support babalú

Your donations help fund
our continued operation

do you babalú?

what they’re saying






recommended reading

babalú features

recent comments

  • asombra: Rock bottom, you say? Au contraire. Still in denial, apparently.

  • asombra: Hillary looks exactly like Nurse Ratched in that photo. Pelosi, of course, looks lobotomized, as well she should.

  • asombra: It’s good to call out hypocrisy, but that won’t stop it if it’s so common it’s “normal.” The...

  • asombra: They look like trashy Russian women. Imagine that.

  • asombra: Oh, look! Isn’t that quaint decay just precious? And the little savages on the sidewalk are SO adorable! But really, they...

search babalu

babalú archives

frequent topics

elsewhere on the net


Fidel, esta es tu casa: Long live the Revolution! Socialism or death!

More visual evidence of Cuban misery from Martha Beatriz Roque.

Here is the hovel in which a mother and her four children have lived for the past four years, in the Havana neighborhood of Guanabacoa.  This is not the remote countryside.  This is Havana.

Cuatro niños que merecen vivir mejor 7_resize

The oldest child is seven years old, the second is five, the third is only eighteen months old, and the youngest is a three-month-old infant.   All four are asthmatics, and the five-year-old also suffers from epileptic seizures.  The youngest infant is fragile and in very poor health.

The children were fathered by three different men.

The shack measures twelve by nine feet.  The zinc roof leaks.  There is no electricity or running water.   The privy is a ramshackle outhouse, just a few feet away.

Cuatro niños que merecen vivir mejor 4_resize

Many of the family's quotidian activities take place outdoors, in a truly Revolutionary patio.

Cuatro niños que merecen vivir mejor 3_resize

The young mother -- who looks like a teenager -- has been petitioning the authorities for better housing, and continually cites the poor health of her children in these pleas.   But she remains stuck in this hovel, and keeps having more kids.  The mother's social worker rebuffed her last request for new housing by asking: "Quién te mandó a parir tanto? (Who ordered you to have so many kids?)

Good question, one might say.  But there are many others that are more pertinent:

Where are the three fathers, these "new men" who have been taught to emulate Che Guevara?  Is this grim scenario the best one can expect from their Revolutionary spirit?

Where did the luxury baby stroller come from?   Who paid for it?

How many more children will be born to this mother in this hell hole and how many different fathers will they have?

What does the future hold in store for these children?

Where are the reporters from AP, Reuters, CNN, PBS, etc.... ?  Where are Michael Moore's cameras?    Where are the people-to-people tours?

Cuatro niños que merecen vivir mejor 6_resize

A statement from Cuba’s Christian Liberation Movement on the EU’s negotiations with the Castro regime

A statement from Cuba's Christian Liberation Movement (translation by Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter):

Christian Liberation Movement statement on ongoing EU negotiations with regime in Cuba

Real changes are rights based.

 Statement of the Christian Liberation Movement

The common position maintained by the European Union in its relations with the Cuban government is under review. Tomorrow Wednesday August 27th the second round of these negotiations will be held. The most important condition has been the requirement of respect for human rights on the island, where little or nothing has changed for the good of the people in recent years. Continuing repression, arrests, lack of opportunities, and impoverishment, in other words, no real changes. Only transformations that seek to conceal a false continuity of oppression and privilege by a small group in power.

The Christian Liberation Movement does not intend to isolate Cuba and understands that the interests of organizations, businesses and citizens of the European Community be defended, but we are convinced that EU cooperation should be focused as a priority on achieving in our country a democratization process to ensure both in law and in practice the full respect of human rights for all.

We therefore hope that the representatives of the European Union are consistent and coherent with the democratic tradition of their own nations and demand a true process of change that our people want and need.

Changes are rights!

Eduardo Cardet Concepción

Coordinating Council of the MCL
August 26, 2014.

I don’t take orders from anyone, except, of course…

Garrincha in Yahoo Noticias:

Caricaturas Garrincha Venezuela Maduro Castro

"Those who attack me are quite mistaken, secretly trying to push us towards a social democracy. I don't take orders from advisers, or marketers, or anyone!

"But I do take orders you, Commandant Castro! -- Of course, I know you know that but I like to remind you."

Cuba: The transition that is about not to come

By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo in Post Revolution Mondays:

The transition that is about not to come

The power of Castro’s dictatorship couldn’t rely only in the annihilation of all kind of opposition, despite the fact that, since January 1959, its governability depended on fear (out of pure terror) to reduce a plural society to military obedience, ideological hatred, and apartheid, whether geographical (in the case of the exiled for life) or uncivil (for those resisting as pariah on an Island turned into a labor camp behind The Iron Curtain). Detaching our homeland from its hemispheric context put us into orbit as a satellite of the totalitarian axis of the Cold War: the best alternative for the new class —now a gerontocracy elite in their eighties— to keep control in perpetuity, or at least for over a dozen of White House administrations.

The power of Castro’s dictatorship necessarily had to rely also on violence and, for so many —let’s say— people of good-will in the world, the beauty implicit in the narrative of The Revolution, with its ritual of burying a decadent past in order to resurrect it in a fertile future, as all revolutionary rhetorics promotes itself. To the image and likeness of those historical guerrillas, nowadays only octogenarians inside Cuba remember what presidential elections are all about. Such a legacy leaves a discouraging anthropological damage if we are ever to move forward from the Castrozoic Era.

Our citizenship was homogenized as soldiership, under the vertical rule of a personality cult, as a justification to survive against a foreign foe meant to last forever: nothing less than the first economy and war potency of the First World, an anthological archenemy called Imperialism. But nobody believes in this Fidelity fable anymore. And, after half a century of officially sequestering the sovereign will of our nation, it’s about time for Cubans to recover their own voice, since the Castros’ long-lasting regime is the one who should retire in silence.

Our historical circumstances are critical today for those determined to restore democracy in what was once called the Switzerland of The Americas. The long-sought transition is finally on its way, 25 years too late after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The demands of a peaceful civil society are being dealt with by the Cuban government not as inherent to human dignity, but as privileges and concessions for those who keep quiet, fostering even more the hypocrisy of our culture of simulation, without really respecting the fundamental rights of which Cubans remained deprived, while selectively targeting our truest leaders, those who wouldn’t compromise with the despotism of fraudulent changes, subjecting them to the abusive force of an intact intelligence apparatus based on private surveillance and social stigmatization, concealed coercion and cooption, and ultimately extra-judiciary execution, disguised as a sudden disease or a car-crash, as it criminally occurred to the winners of the European Parliament’s Andrei Sakharov Award for Freedom of Thought: Laura Pollán in October 2011 (founder of the Ladies In White) and to Oswaldo Payá in July 2012 (founder of the Christian Liberation Movement).

In the twilight of the first-generation Castros, everything is changing in Cuba so that nothing changes in the end, in a desperately slow transition from Power to Power, instead of from the Rule of Law to Rule of Law, as was constitutionally requested by more than 25,000 Cuban citizens, who publicly subscribed to the Varela Project, and who are still waiting for the answer due from the National Assembly of People’s Power; although it’s sadly known that the authorities’ response was silence in the mass media, a phony plebiscite in 2002, the massive trials of the Black Spring of 2003 and the deportations of 2010 (involving an insulting Catholic hierarchy), plus the barbaric bonus of the assassination not only of the reputation but of the precious lives of those who wouldn’t abide by our 21st century absolutism.

On one hand, a biological succession is underway in Cuba to a neo-Castroism without Castros, or given the case, with second-generation Castros, which are kindly invited to visit US: LGBT deputy Mariela Castro and baseball dandy Antonio Castro. Emphasized in their hardliner discourse of revolutionary intolerance, a State Capitalism is being implemented in Cuba, one that combines the worse lack of freedom from Communism with the worse corruption and captive markets of the underdeveloped democracies.

On the other hand, tired of waiting for an opening in the Island, complicit in today’s crimes with the promise that profits will prevent tomorrow’s crimes, the international community is already turning their backs on the remains of Cuban civil society, while compassionately patting them on their shoulders, and sometimes even supporting them with a petty percent of their investments with the State tycoons of Havana. The EU is making an approach, so US should hasten and hesitate no more. If Cuba is already doomed not to become a democracy, at least let it be a dictocracy, is the ridiculous rationale of such not so “hard choices”.

Continue reading HERE.

Young Fidel idolater gets lots of attention from Reuters & the usual gang of propaganda recyclers


De gustibus non disputandum

You can't argue over questions of taste.

Reuters, the Associated Press, CNN, PBS, and their ilk just love to portray Cubans as happy-go-lucky noble savages who are very pleased with their so-called Revolution and its leaders.

Quite often, these news agencies simply regurgitate the propaganda spewed by the Castro regime.

They also repeatedly feature Cubans whose taste is definitely questionable: Cubans who profess love for their tyrant.

These Cubans could be dissembling, that is, posing and pretending, in hopes of a great reward from on high.

Sadly, it is also highly likely that their affection for their supreme master might be genuine.

Some humans do have masochistic and sadistic tendencies, and do idolize brutal dictators.

This week Reuters reached new depths in servile propaganda-mongering by reporting on an effeminate Cuban boy who idolizes Fidel Castro and was granted the great honor of visiting the Maximum Zombie (or, as Reuters prefers to say, "the aging revolutionary.")

It's one of the oldest tricks in the Machiavellian playbook: tyrants should aim to be loved and feared simultaneously.

A crucial component of the "love me" side of the campaign is to surround the tyrant with adoring children.


And such images are not necessarily promoted by the tyrant's propaganda machine.

Parents who worship evil idols always have the opportunity to force their idolatry on their children, setting a vicious cycle in motion.

Anyway.... there's not much more one can say about this monstrous story, save to point out that if this mariquita's  family really does idolize Fidel, they are proof positive of the syndrome so brilliantly analyzed by Asombra in his post this morning.

The sleep of reason does produce monsters indeed.


From Reuters, of course.

Young fan who dresses like Fidel Castro meets his idol
All that's missing is the beard

An 8-year-old Cuban boy who likes to dress up as Fidel Castro got to meet his idol after Cuba's 88-year-old retired leader invited him and his family to his Havana home for a chat.

"I felt a lot of emotion upon seeing Fidel," Marlon Mendez told Reuters on Monday from his home near Havana. "The whole family hugged him. It was my dream to meet Fidel, and I did it. ... My mother was shaking."

Marlon and his family went to visit Castro on Aug. 16, upon the invitation of the retired leader who is revered by some and detested by others for leading the Cuban revolution of 1959 and remaining in power for 49 years.


The boy likes to dress in green fatigues, army boots and cap as Castro once did. Marlon wore the costume to his meeting with Castro, but without Castro's trademark beard and cigar. Castro was frequently seen puffing on a Havana until he quit smoking in 1985.

Marlon was first featured on Cuban television on Aug. 12, a day before Castro turned 88. His bedroom wall is decorated with dozens of pictures of Fidel, in contrast to the bed made with Snoopy sheets.

After Marlon appeared in the media in his Fidel costume, first on Cuban television and later in Reuters photographs, his family received the invitation.

Marlon showed off pictures of his meeting with Castro and a hand-written note in which the aging revolutionary referred to "my great friend Marlon Mendez."

The boy's grandmother, Maria Elvira Hernandez, said they talked about agriculture and Venezuela, Cuba's close socialist ally.

"Eight-eight years are 88 years. But a lot of 88-year-olds would like to be like him," Hernandez said. "We want Fidel around for a lot longer."


While many Cubans love or respect Castro for standing up to the United States and leading the one-party state for so long, others dismiss him as a dictator.

Due to failing health, Castro handed power to his younger brother Raul Castro, at first provisionally in 2006 and then permanently in 2008. In retirement, Fidel Castro has traded his habitual military uniform for a track suit. He has mostly withdrawn from public view, occasionally writing columns or receiving foreign leaders.

For a video  go HERE


Photo of the Day – Communist humiliation in Cuba’s Venezuela

Via Maduradas, Venezuelans standing in line for hours for food are forced to allow themselves to be branded like animals by government officials to mark their spot in the food lines. Those who refuse the humiliation are denied access to the little food that is available in Cuba's Venezuela.

The sleep of reason produces monsters

A guest post by Asombra:

The sleep of reason produces monsters

I come from a country that self-destructed. It was not a suicide out of desperation or despair--which, however unwise, would have deserved a certain respect. It was certainly not a predictable outcome, let alone inevitable. It was, in fact, so outrageously irrational that it required a mixture of massive deception, infantile credulity, atrocious judgment and shameful shallowness. That dangerously toxic brew opened up an extremely nasty Pandora's box, and once the demons came out of it, they called forth even worse failings: envy, resentment, covetousness, unfounded ambition, and a perverse opportunism ready to stoop very low indeed.

My country, in short, put itself entirely (and as it turned out, inescapably) in the worst possible hands--lying, evil, destructive hands that would lay waste to its remarkable prior achievements, falsify its history, destroy its traditions and poison its society. It was as if the country had been stripped of reason, insight, prudence and, ultimately, decency.

At the head of it all, even if only the tip of a putrid pyramid, was the Maximum Leader, more absolute than Louis XIV ever presumed to be, but with far less to offer in return. The Sun King made France the first country in Europe, and by extension the Western world, while the Caribbean tyrant made Cuba a miserable Soviet dependency and sank it to a level approaching that of Haiti.

I am increasingly struck by Fidel Castro's all-around and overriding vulgarity; the manic vehemence; the "guapo-de-barrio" truculence; the self-indulgent verborrhea; the ridiculous posturing in military costume and the beard bit (another theatrical prop); the over-the-top and incessant bullshit act proper of a farsante de feria or a carnival barker; the utterly baseless conviction of his own greatness (aka delusions of grandeur); the complete lack of genuine charm (which is not that of a con artist); the pathological obsession with absolute control and the sense of potency that comes with it; the lack of concern for or interest in anybody except as a tool to be used or a threat to be removed; the complete willingness to sacrifice or destroy anything to suit his purposes, and the total disconnect from the true Cuban ethos and essence as embodied by Cuba's best offspring.

So how could such a monstrous creature, at best a glorified hustler, EVER have gotten Cubans to buy him at the price he set for himself? And make no mistake, it was all about HIM and what he wanted, never about "the people," who were merely means to his ends. So MANY lies, repeated ad nauseam in true Goebbels fashion, not only within his fiefdom but outside it--SO many willing accomplices, fellow travelers and useful idiots, even now, after more than half a century of constant, systematic, all-encompassing and spirit-crushing oppression. So what was his price, or rather, his cost? It was Cuba's life and Cuba's soul.

Sooner or later, the great majority of Cuba's best people (including those chiefly responsible for turning the ruined, war-ravaged ex-colony of 1898 into one of the top 3 or 4 countries in Latin America by 1958) left the island and took their talents and their genes with them. It was bound to happen: Why would they stay in a totalitarian nightmare when they could do much better elsewhere? Why would they waste their gifts in a dead-end shithole? Why would they sacrifice their children's future? What remained, for the most part, was lesser stock--and, naturally, so was their progeny. Hence, progressive deterioration, not to say degeneration, obviously promoted and exacerbated by an aberrant, inhuman and malignant system that pervades and controls everything. What now exists on that island is Cuba in name only--a grotesque adulteration, an imposture, a reanimated corpse that has very little to do with the deceased: Cuba as Frankenstein's monster.

So why bother, then, over something dead and gone? Very simple: JUSTICE, honor, and remembrance. We, the dispersed remnant of what was, must never forget. NEVER. If we "get over it and move on," as so many without a fucking clue would have us do, then evil wins, indefinitely, and we betray the sacrifice of our parents, as well as dishonor the memory of all our forebears who wanted the best for Cuba and did what they could toward that end. It's not about embracing victimhood, but about overthrowing it. It's about dignity, about overcoming the awful shame of such a fall and its disgrace, even though we ought to be ashamed of it and remain so, as vaccination against a re-infection or relapse. It's also about rejecting and rising above the Latrine mentality and its tendencies, and not letting all those perfidious bastards, our Cain-like "brothers," have the last laugh at our expense. Same goes for all the usual suspects in the media, academia, politics, and the entertainment industries. If nothing else, it's about self-respect, and if we don't have that, nobody else will respect us--nor should they.

"En el mundo ha de haber cierta cantidad de decoro, como ha de haber cierta cantidad de luz. Cuando hay muchos hombres sin decoro, hay siempre otros que tienen en sí el decoro de muchos hombres. Esos son los que se rebelan con fuerza terrible contra los que les roban a los pueblos su libertad, que es robarles a los hombres su decoro. En esos hombres van miles de hombres, va un pueblo entero, va la dignidad humana." --  José Martí.

As the EU resumes talks with the repressive Castro dictatorship, human rights NGOs call for inclusion of Cuba’s civil society

The EU continues its scandalous failed policy of asking Cuba's slave masters what would be best for their slaves.

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Cuban and European NGOs: Include Civil Society and Political Opponents in Negotiations

This week, representatives of the Castro dictatorship and the European Union are meeting in Brussels to discuss a potential new framework for bilateral relations.

(Apparently, the billions that EU companies and tourists have provided the Castro regime over the years hasn't been quite enough.)

It's the second meeting in this ongoing series -- the first was last April in Havana.

Ahead of today's meeting, the "For Another Cuba" ("Por Otra Cuba") campaign, a Havana-based citizen's initiative led by Cuban democracy leader, Antonio Rodiles, has teamed up with the Stockholm-based human rights NGO, Civil Rights Defenders, to issue a "Platform for Discussion on the Current EU-Cuba Negtiations."

You can read the entire document here.

Here's the Executive Summary:

The European Union bilateral relationship with Cuba has always been guided by the promotion of human rights and democracy, as explicitly stated in its “Common Position” toward Cuba. Therefore such values should also form the cornerstone of on-going negotiations between the EU and Cuba regarding the bilateral Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement that was initiated in April 2014.

In 2008, the Cuban government took its first positive step towards respecting human rights by signing the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The following years, Cuba released many political prisoners; including the 75 human rights defenders imprisoned during the spring of 2003. However, Cuba has not taken any further effective steps to ratify or implement the International Covenants. Political persecution and repression continues, while any space for opposition in official Cuban political life remains wholly elusive.

The EU must therefore first seek to include Cuban civil society and political opponents in the negotiation process with the Cuban government in order to ensure legitimacy to the final agreement for the Cuban population.

The EU should then move on to include basic steps regarding the ratification and implementation of the ICCPR and ICESCR, as well as their respective additional protocols in the agreement.

The implementation should be understood, in a first step, as the incorporation of these instruments into the Cuban constitution, and national laws so that basic human rights, such as the right to association, the right to form unions, the right to own property and the right to freedoms of expression, press and movement are guaranteed.

Finally, the EU should ensure that civil society and Cuban political opponents have the opportunity to maintain open dialogue with the EU throughout the follow up process of the agreement.

The 2012 EU agreement with Central America includes chapters on Political Dialogue, Cooperation and Trade. It should constitute a basis for the agreement with Cuba in its first two chapters. When Cuba has ratified the International Covenants and implemented the basic reforms implied, the EU should then open the negotiation process for a beneficial trade agreement and not before. It is therefore a worrying sign at this stage that negotiations already seem to include a trade agreement, although the EU has never communicated this before negotiations commenced.

A fundamental condition, before the EU consider signing such an agreement should stipulate that Cuba promises to comply with its commitment to ratify and implement the International Covenants; sets free all political prisoners and halt the arbitrary arrests of Cuban democracy activists.

Our chat with Gloria Strassburger (“Palm trees in the snow”) & Fausta Rodriguez Wertz of Fausta’s Blog.


Reports from Cuba’s Venezuela: The ‘R’ word

By Anabella Abadi an Barbara Lira in Caracas Chronicles:

The “R” Word

UK39xsVOur calendar says it’s 2014, but Venezuela seems to be stuck in the XXth Century: we are dealing with the return of malaria, and shortages. Yes… the country with the largest proven oil reserves in the world is -ironically- filled with empty supermarket and pharmacy shelves. Needless to say, Venezuela is in a recession. Again. And now, a gizmo-laden new biometric rationing system.

The Fair Prices Superintendent, Andrés Eloy Méndez, claimed that the biometric system would “allow families to purchase a sufficient amount every week”. So… if “sufficient” means a “fixed amount” or at least a maximum amount, then he’s clearly talking about rationing… Right?

In a classic case of using words to mean the opposite of what they mean, Maduro lamely tried to reassure us that “the system will not ration anything”. BS. The biometric system limits how much of a given thing you can buy in a given period of time: that’s more or less the dictionary definition of rationing. “To ration” is to “allow each person to have only a fixed amount of (a commodity)”. What Bolivarian Socialism has wrought is just a 21st century version rationing card, much like the one used in Cuba since 1963 only, y’know, electronic.

It’s not the first we hear of this. Back on March 8th, 2014, Maduro announced the “Tarjeta de Abastecimiento Seguro”, which would complement a biometric system to control sales and –according to Maduro- prevent smuggling and speculation.

Though the biometric system was originally supposed be implemented on government-owned and subsidized supermarkets like Pdval, Mercal and Abastos Bicentenario, the Central Government recently announced that the biometric system would be expanded to private supermarkets.

Not only is this system unconstitutional (just like our friend @ignandez clearly explains in Spanish in Prodavinci), it’s also falsely presented as the solution for the shortages that we Venezuelans face on a daily basis.

Rationing is a clear sign of the decay of the so-called “Socialismo del Siglo XXI”, just like it was of the Classic Socialist System of the XX Century. But, has one would often hear, those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: Angel Santiesteban transferred to La Lima prison

Via 14yMedio in Translating Cuba:

Angel Santiesteban Transferred to La Lima Prison


14YMEDIO, Havana, August 22, 2014 – The writer Angel Santiesteban might have been transferred to La Lima prison, located in the Havana municipality of Guanabacoa. The information was provided to 14ymedio by Lilianne Ruíz, a freelance journalist who visited the police station at Acosta and Diez de October streets where the narrator and blogger was detained.

For several weeks, Santiesteban’s family and friends have been demanding an explanation for the aggravation of the charges against him. The police informed the family that the writer was being prosecuted for an escape attempt. However, his family believes that this “new imputation is groundless and is being lodged only to increase his time in captivity.”

Reporters Without Borders issued a statement calling on the Cuban authorities to “clearly explain” Santiesteban’s situation.

Prior to his transfer to the Acosta Station, Santiesteban was held in a construction unit where he could receive visitors and make telephone calls. The blogger was sentenced in 2013 to five years in prison for an alleged “violation of domicile and aggression.” Independent lawyers have repeatedly denounced the irregularities committed in his case and have raised the complaint with national and international entities.

France’s socialist economic policies: ‘Cuba without the sun’

The communist economic policies of  the Castro dictatorship have worked so well in Cuba that there is no doubt France's socialist politicians behind the Cuban-style communist policies in that country are still scratching their heads trying to figure out what went wrong.

Via The Economist:

No more Cuban-style policies?

IN MANY respects, the new French government, which was unveiled today, looks a lot like the old one. The reformist Manuel Valls is still prime minister. Laurent Fabius stays on as foreign minister; Michel Sapin continues as finance minister; Jean-Yves Le Drian keeps his job at defence; Ségolène Royal remains in charge of the environment and energy; Bernard Cazeneuve stays at the interior ministry.

But there was one big surprise, as symbolic as it was encouraging: the appointment of Emmanuel Macron (pictured) to replace Arnaud Montebourg as industry and economy minister. Aged only 36, Mr Macron was until June this year economic adviser at the Elysée, the presidential palace, where he saw it as his mission to steer the Socialist government under President François Hollande away from its paleo-thinking towards a more modern form of social democracy. Mr Macron resigned after Mr Hollande installed the moderate Mr Valls as prime minister, arguing that this job was done.

If Mr Valls wanted to send a message with his new government, Mr Macron is it. Mr Montebourg, who was ousted the previous day, had a knack of irking foreign investors, once telling Mittal, a steel company, that it was “not welcome” in France. Mr Macron, by contrast, spent much time privately picking up the pieces, arguing to investors that France was in fact open for business. Of Mr Hollande’s election-campaign promise in 2012 to set a sky-high top income-tax rate of 75%, Mr Macron once said scathingly, “it’s Cuba without the sun!”.

By itself, of course, Mr Macron’s appointment will not make it any easier for Mr Valls to press ahead with the politically daunting job of sorting out France’s squeezed public finances and trying to revive the stagnant economy. Nor will it put an end to the debate, led by Mr Montebourg and other fellow anti-austerity Socialist deputies outside government, over the pace of fiscal consolidation. But it does at least suggest that the Valls government is serious about pursuing a more business-friendly approach, and about starting to bring the largely unreconstructed left into line with the rest of Europe’s social democrats.

Postcards from Cuba: Stalin trembles

From our friends at Guamá:

New Pew poll in Venezuela shows Venezuelans prefer U.S. to the hegemony of Cuba’s Castro dictatorship

Via the Pew Research Center:

Despite rocky diplomatic relations, Venezuelan public prefers U.S. to Cuba

Venezuela has had a rough year. With inflation topping 60% in May, new talk of raising the country’s incredibly low gas prices and shortages of goods ranging from coffee to toilet paper, the socialist government is reaching out to allies in an effort to alleviate the country’s pervasive economic problems. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan public has very different views about two of the nation’s most important trade partners: the United States and Cuba.

Venezuela’s socialist leader Nicolás Maduro is no fan of the U.S., but that doesn’t mean Venezuelans take the same view. According to Pew Research Center’s Spring 2014 global survey, Venezuelans have generally positive attitudes concerning the U.S. At a rate of two-to-one, the Venezuelan public holds a more favorable (62%) than unfavorable (31%) view of their biggest trade partner. This represents a nine point uptick in support since 2013, when 53% shared positive feelings toward the U.S. Younger Venezuelans are especially likely to view the U.S. favorably – 66% of those ages 18-29 express a positive opinion. Still, a majority of those ages 50 and older (56%) also perceive the U.S. favorably.

Venezuelans Views of U.S., CubaThe biggest disagreements about the U.S. break along ideological lines. Venezuelans who lean to the right of the political spectrum see the U.S. in an overwhelmingly positive light (84%), while only 12% have a negative opinion. Venezuela’s political left, which aligns with President Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela, tends to be more critical of the U.S. (62% unfavorable v. 34% favorable). This is none too surprising given the tumultuous relationship between Maduro and the U.S. in recent months and the many years of tension between Washington and Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez. Chávez, who blamed the U.S. for organizing a coup against him in 2002, often stoked anti-American sentiment with colorful quips, including claims that the U.S. “invented technology to spread cancer” to South American leaders and referring to then-President George W. Bush as “the devil,” “a donkey” and “a drunkard.” Despite this, a majority of moderates (63%) see America favorably.

Meanwhile, most Venezuelans have a negative opinion of Venezuela’s political and economic ally, Cuba. The two countries have a very interdependent relationship, with Venezuela sending Cuba subsidized oil in exchange for Cuban doctors, teachers and military advisors. Yet 57% of Venezuelans give Cuba an unfavorable rating, with fully 38% saying they have a very unfavorable impression of their trade partner. Only 37% have a favorable outlook.

The most notable difference of opinion hinges on political ideology. While roughly seven-in-ten (72%) left-leaning Venezuelans view Cuba favorably, only 14% on the right share this attitude. Moderates also tend to be more disapproving of Cuba (34% favorable v. 54% unfavorable). Protestors in Caracas earlier this year, lauded by opposition groups in both Venezuela and Cuba, attributed such feelings to the perceived “Cubanization” of Venezuela, claiming that the Cuban government increasingly plays a role in Venezuelan efforts to suppress dissidents and wants to force Cuba’s strict socialist ideas onto Venezuelans.

Here are more detailed results and survey methodology.

Cuba’s State Media brags about Nation of Islam Farrakhan’s admiration for apartheid dictator Fidel Castro

Sit back and enjoy the irony of a black supremacist who calls white people the "devil" expressing glowing admiration for Fidel Castro, the racist leader of Cuba's white apartheid regime.

Via ACN, a state-run propaganda outlet of Cuba's Castro dictatorship:

Louis Farrakhan Reiterates Admiration for Fidel Castro

HAVANA, Cuba, Aug 26 (acn) The leader of The Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan said in Barbados that Fidel Castro made solidarity among the peoples the reason of his existence.

The leader of the US religious movement made his statement during a meeting with Barbadian activists, attended by Cuban ambassador Lissette Perez, according to the island's Foreign Ministry.

Farrakhan referred to Fidel's initiative to train doctors for Third World nations as a contribution to world supportive practice and he noted that the idea that the return of those doctors to their own communities to assist their people changed the mindset about the concept of giving assistance to those in need.

He also recalled his visits to Cuba and his meetings with Fidel, especially in 2002 when he met with Army General Raul Castro and corroborated the efforts of the Cuban people in the areas of healthcare, education and urban agriculture.