While visiting Cuba last year Bernie Sanders’ ripped off his figurative Che Guevara T-Shirt and slipped into an Armani suit:
“American businesses are losing billions of dollars because of the economic embargo (of Cuba.) Meanwhile, Canadians and Europeans are creating jobs through their investments in Cuba.” (Bernie Sanders on a visit to Cuba in 2014.)
Above Bernie Sanders echoes the oft-chanted lament of his (supposed) enemies the Wall Street Journal and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
On left: In 1996 The Wall Street Journal throws a star-studded luncheon in honor of Fidel Castro, a Stalinist dictator who abolished private property. On right: Thomas Donahue, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on one of his frequent visits to Cuba chumming it up with the Stalinist dictator who burglarized and murdered U.S. businessmen.
We’re all familiar with the caricature of villainous U.S. business barons as described by leftists–as described (especially!) by the likes of Bernie Sanders and his followers. To wit: a heartless, cigar-chomping Yankee businessmen in cahoots with a sleazy, swarthy, mustachioed banana-republic dictator whose bejeweled wife and daughters own ten thousand pair of shoes –these greedy billionaire sleazebags exploiting and brutalizing third-world peasants in the name of obscene corporate profits and the latest model Mercedez Benz…
Well, if any business venture on earth epitomizes that timeless cartoon it’s EVERY foreign business venture in Castro’s Cuba.
You see, amigos: when a foreign businessman sets up shop in the Castro Family Fiefdom the “employees” (slaves) are chosen and assigned to him by the Cuban regime. The foreign businessman then pays the wages –not to the employees—but to the Castro regime, which sets their wages and dictates the payment schedule. The Stalinist regime then dribbles about .8% of the total to the employees (slaves), pocketing the rest. As dreadful as they make life for their subjects, the Red Chinese and Red Vietnamese regimes dictate nothing of the sort when hosting western companies as business partners.
The lunacy of enabling terrorists officially now sanctioned by the Brazilian government. I suppose we can expect more of this.
The first one in our hemisphere, and designed to make a statement (emphasis added):
Built on a piece of land that is more than 17,000 square feet and donated by the Brazilian government when it was led by former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the space is considered large in comparison to other diplomatic missions. Topped with a golden dome, the building resembles the famous mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas laid the cornerstone for the building in 2011.
Lula donated a strategic location in his own country’s capital: There’s a security component,
The inauguration of the embassy comes as Brazil and Israel tussle over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nominee to fill the vacant Israeli envoy position.
The closeness of the new embassy to major Brazilian governmental buildings, including the Planalto Palace, Congress, Supreme Court and ministries, has been widely criticized due to security concerns.
“Diplomats and their vehicles cannot be checked. The embassy is a sovereign Hamas area now,” an unnamed military source told Brazil’s Veja magazine in an article published last year. “The site is strategic. Terrorists could access the whole governmental structure in a half an hour.”
For decades the Brazilian government has ignored Hezbollah’s activities in the Tr-Border Area. Now Hamas and the PA have a strategically-important spot in the middle of Brasilia.
What could possibly go wrong?
By Roger F. Noriega via American Enterprise Institute:
Time for US leadership in the Americas
In 2016, the United States has the opportunity to advance key US interests in the Americas—eclipsing the failed and fading legacy of the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, filling the void that China’s receding demand created, and backing a trend toward accountable policies. Predictably, President Barack Obama’s outreach to the Raúl Castro regime in Cuba has failed to produce the results that he hoped would leave a lasting legacy. However, he has one final year to make a meaningful contribution to democracy, the rule of law, and free-market economics in the Americas as a whole.
For nearly two decades, several countries have succumbed to a mix of authoritarian populism, statist economic policies, and unsustainable social spending—giving government such an overbearing role in national economies that it spurred corruption and undermined democracy. Regrettably, in the last decade, the United States failed to advance any alternatives to big-government strategies.
Meanwhile, regional antidrug cooperation that willing Andean neighbors forged with the United States 25 years ago has virtually disintegrated today. At first, leftist regimes in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela defied this US-led agenda. Eventually, several became complicit with narcocorruption—with little or no pushback from US policymakers. Now, Colombia’s government is gutting key antidrug policies in its rush to make peace with narcoguerrillas, but US diplomats have failed to counsel against making peace at any price. Transnational organized crime destabilizes a half-dozen countries, but the Obama administration plans to throw US tax dollars at the symptoms in Central America while neglecting the narcostate in Venezuela.
In a number of countries in recent months, elections and opinion polls suggest that people are seeking alternatives to statist formulas that have produced political repression, economic recession, or both. President Obama has the opportunity to salvage the final year of his mandate by empowering his diplomatic and economic team to demonstrate US leadership in key areas:
Show that the United States cares about its neighbors. Energize outreach to like-minded governments, civil society, and the private sector, and speak out on a host of practical and pressing issues—including fighting corruption in Central America, promoting political accountability and practical economic solutions in Haiti, and rallying solidarity with the region’s democrats, beginning in Venezuela and Cuba.
Lead with free-market solutions. The secretary of the treasury should form a regional working group of finance ministers to develop a prosperity agenda for aggregating and channeling private capital and international assistance to private-sector entrepreneurs, liberalizing internal markets, modernizing infrastructure, maximizing energy production, and tapping the benefits of international trade.
Help rescue Venezuela and support the new democratic majority. Call for an urgent meeting of foreign ministers at the Organization of American States under the Inter-American Democratic Charter to respond to the Nicolás Maduro regime’s attempts to deny the democratic opposition the National Assembly supermajority it won on December 6.
Put narcotraffickers and other transnational criminals on the defensive. Use executive authorities to sanction individuals (denying access to the US financial system and freezing assets) who play a disproportionate role in undermining democracy and the rule of law.
Promote principled peace in Colombia. Encourage the Colombian government to negotiate a tough, enforceable agreement with the guerrillas, such as Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC); fortify the agreement with a constitutional referendum; and restore effective extradition and coca-eradication programs if the FARC fails to cease drug-related crimes.
Support the right of the Cuban people to choose their own future. Reprioritize their human rights, democracy, and economic liberty in compliance with the bipartisan Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996. Challenge the Castro regime for meddling in Venezuelan affairs.
Filling the Vacuum of Responsible Leadership
President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry clearly come from a school of thought that sees Latin America and the Caribbean as a bundle of grievances against US interference. When, in November 2013 at the Organization of American States (OAS), Kerry declared, “The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over,” he might have admitted that the Obama administration’s policy is to leave the Americas alone, literally. Dutiful career US diplomats have fashioned a policy of benign reticence—self-conscious silence as leftist caudillos (strongmen) dismantled democratic institutions, muzzled independent media, and jailed political opponents; as unsustainable social programs and corruption smothered burgeoning economies; and as China muscled its way into a natural US market with mercantile tactics and predatory loans.
Minding these matters is the United States’ business.
It is a fallacy that Latin America regards any sort of engagement by Washington as unhealthy intervention. The truth is the United States can work with like-minded democrats to reenergize the Inter-American Democratic Charter—starting with reviewing the conditions of democracy, human rights, and the separation of powers in Venezuela. Luis Almagro, the new OAS secretary general, deserves the strong backing of the United States and other democratic governments, so the OAS can reassert its role in detecting and responding to threats to democracy and human rights.
There is dramatic evidence that people in many countries need and welcome their neighbors’ renewed solidarity. In Guatemala, a political neophyte, Jimmy Morales, was elected president in October with two-thirds of the popular vote. His election came after months of peaceful popular protests, which forced President Otto Pérez Molina (and his vice president) to resign in the face of corruption charges uncovered by a prosecutor backed up by a UN-sanctioned (and US-backed) international investigative team. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández has turned to the OAS for similar international assistance to ferret out corruption.
In Haiti, the United States and the international community cannot merely provide aid while ignoring the feudal economic system, nor should they pay for periodic elections and then neglect political dysfunction. Once the current electoral impasse is resolved, the United States and other donors must press Haiti’s new president and parliament to govern responsibly and eliminate the culture of cronyism and corruption. Haitian leaders, in government and business, should be challenged to take practical steps to modernize the economy from the bottom up, emphasizing private initiatives that create decent jobs and give people a stake in the future. This requires transparent policies that encourage domestic and international investment. As Haitians begin to identify responsible government with greater prosperity, their leaders can pursue the long-term goal of reforming the country’s political institutions to make them more accountable and relevant.
Poverty and insecurity in some Latin American and Caribbean countries are primarily caused by a lack of strong, accountable institutions that can foster economic development and provide for public security. For these valid reasons, the United States has been active for 80 years in promoting democracy and the rule of law in the Americas. In numerous countries in recent years—including Guatemala, Haiti, Argentina, and Brazil—people demonstrated their faith in these democratic solutions to the toughest problems. In each case, legislatures, courts, independent media, civil society, the rule of law, or free and fair elections have played indispensable, positive roles.
US foreign policy cannot be timid when these values and institutions are tested. Although some in the region complain about the appearance of US meddling, many have come to expect US solidarity with its neighbors in defense of shared principles.
Words fail.. ….QTmrUSffGKZddd,,,,Aaaaaaaaaay!
Silent prayer might do it. The prayer of quiet, in which one utters no words but simply opens oneself to the divine.
Unfortunately, only advanced mystics — holy people — get to that level. The prayer of quiet is a rare gift, normally unavailable to unholy slugs.
I don’t know what to say, really. A snowstorm allowed me to stay home and sleep late today, and I woke up to this piece of news.
To be honest, I’m feeling a lot like I did fourteen months ago when I cracked my skull in three places. Can’t think straight.
All that my brain can come up with is a disturbing image, a photo of King Raul and King Emeritus Fidel being embraced by a Pope and a Patriarch.
All efforts to reunite the Catholic and Orthodox churches have failed in the past, and the places where attempts were made are remembered as sad, sad locations.
So, why not hold such a historic meeting in Hell, the saddest place of all?
This is nearly apocalyptic. Maybe, maybe, maybe…. this is God’s way of punishing Cubans further….or of performing some astounding miracle…. it’s way too strange.
Punishment seems much more likely than some miracle. Has any other atheist mass-murdering tyrant in human history received such attention from The Vicar of Christ and other church leaders?
Holy ordure. This is beyond comprehension.
Punishment must be the reason. Purgation. Cleansing. Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
From The Washington Post
Pope and Russian Orthodox leader to hold historic encounter in Cuba
MOSCOW — Pope Francis and the leader of the powerful Russian Orthodox Church plan a historic meeting next week in Cuba, officials said Friday, marking the most significant steps ever attempted to heal a schism that has divided Christianity between East and West for nearly 1,000 years.
The meeting — the first between a pope and Russian patriarch — would culminate decades of overtures for closer dialogue. The churches have been formally estranged since the 11th century over issues such as papal authority and, more recently, by disputes over Roman Catholic reach into traditionally Orthodox regions.
The planned encounter next Friday between Francis and Patriarch Kirill I at Havana’s airport also highlights apparent moves toward greater solidarity amid current worries. Among them: pressures facing ancient Christian communities in the Middle East from militant groups such as the Islamic State.
Even the venue carries significance. Cuba, which once suppressed the Roman Catholic church as a Soviet client state, was picked because the legacy of Christian rifts remains too vivid in Europe, a Russian church official said.A full reconciliation would require major changes on both sides, but warmer ties sanctioned by the highest authorities would represent one of the biggest modern shifts in the world’s religious landscape.
The Russian Church is by far the largest and most influential in the Orthodox world, which is a patchwork of various churches and patriarchs.
At the planned meeting — scheduled for José Martí International Airport — the two leaders are expected to sign a joint declaration. The details, however, were not immediately disclosed.
Francis will fly to Cuba before traveling on to Mexico for a six-day tour of the country.
Patriarch Kirill is scheduled to arrive next Thursday in Havana for an 11-day tour of South America, which will also include stops in Paraguay, Chile, and Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil….
….Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, a senior Russian church leader, told reporters that the patriarch did not want to meet the pope in Europe because of its links “to the sad history of the division and conflicts between Christians.”
But the patriarch agreed to Cuba, he continued, because of conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere where “an authentic genocide of the Christian population by extremists requires immediate measures and closer cooperation between the Christian churches.”
Continue reading HERE (long article)
Report from 14yMedio via Translating Cuba:
People In Need Award Goes To Former Cuban Prisoners Of The Black Spring
Martha Beatriz Roque believes that work to defend human rights “is becoming more difficult for the internal opposition,” in Cuba. (14ymedio)
The Czech organization People in Need has given its Homo Homini Award for this year to the 11 former prisoners of the 2003 Black Spring who continue to live in Cuba, as confirmed to this newspaper by several of the laureates. The entity, focused on the defense of human rights, has recognized the work of those who have continued to exercise their peaceful activist for decades, despite the rigors of prison and political repression.
Last year the award celebrated two decades since its founding. The award is intended to honor individuals for their “dedication to the promotion of human rights, democracy and non-violent solutions to political conflicts.”
Among the honorees with distinction, is Cuban opposition member Felix Navarro who told 14ymedio that he was “very pleasantly surprised with the news” and dedicated the honor to all those who struggle “peacefully inside Cuba to produce the changes that will make Cubans free.” The activist went on to ask whether the Cuban government will allow the winners to travel to receive the award, given the travel restrictions they have endured since their release from prison.
The only woman in the so-called Group of 75, Martha Beatriz Roque, welcomed the recognition for her work “within the country to defend the cause of human rights.” The activist points out that this task “is becoming ever more difficult for the internal opposition” and agrees that it is likely that none of the 11 will be allowed to leave the country, so that “there will be an empty chair, with everything that’s going to mean.”
“Moral and political backing and support,” is how the dissident Angel Moya described the Homo Homini Award, adding that this is a recognition that extends “to all those within Cuba struggling to establish the rule of law”.
For the leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, Jose Daniel Ferrer, this is a good time to remember that “the first Cuban to receive it was Oswaldo Paya Sardinas in 1999.” At the time, Ferrer was an activist in the Christian Liberation Movement, who spread ” the news throughout the eastern part of the country.” He added, referring to Payá’s death, “It is now up to us and this award makes us very happy.”
Among the winners from previous years, as well as Oswaldo Paya, are Sapiyat Magomedova (Russia, 2013), Intigam Aliyev (Azerbaijan, 2012), Azimžan Askarov (Kyrgyzstan, 2010), Liu Xiaobo (China, 2008), Su Su Nway, Phyu Phyu Thin and Nilar Thein (Myanmar, 2007), Ales Bialiatski (Belarus, 2005) and Sergej Kovaljov (Russia, 1994), among others.
The NGO People in Need was founded in 1992 and is defined as a non-profit organization ” based on the ideas of humanism, freedom, equality and solidarity.” It has employees and volunteers both in the Czech Republic and in a dozen countries seeking to “provide assistance in regions of conflict and support the commitment to human rights throughout the world.”
The number of arrests keep climbing in Castrogonia.
And the gifts keep flowing into King Raul’s treasury.
From EFE via La Prensa
Cuban opposition group reports 1,414 political arrests in January
The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation on Thursday said that political repression continues to increase on the island, adding that there were at least 1,414 political arrests in January.
The opposition group, the only one to tally incidents of this kind in Cuba, said in its monthly report on political repression that the number of arrests in January was exceeded only last November, when there were 1,447.
The Commission, headed by Elizardo Sanchez, said that, besides the arrests, in January 56 peaceful opposition figures were the victims of physical attacks, three suffered acts of repudiation, there were 68 incidents of harassment and two of vandalism.
According to the Commission, these acts were orchestrated by State Security and other “repressive bodies and parapolice elements” in Cuba, where the government “has been exercising power in an authoritarian manner for 58 years.”
The government, the organization says, is resorting more frequently to prolonged arrests and temporary incarcerations without trial, and these can last for months, as a “policy designed to wear down the opposition members.”
“The number of prisoners is increasing without cessation and in the enormous prison system subhuman and degrading conditions of internment continue to prevail, at the same time that the government continues refusing to accept the cooperation of the International Red Cross and other international NGOs,” the Commission said.
Cuba’s Communist government dismisses most dissidents as “counterrevolutionaries” and “mercenaries.”
Remember that scene in the film “Chinatown,” in which Jack Nicolson slaps Faye Dunaway in the face repeatedly?
Nasty. Very nasty.
Well… keep that scene in mind, or watch it over and over HERE, for it seems that life is imitating art at the White House.
King Raul Castro keeps slapping Meeester Obama in the face furiously, over and over again.
The difference between Meeester Obama and Faye Dunaway’s character, is that Meeeester Obama seems to relish the slap fest and can’t get enough good slappin’ from King Raul.
So, as the normalization circus rolls along, this slapfest is quickly becoming one of its most unique acts.
What an act! King Raul keeps screaming “mersibocú” to Meeester Obama with every slap. (Merci beaucoup/thank you very much/ senkiuberimo’)….
From Capitol Hill Cubans:
Expelled Cuban Spy Led Delegation to U.S. Regional Security Conference
One of the Obama Administration’s latest diplomatic concessions was to invite the Castro regime to participate in an annual Caribbean regional security conference co-sponsored by the U.S. military’s Southern Command.
The conference was held from January 26-29th.
Never mind that the Castro regime refuses to return a stolen U.S. Hellfire missile with sensitive technology.
Instead, the Castro regime keeps adding insult to injury.
As the AP reported, “the Cuban delegation was led by Gustavo Machin Gomez, deputy director general of the U.S. department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
Machin Gomez is a Cuban spy who was declared persona non grata and expelled from the United States in 2002.
On April 14th, 2000, Machin was one of nearly two dozen Cuban “diplomats” that violently assaulted a small group of peaceful demonstrators outside the then-Cuban Interests Section (CUBINT) on 16th Street in Washington, D.C.
Machin was expelled from the U.S. in November 2002, pursuant to the Ana Belen Montes case. Montes, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official, was convicted in U.S. federal court for serving as a Cuban agent — the highest level spy ever caught at the Pentagon.
He would later become Cuba’s Ambassador to Pakistan, where he isbelieved to have targeted US counter-terrorism operations in the region.
Another slap in the face of the Obama Administration.
One French television program has exposed the full farce of King Raul’s dinner feast in Paris.
This is definitely worth watching. Follow the link above. Even if you don’t understand French, it’s worth watching. It’s a lot like looking through a microscope. You may not fully understand what’s being said, but the spectacle itself can be mesmerizing.
The video clips are saturated with sarcasm — Daily-Show-style.
At one point, you will get to see the host of the show poking fun at King Raul’s bodyguard (his grandson). You will also get to see Raul reading a menu while Grand Bouffon Hollande greets him, and you’ll also get to hear Raul say “mesibocú” (merci beaucoup)
At another point, a French journalist asks King Raul in Spanish: “When will Cubans be allowed to vote?”
That question led to another exchange, described below (picture above), in which some Castronoid tells that reporter that he deserves to be dead or in prison, and that if he had asked that question in Cuba that would have been his fate (in Cuba, you’d be in prison, you’d be dead!).
From No Pasarán:
Pro-Castro Frenchmen to Journalist (2 Videos): If You’d Behaved That Way in Cuba, “You Would Be in Prison, You Would Be Dead”
This is supposed to be an argument in favor of the Castro brothers and in favor of the Caribbean island’s socialist paradise model?!?!
Members of the rabidly pro-Castro ¡Cuba Si! association tell (warn) a reporter what the consequences would be in Cuba if journalists like him had behaved like his television show had:
“In Cuba… you would be dead!”
There are actually two stories here:
The first story goes as follows: As Raúl Castro pays a visit to France, Cuban state television showed a couple of Frenchmen expressing hearty welcomes to the líder maximo (or to the brother of the líder maximo).
“Bienvenue au président Raul Castro et qu’il revienne le plus souvent possible” (Welcome to president Raul Castro and may he return as soon as possible.)
Strangely enough, it turns out that the two men supposedly representative of the French people seemingly filmed in two widely different locations of Paris (intercut with images of the Champs-Élysées bedecked with Cuban flags, it seems to take place there) happened to be filmed on… opposing sidewalks of… the same street in the 15th arrondissement, 20 meters away from… the Cuban embassy!
(Sounds like Cuban state TV personnel would have no trouble finding work in the mainstream media of the United States and other countries in the West.)
The second story concerns a further report by Canal +, as Le Petit Journal found out (warning: shocker ahead) that the Frenchmen interviewed by Cuban TV turned out to be members of the pro-Castro ¡Cuba si! association.
The journalist proceeded to try to ask them some questions. An aging member of ¡Cuba Si! tells the cameraman of Le Petit Journal‘s Hugo Clément to cut the camera, after which the conversation continues as follows:
• Hugo Clément: We have freedom of the press in this country, Sir; we’re not in Cuba here!
• Moustache: Well, you’re lucky that we’re not in Cuba, you’re lucky!
• Hugo Clément: Otherwise, what would have happened?
• Fellow in the background: They would be in jail!
• Moustache: Don’t provoke, it’s not worth it. Don’t provoke!
• Hugo Clément: Well, you are threatening me, you said I was lucky. Otherwise, what would have happened?
• Fellow in the background: Pff, you would be dead, whaddya think!
Cuba’s press freedom ranking is the worst in the Americas. In this recent article, RSF noted:
The regime has an almost total monopoly on the circulation of news and information, using harsh laws and police harassment to gag independent and opposition media outlets. Cuban journalists who try to resist government control are subject to intimidation, threats, arbitrary arrest and the confiscation of their professional equipment.
“We urge François Hollande not to dodge the fundamental question of media freedom in Cuba during his talks with Raúl Castro,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America desk. “The Castro government’s many attacks on Cuban journalists are unacceptable. France must use this visit to advance the debate about media pluralism and the protection of journalists in Cuba.”
The progressive lifting of the US embargo and the resumption of diplomatic relations with the United States, symbolized by Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Havana in August, have not resulted in any sign of improvement in the lot of Cuba’s journalists.
In fact, harassment of the opposition media has intensified in recent months. Reporters who cover the weekly protest march by the “Damas de Blanco” on Sundays are systematically arrested and held for several hours before being freed.
When Pope Francis visited Cuba in September, the secret police told opposition journalists and bloggers they would be arrested if they did not stay at home until the pope left.
Freedom of information is extremely limited in Cuba, which is ranked lower in the index than any other country in the Americas. The government tolerates no independent press. Internet access is restricted and tightly controlled. The authorities continue to cite the US embargo as the reason for the low Internet penetration but the activation of Cuba’s ALBA-1 fibre-optic cable with Venezuela proves that it has more to do with a political desire to control the Internet. In addition to the lack of media pluralism, outspoken journalists and bloggers are still subjected to threats, smears, arrest and arbitrary detention.
Continue reading HERE.
Our wonderful friends at the New York Times have once again made sure that their readers get the correct message about Lateeen-ohs and the little box in which they all belong.
After the stunning Iowa victories of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio they immediately found someone to write an op-ed that would put that victory in its proper politically-correct perspective.
In other words, the NYT found someone who would do exactly what we here at Babalu predicted the liberal news media would do: that is, denigrate Cruz and Rubio and expose them as traitors to the Lateeeen-oh population in the U.S.
Journalist Sarah Rumpf noticed this leftist attempt to define the Lateeen-oh box, and mentions Babalu in her sharp-eyed critique of the NYT’s stealthy bigotry.
From Independent Journal:
NYTimes Writer Explains How Latinos Like Cruz And Rubio ‘Should Behave’ But He Forgets One Thing
A New York Times op-ed is revealing the hypocrisy of identity politics on the left with its dismissal of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio’s strong finishes in the Iowa caucuses.
Cruz and Rubio, who won first and third in the Iowa GOP caucuses, are both of Cuban-American descent and the children of immigrants. Babalú Blog, a Florida-based conservative Cuban blog celebrated the historic nature of Cruz and Rubio’s Iowa caucus results, noting that the two Cuban-American Senators “got more votes than anyone else (51%) in a state with very few Cubans.” Only 1,226 Iowans — “a mere .0004 percent of the state’s population” — reported Cuban identity on the 2010 U.S. Census.
“This means that in an age of extreme identity politics, something unusual is happening: Cruz and Rubio are attracting voters because of what they say and do rather than because of their ethnicity,” the blog wrote. “God bless America.”
But University of Southern California Professor Robert Suro, in an op-ed published Wednesday evening in the New York Times, doesn’t see the same reasons to celebrate. Suro wrote why he believes Cruz and Rubio’s Iowa victories failed to garner more headlines:
“The answer is not that complicated: Neither Mr. Cruz nor Mr. Rubio meets conventional expectations of how Latino politicians are supposed to behave.”
Suro continued: “Neither of these candidates claims to speak for the Hispanic population or derive a crucial portion of their support from Hispanics, and neither bases much of his political identity on being a Latino. To varying degrees they oppose legalization for unauthorized immigrants, a policy that is central to most organized Latino political interests and that is supported by a great majority of Latino elected officials and Latino voter[s].”
Rubio’s communications director Alex Conant dismissed the Times‘ op-ed as “silliness” and declined to comment further.
Suro’s op-ed reflects a long-running and troubling trend in the mainstream media, committing a very common sin among liberal commentators by assuming that the Democratic Party’s positions on immigration issues are equivalent to Latino-Americans’ positions.
Continue reading HERE
Dr. Jose Azel via Capitol Hill Cubans:
Cognitive Dissonance in Obama’s Cuba Policy
By Dr. Jose Azel of The University of Miami:
Sour Grapes in Foreign Policy
We get the expression “sour grapes” from Aesop’s fable “The Fox and the Grapes.” In the fable, a fox tries to eat some appetizing high-hanging grapes. When the fox is unable to reach the grapes he does not admit defeat, but rather rationalizes that the grapes are not ripe; thus sour grapes.
Psychologists often use this classic tale to illustrate the concept of cognitive dissonance. When heavily invested in a position and confronted with disconfirming evidence, we go to great lengths to justify our position as did the fox in Aesop’s fable. In short, our tendency is to deny discrepancies between our preexisting beliefs (cognition) and new information.
Cognitive dissonance theory examines our actions when we are confronted with information inconsistent with our prior beliefs. Scholars use this paradigm in international affairs to examine historical failures in leadership resulting in calamitous surprises. Examples are, the German invasion of France bypassing the Maginot line, the Japanese bombardment of Pearl Harbor, and the simultaneous attacks on Israel in the Yom Kippur War.
Cognitive dissonance is also evident in how the Obama administration has handled the stances of Iran and Cuba following major reconciliatory initiatives by the administration. The administration’s expectations have not been met. Yet, in an effort to reduce dissonance, officials downgrade discrepant information.
The Iranian firing of rockets within 1,500 feet of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, followed by the capture of two U.S. Navy patrol boats and their crew in the Persian Gulf is illustrative. The detention of the U.S sailors came just days before the release of billions in Iranian assets as part of the controversial nuclear deal reached with Tehran.
In violation of international protocols, a video from Iran’s news agency showed the U.S. sailors kneeling on deck, hands clasped behind their heads. The video contrasted sharply with statements from Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Secretary of State John Kerry and the White House. The official statements dealt with the cognitive dissonance of the situation by downgrading the discrepant information and focusing on the release of the crew, rather than on the humiliating context of the capture.
Following the December 17, 2014 announcement by President Obama of his initiative to normalize relations with Castro’s Cuba, the administration has made several unilateral concessions to the Castro regime before and after the reestablishment of diplomatic relations. At every step, the Cuban government has failed to respond in kind to the expectations of the Obama administration. In fact, General Raul Castro has repeatedly insisted that Cuba will not concede anything.
In its cognitive dissonance the administration, instead of reexamining their misconceptions, has sought to reduce dissonance and achieve consonance by doubling down on its losing bet. It has unilaterally proceeded with further giveaways to the regime.
Without even the slightest hint of a concession by Cuba, the administration has given to the Cuban government the license to export Havana Club rum to the U.S. contravening the legal decision that Bacardi Limited is the rightful owner of the license. It also announced new regulations that will benefit the Cuban government by easing restrictions on the financing of Cuba’s imports from the United States.
The announcement employs Orwellian language to discount the fact that Castro’s Cuba exerts totalitarian controls and that the new regulations will enrich, not small Cuban entrepreneurs, but the government’s monopolies. It disingenuously explains that, exports will be permitted to state-owned enterprises if the products meet “the needs of the Cuban people.” An honest approach would be for the administration to acknowledge its misjudgment. The grapes of the Castro regime are not ripe for democratic values.
In Castrogonia, misery begins at birth and follows you to the grave.
Since the government controls everything, including funerals, what else could be expected?
The article below highlights some of the painful problems caused by the Castro regime’s absolute power over funerals and burials.
Some of these details are also depicted in the 1995 film “Guantanamera,” which is one of the subtlest, most honest critiques of the so-called Revolution ever to be allowed by the Castro regime. And it’s also very funny.
The plot of the film is based on an old Spanish joke:
“Si me muero en Vigo entierrenme en Barcelona, y si me muero en Barcelona entierrenme en Vigo (If I die in Vigo, bury me in Barcelona, and if I die in Barcelona, bury me in Vigo — at opposite ends of Iberia)
“Pero porque?” (Why?)
“Pa’ joder, pa’ joder a todos…” (To screw everyone…)
The entire film can be viewed HERE (Spanish, no subtitles).
Collapsing Coffins Mar Cuba’s Funerals
As deacon at a Cuban cemetery, Miguel Pons has the difficult task of consoling the bereaved — and calming their anger when the coffins break.
Besides officiating the funeral services at his chapel in Havana’s picturesque Christopher Columbus graveyard, the 61-year-old often has to help shoulder the casket to stop it coming apart with the deceased inside.
Made of weak, green wood and lacking handles, the coffins are a poignant indication of how Cuba’s public funeral service has never recovered from decades of mistrust between the Church and the communist government.
People are fed up.
“I sometimes have to go out and hold the service in the street because the driver tells me, ‘Father, we can’t get the casket out. The corpse is very heavy and I’m afraid the bottom’s going to fall through,'” Pons said.In Cuba, funerals are provided exclusively, and practically free of charge, by the state. But with a lack of investment and decent coffin wood, it is a scrappy business.
Families who come to bury their loved ones lament that the coffins lack nails or are draped in threadbare cloth, Pons said.
Sometimes, the glass window in the casket comes loose and drops onto the corpse.
“People complain to me. They say, ‘Father, look at this!'” Pons said. “And I say to them, ‘I know it is very painful. But what can we do?'”…
…Except for the lucky few that have a family plot, bodies are buried in common graves, stacked up with strangers.
After two years, the decomposed remains are dug up and relatives are allowed to take away the bones, to keep them in an urn or store them in an ossuary.
“When you exhume the person, you take them away in your box. Then at last they have privacy,” said Pons.
Continue reading HERE.
Newsweek via The Real Cuba:
The Obama administration has been easing restrictions on travel, exports and export financing. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker spoke of “building a more open and mutually beneficial relationship.”
However, the administration expressed concern over Havana’s dismal human rights practices. Despite the warm reception given Pope Francis last fall, the Castro regime has been on the attack against Cubans of faith.
In a new report, the group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) warned of “an unprecedented crackdown on churches across the denominational spectrum,” which has “fueled a spike in reported violations of freedom of religion or belief.” There were 220 specific violations of religious liberties in 2014, but there were 2,300 last year, many of which “involved entire churches or, in the cases of arrests, dozens of victims.”
Even in the best of times, the Castros have never been friends of faith in anything other than themselves. The State Department’s 2014 report on religious liberty noted that “the government harassed outspoken religious leaders and their followers, including reports of beating, threats, detentions and restrictions on travel. Religious leaders reported the government tightened controls on financial resources.”
Last year, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom was similarly critical. The commission explained: “Serious religious freedom violations continue in Cuba, despite improvements for government-approved religious groups.”
Never mind the papal visit, “the government continues to detain and harass religious leaders and laity, interfere in religious groups’ internal affairs, and prevent democracy and human rights activists from participating in religious activities.”
Now CSW has issued its own report. Last year’s increase in persecution “was largely due to the government declaring 2,000 Assemblies of God churches illegal, ordering the closure or demolition of 100 AoG churches in three provinces, and expropriating the properties of a number of other denominations, including the Methodist and Baptist Conventions.”
This wide-ranging campaign was led by the Office of Religious Affairs. Noted CSW: “In 2015, the ORA continued to deny authorization for a number of religious activities and in cooperation with other government agencies, issued fines and threats of confiscation to dozens of churches and religious organizations.”
Through the ORA the Communist Party exercises control over religious activities. Indeed, reported CSW, the office “exists solely to monitor, hinder and restrict the activities of religious groups.”
The regime also has increasingly targeted church leaders and congregants, for the first time in years jailing one of the former. In early January, two churches were destroyed, church members arrested and three church leaders held incommunicado. One of the government’s more odious practices, according to CSW, has been to threaten churches with closure if they “do not comply with government demands to expel and shun specific individuals.”
The regime’s destructive activities have been justified as enforcing zoning laws. But in practice the measure is a subterfuge to shut down churches.
Other legislation threatens house churches. While not consistently implemented in the past, “church leaders have repeatedly expressed concern at its potential to close down a large percentage of house churches.”
CSW concluded that the ongoing crackdown was an attempt to limit calls for social reform which would complement ongoing, though limited, economic changes. Detentions initially were concentrated on “Cubans considered by the government to be political dissidents,” including a group of Catholic women called the Ladies in White. The regime crackdown later “expanded to include other individuals associated with independent civil society, including human rights and democracy activists.”
The Obama administration was right to engage Cuba. After more than 50 years, the embargo serves no useful purpose.
However, even lifting all economic restrictions won’t turn Cuba into a democracy. Only sustained pressure from within and without Cuba is likely to force the Castro regime to yield control to the Cuban people.
As I wrote in Forbes: “Americans should forthrightly encourage freedom in Cuba. Religious believers should be particularly vocal in supporting people seeking to live out their faith under Communist oppression. Some day autocracy will give way to liberty even in Cuba.”
Continue reading HERE.
Both these Republican Presidential candidates have pledged to walk-back Obama’s gutting of the Sanctions-Against-the-Castro-Family-Crime-and Terror-Sponsoring-Syndicate (euphemized by the media as “Cuba Embargo.”)
In light of the info above both of these Stalinists are currently sh*tting bricks (estan cag*dos!)
For the benefit of our many and valued amigos who lead perfectly normal, happy and fulfilled lives outside the tiny Cuban-American informational ghetto:
You see, amigos: Since taking office in 2009 Obama’s executive orders have opened up what amounts to the Castro-Family-Crime-Syndicate’s (euphemized as “Cuba” by the media) economic lifeline.
“Thanks, AMIGO!–WHEEEW! That was close!”
In fact, amigos: the annual cash flow from the U.S. to Cuba over the past 7 years exceed what the Soviets used to send annually to the Castro-Family-Crime Syndicate at the height of their sponsorship in the 1970’s and 80’s. This is no chump change–and much of it is at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.
In fact, amigos: some estimates put this Obama-facilitated $dollar lifeline (much of it at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer) as more vital to the Castro-Family-Crime-Syndicate than the cash-flow from their Venezuelan colony, which will probably be drying up–or shrinking–very shortly.
Remesas Totales refers to cash remittances to Cuba from Cubans living outside the captive island. The overwhelming majority of these remittances issue from the U.S. Obama’s executive orders made this lifeline possible (did I mention that much of it at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer?)
Ventas de Turismo refers to tourism, a tidal wave of it from the U.S. over the past few years though it’s not technically called tourism. Pursuant to Obama’s executive orders it’s called “people-to people” travel. But it amounts to the identical thing Canadians and Brits do in Cuba–speaking of which: here’s Margaret Thatcher’s daughter Carol in Havana, posing in front of “Revolutionary Hero!” (her words) Che Guevara.
As mentioned both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are pledged cut off this Obama-faciliated dollar lifeline to the Castros–and as you probably know one of them will probably be the Republican presidential candidate. And as you probably know, Hillary Clinton is in deep legal trouble….hence this post’s title.