Hemingway’s Cuba … Things of Fiction Now


For your consideration…

Finn-Olaf Jones @ The Wall Street Journal tells the story of a romantic and exotic Cuba that writer Hemingway chose for his creative and personal refuge … the Cuba of “The Old Man and the Sea” … that seems all but fiction over 50 years later as generations of post-Castro Cubans struggle daily for more than a bragging-rights fish, but for food and freedom itself. Hemmingway’s old Cuban dwelling outside Havana also has not escaped the decay of communism’s lack of incentive and general maintenance


Of all the places Hemingway lived, none had such a hold on the author as his home outside Havana—now being restored through an unlikely alliance. Here, a guided tour of the Cuban haunts that shaped a literary legend.


FIVE MINUTES’ STROLL down the shore from La Terraza is a narrow beach cluttered with driftwood, plastic bottles and other flotsam brought in by the tide, and where the fictional Santiago dragged the sad remains of his once-majestic shark-chewed marlin. Cojimar’s fishermen dock their creaky wooden boats in an inlet just beyond the beach. Three men just back from the sea, stripped to the waist and smoking cigars, are merrily fixing their ancient engine beneath the open deck when I come across them. “Any swordfish?” I ask the skipper. “Lots,” he responds, with the confident laugh sports fishermen always seem to have but which I don’t often notice among professional ones. “We caught six in 24 hours. The Gulf Stream is always easy,” he adds, puffing on his stogie.

Fishing provided the only occasion for Hemingway to meet Fidel Castro. In 1960, Cuba’s new leader entered a fishing contest sponsored by the author. Off a harbor west of Havana, where sailboats from all over the world (including a few illicitly from Florida) now dock at the renamed Marina Hemingway, Castro caught a 54-pound marlin, winning the competition. Afterward, Hemingway himself presented Castro with his trophy. Castro claimed to have kept a copy of For Whom the Bell Tolls in his backpack while engaged in guerilla fighting in the Sierra Maestra mountains. But the conversation didn’t go far.

“I’ve always regretted the fact that I didn’t… talk to him about everything under the sun,” Castro said later. “We only talked about the fish.” As relations between Cuba and the U.S. became increasingly strained, Hemingway was encouraged by American officials to leave lest he be seen as a Castro supporter. “He was very sympathetic to the revolution in Cuba until things got too difficult,” recounts Patrick. “I don’t think he had much respect for Castro. When he left, he knew he would never be returning. And that depressed him greatly.”

… In late 1960, battling writer’s block, alcoholism, deteriorating physical health and his inner demons, he checked himself into Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic, where he got electroshock treatment. During a layover in Casper, Wyoming, he tried to step into a moving propeller. He finally managed to end his suffering less than a year after leaving Cuba by shooting himself in the entry foyer to his strikingly banal ranch-style home in Ketchum, Idaho, a setting unimaginably far from the Finca…

And so Hemingway’s Cuban heritage rolls on, sometimes literally, waiting to be rediscovered by compatriots who are so close, but still an embargo away.


Well, Hemingway didn’t stick around long enough to see what an apartheid mess his pal Fidel would change and transform his beloved Cuba and her victimized people into … the reality and source of which socialist/communist-romanticizing Western elitists simply ignore, or deflect blame from and onto an embargo, but NEVER the failed ideology and corruption of their communist hero.

Brazil cartels announce “a terror campaign”

We’ve posted a couple of times about the street demonstrations in Brazil, i.e. protests related to the spending for the World Cup and Olympics!

Brazil may also face a very serious terror campaign, if the cartels have their way:

“Brazil’s biggest drug cartel has promised a ‘World Cup of terror’ next year – in a reminder of the high level of violence that still marks the country.
The threat was issued by the First Capital Command in Sao Paulo, who last year was behind the murder of more than a hundred of the city’s police officers. And last night violent demonstrations exploded on the streets of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo with protesters setting fire to cars and fighting pitched battles with police. The protests were in support of a teachers’ strike and were the latest in a long line of unrest that has seen millions take to the streets in Brazil to protest against the government.”

I hope that the Brazilian authorities are taking this threat very seriously.

There will be thousands of fans and visitors all over the country. The Cup will be played in various cities and there are going to be lots of people on highways and airplanes going back and forth.

Brazil’s government faces a lot of discontent, specially in some of the poor neighborhoods.

First, many people feel that the spending has been inefficient and excessive.

Second, “crony capitalism” is alive and well in Brazil.

Let’s hope for the best but don’t be surprised if the World Cup turns into a lot more than “futbol”!



Two US embassy personnel shot in Venezuela

Antonella bar

CARACAS — Two employees of the US embassy in Venezuela were shot and wounded early Tuesday in the capital Caracas, in a murky incident that local media and a police source said took place at a strip club.

“We can confirm that two members of the US embassy in Caracas were injured during an incident early this morning,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters in Washington.

“Medical staff inform us that their injuries are not life-threatening,” he added, noting that they were hurt at “some sort of a social spot” but without specifying the venue or nature of their injuries.

US diplomatic sources later confirmed to AFP that the two men were shot.

The Venezuelan media identified the two men as Roberto Ezequiel Rosas and Paul Marwin, and said they were military attaches at the embassy, but neither the State Department nor the embassy in Caracas would confirm those reports.

“My understanding is that they are other agency personnel, not from the State Department,” Ventrell said.

Venezuelan television channel Globovision reported on its website that the incident took place at the Antonella bar located in a shopping center in the Chacao district of Caracas, after an altercation with other bar patrons.

Bar staff told AFP on condition of anonymity that the venue is indeed a strip club that only admits men over the age of 30, but refused to say anything about the alleged incident involving the US embassy personnel.

A district policeman, who also spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, said a shooting incident had been reported just outside the Antonella bar, involving three Americans.

In the entryway of the club, there are photos of female strippers.

Venezuela has the highest murder rate in South America with 54 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. In the first quarter of 2013 alone, there were 3,400 murders, according to government statistics.

Several diplomats have been assaulted in recent months in the country.

The United States and Venezuela, which have had no ambassadors since 2010, have had strained relations since Caracas accused Washington of backing a coup that briefly ousted the late Hugo Chavez in 2002.


Travel Warning for Vacationing Americans

Turks and Caicos

I just caught this report on Facebook and thought with vacation season upon us, I would pass it along…

Concerned about the recent arrests of two vacationing Americans in the Turks and Caicos Islands on gun-related charges, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is calling for authorities in the British-dependent territory to properly investigate the matter.

Nelson also said vacationing Americans need to be much more vigilant in keeping an eye on their luggage when traveling, and make sure they register with the U.S. embassy when traveling abroad.

On April 25 and 26, Turks and Caicos Royal Police charged Texas businesswoman Cathy Sulledge-Davis, 60, and retired neurosurgeon Horace Norrell, 80, of Sarasota, with carrying ammunition as they were departing the country at the Providenciales International Airport. There was no gun found in either case. The two were arrested and eventually allowed to return home after paying $4,000 in cash bail.

Nelson called the circumstances surrounding the arrests “unusual” and “mysterious,” and said he hopes Americans are not being preyed upon in a nefarious scheme.

“If I were the Turks and Caicos and knowing that my main source of income is American tourists, the last thing in the world is they need some kind of scheme that is shaking down Americans,” Nelson said. “What that will do is dry up their tourism if in fact this continues.”

Late this week , Nelson and Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wrote to the U.S. Embassy in Nassau, Bahamas, which has responsibility for the Turks and Caicos Islands, asking if there have been other arrests of Americans on similar charges. The letter also asked U.S. Charge d’Affaires John Dinkelman to “convey to the proper authorities that the investigation needs to be expeditious, thorough, transparent and independent.”

“We fully respect the right of law in the Turks and Caicos,” Nelson said. “But when an incident occurs like this, the suspicions are aroused. Is this a shakedown of American tourists?”

Read more

“The bus always stops in front of the same building”

That’s a quote by former Cuba tour guide Felix Hernandez in the award winning 1984 documentary Conducta Impropria/Improper Conduct, directed by Néstor Almendros and Orlando Jiménez Leal and produced with the support of French television Antenne 2.

Yes, there have been some cosmetic changes in Cuba, including in the tourism sector, but the underlying structure of State control is the same.

“A tourist coming to Cuba is shown a false, prefabricated view of Cuban reality. From the moment he lands at the airport and takes a luxury bus to a large Havana hotel, a tourist gets to see only well-kept streets. He visits the cathedral in the heart of old town Havana, with its convents and churches, but if he strays, even 200 yards from the planned route, he’ll see that Havana is a disaster area.”

“Tourists are under survelliance by guides, cab drivers, and the employees the moment they reach their hotel.”

Watch and listen in part 7 of the documentary as posted at YouTube:

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


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

Elitist, Happy Cuba Traveler “Shocked” at All The Backlash



Jessica Chasmar @ The Washington Times

Pop icon Beyonce called the amount of criticism she and husband Jay-Z faced for their vacation in Cuba “shocking” in an interview that aired Monday.

“You know, it was such a beautiful trip. I met some incredible children. I visited some incredible entrepreneurs. I learned so much about so many people and the country and [all of the criticism] was actually quite shocking,” the singer said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

The music power couple celebrated their fifth anniversary in Havana last month, drawing the ire of several politicians. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and Debbie Wasserman Schultz have all questioned why — and how — the couple was able to visit the communist country.

I guess Mr. and Mrs. Z only managed to visit the paradise part of Cuba. Truth be told, this pampered princess of the Obama White House could have made a big impact on publicizing the plight of the real Cuban people who suffer everyday under apartheid, and most especially the brave mission of the government abused Ladies in White. But she and her husband instead chose the easy propaganda path so many other American celebrities stroll on while in Cuba.

As Mr. T was known to say, “I pity the fool”.

In A Nutshell: “You Came to Suck The Fat of Our Land…”

jihadi mom

Have you seen and heard the rantings of the “Jihadi Mom”, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, of the terrorist Boston Marathon-bombing brothers?

Well, somebody had to finally say it, and FOX’s Judge Jeanine Pirro did a hell of a job over the weekend…

However, FOX’s resident liberal Alan Colmes insists we should show sympathy for Tsarnaevs’ anti-American, grieving Jihadi Mom. Umm … no. She can kiss my ass.

UPDATE: Judge Jeanine Pirro mentioned the tangle she had with a newspaper’s publicizing of her name and address in an interactive article on registered legal gun owners.

Actress Stacey Dash Runs into the ‘Clueless’ Twitter Twits Again


You remember pretty actress Stacey Dash during the 2012 presidential campaign voicing her support for Romney/Ryan on Twitter, and then taking a flood of vile personal attacks and even death threats via tweets from the never failing to disappoint Obama/Biden supporters. Well, they’re at it again.

Today Miss Dash tweeted about Jay-Z’s and Beyonce’s Cuba trip:

To which Miss Dash drew yet another round of vile personal attacks and even death threats via tweets from the scum of the social media world. And not-a-one-of-them even touched on the issue her tweet posed. And not-a-one-of-them intelligent enough to know or understand what Stacey Dash was talking about.

The ‘Fully Licensed’ Propagandists for Castro

When asked yesterday in the daily White House briefing about the controversial Jay-Z and Beyonce anniversary vacation to Cuba Obama’s Press Sec. Jay Carney deflected responsibility to the Treasury Department

The Treasury Department “fully licensed” Beyonce and Jay Z’s trip to Cuba, according to Reuters.

“American pop star Beyonce and rapper husband Jay Z visited Havana last week on a cultural trip that was fully licensed by the United States Treasury Department, according to a source familiar with the trip,” Reuters reports.

“Beyonce and Jay Z celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in the Cuban capital, where big crowds greeted them as they strolled hand in hand through the city and posed for pictures with admiring Cubans.

“The longstanding U.S. trade embargo against Cuba prevents most Americans from traveling to the island without a license granted by the U.S. government, though President Barack Obama’s administration has eased restrictions on travel to Cuba for academic, religious or cultural programs.”

The Treasury Department is led by Secretary Jack Lew, President Obama’s former chief of staff. […]

Supposedly this trip was viewed as a “cultural exchange”. The couple sure looked like your typical tourists to me. And let’s be honest …


How much real 21st century Cuban culture was exchanged with Obama’s buddies?


Taxpayers are The Butt of The TSA Joke


Just before “sequestration” the federal government agencies were prompted to intentially make some ridiculous ‘cuts’ that would appear to the American taxpayer(s) how painful any such cut in government spending would be. We know of the dropping of the $18,000 a week White House tours for the public … Yet if you have the right amount of money/donations you are more than welcome to schedule a tour of The People’s House. (Also, Michelle Obama’s fiftieth birthday bash is quickly approaching, and already some top musical names have been booked as entertainment at the huge, planned celebration.) However, some federal government contracts were made ahead of the sequestration. One was the spending of $50 million for new TSA uniforms.

Now comes a report that some former TSA agents are claiming the airport hassle the general, non-dangerous public (from infants to breastfeeding mothers to toddles/children to the handicapped to the elderly) has been going through at the groping hands of the TSA when traveling by air is “all for show”. There are ten outlined facts of this federal government agency’s inefficiency and waste.

7. We always said it’s not a question of if terrorists get through — it’s a question of when. Our feeling is nothing’s happened because they haven’t wanted it to happen. We’re not any big deterrent. It’s all for show.

6. Most TSA screeners know their job is a complete joke. Their goal is to use this as a stepping stone to another government agency.

5. We work in a culture where common sense has no place. All but a very few TSA personnel know they’re employed by a bottom-of-the-barrel agency.

Our first question to anyone in a wheelchair is to ask if they’re able to stand for a pat-down. If someone is in a wheelchair, he likely can’t stand. Even when they’re sitting, we’re required to ask them to move so we can check under their buttocks.

4. Supervisors play absolutely no role in day-to-day functions except to tell you not to chew gum. Gum chewing is a huge issue with management.

This is on the heels of last week’s report of TSA allowing a fake bomb through screening at Newark Airport.

World On Fire…

First, the unfortunate faces of the foreign policy Obama has built in three years in the Muslim world…


Next, I see Ziva posted: Breaking: University of Texas orders evacuation, citing ‘threats’

Drudge Report has since added these: North Dakota State University evacuated after bomb threat...

'Unspecified' threat at Valparaiso University...


Also of interest during this uprising are the Pope’s travel plans. He landed today in Lebanon, and then is scheduled to head to Iran. I am just not seeing it covered in the news, even on FOX. You would think with all that is going on in that neck of the world…

Via Drudge Report:


Protesters smash windows, set fires at embassy in Tunisia…


Report: German embassy in Sudan on fire…

Clashes intensify near US embassy in Cairo…

Embassies on high alert as protests spread…

Crowd in Lebanon torches KFC…


Marines on Ground in Yemen as Mobs Attack Embassies in Tunisia, Sudan

Suspicion Surrounds Canadian Man’s Death At A Cuba Hotel


What happens in Cuba stays in Cuba

A Mississauga family is seeking answers after 22-year-old Horace “Odaine” Lumley was found dead this week at a Cuban hotel.

Lumley’s half-sister, Monique Lewis, said her family first heard of the death from friends Wednesday.

Lumley, who was born in Jamaica and moved to Mississauga as a preteen, left for Cuba on his “first real vacation” last Friday, Lewis said.

He travelled with a group of coworkers to the Barcelo Solymar Arenas Blancas Resort on Varadero Beach.

“He wanted to relax, because he was always working so hard,” Lewis said, her voice breaking. “I still can’t believe this happened.”

His family is still trying to piece together what happened the night he died. The last time he was seen alive, his coworkers had left him behind at the hotel with a young woman he had met at the resort, Lewis said.

When they returned, Lumley had fallen 16 metres to his death from the third-floor balcony, she said.

“At first I thought it was an accident . . . we’re beginning to get more and more suspicious.”

The Canadian embassy has been working with the Cuban police, Lewis said. But she still has unanswered questions, such as the whereabouts of the young woman and why Lumley’s cellphone SIM card had apparently been cleared when it was returned.


The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed in an email to the Starthat consular officials are assisting the family of a Canadian who died in Cuba, but declined to give further details, citing privacy reasons.


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

Cuban opera singer challenges “jealous” bureaucrats over closed theater
Opinion: What Really Happened to Cuban Dissident Oswaldo Payá?
Spaniard held in Cuba after deadly crash hires a 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?
Cuban-American Leyva captures bronze in London
First-time Olympian brings home all-around medal
Leyva wins bronze, Orozco finishes eighth for U.S. in individual all-around gymnastics
Payá’s dream of a free Cuba will come true
New Air Route between Havana and Tokyo
US Senate urges Cuba dissident death probe



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.