Bush gives the Medal of Freedom to Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, a Cuban hero

Elliott Abrams at the Council on Foreign Relations Pressure Points blog:

Bush Gives the Medal of Freedom to a Cuban Hero

Bush-Awards-Medal-to-Biscet-June-2016

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

The 2007 citation read as follows:

Oscar Elias Biscet has dedicated his life to advancing human rights and democracy in Cuba. A medical doctor, he has been persecuted for his peaceful calls for a free Cuba. A former prisoner of conscience, he remains a powerful advocate for a Cuba in which the rights of all people are respected. Freedom-loving people everywhere are his brothers and sisters, and his sacrifices benefit all mankind. The United States stands with Oscar Elias Biscet in his heroic struggle against tyranny, salutes him for his courage, and honors him for his devotion to freedom and human rights.

Biscet could not receive the award because he was in one of Castro’s prisons. But this week he was able to travel to Dallas, where former President Bush gave him the award.

Here’s some of what Bush said:

Laura and I welcome you, we thank you. This is an extraordinary event, one that should lift the soul of every American.

In 2007, I awarded the Medal of Freedom to Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet. I did so because of his courage and devotion to freedom. He couldn’t be with us then because he was in a prison cell, locked away for daring to criticize Cuba’s communist regime and for demanding respect for the fundamental rights of the Cuban people. For the past several years, Oscar has entrusted his Medal of Freedom to the Bush Institute’s Freedom Collection….

There’s still a long road ahead before Cuba’s freedom is realized, but at long last, Oscar has finally been released from prison and allowed to leave the island. So, we welcome you, Oscar. We’ve been waiting for you and we are thrilled you’re here.

I want to read a few words from my speech in the East Room when we announced your Medal of Freedom. Here is part of what I said:

“Oscar Biscet is a healer — known to 11 million Cubans as a physician, a community organizer, and an advocate for human rights. For decades, he has told the world what he has seen in Cuba: the arrogance of a one-party state; the suppression of political dissent; the coercion of expectant mothers. For speaking the truth Dr. Biscet has endured repeated harassment, beatings, and detentions. The international community agrees that Dr. Biscet’s imprisonment is unjust, yet the regime has refused every call for his release.

“To the Cuban dictatorship, Dr. Biscet is a ‘dangerous man.’ He is dangerous in the same way that Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi were dangerous. He is a man of peace, a man of truth, and a man of faith. In captivity, he has continued to embody courage and dignity. His example is a rebuke to the tyrants and secret police of a regime whose day is passing.

Continue reading HERE.

Corrupt Catholic Church in Cuba continues to praise and defend Castro regime

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

More of the same, more of the same, more of the same.

Oui, monsieur, oui madame, oui mademoiselle, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. 

Cardinal Ortega’s successor praised his collaboration with the criminal Castro regime and proudly announced that he would do his utmost to keep the Cuban Catholic Church subservient to the Castro regime.

The prince of the Catholic Church in Cuba was very clear about his political and economic philosophy: he said he doesn’t want “capitalism, or anything like that” in Cuba.

Of course, some of his statements were carefully disguised.  Rather than praising the Castro dictatorship openly, he simply praised ‘”socialism” as “just, balanced, and brotherly.”

One must therefore assume that the archbishop must think of capitalism as unjust, selfish, and unbalanced.

Sacre merde

Good Lord.  Sacre merde.  

Talk about whitened sepulchers!  Time to meditate on a gospel passage…

As Jesus said to the religious leaders of his own day (Matthew 23:27): “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.”

Jesus H. straight-talking Christ.   Jesus Christ, Lord God crucified, grant us patience.  Jesus Christ, whip-wielding savior, cleanse our temple.

Caravaggio, Christ cleansing the Temple

Apparently the archbishop disagrees with the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891), which defends private property and capitalism and condemns socialism as being “against justice.”

Yes.  Thank you, pope Leo XIII:

“Socialists, therefore, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life. What is of far greater moment, however, is the fact that the remedy they propose is manifestly against justice.”

socialist justice & brotherly love

From 14yMedio:

Archbishop of Havana condemns capitalism, says he wants more socialism for Cuba.

The new archbishop of Havana, Juan de la Caridad García, said in an interview with the Associated Press that he does not want Cuba to have “any capitalism, or anything like that,” adding that he “wants socialism to make progress and move forward in a just and balanced and brotherly society.”

The archbishop defended the work of his predecessor, Cardinal Jaime Ortega. “I think that the cardinal did a lot of good,” he said.  “In some places people have too negative a view of him, but that is a false image.  I will continue what he began.”

Continue reading HERE (in Spanish)

For Fox Lateeeeen-oh’s take on this story, go HERE.

well-balanced, brotherly socialist justice

Happy Birthday, Babalu!

babalu The first post on this blog was published thirteen years ago today. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. I had no idea where this blog was going back then, if it was going anywhere at all. I certainly could not have imagined it still being around all this time.

Thirteen years. Lots of water under lots of bridges.

I applaud all of you loyal readers who have stayed the course with us through the years. We have been through some interesting times indeed. Some laughs, some tears. Lots of heartbreak. I like to think Babalu has made a difference. I’m sure it has. At the very least the archives of this blog serve a a reservoir of truth about the Cuban reality.

I know I haven’t been around much the past couple of years. The death of my parents, arguably the patriarchs of this blog, affected me greatly and I have lacked the focus I believe is needed to stay in this Cuba fray full throttle. Babalu has been in good hands tho. Great hands. Alberto de la Cruz has done a much better job than I could have. He has toiled over this baby day in and day out. Out here on the front lines of this cyber counterrevolution despite all the frustrations, anger, heartbreak and gamut of emotions that Cuba elicits. Every day. I am beyond proud to call him my brother.

And the rest of our Babalu battalion: Dr. Carlos Eire; Humberto Fontova; Henry Gomez; Silvio Canto Jr.; and Ziva Sahl: I am in awe of your dedication. Of your love for that island shaped like a crocodile. Of your commitment to the truth. Your devotion to what is right and just. You all are an inspiration. Patriots in every sense of the word. I hope you know just what incredible examples you are of the true Cuban heart and soul.

Babalu can boast of a few accomplishments, too. We have opened some minds to the reality of Cuba and tyranny and communism. We ran the first internet Cuban human rights awareness campaigns. We have spoken at human rights conferences. We have joined in solidarity with our brothers and sisters from Venezuela and Iran and other countries whose people suffer under the yoke of oppression. We have had an audience with the President of the United States. We have been not only Cuban patriots, but proud American patriots as we have not only been thankful for being afforded the American dream, we have been good and dutiful citizens. We have, always, supported our men and women in the Armed Forces whose sacrifices and dedication and perseverance protect this freedom whose fragility is more than apparent through the prism of Cuba.

There have been many, many tears. We have mourned the deaths of Cuban freedom fighters like Laura Pollan, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Oswaldo Paya and many others. We have languished, year after year, over our Cuban brothers and sisters in castro’s gulags. Over being beaten mercilessly for wanting something so simple as to have a say in their lives. To be able to speak without hypocrisy, to choose what is best for them, for their families, for their country. To live as free men and women.

Back on this day in 2003, things we a bit clearer. The lines were not as blurred as they are today. In 2003, we had a sitting President who understood the anguish at the lack of freedom in Cuba. Who took a stand, however unpopular in the eyes of those who stood to benefit from another, because it was right and just and true. Today we have a sitting President who murmurs feigned concern over oppression, only to then consort and collude with the oppressor. And we have a media whose arrogance and willful blindness has escalated. Fostering and promoting a false narrative like never before.

That’s why today, every word posted on this blog fills me with pride. There is dignity and honor in fighting for what is right and just and true.

Every single word ever published and every word yet to be published on Babalu stem from that spot in our hearts and in our souls called hope.

Only oppression should fear the full exercise of freedom.

Jose Marti

Hope and Change in Obama’s Cuba: Castro State Security seizing ‘counterrevolutionary’ literature at airports

More than a year after President Obama announced his new Cuba policy to “empower” the Cuban people by effectively surrendering to the apartheid Castro regime and showering the dictatorship with unrequited love, Cubans on the island are still waiting to see the benefits. What they have seen since Obama’s policy change, however, is a significant increase in violent repression, skyrocketing political arrests, and as we see below, ongoing zero tolerance for any materials that challenge the oppressive status quo on the island. There’s your “Hope and Change.”

¡Gracias, Obama!

Sabrina Martin in PanAm Post:

Cuban Communists Seize “Counter-Revolutionary” Literature at Customs

Castro Regime’s “Openness” to the World Includes Censuring Non-Communist Ideas

cuba customs airport

Customs authorities have reportedly doubled efforts to fight drug trafficking and the smuggling of “counterrevolutionary” literature to the island.

Through May, customs agents captured six kilograms of cocaine, seven kilograms of marijuana and stopped a total of 41 attempts to smuggle narcotics. Thirty-one of these were for personal use and 10 looked to be for traffic.

The border agency also said it neutralized over 800 infractions in security lines, mentioning among the infractions the entry to the country of “literature with subversive content directed to counterrevolution”.

According to Cuban press, the deputy Director of the Republic’s General Customs (AGRC), Moraima Rodríguez, pointed out the attempts were neutralized, thanks to the skill of personel in the terminals and high tech equipment, like x rays and the advance information for risk detection technique.

Infractions included attempts to introduce devices, satellite equipment, weapons, brass knuckles, bow with arrows, rifles and handguns to the country, among other things.

“After a raise in the flow of international travelers, freight and the rise of containers in international transit, customs has created the necessary conditions for direct communication of information exchange and operational cooperation in real time with other countries,” officials said.

Sources: Cibercuba

Berta Soler re-arrested today, warns: Castro regime will soon start to kill dissidents

Berta Soler

From Diario de Cuba:

Berta Soler and her husband Angel Moya were arrested again this morning — less than 24 hours after being arrested on Sunday.

In an act of defiance, she and her husband broke camera equipment they themselves had mounted on the second story of the Ladies in White headquarters and then tossed them out onto the street, to prevent State Security from stealing the equipment intact.

The cameras were there to record the repressive actions of Castro State Security agents.

Yesterday, State Security made an attempt to remove that equipment, so their actions could not be recorded.

Soler and Moya, said they’d rather smash their own equipment than have it stolen intact by State Security.

“Preferimos, antes de que se lleven los equipos, que es lo que vienen a robarse, se los lleven rotos”.  (We prefer that they take this equipment away broken, because that’s what they are trying to steal anyway).

Whole story HERE, in Spanish

In additioin, Berta Soler has made a chilling prediction.  Sent via email:

Press Release from The Cuban Democratic Directorate “Directorio”

“There will be a fatality here (Cuba) at any moment, as a result of the repressive violence of the Castro regime.”

A prophetic warning from Havana, Cuba, by Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White

 

“There will be a fatality here (Cuba) at any moment as a result of the repressive violence of the Castro Regime” denounced  today Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White referring to the brazen manner in which the State Security political police  is increasing the intensity of violence against the Ladies in White, the “Todos Marchamos” campaign participants, street merchants, in essence,  any Cuban who dares to proclaim a desire for real change in Cuba.

For 59 consecutive Sundays members of  the Ladies in White, Todos Marchamos,  have suffered numerous broken bones, cuts and bruises, concussions, injections of unknown substances, threats of infections, savage bites and other vial acts committed by State Security political police. These acts have been further exacerbated by a continuous pattern of being re-arrested and verbally taunted with threats of being made to “disappear”– threats that are taken very seriously given the history of Cuban resistance leaders that have met with mysterious deaths.

This past Sunday a large operation was mounted by State Security all for the purpose of removing a camera placed on the second floor of the house which serves as headquarters for the Ladies in White. This camera was a means to offer a “connection” to the peaceful demonstrators with the rest of the world. This action is an indication that the regime is gearing up for additional measures which they do not want to risk being documented.

“The regime does not want to liberate political prisoners and is intensifying the violent campaign against TodosMarchamos. The regime will continue repeatedly and brutally arresting us, but we will continue to demand our right to peacefully demonstrate. The regime would like to erase us, however, we will continue with our mission. The Ladies in White was founded to support political prisoners and we will not stop”, stated Berta Soler to the Cuban Democratic Directorate in a telephone interview today.

“The Cuban Democratic Directorate “Directorio” implores the international community to be mindful of the imminent danger faced by Cuban human rights activists, reiterated by Berta Soler’s prophetic warning. We have lost too many Cuban lives during the past six decades, let the Castro Regime know that the world is watching,” said Dr. Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat, co-founder and spokesperson of the Cuban Democratic Directorate.

Video of the Day – A tour of Havana, Cuba, one of the new 7 wonders of the world

havana cuba
You will find the real “wonders” of Havana right behind this beautiful fa?ade.

After a Swiss foundation named Havana, Cuba as one of the new 7 wonders of the world, there are many of you out there who would like to see just how wonderful Havana truly is. Well, here is a video tour just for you that takes you behind the scenes to see the real wonders of Havana:

Reports from Cuba: Total addiction to power

By Fernando Damaso in Translating Cuba:

Total Addiction to Power

clown

Some years ago the Latin American left abandoned the guerrilla struggle as the main way to gain power, choosing to use, instead, the existing democratic institutions and mechanisms in their respective countries.

The problem presents itself when, through these same institutions and mechanisms, they must leave power. Then we see the machinations begin, the changing of constitutions, the setting aside of democratic institutions, abuses of power and other aberrations of a totalitarian character. The examples are endless.

In Argentina, since the opposition with Macri at the helm won the elections, former president Cristina Fernandez and her adepts have tried every possible way to make it difficult for them to exercise power.

In Venezuela, when the Chavistas lost their majority in the National Assembly, they started and still continue a process of disavowing the work of the Assembly, even going to the extreme of creating an unconstitutional monstrosity they call “the Congress of the Country,” which includes ignoring the call for a mid-term referendum.

The Chavistas are violating all democratic laws, documents and regulations, and continue to protest and even receive support from their external minions when they make a call to order.

In Bolivia, the self-styled “first indigenous president” tries to hold another referendum, ignoring the results of the previous one, so that he can be re-elected in perpetuity.

In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega is again nominated for president for the November elections.

In Brazil, the offensive against the government that replaced Dilma Rousseff has not ceased and now, as it that weren’t enough, former president Lula de Silva reappears, wanting to present himself as a candidate for president in 2018.

The left, when it gets a taste of “the honey of power,” becomes totally addicted. They must be urged to find an effective treatment to avoid this.

Human rights organization blasts Castro regime’s repression, calls for increased pressure from international community

 

People in Need — a Czech human rights organization–  has just issued a scathing report on the Castro regime’s repressive policies.

A significant part of the information in this report was obtained over the course of numerous trips to Cuba in 2015 during which People in Need’s representatives spent collectively more than 180 days on the island and visited over 200 activists in every Cuban province.

It’s a detailed report that should be required reading for every tourist or government official who travels to Castrogonia.

Here is People in Need’s list of the ten most basic human rights denied to Cubans:

1. Earning a just salary

2. Accessing the internet

3. Having a free press

4. Starting their own businesses

5. Organizing freely

6. Going on strike

7. Traveling freely

8. Staging peaceful public protests

9. Being assured a fair trial

10. Voting freely in multi-party elections

Dissident Antonio Rodiles

People in Need’s report begins with the following statement:

Despite the recent acceleration of the process of political and economic opening that Cuba has undertaken since Raul Castro’s accession to the presidency in 2006, there has been no substantial improvement in regard to human rights and individual freedoms on the island. Over the last few years, Cuban authorities have constantly restricted the political and civil liberties of Cuban citizens using a range of repressive strategies, while also failing to guarantee the protection of fundamental rights as stipulated in international treaties previously signed by the Cuban government. This is being done to maintain the existing political system and to keep the Communist Party of Cuba and the Revolutionary Armed Forces in power. Even though the government has made some concessions aimed at gradually liberalizing the economy that have been welcomed by the international community and tempered the pent up frustrations of the impoverished Cubans, it has also been actively silencing dissidents and the opposition.

 

People in Need also suggests that the following simple rules be observed by the so-called free world:

For the International Community:

  • Insist on the same level of protection of human rights as is required from other Latin American countries
  • Meet with representatives from civil society during official visits to the country
  • Insist on ending all forms of repression directed towards civil society

For International Media

  • Before publishing any information released by the Cuban government, consult with members of the independent civil society
  • Open the door to Cuban journalists (both official and independent) and provide training to them

Read the whole lengthy and detailed report HERE.

After years of defending Cuba’s puppet dictatorship in Venezuela, the New York Times finally apologizes

Luis Ball in PanAm Post:

New York Times Apology: As a Venezuelan I Accept It — about Time!

Can We Forgive Years of Misreporting about Venezuela’s Authoritarian Leaders?

Marcha_hacia_el_Palacio_de_Justicia_de_Maracaibo_-_Venezuela_06-1024x683

Since 1999, the New York Times’s reporters and editors consistently reported on Venezuela as if the country’s poor were neglected until a heroic and always well-intentioned Hugo Chávez arrived on the scene.

They ignored the fact that, since 1958, Venezuela’s democratically elected leaders were all either social democrats or Christian socialists. Parties of the right never even came close to winning national elections. Healthcare and public education, including universities, have been universally available and free since 1936.

Anyone with knowledge of Latin America or who visited the country in 1980 would have noticed that public health was not only available to everyone but also as good as the best private healthcare found in the rest of the continent.

Yet, reading NYT’s coverage of Venezuela over the last 17 years, one finds nothing but praise for Hugo Chávez and his “unprecedented” social programs.

President Carlos Andrés Pérez, whom Hugo Chavez, and the NYT contributor Nicolás Maduro, tried to overthrow in a bloody coup in 1992, was the darling of the “progressive world” for two decades. Mr. Pérez, who re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1974, nationalized foreign and domestic oil and mining companies.

Beginning with his administration, foreign investment was not allowed in telecommunications, food distribution or banking, among many other fields. Billions were spent on creating giant state-owned steel and aluminum companies and oil production was curtailed because oil riches “corrupted the values of the Venezuelan citizen.”

These same policies were not only continued but were deepened by the administrations that followed. All presidents before Hugo Chávez belonged to parties with membership in the International Socialist Movement.

Over the past 40 years, private companies in Venezuela were free to set the prices for the goods they sold without prior government approval for only three years (1991-1994).

For years, however, NYT reporters and editors conveyed the impression that Venezuela was a capitalist economy prior to Hugo Chávez’s wonderful socialist paradise. The poor, they claimed, were never better off.

Human Rights Watch, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC), the U.S. State Department, and the European Parliament made many pronouncements regarding the total loss of judicial independence in Venezuela.

During the last two presidential elections, the European Union refused to send observers, stating clearly that the Venezuelan government would not provide an adequate environment for the experts to do their jobs.

Yet the NYT and its editors kept making references to Mr. Maduro’s legitimate election as Venezuela’s leader in 2013.

Finding evidence of Cuban involvement within the Venezuelan administration is rather easy. Spain’s most prominent newspaper, El País, ran an extensive series of very well documented articles on that very subject.

Any Venezuelan lawyer can provide ample evidence of rules, laws and treaties now in force that allow Cuban police officers and other security personnel to carry weapons in Venezuela and even make arrests inside Venezuela.

Copies of contracts given to Cuban government companies for the automation of Venezuela’s national ID and passport systems, its property and commercial registry and all notaries, are easy to obtain for anyone who tries.

But as late as 2014, the NYT reported from Caracas that the opposition leaders “offer little hard evidence to back their suspicions” of Cuban involvement.

Continue reading HERE.

Which Americans are welcomed in Obama’s Cuba and which are not?

You may be asking yourself: Which Americans are welcomed in Obama’s Cuba and which are not? Well, it depends.

If you are a celebrity traveling to Cuba to support and promote the brutally repressive apartheid Castro dictatorship, then you have the green light to come on over. On the other hand, if your visit may reflect badly on the regime and expose it for the repressive, corrupt, and terrorist sponsoring entity that it is, then you simply are not allowed in.

This graphic from Capitol Hill Cubans gives a perfect illustration:

cuba visas obama

Dozens of peaceful dissidents violently arrested in Cuba as U.S.-backed Castro regime carries out another Sunday of repression

While Shaquille O’Neal was enjoying his visit to apartheid Cuba yesterday as the White House “envoy of sports,” dozens of Ladies in White and peaceful human rights activists were brutally arrested by the U.S.-backed Castro dictatorship in yet another Sunday of violent repression. Obama’s Cuba may be wonderful for American tourists, but it is proving to be quite treacherous for Cubans.

Martí Noticias has the report (my translation):

Ladies in White arrested and reporter filming repression is attacked

The reporter described the actions of the people in the street attacking the activists as “very violent.”

todosmarchamos 6-26-2016

A group of 16 Ladies in White and 5 human rights activists were arrested this Sunday in Havana’s Lawton neighborhood. An independent journalist was also attacked as he filmed the repression.

Carlos Manuel Figueroa, a Cubanet reporter, told Martí Noticias that he was attacked by a group of people carrying out an “act of repudiation” against the participants of the Todos Marchamos (We all march) campaign.

“I had climbed up on the porch fence and was filming the repression when a young man hit me in the stomach with a club and then ran away,” said Figueroa.

The reporter described the actions of the people on the street as “very violent” and said “they were also throwing rocks at the house and screaming obscenities with no regard for the women that were there.”

“Many violations were committed today because they even climbed up on the eave of the roof to reach a video camera installed inside the house that was filming the scene in the street through a window,” he said.

According to Figueroa, “the theft” of the camera installed in the window was to stop the filming of the attacks against activists.

Luisa Ramona Toscano, a Lady in White who remains behind at the house to watch over it when the other ladies go march said that “they beat them and handcuffed them” before they were transported to a bus.

Furthermore, they received reports that another 11 Ladies in White and two male activists were also arrested when they tried to attend church services at Santa Rita church.

Before being arrested, Berta Soler, the representative for the Ladies in White Movement, told Martí Noticias that “the surveillance of the headquarters beginning at dawn has now become commonplace.”

She added that they had received reports of arbitrary detentions of twelve women from the Palma Soriano municipality in Santiago de Cuba for a “short period” to prevent them from attending church services.

Before being arrested as well, former political prisoner and Soler’s husband, Angel Moya, published photos on social media showing what was happening around the headquarters.

vigilancia lawton 6-26-2016

“They have surveillance cameras set up to watch the headquarters and since early this morning they have placed cars, police cruisers, and the bus they use to transport those they arrest when we come out to carry out Todos Marchamos,” Moya told Martí Noticias.

This Sunday’s attacks make 59 incidents of repression against the participants of the Todos Marchamos campaign.

This past June 19th, the Ladies in White suffered repression upon leaving the opposition movement’s headquarters in Havana. On his YouTube channel, Moya is documenting what takes place every Sunday when the activists come out to march.

Hear the reports and see the attacks against peaceful human rights activists in Cuba HERE.

Noisy protest over Dish Network and Cubamax TV

It took a while but folks finally took notice of Dish Network’s foray into broadcasting Cuban propaganda in the U.S.

While I personally find these tactics distasteful and counterproductive I also find them understandable. Nobody seems to give voice to the concerns of the historical Cuban exile community anymore.

A better approach is to tell Dish Network directly how feel, like what this commenter on Dish Latino’s Facebook page said:

Jose Valeradiaz – I’m sorry but the only thing I miss from Cuba are my people. Not the old cars, or trash piled up on the corners, or the stool pigeon neighborhood spies from the CDRs or the “Round Table” or the houses in ruins, or the Castroite dictators and much less Cuban TV but there are enough channels and technology here so as to not watch it or block it.

Cuban bakery in Miami wins war against Starbucks over Cuban coffee

pincrest bakery south miami

Cuban bakery Pinecrest Bakery knew or should have known they would have an issue serving any type of coffee when they rented space in a South Miami strip mall that also houses a Starbucks. Nevertheless, the residents of South Miami would not be denied their cafecito and a social media war ensued.

Via Miami New Times:

Miami Coffee Lovers Stopped Starbucks From Bullying Pinecrest Bakery

Don’t screw around with a Miamian’s right to enjoy a cup of café cubano, or you’re likely to find yourself in hot coffee.

That’s the message loyal customers of Pinecrest Bakery had for the Starbucks on 6603 S. Dixie Hwy. when the South Miami location of Pinecrest Bakery, a small Cuban pastry chain, posted a sign stating it would no longer serve coffee because the Starbucks that shares the same strip mall was prohibiting it from selling its café cubano. The debacle began at the end of May. The bakery’s lease prohibits it from selling espresso drinks so as not to compete with the Seattle-based java giant.

The poster stated, “Starbucks says no coffee for Pinecrest Bakery,” which amounts to “not even 10% gross for us.” The sign also invited patrons to comment on the Starbucks Facebook page. Dozens of angry (and hilarious) comments were posted on the page. One review states:

“What a shameful act!!! You dicks are just an example of a corporation that tries to steal a cultures essence and try and repackage it as part of something you own. Think about that next time you try and rape a culture, to claim something as your your own that has been part of our culture (implied in the name) is disgusting. Where was Starbucks during the Revolutions in Cuba? Where was Starbucks during the Bay of Pigs? Where was Starbucks during the Mariel boat lift? Where were you dicks when my family had to leave their home land and rebuild in this one? Way to try and squeeze the life out of a small local business, not surprised at all by the actions of a company buried deep behind Liberal territory!!!”

Another points out the obvious fact that eating a pastelito without the proper beverage is unthinkable:

“Please return the cafecito to the Pinecrest community. You do not even brew the same kind of coffee. Forcing people to eat a pastelito without a cafecitio is just evil.”

Pinecrest Bakery patron Chanelle Costa Fleites was livid when she heard the news. “Basically, I thought someone was playing a joke on me. When the lady at the bakery said she couldn’t sell me Cuban coffee, I was in denial. Cuban coffee is part of our culture whether you’re Cuban or not. I took it very personal. To me, it was like I was in a communist country. I grew up with my grandparents owning a Cuban cafeteria, coincidentally, and I thought about if they still had their business and a corporate giant started bullying them. I took it very, very personal.”

Fleites then started a petition on Change.org demanding the Seattle-based chain stop bullying Pinecrest Bakery.

Continue reading HERE.