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  • antonio2009: Two other songs also apply to this sexagenarian: “The Fool on the Hill” by the Beatles and “El Bobo de la...

  • antonio2009: Carlos Montaner needs to look no further than Cuban history of the 19th century to discover the Cuban Holocaust of...

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realclearworld

Venezuelan journalist exposes darkest truths about the Cubanization of her country

la foto--644x362

«En Venezuela gobierna una neotiranía militar encabezada por los hermanos Castro»

(Venezuela is governed by a military neo-tyranny headed by the Castro brothers)

This is the devastating summary judgment voiced by Eleonora Bruzual, a Venezuelan journalist, who was just interviewed by Spain's ABC, one of the few publications on earth that dares to expose the dark truth about Venezuela's steep downward slide.

Some highlights of this interview:

Q.: What is Venezuela going through right now?
A: "It's a dramatic situation, which I define as a great tragedy. To explain it, I could use the fable of the boiled frog, which psychologists love so much. You put a frog in a pot of water and raise the temperature little by little, and the frog doesn't notice that it's burning up until it's too late for it to jump out of the pot, for at that moment it is already being boiled alive and is incapable of doing anything. This is how I can best illustrate what is happening in Venezuela. What you see there is a great resignation and apathy. People have become used to allowing things to happen that assault their dignity. The mere fact of having to stand in long lines to buy food, and on top of that, to not be able to buy as much as you need, proves that apathy reigns. The government has gradually annihilated freedom and the people's ability to improve their lives."

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Q.: What do you think about the Chavista governor who recently proclaimed that "making Venezuelans poorer will make them more faithful to the Bolivarian Revolution"?
A: "He is not the first to utter such a barbarity. Chavez used to say that to be rich was to be evil. And the current Minister of Education openly affirmed that the Venezuelan people should not be educated so they don't turn bourgeois. Those who rule the country send out distorted messages that make the lower classes think that they shouldn't struggle for a better future. Employing a discourse filled with hate and violence towards the upper class is their only way of courting popular support."

FL_Venezuela-mural-independence

Q. What differences do you see between the way in which Chavez and Maduro exercise power?
A.: "Chávez was a military man and a charismatic leader who --despite allowing himself to be influenced by the Castro brothers-- could speak to them on equal terms. Maduro is a mere puppet appointed by Chavez when he was dying, precisely because Maduro was a "Castro man." Maduro is controlled by the [Venezuelan] military and by the Castro brothers, and he really has no power to make any decisions."

raul-castro

Q.: What do you think of Maduro's recent cabinet shake-up and of his promises?
A.: "Nothing is going to change in Venezuela, because this latest move is just a reshuffling of personnel...The Maduro regime can't really change anything, for it would collapse. How can they do away with their populist and communist ideology and at the same time fix the economy? That's impossible, and they're not interested in that anyway. The Castro brothers have been inside Venezuela since 2002...all that they and the top Chavistas care about is to stay in power at any price. They have imposed the tragedy of Cuba on Venezuela."

05-Maduro-Castro-Fidel-Raul

Q.: What can the opposition do now that is different from anything they have tried in the last fifteen years?
A.:"First of all, we have to accept the reality of what we are up against. The opposition has tended to see what has happened as an erosion of democracy rather than as the imposition of a dictatorship. What we have now is a neo-tyranny. Chavez's goal was to obtain absolute power and the total submission of the people. Secondly, the time for dialogue with this neo-tyranny passed long ago...We ought to create a new and broad-based coalition. Sitting around a table and "dialoguing" with this government has achieved nothing. Meanwhile, political prisoners rot in jail without the support they deserve."

image007-709477

Q.: Why has Chavism endured for so long?
A.: "Chavism survives because of its messianic character, which is derived from the personality and leadership of Chavez himself.... And now this Chavista model, backed by money from our oil boom,is being exported to Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Argentina. And oil money is also buying the political backing of Iran, China, and Russia. Everyone is benefiting from our petroleum resources, except for the Venezuelan people."

Complete interview HERE, in the castellano dialect

D-DAY MEMORIES WITH BOB JAGERS, WW2 Veteran who attended the 70th anniversary

 

Cuba’s amazing exalted healthcare

From a nursing home in Cuba, images of malnutrition and inhumane living conditions, all free, unless of course human suffering has value.

From Cubanet:

Asilo-3

Asilo-6

Asilo-5

View more photos here.

Photo of the day: He’s the Maximum Leader in fashion, too

Underwear-by-Fidel-Castro--2189

Illinois farmers itching to be fleeced by Castro regime

Eager to go bankrupt

Eager to go bankrupt

Here we go again.

Someone else is lobbying the Obama administration for a change in Cuba policy.

This time it's farmers from the heartland who want to sell more of their soybeans and corn to Castrogonia.

Venezuela's Telesur network reports on this effort, but leaves out the most important detail.

All this report says is that the farmers think they can sell more produce and want to sell more, but "U.S. policies" stand in their way.

Awwwww.  How awful.  It's heartbreaking.  These nice farmers want to "provide food to Cuba," but those mean old "policies" stand in the way.

What policies are these?

Actually, there is only one policy that stands in their way: the one that requires that Castrogonia pay cash up front.   In other words, what these farmers want is for the U.S. to allow Castrogonia to purchase tons and tons of soybeans and corn on credit.

So, while Telesur makes it seem as if the U.S. government is being unreasonable and standing in the way of increased sales, this network is covering up the fact that the U.S. government is preventing these clueless farmers from being swindled by a deadbeat rogue nation that never pays its debts.

If this lobbying effort doesn't prove that there are many, many Americans who still don't understand how Castrogonia works, then nothing will.

I like to keep what I owe, and so does my little brother

I like to keep what I owe, and so does my little brother

From Telesur

Corn Belt Farmers Lobby for Policy Change on Cuba

Delegates from the Illinois Cuba Working Group (ICWG) were in Washington, D.C. on Friday asking Congress and President Barack Obama's Administration to loosen trade restrictions so Illinois farmers and agricultural organizations can provide food to Cuba.

Representing the ICWG were representatives of soybean and corn companies, including the Illinois Soybean Growers, Cargill, Chicago Foods International, Huron Commodities, Illinois Farm Bureau and Koch Foods.

"We have already seen a decline in our market share due to non-competitive U.S. policies,” says Yon Luque, Koch Foods export area manager.

The ICWG believes that both U.S. and Cuban economies will benefit from exchanges of insight and capital. This has the potential to benefit Illinois small- and medium-sized businesses, along with other U.S. industries, which helps bring jobs to Illinois.

They allowed us to buy on credit!

They allowed us to buy on credit!

“We believe that the improvement of economic trade relations between the U.S. and Cuba is the foundation for future success between the two countries,” the organization says in its mission statement. “We strive to turn Cuba from an enemy to an ally within our lifetime by building trade relations that are mutually beneficial and enduring.”

In April 2014, the working group addressed Obama in a letter requesting “bi-partisan efforts at the national level to bring the U.S.-Cuba relationship forward,” the article reads.

While the U.S. is the primary supplier of whole soybeans to Cuba, purchasing some five million bushels per year, U.S. soybean farmers are losing soybean meal and oil market share in Cuba to competitors who are geographically more distant.

In 2006, Global Trade Information Services estimates the U.S. had more than 75 percent market share for Cuba's soybean meal and oil imports. In recent years, Brazil has had more than 75 percent market share.

"Cuba is an important market for Illinois soybeans, given the soybean, meal and oil export potential," adds Bill Raben, soybean farmer and Illinois Soybean Association chairman.

Gerard Depardieu, great friend of the Castro dynasty, avatar of hypocrisy

france-depardieu

Zut alors!

French actor and Castro-loving bon vivant Gerard Depardieu has just revealed that he drinks fourteen bottles of wine every day.

That's 3,832,500 milliliters or 3832.5 liters, which equals 1,012.4 gallons per year!

If we were talking about gasoline rather than wine, that would be enough fuel to operate my car for an entire year, maybe even longer than that. (My car burns about 20 gallons per week during the school year, when I commute.  Much less in the summer, when I work at home).

Here is the scoop from the New York Daily News, the world's finest tabloid:

French film legend Gerard Depardieu claims he drinks up to 14 bottles of wine a day.

The actor - who shot to global fame in the 1990 romantic comedy Green Card alongside Andie MacDowell - says he starts drinking before 10 a.m. every day.

But the 65-year-old says he is never "totally drunk."

Depardieu, who owns his own vineyard, said a normal day starts "with champagne or red wine before 10 a.m. Then again champagne."

He continued: "Then pastis, maybe half a bottle. Then food, accompanied by two bottles of wine. In the afternoon, champagne, beer and more pastis at around 5 p.m., to finish off the bottle. Later on vodka and/or whisky."

However, he says a 10-minute nap stops him from being "totally drunk."

Read more about this aspect of the actor's lifestyle HERE.

Depardieu is a long-time admirer of the Castro regime and claims to be good friends with both Fidel and Raul.  And he has visited Castrogonia at least fifteen times.

Inconsistency doesn't seem to bother the actor very much, for as soon as French President Francois Hollande threatened to raise taxes on the rich, Depardieu desperately began to find some other country in which to live.

Castrogonia was not one of his choices.  Eventually, he settled for exile next door, in Belgium, and renounced his French citizenship.

One could  assume that the thousand-or-so gallons of wine he drinks per year  could be impairing his judgment, but, if you believe what the actor says, he is never drunk.  Just happy.

Unfortunately, it doesn't take a gargantuan amount of alcohol to turn Europeans into Castro lovers.  Stone cold sober, they line up to vacation in Castrogonia and to make business deals with the Castro Mafia.

Their hypocritical love for the so-called "Cuban Revolution" is not fueled by alcohol.  It's fueled by a lethal combination of moral degeneracy and a stealthy sort of racism.

This spiritual illness of theirs allows them to see monsters as "normal people," most probably because deep down inside, they too are monsters who consider themselves "normal."

If there were a Nobel Prize or an Oscar for hypocrisy, Depardieu would be a top contender, year after year.

Anyway, here is what the great acteur had to say to The Daily Mirror about his friendship with the Castros two years ago:

Fidel-y-Depardieu

Gerard Depardieu has revealed an unlikely friendship with former Cuban president Fidel Castro – sparked by a mutual love of food.

The French film star, who has invested in an oil field on the Caribbean island, tells Graham Norton on his show tonight that they bonded over a meal of ground meat paste.

“I met him 1992 when I made him pâté,” says the 63-year-old.

“He loves to eat also, and is very curious about food.

“He is a friend and I go hunting with him and with [current president and younger brother of Fidel] Raúl.

“They know everything about everything and they are normal people.”

Whole disgusting story HERE  and also HERE.... and HERE in the castellano dialect

Gerard Depardieu during the filming of the Graham Norton Show

Suis-je assez normale? (Am I normal enough?)

 

Candid Camera: Cuban “migrants” fall prey to Castro’s coast guard

Captura_de_pantalla_2014_09_11_a_las_9.20.30_PM

"A las buenas o a las malas van a regresar a tierra"  (Willingly 0r not, you're all returning to dry land!)

So shouts a Castronoid coast guard official at a vessel full of his fellow countrymen who are trying to escape their island prison.

This incident was caught on camera from a third vessel --probably another coast guard boat -- and somehow ended up on the internet, for the whole world to see.

From Capitol Hill Cubans:

Caught on Film: Cuban Coast Guard Repressing Rafters

The following video shows images of a small vessel (with a wooden cross on the tip), full of Cubans seeking to flee the island, being intercepted by the Castro regime's Coast Guard.

You can see how they are threatened with heavy weapons, (literally) roped like cattle and forcefully removed from the vessel.

The video is in Spanish.

Click HERE to watch.  Go HERE for a more detailed report in the hegemonic castellano dialect.

Waters in a Time of Cholera

From Translating Cuba, photo of the day by Luzbely Escobar:

agua-sucia

Crist Cuba circus back in spotlight

charlie_crist

Rumors.

If this one is true, it's proof positive that traveling to Castrogonia has become as chic as owning your own yacht, or having a major arena named after you.

True or not, the fact remains that Crist would have loved to visit Castrogonia with a rat pack of wealthy donors, and that some of those donors were itching to do it too.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

AR-140409763

Mr. Straz and Mr. Crist

Did Charlie Crist tick off a major donor over Cuba?

The Charlie Crist campaign back in April summoned Tampa Bay reporters to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts to hear "important news" from Crist. Reporters and local dignitaries and Democratic activists turned out, and eventually Crist strolled up accompanied by David Straz, one of Tampa Bay's leading businessmen and philanthropists, who endorsed Crist and vowed "to support him in a big way."

Nearly six months later, Straz has not given a penny to the Crist campaign and has been invisible on the campaign trail. The chatter was that Straz had planned to join Crist on a trip to Cuba and was livid when Crist suddenly backed out of it with little explanation.

"I was disappointed about that," but there has been no falling out, Straz told the Buzz.

He and Crist keep in touch, he said, but Straz has been in Wisconsin for the summer and not closely involved in the campaign.

And no campaign contribution? "I just haven't gotten around to it," Straz said.

Florida+Gov+Crist+Holds+Meeting+Oil+Spill+ePe-7F5YC77l

Cuba is the problem

Just as it has for decades, Cuba continues to engage in slimy gangster style anti-American, anti-democracy diplomacy. Sadly there are plenty of latrine leaders thrilled to support the thugs in Havana.

Obama's Cuba Problem
JOSÉ R. CÁRDENAS

The last time President Obama met with his Latin American and Caribbean counterparts was not a particularly memorable affair. The 2012 Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, was overshadowed by an embarrassing Secret Service scandal that saw members of his advance team soaking in a little bit too much of the historical city's Caribbean nightlife.

Meanwhile, in the absence of any substantive agenda, President Obama spent most of the summit being hectored by his counterparts with the incongruous assertion that undemocratic outlier Cuba must be part of the next meeting of all the popularly elected governments in the Americas.

It was clear the president wasn't pleased with the badgering, complaining that, "Sometimes I feel as if in some of these discussions ... we're caught in a time warp, going back to the 1950s and gunboat diplomacy."

Fast forward two years: Preparations for the 2015 Summit are well underway and once again Cuba's participation has become the flashpoint. Governments in Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua have already said they will boycott any summit where Cuba is excluded. Panama, the host, has announced its intention to formally invite Cuba, with its president saying that the presence of the last military dictatorship in the region was "important."

The State Department has already voiced its opposition, citing the 2001 Summit's agreed-upon "democracy clause," which conditions Summit participation to countries that respect democracy and rule of law. According to a spokesperson, "So we should not undermine commitments previously made, but should instead encourage -- and this is certainly our effort -- the democratic changes necessary for Cuba to meet the basic qualifications."

Secretary of State John Kerry privately repeated that message in no uncertain terms to Panamanian Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo when the two met at the beginning of September.

Nevertheless, the drumbeat has started that President Obama must accept the Castro regime's presence at the Summit or else, as one former advisor to President Clinton has said, be "responsible for the collapse of inter-American summitry, 20 years after its initiation by President Clinton."

There is no doubt that U.S.-Cuba policy critics see the president's dilemma as a golden opportunity to mainstream Cuba back into regional polite society despite its uncompromising, repressive rule, thus making it more difficult to justify the U.S. policy of isolating the Castro regime politically and economically. The administration will therefore be coming under enormous pressure to accept the "inevitable" and attend the Summit with Cuba.

These critics understand the power that symbolism plays in international affairs. The presence of a U.S. President at any event -- international or otherwise -- is never routine, or ever lacking of import and consequence. Thus, in their construction, President Obama's attendance at a Summit with Cuba will signal a U.S. surrender of fifty years of its embargo-centric policy. On the other hand, the symbolic importance of standing up for the region's hard-won democratic gains over the past quarter-century by making a point about the incongruity of Cuba's presence in this age of regional democracy will be a dagger in their heart.

It's worth noting that several of the governments insisting on Cuba's presence are those guilty of their own back-sliding on respect for democratic institutions over the last several years, including Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Why wouldn't they want the Castro regime present in regional fora, so as to lower the bar for everyone on adhering to democratic principles?

Continue reading Obama's Cuba Problem at Foreign Policy.

Castro-friendly news agency almost admits its reporting on “reforms” was dead wrong…sort of….

internacional1

There's something happening here.

What it is ain't exactly clear.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Maybe it's pretty clear.

Reuters has just called attention to the fact that Cubans are fleeing their island prison in record numbers.

The question is: why would they call attention to something that proves how awful life is in Castrogonia?   And why would they dare to say that Raul Castro's reforms "have failed to improve living conditions for most people"?  Hasn't Reuters devoted itself to highlighting these "reforms" constantly, and to portraying them as proof of a new "openness" to change in Castrogonia?

Ahhhhh.... you have to wait till you get to the end of the story to find out what  Reuters is really up to.

This isn't about the fact that the "reforms" were all phony or about Reuter's willing complicity with the Castro Ministry of Truth.

This is all about those awful selfish Cubans who left their homeland before 1980, and about how uppity they are.   In many ways, the end of the story sheds light on the REAL reason these Cubans are "migrating" in "rustic" vessels: they are fleeing because the uppity earlier migrants betrayed the Revolution and caused it to fail.   These new arrival are the noble ones who still believe in the Revolution, but are forced to seek a better life elsewhere because they are victims of the exile community and their embargo.

It doesn't make sense, of course, but when has Reuters ever made sense?

balseros

Twenty years after Cuban raft exodus, they keep coming

(Reuters) - Alicia Garcia vividly recalls her rescue at sea 20 years ago during a mass exodus from Cuba, a dramatic event that changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and reshaped relations between the communist-run island and the United States.

"We didn't think we'd make it. We prayed, and put ourselves in God's hands," she said of her six-day ordeal clinging with five others to a raft made of truck inner tubes and rope.

Illegal departures by sea from Cuba are on the rise again, U.S. officials say, with more than 2,000 migrants picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard over the last 12 months. That is the highest rate in six years.

Many more are passing undetected, mostly headed west aboard flimsy home-made vessels in a risky bid to cross the Caribbean to Honduras, in hopes of getting across the Mexico-U.S. border.

Late last month 17 Cubans were rescued by the Mexican navy after almost a month at sea, 20 days without food. Details are unclear, but more than a dozen others may have died from dehydration - the survivors forced to throw their bodies overboard.

The town of Manzanillo in eastern Cuba, where most of the victims are from, planned a church Mass on Friday night.

"My wife, she can't bring herself to tell me what really happened. It's too terrible," said Jose Caballero, husband of one of the survivors, who left Cuba via a similar route in December and now lives in Texas.

balseros (1)

According to the latest U.S. figures, more than 14,000 Cubans have crossed the southwestern U.S. border illegally since Oct. 1, almost triple the number four years ago.

The spike is attributed to delays of up to five years for Cubans seeking to emigrate legally to join relatives in the United States. Economic reforms designed to open up Cuba's state-controlled system and create private sector jobs have also failed to improve living conditions for most people.

"We left (Cuba) because there are no jobs or the basic items for living," said Angel, a former fishing boat captain who reached Honduras with 11 others aboard a home-made boat last week after a two-week journey via the Cayman Islands.

The boat was built clandestinely with cannibalized parts, including a car engine, a propeller and aluminum sheets sealed together with resin, he said....

..... Garcia and other rafters say the 1994 exodus has not been fully appreciated by Cubans who arrived in Miami in the 1960s, or on the Mariel boatlift.

"The Cubans who came before, in 1980, were never in agreement with the revolution. We were supposed to be different," added Garcia, born in 1974. "We were the children of the revolution."

Whole story HERE.

 

 

Huge propaganda score for Castrogonia: Cuban doctors being sent to epicenter of Ebola epidemic in Africa

The faculty of the University of Havana medical school

The faculty of the University of Havana medical school holding a seminar on Ebola prevention

UPDATE:  When this post went up on friday night, only a handful of news outlets were reporting on this propaganda scoop.   Twelve hours later, just about every major news bureau and newspaper is devoting attention to it.  This may turn out to be THE Cuba story of the year for the Castro-friendly news media.  Google "Cuba News," and you will see how much attention this story is getting. 

Castro's medical slaves headed for Sierra Leone and Ebola crisis

Well, you knew this was next, of course.

You can't pretend for over half a century that your free medical care is the best in the world and that your doctors are selfless envoys of good will and not sacrifice a bunch of them to the worst epidemic the world has seen in a long time.

No, sir, no ma'm,  you just can't pass up a propaganda opportunity like this.  It looks so good!

Never mind the fact that at home you are fighting a losing battle against other epidemics that are much easier to eradicate, like dengue fever and cholera.

Never mind that the medical care received by 99% of your population is abysmal.

The world believes your lies, and you have to play the game.  Those lies have turned into a beloved myth.

Yeah. And admit it, you just love playing this game.

And... oh.... there's that small issue of the money you can rake in by collecting 90% of the salary that will be paid to your slave doctors, blood money that you are paid up front and will pocket even if they die (which, given their training and equipment and local conditions, is highly likely).

No, you can't forget that.

Bonus propaganda points: One of your own cabinet officials and party leaders -- the Minister of Health --  has been elected unanimously to lead the World Health Assembly.

Double bonus propaganda points: he is very white and very blue-eyed, and looks well nourished.  (Ay! how you love to show off those Gallego and Asturiano blanquitos  who rule your nation!) And he sure knows how to grandstand and how to feed the press propaganda laced with the boldest exaggerations and lies.

Triple bonus propaganda points: Publications like Forbes regurgitate the propaganda fed to them by this very white, very blue-eyed, and very well-fed minister of yours.   (Update: for a look at  how this propaganda is being broadcast by the World Health Organization, go HERE.)

One possible minus in this particular game:  some of these medical slaves might bring Ebola to Castrogonia and spread the plague there.

 

Dr Roberto Morales Ojeda, Minister of Health of Cuba,  President of the Sixty-seventh World Health Assembly, spewing propaganda in his plenary address to  the said Assembly.
Dr Roberto Morales Ojeda, Minister of Health of Cuba, President of the Sixty-seventh World Health Assembly, spewing propaganda in his plenary address to the said Assembly.

From Forbes.

Cuba will be sending 63 doctors and 102 nurses, epidemiologists, specialists in infection control, intensive care specialists and social mobilization officers to set up World Health Organization-funded Ebola clinics in Sierra Leone. The workers will deploy in the beginning of October and stay for six months.

At a World Health Organization press conference this morning in Geneva, Minister of Public Health of Cuba, Dr. Roberto Morales Ojeda, announced the island nation’s commitment of human medical resources.

Morales Ojeda, a general medicine physician holding a master’s in public health, was unanimously elected in May as president of WHO’s World Health Assembly....

.....Independent of the localized outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal, the west African nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia 4,700 confirmed, probable, and suspected Ebola cases with over 2,400 deaths (unpublished, as of September 12). Liberia is hardest hit currently, with 59% of their cases and 62% of their deaths occurring in 21 days preceding the last formal WHO report (data as of September 6).

Cuba is contributing to the second most-affected country, Sierra Leone, in part because they already have some infrastructure on the ground. Sierra Leone has had 1,361 cases of Ebola infection with 509 deaths.

It did not escape notice that while the WHO held a one-hour-plus press conference devoted entirely to the Cuban announcement, no mention was made of yesterday’s commitment of $50 million to the Ebola containment effort by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In his opening statement this morning, Dr. Morales Ojeda went on at length as to Cuba’s commitment of medical personnel in disasters as early as the year following the 1959 revolution, when a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Chile.

Among the list of aid efforts provided by Cuba in the last 55 years, Morales Ojeda noted that the country offered 1,100 doctors and 26 tons of food and supplies to New Orleans residents following Hurricane Katrina. The offer was not accepted.

Morales Ojeda offered the list of Cuban contributions as evidence that their support “was not an isolated event” and represents what he calls the country’s “principle of not giving what is leftover, but sharing what we have.”

Bed in a real Cuban hospital.  If this is what they have and they are sharing it, God help the rest of the world!

Bed in a real Cuban hospital. If this is what they have and they are sharing it, God help the rest of the world!

Reports from Cuba: New organized robbery

By Rebeca Monzo in Translating Cuba:

New Organized Robbery

http://www.translatingcuba.com/images/rebeca/1410044603_comprobante-small.jpgThe great problem created by the government of my planet itself with the dual currency, now, with the new authorization of being able to buy things in some TRD (hard currency collection) stores with either currency, is that it has become more complicated for both the customers and the employees, who work at each cash register in these establishments.

The other day I was at La Mariposa in Nuevo Vedada to buy some soft drinks–those that cost 0.50 Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) whose equivalent in Cuban pesos (CUP) is 12.50. I offered 13.00 CUP in payment for which they owed me 0.50 CUP in change, but as the cash boxes don’t have this currency but only CUCs, they couldn’t give me 0.05 CUC because this would be the equivalent of 1.00 CUP, and so I would get 0.50 CUP over. Their not having change in smaller values means that the client loses the difference. I decided to return the soft drink.

Today my friend Mirta came over and brought me the receipt for a purchase she’d made of a liter of oil in the same store. She, indignant, told me exactly what I’ve told you. Well, I told her, if the famous character Cantinflas lived in Cuba today he would be totally nondescript.

These new headaches and “wallet-aches” that we customers and even the employees of these stores have to suffer are, in my modest opinion, nothing more than a new way of organized robbery.

Photos of the day: Castro’s urban reform, a half-century of genuine progress

Here we go....

More photos from Martha Beatriz Roque.

Once again, the images are from Guanabacoa, formerly a middle class neighborhood in Havana, now just another Cuban sinkhole of destitution and despair.

This is a dwelling in the heart of the capital city, not some rural hovel.

unnamed

It's the home of Felipe Ramírez Pérez, who is 71 years old.

He has been living in this 9' x 9' shack for 19 years.  He has no running water or electricity.

unnamed (1)

The last time a social worker visited his shack was thirteen years ago.  At that time, he was falsely promised some assistance.

He has no ration card because his legal address is still in far-away Camaguey, and there is no way for him to change that.

To change his address he would have to formally request a change of residence permit from the government, a permit he would most certainly be denied.

Permits of that sort are only issued when your employment demands it, or, in other words, when the sole real employer in Cuba -- the government -- needs to move you.

Cubans are not allowed the privilege of choosing where to live.  That is solely up to the government, de jure.  But de facto, many Cubans simply pack up and move and find some "illegal" place to live.

Some residents of Havana refer to these migrants as "Palestinos" (Palestinians).

Felipe prefers not to return to Camaguey because --as he sees it -- Havana has so much more to offer than his home town.

He collects recyclables and cashes them in for pennies.

unnamed (3)

On good days, he gets to eat one meal.

And he lives in constant fear of eviction.

This is the way to erradicate income inequality and all poverty.  Way to go!

Vamos bien!  Requetebien!  Bring on the people-to-people tours!

Reuters, AP, APF, CNN, BBC, NBC, PBS, Huffington Post.... quick, hurry, this is a real scoop:  here is a "colorful" character and a potential fluff piece you can feature as "news" from Castrogonia.  Forget about Smokin' Graciela.

unnamed (2)

 

 

Reports from Cuba’s Venezuela: Spinning the revolution

By Juan Cristobal Nagel in Caracas Chronicles:

Spinning the revolution
https://caracaschronicles.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/bell-pottinger_fracking.jpg

In that case they're perfect for the job

I had to do a double-take upon learning that PDVSA had hired Bell Pottinger, the PR firm run by Margaret Thatcher’s former communications director to “clean its image.” Of course, no comment from the revolution, so we have no idea how much they (we) are paying for this, nor for what purpose exactly.

The part that stood out from the Bloomberg piece discussing this:

“The agency has worked for figures sanctioned by the U.S. including Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, as well as Russia’s state oil company OAO Rosneft, whose Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin is a frequent guest of Venezuela’s socialist government. It also represented the Pinochet Foundation during its campaign against the former Chilean dictator’s London detention, The Guardian reported in December.”

Dios los cría…