Why didn’t President Obama meet Cuban dissident Dr. Biscet?

 

(My new American Thinker post)

Back in 2007, then President Bush presented The Medal of Freedom in absentia to the Cuban human rights and democracy activist Oscar Elias Biscet. This week, he was able to place the award on Biscet’s shoulders.

Good for President Bush!

Where was President Obama?  Why didn’t President Obama give a minute of his time to Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet?

For the record, Dr Biscet is a human rights leader:

Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet is a physician, winner of numerous human rights awards, including the 2008 Presidential Medal of Freedom, and president of the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, which peacefully promotes human rights and the rule of law in Cuba. In reprisal for his human rights activities, Dr. Biscet was sentenced to 25 years in prison and has been held in some of the harshest conditions experienced by any prisoners in Cuba, including in punishment cells and solitary confinement. This is Dr. Biscet’s second stint in prison. Biscet first ran afoul of the Castro regime in the 1990s, when he investigated Cuban abortion techniques — Cuba has by far the highest abortion rates in the Western Hemisphere — and revealed that numerous infants had been killed after being delivered alive. The report was sent to Fidel Castro with un-official statistics and testimonies from mothers who described the infanticide. Biscet was arrested and served three years in a prison camp after publishing this article condemning abortion. Officially, Biscet was imprisoned for the crime of “disrespect.” After he was released in 2002, Biscet was again arrested, after only a month of freedom, during Cuba’s Black Spring.

Biscet’s prison cell is the stuff of a Victor Hugo nightmare: tiny, filthy, and shared with an almost uncontrollably violent cellmate. He has no windows and hasn’t seen sunlight in weeks. He’s afforded no medicines or toiletries. Other than a 2-hour visit from his wife every two months, he’s permitted no visitors, correspondence, or other reading materials. Currently, Dr. Biscet suffers from chronic gastritis, hypertension and recurring infections and is reportedly losing his eyesight; his poor health has been severely aggravated by unhygienic prison conditions and harsh treatment. At one point, Dr. Biscet was reported to have lost more than 60 pounds while in prison. Nonetheless, he inspires others with his repeated acts of defiance against his persecutors.

Recently, in a letter smuggled from his prison, entitled Civil Disobedience, Biscet urged all Cubans to continue to pray and fast until the government signs the international human rights treaties that have been established by the United Nations. Biscet wrote, “The people of Cuba have been suffering the scorn of a totalitarian tyranny, Communism, throughout four decades. Due to this inhumane treatment whereby the decorum of a people is violated, many Cubans are indignant and have risen up to pray and fast, beseeching the God of the Bible…we must expedite the achievement of these basic rights through civil disobedience and by putting into practice all methods to obtain our humanitarian aim.” Biscet pledged, “Here, in this dark jail where they force me to live, I will be resisting until the freedom of my people is obtained.”

Only this year, five years after his release from prison, was he allowed to travel to the United States.

Dr. Biscet is precisely the kind of human rights leader that President Obama, or any other U.S. president, should be embracing.

Perhaps President Obama does not want to upset Raul Castro.

Or maybe Dr. Biscet is politically incorrect: A Cuban black who opposes abortion and the opening to Cuba without demanding something from Castro.

Where is President Obama? He is talking to a lot of people but not a black Cuban human rights leader.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

The Governor of Rio fears that Olympics could be a big failure

 

 

(My new American Thinker post)

Anybody out there planning to go to the Olympics? This is not a good headline:

Rio de Janeiro’s acting governor warned Monday that the Olympic Games could be a “big failure,” because of budget shortfalls that threaten to compromise security and mobility during the games.

In an interview with Rio’s O Globo daily, Francisco Dornelles said the state is still awaiting a 2.9 billion Brazilian real ($860 million) payout from the federal government aimed at shoring up state coffers ahead of the Aug. 5-21 event. The funds were allocated last week but have not yet reached the state, and Dornelles warned that without them, police patrols may grind to a halt by the end of the week, for lack of gas money.

“How are people going to feel protected in a city without security,” Dornelles was quoted as asking.

“I’m optimistic about the games, but I have to show reality,” he said. “We can have a great Olympics, but if some steps aren’t taken, it can be a big failure.”

And this guy wants tourists to get on a plane and visit Rio?

On top of everything, from a really juicy political crisis to the zika virus, the police are protesting against the late payment of salaries and a lack of equipment ranging from car fuel to toilet paper.

And these are the police officers that will provide security in Rio?

It is a terrible shame that things have deteriorated like this. However, this is more than bad luck. Brazil probably wasn’t ready to do World Cup and Olympics in 2014 and 2016. Add to all of this the country’s penchant for corruption and toilet paper may be the last thing that we will have to worry about.

Finally, security is even more critical now than ever because of terrorism. We saw what happened at the Boston Marathon in 2013 where a couple of guys with bombs killed and injured many.

It’s probably too late to pull the plug but a lot of people, and even some athletes, won’t go. It’s just too much of a risk for people to take.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Cuba open to all Americans except for…

 

 

(My new American Thinker post)

We’ve been hearing a great deal about how opening Cuba will bring in Americans with their dollars and democratic ways. Well, not all Americans are welcomed by the Castro regime, as The Hill reports:

“At a time when the Obama Administration is rolling out the red carpet for Havana, the Cuban government refuses to be open and transparent with the peoples’ Representatives,” McCaul said in a statement on Friday.

“Sadly, it appears to be easier for Cubans to come to the United States than for Members of the House Homeland Security Committee to get to Cuba.”

Other lawmakers who were planning to visit Cuba include Reps. John Katko (R-N.Y.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas).

“The Administration is eager to have as many people as possible visit Cuba — except for those who are attempting to examine Cuban security infrastructure,” said Katko, chairman of the transportation security subcommittee.

“We still don’t know if Cuba has the adequate body scanners and explosive detection systems in place, whether it has the technology to screen for fraudulent passports or ID, whether or how aviation workers are screened, and if Federal Air Marshals will be allowed to fly missions to Cuba on commercial flights.”

There are a couple of problems here.

First, how can U.S. commercial jets fly to and from Cuba without a full security checkup? Don’t we do this in every country? Do we want to expose U.S. citizens to terrorism or worse?

Second, this is a huge embarassment for the Obama administration, i.e. “in your face Obama”. The Cuban government is rejecting an official delegation from the U.S.

It simply confirms that the more you embrace dictators the less they respect you.

President Obama should order a stop to all flights to and from Cuba until there is a security clearance. It’s time for President Obama to stand up to something other than just conceding on every issue with the Cuban dictatorship.

Of course, we are talking about the same president who lets Russian MiGs fly 50 feet over our ships without consequence.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Obama left a lot of DREAMers with nightmares outside the Supreme Court

 

 

(My new American Thinker post)

As I’ve mentioned before in these pages, I support a limited plan to legalize those who were brought here by their parents.  My plan would legalize those young people who are doing well in school and staying out of trouble, who may even want to serve in the U.S. military.

It would not be a path to citizenship or amnesty.

It would simply legalize young people brought here by their parents.  My plan would not legalize their parents or every other relative.

This week, President Obama left a bunch of these “DREAMers” crying outside the Supreme Court.

So why was this case in the Supreme Court, anyway?

First, President Obama, with Democrat majorities, did not legislate the problem.  They promised but did not deliver on immigration reform.

Second, and worse, an angry President Obama reacted to the 2014 election (and the loss of the U.S. Senate) by waving the pen and signing an executive order legalizing millions.

It was arrogance of the worst kind.  It’s the kind of “presidencialismo” (presidential-ism) that has done so much harm to Latin America, from Perón in Argentina to Chávez in Venezuela to Mexican presidents who went around the legislature over and over again.

President Obama could have sat down with Congress and resolved this issue of the young DREAMers.  I think there are enough GOP representatives and U.S. senators willing to resolve the legalization of youngsters who were brought here years ago.  Again, we are talking about young people who are in many cases performing well in our schools and plan to attend our universities.  Are we really going to punish these youngsters because their parents walked into the country illegally?

We should add that the Supreme Court has stopped President Obama before, as the WSJ reported:

The one-sentence ruling was the latest defeat for Mr. Obama in the courts, which recently have stymied some of his administration’s top policy goals.

A federal judge in Wyoming on Tuesday blocked a rule setting stricter standards for hydraulic fracturing on public lands. And in February, the Supreme Court suspended the Obama administration’s cornerstone climate-change regulation limiting carbon emissions from power plants while litigation proceeds.

The DREAMers are now under the bus and will likely stay there for a long time.  They should blame President Obama.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Will Spain be next?

 

 

(My new American Thinker post)

A few years ago, I was talking to a Spanish friend from Madrid who exports to the U.S. He complained then about the “euro”. He said that the euro was killing Spanish exports or making them more expensive in the U.S.

He longed for the days when Spain had its own currency (“la peseta”) and could manage its own economy.

Wonder what he is thinking today? My guess is that he is happy with the UK vote.

My sense is that the EU has been good to Germany but not to those smaller countries who depend on trade or tourists, such as Spain.

Exports to the U.S. are a major portion of the Spanish economy:

Exports from Spain amounted to US$283.3 billion in 2015, down by -5% since 2011 and down -11.1% from 2014 to 2015.

Spain’s top 10 exports accounted for 57% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Spain’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $1.636 trillion in 2015.

Therefore, exports accounted for about 17.3% of total Spanish economic output.

My friend wold argue that the “euro” is the reason that exports to the U.S. are down.

He is not alone, as we can see in this 2015 BBC report that I read  last year:

As Spain emerged, under-developed and economically weak, from the isolation of the Franco dictatorship, the EU was seen as its benevolent benefactor.

Now, six years into an economic crisis which has left 27% of the population unemployed, it is viewed as the belligerent bully which is forcing Spain to its knees with austerity measures.

Since 2007, Spanish approval of the EU has almost halved.

It’s fair to say that the benefits of the EU were oversold to a Spanish nation yearning for modernity a decade ago.

During the Franco years, the trains ran on time and the streets were extremely safe. At the same time, he isolated Spain from globalism and progress.

Will Spain be next? Time will tell but don’t be surprised if it does. The Brits have a lit a fire and it will spread quickly.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

House Democrats behaving like Latin American lefties

 

 

(My new American Thinker post)

Some of us have seen this movie before.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen news reports from Latin America of left-wing legislators, or the interest groups that they support, chanting and going out of control when they don’t get their way.

Recently, the teachers’ union in Mexico blocked the entrances to the Mexico City airport or last week a confrontation with authorities followed their attempts to close the heavily used highway to Puebla.

Let’s add some members of the U.S. House to that list of legislators or activists who want their way even it means stepping on other people’s rights.

The House Democrats, many literally sitting on the floor, want a vote on gun control. Unfortunately for them, the majority in the House, or the people elected by voters across the country, would rather take up other issues.

We call it democracy. In other words, the majority party sets the calendar. Just ask the GOP senators who wanted then-Majority Leader Reid to bring ObamaCare to a vote on the floor.

Incredibly, Rep. John Lewis is connecting this sit-in with his illustrious past civil rights experience:

“Today we made progress. We have come a distance,” declared Lewis.

Lewis said he had to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge “three times” before he had completed the march to Selma, Ala. The Georgia Democrat suggested this was the first step on firearms.

“We have other bridges to cross. And when we come back in July, we start it all over again,” intoned Lewis.

At the same time, the hypocrisy of these Democrats is incredible given their silence about the shootings in Chicago.

Why don’t they get on a plane and block the street corners in Chicago where this violence is happening every weekend?

Why don’t they visit the churches and instituions of Chciago and call for an end to the mindless shooting?

Why not back the Chicago police that have to go into these areas every night?

Why not call on black leaders to have a frank discussion of the root causes of black on black crime in our cities? After all, Chicago already has a lot of gun laws.

The House Democrats are engaged in the worst type of grandstanding. We need dissent, but this is not dissent. This is chaos that threatens our rule of law.

Shame on Democrats. I never thought that we would ever see this in the U.S.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Hey, Bernie voters: Check out Venezuela

 

(My new American Thinker post)

Cheers for Vin Scully, the legendary voice of the Dodgers.  He’s called a lot of games and big moments over the years. His comments about socialism earned an A+ in the Truth Hall of Fame:

“Socialism, failing to work as it always does. This time in Venezuela. You talk about giving everybody something free and all of a sudden, there’s no food to eat. And who do you think is the richest person in Venezuela? The daughter of Hugo Chavez. Hello.”

Down in Venezuela, the situation has reached “failed state” status.  What do you call a state where soldiers have to protect bakeries so that people don’t steal flour or bread?  It is horrific, as we see in this report from The New York Times:

With delivery trucks under constant attack, the nation’s food is now transported under armed guard. Soldiers stand watch over bakeries. The police fire rubber bullets at desperate mobs storming grocery stores, pharmacies and butcher shops. A 4-year-old girl was shot to death as street gangs fought over food.

Venezuela is convulsing from hunger.

I visited Venezuela a couple of times before Chavez.  A nation “convulsing from hunger” is not what I found.

On the contrary, it was a happy country, full of well-stocked stores and some of the finest restaurants in the world.  To be fair, it was not a perfect country, from too much dependence on oil and too many imported goods.  Again, there was no hunger or shortage of anything.

Cuba went through a period like this in the 1960s.  Unlike Venezuela today, Castro had a USSR willing to pay the bills as long as he served as a spokesman for socialism in the Third World and sent troops to fight wars in Africa.

Here is the bottom line:  Millions of US citizens voted for Senator Sanders, a man who would love to turn the US into that place where the government gives you this and that, paid for by the rich.

I am not going to say that every Sanders voter was voting for socialism, but a lot of them did by accepting the idea that government would provide you health care and tuition.  How is that working out in Venezuela?   Frankly, how is “free stuff” working out anywhere else?

Here is an idea:  Every young person in college should listen to that quick audio from Vince Scully.  Better than, they should go down to Caracas for a few months and see what Sanders had in mind.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

“Nuestros padres” were a big reason for the success of the Cuban American story

About a million of us came here between 1959 and 1980.

Some of us came early,  others traveled through Mexico and Jamaica like our case, others came in the Freedom Flights and others during the Mariel boatlift.

In most cases, we came with our parents.    Many of us watched the sacrifice that our fathers made, from holding two jobs to teaching all of those important lessons of life.

So let me salute “los padres cubanos”.   They were always there for all of us.

Obama a terrorist from GITMO is missing in Uruguay

Guess what?   One of the 5 guys that President Obama released to Uruguay is missing.  He is one of the 5 sent to Uruguay last year.   This is from Representative Royce’s office:

“The Obama administration is pushing dangerous detainees to countries that it knows can’t handle them. We’ve seen it across the globe, from Afghanistan, an active war zone, to Ghana, a country with limited security resources. And now, in Uruguay, a dangerous jihadist has gone missing in neighboring to Brazil.”

Uruguay has a big border with Brazil.   Let’s hope that we can find this criminal and send him back to GITMO.

In the meantime, why is President Obama releasing these men anyway?    They are not victims.  They are deadly terrorists!

We remember Frank “Pancho” Herrera (1934-2005)

 

Juan Francisco (Villavicencio) Herrera was born June 16, 1934 in Santiago de las Vegas, Cuba.   He was known as Frank or Pancho or even Panchon.

Herrera began his baseball career in 1954 with La Habana in the Cuban Winter League.    His manager was the legendary Adolfo Luque, a major leaguer from the 1920’s.

The Philadelphia Phillies signed him in 1955 (their first black Latino player) and he spent the next few years between the minors and the Cuban league.    He played with fellow Cubans, Tony Gonzalez, Tony Taylor and Octavio Rojas in the Phillies’ organization.

His major league career was short but he hit .281 with 17 HR & 71 RBI in 1960.    He was second to Frank Howard in the 1960 Rookie of the Year vote!

He came back with 13 HR in 1961.   He was sent back to AAA in 1962 and hit 32 HR but never got another chance to play in the big leagues.    In retrospect, that’s hard to believe because Herrera proved that he could hit and expansion brought 4 new teams in 1961-62.

After the majors, Panchon played for various seasons in Mexico.  He led the league with 39 HR in 1969.   They remember him as one of the great power hitters in Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico!   He was a big favorite there with Mexican baseball fans.

Herrera died in Miami in 2005.    We remember him as one of the last Cuban players to play in the US and the old Cuban Winter League.

Many in the left don’t want to see what is happening out the window

 

(My new American Thinker post)

We’ve all been there before. We’ve all refused to deal with a reality at some point in our lives and conveniently taken the distraction exit.

We are watching something like that after the Orlando shooting. Let’s check out some of the things that we’ve been hearing about the terrorist attack in Orlando.

First, we hear that he was not directed specifically by ISIS. However, he carried out a mission that made ISIS very happy. So do we need to find a letter from ISIS welcoming the terrorist to the club? Do we have to find a membership number along with car rental or cell phone benefits? Are we this silly?

Second, we have the usual shift to gun control.

Third, we see the failure to connect the dots or the PC attitude that is leashing our law enforcement agencies, as Bill Gertz wrote:

Security analysts said the attack exposed failures of the administration’s counterterrorism policies that were designed to separate Islam from the jihadist terrorism that continues to spread from the Middle East to Europe and now the United States.

What FBI agent wants to be disciplined for believing that the Muslim young man in front of him may commit a terrorist attack?

So what’s going on? I think that many in the left don’t want to look at the window and see the mess that eight years of Obama have left.

Obama promised to end wars. He has not. In fact, his premature withdrawal from Iraq created the vacuum that gave ISIS a second chance. Would ISIS be running the region if 10,000 U.S. troops had been stationed in Iraq after 2011? The answer is no. They would have quickly run into a very powerful U.S. force with F-16s dropping bombs. I hope that Mr. Trump brings this up in his attack of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy!

Second, would any of Obama’s gun laws have changed a thing? The answer is no. We are dealing here with a man on a mission. In other words, he would have found an alternative weapon, such as creating a fertilizer or pipe bomb that would have exploded outside the disco. Gun laws do not stop terrorists!

Third, Obama was supposed to be the “great communicator” or the man who would bring us together. In fact, he has not. He misunderstood that his 53-46% victory was some sort of a landslide or a call to change the country. It was not.

Fourth, electing our first black president was supposed to end racial tensions. In fact, it has not. We are now more racially divided, in large part because people like Obama call you a racist if you want to talk about black on black crime, the failure of public schools in black districts, or an honest discussion of the devastation of the black family.

The left can not deal with reality. More distractions are coming!

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.