Just like they do in Cuba, the Castro regime’s puppet dictatorship in Venezuela is controlling the population through hunger.
How Venezuela’s Repressive Government Controls the Nation Through Hunger
The Venezuelan government has become one of the world’s cruelest teasers. It has created unspeakable hardships for the populace and, at the same time, is taking advantage of those hardships to introduce new forms of political control.
The proliferation of food lines is a perfect example of this teasing. Lines to buy groceries have become longer and more widespread. In a country with plenty of irritants, these food lines, hardly seen before 2010, have become Venezuela’s most aggravating political problem today.
You would think that food lines would prompt riots. And some rioting is occurring. But we are not seeing anything like a Venezuelan Spring in which protests envelop the country and lead to governmental change. Why? Because food lines have paradoxically given the government new mechanisms for keeping protests at bay.
Venezuela is facing a manmade food crisis. In the mid-2000s, under President Hugo Chávez, the state implemented a series of ill-conceived economic policies: price controls, arbitrary expropriations, overvalued exchange rates and overregulation of the private sector. These policies destroyed Venezuela’s capacity to produce goods domestically, including food. Between 2008 and 2014, which analysts often consider boom years in Venezuela, the agricultural gross domestic product per capita shrank by an average of 4.7 percent annually.
When oil prices were high, from 2004 to 2013, the government could ignore the collapse of domestic production because it could spend petrodollars on imports. But when oil prices started declining in 2014, the government adjusted by reducing the money available for imports. This reduction affected food, fertilizer and agricultural equipment. The result is today’s food crisis.
None of the Chávez-era policies that led to the food crisis have changed. If anything, Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro, has reinforced the model he inherited. The only change has been the introduction of a rationing system. The government launched consumption quotas, giving people permission to buy certain quantities of certain products on certain days of the week, but no more. Maduro has thus Sovietized Venezuela. And predictably, rationing has exacerbated the food lines. Today, Venezuelans spend an average of 8 hours a week shopping and standing in line.
Continue reading HERE.
The Miami Marlins, the Cuban American community, along with all of South Florida is in mourning today over the news of the tragic death of 24-year-old pitching phenom, Jose Fernandez in a boating accident last night. Although he may no longer be with us, the message this young man who escaped the tyranny and slavery of Castro’s Cuba had for his teammates who were born in the U.S. will remain with us forever:
“You were born into freedom, you don’t understand freedom.”
By : in Diario de Cuba
On Friday morning the Human Rights activist and member of the Citizens for Racial Integration (CIR) committee, Marthadela Tamayo, was seized by State Security forces. Her family and friends knew nothing of her whereabouts for the eight hours she was detained. DIARIO DE CUBA received the report of her abduction and spoke with her.
I went down to pick up a friend’s laptop that a colleague had repaired. I saw a man with a butcher’s apron, but I realized that the butcher there was a woman. On my way back to my apartment at Soledad and Peregrino a man called me over, by name, and told me he wanted to talk to me. I asked what about, and he said it would just be a moment. I said I wanted to go up to put away the laptop, but he wouldn´t let me. I saw a car several meters away back up to where we were, and I realized that it was not going to just be a moment; I took off running, and I yelled at [Juan Antonio] Madrazo that they wanted to take me away.
When Madrazo came and looked out they were already forcing me into the car. One of those who grabbed me was the “butcher,” now without his apron.
They caused this whole scene in front of my neighbors who peered out when they heard me screaming, as if I were a criminal. There were two cars, one on Salud and another on Peregrino. And there were two motorcycles. We later learned from the neighbors that the cars had been there since 6 am.
By running, and resisting arrest, couldn’t you have justified them using violence? (She has a small bruise near her wrist from when they forced her into the patrol car)
I wanted for them to at least let me go up to my apartment and leave the laptop and to explain what was going on. And I told them: I had just gotten up and was having my period. Besides, he wasn’t a police officer, who have the authority to arrest you. He was a State Security agent, who cannot summon or arrest you.
They normally give you a citation signed by a State Security agent, ordering you to show up. But the summons must be signed by an officer of the Court. As people are ignorant of these things, he just shows up like that. We have informed ourselves about these things. One can even refuse to talk to him. In the case of a police officer it’s another story; you cannot resist or run.
In the car they said they were taking me to Santiago. I thought they would deport me to Santiago de Cuba, but in reality I’m from Holguin. Then I realized that they were taking me to the police station in Santiago de las Vegas. There they took me to an interrogation room, without going through the entrance area. They do not register you as arrested.
What happened during the interrogation?
A lot of coercion. They told me: “You’re not from Havana. Now, if we feel like it, we’ll take you, handcuffed, off to Antilla, Holguín. We know you have a romantic relationship with Madrazo Luna; if he tries to pick you up, we won’t let him anywhere near the terminal, and we won´t let you come either.”
Top Right: The entry to Cuba for tourists
Bottom Left: The entry to Cuba for sheep (useful idiots), mules (transporters), and goats (snitches)
Bottom Right: The entry to Cuba for worms (Cuban exiles)
Even before Trump’s campaign started using Rolling Stones’ songs (Can’t Always Get What You Want, Start Me Up, Brown Sugar) for his rallies–the Stones were already having their 19th Nervous Breakdown over The Donald:
“As it turns out, American Democrats aren’t the only group who can’t stand Donald Trump. British rock stars can’t tolerate the orange-hued presidential threat either. As proof, Rolling Stones tour producer Michael Cohl shared a story about a 1989 concert when Keith Richards came close to finishing off the circus-peanut- shaped entrepeneur .
Now that we know why the Stones detest the UN-cool Trump, let’s see what might endear the Stalinist Castro regime to the world’s top musical hipsters. What might make these Billionaire communist torturers appear so super-cool in the eyes of the super-cool Billionaire Rolling Stones? What might make the hipster princes gift the Castro family with a free tourism/commercial/movie (Havana Moon) to further enrich them with a tourist financial windfall?
You see amigos: Everything associated with Cuba’s tourism industry is owned almost lock-stock-barrel by the billionaire Castro-Family and their military cronies. The Rolling Stones–on top of their Cuba concert back in March which attracted tens of thousands of tourists from around the world–on top of this contribution to the Castro family’s coffers–have now made that concert into a movie titled Havana Moon.
(Raul Castro delighted with the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of foreigners who visited Cuba for the Rolling Stones concert and deposited millions upon millions upon millions into his family’s coffers.)
This movie (i.e.tourism commercial) will further glamorize and hipster-ize Cuba as the world’s coolest tourist destination–much to the financial benefit of the terror-sponsoring billionaire murderers and torturers who own Cuba’s tourism industry.
So let’s try and summarize what might make these communist murderers and torturers so “cool” in the eyes of the super-cool and hipster Rolling Stones:
Cool people and hipsters are very sensitive to the issue of gay rights….Am I correct here? More than simply being sensitive to it–a very prominent Rolling Stone is accused–(whoops! Sorry! just goes to show my unregenerate UNcoolness!–I mean celebrated and congratulated) for having himself partaken of the gay lifestyle–at least according to David Bowie’s wife Angela:
Well: The Castro-regime (i.e. essentially the very people running Cuba today) jailed and tortured the most gays (and suspected gays) in the modern history of the Western Hemisphere.
Remember how Chicago mayor Daley’s cops dealt with long-haired hippies and yippies in 1968? Remember how the Hell Angels dealt with hippies at Altamont?
Well, both were bleeding-heart softies compared to how the Castro regime (essentially the very people running Cuba today–the same people who will benefit ENORMOUSLY from the Rolling Stones free tourism commercial) beat, jailed and tortured (often to death) many, gays, long-hairs and Cuban Rolling Stones fans in the mid 60’s at the forced labor camps known as UMAP.
“Humberto Fontova is a gifted polemicist who pulls no punches. A great service for liberty, justice and truth.” (The Weekly Standard on Fidel; Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant.)
Over time, I have learned two lessons about socialism: first, it does not work, and second, some people just don’t want to believe that it does not work.
The story of Cuban communism, or socialism, is a good case in point.
I’ve run into people over the years who praise the Cuban health care system or the so-called improvements in education.
Every time I challenge them, they refer to some report from the Cuban government or something a college professor told them.
It is refreshing to see someone again tackle the myths of Cuba, the self-proclaimed island paradise that is more like an island prison with a couple of bearded brothers sitting on top.
So thumbs up to Vanesa Vallejo, a Colombian economist and columnist:
Almost 60 years later, the results of the Castro dictatorship are appalling. Millions of Cubans have been forced to flee the island. Thousands have died defending their political ideas, while many others have spent decades in prison, or have been persecuted and harassed by Castro’s security services.
In the economics, the picture is no less devastating. The destruction of private property and free trade have had no other effect than to tear down the country’s productivity. And the few areas that look prosperous, such as tourism, only serve to ensure, using foreign currencies, the continuity of the regime’s coercive apparatus.
Castro’s followers insist that the terrible results Cubans face are compensated by an alleged welfare state that guarantees all kinds of social benefits to its citizens. In addition, they say Cuba is a true socialist utopia that, despite the opposition of the “empire,” serves as an example for the rest of Latin America.
To support their opinion, they mention its health and education systems, and even the achievements of its athletes. The blame also falls on the “embargo,” with accusations that the United States prevented the paradise island from being even more idyllic.
One of the challenges of dismantling the myths of “Fidel’s paradise” is the absence of reliable statistics. There is no independent validation for the extraordinary coverage and quality indicators of health on the island, which progressives often use for propaganda.
It would be very naive to believe that in a country where there is no free press, and where people cannot express themselves against the government without going to jail, a serious audit of the figures of the health system are allowed.
The last point is critical. There is no objective report of any of Cuba’s health care or anything else. What you get is a summary written by the people who don’t allow you to challenge anything. There is no free press demanding government documents. There are no investigative reporters or any other reporters since every one works for the state media.
Change will eventually come to Cuba. We are off to a rough start because the Obama approach has done nothing but to consolidate the people running everything. Nevertheless, change will come someday, and the truth of the Castro regime will be revealed. It will be an embarrassing moment for the many carrying Castro water all of these years.
The violence, corruption, and oppression in Chile wielded by Cuba’s puppet Salvador Allende is rarely if ever addressed. For the media and academia, all the focus must be placed on General Pinochet and we are told to accept their fantasy of life in Chile under Allende.
This is not much different when it comes to Cuba’s political history. Again, the media and academia place most of their focus on Batista while ignoring the half-century long brutally repressive and murderous dictatorship of the Castro brothers.
The truth, however, cannot be hidden.
What Was Chile Really Like under Salvador Allende’s Rule?
September 11, 2016 marked the 43rd anniversary of the military coup that successfully ousted Chilean socialist president Salvador Allende.
Every year, progressive groups use this date as an opportunity to remind us about the atrocities and human rights violations committed during the regime of the military junta, led by Army General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte.
When people talks about Salvador Allende, they generally take into account what happened on September 11, 1973, and after. People never talk about the nearly three years that Allende was in power, nor how he became the President of Chile.
In order to do this, we must go back to 1970, the year in which Allende won the presidential elections. He did not win by majority vote, but by decision of the National Congress.
The candidates running for the presidency in those elections were: Salvador Allende, representing Unidad Popular (Popular Unity); Jorge Alessandri, independent candidate backed by the center-right coalition of the National Party and the Radical Democracy; and Rodomiro Tomic, from the center-left Christian Democratic Party.
The results of that election were as follows: Allende took the lead with 1,070,334 votes (36.61 percent); Alessandri was next with 1,031,159 votes (35.27 percent); and Tomic received 821.801 votes (28.11 percent).
Allende’s advantage over Alessandri was only of 39,175 votes, or 1.34 percent. This means the election had to be decided at the Chambers of Congress because Allende did not obtain enough support from the people.
Tomic undoubtedly played a key role in benefiting Allende, since he divided the votes of the anti-Marxist voters, who did not like Allende, but who were not right-wing voters either. Without Tomic on the ballot, these anti-Marxists would have voted for the coalition of Alessandri, and the outcome of the election would have been different.
Tomic handed the presidency to Allende on a silver platter. Tomic asked the legislators from his party to vote for Allende when the election was to be decided in Congress.
While Tomic asked the parliamentarians of his party to vote for Allende, the latter meanwhile threatened the legislators with massive political violence if they did not vote for him. The man who would be later named president called Chilean collectives and workers to take the means of production of the country by force if Congress ended up choosing Alessandri.
Now we are talking about the true colors of the man the international progressive movement has turned into a martyr.
Allende soon became president and imposed the arbitrary takeover and expropriation of several lands and industries. Chile fell immediately into economic and social chaos that almost led the nation to a civil war.
“Our task is to implement the Chilean road to socialism, a new model for the State, for the economy and the society, centered on the people, their needs and aspirations,” Allende asserted in one speech.
Allende justified the expropriation of lands to farmers, the devaluation of the national currency, price and wage controls and the embezzlement of State coffers. All of this, in addition to the rampant inflation, shortages, and the unlimited rising of public debt, which brought the country to bankruptcy.
“Take Cuba as an example, where the organization of the people is exemplary,” President Allende told Chileans. “They have even had sugar rationing, but in eight or 10 years, Cuba will have the highest social level in Latin America.”
Allende, who promised to never violate the Constitution, later called it a “bourgeois constitution.” This led him to confrontations with the judicial and legislative branches of the country, as well as made him an enemy for the Christian Democrats, who were responsible for handing the presidency over to him.
“I am not the president of all Chileans. I am the president of the Popular Unity,” Allende stated, showing divisive and controversial tactics to defend his anti-constitutional decisions.
“I understand that Mao Tse-tung, as a revolutionary, has sought to destroy the elements that were stopping and neutralizing the revolution. These elements (in Chile) must be identified and eliminated.”
Continue reading HERE.
We just learned that Jose Fernandez, the very talented young righthander with the Marlins is dead. He was apparently killed in a boating accident but details are still emerging.
He was an awesome young talent and quite an inspiration:
Fernandez was winding down his best big league season, posting a 16-8 record with a 2.86 ERA. The hard-throwing right-hander set a franchise record with 253 strikeouts this season, and his 12.49 strikeouts per nine innings rank tops in the Majors. Fernandez’s path to the big leagues is inspirational. Three times he tried unsuccessfully to defect from his native Cuba before arriving in the United States at age 15. He settled in Tampa, Fla., and became a sensation. Fernandez was Miami’s first-round pick in 2011, and at age 20 he broke into the big leagues, becoming an All-Star and the National League Rookie of the Year in 2013.
RIP Jose. Quite a shock!
JW Investigates Treasury’s Speedy Approval for U.S. Hotel Co. to do Biz in Cuba
Judicial Watch is investigating why the U.S. Treasury Department rushed to give a major American hotel company special permission to operate in Cuba for the first time in nearly three decades, possibly with behind-the-scenes collaboration from the State Department. Under the U.S. economic embargo such deals would be prohibited by law, even after President Obama’s efforts to restore relations with the island’s communist regime. Congressional action is required to lift the embargo against Cuba, though the executive branch has latitude in enforcing the law and Obama has reestablished diplomatic ties with Cuba as well as direct air service and mail between the two countries.
A few days before Obama’s historic March trip to Cuba, U.S. hospitality firm Starwood, which operates Sheraton, Westin and other prominent hotel brands, received authorization from the U.S. Treasury Department to run several hotels on the island in apparent violation of U.S. laws. All of the hotels are properties that were confiscated by Cuba’s communist regime without compensating private owners and are currently owned by the Cuban military, which means all profits generated by any commercial venture will finance the regime’s repressive apparatus. Furthermore, the Cuban government will assign hotel workers their jobs and employees will have no labor rights. U.S. law prohibits American companies from operating under these conditions in other countries.
In an announcement celebrating the unusually swift Treasury authorization to do business in Cuba, Starwood Chief Executive Officer Thomas B. Mangas said “with Cuba’s rich history, natural beauty and strong culture, there is no question the entire U.S. hospitality industry has watched Cuba with great interest, and we are thrilled to lead the charge and bring our sophisticated, high-end brands into the market at this inflection point.” Somehow, Starwood beat out several other American companies that have been trying to obtain U.S. government approval to do business in Cuba, according to a mainstream newspaper. Among them is Marriott International whose CEO actually accompanied Obama on his trip to Cuba earlier this year.
To secure the authorization Starwood hired a bigtime Washington D.C. lobbying firm, DLA Piper, to advocate on its behalf. Records show that Starwood has paid DLA Piper $560,000 in lobbying fees since Obama announced he would normalize relations with Cuba in 2014. Judicial Watch has learned that DLA Piper attorney and partner Evan Migdail handled the negotiations between Starwood and the Obama administration. In Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the State Department and U.S. Treasury, Judicial Watch is among other things seeking all records of communication between any official, employee or representative of the respective agencies and Migdail, who is a registered lobbyist representing Starwood. The FOIAs also seek risk assessments, analysis or documents produced or reviewed during the approval process and records of communications—including any foreign policy guidance—between the two agencies related to the authorization.
Continue reading HERE.
It just doesn’t get any better than this…
The headquarters of Cubalex, The Center of Legal Information, located in the Havana municipality of Arroyo Naranjo, was searched by National Revolutionary Police (PNR) officers and State Security agents on Friday, as confirmed to this newspaper by the independent journalist Osniel Carmona.
After two in the afternoon, the police burst into the site which is also the home of independent attorney Laritza Diversent. Until after five in the afternoon all the phones of Cubalex members remained out of service and access to the house was restricted by the security forces, according to what this newspaper was able to confirm.
Seven people were inside the home at the time the search started, among whom were Ariadna Romero, Yamara Curbelo Rodríguez, María Bonet, Teresa Perdomo, Amado Iglesias, Diego Ricardo and Laritza Diversent herself.
During the morning Laritza Diversent had informed 14ymedio that there was a operation “organized by State Security agents and the police” around the house. She explained that several neighbors advised her of the presence of “buses and patrol cars,” so she feared they would eventually get inside the house.
T”a report on the status of freedom of expression in Cuba” that she presented “to the special rapporteur for freedom of expression” in the city of Geneva “in mid-August.”
“We feel that we are now at risk and are calling all our contacts asking for help so that the world knows that right now our office and our organization are at risk,” the attorney warned by phone.
The activist Kirenia Yalit Núñez, a member of Cubalex who is just a few blocks away, explained that the agency “had a judicial order but Laritza rejected it because it wasn’t valid.” However, a little later “they broke into the house with a crowbar and broke several locks.”
After six in the evening the activist Teresa Perdoma was released and she said that they had threatened Diversent with an accusation of “illicit economic activity.” The police also warned that they would take “all the equipment, like computers, flash memories and hard drives.”
She was arrested in the operation and taken to the Dayan Perez Noriega police station, where she tried to send Twitter messages reporting what happened. The other activists remained in the building until eight o’clock on Friday night. Two police patrol cars guarded the entrance.
The Legal Information Center, Cubalex, is an independent entity that has provided free legal advice since 2011. The lawyers’ group also focuses on Human Rights issues. In July of this year Cuba’s Ministry of Justice rejected the application for legal status presented by its members.
“Oh please… no… Don’t ask me about politics.”
Cuba Needs Social Capital, Not Just Money, to Prosper
Is a nation’s prosperity a function of the social virtues of its people? And if so, what are the social virtues that foster economic development?
In 1989, social scientist Francis Fukuyama published an essay titled “The End of History?” His central argument was that with the collapse of Communism, liberal democracy stood alone as the only form of government compatible with socio-economic modernity. This piece relies on his work, and his book Trust, to argue that Cuba’s economic future requires the end of a culture of distrust.
When I studied international economics in the 1960s, the explanations offered for a nation’s economic prosperity were along the lines of geography, climate, soil fertility, resource endowments, culture, religion, work ethic and more. Social virtues, such as trust, were not studied.
Today, most thoughtful observers understand that free political and economic institutions require a dynamic, independent civil society, which depends on people’s habits and ethics. Aside from skills and knowledge, the human capital of a nation has to do with people’s ability to associate with and trust each other.
In societies with little capacity for free, voluntary associations, such as Cuba, people cannot develop a basis for trusting each other. People who do not trust each other will only cooperate reluctantly under extensive and inefficient systems of formal rules and regulations that must be coercively enforced.
In many of the former communist societies, habits such as excessive dependence on the state, the inability to compromise and a disinclination to cooperate voluntarily have all contributed to slowdown market-based economic growth and the consolidation of democracy.
In our hemisphere, think of Cuba, and the ongoing process in Venezuela, where there are virtually no independent social groups between the family and the state. In these societies, social ties and moral obligations tend to be restricted to the family. Outside the immediate family, individuals do not trust each other and do not feel a sense of responsibility to others.
Continue reading HERE.
Japan gets rolled by Cuba and North Korea, two of the world’s most corrupt and despicable dictatorships.
How Kim (DPRK) and Castro (Cuba) Blackmail Abe (Japan)
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Cuba today and met with dictators Fidel and Raul Castro.
The purpose of Abe’s trip was simple — to seek help over North Korea’s nuclear provocations and its clandestine operations in Japan.
Nearly on a monthly basis, some senior North Korean is on a “working visit” to Cuba. Or some senior Cuban regime official is on a “working visit” to North Korea.
With the exception of China, there’s no other nation in the world that North Korean officials visit with such frequency.
Just a few months ago, General Kim Yong-chol, head of North Korea’s intelligence, cyber-warfare and clandestine operations agency, was on one of those “working visits” to Cuba.
And, of course, we all recall Cuba’s smuggling of 240 tons of heavy weaponry to North Korea in 2013 — the largest, ever violation of U.N. Security Council sanctions.
Cuba’s regime will now offer its “help” — for a price. And Kim’s regime in North Korea will get a cut.
Call it the Castro-Kim two-step — or simply blackmail.
For starters, Abe will mostly forgive Castro’s $1.75 billion debt to Japan. That will open new lines of credit for Castro’s regime. Abe is also extending Castro a foreign aid package.
Here’s how Japan’s Asahi Shimbun (diplomatically) reported it, “in the first visit to Cuba by a Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe on Sept. 22 offered billions of yen in grant aid and debt forgiveness while seeking cooperation on dealing with North Korea.”
It’s mostly unknown that Japan became Cuba’s single, biggest creditor pursuant to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Such “engagement” with Japanese banks did nothing to promote democracy, openness or help the Cuban people. Instead, Cuba defaulted in October 2002 on a $750 million refinancing agreement with Japan’s private sector after having signed a debt restructuring accord with Tokyo in 1998.
Most of Cuba’s debt to Japan is now owned by that nation’s government-backed trade insurer, NEXI. (Note to Congress and those lobbying to extend financing for Castro’s regime.)
Both Cuba and North Korea are desperate for hard currency, so it presents a perfect opportunity to put the squeeze on Japan and, most importantly, its banks.
The cycle begins again. After all, rogue behavior (sadly) pays off in today’s world.