Podcast of the Day: Cuban activist Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo on the current situation in Cuba

Cuban dissident, activist, and writer Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo talks with our good friend Spun Counterguy about what’s happening in Cuba today.

Former Cuban political dissident Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo is now a writer and blogger advocating for his home country’s liberataion from the current oppressive regime. We’ll hear many of Orlando Luis’s views on the current state of the island naion in addition to some of his own personal life experiences.

Read more

Reports from Cuba: New bakeries in Cuba

Nike writes in the Havana Times:

New Bakeries in Cuba

Privately-owned bakeries have opened across Havana, for some time now. Many families in my town have set up a counter and a shelf in their garage or doorway to their house and have set up their own bakery.

Ingredients such as flour and yeast are almost always imported by a family member from a nearby country, while others buy them directly from a foreign supplier. There are people who dedicate themselves to just making the bread, and then you have the people who distribute it. In my town, they use horse-drawn carts, mopeds and all kinds of cars running on diesel or petrol.

This doesn’t mean to say that the bread problem has been fixed, but private bakers do the impossible to make bread every day and I admire them for this and am very grateful.

Ordinary Cubans choose the cheapest bags of bread that are a plastic bag with 8-10 soft bread rolls inside. The size of these rolls has been shrinking as demand has grown. These bags used to originally cost 25 pesos back in 2019, but now they cost around 70 pesos.

Read more

Mexico’s AMLO pays the Cuban dictatorship over $1 million a month for slave labor

With the help of Mexico’s socialist president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the communist Castro regime continues to operate its modern-day slave trade with nary a word uttered by the civilized world.

Via The Yucatan Times:

AMLO pays one million euros per month to the Díaz-Canel dictatorship for the presence of Cuban doctors in Mexico

According to the collaboration agreement between the two governments – made known by the journalist Lourdes Mendoza – the IMSS had to deposit 50% of the amount of the first monthly payment as an advance to guarantee Cuban health personnel the minimum conditions for their stay.

Since last May 9, when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced that around 500 Cuban doctors would arrive in Mexico to alleviate the existing “deficit” of Mexican doctors and who would be taken to the most remote communities from the country where there is no medical care. A strong controversy has been generated by the conditions in which the doctors from the Caribbean island would come.

The journalist Lourdes Mendoza, in her column published in El Financiero, revealed that she had a copy of the agreement between the government of AMLO and that of Miguel Díaz-Canel in which the AMLO administration agrees to pay the Cuban Medical Services Marketer S.A, one million euros per month for the “services” of the doctors of that country in Mexico.

According to the journalist, a total of 610 male and female doctors will cover part of the 5,329 medical vacancies that were not claimed by Mexican health professionals in highly marginalized areas of the national territory.

The agreement, in its eighth clause that refers to the amount of the consideration, states that, “as part of the cooperation, the IMSS will grant as consideration to the CSMC, SA, a monthly amount of up to 1,177,300.00 (one million one hundred seventy-seven thousand three hundred 00/100 euros) calculated at the fixed exchange rate of 20.7 pesos for each euro, which corresponds to the effective participation of up to 600 health professionals.

The communicator specified that the payments will be made to an account of CSMC, SA, by means of a bank transfer to an account of Banco Internacional de Comercio, SA, with address at Inmobiliaria Monte Barreto, Jerusalem building, ground floor, 3rd avenue, e/ 78 and 80, Miramar, Playa, Havana, Cuba.

Continue reading HERE.

Castro dictatorship to buy U.S. dollars from Cubans at black market rates

In a frantic attempt to save an economy they have destroyed and in turn save themselves, the Cuban dictatorship announced on Wednesday it will now start buying U.S. dollars at 120 Cuban peso/dollar rate, similar to the rate found on Cuba’s black market. With the country’s infrastructure collapsing and shortages worsening, the communist regime is desperate for hard currency and control as the island’s economy continues its rapid decline.

Via Reuters:

Cuba announced it will begin purchasing on Thursday dollars and other convertible currencies at nearly five times the current rate in an effort to undercut the informal money market and capture the funds.

Central Bank President Marta Wilson Gonzalez, appearing on state-run television on Wednesday evening, said the state-run banking system had set a new rate of 120 pesos to the dollar, compared to the official fixed rate of 24 pesos, and 115 pesos on the informal market, according to independent online news outlet El Toque tracker, the most watched in the communist-run country.

Of course, the Castro dictatorship has no plans at the moment to sell U.S. dollars to Cuban citizens since that would defeat the purpose of their new policy.

Castro dictatorship clamping down harder on the faithful in Cuba

Religion has been under attack in Cuba since Fidel Castro’s 1959 socialist revolution. 63 years later, the communist regime has never let up and instead has turned the screws tighter on Cuba’s faithful.

Via Baptist News:

Cuban government clamps down more on religion

The Cuban government, long hostile to all forms of religious expression, is tightening down further on communities of faith in response to ongoing economic challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a religious freedom expert reported.

“They must be overwhelmed by what’s going on to also want to persecute the faith community,” Kirk Dahlgren, a consultant and former USAID senior foreign service officer, said during an Aug. 2 webinar hosted by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The event included a panel discussion and presentation of USCIRF’s new report on constitutional reform and religious freedom in Cuba.

“Normally, we think people who are faithful to be good citizens, but I think when it comes down to it, (Cuban leaders) feel threatened by faith leaders who all surveys show are much more respected than government officials,” Dahlgren said.

Cuban political and security leaders also view Christians, Muslims and other religious groups as the last vestiges of an independent civil society which has otherwise been banned by the Communist Party, said Dahlgren, a co-author of the USCIRF report.

[…]

Adopted in April 2019, Cuba’s current constitution provides fewer protections for religious freedom or belief than the previous 1976 document did, panelist and study co-author Javier Larrondo explained. “Its potential ability to protect religion from arbitrary and unlimited action by the communist party has disappeared in the new (constitution).”

Larrondo, president of Prisoners Defenders, said religious freedom is fragile in Cuba because the constitution is subordinate to party decrees and legislative actions. “The concept of constitutionality does not exist in Cuba at all. That’s why numerous laws have been enacted after the constitution severely limiting rights and despite being flagrantly contradictory to the constitution.”

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: Several relatives of July 11 detainees arrested at the Cathedral in Havana

14yMedio reports from Havana via Translating Cuba:

Several Relatives of July 11th (11J) Detainees are Arrested at the Cathedral in Havana, Cuba

Several police officers approach the group and demand to see their IDs.

Several relatives of 11J (11 July 2021) detainees were arrested on Monday after conducting a peaceful protest at the steps of Havana’s Cathedral. The protesters have been identified as: Liset Fonseca Rosales, Marta Perdomo Benítez, Ailex Marcano Fabelo, Delanis Álvarez Matos, Saily Núñez y Wilber Aguilar, who were taken to the police station at Cuba and Chacón in Cuba’s capital.

Fonseca is the mother of Roberto Pérez, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison while Marta Perdomo is mother to Nadir and Jorge Martín Perdomo, brothers who are serving 6- and 8-year prison sentences, respectively.  Aguilar is the father of Walnier Aguilar (a 23 year sentence), and Núñez is the wife of Maikel Puig (a 14 year sentence).

A video posted on Twitter by Albert Fonseca, a Cuban activist based in Canada, who is Roberto Pérez Fonseca’s brother and Liset’s son, shows the group yelling slogans such as “Patria y Vida [Homeland and Life]” and “Libertad [Freedom]” while someone dressed in civilian clothing, whose identity is unknown, attempts to silence them.

Later, several police officers approached the group and demanded to see their IDs. After the protesters had apparently dispersed, Fonseca himself denounced his mother’s arrest, along with that of the other  protest participants, stating that he held “the Cuban dictatorship” responsible.

Read more

Sen. Marco Rubio calls on FBI to investigate anti-Cuba embargo group ‘Bridges of Love’

The ties between the Cuban communist dictatorship and the “Bridges of Love” organization has Sen. Marco Rubio and many others wondering if they’re acting as unregistered foreign agents.

Via El American:

Marco Rubio Asks FBI to Investigate Activities of ‘Puentes de Amor’ Organization

Last Sunday, a group indicated to have links with the communist regime of Cuba participated in political activities in Coral Gables, Florida. In consequence, Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher Wray, urging him to immediately investigate the activities of Puentes de Amor and its members.

The senator explained that “the organization acts as an unregistered foreign agent of the Cuban regime, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).” Through a press release, Rubio detailed that the movement would have participated in demonstrations to divide society and influence American foreign policy.

“Puentes de Amor held a demonstration in Coral Gables, Florida, as part of a coordinated effort by the Cuban regime to sow division, incite conflict, and influence the foreign policy of the United States,” Rubio said.

Marco Rubio’s denunciation

Rubio mentioned that “the group also flew flags marking Castro’s July 26th movement, in open support of the Cuban Revolution that ultimately led to the communist dictatorship which remains in place today.” He stressed that disclosing the organization’s information and movements will contribute to democracy and maintain transparency in American society.

“Consistent with the U.S. Department of Justice’s often-cited efforts, FARA increases transparency in our democratic system by disclosing individuals and entities engaged in foreign influence activities. As such, I respectfully request an immediate investigation into Puentes de Amor, its members, and activities.”

Cuban mothers and their children block road into Havana in protest, demand meeting with Diaz-Canel

The situation in communist Cuba has gotten so desperate and dire, you now have mothers protesting with their small children.

Via ADN Cuba (my translation):

Cuban mothers protest with their children on the Havana Highway

Cuban mothers with their children protested on Tuesday on one of the highways leading into Havana, blocking traffic and demanding a meeting with the president, Miguel Diaz-Canel.

“They shut down the highway at Havana’s first ring road and are demanding a meeting with Diaz-Canel. Attention Castro and Canel! There are many children there, do not oppress them,” said democracy activist and Cuba Decide founder Rosa Maria Paya on social media.

In a video making the rounds on social media, more than a dozen mothers and their children, some just babies being carried in their arms, can be seen protesting and blocking several tourist taxis and government delivery trucks on the highway using a human chain. The protesters demanded to “see Diaz-Canel,” the president of the Cuban regime.

“It’s blowing up in Havana!” one of the bystanders at the protest can be heard saying as he drove past the area and took video of what was taking place. Highway A2, which is also known as the First Ring of Havana, is a road that connects the Cuban capital with almost all the other highways in Cuba.

According to journalist Mario J. Penton, the protesters were “a group of people supposedly living in housing provided by the Cuban regime.”

“It’s a very explosive situation in Cuba right now due to the hunger, the repression, the misery, and the lack of electricity,” said the reporter with America Noticias on channel 41 in Miami. Penton added that he was told police had arrived at the area of the protest.

Continue reading (in Spanish) HERE.