Alain Castillo remembers a very sad day

Alain Castillo is a young Cuban American living in Texas.  This is what he wrote today to remember the events of February 24, 1996.   It’s great that a young man like Alain is writing about Cuba.  It’s a pleasure to introduce you to Alain….



Today marks the 19th anniversary of the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down.

As we carry on this day and remember those brave heroes who risked their lives to save others, I reminisce on the impact that this caused in my life in Miami and the US.

At home, my dad would at times yell at the television set whenever a picture of Fidel or Raul Castro was shown. And although the news reports were critical, he took the time to scream obscenities to these monsters because of the pain that they caused him and our family.

Nonetheless, he had a right to do it without political retribution – not economic plight—because none of his neighbors would tell state police. We were in the decent part of Hialeah, Florida—no less.

One of the best things that I remember was how he taught me to know about Cuba’s history and politics and in essence, be part of the struggle. The first major event that I can say I was a part of was the debate between the communist dictatorship’s Ricardo Alarcon and Cuban American National Foundation’s Jorge Mas Canosa in 1994.

Yet, what impacted me the most in that time period was the shoot down of four civilian, unarmed planes from the Brothers to the Rescue.

To me, this was one of the most horrific and in-your-face atrocities that any government can do to Americans. This was an example of extreme terrorism pre-9/11 and it has never been officially condemned by the US government and prosecuted in International Court.

At the time I attended Ben Sheppard Annex, a public elementary school, which housed fifth graders from the area for that year. (Miami Dade Public School had zoning and budget issues back then.)

Within a few days of the shoot down, our school held a gathering where all the fifth grade students and teachers attended. The student and teacher population was predominantly Cuban-American, but we had students and teachers from different backgrounds, including many African-American, Mexican-American, Dominican-American and African-American, Jamaican-American and Anglo-American teachers as well.

Yet, for that time period, we were all Cuban Americans, standing next to each other in prayer and in silence remembering and honoring the four victims of a grave injustice: Armando Alejandre Jr., Mario de la Pena, Carlos Acosta and Pablo Morales.

We sat down, with a sunny-day over us, in memoriam of the lives taken over international waters. Although we never knew them, we were all saddened by the news and were taught how to show solidarity and union to support the fallen pilots.

In recent years, Telemundo 8 in Miami continued investigating the shoot down and found a Cuban MiG radio communication that broadcasted the celebratory reaction of these Cuban pilots who shot them down.

We know that General Raul Castro gave the order because at the time no one flies without his permission. In essence, no one shoots without his permission either.

Why has this not been officially condemned by the US government at the time and now?

In 1996, the Clinton Administration was involved in their own politics in Central and Southeastern Europe with another tyrannical egomaniac (Slobodan Milosevic—remember him?), genocide in Africa and a re-election campaign in the US.

To them, the Cuban problem, despite its proximity, would be another intolerant and turbulent black hole.
Instead, evidence and the courts condemned to lengthy prison terms the spies that infiltrated the Brothers to the Rescue organization who have – you guessed it—been released as part of the new “course” on Cuba.

Yet, given this new life-line given to the Cuban government for free, America can still act bold and take advantage of the situation. Although the key figures of the shoot down were trialed, jailed and now released, the US can use this in the bargaining table.

So given the mulligan, will the US take the ball and run with it and condemn Raul Castro, or will they fumble?

Will the real US please stand up?


Who is the winner in the Obama/Raul match?

Boxing MatchWhen you throw the first punch in a fight, your chances of winning are enhanced. Nevertheless, you would be responsible for any collateral damage that you may have caused.

With the above in mind, Cuban Government officials threw the first punch when they confiscated the holdings of U.S. businesses shortly after Fidel rose to power in 1959 – which originally were valued at $1.8 billion, and which at 6 percent simple interest translates to nearly $7 billion in 2014.

Statements made in the U.S. media outlets indicating that the purpose of the U.S. embargo was regime change are nothing more that the Castro propaganda machine in full swing. Even President Obama has fallen victim to this propaganda by repeating the Castro mantra in his speeches.

You would think that any opening with Cuba would entail the compensation of the $7 billion owed to U.S. businesses. After all, if the President of the United States cannot look after its own citizens, then who will? Obama did not make these property claims a condition precedent to the normalization of diplomatic relations with the rogue, Castro regime. He should have!

President Obama is about to find out why it is not wise to negotiate with dictators from a position of weakness. There have been many Cuban-Americans who have criticized the President for the unilateral concessions made to the Cuban Government and with getting very little in return. They rightly have argued that the big winner in these negotiations has been Raul Castro.

Well, Dictator Raul Castro demanded the U.S. Government on January 28, 2015, for the return of Guantanamo Base. But, even more outrageous, Raul demanded that the U.S. Government compensate the Cuban Government for the losses caused by the U.S. embargo – which, according to a Cuban official on September 10, 2014, amounted to $1.1 trillion.

Delusional, right???!!! So, Raul wants to be rewarded for stealing from U.S. business owners. Indeed, these claims would be delusional to anyone with a logical mind!

President Obama’s reasoning for his Cuba opening was to enhance his legacy. With Raul’s demands announced today, I don’t think that the President would want to be remembered for this initiative. In fact, “History Will Not Absolve Obama” for putting his alleged interests over the interests of Americans.


The war on women (Communist Cuba version)

(My new American Thinker post)

The ladies in white, or “Las Damas en Blanco”, are women who march every Sunday after mass or other services.  They’ve drawn international attention because they are peaceful and simply want freedom in Cuba, or the release of their husbands, sons or brothers from political prisons.

Over the years, they’ve been harassed by communist thugs and pushed around.  But they keep on marching every Sunday.

We just got news that some of the ladies have been arrested, according to Capitol Hill Cubans (via Babalu):

“Over 45 Ladies in White were arrested as they tried to meet at their headquarters on Neptuno Street in Havana.

“Dozens of others were intercepted and turned away as they made their way to the meeting.

“The group holds monthly meetings, known as “literary teas,” which are heavily repressed by the Castro regime.”

Frankly, the regime is scared to death of these ladies.  It’s hard to blame a bunch of peaceful ladies as CIA agents.  The ladies are also seen by tourists who Tweet or send their pictures out of the country.

To my knowledge, no one in the US feminist movement has publicly supported these brave ladies.

We don’t know why feminists don’t support “Las Damas en Blanco”.

We do know that these ladies are one courageous group of women.

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.


We talk Cuba with Luis Gonzalez, author, PLUS Fausta Wertz on US-Latin America stories of the week

We will discuss the new “reforms” coming from Cuba PLUS US-Latin America stories with Fausta Wertz of Fausta’s Blog.

Also, Luis Gonzalez will talk about his book, “Luz”.

This is from his book page:

“Luis Gonzalez was born in Havana.

He spent the first seven years of his life there until his widowed mother of three fled Communist Cuba of the late 1960’s.

He then found himself in Culver City, California.

Though he quickly assimilated into his new country and culture, and had no trouble mastering his new language, Cuba never left him. Cuba was always with him: inside him, driving him, calling him.

He realized this more than ever when, in the 6th grade, he did his country report on Cuba and thus began a love affair with his homeland that continues to this day.

It was only natural that Cuba should play a part in his writing, and even from grammar school age, Luis Gonzalez knew that writing was in his blood.”

Raul Castro wants ‘los capitalistas americanos’ to bail out ‘los socialistas cubanos’

(My new American Thinker post)

The Cuban government has just announced the latest version of “foreign investment reforms.”

Before you go and put a dime in Cuba’s corrupt communist government, please consider what my friend Alberto de la Cruz posted yesterday:

“The most important flaw that is obvious from the outset is the legal aberration of expressly excluding the rights of Cubans on the island to participate as investors in their own country, an issue that is unparalleled in any civilized nation, and that alone disqualifies the best intentions beforehand. Another issue, no less twisted, is the exclusion of free contract (that is, allowing foreign investors to hire Cuban workers directly).

Both elements are unsustainable since they are not justified or serve any function other than to maintain absolute control over the population to prevent the weakening of political power.”

In other words, the Castro family, or “Castro Inc,”  wants you to invest in Cuba but only if you align yourself with Raul and his sick older brother.

The new “reforma” does not allow you to negotiate directly with Cuban workers, or the essence of a free market economy where you can hire and fire based on your economic necessities.

In other words, Cuban workers are not allow to form ‘a union,” as they used to do before the communists came to power!

For example, my father was a banker in Cuba and a member of the “bankers union.”  It allowed Cuban workers like my dad to negotiate with the many Cuban private banks or employers.

Pre-communist Cuba enjoyed living standards that no one in the island today enjoys today, as CONTACTO published a few years ago:

“In 1958, an industrial worker in Cuba earned an average salary of the equivalent of $6 US dollars per each 8-hour work day, while an agricultural worker earned the equivalent of $3 US dollars.

Cuba then ranked number eight (8) in the world as far as salaries paid to industrial workers…..”

By the way, you didn’t learn that by watching “Godfather II” or your Latin America studies class in school.

Don’t get your Cuban history from watching “Godfather II” or a leftist professor.  Instead, talk to my father and the others who were actually there and remember the bloody communist takeover.

So don’t get too excited about Raul’s cynical “reformas,” as reported by Cross-border debt and equity specialist, William A. Wilson.  In simple terms, how can you invest in a country that does not respect property laws?  Just ask Cubans, or others, who had their properties expropriated by the same Castro brothers who now want you to invest in the island!

The bottom line is that Raul is not looking to improve Cuba’s economy.

He is just hoping that foolish investors will bail out Castro “socialismo.”

Raul needs a “sugar daddy” now that the USSR is dead or most countries don’t want to finance “la revolucion” that doesn’t pay back its loans.

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.


What’s wrong with undermining a tyranny?

Earlier today, I added my thoughts to The Washington Post editorial that Alberto de la Cruz commented on.

These are some of the points that I made:

“There is nothing wrong with the US trying “undermine tyranny,” such as the one in Cuba.

Have people forgotten that Cuba is still a communist dictatorship?

Or that the Castro regime is an enemy of the US?

Or that they are holding a US citizen on some bogus charges of espionage?”

Cheers for the person who started this plan to undermine the Castro regime.   Glad to see that someone in the Obama administration has a clue about the reality of the world!

The full article can be read here.

P.S.  We learned today that Dr. Gross, the US citizen in a Cuban jail, will go on a hunger strike to protest his unjust incarceration.    I guess that just confirms that there is a real tyranny down in Cuba!