Stalinist Angela Davis–who has not been “disavowed” (recall the media brou-hah-hah about Trump disavowing David Duke?) by a single “women’s rights leader”– is a major fan of the Castro regime– the Stalinist regime that jailed and tortured the most women political prisoners in the modern history of the Western hemisphere.
No women in recent history (except probably many in North Korean prisons) suffered longer or more horrible political incarceration and torture than Castro’s female political prisoners. They were beaten and tortured and starved for years in KGB-designed prison cells beyond the reach of any international Human Rights organization. For refusing to snitch on their band of brothers and sisters even under ghastly KGB-tutored physical and mental torture many of these women suffered much worse and much longer terms and tortures in Cuban jails than the celebrated Elena Bonner suffered in Soviet jails.
Most of these heroic Cuban women are physically and/or mentally scarred for life from their ordeal in KGB-designed cells by KGB-tutored torturers.
“The national media has never shown the slightest interest in any of our stories,” former Cuban political priosner Caridad Roque confided to your humble servant. Ms Roque was arrested by Castro’s KGB- trained police at the age of 19 and suffered 16 years of prison and torture in Cuba.
“Humberto Fontova’s book teaches us truths about Castro’s island that are very discomfiting for many intellectuals.” Ana Botella (Spain’s former First Lady while giving a book reading in Madrid, upon “Fidel; HFT” release in Spain)
Stranded: A Cuban doctor ponders life stuck between policies and politics
When Elisabet Casero, a 26-year-old Cuban dentist, decided to abandon her assignment in Venezuela earlier this month, she knew the stakes. She would have to cross a crime-infested border to get to Colombia, forfeit her life savings in Cuba and be considered a pariah on the island.
But the risks seemed worth it. She planned to apply for a U.S. visa under the Cuban Medical Professional Parole program, tailor-made for the island’s health professionals.
But just hours after she was smuggled into Colombia on Jan. 12, on the back of a motorcycle, she heard the news: the Obama administration had canceled the parole program.
“I got so depressed,” Casero said. “But I have no choice but to move forward. I can’t go back to Cuba and much less Venezuela.”
Now Casero finds herself in a precarious situation: unable to continue to the United States, unable to work in Colombia and unwilling to return home.
Hundreds of Cubans are stranded in the Americas after the Obama administration ended the so-called “wet foot, dry foot” policy as well as the parole program for medical professionals earlier this month.
The administration has said it will continue processing parole applications submitted before the program was canceled, but it hasn’t said what might happen to people like Casero. And while it’s not clear how many people might be in her situation, Cuban doctors in Bogotá said they knew of at least two more cases of people who had already abandoned their jobs but hadn’t been able to apply for the program.
In Cuba, being chosen to work in an international medical mission is considered prestigious. But the reality can be stark. Casero said she was paid 27,000 bolivares a month — less than $10 — while she worked in the northern Venezuelan state of Valencia. To pay for her escape, she had to save as much as possible.
“I couldn’t even pay for the transportation to the office. Our Cuban bosses also did not give us money for water and cooking gas,” she said. “They told us we had to rely on the ‘solidarity’ of friends.”
She said her supervisors also encouraged the doctors to get their Venezuelan patients to pay for a portion of the care, even though it’s supposed to be free.
Her decision to join the Cuban government’s “medical mission” to Venezuela was not free of pressure either, Casero said.
“We were told that we should go on the mission. If you refuse, you can even lose your career because they brand you as a counterrevolutionary,” the dentist said.
In Venezuela she says she was required to work long hours and was closely monitored to make sure she met her quota of patients. (Venezuela pays Cuba for the service with oil.)
Mexico has just deported 91 Cuban refugees back to Cuba and to a life of repression, apartheid, and slavery. I suspect the irony here will be completely lost among our Lah-teen-oh brothers and sisters who were gleefully celebrating Obama’s Cuban immigration policy change last week.
Mexico deports 91 Cubans after U.S. ends ‘wet foot, dry foot’
Mexico’s government has deported 91 Cubans about a week after the United States ended a so-called “wet foot, dry foot” policy that granted residency to almost every Cuban who reached U.S. soil, Mexican officials said on Friday.
The repeal of the longstanding policy last Thursday by former U.S. President Barack Obama left hundreds of Cubans who were seeking a new life stranded in Mexico and Central America countries.
The 71 men and 20 women were flown to the Caribbean island by Mexican federal police jet from the southern city of Tapachula, Mexico’s National Migration Institute said.
The Cubans were in Mexico “irregularly,” the institute said in a statement, though they had applied for a permit to remain temporarily in the country.
Cuban officials had long sought an end to the policy, arguing that the promise of U.S. residency was fuelling people-trafficking and encouraging dangerous journeys.
The policy let Cubans who fled to the United States pursue residency if they reached the mainland, but not if they were picked up at sea before reaching the shore.
Obama entered into detente in 2014 with Cuban President Raul Castro, and the two governments continued to sign cooperation agreements this week to wrap up a range of issues before Donald Trump was sworn in as U.S. president on Friday.
Trump has vowed to scrap Obama’s policy toward Havana unless Castro’s government makes further concessions, although he has not specified what those should be.
(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
Here in the United States of America, we once again witnessed the peaceful transition of power from the sitting president to the newly elected president. The inaugural ceremony is not a celebration of victory, but of our democracy.
On 3 Nov 1958 the most critical elections in Cuban history were held. The three major presidential candidates were: Carlos Márquez-Sterling for the Partido del Pueblo Libre; Ramón Grau San Martín for his faction of the Partido Revolucionario Cubano, Auténtico; and Andrés Rivero Agüero for a coalition of government parties. There was also a minor party candidate on the ballot, Alberto Salas Amaro for the Union Cubana party.
Campaign rallies of Batista’s opponents were frequently sabotaged not by the Batista government, but by Castro and the revolutionaries. Under constant death threats by Castro forces the electoralist candidates were unable to visit many parts of the country. Their only practical recourse was effective use of radio, television and the printed word. As Time contemporaneously reported:
Where Batista’s mailed gauntlet was absent, Castro’s brass knuckles took over. […] In the backlands where rebel bands roam more or less at will, candidates were terrorized. They could not make campaign speeches, shake hands, or get before the people in any fashion, except from the safety of heavily guarded TV stations. A few were shot down. In Oriente province, balloting was virtually impossible. In a frenzy of rage, Castro laid ambushes along the major highways. Burnt-out cars and buses studded the roads, and Santiago, capital of Oriente, was virtually cut off. To make his point clear, Castro got on the rebel radio and warned: “The orders to the people for Nov. 3 are: Do not go outside. The people must show their rejection of the elections by remaining at home.”
It was generally accepted that if the elections were conducted fairly and the votes counted honestly a Márquez-Sterling victory was assured. Surveys conducted by CMQ and the American Embassy predicted Márquez-Sterling would win by a landslide.
Castro and his rebels all through September and October had threatened to bomb polling places and machine gun the voters waiting in line. Since Castro thugs had already assassinated a number of candidates during the campaign, this threat kept many away from the polls. In the provinces of Pinar del Río, Havana, Matanzas, and Camaguey polling though light went on almost undisturbed. In Las Villas and Oriente, where vast zones were under Castro’s guerillas’ sway hardly any voting took place. First electoral reports indicated that in the provinces where voting was done without any major disturbances Márquez-Sterling had obtained a clear victory over the government candidate Dr. Andres Rivero Agüero, and the other major candidate, oppositionist Ramón Grau San Martín. In Las Villas and Oriente provinces the government took the absence of voters as an opportunity for ballot-stuffing on a large scale.
On election night after the poll closing, the results were announced. Márquez-Sterling had won the provinces of Havana, Camagüey, Matanzas and Pinar del Río. Batista’s candidate was arbitrarily declared the winner in Las Villas and Oriente and the government declared that he had in these two provinces more votes than Márquez-Sterling in the other four and so was the winner. This result was a travesty since in the provinces “won” by Rivero Agüero, Castro’s terrorists kept voters away from polling places. The government simply stuffed the empty ballot boxes with forged ballots, which had been previously printed and marked.
In a memoir published in 2009 Batista’s top military commander, Army Chief of Staff General Francisco Tabernilla, confirmed that military officers orchestrated a massive fraud to ensure that Batista’s candidate was declared the winner of the 1958 elections. In these declarations Tabernilla acknowledged that Márquez-Sterling won:
If the fraud had not been perpetrated, Dr. Carlos Márquez-Sterling would have been the winner. The political picture would have radically changed. Fidel Castro would have had no alternative but to negotiate or lay down arms and pursue political avenues if he aspired to be President.
One of Castro’s first acts after his victory in January 1st, was to order all ballots and electoral documentation from the November election destroyed. In 1959 Castro confided in the Argentinean ambassador at that time that had Batista recognized Márquez-Sterling’s victory, Castro would not have come to power. The US Ambassador arrived at the same conclusion and so declared in testimony before congressional committees.
That was the end of freedom in Cuba, and the beginning of a long nightmare of imprisonments, executions, repression, slavery, enforced poverty, family separations, and exile.
For fifty-eight years the Cuban people have endured the horrors of the apartheid dictatorship controlling their lives, and with little sympathy or assistance from world. In spite of that harsh boot heel on their necks, thousands of Cubans have fought and struggled for their nations freedom, for libertad. That fight continues today, please, get on social media and support their struggle. It matters.
Following is my latest letter-to-the-editor that the Washington Times published on January 20, 2017.
Mr. Antonio Benedí bemoans the repeal of the “wet foot, dry foot” immigration policy by President Obama (“Obama’s betrayal of the Cuban people,” Web, Jan. 17). Said policy puts Cubans who reach U.S. soil on a fast track to permanent residency. He and I disagree on this issue.
First, let’s correct the record. Mr. Benedí indicates that this policy was put in place in response to former President Bill Clinton’s handling of the Elian Gonzalez incident. This is simply not factual. The policy was started in 1995 by President Clinton as a preventive measure against a mass exodus of Cuban refugees after Fidel Castro threatened another exodus of Cubans to protest the U.S. embargo. The Elian Gonzalez incident took place in 2000, long after the policy was firmly in place.
President Obama’s decision to abolish the “wet foot, dry foot” rule was the right one to take, and it’s been long overdue. When most Cubans who benefitted from this policy in the past returned to Communist Cuba repeatedly after obtaining their residency by living for one year and one day in the United States, it transformed them from political refugees to economic immigrants. They ceased to be “political refugees” — people afraid to return to their home countries for fear their lives would be endangered. To afford these Cubans special privileges that were denied immigrants of other nationalities was in itself discriminatory and challenging to our fair-play values. So kudos to President Obama for ending this “pachanga” once and for all.
To restore freedom and democracy to Communist Cuba, it is the Cubans who have to trigger a ‘Cuban Spring.’ The “wet foot, dry foot” policy provided an escape valve to shirk this responsibility. It provided the Cuban government with a lifeline into the future by getting rid of most of the regime’s dissenters. Those dissidents who remained in Cuba were then either locked up in Cuban gulags or killed by Communist thugs. With the repeal of the policy, there will be enough dissidents in Cuba to provide the spark for the liberation movement that will untie the chains that have oppressed Cuban citizens for over 57 years.
Catholic Church will move “heaven and Earth” to prevent deportation of Cubans in Panama
After a meeting for a possible agreement between the Government of Panama and the Cuban regime to deport the Cubans stranded in that country, the Catholic Church said that they will mediate with the Panamanian President to prevent the deportation of the migrants.
At the offices of Caritas Panama, operating as a hostel for more than 300 Cubans, the director of that organization, Deacon Victor Berrío, said that the Panamanian bishops will seek a special immigration status for the Cubans.
“Me preocupó un poco lo del convenio con Cuba y vamos a averiguar un poco de que se trata”.
Berrio ensures that to send the Cubans back to Cuba would be a “disaster” for each of them.
It was also reported that on Monday, the Panamanian bishops will meet to ask President Juan Carlos Varela for the non-deportation of the islanders.
It seems that the outgoing occupant of the White House decided to extend a bit of kindness to Castro Inc.’s slave doctors who had already applied for entry to the U.S. under the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program that he just abolished a few days ago.
Yeah. It’s sort of a little parting gift unlike all his other recent ones.
From El Jeral (Miami Herald)
Hundreds of Cuban medical professionals waiting in third countries for permission to emigrate to the United States got a reprieve Thursday with a new announcement by the Obama administration: paperwork submitted prior to the official end of the Cuban Medical Professional Parole program will be processed.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) updated aspects of the new immigration policy toward Cuba and now says it will process pending applications to the parole program known by the acronym CMPP — provided paperwork was submitted before 5 p.m. Jan. 12, the official end to the program.
“[United States Citizenship and Immigration Services] will not accept and adjudicate any CMPP cases received at U.S. embassies and consulates on or after 5:00 p.m. EST on January 12, 2017,” a DHS spokesman said in statement Thursday. “However, cases initiated before that time frame will continue to be accepted and adjudicated by USCIS to completion.”
The clarification comes a week after the Obama administration announced the elimination of the program, as well as an end to wet foot, dry foot policy, which gave entry to most Cuban migrants who made it onto U.S. soil.
Dr Oscar Elias Biscet has been arrested by the Regime once again. Dr Biscet was last seen by his wife around noon today as he was headed for an internet venue.
According to neighbors, the Regime’s security agents mounted an operation near the intersection of 7ma and Santa Catalina in Havana, where they took him in the same police car used in his unlawful arrest last week, Patrol Car 228.
Shortly after leaving his home at noon his wife called his cell phone but calls were unattended.
After some inquiries neighbors confirmed the arrest and sting operation to his wife Elsa Morejon, who called me to inform us of the arrest. He was released later this evening.
Dr Biscet is the recipient of the US Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.
He has served approximately 12 years in prison, as a prisoner of conscience for his opposition to the Cuban regime. He is devout Christian and a committed friend of Israel.
We pray for Dr. Biscet’s safety. Arresting dissidents and keeping the families in the dark is the way that the Castro regime intimidates Cubans in the island.
We call on President Obama to issue a statement before leaving office that this arrest is wrong and not in the spirit of “change”. Or maybe better, Mr. Trump should halt all negotiations with Cuba until Dr. Biscet is released.
Ending his presidency with more concessions to the Cuban dictator seems fitting, after all, his good neighbor terrorist Bill Ayers launched his political career.
Since then it’s been a long eight years apologizing for what he views as America’s injustice to the world, while bypassing congress and the constitution to “change” America—we, and our allies are all worse off.
Brazilian graft scandal reveals Latin America’s uphill battle against corruption
More than two years after initial revelations of corruption involving Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras, and the construction firm, Odebrecht, the scandal continues to roil the country and its trading partners in Latin America, demonstrating once again that corruption remains a fundamental challenge for the region. The corruption revealed by the investigation dubbed “Operation Car Wash” has contributed to a deep recession, implicated some of the country’s economic elite, and helped topple President Dilma Rousseff and elected leaders from across the political spectrum.
More recent revelations have shown the extent of Odebrecht’s corrupt activities abroad. The multi-billion dollar Brazilian construction company has admitted to participating in corrupt activities in at least 11 other countries, including Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Angola, Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia. These revelations threaten to undermine the political agendas of Latin American leaders, forcing them to react and confront the realities of corruption in their own countries and governments.
In Peru, under the new leadership of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, anti-corruption officials are investigating the country’s three most recent ex-presidents for corruption related to Odebrecht contracts. The government of Panama has announced that it will cancel a $1 billion contract with the Brazilian firm for the construction of a hydroelectric project in response to revelations that the company paid over $59 million in bribes over a four-year period.
The scandal has also impacted Colombia as it embarks on the monumental task of implementing a peace agreement with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), which will require a massive expansion in the government’s presence and services. Over the weekend, Colombian authorities arrested a former senator on charges of “bribery and illicit enrichment” related to a government contract awarded to Odebrecht. This comes in the midst of other Odebrecht-related arrests in Colombia, including that of a former vice minister of transport.
Regional integration can be a great boon for economic growth in Latin America. But as the Odebrecht scandal shows, it can also serve as a vehicle for corruption. The region’s leaders and people must invest in judicial institutions that will ferret out and punish corruption and criminality.
Latin America’s leaders can use the Odebrecht scandal as an opportunity to rally support for anti-corruption activities and the establishment of independent watchdogs, the likes of which set new standards of accountability in countries like Guatemala.
The idea for this project – says Casanova – emerged in conversations between the two creators about the “new fashion” of future trips to Cuba, rather than measures of the US President, Barack Obama, who will provide for the re-establishment of relations with the regime.
Both worked on the project within the framework of Chancleta Power, a creative umbrella that the two maintain for their artistic campaigns, as well as their work on social networks focused on the denunciation of the systematic violation of human rights on the island.
“Chancleta Power is our working group, where we use viral images and create tools”, explains the designer. #VisitCubaProject started with three pilot posters that have raced like wildfire on social networks.
Their desire is not only informative: “is not intended to say ‘don’t go to Cuba,’ but if, look at the reality of the Cubans there, and of the opposition’.” “To remind them [the tourists], that they are stepping on a ground where there are a people living in an apartheid, to show the other side of the coin, which is quite serious”.
The #VisitCubaProject project aims to go further and give the campaign “the structure of a travel agent”, explains Casanova.
In this sense, the creator says, “for example, to create a guidebook that shows the location of dissident’s houses, Cuban prisons, and the site of the March 13 Tugboat crime, among others. We even want to operate in conjunction with some tourism companies”.
Their #CubaRomanticism vs. Reality campaign consists of a series of actual viral images of repression in #Cuba juxtaposed into vintage travel posters from the 40’s and 50’s.
Here are three examples of their fantastic work and the photos of the repressive acts that inspired them.