Argentina, Cuba and other US-Latin America stories with Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

GUEST:  Fausta Rodriguez Wertz, editor of Fausta’s Blog, a prominent blog on US-Latin America stories.

We will look at the situation in Argentina, the US-Cuba deal, Ecuador and other US-Latin America stories of the week.

CLICK to listen:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cantotalk/2015/01/22/argentina-cuba-and-other-us-latin-america-stories-with-fausta-rodriguez-wertz

Cuba as a carnival prize

I’ve previously written about the disconnect of liberal Jews supporting Israel hating, Castro loving, politicians, promoters, etc, etc, etc. I cannot understand how any Jew, in the wake of the Holocaust can ignore the barbaric cruelties of a dictator that among other atrocious acts destroyed a nation’s Jewish community, and who has supported terrorists for more than a half century. It is pathological and beyond reason. I’ve read from several pundits that that liberal Jews have abandoned God in favor of “leftism”. Whatever the reason, it is an abomination. As principle, I’m against attacking “your own”, or airing family “dirty laundry”. However, in this case, I believe the moral bankruptcy within the liberal Jewish community, and the damage it causes demands exposure and denouncement.

I stongly comdemn and denounce these shameful events:

The announcement that the director of ORG funded by Nazi collaborator is to head the ADL.

The Los Angeles Jewish Federation sponsoring “Missions” to Cuba, click here for pages of disgusting links. One can understand that that among these participants, uneducated and misguided though they may be, there are at least some who possibly have good intentions, who hold a desire to help the local, via our own Humberto Fontova, “Jewish Community. But this, when I saw this, it was the last straw. Once again, Cuba and Cuban’s offered up as spectacle, this time merely a trinket in a contest, such as a carnival prize. How fun! Sign up to win a trip to see the zoo, and pretend the inhabitants are just animals, unworthy of consideration, ignore cages of repression and suffering. Of course they don’t include that description in the promotion, no need, there’s fifty-five years of more blatant propagandist advertisement, by now, everyone knows what fun there is to be had in Cuba if you’re willing to check your humanity upon arrival.

If we hadn’t already known more than enough of mankind’s depravity, surely this willingness by the one people on this planet who must be held accountable for the words “never again” to dehumanize an oppressed other is a new low.

Win a trip to Cuba, or a “cool” GoPro camera (sic) as the prize in a Los Angeles Jewish Federation promotional contest.

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Share your Federation story – win a trip to Cuba. Send a 30-second video about why you are the Federation, send a picture of yourself or share your story in words and you’ll be eligible to win a trip to Cuba with us in 2015 or a cool GoPro® camera. You are the Federation!

I feel like pounding my head against a rock…

Antonio Rodiles: “The time for our fundamental rights has come”

Antonia Rodiles of Estado de Sats, continues fighting for the God-given human rights of the Cuban people.

Capitol Hill Cubans:

AntonioRodilesSATS

Rodiles: We Must Accept Nothing Less Than Fundamental Freedoms
at 9:21 AM Thursday, October 30, 2014
Excerpt by Cuban democracy leader and head of the independent think-tank, Estado de Sats, Antonio Rodiles:

The temptations of some political actors to enter into a political dialogue with the regime and defend a quasi-unconditional reconciliation can be many. Some dissidents, like [Catholic activist] Dagoberto Valdes, defend this thesis. Yet, it’s important to note that without a broad social base to exercise sustained pressure against the old elite and its allies, it would be very difficult to advance in the direction of political changes. Venezuela, where the Cuban regime has already shown its cards, is a good example. They used those who decided to dialogue in order to silence and weaken the student movement and — once that movement was under their control — they ended the supposed dialogue as well.

The Cuban situation can become even more complicated. Missteps would create conditions that would place us on the path to becoming a failed state, whereby in addition to our current economic and social disaster under iron-fisted political control, we would have high levels of insecurity and the establishment of criminal organizations. The embargo, like every other international sanction, should be a tool to pressure the regime to accept the substantive measures necessary to prevent the tragic experiences that many former Communist republics encountered on this journey. Why repeat the same mistakes?

We are faced with a regime on a regressive count, but with the ability to transmute. It’s not the time to grant anything to oppressors who treat their citizens with such disdain. The time for our fundamental rights has come — a simple and powerful idea, which should not be overshadowed by any other argument or supposed strategy. We are weary of those who would be satisfied by less or who wish to “dialogue” for less. Politically, the door should not be closed, but neither opened to the point where we become a loyal opposition.

That every Cuban, inside and outside the island, can fully exercise their fundamental rights. That we obtain a firm commitment with respect to our freedoms by ratifying and implementing the U.N.’s human rights conventions. Only then would we be talking about real reforms.

Cuba’s battle shy cowardly dictator couldn’t find the entrance

It was always others who shed their blood for the dream of a democratic revolution, never the power mad psychopath bent on destroying the island of his birth.

From Translating Cuba, by Angel Santiesteban, Cuban dissident writer, blogger, and political prisoner.

The “Hero” Who Couldn’t Find the Entrance
by Angel Santiesteban

A great truth was revealed at the VIII Conference of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC, by its Spanish initials).

We have to admit when our detractors speak the truth. There’s no other option than –for the sake of honesty– to accept how right they’ve been. Therefore, I have to admit that, yes, “The UNEAC is the Moncada of culture”*. It’s impossible to state it any clearer, for we know well the political, human, logistic, and leadership failures that the assault on the Moncada Barracks in 1953 symbolized, when the immature and terribly suspicious Fidel Castro stationed a select group to practice their aim in Santiago de Cuba. With neither suitable arms nor adequate preparations to confront the army, he sent them to a certain death.

How can intellectuals pretend not to recognize Fidel Castro’s cowardice, who — in spite of having gone to school in that city and having planned the attack — couldn’t find the entrance to the barracks, when those who had never been there were able to get behind its walls?

It is infuriating to watch that documentary where Fidel Castro, leaning on a car of that era, explains how he was unable to find the entrance, yet the cars traveling ahead and behind him managed to penetrate the garrison, whose entrance is of such a size that a blind man could find it! But we already know that there’s nothing worse than one who doesn’t want to see what’s in front of him.

That wasn’t his only mistake. We know that, throughout the entire struggle of the Rebel Army, he never participated in a single battle; and he advised Raul Castro to do likewise: while leading his comrades in the midst of combat, the latter would abandon the fight only to appear days later when the town square had been taken. Fidel Castro not only couldn’t find the entrance, he was unable to follow the sounds of gunfire on that fateful morning, nor could he redirect himself towards other posts during the shootout. On the contrary, he remained huddled, waiting for the end, and when he learned his soldiers were dead or captured, he sought shelter in a hole in order to finally turn himself in to the Catholic Church (which he never thanked for saving him), and reemerge as the hero.

Certainly, seen as a failure (the only way to comprehend this event), without a doubt, as the president of the UNEAC, Miguel Barnet, put it: “The UNEAC is the Moncada of culture”. He’s never been more right.

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Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton Prison Compound. April, 2014

* Santiesteban is referring to the speech by Miguel Barnet at the opening of the VIII UNEAC Conference.

Translated by: Yoyi el Monaguillo

Sign the petition so that Amnesty International will declare the Cuban dissident Ángel Santiesteban a prisoner of conscience.

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For further reading, I highly recommend The Moncada Attack: Birth of the Cuban Revolution by Antonio Rafael de la Cova available at Amazon.

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Cuban healthcare quote of the day

“No one who speaks or writes about the magnificent Cuban health system has had to have their illnesses or those of their loved ones treated here. Furthermore, many Cuban bigwigs prefer to seek treatment in other countries, even that of the enemy. There must be some reason for this.”

Translating Cuba:

Solidarity or Propaganda?
Fernando Damaso

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I wish I could be happy about the quick response by the Cuban government to the request for assistance from the World Health Organization and the UN general secretary in their efforts to combat the Ebola epidemic, but I cannot.

I am all too aware of the deteriorating state of our hospitals, the lack of hygiene, the poor medical care — provided mainly by students rather than doctors — the poor nutrition provided to patients, the shortage of drugs and many other problems.

I am referring, of course, to the medical centers which serve the average Cuban, which are the majority, not to the specialized centers catering to foreigners, VIPs or people who can pay for their services in hard currency.

A similarly rapid response should be applied to the serious problems that have afflicted our health care system for years. We make the mistake of trying to solve the world’s problems without due regard for our own. This seems to have paid off in that at least it generates a lot of free propaganda.

However, no one who speaks or writes about the magnificent Cuban health system has had to have their illnesses or those of their loved ones treated here. Furthermore, many Cuban bigwigs prefer to seek treatment in other countries, even that of the enemy. There must be some reason for this.

At a press conference in Geneva, Cuba’s minister of public health took the opportunity to propagandize about the country’s achievements and to emphasize yet again how many medical personnel have provided and are now providing care in other countries.

He also talked about the thousands of overseas volunteer workers, though without mentioning how much Cuba charges in dollars for this service — currently one of the country’s main sources of foreign exchange — or how doctors, nurses and other specialists are not being properly paid.

At one point during the press conference the minister stated that the Revolution did not wait for its health services to be developed before beginning to provide assistance to other peoples.

He neglected to mention that Cuba’s health services were already well-developed before 1959 and were among the best not only in the Caribbean but in all of Latin America. One need only look to official statistics from international organizations of the time to confirm this.

Given these questions, I am concerned that what we are dealing with here has more to do with propaganda than with solidarity.

#Cuba #SOS Opposition leaders Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez” & Yris Pérez Aguilera violently arrested

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The Castro dictatorship continues violating the human rights of its citizens, and its policy of violence and intimidation against peaceful dissidents.

From The Directorio, (my transalation)

Placetas, Cuba, 11 de June de 2014. Directorio Democrático Cubano. In early hours this morning, 11 de June de 2014, the opposition leaders Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antunez” and his wife Yris Pérez Aguilera, both of the Frente Nacional de Resistencia Cívica Orlando Zapata Tamayo, were arrested with violence and their house was raided in the city de Placetas, Villa Clara province.

Continue reading the Directorio press release in Spanish.

A chat with Orestes Matacena & Fausta Wertz about Cuba today

A few days ago, Alberto introduced some of our readers to Orestes Matacena, the very successful Cuban-American filmmaker:

“His most recently produced screenplay was “Bitter Sugar,” a love story that takes place in today’s tyrannical Cuba.

It opened to excellent reviews and has done extremely well at the box office both in the US and internationally, “Bitter Sugar” has been shown to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland and to the US Congress.

For Mr. Matacena that was spiritually rewarding.”

Check out Alberto’s post from a couple of days ago:   Cuban-American actor launches campaign calling for anti-communist protests in Cuba

We spoke with Orestes on Wednesday’s show PLUS Fausta Wertz, the editor of Fausta’s Blog.

The show link is below:

 

Cuban opposition leader Jorge Luis Garcia “Antunez” arrested, whereabouts unknown

While Alfy and other morally compromised individuals are busy making deals with the murderous Castro regime, in Cuba, those who disagree and dare to stand up for their human rights suffer violent repression and arrest.

Jorge Luis Garcia “Antunez” along with family members were arrested Wednesday. His whereabouts is unknown at this time.

Various posts Twitter:

A new story about gay rights in Cuba

Really, it’s the same old story, but this saga of one gay man’s journey through arrest and internment in a “rehabilitation center” at age 15, in 1974, to his current position as a refugee in Ecuador at the mercy of a Castro ally, exposes the ugly truth about the regime’s repressive anti-gay policies.

Via MinnPost:

From Havana to Quito: A refugee’s fight for LGBT rights in Cuba
By William Wheeler

QUITO, Ecuador — On her 15th birthday, a girl in Cuba gets a big party. A boy might get cash for a prostitute.

For Alberto Garcia Martinez’s 15th birthday, way back in 1974, his parents gave him money to go shopping in Havana’s city center. He was subsequently picked up in a police sweep targeting gays. For an effeminate teen who did not yet realize he was gay, the experience was both terrifying and confusing.

At his court appearance, his mother, a high-ranking Cuban bureaucrat, sat next to him, weeping out of shame.

We spoke in the office of Asylum Access Ecuador, a legal aid group helping the thousands of Cuban refugees in Ecuador’s capital, where Garcia says he fled after being persecuted in Cuba for his advocacy on behalf of gay rights. His story offers a window into the ongoing struggles of the LGBT community that challenges Cuba’s official narrative of progress on the issue. It also highlights the reluctance of Ecuador’s own government to recognize the limits of political dissent in Cuba.

Read more

Tourist response to info about human rights in Cuba: “Please don’t talk to me anymore.”

I received this question from Klout, asking me to respond to an inquiry from a reader whom I assumed was planning a visit to Cuba.

What are some things to do in Cuba?

My response:

I don’t know why you’re visiting Cuba, an island suffering from 54 years of rule by a ruthless dictatorship that uses force to control every aspect of citizen’s lives. I don’t know if you’re staying in an exclusive resort, or traveling around the island, but in either case keep in mind that the hotel you stay in, the restaurant you eat in, the tour guide assigned to you, the entertainers you enjoy, are all employed by the state, and these are the best jobs on the island where the average wage is $20 a month. Not enough to cover the basic necessities. So tip generously, and leave gifts of soap, and other essentials if you have the means to do so. In addition, please keep in mind that all the people who are serving you, must stay in the good graces of the dictator in order to keep their jobs and survive. Dissent and opposition to the government is against the law, there are no guaranteed human rights or the rule of law, as we understand them in Cuba. Just in the month of November this year, there were over 700 political arrests of peaceful dissidents, in some cases they were beaten, and their children were threatened with rape and physical harm. This is how dictator maintains power.

You can make a difference by choosing to educate yourself, to know the facts about Cuba that you won’t learn from a tourist brochure, or from casual news.

Please watch the documentary, “Oscar’s Cuba”, on You Tube; it’s about a leading dissident in Cuba. Know that since the release of this film, he’s no longer behind prison bars, but still is still monitored, and unable to travel out of Cuba.

Also, visit a well-known blog whose purpose is to document and share the stories of the Cuba’s political prisoners, many of whom are Amnesty International Prisoners of Conscience, Uncommon Sense.

Learn about The Ladies in White and their activities.

Please read the U.S. Department of State travel advisory on Cuba that provides important information for American travelers.

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Cuba is an authoritarian state that routinely employs repressive methods against internal dissent and monitors and responds to perceived threats to its authority. These methods include intense physical and electronic surveillance, as well as detention and interrogation of both Cuban citizens and foreign visitors. U.S. citizens visiting Cuba should be aware that any on-island activities could be subject to surveillance, and their contacts with Cuban citizens monitored closely. Human rights conditions in Cuba remain poor, as the Cuban government limits fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Cuba, but Cuba generally welcomes U.S. citizen travelers and U.S. citizens are generally well received. The United States Government provides consular and other services through the U.S. Interests Section in Havana (USINT), but U.S. diplomats are not allowed to travel freely outside the capital and may be prevented from providing assistance outside Havana. USINT operates under the legal protection of the Swiss government but is not co-located with the Swiss Embassy. Read the Department of State Fact Sheet on U.S. Relations with Cuba for additional information.

Blogs to visit:
Babalu Blog
The Real Cuba
Capitol Hill Cubans
The Cuban Archive

Her response? You are not helpful. Cuba I(s) supposed to have some of the best scuba diving in the world and amazing white sand beaches for kite surfing. Please don’t talk to me anymore.

Lets flood the island with tourists, that’ll bring democracy to Cuba. Sure, sure it will.

Arturo Sandoval: I Have Fulfilled my Dreams

English translation of an excellent interview with Arturo Sandoval, from Ivan’s File Cabinet:

arturo-sandoval

To speak about music in Cuba is an analogy. Cuba is the music. There are nice people, splendid weather, the smell of salty residue, and there’s always a reason to party. Other things, like the shrimp, tropical fruits, or beef are a luxury after 54 years of misrule. Cuba lacks essential liberties, but the music goes on.

Fidel Castro tried to scrap the Sunday calls to retreat and replace them with arrhythmic marches calling for combat. The olive-green regime planned to transform music. To bury guaguancó, toque de santo, and jazz.

But he couldn’t. In addition to inventing parameters to measure the quality of a music, in the medias sent to censure the greats like Mario Bauzá, Celia Cruz, or such a Lupe, only because they chose to observe from the distance the ideological folly established in the island.

And the music, like poetry, doesn’t let you break. The trumpeter, pianist, and composer Arturo Sandoval (Artemeisa, 1949), knows this very well. In the flesh has lived the holy war that political and cultural commissioners, scribes and historians, unleashed in 1990 when he decided to move away from the Communist madhouse. According to official decree, Sandoval was to die.

It’s rained a lot since then. The times are different. It’s been 24 years, indignant Berliners in the night demolished the wall that divided a same nation. Castro had to change politically. He spoke of socialism or death on a Havana platform, but from the sewers of power, sent especially trying to make negotiations with magnates of capitalism. He had to make accords. With the Catholic Church, the Afro-Cuban religion and with the selfsame devil. He cracked the social discipline and the fear was lost.

And in full view you could find blacks on a Cayo Hueso lot, in downtown Havana, between rounds of rum and dominos, daring to listen, at full volume, to Celia Cruz, Willy Chirino, Paquito D’Rivera. or A Time for Love, disco from 2010 by Arturo Sandoval. I was a witness.

On November 6th the Cuban trumpeter turned 64. On the 21st of this month his name may be announced in Las Vegas as the winner of a Grammy, the tenth in his career, to go along with 6 Billboard Awards and an Emmy. Although the most moving of all will be the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which will be presented to him in December by Barack Obama, along with fifteen other figures, including former President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and Mexican scientist and Nobel Prize winner in chemistry Mario Molina. Despite his busy schedule, Arturo Sandoval graciously answered a questionnaire from Diario de Cuba.

Arturo, I was a boy when your name rang out with force on the island. I remember you taking complete notes on the trumpet while Irakere was making Bacalao with bread. Would you be able to summarize your artistic trajectory?

“I have to give thanks to God every day because in my career I’ve been able to accomplish my dreams. Look, coming from a dirt-poor family, where nobody was linked to art, and me having been able to be in the best situations and share with the musical greats. I think that sums up my trajectory: a dream come true.”

He doesn’t say it out of modesty, but another dream come true is the Arturo Sandoval Institute, proud institution of Cuban music on two shores.

Read more

Jorge Luis Garcia Perez “Antunez” is coming to Los Angeles

It is perfect that the southern California Cuban community welcomes to Los Angeles a hero dedicated to Cuba’s freedom, Jorge Luis Garcia “Antunez”, and his wife, Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, founder of the Rosa Parks Feminist Movement for Civil Rights, as we commemorate the revered hero of Cuba’s wars for independence, the great patriot and freedom fighter, Antonio Maceo Grajales.

Hosted by Junta Patriotica Cubana Regional California:

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A meeting and press conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday at El Colmao restaurant, 2328 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles.
For more information please contact Fernando Marquet:

Email: fernandomarquet@gmail.com
Telephone: call 310.918.4283