Despite repeated cries by some Cuban-Americans and Americans that it’s time to lift the U.S. embargo against Cuba that has been around since 1962, the answer still remains that it would be advantageous for the United States to keep the embargo in place.
To those who claim that the embargo is a figment of someone’s imagination, Cuban officials stated in September 2014 that U.S. economic sanctions had cost the island $3.9 billion in foreign trade over the past year, helping to raise the estimate of economic damage to $116.8 billion over the last 55 years. When factoring in the depreciation of the dollar against the international price of gold, the figure rises to $1.11 trillion.
But is Cuba being sincere by extending an olive branch lately to the U.S. Government and insinuating that it’s about time that they become “amigos” again? Or, is Cuba trying to manipulate U.S. public opinion for its own benefit?
To answer these questions, one must connect the dots that the U.S. media outlets don’t report on.
First, there will be a vote at the United Nations on October 28th on the U.S. embargo. In the past, very few countries have joined the United States in favoring its maintenance. Israel is one of the few countries that has joined the United States, as Cuba’s support of Palestinian terrorism and efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state through virulent anti-Semitic propaganda goes back to the 1960s. While the U.N. vote is merely symbolic, the Cuban officials will use it to put pressure on the current White House.
Next, with the price of a barrel of oil being at an all-time low, the Venezuelan economy is in shambles. Raul fears that Maduro will be forced to cut off the amount of oil that it ships to Cuba. For the last decade, Venezuela's oil has helped fuel Cuba's economy, providing 60 percent of the island's demands. Therefore, Cuban Government officials are looking to the lifting of the U.S. embargo as the saving-grace tool that will allow them to stay afloat after the Venezuelan oil subsidy dries up.
Moreover, Cuba is banking that if Republicans gain control of the U.S. Senate after the upcoming midterm elections, President Obama will want to lift the U.S. embargo to embellish his legacy.
The game is on is to get as many U.S. politicians on board. At the gubernatorial debate on October 21, 2014, Democratic challenger Charlie Crist offered his support for lifting the embargo if he’s elected Florida Governor in the November 4th midterm election. He offered as justification that it would be good for the Florida’s economy—a dubious claim, considering that Cuba defaulted on its debt to Western banks in 1986 and lacks access to the international credit system in order to get foreign currency.
And, finally, to get on the good graces of U.S. officials, Cuba has sent a huge contingent of health workers and physicians to the Ebola-stricken nations in West Africa. Former leader Fidel Castro said in an article published on October 18, 2014, that Cuba was ready to work with the U.S., and Secretary of State John Kerry mentioned Cuba on October 17, 2014, as a country stepping up on the frontlines. To demonstrate that Raul is pushing his own agenda, one has only to look at the health care provided to the average Cuban population. Pharmacies continue to be poorly stocked, patients have to bring their own sheets when they are hospitalized, and about 10 percent of Cubans have access to drinking water.
So, Cuban Government officials are banking that this is the right time to get the U.S. embargo lifted, or their revolution is doomed. Next few months will decide who will get the upper hand.
To see related article, click on http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2014/10/22/cuba-emerges-as-committed-ally-against-ebola-yet-cant-treat-illnesses-at-home/
The murderer's photo posted on ISIS Twitter account
*&^%$#@! Can't print what I'd like to say, even though I could use my brain injury as an excuse........
Here we go again. The monster who shot dead a Canadian soldier in Ottowa today has been identified by Reuters as 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a recent convert to Islam.
A Twitter account linked to ISIS apparently tweeted a photo this afternoon of a man whom they claimed is Zehaf-Bibeau, holding a gun with a middle eastern bandana covering his mouth.
The same ISIS account was used by Martin Couture-Rouleau, the recently-converted Canadian muslim who ran down two soldiers two days ago, killing one of them.
The American network CBS reports that today's shooter sometimes used the name Abdul Zehaf-Bibeau.
The victim has been identified as 24-year old Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who leaves behind a very young son.
Let's see how the spinning goes from this point forward. Workplace violence? Not likely. But some other way of ignoring the obvious will surely be found.
The victim Nathan Cirillo
(These missiles are) "nothing but refugee rumors. Nothing in Cuba presents a threat to the United States. There's no likelihood that the Soviets or Cubans would try and install an offensive capability in Cuba." (a sneering National Security Advisor, McGeorge Bundy, on ABC's Issues and Answers, October 14, 1962.)
"There's fifty-odd-thousand Cuban refugees in this country, all living for the day when we go to war with Cuba. They're the ones putting out this kind of stuff (about missiles.)"( a sneering President John F. Kennedy, Oct. 15th 1962.)
"In Washington, as throughout his life, he was noted for his brisk intellect and self-assurance. Journalists at the time overworked adjectives like "brilliant" and "aggressive." (New York Times on Mc George Bundy upon his death in 1996.)
For months prior to Bundy and Kennedy’s scoffing against the Cuban missile-mongers, dozens of Cuban exiles had been risking their lives by infiltrating Cuba and bringing out eyewitness reports of what remains the biggest military threat to the U.S. in its history. In the process, some of these Cuban boys were also dying by firing squad and torture at the hands of Castro and Che Guevara's KGB-tutored secret police.
Exactly 24 hours after President Kennedy’s sneer against these Cuban exiles, U-2 photos sat on his desk showing those "refugee rumors," pointed directly at Bundy, JFK, and their entire staff of Ivy League wizards.
The University of Miami's Dr. Jaime Suchlicki in the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies' Focus on Cuba:
Implications of Ending the Cuban Embargo
If the U.S. were to end the embargo and lift the travel ban without major reforms in Cuba, there would be significant implications:
- Money from American tourists would flow into businesses owned by the Castro government thus strengthening state enterprises. The tourist industry is controlled by the military and General Raul Castro.
- Tourist dollars would be spent on products, i.e., rum, tobacco, etc., produced by state enterprises, and tourists would stay in hotels owned partially or wholly by the Cuban government. The principal airline shuffling tourists around the island, Gaviota, is owned and operated by the Cuban military.
- American tourists will have limited contact with Cubans. Most Cuban resorts are built in isolated areas, are off limits to the average Cuban, and are controlled by Cuba’s efficient security apparatus. Most Americans don’t speak Spanish, have but limited contact with ordinary Cubans, and are not interested in visiting the island to subvert its regime. Law 88 enacted in 1999 prohibits Cubans from receiving publications from tourists. Penalties include jail terms.
- While providing the Castro government with much needed dollars, the economic impact of tourism on the Cuban population would be limited. Dollars will trickle down to the Cuban poor in only small quantities, while state and foreign enterprises will benefit most.
- The assumption that the Cuban leadership would allow U.S. tourists or businesses to subvert the revolution and influence internal developments is at best naïve. As we have seen in other circumstances, U.S. travelers to Cuba could be subject to harassment and imprisonment.
- Over the past decades hundred of thousands of Canadian, European and Latin American tourists have visited the island. Cuba is not more democratic today. If anything, Cuba is more totalitarian, with the state and its control apparatus having been strengthened as a result of the influx of tourist dollars.
- As occurred in the mid-1990s, an infusion of American tourist dollars will provide the regime with a further disincentive to adopt deeper economic reforms. Cuba’s limited economic reforms were enacted in the early 1990s, when the island’s economic contraction was at its worst. Once the economy began to stabilize by 1996 as a result of foreign tourism and investments, and exile remittances, the earlier reforms were halted or rescinded by Castro.
- Lifting the embargo and the travel ban without major concessions from Cuba would send the wrong message “to the enemies of the United States”: that a foreign leader can seize U.S. properties without compensation; allow the use of his territory for the introduction of nuclear missiles aimed at the United States; espouse terrorism and anti-U.S. causes throughout the world; and eventually the United States will “forget and forgive,” and reward him with tourism, investments and economic aid.
- Since the Ford/Carter era, U.S. policy toward Latin America has emphasized democracy, human rights and constitutional government. Under President Reagan the U.S. intervened in Grenada, under President Bush, Sr. the U.S. intervened in Panama and under President Clinton the U.S. landed marines in Haiti, all to restore democracy to those countries. The U.S. has prevented military coups in the region and supported the will of the people in free elections. U.S. policy has not been uniformly applied throughout the world, yet it is U.S. policy in the region. Cuba is part of Latin America. While no one is advocating military intervention, normalization of relations with a military dictatorship in Cuba will send the wrong message to the rest of the continent.
- Once American tourists begin to visit Cuba, Castro would probably restrict travel by Cuban-Americans. For the Castro regime, Cuban-Americans represent a far more subversive group because of their ability to speak to friends and relatives on the island, and to influence their views on the Castro regime and on the United States. Indeed, the return of Cuban exiles in 1979-80 precipitated the mass exodus of Cubans from Mariel in 1980.
- A large influx of American tourists into Cuba would have a dislocating effect on the economies of smaller Caribbean islands such as Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and even Florida, highly dependent on tourism for their well-being. Careful planning must take place, lest we create significant hardships and social problems in these countries.
If the embargo is lifted, limited trade with, and investments in Cuba would develop. Yet there are significant implications.
Continue reading The implications of ending the embargo on Cuba’s apartheid Castro dictatorship
(Shareholders annual meeting)
"Don't you hard-lining blockheads realize that opening Cuba to tourism will sweep away Cuban Communism?"
According to the top source on the matter (Hotels Magazine) Cuba's military-owned hotel chains--Cuba Gaviota, Grupo Cubanacan and, Grupo Hotelero Gran Caribe--nowadays comprise the largest hotel chains in Latin America, topping anything in Mexico. (they've held this pre-dominant position for years, btw.)
Entire story in Spanish here.
According to Human Rights groups nowadays Cubans are suffering a near record wave of repression.
Imagine if you will....a place where academics, journalists, legislators, insurance magnates, Think-Tank fellows, and literally anyone with pretensions to intellectual superiority, relentlessly propound a theory more easily refuted than one maintaining that the sun revolves around the earth...
Imagine if you will...a place (in 2014) where the "best minds" relentlessly refuse to acknowledge the existence of observable data that refutes their dogma as devastatingly as Galileo's telescope refuted the religious dogma of his time (1609)...
The Editorial Board of The Washington Post:
Cuba should not be rewarded for denying freedom to its people
THE OTHER day, Fidel Castro wrote an opinion column for Cuba’s state-run newspaper, Granma, as he has done periodically from retirement. He lavished praise on an editorial in the New York Times that called for an end to the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. But Mr.?Castro had one complaint: The Times mentioned the harassment of dissidents and the still-unexplained death of a leading exponent of democracy, Oswaldo Payá, and a younger activist, Harold Cepero, in a car wreck two years ago.
The assertion that Cuba’s authoritarian government had yet to explain the deaths was “slanderous and [a] cheap accusation,” Mr. Castro sputtered.
So why has Cuba done nothing to dispel the fog of suspicion that still lingers over the deaths? If the charge is slanderous, then it is long past time for Mr. Castro to order a thorough investigation of what happened on an isolated Cuban road on July?22, 2012. So far, there has been only a crude attempt at cover-up and denial.
We know something about what happened, thanks to the eyewitness account of Ángel Carromero, the young Spanish politician who was at the wheel of the rental car that was carrying Mr.?Payá and Mr. Cepero to a meeting with supporters. Mr. Carromero, who visited Washington last week, told us the car was being shadowed by Cuban state security from the moment it left Havana. He said his conversations with Mr. Payá as they traveled were mostly about the Varela Project, Mr. Payá’s courageous 2002 petition drive seeking to guarantee democracy in Cuba. Many of Mr. Payá’s supporters in the project were later arrested and imprisoned.
After the wreck, Mr. Carromero was pressured by the Cuban authorities to describe it as an accident caused by his reckless speeding. But he reiterated to us last week that what really happened is that the rental car was rammed from behind by a vehicle bearing state license plates. Mr. Carromero showed us photographs of the damaged car, damage that seemed inconsistent with a wreck caused by speeding. But the precise details of what happened are unknown and need to be cleared up by a credible investigation. Mr.?Payá’s family has sought one for two years, without success. When the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States sent a query to Cuba about the case, they got no answer. Nothing.
The U.S. embargo has been substantially relaxed in recent years to allow hundreds of millions of dollars of food and medicine exports, in addition to consumer goods supplied to Cubans by relatives in this country. The question is whether a further relaxation is merited. The regime’s persecution of dissidents is unceasing; it continues to imprison American Alan Gross on false charges. While Cuba has toyed with economic liberalization and lifted travel restrictions for some, we see no sign that the Castro brothers are loosening their grip. Fully lifting the embargo now would reward and ratify their intransigence.
A concession such as ending the trade embargo should not be exchanged for nothing. It should be made when Cuba grants genuine freedom to its people, the goal cherished by Mr. Payá.
Back in 2006 our Ziva called our attention to an eminent scholar and Democratic party consultant (he "advised" the JFK, Carter, Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson campaigns) named Norman Birnbaum (seen in recent pic top left) who wore his anti-Cuban exile bigotry on his very shirtsleeves, not unlike Michael Moore:
"We have not attacked Castro because of mutual assured deterrence, his air force could attack nuclear power plants and make much of the US southeast uninhabitable so despite the truly repellent Miami Cubans of the older generation and their gallant allies, the Israel lobby, Castro hangs on"
A couple years ago Birnbaum also wrote a revelatory piece about his acquaintance (and convicted Castro spy) Walter Kendall Myers:
"Walter Kendall Myers, a former Foreign Service officer, has been sent to prison for life, and his wife for a lesser term, for espionage on behalf of Cuba. Enthusiastic about the Cuban revolution, Myers for years passed on to the Cuban government information he had acquired as an official of the State Department’s intelligence unit, in which he was a specialist for European affairs....I knew Myers slightly as an amiable and informed presence at Washington meetings and gatherings on European affairs, at embassies, foundations, universities. I thought well of him as someone who seemed relatively free of the usual clichés...
Castro, in secret, gave his American friend Myers medals. He would have done better to encourage him to retire from the Foreign Service and lobby for the Cuban tourist industry. "
Flippancy? Or Freudian slip issuing from Birnbaum's professional contacts and experience?
In light of the State Department's "inside knowledge" of Castroism going back to 1957 (and especially their brilliant countermeasures to protect U.S. interests) I'd say Birnbaum is spot on. Anti-embargo lobbyists probably help Castro much more than do his official spies--and have nothing to fear from the FBI. I mean with people like William Wieland, Roy Rubbottom, Wayne Smith, John Kerry, Fulton Armstrong, Phil Peters variously in State Dept. posts, why on earth would Castro need any official "agents" in the U.S. State Department?
It is well known that medical standards in Cuba are much different than in the U.S. How many innocent Cuban doctors will pay the ultimate price left to die forgotten in Africa?
Capitol Hill Cubans:
Is Cuba Sending Unqualified Health Workers to West Africa?
The Cuban dictatorship is willing to sacrifice anything -- or anyone -- for the sake of propaganda.
This appears to be the case of the health workers it has sent to West Africa to work on the Ebola virus.
The details that have been filtering out of Cuba regarding the terms and conditions that the Castro regime has given to these health workers are very concerning.
For example, the Cuban health workers have been compelled to agree that if they contract the Ebola virus, they will not be repatriated to the island.
Moreover, they have been warned of a 90% chance of no return.
As such, there has been a life insurance policy taken out for these health workers with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Surely the families are the beneficiaries of the policies, right?
Nope -- the Cuban state is.
(It remains unclear whether the WHO is further paying the Castro regime for these health workers.)
Those fortunate enough to return have been "promised" nearly $10,000 per month -- to be deposited in a Cuban state bank account during their absence -- as well as a house and car.
This would set them up extremely handsomely -- for life -- in Cuba.
Of course, whether the Castro regime intends to actually fulfill this "promise" is another question. Just ask the veterans of Cuba's African wars.
Castro knows that Cubans are desperate enough to accept these terms. After all, there's at least a chance for survival if you contract Ebola, while there's no chance for survival if you're caught by sharks in the Florida Straits.
But it seems that the Castro regime is not counting on their return.
Adding to this concern is the fact that the Cuban health workers sent to West Africa appear to be poorly trained (at best) or utterly unqualified (at worst).
As the Wall Street Journal reported last week:
An Australian World Health Organization official responsible for training them on Ebola care watched in concern as the Cubans swapped hand-clasps, pats on backs and other potentially hazardous displays of physical affection. Public-health officials warn Ebola can spread on contact, with the virus carried in bodily fluids like sweat.
“They’re a very cuddly people,” said Katrina Roper, a technical officer with the U.N. agency. “Tomorrow will be me explaining why they have to stop shaking hands and sharing things.”
Such irresponsibility may only exacerbate the problem.
But hey -- sacrifice anything, or anyone, for propaganda.
Count Floyd bids you a good morning.
Time for some reeeeally scaaaary Halloween fun, boys and girls!
Here's a super-super-scary riddle, inspired by the Miss Hitler contest in Russia.
This is scarier than my favorite bedtime story "Blood sucking monkeys from West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, " and far more relevant to world affairs than any story about all those poor Cuban suckers sent to the Ebola epicenter in West Africa:
Riddle me this, you elementary penguins: At the end of a zombie apocalypse, if there were only two zombies left on earth, who would win: Adolf or Fidel?
Don't take this image of Lateeeeen-oh Democrat trick-or-treaters from the South Bronx as a hint....both of these battling zombies are great liars and propagandists....but....you know what they say about pictures being worth a thousand words....
By Fernando Damaso in Translating Cuba:
What Isn’t Working?
Let’s take a look at four different situations.
In the case of the national railway, the authorities in charge claim that its problems are due to outdated equipment and the lack of proper maintenance resulting from a lack of spare parts. The system has not been updated in more than fifty years. As a result the No. 1 train from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, which used to run daily, now only makes the trip every three days. For the last eight years the Havana to Holguin train has not run at all.
Those that are running do so at reduced speed and with a fewer number of train cars. When the air conditioning in one of the French-made train cars breaks down, it remains permanently of service and passengers must resort to opening tiny windows instead. The system also suffers from organizational problems and widespread indiscipline.
For years the sizes of school uniforms sold at the beginning of the school year have not corresponded to students’ actual sizes, which have become much smaller to poor nutrition. Though the problem persists year after year, the ministries of education and industry have still not come up with a solution.
Camping, the only vacation option available to the average Cuban, does not live up to expectations or its costs. Camping facilities are run-down, the food is of poor quality and badly prepared, amenities are minimal and the available services leave much to be desired.
Drinking water is in short supply in the suburb of Villa Panamericana near the town of Cojimar. Planners did not take into account the fact that project’s cisterns relied on gravity and that the supply came directly from the tank itself, so of course it cannot reach the third, fourth or fifth floors of the town’s existing buildings.
One might think that this string of calamities is directly related to those provide these services. That assumes that these people do not know how to do the work or simply do it badly. However, in spite of a constant turnover of directors, administrators and personnel, things are no better. One would then have to assume that it is the system itself that is not working.
Neither classic nor actual socialism has worked in any of the countries in which it has been tried. The evidence is plain to see. In Cuba it has never worked, not in the past and not in the present. I think this will also be the case with “prosperous and efficient socialism.” At least that is how I see things so far.