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  • Honey: Not everyone gets it wrong. Here is a press release from Don Adams of the Independence Foundation in PhiladelphiaL Hi Janet, Many...

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realclearworld

Cuban American lawmakers respond to Obama’s announcement to open embassy in Cuba on apartheid regime’s terms

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL):

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“Throughout this entire negotiation, as the Castro regime has stepped up its repression of the Cuban people, the Obama Administration has continued to look the other way and offer concession after concession. The administration's reported plan to restore diplomatic relations is one such prized concession to the Castro regime. It remains unclear what, if anything, has been achieved since the President's December 17th announcement in terms of securing the return of U.S. fugitives being harbored in Cuba, settling outstanding legal claims to U.S. citizens for properties confiscated by the regime, and in obtaining the unequivocal right of our diplomats to travel freely throughout Cuba and meet with any dissidents, and most importantly, securing greater political freedoms for the Cuban people. I intend to oppose the confirmation of an Ambassador to Cuba until these issues are addressed. It is time for our unilateral concessions to this odious regime to end.”

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL):

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“There was little doubt that the Obama administration would pursue its goal of opening an embassy in Cuba no matter the sad reality on the ground. Since Obama's December 17th announcement, the State Department has failed to forcibly condemn the increase of repression on the island now that the Castro regime feels emboldened to continue its attacks against the Cuban people. As the Ladies in White, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez, Yris Perez Aguilera, and other pro-democracy leaders are routinely harassed, beaten, and imprisoned, the Obama administration has continued to turn its back on the Cuban people in order to pursue its goal of providing as many concessions as possible to the Castro regime. Not surprisingly, this administration has shown that politics trump policy in its decision-making process. Opening the American Embassy in Cuba will do nothing to help the Cuban people and is just another trivial attempt for President Obama to go legacy shopping.”

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL):

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"By pressing ahead with plans to open a U.S. embassy in Havana and a Cuban embassy in Washington, President Obama continues his failed policy of appeasing brutal dictators that threaten U.S. interests.

"It is an utter disgrace that the administration has removed human rights and America's security from the President's foreign policy agenda.  The Castro regime has increased its oppression of human rights and pro-democracy activists in the wake of President Obama's ceaseless overtures.  Since the President's December 17, 2014 announcement, there have been well over 2,000 political arrests in Cuba.  For the past twelve consecutive Sundays, more than seventy activists have been arrested, including the courageous Ladies in White who protest on their way to mass.  In February of this year, the Cuban dictatorship was caught smuggling weapons through Colombian territory, which occurred after severe condemnation of Cuba's illegal weapons smuggling to North Korea from a U.N. panel of experts in March 2014.  In addition, several Cuban diplomat-spies have been expelled from the U.S. for their espionage activities.

"If a Cuban embassy opens in Washington, it will not represent the Cuban people.  It will represent the Cuban intelligence services that perpetuate human rights abuses against the Cuban people.  It will serve the interests of the military generals that illegally smuggle weapons to our adversaries.  And, most directly, it will serve the dictators that will continue to impoverish and oppress the Cuban people."

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX):

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"President Obama announced today he is continuing his policy of unconditional surrender to Fidel and Raul Castro by rewarding one of the most violently anti-American regimes on the planet with an embassy and an official representative of our government. I, for one, want the Cuban people to know that there are still those who stand with them, and who know the Castros for what they are. I will hold any nominee President Obama sends to the Senate to be ambassador to Cuba, and I will work to disapprove any new funds for embassy construction in Havana, unless and until the President can demonstrate that he has made some progress in alleviating the misery of our friends, the people of Cuba."

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ):

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“Today’s announcement cannot be considered normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States if it fails to speak to key issues such as whether all U.S. diplomats will be restricted from moving freely throughout the island, if the U.S. government will be limited in the number of diplomats assigned to staff an embassy, or if diplomatic mail can be searched and potentially seized by Cuban authorities. Once again the regime is being rewarded while they jail dissidents, silence political opponents, and harbor American fugitives and cop killers. Our demands for freedoms and liberty on the island will continue to be ignored and we are incentivizing a police state to uphold a policy of brutality. It is long past due for the United States to require concessions and changes from Cuba and thus far, we have seen neither. A policy of the United States giving and the Castro brothers freely taking is not in our national interest and not a responsible approach when dealing with repressive rulers that deny freedoms to its people. An already one-sided deal that benefits the Cuban regime is becoming all the more lopsided.

"This is the only government in the Western Hemisphere, which the Obama administration has chosen to establish relations with, that is not elected by its citizens. The message is democracy and human rights take a back seat to a legacy initiative.”

U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ):

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“This is a dangerous and premature action. Before any consideration was given to opening an American Embassy in Havana and allowing the Castro regime to open an Embassy in Washington, D.C., the Administration should insist that Cuba return the FBI’s number one terrorist, Joanne Chesimard, alongside the countless U.S. fugitives hiding in Cuba.

"Trust must be earned.  It is not just given away. The Cuban regime forfeited that privilege over 50 years ago and has done nothing since to garner the trust of the Cuban people or the international community. The Cuban regime has continuously tried to circumvent international norms by engaging with questionable state actors like North Korea and Venezuela, in violation of U.N. sanctions. Even more troubling is that the U.S.’ Defense Intelligence Agency was penetrated by a Cuban spy, Ana Montes, who operated undetected for an astonishing 16 years until detained in 2001.

"I do not agree with the direction the Administration has taken in regards to Cuba policy and implore them to stop continuously conceding to all of the Cuban regime’s demands until more significant steps are taken to address the gross human rights violations and the plight of the Cuban people.”

U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL):

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“The redesignation of our diplomatic facility in Havana as an embassy means President Obama can check off another item on his personal "legacy-building" bucket list?, but it will not further our national interests and recklessly confers legitimacy ?on an absolutely illegitimate military dictatorship. This deplorable move adds to the long list of unilateral concessions the Cuban government has received from the Obama Administration as a reward for cruelly holding an American hostage for five years. Our country deserves a foreign policy that puts America first and that rewards our allies - not dictators responsible for the death of American citizens and for the theft of American property.”

Reports from Cuba: Politicians by decree, illiterate by submission

By Victor Manuel Dominguez in Translating Cuba:

Politicians by Decree and Illiterate by Submission

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Cubanet.org, Victor Manuel Dominguez, Havana, 24 June 2015 – Abel Prieto rides again. Not as the author of two little novels whose names I cannot remember. Nor as the ex-president of a union of writers and authors more sold to the powers-that-be than self-help books at the Havana book fair, or reproductions of “Still Life with the Leader” at an art exposition committed to who knows what.

Never ever as that ex-minister of culture, with long hair and little sense, who declared that poets like Raul Rivera could be jailed, but they would not show up shot in the head at the edge of some ditch. Now, such a sad political figure, he rides as the cultural adviser to the Cuban president.

Other “Kultural Pajes”

As the Spanish writer Arturo Perez Reverte said in his article “Kultural Pajes” from the book With Intent to Offend, “The more illiterate the politicians are – in Spain those two words almost always are synonymous – the more they like to appear in the cultural pages of the newspapers.”

It happens here in Cuba, too. The difference is that here the lines fuse, and writers and artists are declared politicians by decree and illiterate by submission. Our politician-intellectuals also write or “sing” to the authorities, who sign a document to send innocents to the execution wall.

Therefore, Abel Prieto’s words to the Spanish daily El Pais are not strange although they are cynical: “The idea that we live in a regime that controls everything that the citizen consumes is a lie, an untenable caricature in this interconnected world.”

Saying that in a nation where the citizens are only interconnected, against their will, to registration offices, personnel files, surveillance centers, State Security and Interior Ministry monitoring and control departments or crime laboratories is a bluff.

The assertion that Cubans are at a high level of international connectedness would be pathetic, if it were not insulting, when we have not yet even overcome the barrier between the produce market and the stove, and they censor films, prohibit books, and pursue and seize antennas across the length and breadth of the country.

The Dark Object of Desire

According to Abel Prieto in El Pais, “We are not going to prohibit things. Prohibition makes the forbidden fruit attractive, the dark object of desire.” We had and have enough experience. From the prohibitions on listening to the Beatles or writing to a relative abroad to access to the internet.

Apparently among the secret guidelines issued by the Communist Party to its cadres in order to mend the nation is the obligatory reading of the poem Man’s Statutes by the Brazilian Thiago de Melo which in one of its verses he says: “Prohibiting is prohibited.” In Cuba only outwardly?

The reality is that Abel contradicts himself. While on one hand he assures that we are not going to prohibit, on the other he says that “we are never going to allow the market to dictate our cultural policy,” when everything is sold, from Lennon’s spectacles and Che’s beret to the sheet music of the National Anthem.

Continue reading Reports from Cuba: Politicians by decree, illiterate by submission

Cuba and FARC, and their sinister presence in Venezuela

Jerry Brewer in Mexidata.info:

Cuba and FARC, and their Sinister Presence in Venezuela

https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/378800000578427342/2ab34060b7f5a00fbc27fe38dfd8d20d_400x400.jpegCuba maintains one of its largest intelligence networks in Venezuela (and in Mexico). The late President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela preferred direct access to Cuba’s security service, as indicated by cables that were released and sent from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas to the State Department.

The Cuban security apparatchik remains a key source of Venezuela’s training for its military, and its domestic and foreign security services, as well as for the development and support of people and groups with terror agendas, and to restrain and inhibit opposition to the repressive leftist governments of Venezuela and Cuba.

Many blind eyes and ears are enraged when offered a peek under the espionage umbrella that reports what some believe are old cold war diatribes designed to punish rogue nations for anti-U.S. sentiments.

One good example is the skillfully exploited situation, the charade, by Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) guerrillas.

The efforts to end more than 50 years of conflict in Colombia, through the latest peace talks that began in November of 2012, in Cuba, clearly demonstrate the terrorist group’s desire to gain power and political office; to be forgiven for their atrocities; and to not surrender their arms.

To simply summarize and give credence to this rebel farce, Ivan Marquez, the lead negotiator of FARC, said that people shouldn't hold high expectations for the peace talks. This as Marquez must see Colombia’s heightened frustrations with the FARC, and its empty words, shenanigans and murderous agenda.

In March, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos agreed to halt aerial bombing in recognition of a unilateral cease-fire called by FARC at Christmastime. However, he subsequently ordered air assaults to resume in response to a rebel attack that killed ten soldiers in April.

Since then both sides have carried out attacks, with the FARC renewing offensive operations and sabotaging roads, pipelines and utilities. Last week four soldiers were killed in northeastern Colombia when a helicopter dropping off troops was destroyed by explosives detonated remotely by the FARC.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, U.S.-based social scientists held a negative view of truces involving violent groups and gangs, believing that those kinds of agreements legitimized gangs, reinforced the authority of their leaders, deepened cohesion among their rank and file, and actually reproduced – rather than reduce – violence. Their perceptions had much merit as evidenced by MS-13 and other gangs in Latin America.

On June 24, U.S. President Barack Obama publicly stated for the first time that the U.S. government “can communicate and negotiate with hostage takers.” This will certainly add many new victims worldwide to at least the minimum of a vast multi-million dollar illicit business of kidnapping and extortion. Kidnap and Ransom insurance (K&R) is growing by leaps and bounds worldwide.

To further complicate the situation and continue the threat, Cuba and Venezuela are joined by Iran with a close and cooperative relationship against the U.S., and in support of terrorist groups and states. Much of this cozy relationship is facilitated though intelligence exchanges, and Cuba’s staunch and highly successful human intelligence network.

Continue reading HERE.

A little list: Some of the most disturbing aspects of the “normalization” circus

Lord High Executioner I and Lord High Executioner II

Lord High Executioner I and Lord High Executioner II

Like the character of the Lord High Executioner in Gilbert and Sullivan's "Mikado", Frank Calzon has a little list.

However, unlike G&S's Lord High Executioner  --and unlike the Castro brothers-- Calzon's list doesn't deal with people who need to be killed, but rather with several egregious features of the "normalization" circus.

So, here is a wonderful exposé of the latest rotten deal announced by the Lord High Facilitator at the White House

(For  two updated performances of  G&S's  "Little List" and a brief respite from today's dark chapter in Cuban history go HERE and  HERE.)

Lord High Capitulator

Lord High Facilitator

From Frank Calzon, director of the Center for a Free Cuba:

Obama administration: normalizing relations as part of smokescreen

The Obama administration will announce tomorrow that it is normalizing relations with the government of General Raul Castro in Cuba. The operations of the American Embassy in Cuba are expected to acquiesce to a number of Cuban restrictions outside the boundaries of normal diplomatic relations. In order to be able to announce this symbolic success, President Obama will acquiesce maintaining hundreds of Cuban nationals that are employees of the Cuban government inside the American Embassy in Havana. The Administration will continue to contract employees from a Cuban government agency. Many of those employees are intelligence officers, and all of them are susceptible to pressure to spy on the diplomatic mission by the Cuban regime. The U.S. government is not permitted to hire workers in Havana as it does elsewhere in the Americas, but it has to pay the salaries of Cubans working for a Cuban government agency for a number of positions in Havana’s American mission.

In addition, it remains to be seen whether Cubans will have the same access to the American mission that they have in other Latin American countries. The American diplomatic mission in Havana is encircled by Cuban security forces that limit access to the mission.

The Administration has yet to respond to Congressional questions about whether General Castro has agreed not to open up America’s diplomatic pouch, as it has done in the past in contravention of the Vienna Convention.

The announcement comes just a few days after the latest roundup of 226 dissidents who were detained last weekend. In order to be able to normalize diplomatic relations, the Administration, in fact, plays an important role in the smokescreen covering up the increase of repression in Cuba. Shortly after the President’s announcement on December 17th of last year, when he indicated that fifty-some political prisoners would be released (many of them have since been rearrested), Amnesty International said the prison releases “will be no more than a smokescreen if they are not accompanied by expanded space for the free and peaceful expression of all opinion and freedoms in Cuba.”

President Obama’s Cuba legacy now includes actively participating in Raul Castro’s smokescreen covering up increasing repression and abuse of Cubans.

On this Fourth of July, Cubans who disagree with Raul Castro’s government will not be invited to attend the celebration hosted by the U.S. in Havana. Cuba’s Foreign Minister has had a visceral veto on who is invited to those receptions, and the Administration instead organizes a separate event for Cuba’s opposition. This is not the way America’s independence is celebrated in Buenos Aires, San Jose, Costa Rica, Mexico City, and elsewhere, where representatives of those societies are invited and the host governments do not tell the Americans whom to invite.

Cuba’s problem is not the embargo

Dr. Jose Azel in PanAm Post:

Cuba’s Problem Is Not the Embargo

US Officials Ought Not Fall for the Castros' Scapegoating

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While over 190 nations engage economically and politically with Cuba, the regime still blames the United States and her embargo for self-created problems. (thierry ehrmann)

The use of economic sanctions as a tool of foreign policy is not new. In 431 BC, Pericles banned the Megarians from the Athenian market and ports, helping to incite the Peloponnesian Wars. Today, economic sanctions are at the center of negotiations with Iran and Cuba. And yet, many in the nations enacting sanctions, as well as in the targeted nations, misconstrue their use and impact. Let’s take the case of Cuba.

The United States’ economic sanctions against Cuba were first enacted in 1961, when President John F. Kennedy issued an executive order in response to the Cuban government’s expropriation without compensation of US assets. Nearly six decades later, the issue remains unresolved and the topic still dominates the rhetoric surrounding US-Cuba relations. The Cuban government and its sympathizers use the fallacious term “blockade” to confer a certain perversion to the policy, and to blame it for the economic failures of the regime.

Others argue, with validity, that the embargo has failed to change the course or nature of the Cuban government. True, but it is also necessary to point out that the alternative policy of engaging with the Cuban government, pursued by the international community, has also failed to change the nature of that regime.

Currently over 190 nations engage economically and politically with Cuba, while the United States remains alone in enforcing economic sanctions. If the embargo is deemed a failure in changing the nature of the Cuban government, there are 190 cases of failure on the alternative policy of engagement. By a preponderance of evidence (190 to 1), it is clear that engagement with that regime has also been a dismal failure.

In 1961, President Kennedy sent a reasonable message to the international community that governments that choose to expropriate the properties of US citizens need to compensate them. Governments that choose to simply steal the properties of US citizens should expect some form of retaliation from the US government. That message remains valid today as an expression of a government’s duty to protect the property rights of its citizenry in countries where the rule of law does not prevail.

Following the advice of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” the Cuban regime has incessantly promoted the falsehood that the US embargo is responsible for the dismal state of Cuba’s economy. But it is not the embargo that has pauperized the Cuban people.

The collapse of the Cuban economy can be clearly traced to its communal ideology and actions when the Cuban Revolution abolished all private property rights. That experiment resulted in an economically bankrupt dystopian society featuring an enormously repressive system, and a government with unlimited power over its citizens.

What exactly is it about the embargo that keeps the Cuban government from allowing economic and political freedoms in Cuba? Allowing economic and political freedoms is entirely within the domain of Cuba’s government. It is not, in any way, impeded by US policy. Cuba’s abysmal sociopolitical and economic conditions are the direct result of the failed policies of the Cuban government, and not of the so-called failed policies of the US government.

No diplomatic effort aimed at seeking concessions from an opponent can succeed if one of the parties elects to give up all its bargaining chips unconditionally, as President Obama’s administration is now doing. Wholehearted abandonment of ones bargaining position is not a logical basis for constructive engagement. Insisting on legitimate concessions, such as respect for human rights, is not a moral or practical failure.

The flagship of US-Cuba policy should be the honorable effort — ineffectual as it may be — to promote civil liberties and political rights in Cuba. We may not effectively influence that process, but that does not mean we should unilaterally abandon positions designed to induce democratic behavior. Diplomatic engagement with an adversary rarely succeeds by merely appealing to the adversary’s higher principles.

In negotiations, when an unconditional concession is given, the receiving party pockets it and moves on to the next demand. That is precisely what the Castro government has done, and the Obama Administration seems to be complying. The United States now sits at the negotiating table empty handed, and is sure to leave empty handed as well.

Obama throws the dissidents under “la gua gua”

cuba

The moment has arrived.   We heard a few minuts ago that Cuba and the US will be opening embassies, although it may be a bit more complicated than President Obama thinks.

What did we get from Cuba?    NADA!

What is Cuba getting?   MUCHOS DOLARES!

As we speak, there are fugitives from US law in Cuba, such as Joanne Chesimard who killed a New Jersey state trooper and hiding under Castro's protection.

"Zero" from President Obama about the thousands of US citizens who had their property stolen by the Castro regime.  It adds up to $ 7 billion!

This is an outrage.    President Obama has shown no regard for the Cuban people and specially the dissidents.

What a travesty.

 

Cuba, the hemisphere’s only apartheid and unelected government rewarded with an embassy by Obama

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Cuba's apartheid dictatorship continues to celebrate Christmas courtesy of President Obama. After more than six months of gifts to the Castro regime with absolutely nothing in return, Obama has once again ignored the law and surrendered yet another unilateral concession to Cuba's viciously repressive criminal government.

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Statement on Establishing Diplomatic Relations With Cuba's Regime

Tomorrow, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will announce the establishment of diplomatic relations with the only government in the Western Hemisphere not elected by its citizens.

That -- in itself -- encapsulates why this is a bad policy.

The announcement comes on the same week that the Castro regime violently arrested over 226 peaceful Cuban dissidents.

That makes the timing particularly distasteful.

According to U.S. law ("LIBERTAD Act"), diplomatic recognition should only be considered "when the President determines that a there exists a democratically elected government in Cuba."

It also states that, "the satisfactory resolution of property claims by a Cuban Government recognized by the United States remains an essential condition for the full resumption of economic and diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba."

That makes the announcement in contravention of U.S. law.

Finally, as a condition for the establishment of diplomatic relations, the Castro regime has demanded restrictions on U.S. diplomat's movement; the inspection of diplomatic pouches for the Mission; an end to the execution of democracy programs (i.e. the training of independent journalists); and the continuance of a state security cordon to intimidate Cubans from approaching the Mission.

That would be in contravention of the Vienna Convention -- and unprecedented in the Western Hemisphere.

Congress should closely probe these very concerning issues, withhold funding for the operation of an Embassy and block the confirmation of any Ambassador, until it receives satisfactory responses from the Obama Administration.

 

“I’m against it!” (sputter enraged academics about allowing Humberto Fontova to appear on the academically-rigorous History News Network)


groucho1groucho2

"They're AGAINST IT!" (allowing the reactionary, non-professor, chusma Fontova to appear in History New Network, dat is.) A choice comment by a History News Network reader:

"Mr. Fontova has never received Doctorate degree, in Latin American studies (having American MA in any studies is the equivalent of knowing no more than just any well-read in the disciple person), since he has never been recognized as a serious researcher by the respective academic community, but only as an extremely biased 'writer' on Latin American issues."

Seems that I hit a nerve. To wit: Why the relentless silence by the Media/Academia complex on history's longest-suffering political prisoners? (easy: because they suffered in Castro's Cuba.)

Of the almost 700,000 people who visited Cuba from the U.S. last year a good percentage went on academic study licenses study. THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of U.S. academics have visited Cuba over the past couple of decades for the express purpose of academic study. So in the article for this academic site I asked:

A cursory Google search of "Mandela" certainly gives the impression that the plight of political prisoners (especially black ones) is of paramount importance to U.S. reporters and academics.

Well, many Cubans (many of them black) suffered longer and more horrible incarceration in Castro’s KGB-designed dungeons than Nelson Mandela spent in South Africa’s (relatively) comfortable prisons, which were open to inspection by the Red Cross. Castro has never allowed a Red Cross delegation anywhere near his real prisons. Now let’s see if any of you academics recognize some of the Cuban ex-prisoners and torture-victims:

Mario Chanes (30 years), Ignacio Cuesta Valle, (29 years) Antonio López Muñoz, (28 years) in Dasio Hernández Peña (28 years) Dr. Alberto Fibla (28 years) Pastor Macurán (28 years) Roberto Martin Perez (28 years) Roberto Perdomo (28 years) Teodoro González (28 years.) Jose L.Pujals (27 years) Miguel A. Alvarez Cardentey (27 years.) Eusebio Penalver (28 years.)

No? None of these names ring a bell? And yet their suffering took place only 90 miles from U.S. shores in a locale absolutely lousy with international press bureaus and their intrepid “investigative reporters.” From CNN to NBC, from Reuters to the AP, from ABC to NPR to CBS, Castro welcomes all of these to “embed” and “report” from his fiefdom. For decades this place has also been overrun by THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of U.S. academics doing "research."

Hummmmm?

political prisoners3plantados2political prisoners1

 

"Le RRRRONCA!!!"

Inevitable, ironic, or hypocritical? Pope Francis to visit prisoners in Philadelphia, ignore them in Castrogonia

Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, Philadelphia

Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, Philadelphia

This piece of news is enough to make this Catholic's brain implode and his faith to be shaken to the core.

Pope Francis -- the very same Vicar of Christ who has given blood-soaked tyrant Raul Castro warm handshakes, pats on the back and a new lease on his throne-- will be visiting prisoners in Philadelphia and focusing on immigration issues during his visit to the United States.

By the way, the prisoners he will be visiting in Philadelphia have been incarcerated for committing crimes against their fellow human beings, and they inhabit a humane modern facility.  Many of the prisoners he could visit  in Cuba have been incarcerated for simply disagreeing with their government or following their Christian conscience, and they also happen to inhabit unimaginably horrid dungeons.

What about those prisoners of conscience in Raul Castro's dungeons?  Will he be visiting them?   Will he go anywhere near the infamous Combinado del Este or Villa Marista prisons in Havana?  What about the two million Cuban migrants living in exile, will he have any comforting words for us?

Combinado del Este prison, Havana

Combinado del Este prison, Havana

No doubt about it, something here stinks to high heaven.  Pope Francis has warmed up to a monster who has killed thousands of his own people, still imprisons hundreds of them week after week, and is also responsible for the emigration of hundreds of thousands who need to flee from his repression.  Yet, there seems to be no focus on immigration or prisons, or human rights on the agenda for his trip to the Castro Kingdom.

To top it off, the mayor of Philadelphia gushes about the pope's visit to his city: “I think what he has demonstrated to the world is that he cares about those who are often left out, locked out, or — in this particular instance — will be locked up....  I think it is about human rights, freedom, liberty, and democracy and how we treat each other”....

And the archbishop of Philadelphia has the nerve to say that the pope's itinerary says: “ I walk with you — and so does the Lord.”

Yeah?  Then what does his collusion with Raul Castro, his silence on human rights abuses and on Cuban prisoners say to Cubans?  Is he willing to walk with the Ladies in White?  Is the Lord uninterested in them?

Is the pope's agenda in Philadelphia to rub salt into the wounds of the Cuban people, or just  an inevitable, casuistical Jesuit adjustment to the ways of the world?

Better not to think about it, if you're Cuban and/or Catholic, or ever attended a Jesuit school.

Come to think of it, better not to think about it if you're a human being, no matter what your nationality or religion or education may be.

Maybe Pope Francis will surprise Raul, scold and shame him in public, call for his abdication, visit prisoners of conscience, march with the Ladies in White.

Yeah, perhaps.  And maybe he'll abandon the Vatican and move the See of Peter to Havana too.  That seems much more likely than any of those other actions at this point.

Oh well.... if nothing else, this situation adds a deeper meaning to the words of Jesus on the cross: "Eli, Eli, lama sabbachtani?" (Matthew 27:46)

ft-represion-damas-de-blanco-cuba

 From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette:

Pope’s visit to Phila. to highlight plight of immigrants, prisoners

PHILADELPHIA — During two whirlwind days in Philadelphia in September, Pope Francis will speak about immigration and religious liberty outside Independence Hall and visit inmates at the city's largest prison.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said the Argentine pope's itinerary says, “I walk with you — and so does the Lord.”

Mayor Michael Nutter, who returned last week from Rome with the delegation firming up plans for Pope Francis’ visit, said he was not surprised by the pope’s plans to visit Independence Hall or a prison.

“I think what he has demonstrated to the world is that he cares about those who are often left out, locked out, or — in this particular instance — will be locked up,” the mayor said.

“I think it is about human rights, freedom, liberty, and democracy and how we treat each other”....

...In Philadelphia, the pope will celebrate Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Center City and visit Independence Mall, where he will speak on immigration — one of his favorite pastoral issues — and religious freedom....

...On Sunday morning, the pope will meet with cardinals, bishops, and seminarians at St. Martin’s Chapel of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on City Avenue in Wynnewood and visit a group of prisoners, their families, and staffers at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in the Northeast section of Philadelphia. He will celebrate Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Sunday afternoon.

Read the whole incredibly distressing story HERE

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ObamaLaugh1

Hillary Clinton thinks idea of arresting Castro is a joke

Newly released emails to and from Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state reveal that Democrat candidate for president thinks the idea of arresting Fidel Castro is funny.

As a reminder, in 1996 (while Clinton's husband was President) the Cuban Air Force, under the authority of Fidel and Raul Castro shot down two American civilian aircraft over international waters, killing 4 people (3 of them American citizens).This in addition to known narcotrafficking that the regime has engaged in.

Now on to the emails.

On December 16, 2009 Undersecretary of State Richard Verma sends an email to Secretary Clinton advising her that the hold on a nominee had been removed by George Lemieux, the (then) Republican Senator from Florida. Clinton responds jokingly by saying:

What took them so long? Did you promise your first born?

Verma responds by saying:

Yes, I sold my soul to George Lemieux today. I am not proud of it.

Clinton then answers with doozie:

Does this mean you have to go to Cuba and arrest Castro or just shovel more $ into Little Havana?

So arresting Castro is something to make light of, not something that a serious person would ever consider. Just like "shoveling more $ into Little Havana.

Super-Surprise! Full-fledged embassies to open in Havana and Washington D.C.

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Bet you couldn't see this one coming, huh?

The very real embassies that have been in place for many, many years in Havana and Washington D.C. -- under the euphemism of "interest sections"-- will now magically turn into what they have always been, but under different names.  The top diplomats will now be able to call themselves "ambassadors" while they continue to live in the same residences.

So, here it is, "normalization" at last!  But wait, what about handing over Guantanamo Bay naval base to the Castro dynasty?  What about those billions of dollars in reparations?  What about granting Cuban "diplomats" free rein in the U.S., along with easy access to sensitive information?

Ay, it's too abnormal, this "normalization."   Some pieces are missing. Beware.  Wait for the next shoe to drop.  Raul will get everything he wants.  Everything.

Prepare for another Obamazo when the current occupant of the White House starts blabbing tomorrow.

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From Fox News:

US, Cuba to announce embassy openings Wednesday

President Obama will announce Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba have reached an agreement to open embassies in Havana and Washington, an administration official confirmed to Fox News.

The announcement marks a major step in ending hostilities between the longtime foes and an opportunity to re-establish formal diplomatic relations.

The U.S. and Cuba have been negotiating the reestablishment of embassies in each other's capitals following the Dec. 17 announcement that they would move to restore ties.

The White House announced late Tuesday that Obama would deliver a statement, presumably the formal announcement, in the Rose Garden at 11am Wednesday.

For Obama, ending Washington's half-century freeze with Cuba is seen as a major element of his foreign policy legacy. He has long touted the value of engagement and argued that the U.S. embargo on the communist island just 90 miles south of Florida was ineffective.

Read the whole thing HERE.

They have ice cream in Cuba!

Michael Totten, blogging at Instapundit, brings us the amazing tale.

WORKER’S PARADISE. Cuba has ice cream. They have a chronic shortage of ice cream, but they do have some ice cream.

A couple of non-gullible journalists went down there with a video camera and recorded the state-run ice cream parlor. The line on a Sunday was two hours long. Only one flavor—strawberry—was available. It costs a little more than two dollars for a scoop. That’s more than ten percent of Cuba’s state-imposed Maximum wage of twenty dollars a month. Such is life when the dictator insists on “socialism or death.”

Note the tourist/journalist didn't have to wait in the 2-hour line and had a choice of flavors. But hey, why should a Cuban have access to Baskin Robbins and its 31 flavors anyway? Get to Cuba quick before capitalism destroys the quaintness.

Reports from Cuba: Human Development in a country without freedom?

By Jose Hugo Fernandez in Translating Cuba:

Human Development in a Country without Freedom?

The regime has dedicated itself to sugarcoating the pill for organizations like the UN, UNESCO and UNICEF

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Cubanet.org, Jose Hugo Fernandez, Havana, 23 June 2015 – Recently, during a conference at the University of Puerto Rico, I was astonished to hear how a teacher cited Cuba as such an example of Human Development for the Caribbean region and the whole continent. No political deliberation was evident in her statements. She simply appealed to statistics and reports by international institutions, apparently trusting completely in the reputation of the issuer, and without reference to other more vital sources for comparison. The thing is that it made me feel ashamed somehow of representing my country under circumstances in which perhaps I should have felt proud.

The cynical compromise, well structured and promptly placed in orbit, can become a historical fact. Machiavelli had it right, more than five centuries ago, so how much better will our chiefs, his gifted students, have learned it, even if they act much more savagely.

After shredding almost all basis for Human Development on our little island, this regime has dedicated itself, with cold and careful patience, to sugarcoating the pill for prestigious organizations like the UN, UNESCO and UNICEF (and, through them, the international academic sphere, particularly that of the European Union), in order to round off the massacre, making the civilized world believe that its dictatorship – ingrown and even wild in more than one respect – represents a revolutionary project of humanistic and emancipating character.

It will fall to historians and sociologists or anthropologists and maybe to the psychiatrists of the future to explain how, by what devices of insane policy or under what kind of deception, they managed to win the upper hand. But what is certain is that last year Cuba occupied 44th place among the world’s countries with the best Human Development indices, and it is among the best in the Caribbean. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry in the face of that piece of information, but so it appears in the most serious records, those which inevitably serve as reference as much for the naïve and dandruff-covered “experts” as for the clever accomplices.

Although it is more, it should be pointed out that, as conceived by the UN itself, the Human Development of each nation is measured, above all, by the chance the bulk of its inhabitants live a life that meets their expectations and that permits them to develop all their potential as human beings.

And so we have a country where the only dream of the young is to flee, even risking life, in search of material and spiritual growth. Or where old people constitute a burden that no one can tackle and that, therefore, moves no one, including the State. Or where citizens are excluded, harassed, jailed for their political ideas. Or where work has lost its function as the sustenance for family existence and the essence of national progress… That country now ranks as a paradigm of Human Development.

Continue reading Reports from Cuba: Human Development in a country without freedom?

Stellar moments in the Cuba thaw, courtesy of Elian Gonzalez and Tony Castro

Garrincha in Martí Noticias:

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"If Cuba ceases to be socialist, it would become another Haiti."

"What does that mean? That I'll be assigned bodyguards who are less discrete?"

Cuba: Catholic church bans relatives of political prisoners from mass

By Frances Martel in Breitbart:

Cuba: Catholic Church Bans Relatives of Political Prisoners from Mass

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Eight members of the Ladies in White activist group have attended Sunday Catholic Mass wearing white for years, sitting in the pews in silence unless participating in the Mass. No reports have surfaced of the women themselves–mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters of prisoners of conscience–disturbing the Mass. Nonetheless, a priest in Cienfuegos expelled them from his service, ordering them never to wear white again in his church if they wish to attend services.

The priest, identified as “Father Tarciso,” told Diario de Cuba that the women were “disrespectful,” stating, “I had told them that the way things are could not continue to be. … I cannot allow our community to be further fractured,” he argued. He accused them of taking photographs inside the church, which the ladies deny. Miladis Espino Díaz, a representative of the Ladies in White, noted that they were expelled from the church and, upon walking out, could hear the priest apologize to those in attendance for not having done it sooner.

“We do not only go to church because we are Ladies in White,” Espino Díaz told the newspaper, “but because we believe in God. We sing, we pray, we participate, we do nothing wrong.”

Following their removal from the church, the women testified to being the victim of a number of offensive acts, including a man “exposing himself and urinating in front of them,” “obscene gestures using fingers,” and “being called prostitutes.”

Offenses to the Ladies in White are common as they attempt to attend Mass; in a particularly gruesome instance last year, one woman was tarred for wearing white to the service.

Two male supporters of the group, Emilio García Moreira and Alexander Veliz García, began a hunger strike Thursday to support the return of the women to Mass.

Catholic religion is heavily regulated in communist Cuba, where it is technically a counterrevolutionary activity but has managed to persist, particularly given overtures by Pope Francis towards the Castro dictatorship. “If he keeps talking like this, I’ll return to the Church,” Raúl Castro said of the Pope this year following his support of major U.S. concessions to the Castro regime. Pope Francis was a direct mediator between President Obama and Raúl Castro before the American head of state chose to strip Cuba of its State Sponsor of Terrorism status–despite no evidence in a change of support to either the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or Hezbollah–in exchange for nothing from Cuba.

Continue reading HERE.