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Reports from Cuba: What isn’t working?

By Fernando Damaso in Translating Cuba:

What Isn’t Working?

Let’s take a look at four different situations.

In the case of the national railway, the authorities in charge claim that its problems are due to outdated equipment and the lack of proper maintenance resulting from a lack of spare parts. The system has not been updated in more than fifty years. As a result the No. 1 train from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, which used to run daily, now only makes the trip every three days. For the last eight years the Havana to Holguin train has not run at all.

Those that are running do so at reduced speed and with a fewer number of train cars. When the air conditioning in one of the French-made train cars breaks down, it remains permanently of service and passengers must resort to opening tiny windows instead. The system also suffers from organizational problems and widespread indiscipline.

For years the sizes of school uniforms sold at the beginning of the school year have not corresponded to students’ actual sizes, which have become much smaller to poor nutrition. Though the problem persists year after year, the ministries of education and industry have still not come up with a solution.

Camping, the only vacation option available to the average Cuban, does not live up to expectations or its costs. Camping facilities are run-down, the food is of poor quality and badly prepared, amenities are minimal and the available services leave much to be desired.

Drinking water is in short supply in the suburb of Villa Panamericana near the town of Cojimar. Planners did not take into account the fact that project’s cisterns relied on gravity and that the supply came directly from the tank itself, so of course it cannot reach the third, fourth or fifth floors of the town’s existing buildings.

One might think that this string of calamities is directly related to those provide these services. That assumes that these people do not know how to do the work or simply do it badly. However, in spite of a constant turnover of directors, administrators and personnel, things are no better. One would then have to assume that it is the system itself that is not working.

Neither classic nor actual socialism has worked in any of the countries in which it has been tried. The evidence is plain to see. In Cuba it has never worked, not in the past and not in the present. I think this will also be the case with “prosperous and efficient socialism.” At least that is how I see things so far.

Raul Castro’s desperate offensive

An excerpt from Carlos Alberto Montaner's editorial in Diario de Cuba (translated by Capitol Hill Cubans):

Raul Castro's Desperate Offensive

Raul Castro fears that Venezuela's subsidies will dry out in the short-term. He sees it coming. The price of oil is falling and the chaos generated by the absolute inefficiency of "chavismo" has Venezuela about to close the spigot. The Cubans selected Maduro, but he has turned out to be an absolute disaster. It's a question of survival. Two drowning people can't mutually save themselves.
Thus, the offensive. Raul needs, desperately, to be saved from the burning ship. What exactly does he need? A deluge of American tourists to flood his hotels with their fresh dollars. Today, they can't travel to Cuba. The law prohibits it. He also wants credits to import U.S. products. They sell him food and medicine, but he has to pay cash-in-advance and lacks dollars.

Raul Castro is not willing to change the system, nor tolerate freedoms, but he thinks he can change Obama and eliminate the restrictions imposed or maintained by eleven U.S. Presidents.

His hypothesis is that he'll succeed in doing so after the November elections, in the last two years of the Obama Administration. To achieve this goal, he has his entire intelligence services diligently working, along with a few exiles who subscribe to the strange and illogical rationale that the way to end Castro's tyranny is by endowing it with resources.

The main obstacle -- Havana believes -- is Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the important Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Therefore, Cuba's intelligence services concocted an operation to try to destroy him by creating a smear campaign that he had relations with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. This was discovered to be a repugnant lie.

The tentacles of Castro's lobby are extensive. They reach Congress, the media, and the academic and cultural worlds. They infiltrated the Pentagon. The person who used to evaluate Havana's activities for The White House was senior intelligence analyst, Ana Belen Montes, a Cuban spy, captured in 2001 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Since 1985 she had been spying for the Castros.

Scott W. Carmichel, the U.S. counter-intelligence agent who discovered her, believes there are many more spies placed and seduced by Cuba in various sectors of the U.S. government and civil society. He's probably right. And they are all working tirelessly to obtain Raul Castro's current objective.

Read the entire piece (in Spanish) HERE.

Miss Hitler versus Miss Che: Which beauty pageant would be best for the world?

Miss Hitler contestant Elena Bernatskaya

Miss Hitler contestant Elena Bernatskaya

Sponsor a Miss Hitler beauty contest and chances are you will get lots and lots of attention, all of it negative

See the evidence for yourself, in this article from Vocativ:

Who Will Be Miss Hitler 2014?
Who is the most beautiful anti-Semitic of them all? A Russian pro-Hitler online group wants to find out

There is an actual, real-life Miss Hitler contest going on right now. On VKontakte— Russia’s Facebook—Russian and Ukrainian Nazis and the people who love them, are voting for their favorite pictures of proud, beautiful anti-Semitic women posted to the site’s “Adolf Hitler” group page. Boasting more than 7,000 followers, the page describes itself as a group of Russians and Ukrainians who pay tribute to Hitler, history’s best-known goose-stepping genocidal maniac.

Miss Ostland 2014, as it’s called, is a social media pageant tribute to Ostland, the Nazi civilian occupation regime of the Baltic states in 1941 in which more than a million Jews were murdered. But Miss Ostland isn’t all about genocide. Actually, it’s more about “feminine beauty” than anything else.

Want to be 2014?s Miss Hitler? Here’s how you qualify:

1) Be a woman.

2) Be a Nazi.

3) Be a woman Nazi.

4) Be a woman who hates Jews.

5) Be a member of the “Adolf Hitler” VKontakte group.

6) Post a sexy Nazi pic.

7) Get other Nazis to like your pic.

8) Don’t insult other women’s pictures. Nazis are a lot of things, but they are apparently not catty on social media.

The woman whose picture receives the most likes will be declared the winner, and only group members can vote.

Continue reading HERE (Includes photos of the lovely contestants).

What do you think would happen if someone were to launch a Miss Castro pageant?  Or a Miss Che pageant (since El Coma Andante and his half brother are still alive it seems more adequate to feature a dead man as an icon of perfection).

Any negative press?  Not likely.  This contest would be a total propaganda victory!

So, why not start such a contest?  Leftists throughout the world could turn this into something bigger than Miss Universe or Miss World.  And imagine the interest such a pageant would spark in Latrine America!

A mere suggestion to those who are interested: Follow guidelines similar to those of the Miss Hitler pageant:

1) Be a woman.

2) Be a Communist or Socialist.

3) Be a woman Communist or Socialist.

4) Be a woman who hates all capitalists and property owners and advocates their total elimination.

5) Be a member of the “Che Guevara” fan club.

6) Post a sexy Communist/Socialist picture.

7) Get other Communists and Socialists to like your pic.

8) Don’t insult other women’s pictures. Communists and Socialists are not catty about each other on  social media -- only about bourgeois scum.

Go to it comrades!   The so-called news media of the world will love the story.  And maybe you can raise enough money to equip poor people everywhere with weapons for the ultimate "final solution."


Dissident Cuban rapper ‘El Critico’ arrested and held since March 2013 sentenced to 6 years in Castro gulag

Where are Jay-Z and Beyonce when you need them?

Via Uncommon Sense:

Imprisoned Cuban rap singer 'El Critico' sentenced to 6 years in prison

ThAngel Yunier Remon, "El Critico"

Imprisoned Cuban rap singer/political activist Angel Yunier "El Critico" Remon has been sentenced to 6 years in prison. El Critico and several family members had been in jail since March 26, 2013, after they were arrested when a Castroite mob attacked them during an "act of repudiation."

The result of the case against El Critico, an activist with the Patriotic Union of Cuba, or UNPACU,  was never in doubt.

Also sentenced as part of the case were:

  • Alexander Otero Rodríguez, 5 years.
  • Rudisnei Villavicencio Figueredo, 4 years.
  • Yaquelin Garcia Jaens, a 4-year suspended sentence.

An Update on the ‘Reforms’ in Cuba


Reports from Cuba: Of jails in Cuba

By Ivan Garcia:

Of Jails In Cuba

A “combatant” as Cuban prison guards are called, watches over prisoners working in their new uniforms.

For Saul prison is like his second home. He celebrated his 63rd birthday behind bars, fabricating cement and gravel blocks for a Cuban state enterprise called Provari, which makes everything from bricks, tiles and mattresses to insecticides and sells them for hard currency.

Saul knows the island’s penitentiary map like few do. Since 19 years of age he has been held in the main prisons: La Cabana, Chafarinas in Guantanamo, Boniato in Santiago de Cuba and the jails built by Fidel Castro like the Combinado del Este in Havana, Aguica in Matanzas and Canaleta in Ciego de Avila.

“In all, since I was a prisoner for the first time in 1970 because of the Vagrancy Law. I have worked cutting cane, in construction, making tourism furniture or insecticides with hardly any physical protection,” comments Saul, who has been a free man since April.

According to a former prison official, 90 percent of detainees in Cuba work with scarce security and are paid poverty wages.

“I am convinced that the work of prisoners is one of the main productive engines of the country. Exploiting them allows high profits. Until 2006, when I worked in a Havana jail, they were paid 150 or 200 pesos a month for working up to 14 hours (remember that the minimum salary in Cuba is 484 pesos) or they were paid not a cent. Those who were paid also had deducted expenses like food and lodging. The government gives degrading treatment to the majority of common Cuban prisoners,” says the ex-official.

Throughout the green alligator it is calculated that there exist more than 200 prisons. Cuba is the sixth nation on the planet in per capita prisoners. In 2013, the regime recognized that the penal population is around 57 thousand inmates.

The internal dissidence claims that the figure might approach 100 thousand. Cuban jails are rigorous. Physical mistreatment and abuses by the penitentiary guards are standard.

Suicides, mutilations and insanity within the prisons are a secret statistic that the government handles with clamps. Prestigious companies, like the Swedish Ikea, have been accused of complicity in prisoner slave labor in Cuban factories.

In the 1980’s, Ciro was a prisoner for five years for illegal exit. In his pilgrimage through the detention centers, he worked in a transportation parts warehouse for the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) in the Lawton slum, some 30 minutes from downtown Havana.

“MININT is the main beneficiary of cheap prison labor. In Workshop One I worked with hardly any protection on an assembly line for cars with plastic bodies and VW German motors. I also worked in an upholstery shop where fine furniture was given its varnish. Years later, I learned that they were for Ikea. They never paid me a cent,” says Ciro.

Thousands of inmates participate in construction of hospitals, schools, housing, food production and the most dangerous work. “We do what no one wants to do. Clean streets, sewers and cut the invasive marabou weed,” says Evelio, who is completing a two-year sentence scrubbing urban buses.

Military or state enterprises like Provari are at the head of labor exploitation and captive work. In a brochure published in 2001, the firm Provari was said to have 150 production installations on the island.

Continue reading Reports from Cuba: Of jails in Cuba

Clueless as ever, or more unscrupulous than ever?: Associated Press peddles Castronoid propaganda as news once again

"dissidents" Veiga and Lenier enjoying a holiday in Madrid

"dissidents" Veiga and Lenier enjoying a holiday in Madrid

Here we go again.

The incomparable Michael Weissenstein of the Associated Press continues to play the Castro fiddle with genuine virtuosity.

Call him the "maestro" of stealth propaganda, that is, of Castronoid propaganda disguised as real news.

This time the lying concerns an "independent" group  that has supposedly challenged Castronoid orthodoxy.

This "independent" group  is headed by none other than the two Castronoid apparatchiks who were fired from their posts as editors of Cardinal Ortega's boot-licking propaganda rag "Espacio Laical" (Lay Space).

Cardinal Ortega and his real pope

Cardinal Ortega and his real pope

Never mind the fact that "Espacio Laical" never, ever called for an end of the Castro tyranny or the dissolution of socialist totalitarianism.   According to Weissenstein, that publication offered a "rare and influential" challenge to the Castro regime.

Never mind that the new so-called "independent" group headed by Castronoids Veiga  and Lenier is not calling for any real change, but simply discussing ways of perfecting Castroism and making it a little more efficient.

Never mind the fact that the leaders of this group define themselves as " fierce defenders of Cuban sovereignty" who "want to improve the current system rather than see it overturned in a return to its pre-revolutionary past."

Never mind the fact that greedy Castro-loving "exile businessman" Carlos Saladrigas and his anti-embargo Cuba Now and Cuba Study Group propaganda machines are involved in this farce.

According to Weissenstein and the AP, this is a major, major step towards "open debate."

How such ordure ends up being peddled as "news" is one of the most galling mysteries of life on earth.  As galling as the existence of the devil and his minions, and of idiots who open their car doors on passing bicyclists.

Propaganda sub-minister Weissenstein

Propaganda sub-minister Weissenstein

From AP via other disreputable sources:

Rare Independent Group Aims to Open Debate in Cuba

The former editors of one of Cuba's few non-government controlled media outlets have quietly restarted efforts to spur debate about the nation's future, launching a series of public forums and plans for a new journal addressing the island's most urgent problems.

The project, known as "Cuba Posible," joins a handful of others in the small space between the uncritical state-run media and fiercely partisan dissident websites that have little reach inside Cuba.

Lawyer Roberto Veiga and journalist Lenier Gonzalez gained renown among Cuban intellectuals by transforming the Catholic church magazine Espacio Laical into a rare and influential forum for sociopolitical debate before the two men left last year amid an apparent church backlash over the publication's aggressive coverage of current affairs.

The two men and their small circle of close collaborators say they are confident the project can provide a space for dialogue between government supporters and critics without running afoul of the island's communist leaders.

"We hope that we'll be heard and paid attention to in the world of politics," said sociologist and project backer Aurelio Alonso. "We hope that what's said won't remain in a void, but will affect institutions and political players."

Funded by Norway's University of Oslo, Cuba Posible is based out of the Christian Center for Reflexion and Dialogue, an ecumenical church group focused on community projects that occasionally publishes newsletters and magazines from Cardenas, a sleepy mid-sized city about 95 miles (155 kilometers) east of Havana. Basing the new group there means it can use the center's existing government permits rather than seek permission for a new independent publication.

"There have always been people inside the government who don't like what we do and people who care about what we do," Veiga told The Associated Press this week. "There are a variety of opinions but there's no policy aimed at disrupting or battling us."

The first public forum attracted dozens of academics and intellectuals and gave a hint of the group's approach. Its central theme, "Cuba: Sovereignty and the Future," was uncontroversial enough to avoid the risk of official ire. Participants avoided direct criticism of President Raul Castro or the island's single-party system in place since the 1959 revolution. But some speakers, particularly those who rose from the audience to question speakers on panels, were unsparing in their evaluations of Cuba's poor performance in a variety of sectors ranging from expanding the economy to updating educational curricula.

Gonzalez said the project's founders were fierce defenders of Cuban sovereignty and wanted to improve the current system rather than see it overturned in a return to its pre-revolutionary past.

"We don't think that's a possibility for Cuba and we don't want that," he said. "We're working to pose important questions, to maintain the ideal that a better country is possible, and it's possible to achieve that among Cubans who think differently but have common values."

Prominent Cuban exile businessman Carlos Saladrigas, who participated in forums organized by Espacio Laical, said he believed that Cuba Posible could gain more influence than the two men's former publication.


One afternoon at the Hugo Chavez Institute for Advanced Studies…

Garrincha in Yahoo Noticias:

Cuba’s Castro dictatorship sends agents to Nebraska to promote its apartheid regime

Chris Simmons in Cuba Confidential:

Cuban 5 Activist Lobbies For Spy-Terrorists at Nebraska Peace Conference

Jacquie Henderson

The leftist newspaper, The Militant, reported on “Free The 5” efforts at a Nebraska Peace Conference in early October. The event reportedly drew over 100 attendees to discuss issues from the war in the Middle East to the environment. When the attendees broke for lunch, Nebraskans For Peace (NFP) President Mark Vasina invited everyone to see an art display by jailed Cuban spy Antonio Guerrero. He also introduced Jacquie Henderson, who helped organize the showing, to share a pro-Castro perspective on the spy-terrorists.

Apparently oblivious to the apartheid practices of the Castro dictatorship, Henderson lauded three of the jailed spies for having served in Angola against a “white supremacist South African regime.” In the end, dozens of people reportedly looked at the paintings. The newspaper also reported that 11 attendees “picked up” books authored by Guerrero or Castro apologists, suggesting that they may have been given away free.

Photos of the day: the real Havana

Diez metros de basura  (4)_resize

From Marta Beatriz Roque: "Thirty Feet of Garbage"

These are very recent photos from the neighborhood of Guanabacoa in Havana.

Garbage collection has stopped completely.

All complaints filed with government agencies have been ignored.

This is nothing new, of course.  But this is what no tourist or any people-to-people tour will ever see.

And... if you look up Cuba News on Google, you will find dozens upon dozens of articles on the medical aid being sent by Castrogonia to the Ebola hot spots in West Africa.

Diez metros de basura  (3)_resize

Diez metros de basura  (2)_resize

Cuba’s free education violates the rights of children

When children go to school in Cuba, they receive advance "Stockholm" traning along with their indoctrination—how better to control them before they reach an age of dissent. The soldiers depicted carrying "good rifles" are, as all Cubans including children understand, the same ones charged with beating the Ladies in White and any others who dare to disagree with the regime. They well understand the threat of beatings, arrests, and understand the ultimate threat implied, as these are the "good rifles" of Che's legacy. They know the CDR is watching. This evil omnipotence is the work of men who are monsters, practicing the evil atheist ideology of Communism. To instill such fear in children violates all internationally accepted principles governing human rights.

Imagine if text books for first grade African-American children taught them to admire rope bearing KKK clansmen, or if text books for Jewish-American children forced them to learn that the Holocaust was "good". Imagine teaching children to fear their own thoughts, and calling it education advertised as free.

From the Twitter feed of Yusnaby Pérez:

El miliciano tiene un fusil. The soldier has a rifle.

El ama la paz. He loves peace.

En manos buenos, In good hands,

un fusil es bueno. a gun is good.

Michael Moore vs Senator Pat Geary (regarding sleazy foreigners)

Michael Moore Signs Copies of Fahrenheit 911 Book and DVD

“Cuban exiles are responsible for sleaze in American politics. In every incident of national torment that has deflated our country for the past three decades…Cuban exiles are always present and involved.” (Michael Moore, Downsize This)


05_Flatbed_1 - MARCH

“I don’t like your people. I don’t like to see you come out to this clean country in your oily hair. Dressed up in those silk suits, trying to pass yourselves off as decent Americans." (Senator Pat Geary to Michael Corleone.)


And lest we forget, Michael Moore is an icon and rollicking crowd-pleaser of the Democratic Party, feted at their National conventions and a HUGE campaign draw in Florida (no less!!!)

Cuban-Americans and the Ebola Virus

Bewildered Cat

With all the hysteria going on about the ebola virus, I’d like to issue an edict to forbid the use by Cuban-American of the idiomatic expression “Oye, Asere. ¿Qué bola?”

The literal translation of the above expression is “Hey, Dude. What’s up?!”

The reason for the edict is that those who are not fluent in the Spanish/Cuban dialect might think that you are speaking about the ebola virus, and might either quarantine you or send you back to Castrolandia.

Religious persecution continues in Cuba

Another so-called "reform" under Raul Castro, religious persecution.

From Christian Solidarity Worldwide:

Cuba: Baptist pastor threatened with criminal charges:


Cuban Baptist pastor and religious freedom activist Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso has received official notice that he may face criminal charges if he does not break ties with “counter-revolutionary elements” in and outside of Cuba, and if he does not stop giving radio interviews. His wife, Yoaxis Marcheco Suarez, was summoned for an interview with security services on 15 October.

Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, a prominent religious freedom activist and church leader, was officially summoned to the State Security Unit in Camajuani, Villa Clara on 8 October. He was threatened with arrest if he did not appear. At the unit a Lieutenant Colonel read out an Official Warning or “Acta de Advertencia”, a document that can be used as justification for future arrests and criminal charges. Two witnesses, whom the pastor did not recognize, were present and offered testimony of his “counter-revolutionary” links. This is the third time that government agents have unsuccessfully attempted to pressure Reverend Lleonart Barroso into signing an Acta de Advertencia.

According to Reverend Lleonart Barroso, who leads the Ebenezer Baptist Church in the town of Taguayabon in Villa Clara Province, and who is a member of the Western Baptist Convention, one of the largest registered religious organisations on the island, the Lieutenant Colonel told him verbally that the government was unhappy about the pastor’s recent visit to the eastern part of the country. The official added that if the pastor did not change his behaviour soon, a criminal case would “probably be filed.”

The purpose of Reverend Lleonart Barroso’s visit was to meet with church leaders who had reported violations of religious freedom. Reverend Lleonart Barroso met with Pastor Yiorvis Denis, the leader of a church in Camaguey which has come under repeated threat of forced closure and confiscation of property. He also met with Pastor Esmir Torreblanca, the leader of a large church in Santiago that was razed by the government in July.

Reverend Lleonart Barroso told Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), “I intend to continue on with my activities in the defence of religious freedom in Cuba.”

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “Once again we call on the Cuban government to cease its harassment of Reverend Lleonart Barroso. We are deeply concerned that the Cuban government appears to equate the defence of freedom of religion or belief with ‘counter-revolutionary’ activity, even as it publicly maintains that these fundamental rights are respected in Cuba. CSW reminds the Cuban government of the provisions in the ICCPR and the ICESCR, which it has signed, to protect and uphold religious freedom and the civil rights of its population. We urge members of the international community to make representations to the Cuban government in support of Reverend Lleonart Barroso and to hold the Cuban government to account for its continued violations of religious freedom.”

Update via Capitol Hill Cubans: Rev. Lleonart's wife, Yoaxis Marcheco Suarez, was arrested this afternoon and interrogated for over two hours by the Castro regime.

Ethnic politics–Herbert Hoover and Jack Woltz vs William LeoGrande


“Go back to Italy where you belong and advise Mussolini on how to make good honest citizens. Italians are predominantly our murderers and bootleggers…you Italians are foreign spawn who do not appreciate the country that supports and tolerates you.” (Republican President Herbert Hoover to Republican congressman of New York Fiorello La Guardia 1930.)

Those were the days, my friend!--when U.S. political discourse was GLORIOUSLY(!!!) free of political-correctness. Alas, in these bland and dreary times we find:

"...challenge the Cuba Lobby at your peril. In Miami, conservative Cuban-Americans have long presumed to be the sole authentic voice of the community, silencing dissent by threats and, occasionally, violence. In the 1970s, anti-Castro terrorist groups like Omega 7 and Alpha 66 set off dozens of bombs in Miami and assassinated two Cuban-Americans who advocated dialogue with Castro. Reports by Human Rights Watch in the 1990s documented the climate of fear in Miami and the role that elements of the Cuba Lobby, including CANF, played in creating it. the Cuba Lobby has also struck fear into the heart of the foreign-policy bureaucracy. The congressional wing of the Cuba Lobby, in concert with its friends in the executive branch, routinely punishes career civil servants who don't toe the line." (Dean of the American University School of Public Affairs and Council on Foreign Affairs senior fellow William LeoGrande in Foreign Policy Magazine, April, 2013)

Too bad William LeoGrande (above on left reacting to his VIP feting by Castro's Stalinist regime this week) didn’t feel as free to express his genuine sentiments regarding Cuban-Americans as Herbert Hoover (and Jack Woltz) did regarding LeoGrande’s (Italian) grandparents. In Herbert Hoover’s time such tortuous circumlocution as LeoGrande’s in his Foreign Policy piece was as utterly unnecessary as it was in Jack Woltz dining room.


“Now you listen to me, you smooth-talking son-of-a-bitch, let me lay it on the line for you and your boss, whoever he is! Johnny Fontaine will never get that movie! I don't care how many dago guinea wop greaseball goombahs come out of the woodwork!”

beck 3
(Oye pero la verdad que a este Fontova le encanta JODER!)