It's no longer a rumor: it's a fact.
Pope Francis will make stop in Castrogonia on his way to the United States.
Will he bring along Father Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist of Rome?
One can only hope that he will. Father Amorth is quite adept at expelling demons.
His expertise might very well be the only genuine solution to the ills that plague all Cubans.
A discussion of Marxist-inspired liberation theology with Cardinal Jaime Ortega and the Castro brothers --which is more likely to happen -- will certainly only make things worse.
May I bring the wine and cheese and the collected works of Gustavo Gutierrez?
Or, if Father Amorth doesn't join Pope Francis on this trip, one can only hope that The Holy Father lays aside the liberation theologians and reads about some of the great bishops who stood up to injustice.
How about this one, whose feast day was celebrated yesterday (April 22): St. Adalbert, Bishop of Prague (956-991), who was exiled by the King of Bohemia after excommunicating those who dragged a woman accused of adultery from a church and murdering her.
Or how about St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1109), whose feast day was celebrated the day before yesterday (April 21): Anselm had to go into exile too, for opposing the tyranny of King Rufus of England. He also denounced slavery and obtained a resolution from the national council at Westminster prohibiting the sale of human beings.
Or how about St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (340-397), who excommunicated Emperor Theodosius for the massacre of 7,000 people at Thessalonica in 390. Saint Ambrose required the emperor to humiliate himself in a public act of penance and to undergo several months of fasting and other acts of self-denial before being allowed to receive communion again.
One can only hope....
From the Wall Street Journal
Pope Francis to Visit Cuba Before Arriving in U.S. in September
Argentine pontiff played key role in rapprochement between Cuba, U.S.
The Vatican confirmed Wednesday that Pope Francis will add a stop in Cuba to his planned September trip to the U.S.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement that the pope will visit Cuba prior to arriving in the U.S., where he is expected to visit Washington, New York City and Philadelphia.
Father Lombardi noted that the pope had been invited to the island nation by the “civil authorities and bishops of Cuba,” but offered no further details on the trip.
The Argentine pontiff played a key role in the rapprochement between Cuba and the U.S. last December, and his combined visit to the countries will be a powerful gesture of support for their restoration of diplomatic ties—a historic and controversial move after more than half a century of estrangement.
The pope’s visit should also advance the Vatican’s longtime strategy of non-confrontational engagement with Havana’s Communist regime as a way of winning greater freedoms for the church.
The Cuban stop injects a new element of drama into a trip that was already hotly anticipated, with the pope scheduled to address the United Nations and a joint session of Congress, and to visit President Barack Obama at the White House.
Continue reading HERE
Ganamos! (We won!).... and we don't repent for a single atrocity
GUEST: Fausta Rodriguez-Wertz, the editor of Fausta's Blog......we will discuss the latest about the murder of Alberto Nisman in Argentina......the continuing political and economic crisis in Brazil...........President Maduro and Venezuela......the continuing story of repression in Cuba.....the Asia Pacific trade agreement.....Marco Rubio & Ted Cruz in 2016.....the Clinton Foundation.....
Click to listen:
A guest post by Asombra:
Stealing Venice: Apparently another feat of the robolution
In the March 2015 issue of a leading art world periodical, Blouin Art + Auction, there’s an article written by Judd Tully about the presumably better prospects for dealing with cases of art works confiscated or otherwise misappropriated from their rightful owners by Castro, Inc. (now that “normalization” of US-Cuba relations is supposed to open up all sorts of previously shut doors).
A little background: the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, the most important art museum in Cuba, saw a marked increase in its holdings starting in 1959. This was not due to an art-loving ruling class like the Medici in Renaissance Florence. The Castro people are vulgarians who personify political kitsch; their only interest in art is as a propaganda tool (for instance, ballet is “big” in Cuba only because its dominatrix, Alicia Alonso, has been a steadfastly abject Castro lackey perfectly willing to promote the regime). According to a former registrar at the museum, out of the roughly 50 thousand items in its collection, approximately 60-70% were confiscated from their owners after the 1959 Castro takeover. Significantly, the museum’s non-Cuban art works are now housed in the former Centro Asturiano, an imposing 1920s building built by and for Cubans of Asturian Spanish extraction, so the facility itself was appropriated by the totalitarian state (not unlike the former Habana Hilton hotel).
There are thus many cases of euphemistically called “dislocated” art, including high-profile claimants like the rich Fanjul sugar family, but even relatively obscure people got screwed big time. A Cuban-American surgeon now living in northern Florida, Javier García-Bengochea, is one of them. In 1957, his family bought an Italian painting through a New York auction house from the estate of a rich lawyer’s widow named Morawetz. It was a view of Venice by the important 18th century painter Francesco Guardi. At the time of the purchase, the price was a very small fraction of the work’s current value. It was taken to Cuba, but as it would have been confiscated if the owners had tried to take it with them when they went into exile, they left it there with an old cousin. Through still undetermined circumstances, the painting wound up in the Museo Nacional, where it is now one of the highlights of the Italian section. What may well have happened is that, when the old cousin died, everything of value was seized by the state (that is precisely what happened when my aunt, a spinster whose relatives had all left Cuba, died in Havana: the government made no attempt to determine or contact potential heirs abroad, and they had no legal recourse—for practical purposes, they did not exist).
Although the painting was a bargain in 1957, a similar Guardi view of Venice sold last year for about 17 million dollars. Dr. García-Bengochea has made several trips to Cuba in pursuit of the matter, trying to at least find out the details of the painting’s “journey” to the museum. He saw it there himself, and noticed that its wall label cited Morawetz as former owner but said nothing about his family. Provenance of art works is a big deal at any major museum, so it is actively investigated routinely, and the doctor rightly assumes that if relevant Cuban authorities know it once belonged to Morawetz, they also know it later belonged to his family. As will surprise no one here, the good doctor has gotten nowhere. During what appears to have been his most recent trip in 2013, he tried to make appointments with museum staff to no avail, as they blew him off like some pesky crank. This obviously suggests the museum’s claim on the Guardi painting is tenuous at best, and that those in charge apparently don’t even feel the need to invent a tolerably plausible explanation (though no doubt they can if necessary).
There are, of course, far worse crimes and tragedies perpetrated by the “revolution,” and their name is legion. All too often, there is no way to undo them or resolve them, and at least this painting isn’t going anywhere and could conceivably be returned some day. Still, this case is an example of how Castro, Inc. operates and always has—and the leopard cannot change its spots.
Call him Mr. Hard-To-Get, or Your Maximum Missing Majesty.
Whatever... Raul Castro failed to show up at the party Time magazine threw for its 100 most influential people on earth.
Or...maybe he did show up, but ordered the press not to reveal his presence.
Our Babalu spies snuck into the party disguised as Pope Francis and Jorge Ramos, and they claim to have taken a photo of King Raul at this event.
Judge for yourselves. He was taking a selfie, all by himself.
From The Daily Mail
Are these the most smug 100 people in the world? Time magazine's 'most influential' power players fawn over each other and pose for selfies at gala
It was a celebration for those named Time 100’s most influential people of the year.
And perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the honourees were feeling rather smug about being featured.
As the gala got underway, the guests mingled and fawned over one another, with many of them stopping to take selfies and pat each other – and themselves – on the back.
Martha Stewart cuddled up to Kanye West for a photo as selfie queen Kim Kardashian got behind the camera for a change to document the evening.
The 73-year-old was also cornered by model Karlie Kloss, 22, for a photo.
And Karlie had admirers of her own – she was stopped by Mia Farrow and Woody Allen’s son Ronan, who was there with his mother.....
Aaah, life is beautiful, and so is King Raul..... keep reading HERE, video included....
By Angel Santiesteban in Translating Cuba:
Dialogue between the color blind and the cynics
If it’s said that a dialogue occurred between two governments that have been opposed for more than a half-century, that they came to the negotiation table, one should first expect that both sides accepted the “errors” in their respective diplomacies, as occurred last March in Washington with the talks about human rights. But thinking this, knowing that the representatives of Cuba’s totalitarian government sat in one of the chairs at that table, is an enormous ingenuity or, simply, stupidity.
When the Cuban delegation returned to the Island, they appeared on television, supposedly to inform the population about what was discussed. They showed once again that you shouldn’t expect either democratic progress or human rights. They used their media time to criminalize the attitude of President Obama’s government, talking about U.S. spying and drones, and mentioning the resolutions presented in rejection of the U.S. action.
For his part, Chancelor Bruno Rodriguez, according to the presented medium, spoke of “the calamities on the world level, like hunger, preventable illness and illiteracy,” furthermore reaffirming the words of his “president,” Raul Castro, that “Cuba is not ready to falter nor cede its ideological points of view.”
At the height of cynicism he affirmed that “Cuba complies with the Declaration of Human Rights” and that it has signed the “most important conventions in this matter.” He also affirmed “Cuba’s prestige in sitting on the United Nations Human Rights Council.” And as if this were a public display of someone demented, demonstrating his total incoherence, he continued, “Proof of Cuba’s goodwill was its acceptance of 80 percent of the suggestions in the Human Rights Assembly in Geneva.”
How can a country that admits that it violates 80 percent of the Human Rights Convention assert that it enjoys “prestige on an international level?” I imagine it’s the opposite, that it “enjoys” in a negative way. But if neither they themselves understand, how could I?
In the end, according to what they demonstrated in Washington, both delegations squandered the contributors’ money, something that Cubans are used to doing, without even having the right to criticize officially in this regard.
Since December 17, when they made the secret conversations public between Obama and Castro, we raised our voices to affirm that they failed, and that they won’t achieve what Cuban civil society needs.
Castro is trying to gain time so Cuba will be taken off the list of terrorist nations, so that later the North American Congress will withdraw the embargo, although inevitably, already, there are reports of increased tourism, which Obama announced. It’s now reported that some million more tourists will help the asphyxiating and wasted Cuban economy, money that the dictatorship will know how to use later to repress those who oppose the social, economic and political model of the Castro clan.
Border Control Prison. Havana. April 2015
Translated by Regina Anavy
Former prisoner of conscience, physician, and outspoken leader of Cuba's pro-democracy opposition movement, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet:
Governor Cuomo's #Cuba thrill comes from the money to be made from the crushing of human rights and the dignity of the Cuban people.
The dictator threw a party on the island jail
The slave band was there and they began to wail
State Security was jumpin' and the billy clubs began to swing
You should've heard that subjugated Obama sing...
Well.... we couldn't expect anything other than this, could we?
If the U.S. news media clamored for Elian's return to Hell back in 2000, why should they not report on his enslavement as a wonderful turn of events?
And, why shouldn't they also continue to speak of the Cuban exile community as the villain in this narrative?
The only surprise here is that ABC News refrained from preceding every mention of "the Cuban exile community" with adjectives such as "dastardly," "troglodyte," or "vile."
We must at least thank them for that restraint,shouldn't we?
$%$#@! &*^%@#$! %$#@&*#!
From ABC News, home to Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, and all Castro-loving journalists:
Elian Gonzalez: What the Boy Once in the Middle of a US-Cuba Tug of War Is Up to Today
It has been 15 years since Elian Gonzalez, asleep in his aunt's Miami home when he was 6 years old, was taken into custody by U.S. federal agents.
In the early morning hours of April 22, 2000, agents burst into his room, guns drawn, and scooped him up and out before the Cuban exile community could stop them....
....Where is the 21-year-old now?
An avid supporter of Fidel Castro and member of Cuba’s Militant Union of Young Communists, he is studying Industrial Engineering at the University of Matanzas near his home in Cardenas, about 90 minutes outside Havana.
The Cuban media reports that Elian practices karate, swims, goes to the movies and hangs out with friends. He even has a Facebook page.
In a recent interview with ABC News, the Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez said Elian is “a terrific student right now, having a very happy and normal life ... like any university student in Cuba.”
Elian’s case is viewed in Cuba as historic and symbolic of Fidel Castro’s refusal to buckle to America’s power or, more specifically, to the Cuban-American exile community in Miami.
Elian’s father, Juan Miguel, who so eloquently fought to have his son returned to him in Cuba is now a member of the National Congress, and Elian himself has spoken out against the U.S. embargo....
...Elian remains close to Fidel Castro, who for years attended Elian’s birthday parties in the boy’s hometown...
Entire propaganda piece HERE, including video
By Luis Felipe Rojas in Translating Cuba:
There is a Cuban graffiti artist, in jail because of two pigs named “Fidel” and “Raul”
Graffiti from El Sexto, which simulates a rebel commander well known by Cubans.
His name is Danilo Maldonado, but in Cuba he is known as El Sexto (The Sixth). When the five spies were still in jail in the United States, Maldonado used to say he was the “sixth hero” and started to make graffiti with his spray can on the walls of Havana. This action also took place at the time of the celebration of the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba.
On December 25, 2004, Maldonado was detained and since then has been in jail in the horrible prison of Valle Verde. On that day he wanted to release two pigs in Central Park in Havana: they were painted with the names of “Fidel” and “Raul”, and that was enough to send him to prison. The solidarity with this graffiti artist and freelance artist has not stopped, many voices are being raised for his freedom.
Graffiti from El Sexto, near a police station.
Translated by AnonyGY
Kudos to Greek-Cuban-American New York Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis for speaking truth to (corrupt and depraved) power.
Via The Staten Island Advance:
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis slams Obama, Cuomo on Cuba
Having criticized President Barack Obama's December decision to normalize U.S. relations with communist Cuba, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis took to the airwaves Monday to hit the president, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on their support for the regime, saying there "are communist sympathizers" in America.
Cuomo flew to the nation on Monday, along with state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, business executives and a gaggle of reporters for a daylong trade mission.
Obama announced in December his plan to normalize relations with the communist country and its president, Raul Castro, arguing that the United States keeping chilled relations hasn't helped the country or its residents.
Avoiding Congress while loosening some restrictions on Cuba, Obama has said he would ultimately work to lift an embargo and other sanctions.
Normalized relations include reopening an embassy in Havana; significantly easing trade restrictions, financial restrictions and travel limits on Americans to Cuba.
While Cuba released three Americans being detained for espionage there, Castro said nothing of American hopes that he would give Cubans expanded Internet access or other freedoms.
The Obama administration is reviewing whether Cuba's status as a state sponsor of terrorism should be lifted.
Speaking on the John Gambling radio show on AM 970 The Answer Monday afternoon, Ms. Malliotakis, a Greek-Cuban Republican whose mother fled Cuba, said, "Cubans are not going to benefit from this policy" because the communist regime will take whatever U.S. imports will come to the country.
Even if leaders would allow goods to reach the people, the average Cuban earns about $10/month, making it impossible to buy anything but the bare minimum, she noted.
But Cubans are afraid to say anything for fear of jail or being beaten, Ms. Malliotakis said.
"I really don't see the purpose in what the president is trying to do, or what the governor is trying to do for that matter," the assemblywoman said.
Having visited family in Cuba on a visa in 2009, the assemblywoman said the situation in Cuba is dire, not because of the U.S. embargo, but because of the oppression of the Castro regime.
Continue reading HERE.
Should this poor woman (Ana Belen Montes, above left) continue to suffer in prison for the “crime” of being a bit “ahead of the curve” on U.S. foreign policy? I mean, what’s a little military secret-sharing among friends? Her heart was clearly in the right place, Obama policy-wise. “She certainly meant well,” our president must think to himself.
Fascinating datum: Havana’s Museo de la Revolucion has a “Cretin’s Corner” where U.S. presidents are caricatured and villified. These “Cretins,” however, all turn out to be Republicans. Not a single Democratic president (not even John “Bay of Pigs and Missile Crisis” F. Kennedy is featured.)
In fact, historically the public declarations of prominent Democrats and the diary entries of convicted Castro spies have been remarkably similar. If this again sounds hyperbolic, let’s play a game I’ve titled, “Castro Spy or Prominent Democrat Jeopardy–Who Said It?” ….OK, let’s get started!
“Fidel has lifted the Cuban people out of the degrading and oppressive conditions which characterized pre-revolutionary Cuba. He has helped the Cubans to save their own souls. Cubans don’t need to try very hard to make the point that we [the U.S.] have been the exploiters.”
If you answered: “That’s from the diaries of convicted (in 2009) Cuban spy Walter Kendall Myers,” you are correct!
“I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime…”
If you answered, “Gosh, that certainly sounds like a convicted Cuban spy…But I’m gonna say its Democratic president of the United States John F. Kennedy speaking to French Journalist Jean Daniel in November 1963.” Correct again!
Entire piece from our friends at The Blaze here.
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart in Time:
Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart: Obama’s Cuba Policy Is Enabling a Dictator
All eight Cuban-American senators and congressmen from both sides of the aisle strongly disagree with Obama
President Barack Obama continues to appease brutal dictatorships while gaining precious little in return. He conflates the Cuban dictatorship with the Cuban people when in reality, their interests are diametrically opposed. With sweeping arrogance, President Obama acts as though he stands above history with wisdom that surpasses every American president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, the first to impose sanctions on the Fidel Castro regime. Obama’s foreign policy is radical even compared to his own party. President John F. Kennedy imposed many of the first stringent sanctions against the Castro regime, and President Bill Clinton signed into law the LIBERTAD Act, which codified sanctions that Obama now opposes.
All eight Cuban-American senators and congressmen from both sides of the aisle, strongly disagree with him. One would think that he might consult with us.
The Cuban people simply want to gather peacefully, speak their minds, practice their faiths, access the Internet, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. The ailing octogenarians that run Cuba would never allow those simple liberties. A key point often overlooked is that, under current law, the president can lift sanctions once free, fair elections are scheduled, political prisoners are released, and independent press, organized labor, and political parties are legalized in Cuba. The Cuban people deserve no less, yet Obama abandoned the U.S. commitment to those basic goals when he abandoned his most significant leverage to advance them.
Obama’s capitulation to dictators apparently has no bounds. In 2001, five Cuban spies were convicted for conspiracy to commit espionage. One of those five convicted spies, Gerardo Hernandez, was additionally serving two life sentences for the murders of innocent Americans and a legal permanent resident in the shoot-down of civilian aircraft over international waters. Obama’s State and Justice Departments arranged, while Hernandez was in federal prison, to help him have his wife in Cuba artificially inseminated. Shortly thereafter, in another striking concession, Obama commuted his sentence and ordered his release. When has any president been so embarrassingly eager to appease a brutal, anti-American, repressive dictatorship?
Obama’s policies also hurt the Cuban people by emboldening a regime already ready to oppress them. Since the president’s Dec. 17, 2014 announcement, there have been approximately 1,300 political arrests in Cuba. During the Obama administration, five pro-democracy activists have died – Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia, Laura Pollan, Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero. The Castro regime exports its brand of violence abroad to Venezuela, where it subverts democratic institutions and helps to repress the Venezuelan people. And just recently, with the president’s implicit blessing, the Castro dictatorship brazenly flexed its impunity at the summit in Panama by beating pro-democracy activists, including American citizens, and ejecting an American journalist from an international press conference. Three days later, the regime was rewarded for those human rights abuses with another monumental concession: removal from the state sponsors of terror list.
Removal from the terrorism list is especially disturbing when the Castro regime continues to provide safe harbor to one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, Joanne Chesimard, terrorist bomb-maker William Morales, and more than 70 other fugitives from U.S. justice. It also has ties to ETA and FARC terrorists, supports other rogue states including Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea, and provides support to Hamas and Hezbollah. In July 2013, Panamanian authorities discovered that the North Korean ship Chong Chon Gang was carrying military weapons that it had loaded from Cuba. A UN panel of experts determined that the shipment was the biggest violation of those international sanctions to date. Further, the Castro regime maintains an extensive espionage network against the United States. Ana Belen Montes (Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, serving a 25-year sentence for conspiracy to commit espionage), the five convicted “WASP” network spies, Walter and Gwendolyn Myers (State Department analyst and his wife serving sentences for conspiracy to commit espionage), Elsa and Carlos Alvarez (Florida International University professor and his wife, serving sentences), and Marta Rita Velazquez (USAID, indicted but fled to Sweden) are a few examples of those who have spied on the Castros’ behalf against the U.S. in the past 15 years.
Continue reading HERE.
John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:
Cuba and the Campaign to end the State Sponsors of Terrorism List
"Iran and Cuba, in cooperation with each other, can bring America to its knees." ... "The U.S. regime is very weak, and we are witnessing this weakness from close up." - Fidel Castro, University of Tehran, Iran May 10, 2001 quoted in the Agence France Presse
"Our positions, versions, interpretations are alike, very close. We have been good friends, we are and will be, and we will be together forever. Long live Cuba! - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Havana, Cuba, January 12, 2012
There is a campaign underway not only to take Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terrorism but to do away with the list altogether. Ignoring the Castro regime's long history of not only sponsoring and training terrorists, but also engaging in terrorism, the drive has been on for years to remove this dictatorship from the list. However, the end goal is not Cuba but getting rid of the list of state sponsors of terrorism itself.
Business interests in the United States have a long history of hostility to unilateral sanctions against regimes engaged in behaviors that Americans find reprehensible. Since 1997 they have joined together in USA Engage to target policymakers, opinion leaders and shape public opinion in order not only to gut and end sanctions against rogue regimes but to also prevent individual victims from taking human rights abusers to court under the Alien Tort Statute.
Stripping states and local governments of their moral authority
Corporate America has also been successful through the courts at eliminating long held rights of states and localities to decide whether or not they want to trade with a country engaged in despicable practices. The anti-apartheid campaign that began at the local and state level with divestment campaigns in the 1970s would not survive legal challenges today. Since 2000 with the Supreme Court decision citing the supremacy clause in Crosby versus National Foreign Trade Council relations or trade with a foreign country are governed by the federal government. State and local governments can no longer place their own sanctions on foreign regimes unless it is in accordance with federal government policy. In 2000 the Supreme Court forced Massachusetts to do business with companies that had done business with the military junta in Burma. According to constitutional scholar Sanford Levinson in the Fordham Law Review the Crosby decision compels state and local governments to cooperate with evil.
Continue reading HERE.
GUEST: Jorge Ponce, Cuban American writer and contributor to Babalu Blog.....we will take another look at the Castro-Obama talks, repression in Cuba, fugitives from US and other international law, Cuba and Venezuela, Raul Castro's rant against the US in Panama plus other issues ......
Click to read: