Jerry Brewer in Mexidata:
Russia Rejoins Cuba's Espionage Apparatchik in the Americas
In order to effectively monitor aggression, hostile intelligence acts, interference, and other forms of insurgency within their homelands, democracies throughout the Americas must immediately address their governments' counterintelligence missions against those rogue and dictatorial style regimes that pose obvious threats.
Russia’s recent decision to reopen its electronic spying center in Cuba is once again an obvious act that aggressively demonstrates support for the Cuban Castro regime, and a shared dispute versus the United States.
The Lourdes base closed 13 years ago, having been built in 1962. The closing was reportedly due to the economic crisis in Russia, along with repeated requests from the United States.
Lourdes served as a signals' intelligence (SIGINT) facility, among other applications, located just 100 miles from the United States at Key West, Florida. During what has been described as the Cold War, the Lourdes facility was believed to be staffed “by over 1,500 KGB, GRU, Cuban DGI, and Eastern Bloc technicians, engineers and intelligence operatives.”
In 2000, it was reported that China signed an agreement with the Cuban government to share use of the facility for its own intelligence agency.
Despite pro-Cuba chants for economic aid and the lifting of the 50 year old Cuban Embargo, placed via President John F. Kennedy's Proclamation 3447, there appears to be no shortage of funding by Cuba for that nation's energetic spy apparatchik.
The original U.S. manifesto regarding Cuba, in 1962, expressed the necessity for the embargo until such time that Cuba would demonstrate respect for human rights and liberty. And today, there certainly cannot be much of an argument that the continuing Castro regime has ever complied with any aspect of that mandate. In fact, Castro's revolution has arrogantly continued to force horrific sacrifices on Cubans in their homeland, as well as suffering by those that fled the murderous regime over the decades and left families behind.
Neither of the Castro brothers has ever, even remotely, disguised their venomous hatred for the U.S., democracy, or the U.S. way of life – even prior to the embargo. Their anti-U.S. rhetoric continues, along with Russia and Venezuela, and they continue to extol radical leftist and communist governments throughout the world.
The Russian parliament recently pardoned 90% of Cuba’s US$38.5 billion debt dating back to the now defunct Soviet Union.
Last week a senior Russian official, explaining the revived interest of Moscow to monitor communications from Washington, said, “Our relations (with the U.S.) deteriorated considerably well before the crisis in the Ukraine. In reality, they never really improved, except for some specific periods which have been the exception to the rule.”
The U.S. and others, especially in Latin America, must not underestimate Cuba's vast intelligence and espionage services. Their security and intelligence networks are on a scale perceived to be "many times larger than that of the United States." And even with Cuba's poverty, depressed economic situation and weak prognosis for future windfalls, their clandestine operational acts continue and extend throughout the Americas and the world.
The Cuban espionage budget is not generally known outside of most major competent intelligence services globally. However, much of their modus operandi is – essentially that of the DI (Dirección de Inteligencia), which never had to be reinvented. That is other than changing the moniker, from the former DGI (Dirección General de Inteligencia), with its original training by the former Soviet KGB.
Continue reading HERE.
Via Capitol Hill Cubans:
The AP's Apparent Disdain for Dissidents
In announcing its new Havana bureau chief this week, the AP wrote in its release:
"AP continues to deploy top-notch journalists to tell the story of Cuba's people, culture and government with accuracy, fairness and insight."
One can't help but chuckle.
Many words can be used to describe the AP's reporting in Havana, but "fairness" and "accuracy" don't immediately come to mind.
In a nation where its continued presence is based on a constant fear of expulsion (and thus -- self-censorship), its insulting to claim "fairness" and "accuracy." The AP's Havana bureau even has a full-time Cuban "journalist" on its staff, who everyone knows (whether diplomats, dissidents or other foreign journalists) is a shill of the Castro regime.
But back to the point.
Earlier this year, the AP was scandalized by U.S. efforts to create an alternative social media site ("Zunzuneo") that would allow Cubans to inter-connect independent of the Castro regime.
The "scandal" here is that the Castro regime strictly censors the Internet. Thus, the U.S. should apparently respect the Castro regime's censorship efforts.
Today, the AP's "big story" is that the U.S. supports human rights and democratic opposition NGOs in Venezuela.
The "scandal" here is that the Chavez-Maduro government bans any support of NGOs. Only the Castro regime is allowed to provide "support" in Venezuela. Thus, the U.S. should respect the authoritarian whims of the Chavez-Maduro regimes.
Can't wait for the AP's next "big story" -- will it condemn U.S. support for the Ukrainian people and NGOs, or maybe anti-Assad Syrians?
This week, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the following observation in The Daily Show:
"What I found when I became secretary of state is that so many people in the world—especially young people—they had no memory of the United States liberating Europe and Asia, beating the Nazis, fighting the Cold War and winning, that was just ancient history. They didn’t know the sacrifices that we had made and the values that motivated us to do it. We have not been telling our story very well. We do have a great story. We are not perfect by any means, but we have a great story about human freedom, human rights, human opportunity, and let’s get back to telling it, to ourselves first and foremost, and believing it about ourselves and then taking that around the world. That’s what we should be standing for."
She's absolutely right.
The AP could use a reminder as well.
By Rosa Lopez in 14yMedio (translation by Translating Cuba):
Offering Fish At Your Door? Be Careful!
Many Cubans opt for the informal market instead the high prices of the products in hard currency stores. Who among us has not bought cheese, ketchup or milk in illegal trading networks? However, when we acquire something in secret and do not know the seller, the chances of being scammed or buying spoiled merchandise multiply. The greatest danger, however, is to buy a product that damages our health, hence it is important to be careful with certain foods.
Every Cuban adult has some experience to tell about a fish sold as red snapper and it was actually tench, Claria or barracuda. With the fish slickly packaged and displayed furtively, the trader assures us that it is ” good, white with few bones.” Later, in the pan or dish, frustrated, we discovered the deception.
Some customers claim to have a good contact to buy seafood that so far has not failed them. Lucky them! By contrast, the vast majority is supplied by an illegal and unstable market whose providers change frequently. The fish markets under state management offer little variety and high prices, not to mention the long lines that sometimes form in front of their doors.
It is easy to think that living on an island we can have our tables filled with seafood, oysters, sardines and other sea delicacies. Nothing is further from reality. In Cuba it it easier to find turkey hash “made in USA”, than a good marlin steak or grouper head soup.
The restrictions imposed on both private fishing and the sale of fish push us to the black market when looking for a good product. The species may have been caught in oxidation ponds belonging to factories or industries, and could introduce chemicals into our bodies that bring negative short and medium term effects.
On the island there are many reservoirs and coastal areas that contaminated by discharges from industries and settlements. Fish that live in those stretched should not be used for human consumption. An example is Havana Bay, whose waters are polluted by oil, sewage and other waste discharges.
Another threat is ciguatera, a food poisoning that is endemic in the tropics caused by eating infected fish. The fish afflicted with this disease cannot be identified by smell, taste or color.
If a stranger knocks at your door offering a tempting fish filet or steak, be careful. It may not be what they say, or in the worst case, it could damage your health.
John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:
Oswaldo's and Harold's Nonviolent Legacy in Cuba: Demonstrating Love is Stronger than Hate
“The people will follow me in life, worship me in death but not make my cause their cause.” - Mohandas Gandhi, taken from Gandhi's poignant legacy
Marking two years since Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante were physically taken from their families, friends and country presents an opportunity to reflect on their lives and the nonviolent example that they leave behind and the cause for which they gave their lives. Oswaldo's widow, Ofelia Acevedo on what would have been the Cuban opposition leader's 61st birthday addressed this legacy in an essay titled Fellowship of Truth:
"Oswaldo and Harold are no longer physically with us, and I remember now those words Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero prophetically uttered one day, knowing he was threatened with death: I will resurrect in the people. The same will happen here sooner rather than later. They and others who generously have lost their lives in this struggle for rights and democracy for Cuba, will be resurrected in her people. But his message of love is alive."
This nonviolent legacy continues on in Cuba and offers a hopeful vision of the future. Oswaldo outlined it in a 1990 Christmas Message from the Christian Liberation Movement:
"The rifles will be buried face down, the words of hatred will vanish in the heart without reaching the lips, we'll go out into the street and all of us will see in the other a brother, let us look to the future with the peace of he that knows that he forgave and he that has been forgiven. Let there be no blood to clean or dead to bury, the shadow of fear and of catastrophe will give way to the reconciliatory light, and Cuba will be reborn in every heart, in a miracle of love made by God and us."
In January of 2014 following a brief interview Oswado's widow, Ofelia Acevedo pulled out a copy of this message and read it to me demonstrating its continued relevance to the Payá family. Both Oswaldo and Harold understood the risks and sacrifices in undertaking this struggle. Harold Cepero summed it up in concrete terms in 2012, the same year he was killed:
"Christians and non-Christians who have the courage and the freedom to consider the peaceful political option for their lives, know they are exposing themselves to slightly less than absolute solitude, to work exclusion, to persecution, to prison or death."
Presently in Cuba there are dueling legacies that run throughout Cuban history one is profoundly violent and embodied in the current political system and another one which is nonviolent and is a deep current that runs through the culture but not nearly as high profile. The nonviolent legacy that Harold and Oswaldo shared revolves around two key ideas:
• We are not against other people, only what they are doing.
• Means are ends in the making; nothing good can finally result from violence.
Continue reading HERE.
On this day in 1969, President Nixon & the whole world watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon:
"Nixon joined approximately 500 million people around the world in watching Armstrong and Aldrin as the astronauts left their lunar landing module and walked on the moon. (The Soviet Union and China, America's two biggest rivals in the space race, banned the broadcast in their respective countries.)
After they planted an American flag on the moon's surface, the astronauts spoke directly to President Nixon, who congratulated them on their historic mission. His phone was linked via satellite through the NASA control center in Houston, Texas."
For me, the moon landing is still the most amazing news story of my lifetime.
Incredibly, it occurred a few months after the Jets beat the Colts and before the Mets upset the Orioles in the World Series.
It was that kind of year!
We grew up playing with rockets plus watching and reading science fiction stories.
We prepared ourselves for Neil Armstrong by watching all of those Gemini missions in classroom TVs and counting down to Apollo 11.
Will a future generation experience something like we did that evening 45 years ago?
I don't know for sure because we don't see have the same passion for space exploration that we did 50 years ago.
At the same time, I hope that some future boy can have the feeling that I did that evening many years ago.
Our entire family sat in our living room and watched in awe as Neil Armstrong came down those steps.
Again, I just hope some future boy can enjoy what I enjoyed that day. He will understand what I am writing about.
P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.
Wave some bloodstained cash around and the usual suspects will crawl out for a taste.
Via Capitol Hill Cubans:
ALBA's Favorite Lobbyist
After being outed last month for unregistered lobbying activities, two New York-based PR firms -- MCSquared and Fitzgibbon Media -- have filed documents with the U.S. Department of Justice admitting to their representation of Rafael Correa's government in Ecuador.
For these PR efforts, the Ecuadorian government paid over $6.4 million.
So who does Correa now hire to do damage control (from its original damage control)?
Former U.S. Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA).
According to new documents filed, Delahunt will help the Correa government coordinate “meetings with U.S. government officials and assisting with media efforts, aimed at enhancing the U.S.-Ecuadorian relationship and raising issues of importance to Ecuador as they relate to bilateral U.S.-Ecuador relation.”
Delahunt is known for his close relationship with former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro and Cuba's Castro brothers.
He's previously come under criticism for his activities on behalf of the Venezuelan government.
Most recently, Delahunt has led a lobbying effort seeking U.S. approval of products from Castro's Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CGEB).
If ALBA is in trouble, call Delahunt to the rescue.
Juan Tamayo in The Miami Herald:
Russia-Cuba love affair on again
Trade, politics, culture and history are leading to warmer relations between the Cold War allies.
Like lovers who quarrel and then kiss and make up, Cuba and Russia are falling into each other’s embrace again, bringing back memories of their more than 30 years as the warmest of Cold War allies.
The renewed love affair was in full display when Russian President Vladimir Putin met with both Fidel and Raúl Castro and signed a dozen agreements during a visit to Havana that launched his six-day swing through Latin America.
“This is not surprising. Cuba and Russia were allies for many years and remain the most natural of allies, much more so than China,” said Alcibiades Hidalgo, a Miami journalist who served as chief of staff for Raúl Castro, Cuba’s current ruler.
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika marked the breaking point in the Cold War alliance, when the communist empire collapsed and Moscow cut subsidies to Havana estimated at $4 billion to $6 billion a year. Cuba plunged into recession and an angry Fidel Castro denounced Gorbachev as a traitor to socialism.
Putin, then in his first term as president of Russia, made things worse in 2000 when he visited Havana to press Cuba to repay its $32 billion Soviet-era debt and announce that he would close the Lourdes electronic eavesdropping base near Havana. Fidel Castro refused to pay. Lourdes was slowly shuttered in 2001 and 2002.
Bilateral relations began warming after Raúl Castro, described by Hidalgo as an admirer of all things Russian, succeeded brother in 2006 and visited Russia in 2009 and again in 2012.
But the rekindled embrace blossomed during Putin’s visit this month to the lone communist-ruled nation in the Western Hemisphere, when he signed a dozen agreements that fell neatly in line with Cuba’s interest in new credits, trade and investments.
Russia wrote off all but $3.2 billion of the debt and announced a $1.6 billion credit for construction of four power plants. The oil companies Rosneft and Zarubezhneft promised to resume the exploration for crude in the deep waters off Cuba’s northwestern coast. There were even reports — and denials — that Russia also had agreed to reopen the Lourdes base and resume eavesdropping on U.S. communications.
“We will provide support to our Cuban friends to overcome the illegal blockade,” Putin declared in Havana, referring to the U.S. embargo. Raúl Castro replied that the debt write-off showed “the palpable generosity of the Russian people toward Cuba” and added that the Castro revolution would not have survived without Soviet aid.
Beyond the economic and political factors, however, there are cultural and historical affinities that the two nations nourished between 1960, when they established diplomatic relations, and 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed.
Continue reading HERE.
"Former leader" and "father of the Cuban revolution": choice euphemisms for one of the most brutal dictators of our age.
And the press still pays attention to his ravings.
That's the real news here, not the fact that he blames "imperialists" for shooting down a plane full of innocent people. After all, this demoniac has blamed "imperialists" for earthquakes and hurricanes, and even his tumble at Che's mausoleum.
From Press TV
Fidel Castro blames Kiev for MH17 crash
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has condemned the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine’s volatile east, blaming Kiev’s “pro-imperialist” government for the disaster.
The father of Cuban revolution made the remarks on Friday in the official newspaper Granma.
"Cuba... must express its repudiation of this action by such an anti-Russian, anti-Ukrainian and pro-imperialist government," said Castro.
In addition, Castro said the Malaysian plane was flying "on a route under the control of the bellicose government of the chocolate king Petro Poroshenko," referring to the billionaire confectionary tycoon who is now Ukraine's president.
continue reading HERE
By Fernando Damaso in Translating Cuba:
Often the resolutions of the United Nations’ Committees are worthy of laughter. So it happens with the recent resolution by the Decolonization Committee, ratifying the right of Puerto Rico to self-determination. The initiative was presented by Cuba, with the sponsorship of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia and the intervention of Syria. Birds of a feather flock together.
Maybe this Committee is unaware that the Puerto Rican people have voted repeatedly about this, always defeating the independence option with a minimal (4%) vote? Is it unknown that in the last referendum, the majority voted for annexation to the United States as the 51st State, unlike previous votes where there was a tie of 48% who preferred the current status and those who opted for annexation, for a grand total of 96%, against 4% who wanted to be independent?
Of course the Committee and its members know all this, but they entertain themselves in continuing to waste time. It is said that it is the 33rd time that a similar document was approved. How many times is it necessary to trip on the same rock? They also confirmed the Latin American and Caribbean character of Puerto Rico, which, due to obvious geography, no one denies. But also Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Granada, Aruba, Grand Cayman, Guadalupe, Virgin Islands, Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, etc., are Caribbean, united by the language, history and traditions of Great Britain, France, Holland, and the United States, and no one questions them.
Perhaps it is intended to include Puerto Rico, against the desires of the majority of its citizens, in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States? Who thinks the Puerto Ricans are going to trade for a pig in a poke?
If the Committee has no work to do, because they no longer have anyone to decolonize, it is better that it disband, and its members can dedicate themselves to something more useful. Thus they would at least help reduce the high costs of the United Nations.
Translated by mlk.
By Gustavo Hernandez Acevedo in Caracas Chronicles:
The Argentine middleman
Argentinian Planning Minister Julio De Vido is your go-to-guy.
Last week, Argentine newspaper Clarín offered some juicy details on the alleged sale of overpriced rice from Argentina to Venezuela thorugh a company linked to Julio De Vido, Cristina Kirchner’s longtime Planning Minister.
The head of the Argenitine Rice Producers’ Federation (Fedenar), Jorge Paoloni, has denounced that a company named Bioart SA has taken over all shipments of rice to Venezuela. This came on the heels of both nations signing a series of agreements last year.
According to Paoloni, the sale was priced at 606,5 dollars per ton, much more than what other Argentine producers offered (495 $/ton).
The company is owned by Roberto Vignati, a businessman linked to De Vido. But Bioart didn’t stop with rice. The company also sold corn priced 80% more than market prices at the time.
Bioart made its first shipment of corn fifteen days after meeting with … Maria Gabriela Chavez, the Eternal Princess, in the Venezuelan Embassy in Buenos Aires. Chávez dismissed allegations of wrongdoing on her Instagram account (of course) with this message.
De Vido also rejected Clarín’s claims by denying any relationship with Bioart’s owners. He also said that his Ministry is not involved in any operations involving corn or rice. However, in January of 2013 he came to Caracas and agreed on the sale of 180 million US$ worth of Argentine food to Venezuela. De Vido indirectly places the blame on PDVSA (who paid the bill) … if there was any wrongdoing at all. He talked back those words in a follow-up statement the day after.
Yet, Mr. De Vido has been present in Venezuela for any major deal between both governments in the last few years: from Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) to the creation of joint industrial companies, and even offering his services as an energy adviser. His frequent trips (as well as those of his staff) have been source of much comment.
And last but not least, De Vido was the boss of Claudio Uberti, involved in the case known as the Maletinazo. Remember that one?
"Mexicans are nothing but a rabble of illiterate Indians." (Che Guevara)
Tomorrow is Carlos Santana's birthday. So some of his sagacities hit the news-cycle. To wit:
"The 60s were a leap in human consciousness. Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Che Guevara, Mother Theresa - they led a revolution of conscience."
A Message from Carlos Santana in Architects of a New Dawn
The universal tone
Travels at the speed of language
It communicates clearly and without fear
It comes from deep and goes far
Healing wounds restoring faith and trust
It means to elevate transform and illumine
Thoughts feelings emotions
Into a place of JOY PEACE, LOVE and LIGHT
Singing the song of freedom liberation and emancipation
Yes from mental slavery and habits that bring hurt and pain
Where can we find this tone?
The tone unites alpha and omega
Creates a place for the lover and the beloved
The creator and creation dance together in unity and harmony
No beginning no end only everlasting holy moment / instant
Negative and positive become obedient only to divinity
Destination is here. Now!! Enjoy awakening
Never again will sacrifice be required
"Oye Che, ese tipo Santana sera come-mierda--o se hace?"
And all this desperation, death and horror to flee from a nation that experienced net immigration throughout the 20th Century, where boats and planes brought in many more people than they took out - except on vacation. (Despite what you saw in The Godfather, actually, in 1953, more Cubans vacationed in the U.S. than Americans in Cuba. And they all happily returned home with nary an escort from the U.S. Border Patrol, as befit a nation with a larger middle class than much of Europe.)
Thirty one people were finally plucked from the seas and hauled back to Cuba where all were jailed or put under house arrest. They hadn't been through enough, you see. But a few later escaped Cuba on rafts and reached Miami. Hence we have Maria Garcia's gut-wrenching testimony presented to the UN, the OAS and Amnesty International, who all filed "complaints," reports, "protests.”(with the customary results.)
This was obviously a rogue operation by crazed deviants, you say. No government could possibly condone, much less directly order such a thing! Right?
Our friends at Townhall help disseminate a few items that leave eyes wide and mouths agape outside the tiny Cuban-American informational ghetto.