OTS-101

I would encourage anyone to travel to Cuba and to take advantage of this country that is so close to the United States. (bold-mine)

A quote from 19 year old De Paul University Cuba traveller Joanna Burke in this article from the Pontiac Daily Reader.

The best thing about youth is that you can say completely moronic things and chalk them up to being young and dumb.

Here’s another lovely tidbit:

“…If I had all the power and money in the world I would lift the embargo and would give the Cuban people the freedom to travel and live their lives with freedom,”

And lifting the embargo would help Cubans travel how? How, exactly, will lifting the embargo magically produce freedom for the Cuban people?

These educational trips don’t teach these dumbass American kids a damn thing.

Cuba’s Real Export

In a previous post I mentioned in passing that one of Fidel directives is to export his revolutionary dogma throughout the Americas. This is already happening with Venezuela, where Castro has sent Cubans to the country to “assist” Hugo Chavez.

In this report from Cubanet, we learn that Castro is not only sending people to Venezuela, but also bringing in Venezuelan “students” for “political and ideological” training:

SANTA CLARA, February 1 – Up to 7,200 young followers of Venezuelan president Hugo Ch?vez could be training in Cuba in preparation for an upcoming referendum Ch?vez may be facing as early as next April.

According to a source in Cuba’s educational system who asked to remain anonymous, the youths are receiving “political and ideological” training at four sites around the island. 1,200 are reportedly lodged in the school for social workers in Santa Clara, in central Cuba, and 2,000 each are in similar facilities in Santiago de Cuba, Holgu?n, and Havana. More are expected to follow this first group, said the source.

Students at the nearby Provincial School of Art Instructors report that the Venezuelans are not allowed to mix with the locals, and only venture out of the facility in planned, escorted visits. Some of the students also expressed resentment at the Venezuelans’ privileges, saying they receive better food and medical care and even have available digital audio visual equipment, whereas they have to rent such equipment when needed.

OK. I WAS SLAMMED

I just got over 200 comments in about 5 minutes. This is the IP: 208.147.1.1 Online pharmacy.Please add it to your banned list. Whoever it was slammed me in a matter of minutes.

Looks like its MT Blacklist for me. Anyone out there that can lend a hand?

UPDATE: Apparently, this person is running some kind of automatic commenting script or something as he was in the process of commenting on EVERY SINGLE ENTRY from the first on up. I dont know how long it took to do this or if I just logged on at the same time he was doing it and was able to ban him. I do know that it had been about five minutes since I had logged out the previous time. I wonder if there is some legal way to make these spamming bots stop. After all, they are commenting on my site an thus costing me money for my bandwidth. Fuckers.

Go to Jamaica Instead

The Bush administration is clamping down on travel to Cuba. Americans traveling to Cuba, legally or illegally, face stiff fines and penalties upon their return.

This is excellent news. Some Americans may see this as an encroachment on their right to travel freely and if thats the case, so be it. The more travel dollars that go to Cuba, the more money Fidel has to opress his people and export his revolutionary dogma throughout the Americas and the rest of the world.

Also now prohibited are the “people to people cultural exchanges” implemented naively by the Clinton administration.

Merri Ansara, director of Common Ground Education Travel of Cambridge states: “It was the only way ordinary people could go who simply wanted to learn more about Cuba, about the embargo, about the situation,”

This is absurd. These educational trips were nothing more than cheap vacations disguised as cultural exchanges.

“It was creating dialogue,” added Laura Sitkin, marketing coordinator for Common Ground. “The dialogue was changing American policy.”

The dialogue was changing American Policy. But what about Cuban policy? What about Cubans right to travel? Their right to travel freely about their own country? What about their right to express opinion? To worship in thier own faith? To learn about the world outside of Cuba on their own? Is this not as important?

Far be it for me to promote infringement upon others rights. But I have a solution, for every American tourist that is allowed to go to Cuba, let the Cuban government allow one Cuban to visit the US. That seems fair doesn’t it? One for one.

Heh. Don’t pack your Cuba bags just yet folks.

Besides, I hear there are other islands in the Carribean.

Will you keep it down please!

Ever wake up so hungover that you are actually still drunk? And you basically feel like your head is in a press and your eyes can’t focus? And even after two showers you can still smell the beer oozing from your pores? And your body feels like it was just used as the ball in a rugby game? And the phone, will someone please answer that incessant phone ringing! And it feels like you have beer soaked tube socks in your mouth?

No??

Must be me then. Why the hell is SuperBowl sunday on a SUNDAY??? When people have to work the next frigggin day?

Oh, and, who won?

History Absolves Nothing

“It reflects the opinion of mediocre and resentful writers, a few renegades who switched sides.”

Abel Prieto’s response to the letter addressed to him by more than 90 Venezuelan writers, entitled “Venezuela Will Not Be Another Cuba.”

This, as Guillermo of Venepoetics states is nothing other than a Stalinist bureaucrat’s memorized party-line speech.

That is exactly what it is. It’s all about control. Dictators like Castro and Chavez, when faced with criticism or differing opinions, attempt to maintain that control by denigrating their detractors. Dissenters can be briliant, they can be intelectuals (as most are), they can be leaders in thier fields of expertise, but if they do not toe the party line, if they have the courage to speak their minds and call a spade a spade, regimes like Castro’s will see to it that people believe they are perverse in some way. Freaks. Idiots. In bed with the enemy.

Sadly, there are those, as in the case of the Venezuelan writers who signed the document against the original letter, that swallow the rhetoric hook line and sinker. It is people like these that do not learn from history. They do not allow themselves to seek truth else it might make their world crumble. They suffer from a myopea of reality.

But the truth is there and it is pure and unadulterated, and history absolves nothing.

Much Ado About Nothing…

The ALA disastrously voted down the amendment to call for Castro to free the independent librarians imprisoned in Cuba. A commendable thing, to publicly call Castro out for their release.

Of course, the amendment was not passed by a small margin of 182 to 5. Some ALA members privately saying that they:

had to vote it down because they didn’t want to be vilified as being “on the wrong team.”

Nat Hentoff, previous winner of the ALA Immroth Award for Intellectual Freedom, publicly renounced his award and asked to be removed from the list of recipients of that honor.

To me, it is no longer an honor.

I commend Mr. Hentoffs actions and appalud his courage of conviction.

Yet, even if the ALA amendment had passed, the jailed librarians would probably not have seen the light of day. You see, Castro does not care what the ALA, Amnesty International, The Pope, the UN, the US, the International Media, Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, Greenpeace, Jimmy Carter, etal think.

He is supreme ruler of Cuba, and he will do whatever the hell he wants with his pets.

Much Ado About Nothing.

Thanks to Scott of Burton Terrace for the link.

The other Prieto

Guillermo of Venepoetics posts about the visit to Venezuela of Cuban Minister of Culture Abel Prieto. Venezuelan writers want nothing to do with him and have banded together to publish an open letter to the minister. Bravo.

Caracas, January 25 2004

Mr. Abel Prieto
Minister of Culture for Cuba
Present

You have arrived in Venezuela as the leader of an official delegation of Cuban writers and police. It is obvious that you have come to lend a hand to the Castro-like dictatorship that the Liutenant Coronel Hugo Ch?vez is unsuccessfully trying to build in our country.

On this occasion, your visit was preceded by the sad news of the agony suffered in prison by Dr. Oscar El?as Biscet and by the writer Manuel V?zquez Portal, identified as prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International. Your visit was also preceded by the humiliating harrassment and imprisoning of Cuban women in the form of Martha Beatriz Roque, as well as by the despicable confinement of Juan Carlos Gonz?lez Leiva, the only known case in the world of a blind prisoner of conscience. We know about the suffering of the poet Ra?l Rivero and the other seventy-five dissidents, who were jailed for writing their opinions or, simply, for lending out banned books. All of them have been condemned to up to 28 years for defending–as Jos? Mart? said–“the right of every honest person to think and speak without hypocrisy.”

Read more

The Pravda Smackdown

Pravda held no punches today as it slammed the Cuban government for sucking up to Patriarch Bartholomew while ignoring the needs of orthodox slavs.

Authors of the declaration reminded Cuban authorities that the country has not provided Moscow’s Patriarchy with neither a church nor a simple room. Therefore, they have no other choice but to conduct services at the Russian Trade Mission building.

Russian Orthodox believers expressed their anger and frustration at Cuban authorities. “They simply ignore and humiliate thousands of Orthodox Slavs, who have been slaving for Cuba for decades while developing the country’s industry, army and power engineering.”

Read more

No Way Out

Oswaldo Paya was denied an exit visa from Cuba to attend a human rights ceremony in Europe.

“I couldn’t attend because the Cuban government kept me from traveling,” Paya said of the Thursday ceremony in Brussels that awarded the European Union’s top human rights prize to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on behalf of all U.N. workers.

Paya was allowed to travel to Strasbourg, France, to receive the same award, the Sakharov prize, in 2002. – (AP)

It’s usually customary for the previous winner to attend.