See what it’s like when Cuban dissidents get arrested

See it for yourself.

This happened just a few blocks from where I lived as a child.

For those who don’t know Spanish:

The marchers shout “libertad” (freedom).  The mob shouts “pin pon pera, abajo la gusanera” (pin pon pera is meaningless nonsense, used merely for rhyme; abajo la gusanera means “down with the worms”).

From Capitol Hill Cubans:

Caught on Tape: Sunday’s Arrests of Cuban Democracy Leaders
at 9:51 AM Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Click on the image above or on the linked text below it to watch video footage of this past Sunday’s arrest of The Ladies in White and other democracy activists in Havana.

Note how they were assaulted by secret police officials, which then call-in a mob to start chanting “Fidel, Fidel” — chants similar to those at the Cuban Embassy opening in Washington, D.C.

Sadly, foreign new bureaus in Havana were either too tired from Kerry’s fluff trip, or (again) too scared of Castro’s censors, to cover the repression.

White House seeks to flood Castro Kingdom with American tourists without congressional approval

Tourists exercise in the water in the Santa Maria Key Resort in central Cuba April 4, 2013. People pay a lot of money to visit the Caribbean island that has been mostly off limits the past half century even though it is just 90 miles (145 km) from Florida. A four-day trip to Havana for two costs nearly $5,000, not including airfare, but the forbidden fruit aspect of Cuba is a big draw, said Edward Piegza, who led the first trip for his San Diego, California-based travel company Classic Journeys. Tourists from other parts of the world, mostly Canada and Europe, freely visit the island for its beaches, vintage American cars and Spanish colonial architecture. Picture taken April 4, 2013.  REUTERS/Desmond Boylan (CUBA - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS TRAVEL ENVIRONMENT)

Yeah.  You knew this was coming, right?  Of course.

The current occupant of the White House is doing all he can to support the Castro regime, Congress be damned.

And, as a Wall Street Journal article points out, he is doing this in a way that will make it very difficult or impossible for any future U.S. presidents to undo the damage.

To top it off, as he props up Castrogonia, ensuring the survival of the dictatorship, he and his acolytes say they are trying to bring freedom to the island prison.

In a very real and very frightening way, he is acting just like the Martians in the movie “Mars Attacks,” who shout out “we come in peace!” and “don’t run we are your friends” as they slaughter earthlings.

Unfortunately, far too many people believe the lie, for various reasons.  And all those reasons are not just wrong, but reprehensible.

Even more reprehensible than Havana’s cigar ladies and the tourists who pose with them.

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From the Wall Street Journal

Obama Administration Pushes for Deal to Start Flights to Cuba by Year’s End
White House aims to loosen travel restrictions for individual U.S. travelers despite congressional ban

The Obama administration is working to reach a deal with Cuba by year’s end that would allow travelers to fly on scheduled commercial flights between the countries, U.S. officials say, chipping away at a travel ban without requiring Congress to lift it.

The agreement would allow airlines to establish regular service between the U.S. and Cuba as early as December, officials said, marking the most significant expansion of economic and tourism ties between the U.S. and Cuba since the 1950s, when Americans regularly traveled back and forth to Havana.

The Obama administration is also exploring further steps to loosen travel restrictions for Americans to the island nation despite the decades-old congressional ban, officials said.

The twin moves, which follow the formal reopening last week of the American embassy in Havana, underscore the White House’s intent to solidify one of President Barack Obama’s major foreign policy achievements by making the Cuba shift nearly impossible for a future president to reverse….

….Deepening both U.S.-Cuba economic relations and the two countries’ cultural and tourism ties is part of how Mr. Obama hopes to ensure that the move toward normalization doesn’t unravel under his successor.

The White House has taken the same approach to the nuclear deal with Iran, which Congress is set to vote on next month and is likely to be implemented by Mr. Obama exercising his veto authority.

The White House hopes Mr. Obama’s Iran and Cuba policies follow the same political trajectory as his health-care law. The idea, administration officials have said, is that like the health-care law, the Iran and Cuba initiatives will become so embedded in American policy over Mr. Obama’s final 18 months in office that undoing them would be too difficult.

Read the whole piece HERE

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Normalization circus in high gear: Another brutal Sunday in Havana

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Oh! The beauty of normalization!

Oh, that flag raising was so beautiful, and it made the world as a whole feel so good!

And the news outlets paid so much attention to its beauty, and to all of its details large and small.

And the same Cuban-American poet who lavished praise on the current occupant of the White House at his second inauguration was there too, reciting a poem commissioned by the White House, in English.

Oh, the wonders of reconciliation!

Oh, the beauty.  Oh, the splendor.  Oh the wonder of it all…. it was as momentous an occasion as the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain.

Oh! Oh! Oh!  The Cold War has finally ended!

Yeah, sure.  Keep dreaming.  Soon enough the dreams will prove to be nightmares of the worst sort.  As the great artist Goya, so aptly put it: “the sleep of reason produces monsters.”

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Over 60 dissidents and Ladies in White arrested for the 18th repressive Sunday in a row

Repression has become the norm on Sundays, and so has violence against dissidents and the Ladies in White.

According to several eyewitness reports to Diario de Cuba, the Castro regime’s State Security increased the size of mobs sent to harass and abuse dissidents in Havana who are peacefully asking for a general amnesty for all political prisoners and for the right to protest in public without violence.

Dissident Antonio González-Rodiles –one of those arrested– said:  “today’s ‘act of repudiation’ was massive, with many people shouting insults.”

“We were encircled, and all human rights activists who were with us were violently arrested.  They used choke holds on us,” said Lady in White Aliuska Gómez.

“They dragged me away from the others by pulling on my hair and they threw me into a police car,” said Gómez, who was taken to a police station in the Regla district of Havana.

Yaquelín Boni, another Lady in White, was severely beaten by State Security agents.

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“Uniformed police beat me savagely,” she said.  “Three women and one man threw me down on the ground, kicked and slapped me, and twisted my ankle.”  After being detained for a while, she was driven out to a remote location and dumped there.

 

The Castro regime is now claiming that the Sunday marches of the Ladies in White are making it impossible for children to play in Ghandi Park, and it is rapidly orchestrating complaints by neighbors.

The neighborhood in question has some of the finest homes in Havana and is still an exclusive enclave of government officials and foreign embassies.

Read the whole report HERE (in Spanish)

Meanwhile, back in the doomed Lateeen-oh galaxy: Castro-lovin’ Dilma in trouble

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Long-time Castro friend Dilma Rouseff, president of Brazil, has run into some turbulence.

Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took the streets on Sunday to call for her impeachment.

Along with Nicolas Maduro (Venezuela), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Cristina Kirchner (Argentina), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), and Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua), Rouseff is a fervent advocate of 21st-century socialism and an idolatrous admirer of the Castro brothers.

Many Brazilians (described as “white and middle class” by the news media) have had enough of her Castronoid tendencies and are calling for her impeachment.

Let’s see how far this popular resistance can get.

Of course, Dilma’s heroes, Fidel and Raul, would never tolerate such nonsense.  Those protesters would have never made it out of their homes, or — if they managed to do so — would have been clubbed, strangled, and arrested before they could ever make it to Copacabana Beach.

Given the blessing the U.S. has bestowed on the Castro Kingdom and its modus operandi, chances are that experts from Havana are advising her to crack down on these troublemakers.

Long live “normalization”!

Anti-Rouseff Protest in Rio de Janeiro
Anti-Rouseff Protest in Rio de Janeiro

Brazilian protesters demand President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment

Tens of thousands of people have taken part in protests across Brazil calling for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.

Support for Ms Rousseff has fallen to single-digit figures in recent polls.

Many voters have accused her of failing to stamp out corruption and blame her for the economy’s worst slump in 25 years.

Marchers took over Copacabana beach in Rio and also demonstrated outside congress in the capital Brasilia.

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Anti-Rouseff protest in Brasilia

Many wore the yellow shirts of the Brazilian football team, and sang the national anthem, carrying banners saying “Dilma Out”.

Police said about 137,000 people took part, but tens of the thousands of others were also involved in a demonstration in Sao Paulo.

The national day of action is the third major protest against Ms Rousseff and her left-wing Workers’ Part this year. Hundreds of thousands took part in demonstrations in March and April.

“We want things to change and if the people don’t go in the street that’s impossible,” said retired engineer Elino Alves de Moraes, who joined the march in Brasilia.

Ms Rousseff is less than a year into her second term as president.

Continue reading HERE.  For a video report from CNN go HERE.

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Naughty African students in Castro Kingdom threatened with deportation

South African medical students in Castrogonia
South African medical students in Castrogonia

Ay!  Que malcriados!

It seems that the South African government isn’t very pleased with complaints they’ve been receiving from Havana about the behavior of their medical students.

South Africa pays the Castro regime handsomely for the medical training of some South Africans.

Ahhhh.  How noble!

But these naughty South Africans have apparently displeased the Castronoid authorities by praying and preaching in public during their free time.

So, in response, the South African government has threatened to revoke their scholarships and bring them back home.

Ahhhh.  The wonders of the Castro Kingdom never cease to amaze!

 

Dean of the medical school at the University of Havana shows South African medical students how to cure lung cancer
Dean of the medical school at the University of Havana shows South African medical students how to cure lung cancer

 Cuba medical students ‘embarrassment’ to South African government

Durban – Medical students studying in Cuba have been told to stop spending their time preaching and focus on their studies.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo said those caught “abusing government resources” by preaching and praying in study time would be sent home to continue living in poverty.

The Cuban studies programme mostly targets students from disadvantaged families, and they are funded by the government.

Dhlomo said the Cuban government had complained the students had become a “nuisance”, disrupting traffic by preaching in busy streets.

“We are going to identify you and move you back to South Africa and you will pay back the government money,” said Dhlomo.

He said when students finished their lessons at 3pm they should take a short break, go to the sporting or gym facilities for exercise and come back from 5pm to 6pm for supper. At 7pm they should study and be asleep by 10pm.

Continue reading HERE

New York Post throws wet blanket on normalization circus hooplah

An opposition activist is detained by Cuban security officers
An opposition activist is detained by Cuban security officers

Party pooper!  Naughty low-brow tabloid! How dare you challenge the dominant narrative!

From The New York Post

Why is Cuba’s opening a cause for progressive cheers?

The weirdest thing about Friday’s symbolic reopening of the US Embassy in Cuba is that it’s somehow seen as a progressive achievement.

The leader of the Free World takes a step toward restoring relations with a bloody tyranny — where a single family has ruled with an iron hand for six decades — and the professed enemies of inequality cheer?

Today’s leftists are so eager to have foreign leaders pretend to agree with them that they’ll overlook thousands of political prisoners, a needlessly impoverished country and no free speech, free assembly or free press.

It’s almost as if being loudly anti-American is enough to win the American left’s love.

Earth to progressives: The Cold War is over — and freedom won.

No, the corpse of Communism hasn’t utterly decomposed everywhere — but the ideology’s been replaced by naked force, personality cults and other make-dos everywhere “Communism” still claims to rule.

A road marker near Fidel and Raúl Castro's home town of Bíran
A road marker near Fidel and Raúl Castro’s home town of Bíran

Today’s Cuba suffers under the grim ghost of a dream that died. Havana’s chief export is no longer even revolution — but rather the secret policemen it sends to the regime in Venezuela in exchange for oil.

We’ll leave the question of whether restoring diplomatic relations or even ending the US embargo is the best thing to do about the dictatorship 90 miles off America’s shore. But left and right really ought to agree that the goal of US policy should be: Cuba libre.

Quote of the day: What “normalization” means in Havana

The ex-spy who who directed the total surrender of the U.S. diplomatic team during “normalization” talks has made the meaning of that word clear.
For her, and for her bosses, it means that the U.S. has now accepted the Castro regime as “normal” and that it won’t ever change anything.
This is what that flag raising ceremony was about yesterday: The Castro regime has the absolute upper hand, and that is perfectly acceptable to the U.S.
The Cuban government won’t move a “millimeter” to please its opponents in America, the nation’s top diplomat in talks with the U.S. said Friday after an American flag-raising event in Havana.
Josefina Vidal
Josefina Vidal
Decisions on internal matters are not negotiable and will never be put on the negotiating agenda in conversations with the United States,” Josefina Vidal, Cuba’s director of U.S. affairs, told Reuters.
“Cuba will never do absolutely anything, not move one millimeter, to try to respond,” she added.

Flag raising news coverage: Invincible ignorance on parade

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Circuses used to stage elaborate parades whenever they came to town.

Yesterday the normalization circus staged a different kind of parade, which consisted solely of clowns.  No elephants, no lions, no acrobats, no freaks of nature.  Just clowns.

Clowns who know nothing about Cuba, to boot.  Only the major news networks were allowed to cover the event, and, as one might expect, the coverage was idiotic.

Yesterday I received a call from Al Jazeera.  A reporter who had interviewed me previously for a documentary on the Pedro Pan airlift wanted to know how I felt about the ceremony at the U.S. “embassy” in Havana.

“Tell me how you feel while watching the events unfold live on television!”

I provided her with a short and not so sweet response.  I told her it was way too painful an event to watch.  See below.

She seemed stunned by my response.

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I was also interviewed by Deutsche Welle, a German news outlet.  They asked me the same question.  I gave them the same answer, more or less, but I only had three minutes and could barely cover more than a single point per question.

They also asked me about the embargo and I explained that there really hasn’t been an embargo for a long time, and that all it means at this point is that Cuba has to pay cash for its purchases.

I got the distinct impression the interviewer didn’t like my answers.  The third question was so totally off base that it couldn’t be answered.  They wanted to know what percentage of the Cuban people favor the normalization circus.  I tried to explain that no one can take polls in Cuba, and that even if the Castro regime permitted it, no one would feel free to express an honest opinion.  They seemed flabbergasted.  I got the distinct impression they thought I was insane. “But…. why…. why can’t polls be taken?….”  They had no clue.

You’d think someone who lives in Berlin would know better.  But, alas, no.

The news report that preceded my interview made yesterday’s event seem like the fall of the Berlin Wall.  The reporter actually had no clue that all the Cubans assembled at the ceremony were hand-picked by the Castro regime or that dissidents had been prevented from leaving their homes.  As he reported it, all those Cubans were there of their own accord to display their joy.

So it goes.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) stands with other dignitaries as members of the U.S. Marines raise the U.S. flag over the newly reopened embassy in Havana, Cuba, August 14, 2015. Watched over by Kerry, U.S. Marines raised the American flag at the embassy in Cuba for the first time in 54 years on Friday, symbolically ushering in an era of renewed diplomatic relations between the two Cold War-era foes. REUTERS/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Pool - RTX1OA3V

From Al Jazeera America:

Unaccompanied minors from Cuba, all grown up
Updated Aug. 14, 2015:

As the American flag flew above the US Embassy in Cuba Friday for the first time in more than 50 years, two people who fled the country as part of Operation Pedro Pan told America Tonight they have mixed feelings about the countries celebrating renewed ties.

“I can’t watch it,” said Carlos Eire, a Yale professor who left Cuba when he was 11. “It would be like watching members of my family being beheaded,” he told America Tonight.

Eire said the steps the United States is taking to rebuild relations with Cuba, is one of the “stupidest things an American president had done.” Until Cubans enjoy free speech, freedom of the press and free elections, Eire won’t return to his home country.

Lissette Alvarez, the daughter of Cuban performers Olga Chorens and Tony Alvarez, described Friday’s ceremony as bittersweet.

“It’s so emotional to see the American flag in Havana,” she said. “It looks so beautiful, but what is happening is a different story. There is nothing the government has done to change the conditions on the island.”

The actions of the United States, she said, is “just helping these people have more repression.”

“I love my country,” she said.  “I will go back to rebuild, but [only] when there is freedom of speech and no people in jails for what they think.”

Not everyone is fooled by normalization circus

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Editorial in the Wall Street Journal

It overlooks some important details, and mangles the Castilian dialect, but manages to see through the smokescreen more clearly than most other news outlets

Cuba No Libre

The U.S. outreach has changed little about life on the island.

‘Cuba’s future is for Cubans to shape,” declared Secretary of State John Kerry in Havana on Friday as he reopened the U.S. Embassy after 54 years. If only this were true. The reality is that Cuba’s future is still reserved for the Castro brothers and their political comrades to shape, and that hasn’t changed a whit since President Obama decided to recognize the Cuban regime in December.

“Having normal relations makes it easier for us to talk—and talk can deepen understanding even when we know full well that we will not always see eye-to-eye on everything,” Mr. Kerry said. This sums up the Obama vision of foreign policy, in which talk typically turns out to be its own reward.

Certainly there isn’t much to show so far for the U.S. outreach to Cuba. The U.S. has supplied the government run by Fidel and Raúl Castro and the military with much-wanted new global legitimacy. The U.S. has also eased travel restrictions to the island, and American business interests and the Obama Administration are lobbying Congress to end the U.S. trade embargo.

What hasn’t changed is life for average Cubans who aren’t connected to the ruling elite. They are still paid in relatively worthless pesos even when they work for foreign businesses that give the government hard currency for their labor. They can still be arrested if they use the Internet to hear independent news about the world or Cuba. And they will be arrested if they protest against the government. Only last Sunday the government detained for four and half hours 90 Cubans who protested against Mr. Kerry’s visit for emboldening the regime’s crackdown on dissent.

“The leaders in Havana and the Cuban people should also know that the United States will remain a champion of democratic principles and reforms,” Mr. Kerry said, and we’d like to think this is true too.

But the U.S. failed to invite Yoani Sanchez, an important Cuban blogger unloved by the regime, to the Embassy event. Also kept away from the Embassy were some of the Spanish-speaking media with large audiences in Miami that are not all enamored of the President’s Cuban outreach. But all the big U.S. media networks were on hand to record the historic day. They might learn more if they stayed to travel around the island, but the government restricts where foreign media can go.

Continue reading HERE

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Meditations on flag etiquette, surrender, and betrayals

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Without a doubt, the American flag will be raised incorrectly at the  U.S. “embassy” in Havana today.

Current circumstances demand that it be flown upside down.

THE UNITED STATES FLAG CODE
Title 4, Chapter 1

§ 8(a)The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

But, wait, maybe a better flag to display would be this one:

white-flag

After all, white flags have been flown as a sign of surrender for thousands of years.  Ancient historians from both China and Rome mentioned the use of white flags to signal absolute surrender, or to request surrender negotiations.

Ahhh. So much surrendering lately.  Way too much.  Iran and Cuba are but the tip of the iceberg.  Cartoonist Michael Ramirez captured the current essence of American foreign policy in this cartoon about the deal with Iran.   It also applies perfectly to the deal with the Castro regime.

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Yeah.  Such is the state of things.  Words fail, and images convey thoughts and feelings so much better than language.

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Late update: Repression spikes in Cuba on the eve of John Kerry’s visit

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Happy Ringmasters of the Normalization Circus

I have been receiving emails from various Cuban dissident organizations since late afternoon, reporting a sharp increase in repression throughout the island of Cuba, and especially in Havana.

Dissidents are being harassed and threatened with uncommon intensity.

The whole point of this harassment campaign is to ensure that dissidents remain invisible during Kerry’s visit and that none of them spoil the party when the American flag is raised at the so-called U.S. “embassy.”

Several organizations and individuals have been relaying the distressing — but predictable– news to the highest levels of the U.S. government.

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Wild beasts of the Normalization Circus

Most of those writing these messages, or perhaps all of them, know that this is a futile gesture.

These are dark days indeed.  These missives being sent out today are very similar to the last words uttered by every Cuban shot by a Castronoid firing squad.

The words can’t stop the bullets, but they at least challenge their legitimacy.  The words “burn and rave,” as the poet Dylan Thomas put it.

Thomas’s poem is about old age, but his words fit this occasion perfectly.

“Do not go gentle into that good night,” wrote Thomas, “rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Here is one such missive, from Frank Calzon, director of the Center for a Free Cuba.

Top clowns of the Normalization Circus: “Negotiator” Roberta Jacobson and “Ambassador” Jeffrey DeLaurentis

August 12, 2015, 7:15 pm

Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, the Honorable Roberta Jacobson,

Coordinator for Cuban Affairs, Mr. Mark Wells

Dear Assistant Secretary Jacobson and Coordinator Wells:

 This is an urgent message respectfully requesting that the following information be brought to the attention of Secretary John Kerry and President Barack Obama as soon as possible.

 The Center for a Free Cuba has received during the last few hours reliable information from inside Cuba that Cuban intelligence officers have visited the homes of Cuban human rights leaders and pro-democracy activists to warn them that if they leave their home during the next few days in anticipation of Secretary Kerry’s visit to the island, they will be severely punished. The warnings have been made not only in Havana but in other provinces.

 Many Cubans believe that Secretary Kerry and President Obama have personal responsibilities for the consequences of their policies and actions, recognizing that some of those outcomes are not the intention of the U.S. government. I am respectfully asking Secretary Kerry and President Obama to insist with General Raul Castro that the harassment of dissidents, the beating of peaceful women participating in peaceful, public protests, and the use of mobs organized by the Cuban authorities to beat dissidents, to break into their homes and destroy their furniture, and other outrages, is not only harmful to the victims, but to the process of normalization announced on December 17th by the President.

 I pray to God and I ask men and women of goodwill inside and outside the U.S. government to also pray so that the well-meaning intentions of the President will not result in further abuse and unnecessary suffering in Cuba

 Sincerely,

Frank Calzon

Executive Director, Center for a Free Cuba

Rubio says: No embassy for you, scumbags!

No embassy for you!
No embassy for you!

Business people who would love to make money by taking advantage of Cuban slave labor won’t be happy to hear this.

Poverty voyeurs who would love to travel to Cuba and to enjoy its apartheid facilities won’t be happy either.

But Marco Rubio doesn’t care about such people, even if it costs him some votes.

Hardliner.

Aaaaay!  Ñoooo! Que mal me cae este gusanito malcria’o ! (Damn! How I loathe this ill-mannered little worm)

 

From The Daily Caller

Rubio Threatens To Close Cuban Embassy If Elected President

Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday ripped the Obama Administration’s opening of an embassy in Cuba saying that he would shut it down if elected president.

Rubio, who appeared on the Hugh Hewitt Show stated, “We shouldn’t have diplomatic relations with an anti-American, communist dictatorship that continues to oppress it’s own people 90 miles from our shores.”

Hugh Hewitt: I want to talk about Cuba, because it was announced today that the Department of State will not be inviting Cuban dissidents to the reopening of the embassy that John Kerry will preside over. In essence, we’re giving them the back of our hand, Senator Rubio. What do you make of Secretary Kerry’s decision?

Marco Rubio: It doesn’t surprise me one bit, and I wrote him a letter two days ago asking him to meet with them. But this is par for the course with these guys. It doesn’t surprise me at all. They have basically ignored the whole human rights issue. They gave it lip service. They say oh, we remain concerned. Meanwhile, this weekend, dozens of protestors were rounded up and beaten, peaceful protestors, women among them. We have the photos to prove it. Cuba is not going to change until the Cuban government changes. And the Cuban government has flat-out said we are not changing anything. This is not a story about a Cuban government that’s saying we’re in the process of reform, we need time, be patient with us. They have flat-out said nothing is going to change. We’re going to continue to be who we are and do what we do, and so it doesn’t surprise anybody. And as far as Kerry not meeting with them, it’s just par for the course. It’s what they’ve done repeatedly since this whole thing started, and I don’t think they’re genuinely interested in pressing that point.

Hugh: Will you close that embassy if you’re elected president?

Rubio: Yeah, I mean, first of all, the facility is an intersection, so it’ll still be there. It will not be called an embassy when I’m president, because embassies are designed for countries we have diplomatic relations with, and we shouldn’t have diplomatic relations with an anti-American communist dictatorship that continues to oppress its own people 90 miles from our shores. We have now given them international recognition, and what we’re basically saying is your form of government is legitimate. We recognize it as a legitimate form of government that represents the Cuban people. We shouldn’t. I don’t.