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realclearworld

As “normalization” talks with U.S. bog down, repression continues to increase in Castro Kingdom

Pastor Esmir Torreblanco stands among the ruins of his home in Santiago de Cuba where he led Establishing the Kingdom of God Church

Pastor Esmir Torreblanco stands among the ruins of his home in Santiago de Cuba where he led Establishing the Kingdom of God Church

 “No one can expect that Cuba, to improve relations, renounce its principles,”

-- Josefina Vidal, chief negotiator for the Castro regime, quoted in The Los Angeles Times

Want a close-up  look at the "principles" that the Castro regime refuses to renounce?

Read the article below.

Cuba_Raul_Castro-081a0-2265

The sad truth is that the U.S. negotiators babble a lot about pressing the Castronoids on "human rights" issues, but there is absolutely no pressure they can exert.  They came to the negotiation table in a position of extreme disadvantage and vulnerability -- having already made many concessions -- and the Castronoids sense the desperation with which the current occupant of the White House is approaching this deal.   To secure his "historic" legacy, he must cave in to their demands, rather than vice-versa.

In the meantime, the repression of human rights in Cuba continues to escalate with impunity.

Only those who side with the Castro regime --such as Cardinal Jaime Ortega -- are spared the abuse heaped on the vast majority of Cubans.

1332781224_JaimeOrtegaRaulCastroSentados

From ChristianToday.com

Religious freedom worsening in Cuba: 'There is a crackdown happening."

Violations of religious freedom are increasing in Cuba, according to a new report released by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) today.

The number of recorded violations has risen year on year. There were 220 recorded incidences in 2014, up from 180 the previous year, 120 in 2012, and 40 in 2011.

The incidences have also become more violent, with cases of Protestant pastors being arbitrarily detained or beaten and churches being demolished.

But the increase in the figures is partly owed to more information being reported, despite government restrictions on information.

"There is a crackdown happening... but that's come simultaneously with more people speaking out and being ready to put their work and their situation on the line to make sure information gets out," CSW's Cuba advocate told Christian Today. "I think that then provokes a more intense crackdown, so it's a circular cycle.

"Everything's monitored, so the Cuban government has complete control over telephone lines and internet connection. Any pastor or church official who tries to send information out is doing that knowing that what they are doing, the government's going to know about and that comes with repercussions."

Those who have reported violations have been harassed and some have been threatened with arrest.

Religious life in Cuba is regulated by the Communist Party's Office of Religious Affairs (ORA), which has the power to recognise certain religious groups and permit them to build new premises while denying others.

But even churches that are registered, legally operating church can face intimidation. CSW's spokesperson said members of the congregation can be threatened with losing their jobs, pastors' children are often singled out at school, and the ORA can refuse to allow building repair work to be done.

Unregistered churches can experience anything from the confiscation of property to the demolition of the church building.

In July 2014 the ORA sanctioned the demolition of the Establishing the Kingdom of God Church in Santiago de Cuba. The pastor and his family were removed from their home, where the church met, early one morning and then the building was reduced to rubble.

continue reading HERE.

cuba-eeuu-roberta-jacobson-2

140504-obama-correspondents-laugh-8a_29ce0d0e4fbd43b3439320560cbba42f

Cuba’s dictatorship extends a hand of friendship to the U.S.; sort of…

Garrincha in Yahoo Noticias:

https://s1.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/HcrVZfNJClUn4HADYOJM.Q--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD01MDA7aWw9cGxhbmU7cT03NTt3PTk1MA--/http://l.yimg.com/os/publish-images/news/2015-01-22/711c67b0-a25e-11e4-839b-d940f1d17ba6_Garrincha-Cuba-USA.jpg

The silence of Alan Gross

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo in Post Revolutionary Mondays:

The Silence of Alan Gross

https://orlandolunes.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/9b1ca-alan-gross-cuba-prison.jpg?w=400&h=400We live not in the civilization of media, but of the mediocre. And from there directly we inhabit the miserable.

Cubans desperately need witnesses to our tragedy. In the absence of politicians on the Island, we pin our hopes on any alternative voice: bloggers, musicians, graffiti artists, performers, etc.

Just recently a supposed North American hostage has been released. Alan Gross completed his role in the democratic-totalitarian theater of legitimization of the Castro dictatorship. He is now free, but he remains stuck in the labyrinth of his lawyers and the six-figure compensation with which they have invited him to recuperate and remain reticent. In the United States, he will not for one moment stop being a true hostage.

Cubans therefore ask why Alan Gross does not speak to us. Does he not feel shame for his irresponsibility towards our nation? He has not asked for forgiveness–that is, if he were to consider himself guilty. Nor has he accused his olive-green tormentors who, according to him, drove him to the point of suicide and stole five of the possibly fewer years of life he will now enjoy in liberty.

Alan Gross was another of our sterile hopes for drawing attention to the criminal cruelty that hangs over every Cuban. But he has come out–along with his unhinged gaze–determined not to expend even one drop of saliva on the Revolution. He is the “sixth hero”* of this complicit comedy of trade and trickery. And he has no problem with the G-2.

Thus is perpetuated the impunity of the 56-year-old regime imposed upon Cuba by a gerontocracy and by millions of North Americans–and soon, by the “millions” of the North Americans. Except for the Cubans–including the agents of influence and the spies–socialism is loved in America. This is consummate statistics. And the month of muteness of Alan Gross is one of its most sensational symptoms.

Why does he keep silent, and what is he silencing, our USAID contractor in Havana? How was his trial behind closed doors? Was he tortured physically and verbally?   What are the repressive buildings like inside, where he was disappeared even from his biography? With whom would Alan Gross speak in Cuba, and what did he know of the world during his time on the scaffold in unreal time? While in Cuba was he threatened with death or the death of his family if he did not cooperate? And, now, in the United States, what is the retaining wall that keeps him betraying us, while saving the very regime that destroyed him?

The meat grinder will not cease even when the Castro regime falls. There is no justice that can withstand such violence and vileness which were inculcated in us, between paternalism and panic. The world will never be as scared of the Castros as we are, their executors who in turn will be executed. Among the people there are too many Alan Grosses.

*Translator’s Note: The five Cuban spies who were serving prison terms in the US and were released in December, 2014, are labeled in Cuban government propaganda as “The Five Heroes.”

 Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison

Deal struck with Cuba’s apartheid regime exposes Obama’s lack of credibility

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Obama's Cuba Credibility Deficit

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-0YWdJeZJk5Y/VMUUEDpK5bI/AAAAAAAATFw/DJa_tAskhWs/s1600/or.jpg

One of the biggest problems with the Obama Administration's deal with the Castro dictatorship is its lack of credibility.

The secrecy of the negotiations that preceded it and the lack of accountability in its implementation have certainly not helped.

But also adding to this lack of credibility are the Obama Administration's past actions.

Take the following two statements this weekend by Obama Administration officials.

First, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Roberta Jacobson, upon her return from the first round of "normalization" talks in Havana:

"One of the most important aspects of our visit, and of the the next ones, was to make sure that [opposition] activists understand that nothing in our policy changes our desire to work with them and maintain our support. That was one of our first objectives. If they felt abandoned, we wanted to assure them that wasn't the case."

That's nice rhetoric.

However, ask Iran's Green Movement, Syria's moderate opposition, Venezuela's student movement, China's intellectuals and Burma's ethnic minorities how the Obama Administration's empty rhetoric (while embracing their oppressors) have worked out?

Not so well.

Then, White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, tells Fox News Sunday:

We don’t get into negotiations with terrorists, we don’t pay ransoms, because that cash then fuels further kidnappings, which just continues to exasperate the problem.

That's nice also.

However, ask the Taliban, Iran's mullahs and Cuba's Castro brothers whether they believe this to be true. After all, the Obama Administration has -- in fact -- negotiated with them, been coerced and paid ransoms for the taking of American hostages.

This is also why during these week's "normalization" talks, the Castro regime continued trying to coerce the United States.

For actions speak louder than words.

No concessions for you! Obama-Castro romance turning icy cold

Castronoid "negotiating" team

Castronoid "negotiating" team

Surprise!  

What a re-enactment of the sinking of the Titanic, with the Castro regime playing the role of the iceberg and the U.S. negotiating team taking on the tragic role of the giant sinking ship.

The so-called "negotiations" between the U.S. and the Castro regime are turning out to be very frustrating for the U.S. negotiating team.

How can you "negotiate" anything when the other party involved won't budge a millimeter on its positions, and, on top of that, asks for more concessions than those already offered to it?

Read the article below and laugh heartily.  Prolonged outright laughter.  Guffaws.

The "negotiating" team sent by the current occupant of the White House seems totally flummoxed.

This must mean that they know absolutely nothing about the Castro regime and its history.

And it also means that right now there seem to be only two possible results,given the fact that the Cuban "negotiators" are adamantly determined to humiliate the U.S. team by dictating a total unconditional surrender from them.

1. A complete capitulation by the U.S. to all of the demands being made by the Castro regime -- including an unconditional lifting of the so-called embargo.

2. A collapse of these "negotiations" and a bitter ending for the new Cuba policy initiated by the current occupant of the White House.

Which one of these two possible outcomes are you willing to bet on right now?

Cuba-talks

Castronoid spy Vidal (L) versus Obamanoid diplomat Jacobson (R)

From Granma Lite (a.k.a. The Associated Press):

Cuba digs in heels on concessions 

HAVANA (AP) — The start of talks on repairing 50 years of broken relations appears to have left President Raul Castro’s government focused on winning additional concessions without giving in to U.S. demands for greater freedoms, despite the seeming benefits that warmer ties could have for the country’s struggling economy.

Following the highest-level open talks in three decades between the two nations, Cuban officials remained firm in rejecting significant reforms pushed by the United States as part of President Barack Obama’s surprise move to re-establish ties and rebuild economic relations with the Communist-led country.

“One can’t think that in order to improve and normalize relations with the U.S., Cuba has to give up the principles it believes in,” Cuba’s top diplomat for U.S. affairs, Josefina Vidal, told The Associated Press after the end of the talks. “Changes in Cuba aren’t negotiable.”

It’s not clear if Cuba’s tough stance is part of normal negotiation tactics or a hardened position that could prevent the talks from moving forward.

The Obama administration has dedicated significant political capital to rapprochement, but closer ties with the economic giant to the north also could have major importance for Cuba, which saw growth slow sharply in 2014 and is watching with concern as falling oil prices slam Venezuela, which has been a vital source of economic support.

In a wide-ranging interview, Vidal said that before deciding whether to allow greater economic ties with the U.S., Cuba was seeking more answers about Obama’s dramatic of loosening the half-century trade embargo.

Measures put into effect this month range from permitting large-scale sales of telecommunications equipment to allowing U.S. banks to open accounts in Cuba, but Vidal said officials on the island want to know if Cuba can buy such gear on credit and whether it is now free to use dollars for transactions around the world, not just those newly permitted with U.S. institutions. Until now, at least, U.S. law and policy has banned most foreign dealings with Cuba....

.....Vidal also said full normalization will be impossible until Congress lifts the many elements of the trade embargo that aren’t affected by Obama’s executive action – a step seen as unlikely with a Republican-dominated Congress. Among key prohibitions that remain is a ban on routine tourism to Cuba.

Even a relatively simple measure such as granting U.S. diplomats freedom of movement around Cuba, she said, is tied to reduced U.S. support of dissidents, whom Cuba says are breaking the law by acting to undermine the government of behalf of U.S. interests.

“It’s associated with a change in behavior in the diplomatic missions as such and of the diplomatic officials, who must conduct themselves as our officials in Washington do, with total respect for the laws of that country,” Vidal said.

She also said Cuba has not softened its refusal to turn over U.S. fugitives granted asylum in Cuba.

Much more HERE, but prepare to encounter the usual AP/Granma spin, which emphasizes all of the very positive changes that the talks have already brought to the Castro Kingdom.

Me eeeencanta este carnaval....

Me eeeencanta este carnaval....Mil gracias, Obamita querido.... Mua!

Obama-laugh

Day naaahdaa, Raul, ah-mee-gow, no problemo !!!

A few ‘Problemas’ with Those US-Cuba Talks

 

Nice “forbidden” breakfast is the only good thing for dissidents at meeting with American negotiators

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Martha Beatriz Roque has just sent out a long email in which she describes the breakfast meeting that she and six other dissidents had with two members of the U.S. delegation: Roberta Jacobson and Edward Alex Lee.

The dissidents who attended this meeting were Antonio G-Rodiles, Guillermo (Coco) Fariñas, José Daniel Ferrer, Elizardo Sánchez, Héctor Maseda, Miriam Leyva and Martha Beatriz Roque.

Bertha Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, boycotted the meeting to protest the ways in which the American delegation has been ignoring the dissident community.  She was especially displeased by a meeting with some dissidents held on January 18, at which only those dissidents who favored President Obama's policies were allowed to attend.

Her description of the meeting is detailed.  All in all, the seven Cuban dissidents were able to convey their concerns to the two American negotiators, both of whom speak fluent Spanish.

In essence, the seven dissidents spent an hour and a half explaining to the American negotiators how the "normalization" of relations between the U.S. and the Castro regime will increase repression on the island rather than decrease it.  Some expressed sheer disbelief concerning the reasons for this policy change, for it seems to them that the U.S. has nothing to gain from it and the Cuban people will have to pay dearly for all the concessions granted to the Castro regime.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking and most revealing observation made by Martha Beatriz Roque is the following:

Todos pudimos conversar, mientras disfrutábamos de un desayuno prohibido para los cubanos en el que estaban presentes: jugo, frutas, tortilla, jamón, pan, café, mantequilla y leche.

(We were all able to talk while we enjoyed a breakfast that is forbidden to the Cubans who were present: juice, fruit, omelettes, ham, bread, coffee, butter, and milk.)

004_American_breakfast

According to Martha Beatriz Roque, the chief American negotiator has already resigned herself to the fact that the Castro regime will not change anything at all as a result of these talks.  Her closing statement sums up this sad state of affairs succintly.

Al igual que dijo la señora Jacobson, no tengo ninguna fe en que el régimen cambie, porque de esta forma ha logrado mantenerse en el poder por 56 años, pero si al menos cesa el inmovilismo, la nación cubana va a poder respirar un poco de aire.

Nosotros hemos estado acostumbrados a la cultura del enfrentamiento, será muy difícil podernos adaptar a la cultura del entendimiento, sobre todo si va a estar en un solo lado de la balanza.

(I agree with what Mrs. Jacobson had to say: I don't see any change coming from this regime, because they are bound to stick to the methods that have kept them in power for 56 years, but if they at least stop being so opposed to change, maybe the Cuban nation will be able to breathe a little fresh air.

We have become accustomed to a culture of conflict, so it will be very difficult to adapt to a culture of mutual understanding, especially if the relationship is so lopsided.)

Say goodbye to your profits, suckers....

Say goodbye to your hopes and dreams, suckers....It's my way or no way....

Reports from Cuba: A question for Roberta Jacobson

By Clive Rudd Fernandez in Translating Cuba:

A Question for Roberta Jacobson
http://translatingcuba.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/C50698FD-9028-4B4E-B69B-ADC1F323E64A_w443_h249.jpg

Roberta Jacobson

In July of last year, when I talked to some of the victims of the “Marzo de 13” Tugboat massacre in the Bay of Havana, I found a list of horrifying statistics.

Two of them would make any halfway decent human being shudder: the bodies recovered from the sea as a result of the sinking of the boat were never returned to the families, and there was never an independent investigation into the massacre in which 41 Cubans lost their lives. Ten of them were minors.

What was so shocking about these events was not just the impunity of those who perpetrated the atrocity on Cuban soil, but that what happened on 13 July 1994 is a pattern that has been repeated almost since the Revolutionary government took power in 1959.

The violent deaths, on 22 July 2012, of Oswaldo Payá, winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Throught, and Harold Cepero, young leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, followed the same path of an absence of justice and the utter helplessness of the affected families. Although in this case the bodies were handed over to the families, neither Payá nor Harold were given an autopsy or an independent investigation.

With the policy changes of the Obama administration and the Havana dictatorship, some voices have begun to ask for independent investigations of the violent deaths, especially where it is known that the authorities had some participation.

Other think that these kinds of “problems” have to full potential to point the accusing finger at the face of the government in Havana and that “this is not the opportune moment to talk about accusations, but rather the issues that bring both nations closer,” like an independent blogger on the Island told me.

http://translatingcuba.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/PAYA-29-300x177.jpg

Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero

The international media ignores the issue to the same extent. The saddest thing isn’t that they don’t emphasize these presumed assassinations, but rather that the majority of us, Cubans inside and outside the country, don’t consider it one of the most important issues to address. An independent investigation into the deaths of Osvaldo Payá and Harold Cepero protects all of us Cubans.

The alleged “accidents” and “careless doctors” who caused the deaths of Laura Pollán, Oswaldo Payá, Harold Cepero and many other Cubans are the extrajudicial executioners that hang like the Sword of Damocles over the heads of all Cubans living on the Island.

Those who dare to dissent and openly criticize the Government have felt the danger much more closely. Many of them have received death threats from members of State Security, who act with total impunity, as they themselves know, without legal consequences.

http://translatingcuba.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/rosa-maria-paya-2-300x204.jpg

Rosa María Payá

Last night I heard that Rosa María Payá met Robert Jacobson on a plane, when the daughter of the Cuban dissident was returning from a short trip to Washington, where she had the privilege of being the guest of Senator Marco Rubio at the State of the Union. The Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs was on her way to Havana to meet with officials from the Cuban Government in one of the meetings between the two nations at the highest level since the Jimmy Carter administration.

In this short encounter, Rosa María Payá asked whether the investigation into the death of her father would be on the negotiating table. The answer, as politically correct as it was evasive, was, “This is always a point that we can raise*,” this is always an issue we can touch on.

Maybe I’m wrong, but judging by the response, the issue of the unexplained deaths of opponents like Oswaldo Payá and Laura Pollán will remain unaddressed (for now) and, with them, the fear every Cuban has of being murdered at any moment, without consequences for the executioners, nor for those who give the orders.

*In English in the original

Argentina’s Kirchner knows what’s really important…

Santana in El Nuevo Herald:

http://www.elnuevoherald.com/opinion-es/caricaturas/51r0ba/picture8018400/ALTERNATES/FREE_960/percart0124

"Four 'Likes'!"

U.S. officials must accept nothing less than free elections in Cuba and justice for murdered human rights acvisits

Rosa Maria Paya in PanAmPost:

http://esblog.panampost.com/wp-content/uploads/cuba-roberta-jacobson-1024x684.jpg

US Officials Must Keep Their Eyes on the Prize in Cuba

Nothing Less: Free Elections, Accountability for Murdered Activists

http://blog.panampost.com/wp-content/uploads/Rosa-Mar%C3%ADa-Pay%C3%A1_avatar_1411342300-115x115.jpegAt the time of writing, I’ve been in Washington, DC, for 12 hours: just enough to accept Senator Marco Rubio’s kind invitation to attend President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech with him.

It’s winter here, but dusk saw a warm glow fall on the nation’s capital. In Capitol Hill I had the chance to speak with several Democrat and Republican legislators on Cuban affairs. I told them two points, in particular, which continue to be crucial when weighing up the developing talks between the United States and Cuba.

First, the United States is holding high-level talks with a government that has not been elected by its citizens. We therefore expect that support for a referendum on the current Cuban regime, demanded by thousands of Cubans who want free and plural elections, will soon be put on the table.

Second, US officials have repeatedly backed the need for an independent investigation into the deaths of my father, Oswaldo Payá, a recipient of the European Union’s Andrei Sakharov prize for Freedom of Thought, and Harold Cepero, a leader of Cuba’s Christian Liberation Movement. This matter should be discussed with the Cuban government now, because the opportunity to make a formal request exists through new official channels.

On my flight back from DC, I ran across Roberta Jacobson, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. I came up to her immediately and she stood up to greet me.

“Going back home or just to Miami?” she asked me. “To Miami,” I told her, remembering at the same time that it’s been over a year since I returned to my home in Havana. The last time I was there, next to Manila park in the El Cerro district, state security forces attacked my brothers in the street, and called me with death threats.

Jacobson was heading to Havana to meet Cuban officials. One of them was intelligence agent Gustavo Machaín, who in July 2012 orchestrated the sham press conference given by Aron Modig, the Swedish activist who was with my father at the moment of his death. Aron was held without charges in solitary confinement, and after the press conference, Machaín, ignoring our families’ requests to meet with him, expelled Aron from the country.

Aron was traveling in the same car as my father the day the Cuban regime attacked him, and state security forces kidnapped him immediately after the vehicle was driven off the road.

I asked Jacobson if the holding of an independent investigation would be part of talks with the Cuban government. “This is a point that we always raise,” she replied, nodding.

She also told me officials from both countries planned to discuss human rights on the island. She spoke to me casually, as if she wasn’t traveling to the heart of the world’s longest dictatorship to meet criminal agents, some of whom have even served as spies on US soil.

The Cuban government lied to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions when it demanded explanations about my father’s death. After more than two years, Cuban authorities still deny us access to the autopsy report, which the family has a right to, even according to Cuban law.

On Friday at the White House I will meet with Ricardo Zúñiga, Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs. I hope by then that he has some news from the Cuban government on the request made by Roberta Jacobson about an investigation into that fateful day in 2012, which our family long feared but prayed would never come.

The United States, and free nations around the world, should know that there will be no democracy or real stability in Cuba until the truth comes to light about this, and other atrocities, carried out in the name of the mythologized “revolution.”

Translated by Daniel Duarte

In first round of ‘talks’ in Havana, Cuba’s spy-run negotiating team scores big win over Obama’s delegation

By retired spy-catcher Lt. Col. Chris Simmons in Cuba Confidential:

Havana’s Spies Seen as Big Winner in New US-Cuban Relations
https://cubaconfidential.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/di-headquarters.jpg?w=810

Headquarters of Cuba’s dreaded Ministry of the Interior (MININT)

Havana long ago earned the nickname “Intelligence Trafficker to the World” for its sale and barter of stolen US secrets. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union and the loss of Moscow’s $3 billion annual subsidy, Cuba’s auctioning of US classified information skyrocketed. Defectors and émigrés report the island’s leadership sees America’s secrets as a commodity to be sold or traded to the highest bidder. These sources say Cuba’s intelligence brokering is now a key revenue stream, earning hundreds of millions of dollars annually in cash, goods, and services for the regime.

Cuba’s intelligence and security services are undoubtedly celebrating the legacy-making breakthrough in US-Cuban relations ordered by President Obama. The US leader’s intentions – while noble – will be undercut by five apparently unanticipated consequences that will trigger an increase in Havana’s targeting of the United States.

First, opening Cuba to American travelers will bring a huge influx of desperately needed cash to Cuban coffers – more specifically, the intelligence and security services that – along with their military brethren – run every major component of the tourism industry as profit-making enterprises.

Second, an estimated million Americans are expected to visit Cuba yearly, as compared to the 60,000 US tourists it currently enjoys. This endless parade of Americans will provide Cuban spies unprecedented opportunities to assess and recruit new American traitors.

Third, unrestricted access to US technology will allow Havana significant upgrades in the technical aspects of espionage and internal repression. While it may seem counterintuitive, Fidel and Raul Castro have long viewed the Cuban people as the greatest threat to regime survival. This explains why their two counterintelligence entities remain Cuba’s largest spy services. Conversely, the island’s three “foreign intelligence” services are directed against a single target – the United States.

The fourth benefit Cuba receives is a huge enhancement in the long-cultivated notion that it poses “no threat” to the US. Spying against an unsuspecting enemy is infinitely easier than operating against a suspicious one. That’s the reason this well-choreographed myth has been aggressively promoted by major Cuban spies like Ana Montes and the husband-wife team of Kendall and Gwen Myers, as well as countless Castro apologists. The boost President Obama gave Havana with his new initiative elevates this myth to heights Havana could not have achieved by itself.

The fifth and final gain will be the end of travel restrictions on Cuba’s US-based diplomat-spies, whose unrestricted travel is currently limited to a 25 miles radius from Washington DC and New York City. Open travel throughout the nation will be a godsend to Cuba’s espionage operations. This new advantage will eventually be enhanced even further by the opening of Cuban diplomatic consulates and Prensa Latina news agencies from coast to coast.

Continue reading HERE.

Obama’s ‘Art of the Bad Deal’: Cuba’s apartheid Castro regime rolls right over U.S. negotiators in Havana

If making a horrible deal where you give up everything in return for nothing could ever be considered an art form, President Obama would be the Donald Trump of bad deals.

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

U.S.-Cuba Talks Recap: Castro Coerces, Obama Acquiesces

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This week's "normalization" talks between the United States and Cuba were akin to the secret negotiations that preceded them. Namely, the Castro regime seeks to coerce the U.S., while the Obama Administration plays along.

Let's not forget that this entire process stems from the Castro regime taking an American hostage, development worker Alan Gross, in order to coerce the United States into releasing Cuban spies and easing sanctions.

And, as we all know -- once you cave to coercion, you will be coerced time and again.

Prior to the U.S. delegation arriving in Havana, Castro's mouthpiece, Granma, listed (as Cubans say, "con cara dura") its conditions for "normalization." They are:

1. Repealing the Cuban Adjustment Act.
2. Lifting the embargo.
3. Removing Cuba from the "state-sponsors of terrorism" list.
4. Recognizing the Castro regime's "official NGOs" -- e.g. Committees for Defense of the Revolution, Youth Communist League.
5. Compensating "damages" caused by the embargo.
6. Ending the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program.
7. Opening embassies in Havana and Washington, D.C.

So what does the Cuban regime have to do in return for all these demands of the Obama Administration?

Nothing, of course.

Asked whether Cuba's regime might at least examine how to expand freedoms to help Obama pitch Congress on lifting the embargo, Castro's top negotiator Josefina Vidal said:

"Absolutely not. Change in Cuba isn't negotiable."

After all, they haven't needed to do anything for all the concessions they've gotten -- thus far -- from the U.S.

Instead, the Obama Administration has also decided to role play and give credence to Castro's rhetoric: the brutal totalitarian regime is the "victim" worthy of concessions and the world's greatest democracy is the "victimizer" that shouldn't ask for freedoms in return.

No wonder Vidal was all smiles.

Moreover, upon concluding the first round of talks, the lead U.S. negotiator, Assistant Secretary of State, Roberta Jacobson, admitted she wasn't very sure whether the Obama Administration's new approach would be successful.

In other words, the Obama Administration's new strategy policy boils down to acquiescing to coercion, handing over all the U.S.'s economic and diplomatic leverage to the Castro regime and its monopolies -- leverage that will be nearly impossible to pull back once given -- in the hopes that it will play nice (or nicer).

That's not a strategy. It's wishful thinking (based on a dangerous premise). It's being a push-over.

Meanwhile, the talks took place under the watchful eyes (and ears) of The Viktor Leonov, a Russian spy ship docked in Havana.

Quite a week.

Cretin of the week: Avatar of the banality of evil featured in New York Times puff piece

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Robert Guild, vice president of Marazul Charters, a travel agency in New Jersey that organizes trips to Cuba

It seems the New York Times is done gloating about its victory over the evil Cuban exiles who don't love the Castro dictatorship.

Their game now is to sugarcoat the banality of evil, to revive its own outworn dirge about the evils of the "U.S.-backed Batista regime" and to rewrite Cuban history to make it seem as if the Castro dictatorship is a praiseworthy utopian experiment conducted on noble savages.

For someone who has not lived in Cuba as a Cuban, crushed under the boot heel of the Castro regime, these revolting puff pieces will seem charming, especially because most of the readers of the NYT are leaning left to begin with, and the Castro regime tends to be viewed by them as some sort of "social justice" redistributionist scheme.

Hitchcock time.  Yes.  If you are Cuban, you understand the horror of it all, and your helplessness, much like so many Hitchcock characters.

The NYT is doing a damn good job of twisting the truth and making you seem like a criminal, even though you are really the victim in a dastardly plot.

You and all Cubans are just like Roger O. Thornhill.

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If you're not Cuban and you want to know what it feels like to be a Cuban in exile, watch Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" and imagine being the character of Roger O. Thornhill, played by Cary Grant.

Unlike a Hitchcock film, however, justice will not prevail in the end when it comes to Cuba and those victimized by the Castro regime.

We Cubans are no different from the American natives who got royally screwed by European invaders.  We are toast.  And we'd better face that sad fact.

And we'd better learn to come face-to-face with our worst enemies more often: those absolutely evil cretins like Robert Guild, the man featured in this NYT article, who loves the Castro regime and thinks of Cuba as a "mysterious mosaic."

He runs a travel agency that has had a long relationship with the Castro regime and he is drooling over the changes promised by the Castro-Obama pact.

He and the NYT pretend that they are not promoting is the ultimate in bigotry and neo-colonialism.  But they can't fool everyone, especially themselves.  They know exactly what they're doing, and their shameless pretense is inexcusable.

So, if you want to understand what Hannah Arendt meant by "the banality of evil," forget about Adolf Eichmann on trial in Jerusalem in 1961 , just take a close look at the above photo of this travel agent named Robert Guild smiling like the Cheshire Cat in his New Jersey travel agency in 2015, and also meditate on the photo below, which depicts the racist neo-colonialism he makes possible.

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Traveling to an Open Cuba

Q. You’re not of Cuban heritage, so how and why did you get involved in this agency?

A. At Wesleyan University in the mid-1960s, I was active in social justice causes, including supporting the Cuban revolution against the American-backed government of then-President Fulgencio Batista. it. In 1969, as a member of the Students for a Democratic Society, I helped organize the first Venceremos Brigade to Cuba in defiance of travel restrictions. Later, one of the brigade members who worked for a travel agency got me hired there. Friends started Marazul in 1980 and invited me to join.

What were the goals of Marazul back then?

From the beginning, Francisco Aruca, the founder, focused on reuniting Cubans living in exile in New Jersey and Florida with their families. The goal was to normalize relations between the two communities, if not between the two governments. Those goals remain the same.

What was your assignment?

Many of those exiles became immigrants who wanted to visit Cuba to see their relatives and also to understand their culture and their own past. My job was to develop educational, academic, research and cultural programs for Cubans, as well as for non-Cubans. Essentially my job has not changed. We’ve sent several hundred thousand Americans to Cuba despite the travel restrictions.

How will the opening of travel to Cuba affect your job?

It will mean a whole lot more work; we’ve already seen increased interest and inquiries. But we also anticipate that the new laws will reduce the piles of paperwork and other bureaucratic obstacles.

How about for your own agency?

Though we are ahead of the curve since we’ve worked with the Cuban government for 35 years, we anticipate that a lot of new travel agencies will flood the field. We need to find our own unique niche.

How often do you go to Cuba?

About four times a year, though it will probably increase. I plan to go in a few weeks. Each time I discover a new colorful tile in the mysterious mosaic that is Cuba.

Venezuelans waiting in line for food.

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The ‘partners’ strategy collapses

 

Can Castro admirer Cristina from Argentina survive the Nisman murder scandal?

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The recent murder of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, first dismissed as a suicide by Castro confidant Cristina Fernandez Kirchner, is now quickly developing into a great threat to her authority, maybe even her survival too

Now that it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Nisman did not kill himself, all eyes are turning to Queen Cristina and her Iranian partners in crime.

Undobutedly, at some point, the Castro Kingdom is going to float to the surface of this septic tank and bob up and down in the sludge like Chucky the killer doll.

And, if this does not happen, you can bet there is a cover-up on the cover-up or the original cover-up that links Argentina to Iran and the Castro regime.

Let's not forget that this is Latin America we're dealing with, where magical realism always trumps reality.

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From Investor's Business Daily:

Why Nisman's Killing In Argentina Matters To The U.S.

Years ago, Henry Kissinger dismissed Argentina (or sometimes Chile, depending on the version) as "a dagger pointed at the heart of Antarctica."

In 2015, things are a bit different.

It's not that this country has anything to teach us about economics, other than what not to do. But a lot of vital news is emanating from that country — from the new Argentine pope to, perhaps even more pointedly, the aftermath of the shocking death of Argentine special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, which has special relevance to our war on terror and confrontation with Iran.

Nisman headed the long, thankless investigation of what has been called the first 9/11 — the 1994 AMIA bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 and injured about 200. Nobody's been prosecuted for that brazen terrorist atrocity at the center of a world capital, yet Nisman, who had been appointed by the late leftwing President Nestor Kirchner, went to heroic levels to get to the bottom of the horror.

What he found was that Iran, attempting to teach Argentina a "lesson" for re-establishing relations with Israel, was behind the attack. And he slowly, surely made moves to bring these people to justice. He dug and kept digging — and, as IBD explained in 2013, found an entire network of Iranian Hezbollah operations through the Americas.

And just as the Obama administration was declaring the war on terror over, Nisman came out with a 500-page report in 2013 showing how Iran's influence had grown -- and how Iran had been behind several attacks on the U.S.
Nisman's findings were so powerful he was called to testify before the U.S. Congress, but he was undercut by Kirchner's widow, now President Cristina Fernandez, whose minions said such testimony wasn't part of his official duties. They managed to silence him before he could speak — and not for the last time.

Back in Buenos Aires, Nisman found that there was a reason Fernandez didn't want the truth to get out about Hezbollah in our hemisphere: She made a deal with Iran to allow their killers — all in high-ranking positions in Iran — to walk free, in exchange for a trade deal to buy Iranian oil in exchange for sales of Argentinian grain.

Nisman found this out through legal subpoenas of official recordings. And he made no secret of his desire to point the finger, boldly announcing that he would have some revelations for Argentina's Congress on Monday.

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Raul: Oye no me metan a mi en este rollo.... o le doy las quejas a mi amigo Obamita

Raul: Oye no me metan a mi en este rollo.... o le doy las quejas a mi gran amigo y patron Obamita el Magnifico, rey de los drones