Melania on Wednesday night, after the president received Lilian Tintori, the wife of the Venezuelan political prisoner Leopoldo López in the White House. A smiling Rubio posed for a photo with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Tintori.
The comment suggests a possible change in Cuba policy since Rubio was one of the staunchest critics of former President Barack Obama’s engagement with Cuba, especially in the area of human rights.
Doctor Eduardo Cardet, a member of the Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano de Liberación )has been in prison since the end of November, awaiting trial.
He has been charged with “atentado con agravante,” which translates literally as “aggravated assault,” but in essence means nothing more than being a threat to the Castro regime.
He was arrested immediately after returning from a visit to the U.S., where he met with “the wrong people” and freely expressed his delight at the death of Fidel Castro.
His wife revealed on the Cuba al Díaprogram on Radio Martí that Dr. Cardet’s trial will take place on monday, February 20, and he could be sentenced to three years in prison.
She also said that the trial had been moved from the town of Velasco, where Dr. Cardet lives, to a municipal court in Gibara. According to her, this change in location will make it much harder for supporters of Dr. Cardet to attend the trial or to gather near the courtroom.
Dr. Cardet’s plight has attracted attention from various international human rights organizations –including Amnesty International — but thus far the Castro regime has made no response to any of their pleas for the release of the dissident.
Ha, ha, ha…. From our esteemed Schadenfreude bureau:
Americans are not traveling to Cuba in great numbers. Not yet, anyway.
But they’re not staying away because of ethical or human rights issues.
The island’s apartheid system and its political repression have nothing to do with it.
Americans are holding back on travel to Castrogonia because it is too expensive and it requires jumping through more hoops than usual.
And the reason Castrogonia has become so expensive is not just due to supply-and-demand issues, but to the greediness of the Castronoids who run the entire tourist industry and foolishly think that Americans are aching to travel to the island slave plantation at any cost.
Cuba Isn’t Working Out as a Very Popular Destination So Far
America, did you miss the travel industry’s memo declaring Cuba the hottest new destination?
Apparently. Service to the long-time U.S. foe began in September, but after just five months the largest carrier to the island, American Airlines Group Inc., cut daily flights by 25 percent and switched to smaller jets on some routes. Meanwhile, Silver Airways Corp. reduced weekly flights to six Cuban cities and JetBlue Airways Corp. downsized its planes so as to match lower-than-expected demand.
“It’s going to take a really, really long time for [Cuba] to become a Caribbean destination that’s as popular as some of the other ones,” Andrew Levy, the chief financial officer for United Continental Holdings Inc., told Bloomberg News in November.
While the rest of the Caribbean is hopping with the U.S. winter break crowd, Cuba has some unique problems. The big one is that airlines, with no real idea about demand, were overly ambitious when they jousted for the limited routes allowed by U.S. regulators. With a mandate for only 110 daily U.S. flights—20 into Havana, the most popular destination—the carriers tumbled over each other last year to get a piece of the pie, leaving the island oversubscribed.
The air rush into Cuba “wasn’t based on demand but speculation. They had no history to look at,” said Karen Esposito, general manager of Cuba Travel Network, which specializes in tours to the island. Now they do.
Silver Airways described additional obstacles, pointing to the complications accompanying U.S. travel arrangements to Cuba, along with too much capacity from larger carriers. Still, spokeswoman Misty Pinson said, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based airline “is optimistic about the future growth potential in Cuba.”
Former President Barack Obama announced an opening of relations with Cuba in December 2014, calling previous U.S. policy, which sought to isolate the communist government, a failure.
But with liberalization has come a painful lesson in capitalism—for tourists, anyway. The new interest in Cuba led to rapid price inflation (as much as 400 percent) for state-run hotels, taxis, and other traveler services—before any U.S. commercial flights had begun. Some rooms now cost as much as $650 per night, serving as a major deterrent to Americans hunting for novel warm-weather destinations.
Even the costs of classic car rides and dinners at popular paladares, private restaurants run by families, have in some cases tripled, Insight Cuba says. Prices have begun to moderate this year for the first time since 2014, the company said this week. But beyond the high prices lie additional difficulties for U.S. tourists.
“The airlines are also competing with limited hotel availability,” Popper said. And “you cannot pay for a room with a U.S. credit card, so you have to actually bring the cash. You’re going to be carrying around $2,500 to $3,000 in cash just to pay for the hotel room. And then you need to carry more cash to pay for other things you want to do.”
Cuba-curious Americans must also compete for winter lodging with sun-seekers from Canada and the U.K., who face no bureaucratic hurdles in booking their holiday.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a close friend of dead dictator Fidel Castro.
A very close friend. So close, in fact, that Fidel gave him a very nice house in Havana, a house stolen from a Cuban family.
“Gabo” — as he was known — wrote beautiful prose and won the Nobel Prize for literature, but he was a hypocrite who lacked a moral center.
And he is the undisputed king of “magical realism,” a literary approach to reality that most Europeans and North Americans consider convincing proof of the fact that all Lateeeeen-ohs are quasi-medieval dolts who lack the ability to think rationally.
In many ways he can be compared to Martin Heidegger, the German philosopher who was a Nazi.
Heidegger is as widely respected in intellectual circles as Gabo. Both are giants, perhaps even demi-gods to many in the self-anointed thinking class.
Their names tend to be uttered with the utmost reverence, in the same way some Catholics invoke the names of their patron saints.
Both of them are the subject of intense scholarly research, and invoked constantly.
Aaaaah, but there’s a catch, isn’t there?
Are those who revere moral monsters any less monstrous than the monsters they revere?
Havana now has a statue of Gabo. Whoopee…. Yeah…. Exactly what the Cuban people need.
A monument to yet another monster.
May some dissident Cuban performance artist give this Latrine his due by using this tacky statue as a latrine.
A life-size bronze sculpture of the Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez was unveiled Thursday in Havana, an homage to the writer and to Cuba for its support of the peace accord with leftist FARC rebels.
The sculpture portrays the writer holding books and a rose, dressed in the traditional suit known as a liqui liqui that he wore to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982.
“We want to pay homage to Gabo who is so intimately linked to Havana, the Caribbean and Cuba,” Colombian ambassador to Cuba Gustavo Bell told AFP, using a nickname for the late author.
This “is a tribute, a show of gratitude from the Colombian people to the Cuban people for accompanying us in the peace process,” Bell said.
Havana hosted four years of peace talks between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by the Spanish acronym FARC.
Garcia Marquez, who died in 2014, was a personal friend of deceased Cuban leader Fidel Castro and lived in Havana for a period in the 1980s.
The statue stands 1.80 meters (5 feet and 9 inches) tall and is a “living sculpture” that shows Garcia Marquez descending a staircase.
The statue was created by Cuban sculptor Jose Villa Soberon, whose other works around the city include life-size renderings of the Beatle John Lennon and Mother Teresa.
Serbia is not known as a haven for Cuban refugees.
Yet, due to the resourcefulness of Cubans who are eager to find any available route out of their hell-hole of an island, Serbia is now stuck with 168 Cubans.
Or, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that those Cubans are stuck in Serbia.
All this thanks to Obama’s last-minute executive order, which shut the door on thousands of would-be Cuban refugees.
Meanwhile, in Mexico, a much larger number of trapped Cuban “migrants” have appealed for help from the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights because they fear being returned to Castrogonia.
Where is the outrage? Where are the petitions for a change in policy? Where are the heart-rending news stories about the individuals and families being affected by Obama’s cold-heartedness? Why is this particular sort of bigotry and xenophobia being ignored?
Yeah… well….rhetorical question, Mildred. You know the answers to all those questions. You know damn well.
From Thomson-Reuters Foundation:
Cubans living in Serbian reception centres, stranded after below-freezing temperatures and closed borders halted their journeys
As snow falls outside a migrant centre along a highway near the Serbian town of Adaševci, a large Cuban family huddles together in their bedroom, idly playing with their mobile phones to pass the time.
With old photos dotting her walls and laundry hanging by her frosty windows, Tania Hernandez’s tiny room – which she shares with six family members – is a far cry from sunny Havana, the Caribbean island capital she left behind in August last year.
But living in these cramped conditions is nothing compared to the political repression Hernandez said she had to endure.
“We decided to leave because in Cuba there’s no freedom. We were very tired of so much repression upon our shoulders, it was too much,” the Spanish-speaking mother of three said through a translator.
The family is part of a small but growing number of Cubans travelling through the Balkans towards Spain, the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.
The unlikely migrant route from Cuba to Spain via Russia and the Balkans became apparent at the height of the European migration crisis in 2015, said IOM’s Western Balkans coordinator Peter Van der Auweraert.
“The route is attractive because they don’t need a visa to go to Russia,” he said in a telephone interview. “So at least they can get close to the (European Union) without any visa issues.”
As of Jan. 25, there were 168 Cubans living in Serbian reception centres, according to IOM, stranded after below-freezing temperatures and closed borders halted their journeys.
Aaaah, the wonders of living in a communist utopia!
Free health care. Free education. Free harassment. Free acts of repudiation. Free death threats. And, best of all, free prison sentences for speaking your mind.
Why aren’t millions of people migrating to this paradise?
It’s a huge mystery, for sure. Hard to explain.
Loosely translated from Diario de Cuba:
The Directorio Democrático Cubano reports to Diario de Cuba that Anairis and Adairis Miranda Leyva, Fidel Manuel Batista Leyva have been sentenced to one year in prison and their mother Maydolis Leyva Portelles has been placed under house arrest –also for one year — after a sham trial in their province of Holguín.
This family of dissidents, all associated with the Reflexión Movement, also report that a military official of the Castro regime, Freddy Agüero has “threatened them with death.”
Anairis Miranda Leyva declared that their “trial” on monday was packed with representatives of the Castro regime, including the top provincial official of the Ministry of the Interior, the local chief of State Security, a Liutenant Coronel from the Armed Forces, a chief of police, and many other agents from the Ministry of the Interior.
To add insult to injury, they were also subjected to an act of repudiation by their neighbors.
Adaoros Miranda Leyva revealed that Freddy Agüero’s death threat was quite specific: “when you get to prison you will be killed by some inmates.” In addition, he sent a message through another dissident friend of theirs: “that the coffins for their funerals were ready and waiting for them,” and that the authorities “had a case of beer ready for a celebration.”
The family vows to keep struggling for human rights despite the threats and their prison sentences.
Their “crime” was to protest the arrest of fellow dissident Dr. Eduardo Cardet.
The Cuba-Iran Intergovernmental Commission is underway from Monday to February 15th, with the presence of about 30 Iranian officials and businessmen, the Cuban Foreign Ministry said.
The Iranian delegation is led by the Minister of Health and Medical Teaching, Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi, the website minrex.gob.cu., stated.
Representatives, both Iranian state-run and private sectors, are expected to meet with their Cuban counterparts involved in economic and commercial relations in health, energy, agriculture, higher education, sport, science and legal sectors.
As stated by the Foreign Ministry, the Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca will be chairing the national delegation.
During these Intergovernmental gathering, several two-way agreements will be negotiated and signed, Cuban minister said.
Iranian minister Hashemi, during his stay on Cuba, will be also conducting a secondary program including some interviews with other senior Cuban officials and visits to places of scientific and cultural interest, he said.
For a fuller report in Spanish go HERE to 14yMedio
Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White reports that they met with Monsignor Juan de la Caridad García Rodríguez, Archbishop of Havana, and received his blessing, along with promises of support.
This surprising and unprecedented meeting took place on Wednesday February 15.
Berta Soler other members of the Ladies in White met with the Archbishop for more than an hour and briefed him on the repression they have been enduring, and on the constant violation of their right to attend church services.
According to Berta Soler and another Lady in White, María Cristina Labrada, the Archbishop — who is the highest authority in the Cuban Catholic Church — was very receptive to their complaints.
“He heard what we had to say, and he knows what is going on,” said Labrada, adding that the Archbishop blessed them and offered a prayer for them “so that we could keep moving forward.”
Berta Soler also revealed that authorities of the Catholic Church “have been asking the government to talk with the opposition, but the government has refused to respond.”
The Ladies in White gave the Archbishop photographic and video proof of the beatings and arrests they have been enduring.
Archbishop García Rodríguez asked Berta Soler to give him the names of the State Security agents who have threatened the Ladies in White, telling them they will never again be able to go to Mass or receive communion.
Since March 2016, the Ladies in White have been prevented from attending church.