Sometimes, a single word can change your perspective on things.
Castrogonia’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, did me a favor today.
By demanding once again a “complete” end to the embargo, he helped me realize that the normalization circus is not at all about normalization, but about the vain desires of the current occupant of the White House, whose desperation to establish a so-called “legacy” is well understood — and appreciated — by the sociopaths who run the Castro Kingdom.
So, maybe it would be best to call it the Legacy Circus rather than the Normalization Circus?
Quote of the day, from Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuban Foreign Minister
“There won’t be a normalisation of relations between the US and Cuba without a complete end to the embargo. It’s a decision that has to go through Congress. In the meantime, the US President has vast executive powers that he could use to substantially modify the application of the embargo.”
King Raul Castro enjoyed a lavish state dinner while in Paris.
The wizened dictator was the center of attention at this feast, which was attended by French officials and other notables.
President François – “Le Grand Bouffon”-Hollande toasted the the Caribbean tyrant, praising the “Franco-Cuban friendship,” assuring King Raul that France would “respect Cuba’s identity.”
Yeah, “its identity.” You know what that means. Its slavery.
The French were once heavily invested in the slave trade, something most Americans don’t know. The seacoast city of Bordeaux –now best known for wine — was once a “port négrier” and many residents of that city grew rich from the buying and selling of human beings.
Yeah: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The more the change, the more things stay the same.
To ensure that King Raul would be appropriately entertained, his French hosts invited a famous French DJ and his girlfriend — a beautiful Cuban mulatica — to join the festivities.
If you need to vomit today, for whatever reason, just watch the video below.
From the one and only Daily Mail:
French DJ superstar David Guetta and model girlfriend Jessica Ledon dine with Cuban President Raul Castro in Paris
A superstar DJ, the French President and the Cuban President aren’t your usual dinner guests.
So it was quite a surprise to see French DJ David Guetta as one of the big names on the coveted guestlist for a state dinner at the Elysee Palace on Monday night.
As one of the biggest DJs and French celebrities in the world, David was among those to be invited to attend a dinner hosted by the French premier Francois Hollande for Cuban President Raul Castro’s state visit to Paris.
Of course, it probably helped that David happens to be dating one of Castro’s fellow countrypeople, Cuban model Jessica Ledon.
The When Love Takes Over hitmaker, 48, looked dapper in black suit as he arrived at the Elysee Palace with his stunning girlfriend.
Cuban model Jessica, 23, showed off her fabulous legs in a lace dress, which she teamed with a black coat.
A Cuba migrant windsurfed across the Florida Straits and came ashore at Naval Air Station Key West property in the Truman Annex Tuesday afternoon.
The migrant told Navy personnel that he had been on the water for about 12 hours, said NAS Key West spokeswoman. He was spotted by nearby Joint Interagency Task Force South security cameras and received medical care.
Custom and Border Protection agents responded to the Navy property, she added.
The incident marked the fourth time since 2014 that federal agencies have searched or found Cuban migrants using the method to cross the dangerous Florida Straits.
In April 2014, the Coast Guard searched for, but never found, a migrant reportedly windsurfing after they received a call from his wife. It was not clear if she lived in Florida or Cuba.
In February 2014, a Cuban windsurfer came ashore in Key West at The Reach Resort, 1435 Simonton St. He told federal authorities that there were two others still at sea.
Two days later, a good Samaritan found the second man drifting on a windsurfing board, about seven to 10 miles south of Big Pine Key. He was dehydrated and exhausted, but otherwise uninjured.
The next day, a good Samaritan found the third man on the southeast side of Marquesas Keys. The Coast Guard picked him up shortly thereafter.
The three men left from Jibacoa, Cuba, a fishing village in the Mayabeque Province on the island nation’s northwest coastline, according to the first windsurfer who landed at The Reach Resort.
A very nice summary of El Sexto’s recent ordeal, written by an Amnesty International activist.
Required reading for anyone who doubts the effectiveness of external pressure on the Castro regime.
Now…imagine what might happen if similar campaigns would be mounted every time a dissident is arrested…..
…or, even better, imagine what might happen if an anti-apartheid, anti-slavery shaming campaign would be launched against those who visit Castrogonia as tourists …..
From The Huffington Post
Two Little Piggies: How a Cuban Artist’s Protest Went Viral
Barbara E. Joe
Early on Christmas day, 2014, Cuban artist Danilo Maldonado, nicknamed “El Sexto,” planned a performance piece inspired by Animal Farm. He had carefully painted, using bright red capital letters, the names “FIDEL” and “RAUL” onto two squirming piglets. It’s traditional in Cuba between Christmas and New Year’s to release pigs to be kept by anyone who can catch them. But Danilo never got to release his pigs.
One of Cuba’s ubiquitous soplones (snitches), often older busy-body volunteers for the local Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), probably turned him in. After getting wind of his plans, the police arrested not only him, but, he now says with a wink, but also detained “Fidel” and “Raúl” — the hapless piglets. Both were female, he adds.
An American friend, whose admiration of Fidel Castro remains undimmed and who has taken a solidarity tour to Cuba, was puzzled by El Sexto’s behavior. He opined that the guy must be mentally unbalanced — why, if he had a genuine grievance, didn’t he just take it to the local CDR? Sure, go to the CDR and say, “I’d like a different government, please, one that I could actually vote for.”
After his arrest, El Sexto was accused of desacato (contempt), a provision in Cuban law carrying a sentence of up to three years. But he never appeared before a judge nor was he ever formally charged, just held in limbo for almost nine months, after which, in desperation, he embarked on a hunger strike. Now, in retrospect, he considers that just another facet of his performance piece, though it might have actually ended in his death. After announcing his strike and writing a farewell letter to his family, he was placed in solitary confinement in a cell blocking out all light. The hours crept by, blurring day and night in his darkened cell, as hunger gnawed and he grew increasingly faint.
Five decades ago, no one could have predicted that two of the top contenders for the presidency of the U.S. in 2016 would have Cuban roots.
Yet, here we are this morning.
Two politicians of Cuban extraction got more votes than anyone else (51%) in a state with very few Cubans.
According to the 2010 census, only 1,226 Iowans claimed a Cuban identity. That’s a mere .0004 percent of the state’s population.
This means that in an age of extreme identity politics, something unusual is happening: Cruz and Rubio are attracting voters because of what they say and do rather than because of their ethnicity.
God bless America.
The left-leaning news media has tried to attract attention to this odd phenomenon negatively, for the most part. The New York Times ran a series of scurrilous hit-pieces on Rubio’s uppity social-climbing. Ted Cruz’s Cuban father has been blamed for infecting his household with the wrong kind of Lateeen-oh values, even with the wrong kind of religion. Loud-mouth bigot Chris Matthews of MSNBC dismissed both candidates as “Cuban nationals” and joked that no one would want to watch a debate between two Cuban guys.
Cruz and Rubio do more than simply defy the bigoted stereotypes created for Lateeen-ohs by the left. They blow up those stereotypes and confuse the hell out of the identity politics police.
How long could it be before these two elephants in the room are recognized as elephants by the identity cops and their deputies?
And will the recognition come from anyone who isn’t interested in shooting them down? The heads of uppity elephants do make nice trophies, after all.
Yes, very nice trophies. Ask any member of the Harvard Club in New York about the elephant head donated by Teddy Roosevelt.
As Donald Trump would say, that head is yuuuuuge. Elites love trophies, especially big ones.
Get ready for some major weirdness up ahead. Identity politics crisis ahead for leftists and so-called progressives. Major. Colossal. Yuuuuge. Watch out for lots of hunters with high caliber ammunition.
Reporters Without Borders is reminding the current President of France that he should confront the King of Castrogonia and ask him to free his people.
In other words, this venerable institution is trying to shame President Hollande into acting ethically, in accordance with the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
Nice try, Reporters, but good luck with that strategy.
Hollande has already looked Raul Castro in the eye, declared his love for him, and embraced him without mentioning the issue of human rights.
Merde. It’s worth repeating. Merde, merde, merde…. Or, if you want to seem refined: ordure, ordure, ordure…..
That’s all we can expect from this latest act in the normalization circus set in motion by Pope Che and the current occupant of the White House.
This encounter is all about profiting from Cuban slave labor. Nothing more, nothing less.
Cuba – Will Hollande Dare Look Raúl Castro in the Eye?
As French President François Hollande prepares to receive Cuban leader Raúl Castro at the Elysée Palace on 1-2 February, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges him not to shirk from his duty to raise the disastrous situation of the media in Cuba with his visitor.
This official visit by Castro, who is not only President of the Council of State and President Council of Ministers but also First Secretary of the Communist Party and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, is repaying the visit that Hollande made to Cuba on 10 May 2015.
RSF wonders about the reasons for this new meeting with the leader of what is one of the world’s worst countries from the viewpoint of journalists. In Cuba, independent journalists and bloggers are constantly persecuted by the Castro government, which has ruled the island for 57 years.
The regime has an almost total monopoly on the circulation of news and information, using harsh laws and police harassment to gag independent and opposition media outlets. Cuban journalists who try to resist government control are subject to intimidation, threats, arbitrary arrest and the confiscation of their professional equipment.
“We urge François Hollande not to dodge the fundamental question of media freedom in Cuba during his talks with Raúl Castro,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America desk. “The Castro government’s many attacks on Cuban journalists are unacceptable. France must use this visit to advance the debate about media pluralism and the protection of journalists in Cuba.”
In fact, harassment of the opposition media has intensified in recent months. Reporters who cover the weekly protest march by the “Damas de Blanco” on Sundays are systematically arrested and held for several hours before being freed.
When Pope Francis visited Cuba in September, the secret police told opposition journalists and bloggers they would be arrested if they did not stay at home until the pope left.
The Sacred Scriptures of the self-anointed Thinking Class — and the favorite newspaper of Cuban exiles — has decided who are the best two candidates for the 2016 presidential election.
Its support for Hillary Rodham Clinton is no surprise. It endorses her “with confidence and enthusiasm.”
The disdain with which it condescends to single out one Republican with the faintest of praise is not much of a surprise either: John Kasich is “no moderate,” as its endorsement points out, but at least he doesn’t dance with Satan in public or feast on the blood of sacrificed subalterns, gays, and Muslims, like all the other candidates.
Aside from Trump and Cruz, more than a half-dozen other candidates are battling for survival. Jeb Bush has failed to ignite much support, but at least he has criticized the bigotry of Mr. Trump and the warmongering of Mr. Cruz. Senator Marco Rubio, currently embracing the alarmist views of the front-runners, seems to have forgotten his more positive “New American Century” campaign, based on helping the middle-class. The terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino exposed Ben Carson’s inability to grasp the world. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has said he would shoot down Russian planes, engage with the dead king of Jordan and bar refugees, including orphaned Syrian toddlers.
Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, though a distinct underdog, is the only plausible choice for Republicans tired of the extremism and inexperience on display in this race. And Mr. Kasich is no moderate. As governor, he’s gone after public-sector unions, fought to limit abortion rights and opposed same-sex marriage.
One of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history
For the past painful year, the Republican presidential contenders have been bombarding Americans with empty propaganda slogans and competing, bizarrely, to present themselves as the least experienced person for the most important elected job in the world. Democratic primary voters, on the other hand, after a substantive debate over real issues, have the chance to nominate one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history.
Hillary Clinton would be the first woman nominated by a major party. She served as a senator from a major state (New York) and as secretary of state — not to mention her experience on the national stage as first lady with her brilliant and flawed husband, President Bill Clinton. The Times editorial board has endorsed her three times for federal office — twice forSenateand once in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary — and is doing so again with confidence and enthusiasm.
France to offer Cuba more debt relief during Castro visit
France is to sign a deal with Cuba next week to ease the Caribbean island nation’s bilateral debt to Paris during a visit by the Cuban president to the French capital, a diplomatic source said yesterday.
Raul Castro is due to arrive on Saturday in Paris for a five day stay, in what will be the first official visit to France by a Cuban president since the country’s independence. [WRONG: Fidel visited in 1995]
With ties between Washington and Havana warming, France is eager to further improve relations with Cuba starting with a visit by French President Francois Hollande to the island last year.
As Havana’s biggest creditor, France played a key role in December in a debt relief deal between Cuba and the foreign governments it owes money to.
Ah! Here are the little details that will make your skin crawl if you are a victim of this king’s brutality.
Imagine the uproar if France had extended the same kind of welcome to former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet, or former South African president P.W. Botha.
If this were a just world –and if the French had any regard for ethics — King Raul would be immediately whisked to prison from the airport today and tried for crimes against humanity on Monday.
Or, even better, before being taken to court, he’d be taken directly to the Place de la Concorde and placed in a pillory at the very same spot where King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were guillotined, to be pelted with insults, rotten foodstuffs, and ordure.
So… since that ain’t gonna happen, lit ça et pleure (lee esto y llora, read this and weep):
Cuban President Raul Castro arrived in Paris on Saturday as part of his historic state visit to France. His stay in France begins with a private visit before being officially received by French President Francois Hollande under the iconic landmark of Arc de Triomphe in the French capital on Monday.
Castro will hold talks with Hollande at the Elysee presidential palace and attend a state dinner. He will meet various French officials on Tuesday.
The visit, which was announced on January 19, marks the dawn of a new era of economic and diplomatic ties for the island nation.
Cuban deputy foreign minister Rogelia Sierra said Cuba wishes to expand and further diversify its relations with France in the fields of economy, commerce, finance, investment, and culture.
According to French officials, the two countries are expected to sign an economic roadmap to develop ties.
They will also sign deals on transport, tourism and fair trade.
This is Castro’s first state visit to Europe since he took over from his elder brother Fidel as leader in 2006.
Fidel Castro had visited France in 1995 and met with its then president Francois Mitterrand.
Last May, Hollande became the first Western head of state to visit Cuba in over 50 years.
His visit took place following the thawing of relations between Cuba and the United States at the end of 2014.
Hollande called for the lifting of the US economic embargo trade embargo which has been in place since 1962.
Paris is also taking a leading role in strengthening Cuba’s political ties with Europe overall. It hopes for a new cooperation deal after years of tension over the sensitive issue of human rights in Cuba.
Being self-employed in Castrogonia is risky business, principally because no one can really be “self-employed.”
Since the government requires all “cuentapropistas” to pay for expensive licenses and permits, and that government sets the wholesale as well as the retail prices for all items, being an entrepreneur is no different from being a government employee.
Accustomed as they are to cutting corners and cheating (“resolví mi problema”), Cubans who dare to make a living on their own often get sucker-punched by agents of their ever-watchful Big Brother.
For those fooled into thinking that Castrogonia is slowly morphing into a semi-capitalist economy, stories such as the one below should be required reading.
A dozen self-employed food cart vendors –“carretilleros” — were raided by government agents in Old Havana last friday January 22. The agents were from one branch of the Castro regime’s Monopoly Enforcement Ministry, the Oficina Nacional de la Administración Tributaria (ONAT).
The government agents surprised the food vendors as they were purchasing foodstuffs from a government wholesale market.
As soon as the agents asked for licenses and self-employment permits, some of the vendors fled, leaving their food carts behind.
Other government agents who were stationed nearby, keeping an eye on this raid, quickly apprehended those who fled.
Six of the vendors who didn’t have the proper documents were fined 1500 pesos and had their carts and merchandise confiscated. The items they had already bought from the government market –bananas, onions, garlic, beans, etc.– were all returned to that market.
So, on top of having to pay a stiff fine — equivalent to a full three months of income for Cubans– these “cuentapropistas” lost all the money they had invested that day.
One of the vendors involved, an elderly carretillero named Pablo Nelson had this to say about the Castro regime’s monopoly: “Now they want to blame us for high prices, but they never admit that it’s the government that’s responsible for high prices due to its mishandling of the economy. The blockade against the Cuban people is run by our own government, not by the Americans.”
Those who heard this comment advised Pablo Nelson to be quiet and not to cause problems. Pablo Nelson shouted back: “I don’t have any problems. It’s the government that has problems. We sell and the people buy. We’re not forcing anyone to buy from us at knifepoint.” Nelson kept shouting until a policeman arrested him, and led him away handcuffed.
“Desnuda completamente me pidieron que abriera las piernas varias veces”
Connect the dots…from teacher to pupil… from the KGB to the East German Stasi to Castro State Security to Venezuela’s Bolivarian torturers.
Lilian Tintori, the wife of imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo López, said that on a visit to Ramo Verde prison last weekend, guards made her strip naked, remove her sanitary pad, spread her legs open repeatedly for close inspection of her genitals.
In other words, she was raped. But that was not the worst of it. Her two children, six-year-old Manuela, and three-year old Leopoldo Santiago, were forced to watch all this.
In true Castro style, the Bolivarian torturers found a way to make this experience even worse for the jailed dissident’s family.
Lopez’s two children were also forced to watch their grandmother, Antonieta Mendoza undergo the same kind of shameful abuse.
“They have psychologically tortured me and Leopoldo with their actions and now even my children are being exposed to their abuse,” Tintori said in accusations that brought expressions of outrage from inside and outside Venezuela.
Lopez, leader of the opposition party Popular Will, is serving a 14-year sentence in solitary confinement, in a tiny four-foot by nine-foot cell.
The Castro-led puppet regime of Nicolas Maduro is denying these allegations.
Story HERE in English, from the Thomson Reuters Foundation. A more detailed account HERE in Spanish, from ABC Spain.
Welcome to the new Cuba, which is no different from the old Cuba.
The U.S.-backed Castro dictatorship won’t allow Cubans to ask questions in public or to answer them.
Arian Guerra Pérez y Weiner Alexander Martínez Estepe –two journalists from Agencia Hablemos Press— were arrested in the Cerro neighborhood of Havana on Wednesday 27 January around 10 a.m.
Both journalists were soliciting opinions from ordinary Cubans about new trade regulations with the U.S. when they were suddenly whisked away by agents of the Department of State Security.
The two men were trying to ascertain how much ordinary Cubans might know about the new trade arrangements announced this week.
These are some of the very dangerous subversive questions they were asking residents of El Cerro:
How will these new trade measures affect ordinary Cubans? How do you think they will affect you?
What impact will these new measures have on the Cuban economy?
The U.S. government has asked the Castro regime to liberalize Cuba’s economy, to reform its monetary system, and to allow foreign firms to hire Cuban workers directly. What do you think of these objectives?
Do you think that the Castro regime will allow self-employed “cuentapropistas” to buy merchandise directly from American firms on credit?
Will an ordinary Cuban such as yourself be able to engage legally in direct business negotiations with any American?
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio asserts that the new measures announced by President Obama will further empower the Castro regime rather than the Cuban people. What do you think of that?
None of the policy changes made by the U.S. since December 17 of last year have benefitted ordinary Cubans. What do you think of that?
What do you think will happen when the embargo is totally abolished? Will ordinary Cubans benefit in any way?
Agencia Hablemos Press is an independent non-profit news agency founded in 2009. Its 40 independent journalists operate in 11 out of Cuba’s 16 provinces. They are constantly harassed and frequently arrested by the Castro regime.
No further details are available on the fate of these two impertinent journalists detained on Wednesday.
As expected, the repressive machinery of the Castro regime is growing ever bolder as a result of the normalization circus.
With full U.S. backing for their dictatorship, the Castro dynasty knows it can do whatever it wants to stifle dissent.
Arresting a foreign journalist is an escalation in their boldness, but good luck finding much in the news media about this story.
The journalist arrested and harassed this past Sunday, Benedict Vallendar, has co-authored a book on labor camps in the former communist utopia of East Germany (Leben Hinter Mauern / Life Behind Walls).
Martin Lessenthin, a spokesman for a German human rights organization reports the following:
Internationale Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte Deutsche Sektion e.V. (International Society for Human Rights, German Section)
150 Cuban democracy activists and a German journalist arrested
Protests for the freedom of political prisoners violently dispersed
National security and police have arrested more than 150 activists from various Cuban pro-democracy opposition groups on Sunday, the International Society for Human Rights reports (ISHR). Among those arrested was a German journalist who observed the violent crackdown against peaceful protesters, the ‘Ladies in White’, in Havana.
The dissident groups, including the “Ladies in White” and the movement UNPACU, participated in the 38th protest as a part of the “Todos marchamos” (“We all march”) campaign for the freedom of political prisoners in Cuba on Sunday.
The German journalist and Latin America expert Dr. Benedict Vallendar was arrested yesterday (Sunday) on the sidewalk in front of the Church of Santa Rita in Havana Miramar and was interrogated for several hours. Vallendar had previously attended a service in the church of Santa Rita, and then observed the violent dispersal of a demonstration of the “Ladies in White”. Vallendar writes for several Catholic media outlets, including appearing in the ‘Tagespost’ (Daily Mail) in Würzburg, and the Katholische Nachrichten-Agentur (Catholic News Agency).
After his release, Vallendar first reported the incidents to a Protestant pastor. Then he returned to his hotel, which according to the ISHR, had been broken into and ransacked; however, nothing was missing. The journalist is expected to arrive back in Germany on Wednesday.
The parish of Santa Rita in the Miramar district of Havana is the meeting place of the “Ladies in White”. They are an association of women whose husbands and sons were arrested for commitment to freedom of expression and the press. The movement was founded in response to the Cuban “Black Spring” in 2003, in which numerous dissidents were arrested and sentenced to long prison terms.
The ISHR, which also has a section representing Cuba, reported on Sunday of last week on the temporary arrest of 250 democracy activists who had taken part in protests.
Martin Lessenthin, the ISHR Spokesman of the Board, sees the recent attacks as evidence of “the regime’s fear of the protests by democracy activists. Rather than tolerating peaceful protests, and demonstrating the willingness of the Cuban government to reform to the world, any protest is suppressed. That is a poor basis for dialogue with Europe on European investments in Cuba! “
Press release From the Cuban Democratic Directorate:
January 22, 2016. The Cuban Democratic Directorate denounces the beating and physical injuries that Castro’s jailers inflicted on political prisoner Geovanys Hernandez Izaguirre, activist of Frente Nacional de Resistencia Cívica Orlando Zapata Tamayo in the Aguadores prison, located in the province of Santiago de Cuba, according to a report received by telephone from his wife, Isora Torres Bicet, to the Cuban Democratic Directorate this afternoon.
“Today I went to the prison to see him—they would not let me see him. The guard told me that I could not see him, because he had fallen in his cell, to which I said I wanted to see him either way. They gave me five minutes with him and he told me exactly what had happened to him. He said that another prisoner had intentionally cut himself and was bleeding, and that he had brought it to the attention of the guard, who responded by saying to leave him there. Geovanys came to the defense of the prisoner, pleading not to let him die right there; the guard began to beat Geovanys—split his head with baton, gave him a black eye, and broke one of his fingers by snapping it backwards towards the top of his hand. He had an arm in a cast as well. They would not tell me who was responsible for his beating, only saying that he was beaten for coming to the defense of another prisoner” said Isora Torres Bicet, wife of Geovanys, to the Cuban Democratic Directorate.
Geovanny Izaguirre Hernández, of Frente Nacional de Resistencia Cívica Orlando Zapata Tamayo (Frente OZT) was arrested with Laudelino Rodriguez Mendoza of the Unión Patriótica de Cuba (UNPACU), on November 5, 2015. In the morning hours of November 6, both were subjected to a summary trial and punished with six (6) months of imprisonment. This case is a direct result of the failing to pay a fine of $2,000.00CUC pesos that were imposed on both activists when they were blamed for graffiti against the Castro regime, which appeared in the town of Palma Soriano.
The Cuban Democratic Directorate condemns this act of violence from the Castro regime against Geovanys Hernandez Izaguirre, and denounces the same to the human rights organizations and the international community, urging all to join this compaign.