On the feast of St. Rita: Ladies in White brace for more abuse

As we all prepare to hear once again about the arrests and beatings that will take place in Cuba this sunday, especially at the church of St. Rita in Havana, a word or two about St. Rita.

Today is the feast day of St. Rita of Cascia (1381-1457), an Italian nun who was canonized in 1900, over 400 years after her death.

St. Rita married at the age of 18 and gave birth to two sons.  Her husband — a violent man — was killed in a fight.  Her two sons died young.  Widowed and childless, she became a nun and dedicated herself to a life of prayer and acts of mercy.  Her care for the sick was exemplary.  She also counseled lay people who sought her advice.

St. Rita was a miracle-worker who is now venerated as the patroness of hopeless causes.

It’s no accident that the parish church of St. Rita in the Miramar suburb of Havana is where the Ladies in White attend Mass every sunday.  Calling for an end to oppression in Cuba certainly seems a hopeless cause.  Their presence there — an affront to the Castro regime — has lent St. Rita Church an aura of righteous defiance and of hope for a better future.

The church was built in 1945, in the Art Deco style.  It was designed by architect Víctor Morales, who also oversaw its construction.

Ironically, the image of St. Rita venerated at this church was scultpted by Cuban artist Rita Longo,  a long-term Castronoid who ended up with a high post in the Castro Ministry of Culture.  You can visit the parish web site HERE.

Personal note: that image of St. Rita used to terrify me as a child, so much so that I would beg my parents not to go to Mass at that church, even though it was only four blocks from our house.

I prefer to think that it was the Castronoid malevolence harbored in the artist’s heart that made the image seem so frightening rather than any other natural or supernatural factor.

May St. Rita, patroness of the hopeless, intercede for all Cubans at the Heavenly Court, especially those who risk life and limb every Sunday at the church named in her honor.

St. Rita by Rita Alongo (1943)

 

The West Nile Virus, Cuba’s history of bio-terrorism, and the weaponizing of the Zika virus

ZIKA BIRDS

A report by Humberto Corzo:

West Nile Virus utilized as Biological Weapon

The Castro regime started its biological program in 1982, and since then has done extensive research and development in the field of bioterrorism for military purposes. Since the early nineties the Castro regime has spent $3.5 billion in the development of facilities to be used in the “Bacteriological Warfare.” This research is conducted, among others, in the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), the most important one, created in 1986, Avenue 31, Cubanacán, Havana, at a cost of $150 million; the Finlay Institute, remodeled in 1994 at a cost of $10 million; the National Center of Bio-preparations (BIOCEN), inaugurated in February 1992, with a cost of  $15 million; Center of Molecular Immunology (CIM) open in December of 1994, with a cost of  $10 million; Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kourí (IPK), relocated in 1992 at a cost of $ 12 million.

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Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB)

The CIA suspects these facilities are used for developing biological weapons. Cuba has been classified by the State Department as a terrorist nation. The Castro regime hatred and hostility to the United States represents, without any doubt, a very serious threat due to the proximity of Cuba, just 90 miles from Key West.

In areas near the facilities of these centers have taken place epidemics of viral hepatitis, hemorrhagic conjunctivitis and hemorrhagic dengue. The biotechnological research centers are used as a smoke screen for the elaboration of biological weapons.

Fidel Castro, on January 28, 1998, in a threat of potential use of germ warfare against the U.S. said: “This lamb can never be devoured -not with planes nor smart bombs- because this lamb is smarter than you, and in its blood there is, and always will be, poison for you.”

Dr. Luis Roberto Hernandez, a Cuban entomologist who defected in 1995, in an interview to El Nuevo Herald on October 18, 1999, asserted that he worked in the Institute of Zoology where the laboratories for the Biological Front were established and that “those were laboratories to identify and produce mosquitoviruses to be used in birds as ‘hosts’ for their dissemination.” According to Dr. Hernandez, the project continued at a farm outside Havana, where a vast nesting program had been established to study the routes and habits of migratory birds. In the article “Castro Weaponizes West Nile Virus,” published in Insight Magazine on September 16, 2002, Dr. Hernandez said: “We were instructed to look into viruses such as encephalitis which are highly resistant to insecticides. Military-intelligence officers running the labs ordered us to trap birds with migratory routes to the United States with the idea of releasing contaminated flocks which would be bitten by mosquitoes which, in turn, infect humans.”

These viruses are suitable for inoculating migratory birds that fly to the U.S. in the spring. Obviously it is possible to introduce biological agents like the West Nile Virus (WNV) into the U.S. by way of migratory birds that will transmit it to mosquitoes, and they will spread it to people, horses, and other mammals.

More than 60 mosquito species have been infected with West Nile virus

According to Carlos Wotzkow, former researcher and ornithologist at the Cuban Institute of Zoology, in exile in Switzerland since 1992, the migratory birds project was proposed by Castro himself and led to the creation of what was called the Biological Front: “An idea to undertake biological warfare against the United States territory through the introduction of viruses of infectious diseases inoculated in migratory birds.” Wotzkow mention that the Smithsonian Institution, along with the University of Pennsylvania, collaborated with Castro by providing funds and technology for the study of migratory birds.1

In 1988, the CIA released a report that warned of the dangers of a biological terrorist attack on the U.S. The report explained that such an assault, if launched by a country with sophisticated means, could go undetected and be erroneously attributed to natural causes. The report listed Cuba among a dozen of small countries suspected of possessing biological weapons.

Read more

Retired Cardinal Jaime Ortega to stay put and active in Cuba, gives ‘special thanks’ to murderous dictator Raul Castro

Cardenal

You would expect nothing less from a corrupt and morally bankrupt prelate who knowingly and willingly fed the sheep entrusted to him to the wolves.

Victor Gaetan in the National Catholic Register:

Havana’s Cardinal Ortega: Stepping Down and Staying Put

NEWS ANALYSIS: Cuba’s long-time archbishop resigns, but like the Castro brothers, is staying in the public eye.

WASHINGTON — In his final homily as archbishop of Havana on May 8 Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino assured a packed cathedral that bishops never retire.

“Cardinal Jaime Ortega … will continue to serve the Church in Cuba and our people … because the bishop is a priest in fullness and serves until death,” he declared, using the third person. Ortega turns 80 in October.

He will move to a former seminary, now a cultural center, directly behind the Havana cathedral.

The Vatican announced on April 26 acceptance of the cardinal’s required letter of resignation at age 75— four years after he offered it — and the appointment of Archbishop Juan de la Caridad Garcia Rodriquez, 67 to lead Cuba’s most populous city.

[…]

Thanks to the Government

Pivotal to Cardinal Ortega’s 35-year tenure have been relationships developed with President Fidel Castro, then his brother, Raul, who took power in 2006.

On May 8, the cardinal thanked the government for “advancing without setback, through critical periods and difficult times, a path of dialogue not understood by many.”

He offered “special thanks” to President Raul Castro for giving “decisive impetus” to dialogue, highlighting U.S.-Cuba normalization talks in 2014, when Cardinal Ortega served as a personal messenger between Pope Francis and the heads of state.

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Ortega’s critics claim he became too close to the regime, refusing to confront it over an abysmal human rights record, the routine harassment and detention of political opponents, and a dysfunctional economy that has impoverished the population for decades.

“The Church has the same talking points as the Castro regime,” Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, told Reuters last fall. The Ladies in White meet every Sunday at St. Rita Church in Havana, and march after Mass to protest the incarceration of political prisoners — whose existence Cardinal Ortega denied in an interview with Spanish radio last year.

Although he successfully negotiated the release of 126 political prisoners in 2010-2011, he compelled them to accept exile in Spain, which was the government’s position.

“In exchange for concessions for his Church, he ingratiated himself with the Castro regime to such a degree that he ended up being perceived as one more component of it,” declared a May 1 editorial in Diario de Cuba, a popular news site representing views of the Cuban exile.

One thing the Castro regime proves: An aging elite retains power on the island.

Continue reading HERE.

Independence Day in Cuba 2016: Reflecting on the first 467 years

By John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

Cuba Independence Day 2016: A reflection on the first 467 years

Before the arrival of the totalitarian darkness

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Independence Day in Havana, Cuba on May 20, 1902

One hundred and fourteen years ago today at noon the flag of the United States was brought down and the Cuban flag raised over Havana as Cuba became an independent republic. However, when looking at Cuba one should look back over the past 500 years and where it is situated today to gain greater understanding of the unfolding tragedy.

Cuba is just 90 miles south of the United States with a population of approximately 11 million people. It is 780 miles long and has a land area of 40,369 square miles and is the largest island in the Caribbean and 17th-largest island in the world by land area.

Columbus’s second stop in the New World was on October 28, 1492 when he landed in Cuba. (The first place he landed on October 12 was the Bahamas). Cuba was a Spanish colony from Columbus’s landing in 1492 until 1898 when Spain lost Cuba in the Spanish-American War.

Cubans engaged in two protracted wars of independence. The first was the 10 Years War that took place between 1868 and 1878 and the second took place between 1895 and 1898 ending with U.S. intervention and a 4-year occupation that ended on May 20, 1902. Cuba’s first president was a Cuban exile named Tomas Estrada de Palma.

There are many important figures that emerge in the 19th century but for the sake of brevity will mention Father Felix Varela, Jose Marti, Antonio Maceo, Maximo Gomez and the Bacardi family.
Father Varela was a catholic priest who is said to “have taught the Cubans how to think” and entertained ideas of independence that led to his exile to the United States. Antonio Maceo and Maximo Gomez were Cuban generals that played important roles in both wars of independence. Antonio Maceo was of a mixed racial background: part Spanish and part African.

Jose Marti was a journalist, poet and revolutionary who organized and advocated for the 1895 war of independence and spent most of his adult life exiled in the United States in New York City.
Maximo Gomez, was an experienced military man of Dominican origin who oversaw the overall military campaign in the second war of independence and of the three previously mentioned was the only one who survived the war to see the arrival of the Republic.

The Bacardi family, began their world famous Rum business in Santiago de Cuba in 1862. Don Facundo Bacardí Massó founded Bacardi Limited on February 4, 1862. The family would also play an important role in civic life in Cuba, especially Santiago over the next century, and were constant opponents of dictatorship, political corruption and remained ardent Cuban nationalists over several generations. Forced into exile by the Castro regime the Bacardi family has maintained the traditions of the Cuban Republic celebrating independence day, carrying on the family business and continuing the fight for a free Cuba.

Continue reading HERE.

Obama in Cuba and the constant attempt to politically rehabilitate psychotic murderer Che Guevara

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Gideon Asche makes a good argument that Obama should have known better than to allow himself to be paraded in front of a mural celebrating a mass murderer by Cuba’s apartheid dictatorship. Personally, I believe the president does know better, but decided to do it anyway.

Via The Havok Journal:

The Political Rehabilitation of Ché Guevara

It might surprise some of you to hear that I can be completely unreasonable and even aggressive about certain issues; the rest of you already know me well enough to expect it. I left all my social skills someplace in Eastern Europe.

I’ve even been known to make an ass out of myself in public when faced with certain issues… but I do have a reasonable side – I just try never to show it unless I’m about to be arrested and I think it will help.

I made a rare foray out to civilization last week and I found myself standing in line at Wal-Mart;  in front of a man in his late 20’s, with his wife and what appeared to be 3 adolescent  boys.

http://2jayng3u0doh2yswnb2zxs07.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/lenin-lapel-pin.pngHe was wearing a Lenin lapel pin on his hat, the kind that every idiot western tourist bought at the Moscow Olympics in the 80’s, and a brand new Che’ tee-shirt. The kind you can get from Amazon for 19.99 any day of the week.

By the time I regained control, I had poked the little SOB in the chest and asked him what the F*** was wrong with him. I asked his wife if it made her proud to mother children to someone with less common sense than a syphilitic baboon, then I asked the boys how it felt to have a traitor POS  for a father.

Needless to say I caused a scene but I did realize I was out of line in offering to beat him to a puddle of pink puss in public, so I turned back to my purchases and kind of hoped he would  jump me from behind.

[…]

That guy in Wal-Mart had an excuse – President Obama  does NOT.

The President should have enough sense or have advisors who have enough sense to keep him from exhibiting the same level of stupidity as the man in Wal-Mart.

This isn’t like when Nixon dealt with Mao or when Bush puked in Japan, both of them kept distance from anything that would honor tyrants.  It appears we are experiencing the official rehabilitation of Che’ Guevara.

The worst ass beating I ever took as a kid was when I was about 14. I cut school and hitch-hiked to San Francisco to go to a Jefferson Starship concert.  When I came  home the next day,  I was wearing a Che’ Guevara tee-shirt, much like the one I saw in Wal-Mart.

I think the entire neighborhood came out to watch as my father educated me on Che’ Guevara . Today someone would have called the police and called it child abuse.  It was just good sense correction in my mind – I never got a beating I didn’t need and I’m relatively stable as an adult.

Che’ Guevara was arguably one of the most heinous individuals who ever walked the earth. He ranks right up there with Mengele, Trotsky and Ali Hassan al-Majid.

[…]

Che’ cannot be rehabilitated any more than Stalin or Mao can. The record of his deeds cannot be softened enough to make anything about him acceptable.

If you think my reaction to the Che’ tee-shirt was bad, you should see how Cuban Americans reacted to the image. For a Cuban American to see President Obama posing in front of a mural that honors Che’ Guevara must have been like a Jew seeing a President honoring Joseph Mengele.

I’ve been on advanced party for VIPs – I know for a fact that someone was assigned to reconnoiter every venue the President would be appearing in – what idiot let him take a stage in front of Che’s wall without a backdrop?

All he had to say was “No”; we don’t honor scum like Che’.

Would it have angered the Castro Regime? – damn strait it would have… but that would have been a good move.

Read it all HERE.

Reports from Cuba: Revolutions and democracy

By Regina Coyula in Translating Cuba:

Revolutions and Democracy

We observe a man who always speaks of patriotism and he is never patriotic, or only with regards to those of a certain class or certain party. We should fear him, because no one shows more faithfulness nor speaks more strongly against robbery than the thieves themselves. – Felix Varela (in El Habanero, 1824)

Entrada-Fidel-Castro-Habana-Archivo_CYMIMA20160519_0007_16
Entry of Fidel Castro into Havana in 1959 (Camilo Cienfuegos, Fidel Castro and (in profile) Huber Matos).

14ymedio, Regina Coyula, Havana, 19 May 2016 – Observing the tranquil surface of Cuban society offers a misleading impression. The stagnation is localized only in the government and in the party; and even there it is not very reliable. There is no doubt that many party members participated in and observed the 7th Congress of Cuban Communist Party (PCC) hoping for changes and, watching the direction of the presidential table, dutifully (and resignedly, why not) voted one more time unanimously.

Outside this context, where one thing is said but what is thought may be something else, there is right now a very interesting debate in which all parties believe themselves to be right. The most commonly used concepts to defend opposing theses can be covered in the perceptions of revolution and democracy, which each person conceptualizes according to his or her own line of thinking.

There are generalities that are inherent in the concept itself. In the case of the concept of revolution, it involves a drastic change within a historic concept to break with a state of things that is generally unjust. Although it is a collective project, revolutions don’t always enjoy massive support; it is not until it is resolved that the great majority of citizens are included.

That said, from the official positions of the Cuban government they are still talking about the Revolution that overthrew the Batista tyranny and initiated profound changes in Cuba as a continuing event. This group believes itself still within the revolutionary morass, but can a country live permanently in a revolution?

One immediate consequence of a social revolution is chaos; everything is changing, and after a nation experiences a revolutionary process it needs stability to return to the path of progress, a natural aspiration of society and of the individual.

The 1959 Revolution became a government many years ago and its young leaders are, today, old men who in their long time in power ensured mechanisms for the control of the country. It could be nostalgia for not having been there or it could be comfort with the idea of having made mistakes and implemented bad policies, all justified as an appropriate effect of the revolutionary moment.

It is here that democracy intervenes. Whatever kind it is, it must characterize itself because popular decisions are effective; directly or through the leaders elected through voting. And also through debate. One can’t insist on continuing to wear children’s clothes when one is an adult. Norberto Bobbio’s concept is always widely accepted: without recognized and protected human rights there cannot be a real democracy, and when we are citizens of the world, and not of one state, we are closer to peace.

We do not live in a democratic country, however much they want to minimize the lack of freedoms and blame it on the “blockade,” the “imperialist threat” and novelties such as “opinion surveys” or “media wars.” Because democracy is an umbrella that should also protect minorities of every kind.

Read more

Cuba and North Korea send Special Forces to Venezuela to prop up dictatorship

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un joins Obama’s new BFF, Cuba’s apartheid dictator Raul Castro, in sending special military forces to Venezuela to prop up the puppet dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro.

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Cuban and North Korean Special Forces in Venezuela

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Earlier this week, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup, denounced that 60 Cuban military officials are embedded among operational forces at the Fuerte Tiuna military complex — home of Venezuela’s Ministry of Defense — under the command of Cuban General Raul Acosta Gregorich.

This morning, the French investigative journal, Intelligence Online, reported that North Korea’s regime has sent a special forces contingent to Venezuela to help its embattled quasi-dictator, Nicolas Maduro.

Furthermore, how this arrangement stems from a confidential military cooperation and intelligence-sharing agreement that North Korea’s Kim Jong-un with Cuba’s Castro regime in March.

Of course, there’s more than a hint of irony that while President Obama was wining-and-dining in Cuba in March, that the Castro regime was signing a military and intelligence cooperation agreement with the North Korean regime.

Here’s the report from France’s Intelligence Online:

Kim Jung-un comes to Maduro’s aid

Observers are wondering just how involved the North Korean Praetorian Guard that Pyongyang has sent to assist Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro will become. Hugo Chavez’s successor has declared a state of emergency in the country while anti-government protests continue to mount. The man behind the ‘loan’ of North Korean troops is General Kim Yong-chol, who is close to the country’s Supreme Leader Kim Jung-un. The general is both head of the special forces and the United Front Work Department, or Tongil Chonsonbu, the intelligence service in charge of relations with friendly political movements.

North Korean special forces are training with their counterparts of Venezuela’s Grupo de Acciones Commando (GAC) and Chinese troops of the 21st Armed Group of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Caracas this month.

Back in March, Pyongyang also signed a confidential military cooperation and intelligence-sharing agreement with Cuba, even though the latter is in the midst of a reconciliation process with the U.S.

Cuba: The Caribbean’s geriatric facility

By Miguel Sales in Diario de Cuba:

The Caribbean’s geriatric facility

oldb0516

In recent weeks some media outlets have once again underscored Cuba’s surprising demographic trends, pointing out that the country features demographic characteristics of a developed nation, but saddled by a Third-World economy. In that vein, the daily Granma, the Communist Party of Cuba’s (PCC) official publication, recently published figures updated since the last census (2012), generated in 2015 by the National Bureau of Statistics and Information’s Population and Development Studies Centre.

As the regime often does, its statistics contain certain adjustments and a little makeup to keep them from straying too far from the ideal they wish to project. Just to mention the most glaring example: the document states that the migration balance in 2015 was less than 25,000; that is, just over 25,000 more people abandoned the island than moved to it.

It is difficult to reconcile this figure with the migration figures from the United States, Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, Spain and other countries that regularly receive Cuban exiles/emigrants. I have not seen exact statistics in this regard, but the numbers consulted suggest that the exodus last year was at least double what the authorities in Havana report.

The statistical manipulation involved a change in the emigrants’ classification, the result of Cuba’s latest immigration reform: before 2013 those who left the island without intending to return were classed under “indefinite leave permit” if the Government authorized them to travel, or “illegal exit” if they left at their own risk. Now those people are simply termed “residents living abroad” who, in theory, can return to the country in the following two years without losing their status as citizens under the regime. In this way they do not count as migrants, nor are they subtracted from calculations of the total population.

As reality is one thing, and demographic analysis another, the negative forecasts seem to be confirmed sooner and sooner. A decade ago it was estimated that by 2025 the number of retirees would equal that of active workers. Today it is believed that this parity could materialize in 2021.

While the 2012 census indicated that 18.3% of the Cuban population was 60 or over (2,041,392 citizens) and exceeded by more than one percentage point those ages 0-14, today almost 20% of Cubans are 60 or older, accounting for some 2,200,000 people, while the population age 0 to 14 represents only 16% of the total population. A change so sudden (three and a half percentage points in just three years) indicates that something is very wrong, both in the statistical system and in society as a whole.

Continue reading HERE.

Photo of the Day – Cubans continue fleeing Obama’s ‘Hope and Change’ Cuba policy

cubans lightouse

As we see 19 Cubans clinging to a lighthouse off the coast of Key West after escaping apartheid Cuba and risking their lives in the shark-infested Florida Straits, it becomes plain to see how well Obama’s Hope and Change Cuba policy of embracing the Castro dictatorship is working.

A report by The Miami Herald (via In Cuba Today):

Cuban migrants climb down from lighthouse near Key West

The 19 Cuban migrants straddled atop the American Shoal lighthouse off Sugarloaf Key have come down and are being processed by immigration officials, Coast Guard officials said Friday afternoon.

The migrants climbed down from the 109-foot structure around 5:30 p.m. Earlier in the day, the migrants had swum to the lighthouse after the Coast Guard approached their makeshift boat in the waters off Sugarloaf.

The Coast Guard confronted the boaters early Friday morning after receiving an 8 a.m. telephone call from a boater who had noticed the migrants in their vessel, said Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss, spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard 7th District.

As the Coast Guard approached the boat, 19 migrants jumped off and swam to the lighthouse, which was built in 1880 and sits about five miles off shore from Sugarloaf. They climbed the lighthouse’s metal stilts. Meanwhile, two other migrants swam to the Coast Guard cutter.

Officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services were in the process of screening the 21 migrants on a Coast Guard cutter Friday evening to determine whether they will remain in the United States or be returned to Cuba.

“Typically, migrants taken at sea are returned to their country of origin,’’ Doss said. “But there are special circumstances — like fear of persecution” that come into play.

It’s not clear if the lighthouse would be considered land under the U.S. immigration policy of wet-foot, dry-foot. The policy, stipulated under 1995 changes to the Cuban Adjustment Act, allows Cubans who step foot on U.S. soil to stay here and apply for permanent residency after a year. The lighthouse sits in the water.

David Goodhue is a reporter for KeysInfoNet.

The leftist double standard in Latin America: Democracy only works when the leftists get their way

Carlos Sabino in PanAm Post:

Brazil’s “Coup”: The Left’s Double Standard on the Rule of Law

Authoritarians Denounce the Legal System Only When It Suits Them

dilma maduro
Dilma Rousseff has remained silent on the human-rights abuses of the Nicolás Maduro administration in Venezuela

Latin America’s left, almost in unison, has raised it voice in response to Brazil’s impeachment trial.Congress has suspended Dilma Rousseff from the presidency for six months, which many have denounced as a coup, part of an international conspiracy.

Though the impeachment is clearly described in the Brazilian Constitution, and Congress has scrupulously followed all of its listed steps, leftists of the continent, most notably Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and El Salvadorian President Salvador Sánchez Cerén, complained that the continent has lost one of its democratic strongholds.

The same thing happened four years ago, when Paraguay’s Congress dismissed Fernando Lugo. It seems to happen every time a leftist leader is prosecuted or sanctioned.

Impeachment is a legal recourse that appears in many if not most Constitutions and serves to control the executive power of a government through joint action taken by the other branches — usually the judicial and the legislative.

There is nothing illegal about impeaching a president. Brazil itself already did it almost a quarter of a century ago, when Fernando Collor de Mello was forced to step down.

It’s almost nonsensical to call following a procedure described in the Constitution as a coup.

Fake Democrats

There’s a reason why Latin America’s left is acting this way: their mentality is still stuck on the Leninist totalitarian model. They will only settle for full power and won’t give it up.

Rousseff and her predecessor, the famous Lula da Silva, lauded the illegal and brutal methods used by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, who already has nearly absolute power.

The Latin American left embraced Fidel and Raúl Castro’s regimes despite there being nothing democratic about them. They also supported President Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, among so many other authoritarian leaders, not to mention the FARC guerrilla in Colombia.

Below the mask of democracy, they are nothing more than the usual despots. And now, to make matters worse, they have become more corrupt than ever.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: Rules to prevent debate

By Miriam Celaya in Translating Cuba:

Rules to Prevent Debate

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Merchants at El Trigal protested closing of the market.

14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 18 May 2016 — A small protest convoy and a demand by a group of bicycle taxi (pedicab) operators at the Plaza of the Revolution; indignation and astonishment among producers and traders about the arbitrary and unannounced closing of the wholesale market for agricultural products in the capital; irritation of several citizens who verbally attacked the policemen who were trying to maltreat a blind and helpless beggar, who was at the Carlos III marketplace; a sit down strike led by workers at a cigar factory in the city of Holguín over wages… These are some of the events that demonstrate both the state of dissatisfaction and frustration that are taking shape in Cuba’s population, the emergence of a sense of questioning the system and the incipient rebellion against the power and the authorities that represent it.

It is without a doubt, good news. The bad news is that social balance becomes dangerously fragile in a society where rights and prosperity have been banned, where institutions respond fully to the interests of the parasite power, where any opposition to the government is illegal and where public debate and dialogue between the power and “governed” are non-existent.

As the social tension grows and the government increases the obstacles, uncertainty becomes greater as to ways a conflict could be unleash that would elude institutional control.

It seems that the above facts are insignificant and isolated amid the general acquiescence of Cubans with respect to their government. However, such events were unthinkable just five years ago, and even less so during the period prior to July 30, 2006, when the “Proclamation” was made public, which declared Fidel Castro’s supposed temporary withdrawal from the presidential chaise lounge, which he had intended to be his for life. The proclamation gave some hope to the people about improvements in their living conditions.

If the power caste did not suffer from the colossal blindness of its proverbial arrogance, it would have enough lucidity to interpret the current signs, especially when the still timely efforts of the people’s protests are taking place just weeks after the conclusion of the last Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, where presumably national economic and socio-political strategies were drawn for at least until 2030. A moderately insightful Government would at least have the perception that the social acceptance of its eternal monologue had ended and that the urgencies of the national reality far outweigh the temporary and strategic limits set by the Party Guidelines.

Like it or not, the lords of power must understand that the Cuban crisis demands changes dictated from social slogans, not from the Palace of the Revolution, and that such changes must occur willingly–that is, starting from a real national debate from which a transitional covenant might emerge–or by force, when an undesirable social explosion could take place due to the unstoppable deterioration of the population’s living conditions, with unpredictable consequences.

It turns out that autocracies are not designed for public scrutiny. Far from establishing a national dialogue which would, in principle, act as an escape valve for frustrations, the last page of the Party newspaper Granma on Tuesday May 17th, 2016 contained an article which is the absolute denial of this possibility. The article is titled Rules for Debate or Matter of Principles, signed by a (let’s use the term they prefer) “revolutionary intellectual” by the name of Rafael Cruz Ramos, which establishes two simple “rules” for an imaginary debate which, by the way, the reader never catches a glimpse of.

Summarizing a substantial verbal extraction that fills an entire page with what might have been said in a few paragraphs, Mr. Cruz tries unsuccessfully to enunciate a first rule, designed not to establish the basis or topics for that nonexistent debate-monologue of his, but what will not be included in it, under any circumstances.

We should not ever debate with “those who come to us carrying a political fragmentation grenade ready to have it explode in the heart of the country, of the Republic, of the motherland, in order to destroy the socialist system under construction and restore the archaic and worn-out capitalist system” Cruz Ramos assures us, though no one knows what authority or supranational power this unknown subject has that he can issue such categorical guidelines.

Read more

Update: Yo-yo Cuban “refugee” flood intensifies in Texas

Cuban “refugees” arriving at the Texas border

The “let’s- pretend- we’re- refugees” act of the Normalization Circus may be its biggest hit right now.

The yo-yo’s keep coming, like a rising tide.

Does the U.S. need more of these Cuban “refugees”?  No, but King Raul certainly does.  They are his main source of foreign aid.

It’s well-known that many — or most — of these “refugees” become “guelferianos” (welfare leeches) who send taxpayer money to their relatives in Cuba and travel back and forth to the land they fled like no other “refugees” on earth.

This is not about political repression. It’s about “me” (yo), it’s about “solving problems” and not caring about political repression, it’s about claiming to be a refugee but aiding the Castro regime instead.

Nice refrain for an old fashioned Cuban song: “Yo soy lo unico que me importa, yo y yo y el ir y volver como un yo-yo”  (I only care about me, me,me, and my back-and-forth as a yo-yo).

Welcome to the top act in the Normalization Circus.

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Cuban “refugees” six months after arrival in U.S.

From KTRH news, Houston:

Cubans putting more stress on U.S./Mexico border

Shelters and churches along the southern border are bracing for an influx of cuban immigrants flooding into the U.S.

Some estimates say more than 24,000 Cubans have arrived in Texas since last October, with up to 350 expected each day.  Jorge Ferragut with Casa Cuba Houston says they’re met by various agencies lending support and services.

“Catholic Charities, YMCA, with the resources of the government, they pay three or four months on an apartment, handle all the papers with immigration, food stamps and etecetera,” says Ferragut.

Its those benefits, according to Ira Mehlman at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which are draining our resources.  He points to an expose conducted in South Florida last year.

“After a year they qualify for all the means tested benefits, and in many cases people were returning to Cuba and living off the benefits they were collecting from American taxpayers,” says Mehlman.

Mehlman says the recent influx is driven mainly by the fear the U.S. will do away with the Cuban Adjustment Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.

“This has become, in many cases, a scam, and the American public is paying for it,” he says.  “Its all the result of a 50-year-old policy that should have been done away with a long, long time ago.”

Continue reading HERE.

Proud ringmasters of the Circus