“The struggle begins”: A book about Cubans in the US

Guest: Victor Andres Triay, author of “The struggle begins”.  This is a Cuban story circa 1960-62.




The Escambray guerillas story with Enrique Encinosa

We spoke with Enrique Encinosa, Cuban American activist.  He has written about the Escambray story.

Click below for the show:





Enjoy my chat with Carlos Eire about Cuba, 54 years after Castro

Our friend Carlos Eire is a real treasure.  We love his books and the many posts on Babalu.

A year ago, Carlos recalled the 54th anniversary of the Castro regime:

“Today is a grim day for me, and many Cubans. Every new year marks the same hideous anniversary….”

We did a show about the post and it’s one of my favorites of 2013.

Click below and listen:


“El jefe de Babalu” on CANTO TALK

We spoke with Alberto de la Cruz on Wednesday night.

As Babalu readers know, our friend Alberto has done a great job posting about the “fake reforms” and continuing “repression”.

Fausta Wertz, editor of Fausta’s Blog, also joined our panel.  Please check Fausta’s Blog for daily coverage of US-Latin America news.

Enjoy the show:

WEDNESDAY: The latest from Cuba PLUS US-Latin America stories of the week….

Listen in now at http://t.co/VXAjDTkjSv.





Chavez Dies For Socialism…

…but NOT as he would have wanted, going down in a blaze of glory like Che Guevara, perhaps in mortal combat with U.S. Marines.

Nope, the Venezuelan dictator and Numero Uno fan of the bearded beast is going down at the hands of Castro’s medical machine, helpless, in pain, taking orders from Cuban state doctors.

See, the news is out that Chavez did have an opportunity to be cured. Instead of taking it, he chose Castrocare instead, for political reasons, as well as general paranoia. He really did buy into the Michael Moore SICKo line about Castrocare being superior.

The results speak for themselves. But don’t ever let it be said that Chavez didn’t die for socialism.

Castro Healthcare Heading To Zambia

I am sure Michael Moore is busting his buttons. Well, more so than usual

MORE than 60 medical experts comprising doctors and nurses from Cuba are expected to arrive in Zambia soon, out-going Cuban Ambassador to Zambia Carmelina Ramirez Rodriguez has said.

Ms Rodriguez said plans were underway to send Cuban medical officers who would collaborate with Zambia’s Ministry of Health to help deliver quality health services.

Speaking in Lusaka yesterday when she bade farewell to Foreign Affairs Minister Given Lubinda, Ms Rodriguez said the medical experts would come to Zambia either later this year or early next year.

She said Cuba would also explore avenues of helping Zambia to enhance the agriculture sector by starting to produce locally made animal vaccines to fight livestock diseases.

“I am confident that my successor would also continue to carry forward the cordial bilateral relations between my country and Zambia,” she said

She thanked the Zambian Government for providing a conducive environment resulting in the historic cooperation in various sectors.

Ms Rodriguez is expected to leave Zambia for Cuba in October this year.

And Mr Lubinda appealed to the Cuban government to enhance provision of various scholarships including journalism to enable practitioners to pursue studies in fields such as tourism.

He said the Government was grateful to Cuba for its continued provision of scholarships to the Zambian people, a move which demonstrated goodwill from the people of Cuba.

“As Government, we shall ensure this strong and conducive existing bilateral relation continues to grow. “We are happy with the many doctors and other medical personnel for coming to work and improve delivery of quality health services to Zambia,” he said.

The Minister was confident that the two countries would continue to collaborate in various sectors of the economy, citing the 40 years of unbroken bilateral relations.

Mr Lubinda implored the media in Zambia to take keen interest in the happenings in Cuba.

Read more…

Chavez to Employ More CastroCare


Old Hugo is one huge cancerous growth

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday he will undergo surgery in the coming days to remove a “lesion” in the same area where a cancerous tumor was extracted in mid-2011.

Chavez, who faces a serious challenge as he runs for re-election this year, said the lesion was found during a medical checkup over the weekend in Cuba.

“It is a small lesion of nearly two centimeters in diameter, very clearly visible. That requires that that lesion be extracted and a new surgical intervention,” he said on state-run VTV television.

The Venezuelan leader has said he was declared cancer-free after the surgery and four rounds of chemotherapy, but details of his condition have been kept secret.


HT: Weasel Zippers

Finding Dr. Sanjay Gupta in Cuba: “I found in him a refusal to subscribe to the Oliver Stone/Michael Moore school of willful blindness…”


Frances Martel at Mediaite has written a lengthy article interviewing CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta in Havanna, Cuba. Dr. Gupta is in Cuba to investigate for himself the facts about Cuba’s healthcare system that everyone seems determined to hold up as a prime example of a successful government/state-run system. Democrats, Hollywood celebrities such as Michael Moore and Oliver Stone, and the American media have selectively shown only one elitist aspect of CastroCare, deliberately omitting the entire cold harsh facts about the average Cuban who must depend on the government for its every medical need. Here is just a bit of Martel’s report, but as I said it’s lengthy so read the full article at the link above or in the box-quote:


90 miles and decades removed from the United States, the island of Cuba persists as a stubbornly living relic of the Cold War, excommunicated from the Western world just enough to make everything from its music to policy to its health care system a mystery. It was to explore this latter element that CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta found himself Havana last week, from where he told Mediaite his first impressions and expectations on the island, and worked on an upcoming documentary on swimmer Diana Nyad’s attempt to traverse the stretch of water from Havana to Florida.

Many have argued that the Cuban health care system is somewhat of a marvel compared to the rest of the island’s industries– not the least due to the fact that the government made a very public push to make doctors its greatest export. This has led to both strong criticism from those that perceive it as a distraction from the goings-on otherwise on the island, or see it as a ploy for the nation to ingratiate itself internationally with nation’s that simply cannot afford good medical education. On the other hand, those who praise it cite numbers (mostly from the Cuban government) that show the average life of a Cuban to be, at least on paper, more disease-free than many in the Western world. To this end, Dr. Gupta traveled to the island to take a look himself and try to speak to as many people on the ground there as he could.

Journalistic missions like these, even if explicitly avoiding the political situation on the island, nevertheless touch on an emotional, political wound that hasn’t stopped bleeding for more than half a century. The relationship between Cuba, the Cuban exile community, and the American mainstream media is a tenuous one, and as a member of the Cuban exile community, this topic is particular is personally difficult for me. I grew up with an acute understanding of the systematic physical and psychological destruction the regime is to blame for– it is plain to see every day in the faces of our loved ones, and the former prisoners of conscience in our communities who huddle in cafes to reminisce about the time they served in brutally inhumane conditions for having complimented America once, or written a defiant essay, or even worn their hair long or listened to “yanqui” music. The pain is inked in the headlines of our media that dare publish stories of families of political prisoners being beaten and scorned on the streets.

In this context– and in the context of the mainstream media’s history with the communist dictatorship (from Herbert Matthews to 1990s Lou Dobbs to Michael Moore to Oliver Stone)– justifying a look at the health care system at face value is about as acceptable as an in-depth report on Mussolini-era Italy’s efficient train system. Regime sympathizers have used it as a smokescreen to shield eyes from the atrocities of the regime, and thus the distrust in the community is very high when such analyses come to the fore. But in the post-USSR, post-internet world, in a world where the demand for Happy Meals and iPods has proven a far more powerful political motivator than the temptations of abstract fundamental human rights, opening governments requires shining spotlights and exchanging culture. Even apolitical reports like Dr. Gupta’s force the regime to exhibit a candor with which it is unfamiliar, and serve to remind the world of the inconvenient fact that Cuban people, so many decades later, still live under the yoke of the Revolution’s dilapidated, rabid haughtiness.

With this heavy in mind, I spoke to Dr. Gupta earlier this week from Havana–who, as you will read, came into the experience acutely aware of the nature of the government, no agenda and plenty of curiosity. I found in him a refusal to subscribe to the Oliver Stone/Michael Moore school of willful blindness, admitting there were breathtaking elements to the island while acknowledging the scattering of asterisks and conjectures surrounding the statistics of the health care system, and the inability of journalists to paint a full picture.


On YouTube you will find videos of Dr. Gupta’s heated interview on CNN with Michael Moore on the heels of his pro-CastroCare movie “Sicko” in 2007 as the U.S. political season geared-up for the 2008 POTUS campaigns and government-run healthcare was a primary focus of the democrats running.