#Freedom4Cubans: This January 28th, set the social media world on fire in support of Cuba’s political prisoners

This January 28th, join us in setting the social media world on fire in support of Cuba’s political prisoners. Use the hashtag #Freedom4Cubans and let’s educate the world about the political prisoners languishing in gulags of the Castro dictatorship.

#freedom4cubans este 28 de enero FUEGO En todas las redes sociales por todos los presos políticos en #Cuba

Posted by Liu Santiesteban on Sunday, January 22, 2017

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Reports from Cuba: The learned illiterates of the Revolution

By Miriam Celaya in Translating Cuba:

The Learned Illiterates of the Revolution

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Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 10 January 2017 – I have often heard or read about the supposed Cuban “culture and education,” a fabulous academic record based on official Cuban statistics and, of course, the Cuban Revolution and its (literally) ashen leader.

A few weeks ago, during the prolonged funerals of the Deceased in Chief, while walking through some streets of Centro Habana in the company of a foreign colleague – one of those who, either because of her gullibility or her sympathy, has swallowed the story of “the most educated island in the world” — I had occasion to show her several categorical examples of the very renown solid and expansive Cuban culture.

Beyond the filthy and cracked streets, the mounds of rubble and the containers of overflowing debris, which by themselves speak of the peculiar conception of the hygiene and health culture in the Cuban capital, posters everywhere overflowed, plagued by spelling mistakes: “we have striped coconut” [rayado means striped, rallado, grated] read a sign at a market on Sites street; “Mixed coffee” [misspelled mesclado, should be mezclado] offered another ad on a menu board in a private coffee shop; “forbidden to throw papers on the floor” [proibido instead of prohibido] on a sign a bit further on.

The menus at restaurants, both privately and state-owned, also abound in terrorist attacks on the Spanish language that would have the illustrious Miguel de Cervantes shaking in his grave. “Fried Garbansos“, [garbanzos] “smoked tenderloin” [aumado for ahumado], “breaded fillet” [enpanisado for empanizado], “paella valensiana” [instead of valenciana] and other such similarities have become so common that no one seems to notice them.

The “Weekly Packet,” by far the most popular cultural entertainment product and the one most available among the people, is ailing from the same malady. There, among the video title archives, one can find misspelled jewels of colossal stature, such as “Parasitos acesinos,” [for Parásitos Asesinos], “Guerreros del Pasifico,” [instead of the correct Guerreros del Pacífico], “Humbrales al Mas Alla” [correct spelling: Umbrales al Más Allá] and many more.

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Week 1: Trump reverses an abortion policy

 

This is good news, especially if you believe that abortion is wrong.

President Trump reversed one of President Obama’s most odious executive orders on abortion:

President Trump on Monday reversed the Obama administration’s 2009 decision that let the money flow. The decision means nonprofits abroad will have to end patient counseling in which abortion is mentioned or forgo U.S. dollars.
The rule is known as the “Mexico City policy” by its supporters and the “global gag rule” by its foes. It was first instituted by President Ronald Reagan during a conference in Mexico City in 1984.

Elections have consequences.    Hillary Clinton would not have signed this order.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

A mummified corpse of a Cuban rafter is a witness to Cuba’s migratory drama

Mario Penton reports in 14yMedio (translation by Translating Cuba):

The Mummified Corpse Of A Rafter, Witness Of The Migratory Drama


Video of the disappeared rafters building the raft

A picture of the Virgin of Regla, the identity cards of two brothers and a mummified corpse of a Cuban moored alongside the remains of a raft is the only evidence that remained of the six men who escaped from Cuba’s Isle of Youth to Central America This summer looking to reach the United States.

Missing for six months, the discovery of the remains of a man on the beaches of Corpus Christi last fall shocked his relatives, most of them humble fishermen on the Isle of Youth.

In early October a shrimp boatman from Port Aransas informed the US Coast Guard that he had found a raft with a body, as reported to Entravisión a local television channel.

The authorities were able to confirm that it was a man in an advanced state of decomposition. In the pockets of the victim they found the identity cards of Juan Antonio Pupo Pupo and Amauris Pupo Pupo, next to a picture of the Virgin of Regla.

Heraldo Peña, a forensic investigator in Nueces County, explained via telephone to this newspaper that, because of the condition of the body, it was not possible to identify the victim, but DNA samples were kept for comparison to relatives who might appear later.

“We could see that it was a man and we determined that he died because of the lack of food and water,” said Peña, who also added that because of the saltpetre the remains were mummified.

“It was not possible to conclude if the corpse corresponds to any of the identifications that he carried,” he says.

An official related the case, who did not want to be identified, said that since the first clues were known about the possible Cuban origin of the deceased, the authorities tried to contact the Pupo Pupo family in Cuba to make the comparison of the DNA samples, but the Cuban embassy in Washington did not facilitate communication.

“It is not allowed to speak about the role of the Cuban Consulate in the investigation because now we want to have better relations with Cuba,” said the official, adding that everything possible was done before burial of the body in a graveyard for the indigent.

This version does not agree with the statements of Hugo Vega, officer in charge of the US Border Patrol’s Missing Migrant Initiative.

Vega maintains that the Cuban consular section promised to provide fingerprints and information that would enable identification of the alleged Cuban.

“We try to get the deceased migrants identified by their relatives,” says the official from the state of Texas. Since the case was heard, the Border Patrol agent contacted Noyri Muñoz, the sister of one of the rafters residing in Spain.

mummified corpse cuban rafter story penton

14ymedio contacted the press office of the Cuban Embassy in Washington via email in order to confirm this information but received no reply.

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Trump’s Sec State nominee Rex Tillerson on Cuba: Obama’s executive orders will be reversed

Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton sent shock waves all over the world and one of the places that felt it the most was Cuba. Expecting a Hillary win and the continuation of Obama’s policies of surrender and unilateral concessions, the apartheid Castro dictatorship was not prepared for a Trump presidency. In fact, the shock of Trump’s victory was so frightening that it had them “sh*tting themselves.”

It appears now that if Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is confirmed, the Cuban dictatorship is going to need another change of pants. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tillerson makes clear he will follow through with the Cuba policies set out by Trump and his vice-president Mike Pence during the campaign to reverse Obama’s executive orders on Cuba and unilateral concessions to the regime. Furthermore, Tillerson pledges to reverse the Obama and John Kerry policy of ignoring human rights on the island and abandoning Cuba’s pro-democracy dissidents.

Here are Tillerson’s responses to questions on Cuba from the Committee:

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Despite the Obama Administration’s controversial and misguided decision to normalize relations with Cuba and its hope that this could lead to improved governance and human rights, Cuban officials continue to arrest dissidents and violate the rights of citizens, and tourism revenues benefit only government officials and a small minority of the population. How do you plan to approach the United States’ relationship with Cuba? How will you support human rights defenders and democracy activists in Cuba? What bilateral and/or multilateral pressure will you exert to lessen authoritarian rule in Cuba?

Tillerson: If confirmed, I will engage with Cuba but continue to press for reform of its oppressive regime. I will support human rights defenders and democracy activists in Cuba, empower civil society, defend freedom of expression, and promote improved Internet access and I will ask our allies to do the same.

Will you continue to support programs that promote democratic voices and initiatives in Cuba like Radio and TV Marti?

Tillerson: Yes, if I am confirmed.

What steps will you take to pressure the Castro regime to return American political fugitives like New Jersey cop-killer Joanne Chesimard?
If confirmed, I will engage bilaterally and multilaterally to bring these fugitives to justice.

Will you work with the Treasury Department to ensure that no revenue from American businesses goes directly toward supporting the Cuban military and the regime?

Tillerson: Yes, if I am confirmed.

What steps will you take to encourage the government of Cuba to release political prisoners, artists, journalists, and other Cubans being detained for politically-motivated reasons?

Tillerson: If confirmed, I will press Cuba to meet its pledge to become more democratic and consider placing conditions on trade or travel policies to motivate the release of political prisoners.

What steps will you take to promote judicial reform in Cuba?

Tillerson: I will work bilaterally and multilaterally to identify training and technical assistance opportunities to assist with judicial reform, if I am confirmed.

On October 12, 2016, PEOTUS Donald Trump stated, “The people of Cuba have struggled too long. Will reverse Obama’s Executive Orders and concessions towards Cuba until freedoms are restored.” Do you stand by PEOTUS Trump’s commitment to reverse the Obama Administration’s Cuba regulations until freedoms are restored on the island?

Tillerson: Yes. There will be a comprehensive review of current policies and executive orders regarding Cuba to determine how best to pressure Cuba to respect human rights and promote democratic changes.

On October 14, 2016, VPEOTUS Mike Pence reiterated this commitment by stating, “When Donald Trump and I take to the White House, we will reverse Barack Obama’s executive orders on Cuba.” Do you stand by VPEOTUS Pence’s commitment to reverse the Obama Administration’s Cuba regulations?

Tillerson: Yes, if I am confirmed.

El Sexto prevented from leaving Cuba

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Loosely translated From Marti Noticias:

Cuban dissident artist Danilo Maldonado, “El Sexto”, who was just released from prison this past Saturday, is not being allowed to leave Castrogonia.

He had planned to fly to Miami, where his girlfriend resides, but when he got to the Havana airport on Sunday morning, he was turned away by agents of the Castro regime.

El Sexto spent 57 days in prison without a trial.

He was released after various international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, put pressure on the Castro regime to free him.

Aaah, but the Castronoids have decided to keep him imprisoned in his own country, just like the other 11 million human beings born in Cuba who still reside there, as slaves owned by Castro, Inc.

Vencido

 

Five dissidents and their principles President Trump needs to know about

Via the Victims of Communism’s Dissident blog:

Five Dissidents And The Principles For Which They Stand

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As Donald J. Trump is inaugurated President of the United States and begins his first day in office, we have a message for him. This message comes not just from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, but from harassed dissidents, persecuted activists, and prisoners of conscience across the world: Mr. President, please defend human rights in the face of communist oppression.

Below, read about these five dissidents who exemplify this struggle for freedom and liberty.

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Liu Xiaobo is a renowned Chinese professor, activist, social critic, and dissident. In 2008, he was detained and incarcerated because of his support for Charter 08, a manifesto calling for democracy and the abolition of single-party rule in China. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in absentia for his work. Read more about his continuing imprisonment and an attempt to honor him here in Washington, DC.

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Otto Warmbier is an American citizen now languishing in a North Korean labor camp. An American college student, he went to North Korea as a tourist. While there, he was arrested for allegedly taking down a propaganda poster in his hotel. After a coerced confession he was sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor. Read more about North Korea’s abysmal treatment of foreign nationals and its own citizens.

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Danilo Maldonado Machado, also known as El Sexto, is famous throughout the world for his provocative art and acerbic commentary on Cuba’s communist dictatorship. He was seized by Cuban security forces in the wake of Fidel Castro’s death in November for spraypainting “He Is Gone” on a wall. Read more about El Sexto’s spraypaint-fueled fight for Cuba’s freedom.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: Three days without Fidel

By Regina Coyula in Translating Cuba:

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Three Days Without Fidel

Regina Coyula, 20 January 2017 — I was asked for this by a press agency, and they didn’t publish it. Then came the official reaction and we couldn’t have much time without his image. It’s like what a wise lady said in line at the pharmacy, “It would be preferable that the (National) Assembly approved an enormous monument, and not this Fidel that comes at us from all sides and doesn’t just die.”

Friday, already late in the evening, in front of the TV, idly I switch it on. Raul Castro is talking. A good part of the city was sleeping when the phones began to ring.

Perhaps for those who loved him, the reaction was emotional, but there is no surprise in the death of an old man who’s been sick for more than ten years. Yes, there is the irony that he was killed so many times, and now his death takes us all by surprise.

The programming continues and they even start playing a film, American of course. It was not until the movie was well along that they interrupted it to replace it with images from the documentary Fidel from Estela Bravo. It gives the impression that the TV directors never dared to make a plan for this moment; and on receiving directions “from above” that they began to look for film materials for the new days of “history and patriotism.”

It’s already dawn and groups of young people are coming from the Art Factory, their party having been interrupted. The drunkest obey the “on your feet!” that they learned in military or farming encampments, and add to the amusements and loquacious, “Turn on the TV, Fifo died!” These heralds continue on their way and others camp out in the park in front of the Acapulco Cinema; two girls dance little skip steps to their own music. It is a group without tears, these displaced from the Art Factory.

Saturday. A clueless man raised his eyebrows on hearing the news in the Tulipan agricultural market and continues on. Full as ever, the market is quiet without the loudspeakers; the buyers are very discreet moving quickly among the stalls to get a few vegetables at import prices.

In the morning there are still shops that haven’t received instructions to suspend sales of alcoholic beverages; a dry law and nine days of national mourning will be a tough test for those who live between hits of rum and reggaeton. I don’t see sad faces, rather serious ones. Or cautious.

Sunday. The television broadcasts endless materials about Fidel. Fidel at the UN, at a school, at a market, with Garcia Marquez, omnipresent Fidel.  Now he is a bigger star than ever, such a focus in the media, he who spent hours at the microphone on the national channel and on Radio Havana Cuba.

On the news, the announcers are dressed in black, they provide information about the funeral rites in the Plaza of the Revolution, the journey of the ashes to Santiago, the closing of the streets. On TV there are tears, but there is no children’s programming. And no one talks about causes of death.

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Words and images from King Raul’s dungeons, straight from El Sexto

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El Sexto after his release

María Matienzo Puerto of Cubanet interviews El Sexto immediately after his release from prison

Here is a loose translation:

Tell us about your ordeal…

“This time the repression was more brutal.  They spent the whole time beating me, humiliating me.  They were always provoking me, trying to get me to react, trying to make me lose control. Then they took me and the guy in the lower bunk to unit 47, which is a place into which people are taken before they’re executed by firing squad.  Then they started to bring everyone from del Valle prison into Combinado del Este. I was placed in unit 3, which is high security, with men who were murderers.

“I was imprisoned for a long time, imprisoned for poking fun at the death of a murderer [Fidel Castro].  I have to laugh because some day in the future our children will believe that killing people is a joke.  The Castros are murderers and it should have been the brother [Raul] who got tossed into El Combinado de Este, not me.

But no one has been executed by firing squad since 2003.  Those condemned to death have had their sentence commuted…

“Those people don’t care about any of that.  Those people attacked a military barracks [Moncada, 1953] and have forced their countrymen into exile, they killed Oswaldo Payá… Do you believe that they really care about killing one more man, without any justification?

“On Saturday, when I heard some shots, they told me that a minister had arrived to approve my death sentence.  It seemed to me that they were really getting ready to execute me, given how they were treating me, telling me that the documents related to my case were super-confidential.  It was as if they were saying “we’re going to teach these dissidents a lesson for crossing the line.”

“The legal brief they showed me was enormous, and they tried to convince me that I had a very long record of counter-revolutionary behavior.  And they asked me if they had ever tried me in court for crimes against the security of the state.  They threatened me by telling me that my trial could be televised.  And I thought, ‘candela (wow), they’re going to deal with me just like they dealt with Ochoa. (Former Castro associate accused of corruption who was tried on TV and executed in 1989).

They removed and disappeared the guy who was trying to “re-educate” me because he told me that I would be released soon.”

It seems to your friends that this ordeal brought the best out of Danilo, but what did Danilo get out of this imprisonment?…

“This is an illness I want to get rid of, but each time I come down with it, the sicker I get.  What I can’t allow to happen is for me to be quiet about it, whether I’m at death’s door or not.  This time around I understood I couldn’t risk my life the way I did before, with a hunger strike.  I realized that what they wanted was something nefarious and I was careful the whole time.  I sought out the dark corners and I told myself,  ‘ná, tú estás loco, para matarme a mí hay que ‘echarla’ (esmerarse)” no, you’re crazy, to kill me will require serious effort from them.”

“I will be going to Miami as soon as possible.  I hope to go tomorrow, for a news conference, and then I will return, to keep working on my stuff and to take care of my daughter’s situtation.”

“I want to thank everyone who worked on my behalf with the U.N., The Human Rights Foundation, and the news media.  Thanks to all of you for your support.”

Read the whole interview in Spanish HERE

Prison drawing by El Sexto below, dated 17 December 2016:

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Castros continue their international slave trade in doctors as Cubans are deprived of healthcare

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Via Diario de Cuba:

Doctors enslaved abroad while Cuba deprived of them

Two of the most important revenue sources for Castroism’s economic survival are family remittances and the export of medical personnel. Cuban doctors abroad work and live on a basis that is tantamount to slavery, only having access to a fraction of their wages, their freedom of movement restricted, and  forced to get involved in political campaigns with local populations, with which they are not even allowed to interact in a private way. They are hostages of the Government, enlisting in these programs towards the sole goal of saving some minimal amounts allowing them to subsist after their return to Cuba.

The export of the country’s doctors also helps the regime to garner international recognition. But this is acknowledgment that entails a smokescreen covering up their violations of the health workers’ labor and human rights. Until now, many of them had found a way out of their dilemma by emigrating to the U.S.A. through other countries, allowing them to reinvent their lives and obtain the kind of compensation to which every professional aspires.

But by ending the parole program for Cuban doctors Obama has eliminated this possibility for them. The president’s statement argues that favoring the emigration of doctors to the US could affect the Cuban people: “By providing preferential treatment to Cuban medical personnel, the medical parole program […] risks harming the Cuban people.” But this reasoning is based on a failure to acknowledge how Raúl Castro’s regime operates; the fact that Cuban doctors cannot emigrate to the USA does not mean that they will decide to serve patients on the Island.

The economic outlook leaves the Cuban authorities so few options that they will have to resort, increasingly, to exporting medical staff. In the wake of the lifting of the “dry feet/wet feet” policy, as the total amounts received from familiar remittances diminish, the numbers from the export of doctors could become even greater.

Due to the Government’s programs for the export of specialists, the number of doctors per inhabitant in Cuba has already noticeably diminished. Medical facilities lack professionals in some specialized areas, and this situation is only going to get worse, regardless of what Barack Obama has ordered. In spite of his good intentions, Obama is not going to be able to improve the situation of Cuban patients, but he will worsen that of many doctors.

In light of all this, Cuban American Senator Marco Rubio and House Representative Carlos Curbelo are right to ask Donald Trump to restore the program that favored Cuban health professionals.

Things you should (and need to) know before you pick apartheid Cuba as your vacation destination

I came across this article in Q Costa Rica this morning and expected to read about how wonderful apartheid Cuba is for tourists. Like many articles on the topic of vacationing in Cuba, I assumed this piece would gush about how unspoiled and quaint Havana is with its crumbling buildings, 1950s era American cars, and how well behaved the enslaved natives are and how they all love to play music and dance for the tourists.

For the first part of the article, my suspicions were confirmed:

Things You Should or Want Know About Cuba

Capitolio havana cuba

TODAY CUBA / Cuba is the Caribbean island nation under communist rule. It has sugar-white beaches and is dotted with tobacco fields, which play a part in the production of the country’s legendary cigars. The capital, Havana (La Habana), is lined with pastel houses, 1950s era cars and Spanish-colonial architecture in the 16th-century core, Old Havana (Habana Vieja).

Culturally, Cuba is considered part of Latin America. It is a multiethnic country whose people, culture and customs derive from diverse origins, including the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the long period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves, and a close relationship with the Soviet Union in the Cold War.

Salsa music plays in the dance clubs and cabaret shows are performed at the famed Tropicana.

But then, they share a list of bullet points on Cuba that put the island in a realistic perspective:

  • Cuba is the largest island in the area with 11 million inhabitants.
  • Cuba has been living under a communist dictatorship for 58 years
  • Cuba went from the third developed country of the Americas (beating countries like Spain, France, Belgium in indicators) to a third world country with a destroyed economy and agriculture.
  • Cuba is a “food deficient country” that has to import 80% of the food it consumes and that lives with rationing for over 50 years.
  • Cuba has an “apartheid” medical and tourist system (tourist part now relaxed) with separate facilities for tourist (and the elite) and the Cuban people.
  • Cuba has a “two currency” system with one the CUP for the Cuban people’s daily transactions which is “non convertible” (can’t be exchanged for other currencies) and the CUC (convertible). 1 CUC is worth 25 CUP at current exchange rates.
  • Average monthly pensions is Cuba are (in US dollar) $10 – $12 and average salary is about $25.
  • Rationed goods are cheap but last only 10 days to feed people and lots of other goods have to be bought at high prices (relative compared to income) with CUP or at exorbitant prices in CUC. This results in widespread food problems.
  • 62% of Cubans depend on remittances (money sent from abroad) to make ends meet.
  • Education and health in Cuba, once praised, have declined now facing crumbling infrastructure, teacher shortages and a lack of medical personnel and equipment in the Cuban system.

It is hard to tell if Q Costa Rica was attempting to give their readers a realistic assessment of vacationing in apartheid Cuba or they were just being lazy and copied and pasted a list of bullet points they found on the internet.

Either way, a true assessment of apartheid Cuba is out there on the internet and once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever.

After two months of imprisonment for celebrating the death of Cuba’s dictator, ‘El Sexto’ is finally released

It is no surprise that dissident artist Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado was arrested and imprisoned for nearly two months simply for celebrating the death of Cuba’s apartheid dictator, Fidel Castro. These are the types of human rights violations Cuba’s brutally repressive dictatorship has been committing for more than half a century. Unfortunately, it is also no surprise that despite the fact that Cuba’s apartheid dictatorship continues to be an oppressive regime, Barack Obama had no issues making additional major unilateral concessions to them while “El Sexto” rotted in a Castro gulag.

Miami’s Local 10 News reports:

Artist ‘El Sexto’ walks out of prison in Cuba

Artist spends 2 months in prison after celebrating Fidel Castro’s death

el sexto havana local10 2017-01-22

HAVANA – Cuban authorities freed artist Danilo Maldonado on Saturday. The Cuban government had been holding the artist known as “El Sexto” since Nov. 26.

International human rights U.S. human rights lawyer Kimberley Motley took up his case and was later detained for hours in Havana.

Maldonado’s family said they were grateful to Motley and international civil rights attorney Centa B. Rek Chajtur from the Human Rights Foundation.

“It was the growing awareness about his case that has led the Cuban government to liberate him,” a statement on the artist’s Facebook page said. They added that Maldonado plans to “continue doing meaningful art towards a free and democratic Cuba.”

The artist was released after the Geneva-based United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention started to review a legal petition filed in his behalf.

The graffiti writer had been in prison before. Cubans held him for about 10 months after he attempted to release two pigs he had spray painted with the names of Raul and Fidel Castro.

Maldonado’s latest arrest happened before an exhibit he was supposed to host in Miami during Art Basel. Cuban authorities showed up to his apartment after he celebrated the death of Fidel Castro with graffiti.

See more HERE.

At “Washington Women’s March” Madonna (who recently wished her hero Che Guevara a “Happy Birthday”) fantasized about “Blowing up White House”

“Yes! I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House!” (Madonna at Washington Women’s March, 1/21/2017)

Rock-star Madonna (surrounded at the “Washington Women’s March” by women, blacks –and especially–black women) has often expressed her affection for Che Guevara--the co-founder of a totalitarian regime that outlawed rock music while jailing and torturing the most blacks and women in the modern history of the Western Hemisphere!

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In fact, Madonna recently tweeted the racist, misogynistic, mass-murderer a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (unsurprisingly, she got the date wrong. Che Guevara’s birthday is actually on June, 15. (NOT May 15th like the imbecilic pop-star thought. )

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Gentleman on the top left: “If the missiles had remained in Cuba we would have fired them against the heart of the U.S.-including New York City. The victory of socialism is worth millions of atomic victims!”

Lady on top right:“Yes! I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House!”

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“I read Humberto Fontova’s book in two sittings. I couldn’t put it down!” ( Mark Levin on Exposing the Real Che Guevara.)
“Humberto’s a pretty cool guy!” (Dennis Miller)

“Humberto’s book is a very valuable book-a book badly needed around the world.” (Former Chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Relations Ileana Ros-Lehtinen R. Fl)