As Obama promised, another “economic reform” comes to Cuba.
Renting Fidel Castro’s Yacht for 5,000 Dollars a Day
Renting Fidel Castro’s yacht will be the new publicity backdrop that will be the next thing to enter the arena in order to convert the “Acuarama II,” as it is named, into an appetizing bait.
For some time, the auto rental business, Grancar, has been renting a couple of replicas of his legendary Russian limousine; unpublished photos of the ex-Comandante en Jefe are sold in various auctions as collection pieces, and now, exceeding all imagination and surpassing a whole flotilla of boats designed for the good life, the new boat bamboozle that the tourist group Gaviota will offer emerges: a sophisticated trip in the boat of the modest, humble and simple leader, Fidel.
With such purpose and in order to satisfy the most demanding of tastes, as General Raúl Castro puts it, “without haste but without pause,” using polyurethane of great consistency for protection and beautification, in its usual berth, the tidal basin of Caleta del Rosario, the hull was cleaned up and repaired (Code P-6, according to the nomenclature of NATO), along with the four diesel engines, model M-50 F-2, of 1200 horsepower. The rest of the reconstruction was done, with rigor and commercial conscience, from July 9, 2014 up to April 1, 2016.
Expert carpenters, specialists in boat furniture, worked without a break, while the ship was in drydock at a border guard unit of Barlovento Bay west of Havana. There, respecting the original design in its most minute detail, they changed the woodwork and applied an extra marine varnish of high strength to the new doors and the whole interior oak; they changed the nuts and bolts and the upholstery coverings. They also installed two new refrigerator housings and re-equipped the radio, navigation equipment and control room with the ultimate in advanced technology.
A new boat, a new life. At 89.63 feet (27.3 meters) in length, 4 heads, first-class cabins, air conditioning, televisions, a bar and satellite navigation, the rent comes to about $780/hour. However, a tiny discount will be given only to special clients. We are talking about up to $5,000 dollars for the first 8 hours. Whoever rents it can enjoy a romantic escapade, a family reunion, a party with friends, a dream of a fishing trip, a work reunion or a wedding celebration in a pretentious environment that for years was reserved exclusively for the ex-communist leader and his high-class guests.
As now few things amaze me, who knows if in the next few days the news surprises us that, as a new source of income, foreign tourists can visit Punto Cero and bring back as a souvenir a photo with the Comandante.
The truth is that, for now, while many people continue trapped in an absurd, aberrant and almost infinite cycle of anger, vengeance, violence and false patriotism, Fidel Castro continues to be the most profitable commercial trademark that the Cuban Revolution has.
Translated by Regina Anavy
While American celebrities party in Cuba like it’s 1959 and President Obama continues his policy of embracing and backing the apartheid Castro dictatorship, religious persecution of Christians on the island is increasing dramatically. So much for Hope and Change…
Anti-Christian crackdown in Cuba: Over 1,000 churches seized, Christians dragged away from homes, churches
When Pope Francis visited Cuba in September 2015, many thought the milestone event could signal a breakthrough in the campaign to promote religious freedom in the Caribbean island nation.
But now the memory of that papal visit seems to have been forgotten as Cuba’s communist regime has launched a renewed crackdown on the Christian faith with reports of churches destroyed, pastors imprisoned, religious leaders’ personal property seized and Christians violently stopped from worshipping.
In its latest report, the Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) says the Cuban regime has launched a major crackdown against churches and has seized and demolished at least 1,400 church buildings. The regime is justifying its action by claiming that the churches are unregistered, and therefore, illegal.
The report cites more than 1,000 cases of religious freedom violations, including the “destruction of church property, arbitrary detention and other forms of harassment, in particular seizure of religious leaders’ personal belongings.”
More than 1,000 churches were officially confiscated between January and July of this year, with 100 of those churches threatened with demolition, according to CBN News.
The vehemence of the latest crackdown is such that Christians are often “violently dragged away by security agents as they leave their homes or upon arriving at church services,” the CSW report states.
CSW has so far documented at least nine incidents this year where pastors were harassed and detained as state workers demolished their churches.
In one of the most serious cases, Rev. Marion Felix Lleonart Barroso was arrested on March 20, just hours before U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Cuba on an official visit.
“CSW is alarmed by the escalation of freedom of religion or belief violations throughout Cuba, but humbled by the courage and perseverance of the many religious communities who continue to peacefully resist government pressure,” CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in statement.
Thomas urges the United States and other Western countries to pressure Cuba to stop violating human rights.
CSW is also urging Christians around the world to pray for the protection of pastors in Cuba, especially those who are languishing in Cuban prisons.
Once upon a time, in a land known as Cuba, Chinese immigrants built a network of very successful businesses.
The Chinese began to arrive in Cuba by the tens of thousands in the mid-19th century. In the twentieth century, Chinese who had tried living in California began migrating to Cuba, because it offered more opportunities and less discrimination than the United States.
By 1958, Cuba had the largest Chinese community in all of Latin America.
The capital city, Havana, had a thriving Chinatown, centered on Calle Zanja, where impressionable Cuban children were overawed by fireckrackers wrapped in red paper and by statues of the Buddha.
Havana even had a Chinese cemetery.
Then along came a Maximum Leader named Fidel and a psychopath nicknamed Che who stole all those businesses from the Chinese.
And most of the Chinese fled that land, which ceased to be Cuba and became the Castro Kingdom and offered absolutely no one any kind of opportunity other than slavery.
Fast forward nearly sixty years: in a land devoid of Chinese residents, China seeks to create a colony of sorts, and to secure a foothold a mere ninety miles from the shores of the country it wants to displace as the most powerful in the world.
So, along with Iran and Russia — who have similar designs on the Castro Kingdom — China is now increasing its presence.
Worried? Why? Never mind. All is well. Go find your bong, or your stash of whatever soothes your nerves…. all is well.
Cuba and China on Friday signed new agreements aimed at deepening bilateral cooperation in a number of fields.
Zhang Xiangchen, deputy international trade representative with China’s Ministry of Commerce, and Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, signed the conclusive documents for joint projects in the sectors of telecommunications, industry and water resources.
“We have reviewed the advances made in our relations and planned out our economic collaboration for the next year,” Zhang told reporters after the signing.
Malmierca said the agreements prelude an expansion of bilateral economic cooperation.
“Chinese investments in Cuba are starting to blossom and we have a joint strategic vision of the future,” he said.
China is Cuba’ s second largest trading partner. Chinese enterprises have participated in many joint projects contributing to Cuba’s economic and social development.
Why Socialism Always Leads to Dictatorship
Supporters of the President of Ecuador Rafael Correa are seeking a constitutional reform that would allow him to be elected to a third term. In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, who’s been in power since 2007, has expelled the opposition from Congress. Bolivian President Evo Morales keeps pushing for indefinite reelection; he’s been in power since 2006.
Let’s not even talk about Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro, the anointed successor of Hugo Chávez, who rose to power in 1998.
The worst of them all is the Cuban regime, where the Castro brothers, Fidel and Raúl, have governed with an iron fist since 1959.
In all these cases except Cuba, parties or current presidents came to power through an initial election that was clean, and which seduced voters with attractive promises.
But then they changed the rules to stay in power indefinitely.
What’s curious, aside from the obvious similarities between countries, is that each leader took a similar path, which Chavez called “21st century socialism” — attacks on private property, state intervention on the economy, that sometimes, like in Cuba, reach the extremes of communism.
Socialism, from an economic point of view, is about concentrating all power on the state: money is controlled, as is the exchange rate and most production. This is complemented by the harassment of political movements with opposing ideologies. It has been this way since Lenin and Stalin in the Soviet Union, since Mao Zedong in China, Ceaucescu in Romania and Pol Pot in Cambodia.
Leaders of Latin American are following a similar path, only adding the socialist component: they want absolute power, for indefinite time, but they also want to control the economy and hate private enterprise.
They know that political power, when combined with economic power, is practically unstoppable.
Email sent by Martha Beatriz Roque at 3 pm Eastern Time:
Me acaba de comunicar Wendy la esposa de Fariñas que hace unos diez minutos lo tuvieron que trasladar para el hospital Arnaldo Milián Castro en Santa Clara, pues se desmayó,
(I just heard from Wendy, the wife of Fariñas, that about ten minutes ago they had to take him to Arnaldo Milián Castro hospital in Santa Clara because he had lost consciousness.)
Cayo Coco: An Emporium Of Cuban Military Capitalism
The breeze coming from the coast is a blast of hot air that barely cools things off. The sun reverberates and the tourists take refuge from the insufferable irradiation in a swimming pool in the form of a huge shell, split in two by a cement walkway.
Others escape from the heat wave by tossing down beer like British hooligans or drinking insipid mojitos one after another. The Russian and Serbian tourists continue doing their thing: drinking vodka with ice as if it were mineral water, leaning on the bar rail of the Memories Flamenco Beach Resort hotel, nestled into Cayo Coco, in the archipelago of the Jardines del Rey, north of Ciego de Ávila, a province some 360 miles to the east of Havana.
In the tiny shop, Mexican tourists ask where they can buy El Cuervo tequila. Close by, a group of Spaniards follow on television the performance of their compatriot, Mireia Belmonte, in the Olympic swimming finals in Rio 2016.
There are very few Cuban tourists. Even fewer black people. Past 2:00 in the afternoon, the Memories Flamenco hotel seems to be a plenary session in miniature of the United Nations: East and West Europeans, Mexicans, Hindus, Asians and Americans, who try not to call attention to their clandestine tourism at Cayo Coco.
“Traveling to Cuba isn’t a problem. You can justify it with any of the 12 categories authorized and, although it’s not permitted legally, no institution in the United States asks if we’re doing tourism when we travel to the island,” comments a North American of Peruvian origin on vacation with his wife and two kids.
The five-star hotel is located on the highway that connects Cayo Coco with Cayo Guillermo. It has 624 rooms; 12 are suites and 4 are adapted for the handicapped. At this moment, half of the rooms are empty. “We’re in the low season. And even though the number of visitors to Cuba continued growing in 2016, hotel occupancy isn’t more than 50 percent,” says a receptionist.
Like 70 percent of Cuban tourist installations, the Memories Flamenco hotel is administered by the Gaviota S.A. military emporium, a business that appeared in 1989 under the auspices of Fidel Castro, on the pretext of testing the profitability of the incipient tourist business.
“When the tourist boom began, since so much in Cuba is stolen, it wasn’t known for sure whether a hotel would generate profits. Gaviota reduced expenditures and raised productivity on the basis of low salaries and internal controls,” says an employee.
Another employee, driving an electric cart that transports the recent arrivals to their rooms, says with total frankness that “most of us workers don’t agree with the deal they give us. Gaviota contracts only with foreign businesses to administer their hotels. The salary is shit; I earn 500 pesos (almost 20 dollars) a month, and since it’s a hotel with ’everything included,’ tipping is scarce. The luggage handlers and the maids are the ones who get extra money. But it’s always better to work in a hotel than to be a policeman.”
“Damn it! Get that look off your face and do something to get up!”
In November 1958 Cubana Airlines Flight 495 from Miami to Varadero, Cuba was hijacked at gunpoint by terrorists belonging to Raul Castro and Che Guevara’s July 26th Movement. The plane crashed into Nipe Bay in eastern Cuba killing 14 passengers. (This was one of five hijackings of Cuban planes that year by the terrorists who now run Cuba.)
Here is how JetBlue is promoting their new flights for American passengers from Miami to terror-sponsoring Cuba:
Welcome to Santa Clara, a university town that played host to the exploits of Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara. The capital of the Villa Clara Providence (Yes! the JetBlue imbeciles actually use the word “providence,” instead of the proper province!) lies in central Cuba is a town that exudes a youthful, creative vibe:
Among the “exploits” of those cheeky Marxist revolutionaries so cheekily mentioned by JetBlue’s crackerjack and ultra-hip publicity dept. were the Western hemisphere’s first and deadliest airplane hijackings!.…so: “sit back! Relax! And enjoy your flight!…We thank you for choosing JetBlue!”
Here’s is how that “Marxist revolutionary” so cheekily mentioned by JetBlue’s ultra-hip publicty people viewed the fine folks who will be boarding those JetBlue flights from the U.S. to terror-sponsoring Cuba in order to further enrich its terrorist rulers:
“The U.S. is the great enemy of mankind!” (Che Guevara, 1961.)
“Against those hyenas (Americans) there is no option but extermination We will bring the war to the imperialist enemies’ very home, to his places of work and recreation. The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him! We must keep our hatred against them [the U.S.] alive and fan it to paroxysms!” (Che Guevara, 1961.)
“If the nuclear missiles had remained (in Cuba) we would have fired them against the heart of the U.S. including New York City. The victory of socialism is well worth millions of Atomic victims.”(Che Guevara, 1962.)
So Again: “Sit back! Relax! And enjoy your flight!…We thank you for choosing JetBlue!”
All items above fully-documented in these internationally- acclaimed books.
President Obama promised the Cuban people that his “Hope and Change” policy of embracing and backing Cuba’s apartheid dictatorship would help “empower” them and induce the Castro regime to allow more freedom. Almost two years after implementing his policy of unilateral concessions that ensure the survival of the dictatorship, here is where we are. ¡Gracias, Obama!
Cuba calls Miami conference on internet freedom an act of ‘subversion’
Josefina Vidal, Cuba’s Foreign Ministry’s director general for the United States, said that an upcoming conference in Miami on internet use on the island seeks to promote internal subversion.
“The illegal use of radio and television against Cuba is not enough for them, they insist on the use of the internet as a weapon of subversion,” Vidal wrote in her Twitter account Thursday.
Her comment was in reaction to an article published by the government-run Cubadebate criticizing the Cuba Internet Freedom conference to be held in Miami Sept. 12-13, which is being organized by the U.S.-funded Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB).
Cubadebate characterized the event as “the first conference on internet use in Cuba, as part of subversion programs by the U.S. government against the island that have been maintained during the administration of Barack Obama.”
The article went on to say that,“since [former president] George W. Bush activated the Law for Democracy in Cuba, which empowers the U.S. Congress to allocate $20 million a year for programs to promote regime change in Cuba, has spent $284 million over the past two decades for this purpose.”
The Cuba Internet Freedom conference is part of Social Media Week taking place in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District.
NOTE: It should be noted that at one time, Josefina Vidal was a Castro “diplomat” stationed at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington D.C. Her time there was cut short, however, when U.S. counter intelligence identified her, her husband, and several other Castro “diplomats” as spies and declared them persona non grata before unceremoniously kicking them out of the U.S.
You can read more about it HERE.
No need to comment.
The article below speaks for itself, especially because it’s full of tired old slogans common to all dictatorships.
Iran understands the weaknesses of the U.S. intimately, from recent experience, and it also knows that Latrine America is ripe for picking.
And –given the nature and character of the two candidates for the presidency of the U.S. — Iran knows that American weakness is bound to increase over the next four years, or maybe even eight years.
We’re screwed. The world is screwed. Thanks Obama. Thanks Hillary. Thanks Donald.
Could we see another Missile Crisis involving Castrogonia and Iranian nuclear missiles rather than Soviet missiles?
Would you care to speculate on what the U.S. will give away in exchange for safety from those Iranian/Castronoid missiles?
Too much, way too much, for sure.
From Mehr News Agency (Iran):
New chapter of ties between Iran-Latin America
The Islamic Republic of Iran believes in a balanced approach to all countries and geographical regions and in addition to fostering ties with neighboring and Muslim countries, which has always been among the priorities of the country’s foreign policy, the reinforcement of all-out ties with Latin American has always been on the agenda of Tehran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also believes that reinforcement of relations with Latin American countries is among the Islamic Republic’s principled policies, stressing that no obstacle can hinder the expansion of mutual ties.
Due to political, cultural commonalities and congruity at international organizations and circles, particularly at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Latin American countries are vital for Iran and the Islamic Republic intends to establish balance and moderation in relations with Latin American nations.
The implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) clinched between Iran and the six countries of the P5+1 over Tehran’s nuclear program, has led to progress of Iran’s global situation, elimination of Western sanctions and reopening of economic development routes have driven the country’s foreign policy to boost mutual ties – evident in Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif periodic trips to Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
On Aug 21, Zarif, heading a group comprised of 120 merchants, businessmen and financial executives in government and private sectors embarked on a six-nation tour of Latin America including Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela respectively.
Whiteout doubt, the visits signify an opening of an era of mutual ties between Iran and Latin American countries that are mulling to expand commercial cooperation through the channel of private sector activists.
The visit is made following the President Rouhani repeated emphasis on reinforcement of ties with all members of the international community within framework of mutual respect, non-intervention in internal affairs, and securing mutual interests.
By the time of writing this article, Zarif has attended several meeting and held separate talks with several high-ranking Latin American officials including his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, President Raúl Castro , Vice President Ricardo Cabrisas Ruíz and his Nicaraguan counterpart Samuel Santos.
continue reading HERE
Captive Nations Presentation: Cuba, Human Rights and U.S. Policy
Last month, in commemoration of Captive Nations Week, The Victims of Communism Foundation in Washington, D.C., hosted a forum on human rights and U.S. policy towards Cuba.
It included remarks by CHC Editor, Mauricio Claver-Carone, and Cuban democracy leader, Sirley Avila Leon, who had her hand severed in a machete attack by the Castro regime.
Click below (or here) to watch:
Nicolas Maduro is not known for having a mind of his own.
His slavish compliance with all the directives given to him by King Raul of Castrogonia and his surrogates in Caracastan is utterly predictable.
King Raul says “jump” and Maduro asks “how high?” and “which pages in your playbook should I follow?”
A young American Mormon is now being held hostage in Caracastan.
Which deal will the current occupant of the White House and his lackeys strike to obtain his release?
Lift sanctions? Return Venezuelan Chavista elites involved in drug trafficking? Deliver planeloads of cash, Iran-style?
All of the above?
Take your pick. King Raul is an expert at this game, and trading Alan Gross for the “Cuban Five” was one of his greatest triumphs.
And he is pulling the strings in this case too, for sure.
From Hot Air:
Joshua Holt is a Mormon who fell in love with a Venezuelan woman he met online. Holt eventually traveled to the Dominican Republican where the couple were engaged. A couple months ago they were married and spent their honeymoon on an island off the coast of Venezuela. Their plan was to remain in Venezuela until Holt’s bride could secure a visa to leave the country. But a few days after returning to Caracas from their honeymoon, things took an unexpected turn. From Fox News Latino:
“Venezuelan police showed up at their apartment, went through their stuff and claimed to find an assault rifle and a grenade.
[Joshua’s mother] Laurie Holt says the police asked for $10,000 from the couple to avoid legal trouble. She also says there are five people who say they saw the police bring the weapons into the apartment. “Only three of the witnesses are willing to testify on behalf of Josh and Thamara,” Laurie told FNL…
Josh sent a letter to his parents, through Thamara’s mother, in which he claims his health is suffering and that the weapons found in his apartment were planted.
“He had two strikes against him. He’s American and Mormon, and the police hate both,” Laurie Holt told FNL.”
In addition to the weapons charges, Holt is also being held on suspicion of being an American spy.
On Thursday, 33 members of congress sent a letter to Secretary Kerry and Treasury Secretary Lew asking them to intercede in Joshua’s case. The letter reads in part:
“Since February, the government has imprisoned over 4,000 people for political purposes, including American citizens Francisco Marquez and Joshua Holt. There are almost 100 political prisoners in Venezuela, and only a few weeks ago, more than 47 people were detained just for protesting for food. These continued arbitrary detentions show Maduro’s utter disregard for basic democratic principles.”
Francisco Marquez was arrested in June while gathering signatures for a referendum that, if passed, would remove President Maduro from power.
The World Justice Project, an initiative of the American Bar Association, judged Venezuela the worst of 102 countries it looked at when it comes to rule of law. That was in 2015 but there’s little hope things have improved since then.
From our good friend Hank Tester, things you only see in Miami:
(David’s Cafe on Alton Road in Miami Beach)
‘Coffee, Three Cents’
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 23 August 2016 – Self-employed Cubans are tossed out of places where they’ve contracted with the State to work, without consideration of the consequences for them and violating what is established in their “contracts.” Recently this happened in Pinar del Rio, according to various reports, thanks to the redevelopment of the city boulevard. But this happens commonly all over Cuba.
An emblematic case happened in a Havana park when it was closed to the public for repairs and two dozen self-employed individuals, among them food vendors, sellers of toys, balloons and baby things, photographers, parking attendants and others, were left without work and without any ability to demand redress, although they had one year contracts and their licenses, payments and other documents were in order.
Months later, having finished some light painting and other things that could have been done between Monday and Friday without closing the park, which was mainly used on Saturdays and Sundays, this important recreation area was reopened, but under another administration.
The protests of the self-employed were ignored. The new administration had no “responsibility to the old contracts,” they told those who tried to reestablish themselves there. They needed new contracts for which they had to present all new documentation, photographs, self-employment licenses, tax payments, letters of good conduct from their local Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, and other things.
About twenty self-employed people were out of work for months, and had no recourse. The new administration set up new contracts with other self-employed people and some of the previous ones who had learned about it in time when they reopened the park. Others weren’t able to get new contracts. The opportunities were limited. And the previous contracts? Fine, and you?
In Cuba it is very normal that when the management of a company, a factory, a municipality or a province change, many other things also change.
It comes from the genesis of the top-down statist system introduced in Cuba by Fidel Castro, in the name of a socialism that has never existed other than in the dreams of many Cubans.