When children go to school in Cuba, they receive advance "Stockholm" traning along with their indoctrination—how better to control them before they reach an age of dissent. The soldiers depicted carrying "good rifles" are, as all Cubans including children understand, the same ones charged with beating the Ladies in White and any others who dare to disagree with the regime. They well understand the threat of beatings, arrests, and understand the ultimate threat implied, as these are the "good rifles" of Che's legacy. They know the CDR is watching. This evil omnipotence is the work of men who are monsters, practicing the evil atheist ideology of Communism. To instill such fear in children violates all internationally accepted principles governing human rights.
Imagine if text books for first grade African-American children taught them to admire rope bearing KKK clansmen, or if text books for Jewish-American children forced them to learn that the Holocaust was "good". Imagine teaching children to fear their own thoughts, and calling it education advertised as free.
From the Twitter feed of Yusnaby Pérez:
El miliciano tiene un fusil. The soldier has a rifle.
El ama la paz. He loves peace.
En manos buenos, In good hands,
un fusil es bueno. a gun is good.
“Cuban exiles are responsible for sleaze in American politics. In every incident of national torment that has deflated our country for the past three decades…Cuban exiles are always present and involved.” (Michael Moore, Downsize This)
“I don’t like your people. I don’t like to see you come out to this clean country in your oily hair. Dressed up in those silk suits, trying to pass yourselves off as decent Americans." (Senator Pat Geary to Michael Corleone.)
And lest we forget, Michael Moore is an icon and rollicking crowd-pleaser of the Democratic Party, feted at their National conventions and a HUGE campaign draw in Florida (no less!!!)
With all the hysteria going on about the ebola virus, I’d like to issue an edict to forbid the use by Cuban-American of the idiomatic expression “Oye, Asere. ¿Qué bola?”
The literal translation of the above expression is “Hey, Dude. What’s up?!”
The reason for the edict is that those who are not fluent in the Spanish/Cuban dialect might think that you are speaking about the ebola virus, and might either quarantine you or send you back to Castrolandia.
Another so-called "reform" under Raul Castro, religious persecution.
From Christian Solidarity Worldwide:
Cuba: Baptist pastor threatened with criminal charges:
Cuban Baptist pastor and religious freedom activist Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso has received official notice that he may face criminal charges if he does not break ties with “counter-revolutionary elements” in and outside of Cuba, and if he does not stop giving radio interviews. His wife, Yoaxis Marcheco Suarez, was summoned for an interview with security services on 15 October.
Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, a prominent religious freedom activist and church leader, was officially summoned to the State Security Unit in Camajuani, Villa Clara on 8 October. He was threatened with arrest if he did not appear. At the unit a Lieutenant Colonel read out an Official Warning or “Acta de Advertencia”, a document that can be used as justification for future arrests and criminal charges. Two witnesses, whom the pastor did not recognize, were present and offered testimony of his “counter-revolutionary” links. This is the third time that government agents have unsuccessfully attempted to pressure Reverend Lleonart Barroso into signing an Acta de Advertencia.
According to Reverend Lleonart Barroso, who leads the Ebenezer Baptist Church in the town of Taguayabon in Villa Clara Province, and who is a member of the Western Baptist Convention, one of the largest registered religious organisations on the island, the Lieutenant Colonel told him verbally that the government was unhappy about the pastor’s recent visit to the eastern part of the country. The official added that if the pastor did not change his behaviour soon, a criminal case would “probably be filed.”
The purpose of Reverend Lleonart Barroso’s visit was to meet with church leaders who had reported violations of religious freedom. Reverend Lleonart Barroso met with Pastor Yiorvis Denis, the leader of a church in Camaguey which has come under repeated threat of forced closure and confiscation of property. He also met with Pastor Esmir Torreblanca, the leader of a large church in Santiago that was razed by the government in July.
Reverend Lleonart Barroso told Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), “I intend to continue on with my activities in the defence of religious freedom in Cuba.”
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “Once again we call on the Cuban government to cease its harassment of Reverend Lleonart Barroso. We are deeply concerned that the Cuban government appears to equate the defence of freedom of religion or belief with ‘counter-revolutionary’ activity, even as it publicly maintains that these fundamental rights are respected in Cuba. CSW reminds the Cuban government of the provisions in the ICCPR and the ICESCR, which it has signed, to protect and uphold religious freedom and the civil rights of its population. We urge members of the international community to make representations to the Cuban government in support of Reverend Lleonart Barroso and to hold the Cuban government to account for its continued violations of religious freedom.”
Update via Capitol Hill Cubans: Rev. Lleonart's wife, Yoaxis Marcheco Suarez, was arrested this afternoon and interrogated for over two hours by the Castro regime.
“Go back to Italy where you belong and advise Mussolini on how to make good honest citizens. Italians are predominantly our murderers and bootleggers…you Italians are foreign spawn who do not appreciate the country that supports and tolerates you.” (Republican President Herbert Hoover to Republican congressman of New York Fiorello La Guardia 1930.)
Those were the days, my friend!--when U.S. political discourse was GLORIOUSLY(!!!) free of political-correctness. Alas, in these bland and dreary times we find:
"...challenge the Cuba Lobby at your peril. In Miami, conservative Cuban-Americans have long presumed to be the sole authentic voice of the community, silencing dissent by threats and, occasionally, violence. In the 1970s, anti-Castro terrorist groups like Omega 7 and Alpha 66 set off dozens of bombs in Miami and assassinated two Cuban-Americans who advocated dialogue with Castro. Reports by Human Rights Watch in the 1990s documented the climate of fear in Miami and the role that elements of the Cuba Lobby, including CANF, played in creating it. the Cuba Lobby has also struck fear into the heart of the foreign-policy bureaucracy. The congressional wing of the Cuba Lobby, in concert with its friends in the executive branch, routinely punishes career civil servants who don't toe the line." (Dean of the American University School of Public Affairs and Council on Foreign Affairs senior fellow William LeoGrande in Foreign Policy Magazine, April, 2013)
Too bad William LeoGrande (above on left reacting to his VIP feting by Castro's Stalinist regime this week) didn’t feel as free to express his genuine sentiments regarding Cuban-Americans as Herbert Hoover (and Jack Woltz) did regarding LeoGrande’s (Italian) grandparents. In Herbert Hoover’s time such tortuous circumlocution as LeoGrande’s in his Foreign Policy piece was as utterly unnecessary as it was in Jack Woltz dining room.
“Now you listen to me, you smooth-talking son-of-a-bitch, let me lay it on the line for you and your boss, whoever he is! Johnny Fontaine will never get that movie! I don't care how many dago guinea wop greaseball goombahs come out of the woodwork!”
(Oye pero la verdad que a este Fontova le encanta JODER!)
Elizabeth Peña has passed away at 55. At 5'2" the pint-sized beauty was a powerhouse on the screen and stage for 40 years, helping open the door for more Hispanic actors/actresses to follow. Makes sense, with her parents' background. The above photograph is a still from her scene in Andy Garcia's "The Lost City" where her Communist 'revolutionary' character is insisting to Garcia's night club-owning character how/why the saxophone is no longer allowed to be played in Castro's Communist Cuba.
Here is a bit of her biography...
(IMDb Bio) - Her love for the arts came naturally, as her father was a well-known playwright, actor, director and novelist, so its not hard to understand that by the time she was eight, Cuban-American Elizabeth Pena already had designs to become an actress. Born in New Jersey and raised in New York, her parents, who opened off-Broadway's "Latin American Theatre Ensemble", were more than encouraging. Elizabeth attended NY's "High School of the Performing Arts" and found occasional work in repertory theatre and in television commercials. Her film debut in the independent Spanish-speaking feature, El Super (1979), started her on a long line of feisty, rebellious characters that showed plenty of attitude. During the early 80s, she played everything, from a knife-threatening waitress to a disco queen, as she waited for her big break. That big break came in the form of the hugely successful comedy film, Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), co-starring Bette Midler, Richard Dreyfuss and Nick Nolte, in which she stole many scenes as the sultry, politically-minded maid, "Carmen", who lusts for Nolte. This propelled her to move to Los Angeles, where she continued to spice up both the big and small screen, including the part of Ritchie Valens' stepsister-in-law, in the well-received biopic, La Bamba (1987). Honors also came by Elizabeth's way, when she received the "Independent Spirit" and "Bravo" awards for the film, Lone Star (1996), and the "ALMA Award" for Tortilla Soup (2001). On TV, she hasn't found the one series role to thrust her front and center. Co-starring roles in Tough Cookies (1986), I Married Dora (1987) and Shannon's Deal (1990) were short-lived. She is married and has two children ... (on her refusal to portray Latin stereotypes) There are a lot of jobs I've turned down because they wanted me to play what I call "Miss Cuchifrito" types.
(The Hollywood Reporter) - Her nephew, writer Mario-Francisco Robles of the website Latino Review, shared the news in an obituary on the site. He said Pena died Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She died of natural causes after a brief illness.
Pena broke into sitcom territory decades earlier when she toplined I Married Dora for ABC. The series ran for one season from 1987-88 and centered on a couple with a green-card marriage.
She also stood out as postal clerk Jezzie, who lives with a hallucinatory Tim Robbins, in the Adrian Lyne horror film Jacob’s Ladder (1990).
“I worked very hard to get Jacob’s Ladder,” she said in a 2001 interview. “At first they wanted Julia Roberts, Andie MacDowell or Michelle Pfeiffer. At some point they wanted Susan Sarandon, and Madonna wanted the part. They auditioned all of them. I begged to be auditioned. I begged and begged and when I auditioned, the chemistry was right and Adrian and I were just taken with each other. I auditioned for six months, twice a week. The reason I kept going back was because Adrian was literally fighting for me to get the role.”
In Paul Mazursky’s Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Pena played the live-in maid who made out in her room with Richard Dreyfuss, and in Brett Ratner's Rush Hour (1998), she was LAPD bomb diffusion expert Tania Johnson opposite partner Chris Tucker.
Pena also recurred on the 2000-02 Showtime drama Resurrection Blvd. as family matriarch Bibi Corrales. She went on to direct an episode of the series, as well as episodes of Nickelodeon's The Brothers Garcia, becoming the fourth Latina ever to join the Director's Guild of America.
She also provided the voice of Mirage, the right-hand woman of bad guy Syndrome (Jason Lee), in Pixar's The Incredibles (2004).
In La Bamba (1987), she played Rosie Morales, the sister-in-law of rock ’n’ roll icon Ritchie Valens, (Lou Diamond Phillips), and on Matador, she played the mother of Tony "Matador" Bravo (Gabriel Luna).
The Hollywood Reporter article mentions that shortly after she was born in New Jersey her parents moved the family back to Cuba until she was about eight or nine years-old, and then they moved back to the U.S. to New York City. I do not know what her politics and views on Castro and Cuba were, but I did enjoy her work. Please add to the comments section if readers have any more info on her. Thanks. Variety Latino has a beautiful spread on her career with more photographs.
HT: Danny Pino @ Twitter
The New York Times runs an editorial denouncing the so-called U.S. embargo of Cuba as "counterproductive" (i.e. "Castro's best friend...because it gives him an excuse for his economic failures blah..blah..")--yet quickly runs another editorial boasting that Fidel Castro endorsed and reprinted the first one!
The New York Times also boasts that Fidel Castro compared their recent end-the-embargo editorial to the work from Cuba of New York Times reporter Herbert Matthews!!!!!!
"Imagine if you will...a place where every "prestigious" Think-Tank (from Brookings to CATO) and every "prestigious" publication (from the New York Times to The Atlantic) denounces the Cuba "embargo" as "Castro's best-friend, a policy he secretly favors"--even when every one of his convicted secret agents campaigned secretly and obsessively against the embargo while working as secret agents. On top of that, the KGB-mentored media of Castro's totalitarian regime makes it a point to reprint every "end-the-embargo" article ever printed in the world, especially by the New York Times...
Imagine if you will...a place where the institutions that call the embargo "Castro's Best-Friend" are still titled"Think-Tanks...."
By Clive Rudd Fernandez in Havana Times:
Responding to The NYT editorial “End the US Embargo on Cuba”
I was surprised to read the editorial from the New York Times on October 11, 2014, not because of the subject but because of the unconvincing and poor arguments presented. As a Cuban who’s lived in exile in Europe for more than 20 years, this subject is in my thoughts very often.
The U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, which was imposed on October 19, 1960, should be relaxed by Barack Obama by doing “a major policy shift [that] could yield a significant foreign policy success”.
This argument appears on the first paragraph of the op ed with an implicit message to Barack Obama urging him to do a major policy shift regarding the relations with the Cuban government and as a result he’ll improve his ratings.
This is where I couldn’t believe what I was reading. “Fully ending the embargo will require Congress’s approval. But there is much more the White House could do on its own.” So the op ed is not asking the United States to modify the law; the intention here is to go the less democratic way: the President with his executives powers should do some policy changes to undermine the embargo so much that could render it irrelevant and the objective: to score a political goal for the president!
Few paragraphs down in the text, it reads: “The generation that adamantly supports the embargo is dying off. Younger Cuban-Americans hold starkly different views”. So, I wonder, why the need to bypass the democratic route?
The editorial goes on and states that “a devastated economy has forced [the government in] Cuba to make reforms” and “over the decades, it became clear to many American policy makers that the embargo was an utter failure”. Both statements are clearly contradictory arguments.
The trade embargo affects the Cuban economy to the point that it’s a “devastated economy” so it “has forced Cuba to make reforms”, and on the same text it says that the embargo is not working? As a popular English proverb says: “You can’t have your cake and eat it (too)”.
Another clear contradiction is that the editor is stating that “for the first time in more than 50 years, shifting politics in the United States and changing policies in Cuba make it politically feasible to re-establish formal diplomatic relations and dismantle the senseless embargo”. So the fact that Alan Gross has been unjustly imprisoned in Cuba for nearly five years and that “the authoritarian government still harasses and detains dissidents” is not a deal breaker?
After arguing poorly against the trade embargo the op ed goes to the implementation plan. This is a manual for the President on how to go about executing the policy changes:
“As a first step, the Obama administration should remove Cuba from the State Department’s list of nations that sponsor terrorist organizations” and “Cuba was put on the list in 1982 for backing terrorist groups in Latin America, which it no longer does.”
“Which it no longer does?” How on Earth can the editorial board of the NYT make a statement like this? Most human rights organizations in Europe and the U.S. are at least skeptical on this. Cuba is a closed society where the government persecutes and imprisons investigative journalism; therefore we could assume a statement like this is at least unfounded. On top of that, the Cuban government has gone on record supporting Bashar al Assad in Syria, Hamas in Gaza and various people in power in Iran over the years.
The article also argues “It could also help American companies that are interested in developing the island’s telecommunications network but remain wary of the legal and political risks”.
This statement completely ignores what Bloomberg BusinessWeek published in April of 2009 the “[U.S.] Administration would let U.S. telecom network providers set up—and Americans pay for—fiber-optic cable and satellite communications facilities linking the U.S. and Cuba. The U.S. government will also license those companies to provide cell-phone services in Cuba, and allow satellite-radio and satellite-TV service providers to do business in that country”. This was more than 5 years ago, but the Cuban government doesn’t seem to be interested in losing its monopoly on telecommunications on the Island, so the answer by the Cuban government was: “thanks, but no thanks”.
After all failed arguments the op ed ends with the same driver that it started. “Given the many crises around the world, the White House may want to avoid a major shift in Cuban policy.” So, Mr. President, don’t miss this opportunity for a political win, go ahead a put your ratings back up.
Garrincha in El Nuevo Herald:
"U.S. travelers to Cuba increase by 10% during first half of the year."
John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:
Remembering and Honoring Laura Inés Pollán Toledo
“I have read somewhere that in a totalitarian system martyrdom does better than thought.” - Václav Havel
Laura Inés Pollán Toledo (1948 - 2011)
Three years later and the forces of repression still tremble before the memory of the 65 year old wife, mother and school teacher. Watching Laura Inés Pollán Toledo in the video below and one begins to understand the existential threat she and the Ladies in White represent to the totalitarians in Cuba.
She was a former school teacher turned human rights defender and international pro-democracy figure who courageously and nonviolently confronted Castro's half century old totalitarian dictatorship and paid for it with her life.
Today at 12 noon at the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity (Ermita de la Caridad) located at 3609 South Miami Ave. Miami, Fl. 33133 will have a special Mass for Laura Inés Pollán Toledo and one can expect activities around Cuba in her honor.
Human rights trends in Cuba remain troubling with violence against activists on the increase. Women in Cuba continue to be targeted with violence for expressing their opinions and often times around the world, people who should know better, are unaware of what is taking place and celebrate the regime's treatment of women.
Continue reading HERE.
Concussion update on a special feast day
Slipping in and out of consciousness repeatedly is a new experience for me.
Having the room spin while I am sitting still is not new. My seminarian housemate in Minnesota once served me a soft drink heavily laced with Everclear grain alcohol as a joke. Apparently, young men studying to be Catholic priests were fond of such pranks back in the early 1980's. Everclear is 180 proof, which means it's 90% pure alcohol. When mixed with soft drinks ("pop" in the Midwest), it is tasteless. Before I finished my second glass of "pop" the room had begun to spin. Even worse, the Aztec dragons on my Mexican tapestry had also begun to wag their long tongues at me. I passed out on the couch and woke up the following morning with the worst headache I'd ever had .
My room has been spinning a lot lately, but I have a reference point for that experience.
Making repeated trips to some other weird dimension is not just new to me, but somewhat disconcerting. I'm starting to feel like the character of Billy Pilgrim in Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five" who was constantly getting "unstuck" in time, taking trips to the future and the past, as well as to the planet Tralfalmadore. Those trips gave Billy an entirely different perspective on time, space, and human existence.
I have not yet gone to Tralfalmadore or encountered anyone like Montana Wildhack, but I have gone to La-La-Land, which is very colorful and seems to have a cuisine centered on incredibly beautiful mushrooms that look like tropical fish. Past, present, and future also seem not to exist in La-La-Land. It's nothing but an eternal Now moment of sorts. Everyone there seems to be very kind too. Bad news don't seem to exist.
Coming back from La-La-Land is always a shock.
Ebola. Insane unstoppable Jihadists. Insane unstoppable Latrine American politicians. Equally insane and unstoppable election advertisements on American television. News people obsessed with truly stupid unimportant stories. America falling apart at the seams at home, proving itself a total idiot abroad. The New York Times displaying its utter imbecility again, for the trillionth time. Idiots who consider themselves "intellectuals" applauding the New York Times.
Searching for "Cuba News" on Google has always been a harrowing experience. Doing that same search after a visit to La-La-Land is immensely more harrowing: it's like opening a window to hell.
The long and short of it is this: I know my brain is damaged, but somehow, what my brain is now perceiving in the so-called "real" world seems somehow a more correct perspective on that dimension.
The so-called "real" world is at some dark turning point right now. In the long long wrestling match between good and evil there have been many such turning points. Right now evil definitely seems to have the upper hand, not just because of the strength and resolve of its human agents, but because of the willful ignorance and sheer delusions of so many of those who should be opposing it.
Today is the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila, an incredible holy woman who had many encounters with the divine and also with the demonic. She had nothing but contempt for demons, and knew how to chase them away. But she never underestimated their ability to fool the world at large.
So, today, as I commute back and forth from La La Land, I pray to La Santa Madre, please help us all in our struggle against evil. Help us to love fiercely and to fight evil wherever it manifests itself.