Backdoor Capitalism: Cuba’s Golf Courses for Elite Foreigners Get Green Light

golf

Isn’t that great? Now all those Hollywood visitors can now drag their expensive golf clubs along on these trips to paradise. Gee, I sure hope they get them completed so Obama can be the first Prezzy to golf in Cuba during the ongoing and endless “Revolution”…

BBC – Five decades after Fidel Castro ordered Cuba’s golf courses to be closed down because he considered them “elitist”, the island’s communist government has approved the construction of a luxury golf resort, complete with an 18-hole course.

The $350m (£227m) Carbonera Club proposed by British firm Esencia is the first to get the green light, with a dozen similar initiatives still under consideration.

The move is a sign of the changing times here, as the government seeks new revenue sources to fund its socialist revolution.

“It will be a major complement to the tourist offering of [the resort town of] Varadero and the start of a whole new policy to increase the presence of golf in Cuba,” Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero told the BBC during a visit to Varadero.

He confirmed that a formal deal had been reached for a joint venture between Esencia and the Cuban government to develop the Carbonera resort, a short distance along the coast.

“We’ve been working on this for seven years, step by step, so we’re very excited it’s finally going to happen,” Esencia’s CEO Andrew McDonald said on a tour of the 170-hectare (420-acre) site.

Mr McDonald said he expected building work to begin next year on a design which would transform the area.

As well as the golf course, the plans include the construction of an exclusive, gated community of some 650 apartments and villas.

There will also be a hotel and a country club, complete with tennis courts, spa and a yacht club.

[…]

Yeah, looking forward to that PGA or LPGA tour setting up there.

So next time Beyoncee visits she can say how much Cuba has grown and thrived … again without ever leaving the creature comforts of her resort. Nevermind the Cuban people will not be permitted to set-up and build their own businesses to grow from this. And if they do, they will be completely regulated and beholding to the Cuban government for their every move.

Previous: End result of the Revolution: golf resorts and condominiums

Attack of the Killer (Mexican) Tomatoes

The Obama administration has averted a war.

The New York Times reporting:

The United States and Mexico have reached a tentative agreement on cross-border trade in tomatoes, narrowly averting a trade war that threatened to engulf a swath of American businesses.

The agreement, reached late Saturday, raises the minimum sales price for Mexican tomatoes in the United States, aims to strengthen compliance and enforcement, and increases the types of tomatoes governed by the bilateral pact to four from one.

‘The draft agreement raises reference prices substantially, in some cases more than double the current reference price for certain products, and accounts for changes that have occurred in the tomato market since the signing of the original agreement,’ Francisco J. Sánchez, the United States under secretary of commerce for international trade, said in a statement.

What is that “reference price” mentioned in the article?

In this case, it’s price fixing.

Mexican tomato growers can produce a better tomato, transport it into the U.S. market, and sell it to U.S. customers at a substantially cheaper price than American farmers can charge for an inferior tomato.

Not surprisingly,the administration that never lets a good crisis go to waste played politics with the issue.

Again from the New York Times (ibid):

The new agreement covers all fresh and chilled tomatoes, excluding those intended for use in processing like canning and dehydrating, and in juices, sauces and purées.

It raises the basic floor price for winter tomatoes to 31 cents a pound from 21.69 cents — higher than the price the Mexicans were proposing in October — and establishes even higher prices for specialty tomatoes and tomatoes grown in controlled environments. The Mexicans have invested billions in greenhouses to grow tomatoes, while Florida tomatoes are largely picked green and treated with a gas to change their color.

The Mexican and United States governments will both carry out mechanisms to increase enforcement of the new agreement.

The dispute unfolded in the heated politics surrounding the presidential election, with Mexican growers charging that the Commerce Department was courting voters in the important swing state of Florida. Instead, the timing of the negotiations ensured that the government could win those votes and bring the controversy to a conclusion satisfactory to the Mexicans after the election was over.

Price fixing AND vote buying.

Florida growers accused Mexico of dumping product in the U.S. at a price below their production cost, but they failed to prove their allegations. One must wonder about a business plan that includes selling your product at below production costs year after year, since logic tells you that such a practice would drive you to bankruptcy. One musty also wonder why Florida growers didn’t simply accommodate their Mexican counterparts by simply buying all their produce, thus availing themselves of a superior product, at a significantly lower cost than the product they themselves can produce, then selling THAT into the market.

Why it is so difficult for American farmers to compete with farmers faced with the additional cost of transporting their goods thousands of miles into their markets?

This report may give an insight into the challenges faced by American farmers today:

A case study from a blueberry farming operation in Maine shows that providing health insurance benefits under Obamacare would result in a staggering annual increase of more than $184,000. (Download PDF of full case study here.)

Due to the crushing mandates of Obamacare, this farm would face a whopping 203% increase of in the cost of providing health insurance benefits.

The blueberry farm now pays $90,540 a year to provide health insurance for its full-time employees. Under Obamacare, the farm could pay as much as $274,762 to cover both full-time and seasonal part-time employees—an annual increase of $184,222.

The same case study goes on to illustrate the inherent flaw in Obamacare:

However, if the blueberry farm chose to drop health coverage all together, Obamacare would impose a penalty of $76,250 on the business. That’s a 16 percent drop in what the blueberry farm now pays for health insurance.

Since the penalty would be significantly lower than the cost of providing health insurance under Obamacare, the blueberry farm would most likely choose not to offer health insurance at all.

Also, this case study does not account for the administrative costs the farm would incur to manage Obamacare’s eligibility rules, which in the case of seasonal workers would be significant.

‘This case study of a real business in Maine demonstrates how Obamacare will force higher health insurance costs on employers, which will result in fewer jobs for Maine people,’ said Joel Allumbaugh, author of the case study and director of the Center for Health Reform Initiatives at The Maine Heritage Policy Center. ‘It is shameful that politicians in Washington, D.C. did not investigate the devastating effects Obamacare would have on businesses before enacting it.’

It isn’t difficult to figure out that what ills befall blueberry farmers, fall equally on tomato growers.

To be fair, the tomato war drums have been sounding long before Obamacare was implemented, but that only illustrates that the costs of complying with Federal regulations were already killing American farmers. Obamacare is just the coup de grace to the industry.

Nutshell:

Mexican tomato growers can produce, pick, pack, and transport a better quality tomato at prices far below what their American counterparts can produce locally.

American tomato growers, faced with the costs of overwhelming Federal and State regulations and Obamacare, are getting their asses kicked in their own home turf.

The Obama administration parlayed this situation into an unclean quid pro quo between Florida growers and the Obama campaign prior to the election. The possibility of another similarly unclean quid pro quo deal may have been struck with Mexican growers looking to maintain that “reference price” low enough that it wouldn’t completely destroy their profits post election.

Who loses in this situation?

Americans whose access to better tomatoes at a cheaper price has been blocked as a result of the Obama administration’s implementation of what is effectively price fixing.

Is this a hidden tax?

Arguably it is, since the price fixing has been put in place to help growers cope with the cost of Federal regulations.

Blueberries and tomatoes are only two of the many food items impacted negatively

The implementation of Obamacare is just one Federal policy impacting the cost of our food. Everything you put on your table is being impacted. Everything you put on your table has (or will) increase in cost.

Thanks to Obama administration policies, inferior quality, gassed tomatoes are as expensive to U.S. consumers as superior quality vine-ripened ones.

The Great Mexican-American Tomato War of 2013 has been averted.

We lost.

Mexican_Tomato_by_Esqueleto

Cuba still next to last in Index of Economic Freedom

The 2013 Index of Economic Freedom is out, and Cuba remains next to last place, above only North Korea.

Cuba’s economic freedom score is 28.5, making its economy one of the world’s least free. Its overall score is 0.2 point higher than last year, with a notable decline in monetary freedom counterbalanced by gains in freedom from corruption and fiscal freedom. Cuba is ranked least free of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is significantly lower than the regional average.

Cuba scores far below world averages in most areas of economic freedom, and its economy remains one of the world’s most repressed. The foundations of economic freedom are particularly weak in the absence of an independent and fair judiciary. No courts are free of political interference, and pervasive corruption affects many aspects of economic activity.

As the largest source of employment, the public sector accounts for more than 80 percent of all jobs. A watered-down reform package endorsed by the Cuban Communist Party in April 2011 promised to trim the number of state workers and allow restricted self-employment in the non-public sector, but many details of the reform are obscure and little progress has been observed. The private sector is severely constrained by heavy regulations and tight state controls. Open-market policies are not in place to spur growth in trade and investment, and the lack of competition stifles productivity growth.

[…]

A one-party Communist state, Cuba depends on external assistance (chiefly oil provided by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and remittances from Cuban émigrés) and a captive labor force to survive. Property rights are severely restricted. Fidel Castro’s 81-year-old younger brother Raul continues to guide both the government and the Cuban Communist Party. Cuba’s socialist command economy is in perennial crisis. The average worker earns less than $25 a month, agriculture is in shambles, mining is depressed, and tourism revenue has proven volatile. But economic policy is resolutely Communist, and the regime rejects any moves toward genuine political or economic freedom.

Chavez battling bone metastasis?

I’ll believe it when the son-of-a-bitch is in the ground.

Venezuela President Hugo Chávez is now battling bone metastasis from his pelvic cancer, according to a report by Spanish newspaper ABC. Citing an unnamed intelligence source, ABC’s Washington correspondent Emil J. Blasco says there has been a recurrence and spread of the tumor, which was detected in a test performed on a trip to Havana just after the elections on October 7.

Blasco said the metastasis is causing Chavez “severe pain in the left femur and serious walking difficulties.” He also says that Chavez passed out twice in August, losing consciousness briefly, and that doctors determined that his situation was deteriorating slowly but steadily.

Chavez last appeared publicly during a televised meeting on Nov. 15, prompting some critics to publicly wonder where he went after his election win.

During the electoral campaign, he repeatedly dismissed rumors that he had not been cured of his cancer, and vowed to serve out his six-year term. […]

It can’t come soon enough…

“You know, Castro? He’s been working on his economy for 50-plus years now.”

Rush Limbaugh made a spot-on analogy on his radio program today…

RUSH: I want to remind everybody, “Barack Hussein Obama! Mmm! Mmm! Mmm!” campaigned for president as the man who could fix our economy. That was the whole point of his campaign. Has anybody forgotten this? In 2007-2008, Barack Obama ran on the basis that he could fix the economy. Now 3-1/2 years in? I don’t need to detail you the decay, the destruction, the deterioration, the plummeting aspects of our economy. You all know that. Now what are we told?

“Nobody could have, and he needs another three or four years to do it. And no matter what how hard he worked and how much he cares, there’s nobody else who coulda done it, either. And we’re told that that explanation has convinced a majority of Americans to support Obama ’cause there nobody else that could do it and there’s nobody else that cares as much and there’s nobody else who will work as hard.”

I guess while playing golf and basketball and bowling and campaigning.

It’s amazing.

You know, Castro? He’s been working on his economy for 50-plus years now. Fidel Castro was never able to fix Cuba’s economy, and you know what he blames it on? He calls it “the blockade,” but it’s the embargo. Fidel Castro hasn’t been able to fix his economy, and his economic policies mirror Obama’s. Well, Castro’s are older so I should say, “Obama’s mirror Castro’s.” I’m sure the Cubans think, “This guy just needs a little bit more time. He really cares about us, this Castro guy does.

“He fought a revolution for us. Why, he risked death for us here in Cuba. Yeah, he really cares. There’s nobody who coulda done better. Batista coulda done any better. Marti couldn’t have done any better. Hell no! Castro’s the only guy coulda done it. But hell, in 50-plus years Castro hasn’t been able to fix it.” Do you know that Barack Obama is gonna inherit a worse economy than he inherited the first time around?

And then what is he gonna do? Here we get the entire media and the Democrat Party saying, “Well, you know, he inherited this mess. I mean, it was worse than anybody knew, and nobody told the truth about it, and he’s worked hard, and he really cares. The Clinton bump! The Clinton bump! That’s where Clinton told everybody that nobody else coulda done any better either, and there’s nobody that cares any more than Barack Obama.

“Nobody works any harder! Michelle told us that. No! No! Barack, that’s all he reads every night: Letters from the starving. He reads letters from the thirsty every night. He said, ‘Michelle, look at what’s happening to people. We can’t let this go on. We’ve gotta fix it. After three years in office, Michelle, look at this! This person is still hungry. Michelle, we gotta do something.'”

That’s what she said in her speech in the convention, and people ooh’d and ahh’d. “Ahhhh!” But it turns out now that Barack Obama is going to inherent an even worse economy the second time around. What is the excuse for that gonna be? Let’s say he wins and we’re in 2014. What’s the excuse gonna be? “Well, they didn’t tell me in 2009 how bad it was. It’s gonna take a few more years.”

The Infinite Postmenopausal Liberal Monkey Theorem…Part 2.

If one million monkeys typing away for all eternity can type out the collected works of William Shakespeare, and five hundred thousand drunk monkeys typing away for five hundred years could turn out most everything written by Paul Krugman, then three post-menopausal liberal monkeys typing away for a week could turn out two Maureen Dowd columns for publication.

But enough about Maureen Dowd, that was Part 1.

This is Part 2.

This is about Don Ediger, not Maureen Dowd.

“Gosh, is HE still alive?”

If Mr. Ediger is reading this, he knows that I am not showing a lack of respect for his age. I am just echoing his words, from a 1967 article on then 63 year-old Sally Rand, published by the Miami Herald. I don’t know how old Don is, but forty-five years ago, he was writing for The Miami Herald and thinking that 63 was old. Today, he probably disagrees with that idea.

Ediger’s current article “Cuba’s Post-Castro Future” published by the Liberal online publication Consortiumnews.com, is yet another attempt by someone who, possessed with a little knowledge of pre-Castro Cuba, perhaps some personal experience in Castro’s Cuba (there are many reasons for aging men to travel to Cuba these days), and the opinions of a handful of Liberal-thinking friends in academia and jurisprudence, thinks he can speak for what “most Cuban-Americans now believe”.

He can’t.

It is to be expected, this idea that he would have his journalistic thumb on the undercurrents of Miami’s Cuban-American politics, but the primary flaw with liberals writing for liberal publications remains the same, whether one is writing for the consortiumnews.com site, or a real publication, like, let’s say, anything else. They walk among liberals, speak to liberals, read liberal publications, watch liberal news networks, read liberal pundits, and attend liberal functions hosted by liberal activists. In limiting their world to all things liberal, they come to believe that the whole world thinks like them.

It’s like living a never-ending, back-slapping, “aren’t we great”, ideological-circle-jerk-sans-the-need-for-a-case-of-moist-tissues life, and thinking that’s the norm.

Mr. Ediger quotes Andy Gomez, senior fellow at the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, a registered Republican and Obama supporter, Miami attorney ( and known dialoguero) Antonio Zamora, and calls their opinions “a growing consensus” (to be fair, there are 14 listing for Miami attorneys named Antonio Zamora, but I think I got the right one). If that’s enough to give Mr. Adiger the idea that he understands what Miami Cuban-Americans think, I’d like to invite him to spend a few hours with my family down Kendall way.

We’ll feed him some ropa vieja, and enough opinion on what we think to stave off an entire cadre of liberal professors and dialoguero lawyers, and before anyone goes labeling me “intolerant”, well, yes and no. Everyone is free to say and opine as they see fit, what they can’t do is to speak for me, or mine, charter members of that Miami, cafecito-at-Versailles-drinking, dos-croquetas-de-jamón-y-un-cortadito-merienda-at-La-Carreta-en-Coral-Way eating, Los-Marlins-loving Cuban-American community. We are the true representatives of that group of “most Cuban-Americans” that he keeps talking about in his piece.

Come talk to us.

The most astounding part of the piece, is the misrepresentation of the Cuban embargo’s intended purposes by Jose Gabilondo of FIU’s Cuban Research Institute.

“The logic of the U.S. embargo is ‘Let’s create conditions of civil unrest in Cuba by creating conditions of economic hardship such that there will be a popular uprising that will lead to a revolution.’ I reject that approach. I don’t think it makes sense.”

I reject that interpretation.

Fidel Castro’s regime stole from American citizens, and declared itself an enemy of everything American. It sought to install weapons of mass destruction on Cuban soil, for the sole intended purpose of threatening the United States, and by default, the people of the United States. It brought the world to the edge of nuclear war, and in spite of a failing economy that routinely left its own people short of even the most basic necessities, has financed and fostered strife in Central and South America, and beyond.

Moody’s gives Cuba a Caa1 credit rating, a distinction that the Island nation shares with Ecuador, Greece, and Pakistan.

And these are things that we all know!

They are things certainly known to the individual who heads FIU’s “Cuban Research Institute”.

The embargo was set in place because the Castro government all but declared war on the United States.

All these experts seem to miss the most glaring contradiction on their argument. Then, it was Castro and his useful idiots who accused American businesses of exploiting the people of Cuba, blaming all that allegedly was wrong with pre-Castro Cuba on the fact that Cuba had close economical ties with the U.S. Now, the current crop of useful idiots are blaming everything that ails Cuba on the lack of close economical ties with the United States, and are arguing in favor of going back to the halcyon days of cheap Varadero vacations, and plentiful Cohibas.

Gabilondo must see that incongruity, he must know that, just as he knows that there is no embargo. The U.S. today, is Cuba’s largest food supplier.

Why then, one has to ask, would someone who knows these things continue to beat that “lift the embargo, it hasn’t worked” dead horse to death, while simultaneously acknowledging that as a result of the embargo, Cuba is largely irrelevant, and massively broke?

You have to translate what they mean by “lifting the embargo”, when there is no embargo to be lifted for all intent and purposes.

This agitprop is designed to change the existing trade laws which force the Castro government to pay cash for anything they purchase from the U.S.

Castro wants credit, and the liberal elite in the U.S. want to give it to him.

By being allowed to sell to the government of Cuba (there is no Cuban trade entity in Cuba other than the Cuban government) on credit, U.S. companies come under the protective umbrella of the Export-Import bank of the United States of America, with all receivables generated by sales to Cuba, guaranteed by the American taxpayer.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency of the United States federal government. It was established in 1934 by an executive order, and made an independent agency in the Executive branch by Congress in 1945, for the purposes of financing and insuring foreign purchases of United States goods for customers unable or unwilling to accept credit risk.

I’ve never been asked my opinion on the “embargo”, and as far as I could discern from phone calls made and emails sent prior to writing this response, neither has anyone that I know, so either we’re not part of the group chosen to respond to the survey, or the definition of what constitutes a Cuban-American has somehow changed to not include anyone that I know. And THAT concludes my own poll, equally as politically slanted as any poll of liberal thinkers made by any liberal writer for a liberal online publication.

Add them both together and what do you get?

A realization that after 52 years of debate on the subject, all that anyone, including liberal writers, academics, and lawyers engaged in a liberal circle-jerk can do, is write slanted speculative fiction on the subject of what is going to happen in Cuba after Castro dies.

There are only three things that are known with any measure of certainty:

  • There will be a party in Miami. One that will dwarf the night that LeBron “El Varón” James, Dwayne “Miami” Wade, and Los Miami Heat brought the NBA title back to the Magic City.
  • Post-menopausal Liberal monkeys will continue to pound away at their keyboards, turning out liberal drek, based on liberal circle-jerk suppositions of how the world should be.
  • We, the tens of thousands of unpolled Cubanitos, will help rebuild Cuba, not just sell her to corporative buitres and jinetera-hunting travelers in search of cheap thrills and cheaper vacations.

We will help Cuba rebuild, because we owe it to ourselves, and to those who never got the chance to do it.

Come to think of it, that opening sentence still applies here:

If one million monkeys typing away for all eternity can type out the collected works of William Shakespeare, and five hundred thousand drunk monkeys typing away for five hundred years could turn out most everything written by Paul Krugman, then three post-menopausal liberal monkeys typing away for a week could turn out two Maureen Dowd a Don Ediger columns for publication.

Granted, people actually know who Maureen Dowd is, so the sentence has far greater clarity unedited.

Cuba Now Taxing Everyday Goods

Havana

HAVANA – Cuba has slapped a new customs tax on everyday goods shipped from overseas in a drive that experts say could weaken the economy and sap consumption.

The levy took effect Monday and is payable in foreign currency. It targets goods imported by private citizens, often self-employed people who have started up businesses as part of timid reforms undertaken by the communist government in 2011.

Carmen Arias, deputy director of the customs service, said the taxes are “a way to counter this non-commercial means of personal enrichment.”

But economist Mauricio de Miranda disagrees, calling the measure disproportionate and saying it could act as “a self-imposed embargo with a damaging effect on people’s living standards.”

He was alluding to the trade embargo that the United States placed on Cuba half a century ago, after Fidel Castro came to power.

In Cuba, where the economy is 90 percent controlled by the state, hundreds of packages and parcels arrive every day, sent by exiled Cubans to their families back home or brought in by travelers who make a profit by reselling the merchandise.

Under the new measure, merchandise is taxed at the rate of 10 dollars a kilo after the first three kilos. Foodstuffs — exempted from such taxes after hurricanes hit Cuba in 2008 — are also taxed now.

That’s bad news for privately owned restaurants which, in the absence of a wholesale market in Cuba, relied on such shipments for products they cannot find within Cuba.

The new tax “could seriously raise prices of imported consumer goods, the supply of which is scant in the retail trade network,” said de Miranda, of the Pontifical Xaverian University in Cali, Colombia.

In other countries this kind of levy is imposed to protect local producers. But in Cuba “there is no need to protect any national producer, as the consumer goods industry is incapable of meeting local demand.”

“If the idea is to discourage the black market and get people to go to state-run stores, these stores would have to be sufficiently stocked at affordable prices,” movie-maker Eduardo del Llano wrote in his blog eduardodelllano.wordpress.com. The average Cuban earns less than 20 dollars a month.

For the past few years, the website www.revolico.com has offered those few Cubans with access to Internet a veritable bounty of goods imported tax-free by private citizens and resold at prices below those found on the official Cuban market.

“It is true that goods sent from overseas have often replaced the local market, to the detriment of the state and its stores, which are poorly supplied or empty”, said Cuban journalist Giselle Morales (cubaprofunda.wordpress.com).

But most of the beneficiaries of this kind of parallel trade are “workers or retirees, whose needs exiled relatives try to meet with shipments of goods that most Cubans receive with relief,” Morales says.

PREVIOUS here: Surprise! Rulers of Castrolandia seem to have no real interest in reform!

Taiwan as a model for Cuba – panel discussions from the Cuba Transition Project

Back in February, the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies’ Cuba Transition Project held some panel discussions on “Taiwan as a Model for Cuba’s Future.” It wasn’t until now that they posted video of the event, which featured the following speakers:

  • Dr. Jaime Suchlicki – Director, Institute for Cuban & Cuban-American Studies
  • Mr. Ray H.W. Mou Director General, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami
  • Pedro Roig, Esq.
  • Dr. Yuang-Kuang Kao
  • Dr. Chung-li Wu
  • Carlos Alberto Montaner
  • Dr. Jose Azel
  • Dr. Hans H. Tung
  • Dr. Yih-chyi Chuang
  • Dr. Jorge Salazar Carrillo
  • Dr. Andy Gomez
  • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen President of the Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

The video of the event is available on this YouTube playlist. Click the link if you would like to pick and choose the speakers you watch.

If you’ve got a serious craving for heady panel discussions, you can just watch here. The videos should play sequentially on their own.

Lions, leopards and buffalo: latest punchlines in the running joke of Cuban “economic reform”

As we’ve heard so many times since Raul Castro took the helm in Cuba, the younger of two Communist dictators is a pragmatist. A reformer. He’s brought changed to the island’s dated, no-longer-sufficient economic system that everyone has known were long overdue.

There are signs that the changes Raul has made are paying off. With economic freedom from the state comes new opportunity. For example: the opportunity to work for the state.

But wait; there’s more! This “brigade of cuentapropistas,” as the BBC refers to it, will be using its freedom from the state to work for the state in accommodating immigrants that will kick Cuba’s economic progress up a few notches: 146 wild animals that Namibia has donated to Cuba, including (but not limited to) lions, leopards and buffalo.

Let me pause here for the benefit of any new readers who might not read much Cuba news. Yes, you are reading this correctly. The government that created “spaces” for free-ish market activity because confining its citizens within its ludicrous economic system was too much of a burden… has decided that the next step in its scheme is to not only hire all those workers right back, but spend a reported $15 million on committing to the care of 146 wild animals. For a zoo in a city where plenty of the human attractions need remittances to feed themselves properly.

And… call me crazy, but something tells me this project won’t stay under its $15 million-dollar budget. Between whatever the regime agreed to pay its new “independent contractors” (cuentapropistas translates roughly to “ownaccorders” or “ownaccounters”), the frivolous and unproductive “job creation” the project will prompt the state to spend on, and the meat that it will presumably feed those animals while denying meat to the two-legged class outside the fence… this might just be the most hilarious-if-it-weren’t-so-tragic theft of Cuban time and talent (a “long con,” if you will) we’ve seen in some time.

Read all about it — including Cuba’s history of inability to properly feed its zoo animals and the international brouhaha over the animals’ right to better migration conditions — here.

Finally, here’s a video of some lions at a zoo in Camaguey, Cuba. It was supposedly shot in May of this year… probably close enough to present day that we can place it in the post-special-period period during which interviewees for the BBC story insist the government has fattened up its animals.

The weekend in Cuba news: Cheesehead wrestler, migration spike, judo gold

NEWS
Wisconsin wrestler to face Cuban opponent in opener
Olympic wrestler Ben Provisor drew the No. 17 spot and will face Alexi Bel of Cuba in the opening round of the Greco-Roman 74-kilogram weight class at the ExCeL Arena on Sunday.
http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/165021846.html#!page=0&pageSize=10&sort=newestfirst
Cuban emigrant interdictions skyrocket
The number of Cubans being stopped at sea before entering the United States is the highest it’s been in almost five years, according to U.S. Coast Guard statistics.
http://www.keysnet.com/2012/08/04/468813/cuban-emigrant-interdictions-skyrocket.html
Cuban Ortiz wins women’s heavyweight gold
Cuba’s Idalys Ortiz improved on her bronze medal of four years ago to win the women’s Olympic heavyweight judo title on Friday, ending the title holder’s five year unbeaten run in the process.
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-08-03/sports/sns-rt-us-oly-judo-juw79kbre8721de-20120803_1_78kg-category-judo-heavyweight-gold
Key political risks to watch in Cuba
Cuba is moving along with reforms aimed at boosting its economy, but has also laid out new taxes that angered many and pose a threat to the growth of small businesses critical to the government’s economic plans.
http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/08/03/cuba-risks-idINRISKCU20120803
OPINION
It’s up to Cuban-Americans to save Hispanics from las mentiras, or the lies of the Dem left.
Ted Cruz’s victory in Texas, as well as the success of Marco Rubio, put Cuban-Americans on the front page of American politics.  These wins also give us an opportunity to craft a message to Hispanics — a message that emphasizes individual freedom, self-reliance, a skepticism of the state, and the value of family in our culture.
We hear it over and over again that Cuban-Americans are different.  We are often called the “other” Hispanics.  The media calls us “reactionaries” or “right-wingers” or makes fun of our disdain for communism.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/08/its_up_to_cuban-americans_to_save_hispanics_from_las_mentiras_or_the_lies_of_the_dem_left.html
Guest Commentary: Time for U.S. to end the Cuban embargo
Most folks don’t know it, but there is now a legal way for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. It is called the People to People Program, and it is available through a select number of U.S. travel groups. Among them are the Grand Circle Foundation, ElderTreks, Friendly Planet, and National Geographic Expeditions.
http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_21221143/guest-commentary-time-u-s-end-cuban-embargo
HISTORY
Ocala Rifles head off to war in Cuba
The saga of F.D. Pooser, the former county tax collector who resigned after being denounced by a Marion County grand jury for failure to collect taxes and for shortages in his collections, wasn’t quite over by the end of 1897.
http://www.ocala.com/article/20120805/COLUMNISTS/120809878

NEWS

Wisconsin wrestler to face Cuban opponent in opener

Olympic wrestler Ben Provisor drew the No. 17 spot and will face Alexi Bel of Cuba in the opening round of the Greco-Roman 74-kilogram weight class at the ExCeL Arena on Sunday.

Cuban emigrant interdictions skyrocket

The number of Cubans being stopped at sea before entering the United States is the highest it’s been in almost five years, according to U.S. Coast Guard statistics.

Cuban Ortiz wins women’s heavyweight gold

Cuba’s Idalys Ortiz improved on her bronze medal of four years ago to win the women’s Olympic heavyweight judo title on Friday, ending the title holder’s five year unbeaten run in the process.

Key political risks to watch in Cuba

Cuba is moving along with reforms aimed at boosting its economy, but has also laid out new taxes that angered many and pose a threat to the growth of small businesses critical to the government’s economic plans.

OPINION

It’s up to Cuban-Americans to save Hispanics from las mentiras, or the lies of the Dem left.

Ted Cruz’s victory in Texas, as well as the success of Marco Rubio, put Cuban-Americans on the front page of American politics.  These wins also give us an opportunity to craft a message to Hispanics — a message that emphasizes individual freedom, self-reliance, a skepticism of the state, and the value of family in our culture.

We hear it over and over again that Cuban-Americans are different.  We are often called the “other” Hispanics.  The media calls us “reactionaries” or “right-wingers” or makes fun of our disdain for communism.

Guest Commentary: Time for U.S. to end the Cuban embargo

Most folks don’t know it, but there is now a legal way for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. It is called the People to People Program, and it is available through a select number of U.S. travel groups. Among them are the Grand Circle Foundation, ElderTreks, Friendly Planet, and National Geographic Expeditions.

HISTORY

Ocala Rifles head off to war in Cuba

In Marion County, the focus in early 1898 was on the revolution taking place in Cuba. Most of the Cubans who had populated Marti City, the cigar manufacturing district in West Ocala, were gone. They had moved to Ybor City at Tampa, where they had been promised more than Ocala could ever offer, to continue making cigars and continue fundraising drives to assist the Cuban rebels.

Today in Cuba news: the Carromero family hires a lawyer, a cubiche wins bronze, and opinions on Oswaldo Payá

CUBA. DESPUÉS DEL ASESINATO DE OSWALDO PAYÁ: ¿QUIÉN SERÁ EL PRÓXIMO OPOSITOR ASESINADO POR LOS HERMANOS CASTRO. VIDEO CON TESTAMENTO POLÍTICO DE JUAN FRANCISCO SIGLER AMAYA EN CASO DE SU EXTRAÑA MUERTE
http://baracuteycubano.blogspot.com/2012/08/cuba-despues-del-asesinato-de-oswaldo.html
Cuban opera singer challenges “jealous” bureaucrats over closed theater
http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/08/01/cuba-theater-reform-idINL2E8IU8AZ20120801
Opinion: What Really Happened to Cuban Dissident Oswaldo Payá?
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/08/01/opinionthe-legacy-oswaldo-paya/
Spaniard held in Cuba after deadly crash hires a lawyer
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/08/01/spaniard-held-in-cuba-after-deadly-crash-hires-lawyer/
Cuban-Americans’ Political Success
While Cuban-Americans represent only a tiny fraction of the Hispanic population of the United States, three of them have been elected to the United States Senate and another may soon join them, with Ted Cruz’s victory in the Republican Senate primary in Texas on Tuesday.
Why have Cuban-Americans been more successful than other Hispanic candidates, even in states with few Cuban-Americans?
http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/08/01/cuban-americans-political-success
Cuban-American Leyva captures bronze in London
First-time Olympian brings home all-around medal
http://www.local10.com/sports/Cuban-American-Leyva-captures-bronze-in-London/-/1717082/15923946/-/1o95acz/-/index.html
Leyva wins bronze, Orozco finishes eighth for U.S. in individual all-around gymnastics
http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/olympics/leyva_wins_bronze_orozco_finishes_kv8InEEb9ZKIJ09yOtSLYN
Payá’s dream of a free Cuba will come true
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/01/2926108/payas-dream-of-a-free-cuba-will.html
New Air Route between Havana and Tokyo
http://technorati.com/lifestyle/travel/article/new-air-route-between-havana-and/
US Senate urges Cuba dissident death probe

http://www.portalangop.co.ao/motix/en_us/noticias/internacional/2012/7/31/Senate-urges-Cuba-dissident-death-probe,734caaca-3dc6-4b85-b572-

8287d0f56b98.html

News & Reporting

Cuban opera singer challenges “jealous” bureaucrats over closed theater

(Note: Another story on the same cabaret was posted yesterday. This Reuters piece, however, offers a bit more detail — however accurate it might be — on the ludicrous legal issues that the club’s owner faces in Cuba.)

Spaniard held in Cuba after deadly crash hires a lawyer

The family of the visiting Spaniard who was behind the wheel for the car crash that killed prominent Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya has hired a Havana-based attorney to represent him, Spanish diplomats told EFE here Wednesday.

Cuban-American Leyva captures bronze in London

Born in Cuba but raised in the United States, Leyva put up incredible scores on the parallel bars and horizontal bars to rally late for a third place finish.

New Air Route between Havana and Tokyo

The first flight is scheduled for Wednesday August 1st

US Senate urges Cuba dissident death probe

The resolution also “condemns the government of Cuba for the detention of nearly 50 pro-democracy activists” following a memorial service for Paya.

Opinions & Editorials

Opinion: What Really Happened to Cuban Dissident Oswaldo Payá? (by Roger Noriega)

So what does Raul Castro have to say in the wake of the untimely death of Oswaldo Payá?  This weekend he offered a dialogue with the United States – “a conversation between equals.”  Setting aside the staggering delusion that Castro considers his regime equal to any decent democracy, such a dialogue must be among the Cuban people about the future they deserve.

Cuban-Americans’ Political Success (a collection of five opinion pieces)

While Cuban-Americans represent only a tiny fraction of the Hispanic population of the United States, three of them have been elected to the United States Senate and another may soon join them, with Ted Cruz’s victory in the Republican Senate primary in Texas on Tuesday.

Payá’s dream of a free Cuba will come true (by Czech journalist Eduard Freisler)

Oswaldo never yelled back; he never even used curse words while describing his enemies to me. Maybe Oswaldo Payá was a little too naive and sometimes too meticulous, but above all he was a brave, noble man who cared about Cuban democracy and freedom. It’s more than unfortunate that both he and Havel died before they could toast to freedom in Havana together.

Today in Cuba news: regime uses Paya’s death to attack dissident funding, rum brand legal battle, cabaret shut down

Spaniard close to vehicular homicide charge in Cuban dissident’s death
The Swedish man who survived the crash that claimed the lives of Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero has returned home. Meanwhile, his Spanish colleague remained behind to face a possible homicide charge.
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/31/2923717/spaniard-close-to-vehicular-homicide.html
Havana Club rum dispute isn’t over yet
The litigation between Bacardi and Cuba over the use of the Havana Club trademark in the U.S. market is over, but Cuba is still trying to hold on to the name.
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/20/2923729/havana-club-rum-dispute-isnt-over.html
Cuban bank deposits abroad plummet from $5.65 to $2.8 billion
A new report shows that Cuba’s bank deposits have fallen from $5.65 billion at the end of September 2011 to $2.8 billion at the end of March.
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/31/2921789/cuban-bank-deposits-abroad-plummet.html
European survivors of crash in which Cuban dissident Payá was killed insist it was an accident
In person and in video, they insist crash that killed Cuban dissidents was accidental
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/30/2921852/european-survivors-of-crash-in.htm
Payá’s death leaves leadership gap in Cuba dissident movement that’s hard to fill
Oswaldo Payá, unquestionably the most centrist of Cuba’s opposition leaders, was also one of the movement’s giants.
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/29/2920368/payas-death-leaves-leadership.html
Olympics-Boxing-Cuba’s Estrada survives stern early test
Aug 1 (Reuters) – Top seeded Cuban bantamweight Lazaro Alvarez Estrada beat future U.S professional fighter Joseph Diaz Jr. on Wednesday to advance to the quarter-finals in the best fight of the Games so far.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/01/oly-boxi-bxm56k-rounds-day-idUSL6E8J1K6420120801
Spaniard close to vehicular homicide charge in Cuban dissident’s death
The Swedish man who survived the crash that claimed the lives of Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero has returned home. Meanwhile, his Spanish colleague remained behind to face a possible homicide charge.
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/31/2923717/spaniard-close-to-vehicular-homicide.html
Cuba car crash fallout turns focus on dissidents’ funds
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-19075435
Opera Unfolds When A Cuban Cabaret Is Shut Down
Jul 31, 2012 (All Things Considered) — When a prominent Cuban singer opened a restaurant and cabaret, he believed he was following President Raul Castro’s cry for more small business. But local authorities shut it down without warning. What happens next is seen as a test of Castro’s commitment to economic changes.
http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/npr/157656452/opera-unfolds-when-a-cuban-cabaret-is-shut-down

Cuba car crash fallout turns focus on dissidents’ funds

Still in police custody, Aron Modig admitted he had travelled to Cuba twice to deliver money to Mr Paya and “share experiences” with young political activists. Cuba has been busy using his statement to make its point about dissidents ever since.

Spaniard close to vehicular homicide charge in Cuban dissident’s death

The Swedish man who survived the crash that claimed the lives of Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero has returned home. Meanwhile, his Spanish colleague remained behind to face a possible homicide charge.

Payá’s death leaves leadership gap in Cuba dissident movement that’s hard to fill

Oswaldo Payá, unquestionably the most centrist of Cuba’s opposition leaders, was also one of the movement’s giants.

Havana Club rum dispute isn’t over yet

The litigation between Bacardi and Cuba over the use of the Havana Club trademark in the U.S. market is over, but Cuba is still trying to hold on to the name.

Cuban bank deposits abroad plummet from $5.65 to $2.8 billion

A new report shows that Cuba’s bank deposits have fallen from $5.65 billion at the end of September 2011 to $2.8 billion at the end of March.

Cuba olympic boxer Estrada survives stern early test

Aug 1 (Reuters) – Top seeded Cuban bantamweight Lazaro Alvarez Estrada beat future U.S professional fighter Joseph Diaz Jr. on Wednesday to advance to the quarter-finals in the best fight of the Games so far.

Opera Unfolds When A Cuban Cabaret Is Shut Down

When a prominent Cuban singer opened a restaurant and cabaret, he believed he was following President Raul Castro’s cry for more small business. But local authorities shut it down without warning. What happens next is seen as a test of Castro’s commitment to economic changes.

Two countries, Cuba and Colombia

Excellent article contrasting progress or lack of in Colombia and Cuba during the past decade by the former Costa Rican ambassador to the U.S.

A Tale of Two Countries
by Jaime Daremblum

On April 14, Latin American officials will gather in Colombia for the sixth Summit of the Americas. But the region’s oldest dictatorship will not be represented, to the delight of Washington and the dismay of Hugo Chávez. Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos did not invite Cuba to the summit, citing a lack of “consensus” among the other countries, though he did meet with Raúl Castro last month in Havana and said that “we really appreciate [Castro’s] desire to take part in the meeting.” Santos has worked hard to improve bilateral relations with leftist regimes in neighboring Venezuela and Ecuador, while also maintaining warm ties with the United States, so the decision on Cuba was a sensitive one. In the end, he managed to make the right choice without incurring too much diplomatic blowback from the Chávez bloc.

As it happens, Colombia and Cuba are each marking a significant anniversary this year. Ten years ago, both countries were at a crossroads. The South American nation was holding a presidential election amid terrible violence from drug-running Marxist rebels and paramilitaries. Meanwhile, Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá was receiving global praise for his Varela Project, a petition drive aimed at forcing real democratic change within the Communist constitution.

A decade later, Colombia is a nation transformed — “a prospering dynamo,” in the words of journalist Mac Margolis — but Cuba is still ruled by a brutal dictatorship that has rejected political liberalization and is now desperately trying to stave off an economic crisis. Indeed, if Colombia symbolizes the enormous progress that Latin America has made in the new millennium, Cuba remains a stubborn relic of the region’s autocratic, impoverished past.

Continue reading here.

Cuando Sali de Cuba – Luis Felipe’s Story

Marta here. I started this series, Cuando Sali de Cuba, Stories of Courage and Hope on my own blog, My big, fat, Cuban family in order to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month: Cuban-Style. I asked my readers to send me their stories about how their families left Cuba and how they ended up here in the U.S.

As the stories began pouring in, I realized that this needed to be an ongoing series. The stories are still coming in. Some are written as tributes by descendants of Cuban refugees who were born here in the U.S. and some, like this one, written from the perspective of someone who lived and survived the first years of the revolution and helped others escape.

I asked my friend, Joey Lay, of the Dos Cubanos Pig Roasts to send me his story. He did one better. He sent me his father’s.

I’m honored to offer you Luis Felipe’s story. It is absolutely fascinating because of the position he held in the national bank system at the time of the revolution. It will in turn make you angry and break your heart.

Cuando-sali-de-Cuba-for-web

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CUANDO SALI DE CUBA – 14 de Octubre 1960

WHEN I FLED CUBA – October 14th. 1960

Every Cuban that left their homeland in the aftermath of the communist takeover treason from the beginning of the 60’s decade through this date, half a century after, has a story to be told and a vivid and stressful one.

This is my story. I hope you share the sense of hope when I survived and the sense of mourning when somebody else you never knew did not make it.

The world needs to know.

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It is our great responsibility to speak on their behalf, as so many innocent people were swallowed by the horrors of cruel and despotic criminals that had no control of their appetite for power and civil compulsion. They have demonstrated this over five long decades and three generations immersed in tremendous devastation as they struggle for life and freedom, the two most precious gifts from God.

It was October 14th, 1960, at dawn, fifty years ago now, the telephone at my parents home rang very loud and clear at that early hour. It was still dark and it felt like the surroundings were matching the situation that all were experiencing in Cuba at the time.  My cousin was calling to advise me to leave right away.

I was already planning ahead of what was coming to protect my wife and 2 ½  year old baby daughter because it had been announced that the banking system was being taken over by the Communist Government. I was affiliated with the Bank that was in charge of  the Dollar Currency, known as divisas, donated by the people for a supposedly more democratic government that was to be put into place during the first year of the Revolution.

This, of course, never took place because Castro and his comrades deceived the people of Cuba making them believe that they were going to establish a just and democratic country with rights for all their citizens where peace and prosperity were going to flourish. History shows they had no intention of doing this. Instead they brought violence, terror, and misery. Desolation has prevailed for over half a century without the most needed rectification of direction to improve the conditions and liberty of  the people of Cuba.

The fact that I represented the bank employees as a delegate of the national banking syndicate, jeopardized my security and the control of my actions and movements because I refused to follow the orders and instructions of the newly formed revolutionary government.

This “new” government was increasingly influenced by the communist party and the atheist platform. Their plan was to attack the church and religious entities and take over the press and all communications media as well as the different sectors of the business world.

The situation in the country escalated at an alarming rate. The oppression was at full force and the threats were constant. They menaced by means of telephone calls and the sudden presence of armed people that looked more like gangsters than soldiers.

This was the contribution of the errantly named Cuban revolution. A revolution that did not exist because it was stolen from the people and given to the elite of international communism.  The Red Menace took over our island with absolute cruelty and disregard for the human condition and absolutely no sensitivity to their citizens. Private property was rapidly stolen and given to cement the absolute control of the state, and the state was Castro.

El Che Guevara and all the other abusers of power aligned with world elements of the Communist International Group, funded and supported by the Soviet Union and their enslaved satellites. Since I was considered a leader with a Christian philosophy and democratic principles and surrounded by people like me, I was a target for pressure and threats and next in line to either be sent to prison arbitrarily or shot to death like many others were on a daily basis at La Cabaña and other military fortresses.

The new regime had thousands arrested  and also sent to the death squadrons each morning at dawn, without due process of justice or a day in court  since the purpose was to eliminate people that loved freedom and because the justice system was eradicated when these hordes took the country by surprise. They took advantage of a corrupted and weak military dictatorship that was governing by force, too, and had displaced the constitutional government of an elected president and congress eight years before.

I had to leave Cuba that morning of October 14th, 1960 if I wanted to survive with my family in a country of freedom where I could be of help to my countrymen and to restore our civil life and patriotic values, as well as the religious profession of the people that were not respected by the usurpers. My choice was obvious but the mission almost impossible because of the scrutiny on me.

It was difficult to get out of the country and the permits were unattainable, but I had a plan, and, I put it into effect, carefully and with elaborate disguising.

It worked only because we had God’s protection to such a risky departure. All elements were against me. The banks were invaded by the government militarily with machine guns and all; just like an assault.

And the leader of the syndicate had already left to fight the revolutionary army from the Mountains of Escambray, in Central Cuba, just five days before.

I was the second in command and everybody was looking for me because I did not show up at the bank that day. They went to my house to get me, but I had already vanished. They went to my parents’ house searching for me, but I had already left with my father, my wife and baby daughter. We were on our way to the International Airport where there was a big event that particular day.

At first it seemed it would be much more dangerous to be heading to the airport with a military presence there, but instead it turned out to for my benefit. The confusion was what helped me escape.

I arrived at the airport while the armed groups were looking for me. I was the only bank associate that did not show up while the takeover, or so-called nationalization, of the commercial and private banks, in addition to all the retirement funds was happening.

There was a big confusion generated by the coming of the Minister of  Exterior Relations accompanied by the President of Ghana (pseudo-communist) from the United Nations. It happened to coincide with the time of my departure and called for a concentration of all the militias from different fields and sectors of the country, including the bank militias that were at the airport.

All of this perfectly coincided with the time I was there trying to board the airplane. The militia from the banking sector belonging to different institutions thought that I was there for the celebration and had no idea I was really there to escape from my persecutors.

After being stripped and thoroughly checked, we had to walk quite a long way on the tarmac in order to step up the ladder to climb into the aircraft. We were on hold for nearly 45 minutes while we could see the Foreign Minister’s aircraft with the President of Ghana (the African country).

Twice the armed soldiers boarded our plane and two men were removed, one at a time.  Our little baby girl was crying, trying to drink a bottle of milk in that terrible heat and the loud noise from the propellers.

Finally, the airplane took off.

Up into the air we went and the blue sky could be seen all around us coming from heaven into the horizon.

Everyone on the airplane, from the passengers to the crew were happily clapping and relieved that we had succeeded in our dangerous plan to escape communism and oppression after so much turmoil. The happiness reflected in the passengers faces was undeniable. There was singing and laughing, smiles and hugs. We all felt united in our euphoria and relief.

When I arrived with my wife and tiny daughter at the old Miami Airport, the Pan American Terminal on 36th Street was full of people waiting for one of the first groups coming from the chaotic island of Cuba. Once the Pearl of the Antilles and now immersed in tears, hate, guns and distress.

Of course, with empty pockets but a clean heart, we gave thanks to God for his enduring protection that saved our lives.

I called my family that could not come with me to let them know we had arrived safely.  I told my Father and my Mother that I was safe and that I would start helping others to escape the horrors of communism. Our Lord helped me not only to be a bridge between the Cubans and Americans in this country but also allowed me to be an instrument to help bring to freedom hundreds of families and nearly 5,000 people who were being persecuted in Cuba because of their religious beliefs or democratic ideals. Except my grandmother, who knew that she would never see me or the rest of the family again. She was in her 90’s when she died a few years later.

I’m sad to say, however, that 51 years after the day I left Cuba for the last time, the conditions there are much, much worse. We lost our homeland. And now three more generations of young people have been deprived of the right to live according to God’s plan for humanity.

The same oppressors that killed our friends and citizens just because they did not follow their ignominies continue to rule the country with a cruel and miserable tyranny. We knew many who served more than 20 years in jail, many of them dying in prison. The devastation has been horrendous in all spheres of society. Such a thing as this had not even been seen before colonial times.

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My wife, Miriam and I were married in Miami at Gesu Catholic Church the same day that the revolutionary forces entered in La Habana, January 3rd, 1959.

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Our oldest daughter, Myriam Cristina was born in Cuba, and five more children were born to us here in the U.S.A., Luis Felipe Jr., Dennis Albert, Joseph Edward, Rose Marie and  Robert Anthony.

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They are all married and we now have 12 Grandchildren. We live in peace and prosperity in the freedom offered to us here in the U.S.A.

~Luis Felipe Lay

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I’m so very grateful to Joey and his father for sharing this amazing story. Gracias, my friend. I’m proud to know you.

If you’re Cuban American, your family has a story to tell. Please allow me the privilege of sharing it. Even if you were born here in the U.S. and you want to pay tribute to those who bravely left Cuba for a better life here, please do. Send me an email with “Cuando Sali de Cuba” in the subject line. Also, please send some family photos. My email is mdarby(at)cox(dot)net.

It’s my honor to pay tribute to your courageous families. As Luis Felipe so eloquently put it:

The world needs to know.

(cross-posted at My big, fat, Cuban family)

There’s no Home Depot in Cuba

In Cuba, for those in need of home repairs, there is nothing, and you can go to prison for attempting to illegally acquire building materials. So much for the “revolution” providing.

Meet Jesús Expósito Zayas, a working man living in a ruin, he communicates the following from Princelades de Cuba. (My flawed translation)

“I was born here and live here with my nephews Enrique and Ernesto Zayas, this house is everything ruined and I do not have a way to fix it. When it rains it gets wet, more inside than outside, the ceiling falls on us at any time, when it rains the district is flooded and the water enters the house and this dirty water is accumulated in all the corners and thus the floor is ruined and there is not one that takes care to improve this situation and for that reason we live like animals.”

“I have written to all the places and have sent photos of the water in the house with mud up to the beds and nothing; no one has come and neither has anyone taken care of this. Not the CDR, and not the government who solves nothing. The materials to fix this are lost and when they appear they are expensive and so I work gathering sweepings in a truck and when encounter some, I gather zinc to cover some hollow of the ceiling or the walls. The bath is worse, it does not have running water to bathe, nor for emptying the toilet.  We must load it from far so we are  able to cook and take. Our situation is terrible and this government does not help us,  but the presidents of the CDR if they live as kings it is not because they work the more, because as I said I am a working man, I fight to live and nothing serves to me.”


José Díaz Silva 1

José Díaz Silva 2

José Díaz Silva 3

José Díaz Silva 4
 
José Díaz Silva 5

José Díaz Silva 6

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