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Mostrando entradas con la etiqueta Cuba-Obama. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando entradas con la etiqueta Cuba-Obama. Mostrar todas las entradas

sábado, enero 24, 2015

U.S.-Cuba Talks Recap: Castro Coerces, Obama Acquiesces

This week's "normalization" talks between the United States and Cuba were akin to the secret negotiations that preceded them. Namely, the Castro regime seeks to coerce the U.S., while the Obama Administration plays along.

Let's not forget that this entire process stems from the Castro regime taking an American hostage, development worker Alan Gross, in order to coerce the United States into releasing Cuban spies and easing sanctions.

And, as we all know -- once you cave to coercion, you will be coerced time and again.

Prior to the U.S. delegation arriving in Havana, Castro's mouthpiece, Granma, listed (as Cubans say, "con cara dura") its conditions for "normalization." They are:

1. Repealing the Cuban Adjustment Act.
2. Lifting the embargo.
3. Removing Cuba from the "state-sponsors of terrorism" list.
4. Recognizing the Castro regime's "official NGOs" -- e.g. Committees for Defense of the Revolution, Youth Communist League.
5. Compensating "damages" caused by the embargo.
6. Ending the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program.
7. Opening embassies in Havana and Washington, D.C.

So what does the Cuban regime have to do in return for all these demands of the Obama Administration?

Nothing, of course.

Asked whether Cuba's regime might at least examine how to expand freedoms to help the Obama pitch Congress on lifting the embargo, Castro's top negotiator Josefina Vidal said:

"Absolutely not. Change in Cuba isn't negotiable."

After all, they haven't needed to do anything for all the concessions they've gotten -- thus far -- from the U.S. Instead, the Obama Administration has also decided to role play and give credence to Castro's rhetoric: the brutal totalitarian regime is the "victim" worthy of concessions and the world's greatest democracy is the "victimizer" that shouldn't ask for freedoms in return.

No wonder Vidal was all smiles.

Moreover, upon concluding the first round of talks, the lead U.S. negotiator, Assistant Secretary of State, Roberta Jacobson, admitted she wasn't very sure whether the Obama Administration's new approach would be successful.

In other words, the Obama Administration's new strategy policy boils down to acquiescing to coercion, handing over all the U.S.'s economic and diplomatic leverage to the Castro regime and its monopolies -- leverage that will be nearly impossible to pull back once given -- in the hopes that it will play nice (or nicer).

That's not a strategy. It's wishful thinking (based on a dangerous premise). It's being a push-over.

Meanwhile, the talks took place under the watchful eyes (and ears) of The Viktor Leonov, a Russian spy ship docked in Havana.

Quite a week.

miércoles, enero 21, 2015

The State of Obama's Cuba Deal is Clearly Not Strong

During tonight's State of the Union address, U.S. President Barack Obama defended his December 17th deal with Cuban dictator Raul Castro.

The optics of the address in itself showed he is on the wrong-side of history.

As Obama pitched his embrace of Cuba's octogenarian dictators, sitting in the Chamber were Rosa Maria Paya, the 25-year old daughter of murdered democracy leader Oswaldo Paya, and Jorge Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez", a 43-year old former prisoner of conscience who has spent nearly half of his life in Castro's jails.

(Paya was a special guest of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL, while Antunez was a special guest of House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH.)

Rather than betting on Cuba's future -- on its young, courageous democracy leaders -- Obama chose to secretly normalize relations with its elderly oppressors.

In the speech, he chose not to call for the freedom and human rights of the Cuban people.

And while we share in the joy of American hostage Alan Gross' release, Obama chose to reward the Castro regime for imprisoning an innocent man in order to (successfully) coerce the United States.
Now he wants the U.S. Congress to endorse his deal with Castro.

So let's take a look at the current State of Obama's Cuba Deal:

- For weeks after the December 17th announcement, Obama insisted on keeping secret the list of 53 political prisoners, who were supposed to be released as part of the deal. After significant pressure from Congress and the media, the list was finally revealed. We learned that 14 of the prisoners had been released before December 17th, including Cesar Andres Sanchez Perez, who had been released nearly one-year ago. Moreover, four had completed their full sentences prior to release -- Jorge Cervantes, Eider Frometa Allen, Juan Carlos Vazquez Osoria and Eliso Castillo Gonzalez. All 53's release remains conditioned upon their political activities.

- During the Obama-Castro negotiations (July 2013-December 2014), there were over 13,000 political arrests in Cuba. As a matter of fact, the rate of political arrests doubled as soon as the negotiations began. Furthermore, at least 50 political prisoners, not included in the negotiated list of 53, remain in prison.

- Since the December 17th announcement, there have been nearly 200 new political arrests, including the re-arrest of at least three prisoners from the negotiated list of 53. There is also a new long-term prisoner of conscience, Cuban artist Danilo Maldonado "El Sexto," who was arrested on Christmas Day.

- Obama negotiated the swap of three Cuban spies imprisoned in the U.S., including one serving a life sentence in the murder conspiracy of three Americans (the daughter of one of the murdered Americans, Marlene Alejandre Triana, was also sitting in the Chamber during Obama's speech), in return for only one U.S. intelligence asset, Rolando Sarraff Trujillo. However, similar U.S. intelligence assets remain in Castro's prisons, such as Claro Alonso Hernandez, Ernesto Borges Perez, Amado Medel Martin and Maximo Omar Ruiz Matoses. Why didn't Obama at least negotiate a 3-for-3 deal?

- Rather than allowing Internet access, as Castro supposedly promised Obama, ETECSA (Cuba's telecom monopoly) has re-emphasized that only the highly limited local “Intranet” will operate. Moreover, just this week, a young Cuban computer expert, Leinier Cruz Salfran, was arrested after turning his laptop into a "hot spot," allowing other Cubans high-speed access to the Internet.

- As for access to Cuba by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the U.N.'s Special Rapporteur on Torture, which Castro also promised Obama, mum's the word.

- The Castro regime has reiterated that it will not repatriate over 70 fugitives from U.S. justice openly being harbored in Cuba, including Joanne Chesimard, who remains on the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted Terrorists list.

- Cuban democracy leaders have had their passports withheld and are prohibited from leaving the island. These include Estado de SATS' Antonio Rodiles and Ailer Gonzalez, and Cuban artist Tania Bruguera.
- A delegation of Congressional Democrats, led by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), visited Cuba over the weekend and were shunned by General Raul Castro.

- Globally, other rogue regimes have taken note. Venezuela now also wants to swap innocent political prisoners for criminals in the United States; Iran has indicted a Washington Post reporter to coerce the Obama Administration; and North Korea wants lopsided terms for talks.
- And finally, on the eve of a U.S. delegation's arrival in Cuba to begin talks on the normalization of diplomatic relations, an armed Russian intelligence-gathering vessel that monitors U.S. communications (The Viktor Leonov), was welcomed to Havana and has been docked in clear view.

Mr. Speaker, Members of Congress, the State of Obama's Cuba Deal is clearly not strong.

viernes, enero 16, 2015

Obama to Meet With Cuban Dictator Raul Castro in Panama

www.telemundoboston.com
It's been just one short month since the announcement of "normalization" between the United States and Cuba. Although a trip directly to Cuba isn't first on the list, President Obama will reportedly meet directly with Dictator Raul Castro during an April trip to Panama. 
This announcement comes shortly after the State Department confirmed 53 Cuba dissidents were finally released by the communist regime after weeks of being unable to confirm where they were located. As Fox News Latino reports, the status of those dissidents is still very unclear and serious questions remain about whether the Castro brothers have really changed.
The release of 53 political prisoners continues to be shrouded in secrecy even after the Obama administration confirmed they had all been set free.

Neither the U.S. or Cuban governments have released names of the political prisoners nor have they disclosed their whereabouts after their release. The Cuban government said it released the prisoners as part of last month's historic deal between the United States and Cuba.

"We welcome this very positive development and are pleased that the Cuban Government followed through on this commitment. Our Interests Section in Havana was able to verify these releases,” said a senior Obama official. “These political prisoners were individuals who had been cited by various human rights organizations as being imprisoned by the Cuban government for exercising internationally protected freedoms or for their promotion of political and social reforms in Cuba.

Most of the released dissidents belong to the Patriotic Union of Cuba, an anti-government group based in far eastern Cuba. The group’s spokesman told Fox News Latino that even though the political prisoners were sprung, the move is purely “cosmetic.”
Republicans like Senator Marco Rubio have vowed to stop Obama's normalization until further concessions from the Cuban regime are made. President Obama has been criticized on both sides of the aisle for normalizing relations with Cuba without preconditions.

jueves, enero 15, 2015

Vivan los Yumas! Entusiasmo x aumento de las remesas

AmericaTeVeCanal41

Aclaraciones del Dpto del Tesoro s/ las nuevas medidas de la Casa Blanca respecto a Cuba

Leer en Ingles Aqui [pdf] >>

Statement on Obama's New Cuba Regulations

Today, the Obama Administration has released regulations implementing the limited sanctions relief the United States offered to Cuba's Castro dictatorship, pursuant to a one-sided deal announced on December 17th.

It is the third time in his Presidency that Obama eases sanctions towards Cuba, with the first two being on April 2009 and January 2011.  It's also the third time that Obama does so in return for no guarantees or improvements on political freedoms, human rights and democratic reforms for the Cuban people. To the contrary, since the first set of sanctions were eased, yearly political arrests in Cuba have more than quadrupled from 2,074 political arrests in 2010 to 8,899 in 2014.

Moreover, since Obama's policy of appeasement began in 2009, the Castro dictatorship has felt further emboldened to take an American hostage to (now) successfully coerce the United States into further concessions; to traffic heavy weapons to North Korea in violation of international law; to obstruct investigations into the mysterious deaths of renowned democracy leaders Laura Pollan, of The Ladies in White, and Oswaldo Paya, of the Christian Liberation Movement; to subvert democratic institutions and direct violence against peaceful student protesters in Venezuela; and to mobilize its diplomatic arsenal in support of Assad's genocide in Syria, North Korea's crimes against humanity, a nuclear Iran, Vladimir Putin's illegal annexation of the Crimea and of the violent actions by Russian separatists in the Ukraine.

Furthermore, the lack of transparency and accountability by the Obama Administration in its handling of the list of the 53 Cuban political prisoners, which it had negotiated for release, also raises concerns. Upon the list being leaked, pursuant to weeks of Congressional and media pressure, it was revealed that 14 of the political prisoners listed had been released before the December 17th announcement. Some up to 6-8 months ago, and one over one-year ago. At least three, had already completed their sentences. Such secrecy only leads to further distrust of the Obama Administration in pursuing this policy.

Finally, the new regulations announced by the Treasury and Commerce Departments raise questions regarding the legal authority under which President Obama has implemented some of the changes.  It also raises questions whether some of the newly-authorized transactions towards Cuba are in violation of statutory prohibitions. These are issues Congress should look closely into during the coming weeks. 

Senators Question Legality of Cuba Regulatory Changes

With today's changes in Treasury and Commerce regulations to implement President Obama's Cuba deal with dictator Raul Castro, the following questions raised by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Dan Coats (R-IN) are particularly important:

January 14, 2015

The Honorable Jacob J. Lew
Secretary of the Treasury
United States Department of the Treasury

Dear Secretary Lew:

We are deeply concerned that several aspects of the President Obama’s new approach to Cuba, especially those related to unilaterally easing U.S. sanctions, violate the letter and spirit of several U.S. laws, and increase the moral and financial risk to the American taxpayer and financial system of doing business through Cuba’s government-controlled financial system.  We ask that you explain in detail how the Treasury Department plans to implement the President’s announcement under current law.

On December 17, the President announced that “U.S. institutions will be permitted to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions.”

As you know, Section 7207 of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSREEA) explicitly prohibits U.S. assistance and financing to Cuba. Moreover, it contains no Presidential waiver. Also, Section 103 of the LIBERTAD Act prohibits any financing of transactions involving confiscated property belonging to U.S. nationals.

Given these stark differences between the letter of the law and the Administration’s announcement, we ask that you provide clear answers to the following questions:
  • What legal authority does the Administration have to allow establishment of correspondent accounts in Cuba, and the use of U.S. credit and debit cards by travelers to Cuba?
  • How would the opening of correspondent accounts and the use of U.S.-backed credit cards expose U.S. financial institutions and affect legal action from Americans who have outstanding judgments rendered against the Cuban government by U.S. courts?
  • How would these regulatory changes impact U.S. obligations to protect U.S. trademark holders, namely those who had their intellectual property confiscated?
  • Less than three years ago, Cuba blocked access to the Cuba-based correspondent bank accounts of its European trading partners and confiscated their cash.  Can the Administration ensure that this will not happen to U.S. accounts?
The President also announced that “Telecommunications providers will be allowed to establish the necessary mechanisms, including infrastructure, in Cuba to provide commercial telecommunications and internet services.”
  • While Congress has authorized certain transactions to improve telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba, U.S. law prohibits U.S. investments in Cuba’s domestic telecom infrastructure.
Specifically, the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 (22 USC 6004) includes a direct prohibition on “investment in domestic telecommunications services.”  Moreover, it states that an “investment” in the domestic telecommunications network within Cuba “includes the contribution (including by donation) of funds or anything of value to or for, and the making of loans to or for, such network.”  The LIBERTAD Act subsequently reinforced this “no investment” in telecom prohibition (22 USC 6032(g)).
  • What legal authority does the Administration have to allow U.S. investments in Cuba’s telecommunications infrastructure?
  • How would such investments affect legal action from Americans who have outstanding judgments rendered against the Cuban government by U.S. courts?
Also, as part of the President’s announcement, general licenses will be issued for all 12 categories of authorized travel in the existing categories.  However, TSREEA codified the ban on tourist activities, which are defined as any activity not expressly authorized in the 12 categories of travel set forth in the regulations. It further specified, “as such regulations were in effect on June 1, 2000.”  At the time of codification, non-academic educational travel (“people-to-people”) was only permitted via specific license.
  • Under what authority will the President license travel beyond the June 1, 2000 levels?
Under the travel codification, trips related to activities that are primarily tourist-oriented -- including self-directed educational activities intended only for personal enrichment -- are illegal.
  • How will Treasury enforce violations of travel for self-directed educational activities and by groups that sponsor people-to-people trips, which seek to engage primarily in tourist activities?
  • How do certain travel activities, including staying at confiscated properties by U.S. travelers, not violate the ban on trafficking, and “indirect financing,” of confiscated property in LIBERTAD?
The fact that the Administration has been unable to answer these and many other questions almost a month after the President’s announcement, raises serious concerns about the process which preceded it.  We thus would like to know whether the Treasury Department was even consulted regarding these significant policy changes regarding Cuba, and if so, on what date.

We appreciate your prompt answers to these questions.

Sincerely,

Marco Rubio
Daniel Coats

EEUU implanta nuevas medidas que facilitan los viajes a Cuba

Decades of U.S. trade and travel restrictions on Cuba will come to an end on Friday, the government announced in the first tangible step towards restoring diplomatic ties between Washington and Havana.
New rules will allow Americans to travel to the country without a license - as long as they go for approved reasons - and use their U.S. credit or debit cards, the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Treasury said in a statement.
Cubans living in the U.S. will also have their quarterly remittances increased from $500 to $2,000 per quarter, allowing them to send home more money.
Officials said approved reasons for travel include business or family visits, and that tourism from the U.S. to Cuba was still prohibited by Congress.
Travel agents and airlines will be authorized to provide services without needing a specific permit under the new rules. That means U.S. airlines could soon be free to launch normal scheduled flights to Cuba.
"Today's announcement takes us one step closer to replacing out of date policies that were not working and puts in place a policy that helps promote political and economic freedom for the Cuban people," Treasury secretary Jacob Lew said in a news release.
"Cuba has real potential for economic growth and by increasing travel, commerce, communications, and private business development between the United States and Cuba, the United States can help the Cuban people determine their own future."
However, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) called the new rules "a windfall for the Castro regime" and said the recent deal "is enriching a tyrant and his regime at the expense of U.S. national interests and the Cuban people."

domingo, enero 11, 2015

RAÚL RIVERO: Metáfora de galera

Raul Rivero
"En movimiento espero"/ oleo sobre tela, 146x91cm/
Madrid – Están equivocados los rimbombantes aguafiestas que dentro y fuera de Cuba afirman que la oposición pacífica y los activistas de derechos humanos no han tenido ninguna participación en las negociaciones entre el régimen castrista y el gobierno de Barack Obama. Los cubanos que trabajan de frente a la dictadura todos los días aportaron a esa mesa de diálogos secretos una presencia capital: los presos políticos.
Es verdad que no se tuvo en cuenta la opinión de ninguno de los dirigentes de los grupos opositores, las Damas de Blanco, la incipiente sociedad civil o del exilio, pero en las conversaciones clandestinas sostenidas en Canadá entre los representantes de los dos gobiernos, los prisioneros regados por las 300 cárceles de Cuba fueron una cifra muda y antojadiza (53) que redondearía los acuerdos sobre el intercambio del subcontratista Alan Gross y los espías cubanos condenados en Estados Unidos.
Los nombres planos de los activistas de base hechos prisioneros en cualquier punto de San Antonio a Maisí comenzaron a aparecer después de las celebraciones por la firma del arreglo, poco a poco, como para que sus historias personales no empañaran el brillo de la gestión diplomática.
El documento suscrito por Obama y Raúl Castro muestra, en blanco y negro, el interés de uno por la liberación de un grupo de demócratas y la anuencia del otro a ceder a la petición como un buen veterano especializado en comerciar con la libertad de los ciudadanos que manda a encerrar porque no comparten sus ideas.
El asunto es que el socialismo tropical tiene una noción singular de la libertad. La mayoría de los prisioneros sacados de la cárcel en virtud del acuerdo salieron a la calle con el sello de liberados condicionales, otros con las llamadas licencias extrapenales y a un tercer grupo se les ha retenido toda su documentación, según la Unión Patriótica de Cuba (UNPACU), una organización a la que pertenecen 29 de los prisioneros enviados a sus casas.
Las autoridades, dice la denuncia, amenazaron con hacerlos volver a todos de regreso a prisión en caso de que realizaran actividades políticas.
Sí, es un desliz perverso de los cronistas sin agudeza y amargados que acuden a una prosa rebuscada para negar la impronta de la oposición en el proceso de acercamiento entre los dos países. Ahí están los presos políticos con las celdas de castigo, el hambre crónica y los sufrimientos en la experiencia de sus vidas.
Están en su papel secundario de la función, con su familia y sus amigos, bajo la vigilancia de la policía y con la certeza de que, como se dice en el lenguaje metafórico de la prisión, los carceleros les tienen guardadas sus cucharas.

Read more here: http://www.elnuevoherald.com/opinion-es/opin-col-blogs/opinion-sobre-cuba/article5705025.html#storylink=cpy

sábado, enero 03, 2015

Charles Krauthammer: Obama’s Cuba strategy: Give them everything, hail breakthrough

www.jewishworldreview.com
There’s an old Cold War joke — pre-pantyhose — that to defeat communism we should empty the B-52 bombers of nuclear weapons and instead drop nylons over the Soviet Union. Flood the Russians with the soft consumer culture of capitalism, seduce them with Western contact and commerce, love bomb them into freedom.
We did win the Cold War, but differently. We contained, constrained, squeezed and eventually exhausted the Soviets into giving up. The dissidents inside subsequently told us how much they were sustained by our support for them and our implacable pressure on their oppressors.
The logic behind U.S. President Barack Obama’s Cuba normalization, assuming there is one, is the nylon strategy. Fifty years of containment didn’t bring democracy. So let’s try inundating them with American goods, visitors, culture, contact, commerce.
It’s not a crazy argument. But it does have its weaknesses. Normalization has not advanced democracy in China or Vietnam. Indeed, it hasn’t done so in Cuba. Except for the U.S., Cuba has had normal relations with the rest of the world for decades. Tourists, trade, investment from Canada, France, Britain, Spain, everywhere. An avalanche of nylons — and not an inch of movement in Cuba toward freedom.
In fact, one could argue that this influx of Western money has helped preserve the dictatorship, as just about all the financial transactions go through the government, which takes for itself before any trickle-down crumbs are allowed to reach the regime-indentured masses.
My view is that police-state control of every aspect of Cuban life is so thoroughly perfected that outside influences, whether confrontational or co-operative, only minimally affect the country’s domestic trajectory.
So why not just lift the embargo? After all, the unassailable strategic rationale for isolating Cuba — in the Soviets’ mortal global struggle with us, Cuba enlisted as a highly committed enemy beachhead 90 miles from American shores — evaporated with the collapse of the Soviet empire. A small island with no significant independent military capacities, Cuba became geopolitically irrelevant.
That’s been partially reversed in the last few years as Vladimir Putin has repositioned Russia as America’s leading geopolitical adversary and the Castros signed up for that coalition too. Cuba has reportedly agreed to reopen the Soviet-era Lourdes espionage facility, a massive listening post for intercepting communications. Havana and Moscow have also discussed the use of Cuban airfields for Russia’s nuclear-capable long-range bombers.
This in addition to Cuba’s usual hemispheric mischief, such as training and equipping the security and repression apparatus in Venezuela.
No mortal threat, I grant. And not enough to justify forever cutting off Cuba. But it does raise the question: With the U.S. embargo already in place and the Castros hungry to have it lifted, why give them trade, investment, hard currency, prestige and worldwide legitimacy — for nothing in return?
Obama brought back nothing on democratization, a staggering betrayal of Cuba’s human rights crusaders. No free speech. No free assembly. No independent political parties. No hint of free elections. Not even the kind of 1975 Helsinki Final Act that we got from the Soviets as part of detente, granting structure and review to human rights promises. These provided us with significant leverage in supporting the dissident movements in Eastern Europe that eventually brought down communist rule.
If Obama insisted on giving away the store, why not at least do it item by item? We relax part of the embargo in return for, say, Internet access. And tie further normalization to serial relaxations of police-state repression.
Oh, what hypocrisy, say the Obama acolytes. Did we not normalize relations with China and get no human rights quid pro quo?
True. But that was never a prospect. The entire purpose was geopolitical and the payoff was monumental: America walked away with the most significant anti-Soviet strategic realignment of the entire Cold War, formally breaking up the communist bloc and gaining China’s neutrality, and occasional support, in the half-century struggle to dismantle the Soviet empire.
From Cuba, Obama didn’t even get a token gesture. Not even a fig leaf such as, say, withdrawal of secret police support in Venezuela. Or extradition of American criminals now fugitive in Cuba, including a notorious cop killer. Did we even ask?
Obama seems to believe that the one-way deal was win-win. A famous victory — the Cuba issue is now behind us. A breakthrough.
Indeed it is. You know how to achieve a breakthrough in tough negotiations? Give everything away. Try it. You’ll have a deal by noon. Every time.

Obama and Cuba - American Thinker

As a direct result of Obama's intervention in Cuba, "a large group of prominent Havana dissidents -- activists, civil society advocates and independent journalists -- were arrested as they headed for a pro-free speech... event."
Among the arrested were writer Yoani Sanchez  [there is a mistake because yoani was not arrested at this moment -lg] and her husband Reinaldo Escobar. In 2012 Sanchez was arrested when she and other dissidents demanded information about blogger Yaremis Flores accused of making anti-Castro comments. In Sanchez's recent post of December 17, 2014, she speaks of "exhausted hopes" and the need to "redouble [their] guard against the enemy." She speaks of the "deceits of politics" as the United States under Barack Hussein Obama worked in concert with the communist Cuban government.
There was no "evidence of any agreement or compromise from the Cuban side" and no "public timeline ... which commits the Cuban government to a series of gestures in support of democratization and respect for differences." So instead of "the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience; the end of political repression; the ratification of the United Nations covenants on Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights... in essence the beginning of the "dismantling of totalitarianism," the Cuban dictatorship has clamped down on the hopes and aspirations of the Cuban people -- thanks, in part, to the actions of the communist-in-chief, Obama.
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, Cuban dissident in exile, writes about the words that "have remained buried by the string of tyrants [.]"  He highlights the "historic malapropisms" that have resulted in the weapons and armies that "in short, impose violence for life on [Cuban] society." He accuses the AP and the New York Times for being "useful idiots."  According to Lazo, "...campaigns of the AP, in symbiosis with the Cuban government to demonize fundraising in support of pro-human rights projects on the Island" have hurt the Cuban people since "it is not common for... Cubans to do public fundraisers, as occurs in any democratic country of the world." Consequently, "Cuba's solvency was always handicapped by Castrosim. Only a poverty-stricken people is vulnerable to enslavement. At the beginning, it was accomplished through ideological class hatred." Therefore, Lazo maintains that "[d]espite the pathetic AP and the NYT, Cuban redemption still goes by this watchword: 'within the dictatorship, nothing; against the dictatorship, everything.'"
But this redemption is still a dream now that Obama has given his blessing to the tyrant to the south. In fact, "[e]veryone from the Pope to the American president decided what life should be for the Cubans. That is, ["e]veryone except the Cubans, decided on behalf of Cubans." 
With restrained anger and sadness, Pardo asks that "[t]he American President and His Holiness, and the General of the Army and all authorities of good faith in the world are invited not to decide but instead to accompany Cubans in this decision, in a historic meeting where the transit from totalitarianism towards an open society or another controlling regimen is defined."
In an open letter to Obama, Rosa Maria Paya Acevedo, a member of the Cuban Christian Liberation Movement, writes "that there is nothing new in treating as 'normal' the illegitimate government in Havana, which has never been elected by its citizens and has been practicing state murder with impunity. That strategy already has been done by all the other governments without positive consequences for democracy in [her] country."
It is only through the "guarantee of freedom of expression and association, the release of political prisoners and the right to own private enterprises, and free and plural elections" that real progress can be made. She exhorts Obama to "support the implementation of a plebiscite for free and pluralistic elections in Cuba; and support citizen participation in the democratic process [as it is] the only thing that will guarantee the end of totalitarianism in Cuba."
Ms. Acevedo and her family are now at risk for making these simple demands. 
Thus, President Obama has undermined the true spirit of freedom as evidenced by these courageous souls, has made a mockery of what America is supposed to represent, and has endangered the lives of these dissidents.  The "Human Cost of Raul Castro's Rule" will continue to increase, aided and abetted by this president's actions.
But given the communist and Marxist bent of the 44th President and his continual exaltation of dictatorship around the world, I, for one, am not surprised, just deeply saddened and ashamed that the leader of the free world continues to empower dictatorial regimes.  At home, Obama erodes our constitutional protections and tramples American rights while he continues to "enthrone communism" a system that only leads to misery for all peoples  The Cubans will remember and weep and the people of goodwill in America will remember and hold their heads in shame.

miércoles, diciembre 31, 2014

State Department on Cuban Repression: Speak Softly, Send Mixed Messages and Carry No Stick

In a tweet, Cuban democracy leader Ailer Maria Gonzalez, who was arrested yesterday as she sought to participate in the #YoTambienExijo performance, alluded to how "empowered" Castro's secret police seemed during the arrest, beating and interrogation of activists.

Ailer's remarks were aimed at President Obama and his allies, who argue that normalizing relations with -- and providing concessions to -- the Castro dictatorship will somehow "empower" Cuban civil society.

Yet, as both President Carter and Clinton learned (or failed to learn) before Obama -- it only "empowers" the Castro dictatorship.

Earning a particular chuckle in Havana was a statement released by the State Department (click here), which expressed "deep concern" about yesterday's wave of repression against Cuban dissidents.

(Curiously, we haven't seen any statements of condemnation from Obama's Cuba advisers and Castro darlings -- U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and U.S. Rep James McGovern of Massachusetts -- or Obama's Republican U.S. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona.)

Think about this -- throughout 2014, while Obama and Castro were playing footsie in Ottawa and Vatican city, political arrests in Cuba quadrupled to over 8,600.

Now it's abundantly clear why Castro felt so "empowered" to execute such record-breaking repression -- for there were no consequences to fear.

Even worse, when Cuba got caught red-handed trafficking 240 tons of heavy arms to North Korea in July 2013, Obama and Castro had already been seducing each other for over a month.

No wonder Castro got away scot-free with the most blatant violation of international sanctions -- anywhere in the world -- to date.

But here's the real kicker in the State Department's statement:

"We have always said we would continue to speak out about human rights, and as part of the process of normalization of diplomatic relations, the United States will continue to press the Cuban government to uphold its international obligations and to respect the rights of Cubans to peacefully assemble and express their ideas and opinions, just like their fellow members of civil society throughout the Americas are allowed to do."

That's cute -- except Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Roberta Jacobson, has already given the Castro regime a blank-check on this also, which it's already cashing.

On the day after Obama's Cuba policy announcement, Jacobson stated:

"I do not necessarily think that we’re talking about direct human rights conditionality in the restoration of diplomatic relations part. That is a legal process, if you will, or a diplomatic process that will be fairly mechanical."

Repress away -- for there are no consequences.

Finally, as for "international obligations" and the rights "of civil society throughout the Americas" -- perhaps Obama should have thought about that before he acquiesced to suspending the "democracy clause" of the Summit of the Americas process for Castro to participate.

Obligations?  What obligations?

(Curiously, we haven't seen any statements of condemnation from Latin American leaders either.)

Castro truly feels even more "empowered" to state -- "democracia, para que?" ("democracy, for what?").

Bring out the military fatigues.

SHRINKING GITMO: Obama ships out 5 more prisoners, eyes camp closure

soon it will be a guantanamo beach & resort.
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martes, diciembre 30, 2014

No Matter How You Spin It, Obama Betrayed Freedom-Loving Cubans

By Guillermo Martinez in The Sun-Sentinel:

No matter how you spin it, Obama betrayed Cuban exiles

One thing is absolutely clear in my mind: I am delighted that Alan Gross is free and back in the United States with his family.

The American contractor jailed for the last five years for taking satellite equipment to the small Jewish community in Cuba did not deserve the punishment he got, for what he did is not a crime in a civilized world.

How his freedom came about is another story. They say he was released for humanitarian reasons. But attached to his freedom came many unsavory agreements.

The much-ballyhooed agreement for Cuba and the United States to re-establish diplomatic relations brings more questions than answers to mind.

For example:

Why now? Why President Barack Obama waits for the day after Congress ends its session to make the announcement of the new opening in relations with Cuba?

Why now when the price of oil is putting Venezuela and Russia in dire economic straits?

How much has Cuba really given to achieve this agreement? It has promised to listen respectfully to American demands in future negotiations — listen, nothing else.

Obama gave Cuba everything the island nation wanted, and in return got the release of a handful of political prisoners, a long-time intelligence agent that nobody knew anything about, and the promise it would listen to American demands — listen, nothing else.

It is obvious the answers to the questions raised explain clearly why the announcement came now, and give us an indication of what we can expect in the future.

President Obama waited until Congress finished its session so it would have time to create a lobby for his actions before the new Republican-dominated Congress convenes on Jan. 6. He wants to give the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is desperate to start selling products to Cuba, time to convince the Republican Congress it is in their best interest to open relations with Cuba.

Cuba accepted the deal now because Venezuela's economy is rapidly deteriorating and won't be able to continue providing cheap oil too much longer.

Raúl Castro is not as charismatic as Fidel, but he is a wise old man and he clearly understood that unless he allowed the U.S. to give him a helping hand, Cubans would be desperate for their basic needs.

It is important to note most of the dissidents in Cuba have criticized the new deal between Cuba and the United States. They know better than anyone else that Cuban security agents will not stop beating them up for demanding the right to free association and free speech. They cannot forget that less then a week ago, they were beaten for trying to gather on the day the United Nations celebrates Human Rights Day.

Now let's look at what comes next.

The U.S. Congress is going to have to approve the nomination of a new ambassador to Cuba. With all Cuban-American representatives and senators opposed to the new agreement, that will not be an easy task.

It is also going to be hard to get Congress to finance opening a new embassy in Havana and consulates throughout the island. It will closely study the new proposals to see if they violated the Helms-Burton law passed in 1996 under the Clinton Administration.

This reminds me that we have to talk about the relatives of the four Brothers to the Rescue members who were shot down by Cuban Migs in international waters over the Florida Straits. Brothers to the Rescue watched for rafts floating from Cuba so the U.S. Coast Guard could pick them up and prevent them from drowning.

To the relatives of Brothers to the Rescue, to the veterans of the Bay of Pigs, to the many Cubans who were infiltrated back into the island to fight the Castro regime, to the thousands of people who have been killed by the communists in Cuba, to the many tens of thousands of former political prisoners and to all decent Cubans, what President Obama has done is unacceptable. He has betrayed the exile community and the people of Cuba.

domingo, diciembre 28, 2014

Why Isn't Obama Being Transparent About His Deal With Cuba's Regime?

When President Obama first took office in 2009, he declared that "transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their government is doing."

Well, either Obama is not being transparent about his secret deal with Cuban dictator Raul Castro.

Or the deal is even worse than we thought.

In exchange for a myriad of concessions from the United States, the Castro regime was supposed to release 53 political prisoners.

Apparently, Obama was unaware that the Castro regime has been trading political prisoners for concessions for decades -- just ask Jimmy Carter -- and then re-arrests them (or new ones) later.

However, no negotiated political prisoner release has ever been surrounded with such silence and mystery -- or lack of "transparency" -- as the current 53.

As Reuters reported this morning:

"Cuba's most prominent dissidents say they have been kept in the dark by U.S. officials over a list of 53 political prisoners who will be released from jail as part of a deal to end decades of hostility between the United States and Cuba. For years, dissident leaders have told the United States which opponents of Cuba's communist government were being jailed or harassed, but they say they were not consulted when the list of prisoners to be freed was drawn up or even told who is on it. The lack of information has stoked concern and frustration among the dissidents, who worry that the secret list is flawed and that genuine political prisoners who should be on it will be left to languish."

According to Obama, the Castro regime also agreed to release a Cuban, U.S. intelligence asset, who is widely believed to be Rolando Sarraff Trujillo.

Sarraff Trujillo was exchanged for three Cuban spies imprisoned in the U.S., including one serving a life sentence for a conspiracy to kill Americans.

As if this 1-for-3 deal wasn't bad enough, there's still no information about Sarraff or his whereabouts.

As Reuters also reports, "his parents said they are desperate to hear from their son as they haven't spoken with him since before Obama's Dec. 17 announcement."

Meanwhile, former spy and double agent, Bill Gaede, who worked closely with Sarraff in the 1990s, has shed further doubts:

"The only reason people strongly suspected that the mysterious spy might be Rolando Sarraff Trujillo (a.k.a. Roly) is that his family can't find him. Cuban prison officials told them that their son had been transferred, but not to worry about him. He was in 'good hands'. Certainly, Roly fit most of the description made by Obama at his press conference announcing reestablishment of relations with Cuba: a Cuban intelligence officer locked up for 20 years for providing cryptographic information that led to the capture of the aforementioned spies. So who else could it be? And if in addition the Obama Administration 'carelessly leaks' the name through 'unidentified official' sources, we have the makings of what appears to be 'disinformation'. This speculation is reinforced by Roly's resume. It certainly meets the '20 years' part. It does not even come close to meeting the part about 'cryptography and the capturing of the Cuban spies'. There's a contradiction somewhere. Either the secret spy is not Roly or President Obama is lying through every corner of his mouth."

Needless to say, we believe the President of the United States over a former double-agent like Gaede.

But Obama's lack of transparency is not making it easy.

Political Cartoon: On Obama's Bad Cuba Deal

capitolhillcubans

Did Obama Lie to Cuban-Americans?

By Russ Sloan in The Daily Commercial:

Lies and politics are close cousins in the White House

“Lying can never save us from another lie” is probably the most famous quote from Vaclav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic. In politics we have often been subjected to political spin, half truths, exaggeration and downright lies. But when political lies consistently follow one after another, at what point can we believe anything that source says?

On May 23, 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama was speaking to the Cuban-American Foundation’s annual Cuban Independence Day luncheon, where he said the following: “My policy towards Cuba will be guided by one word, liberty. The road to freedom for all Cubans must begin with justice for Cuba’s political prisoners, the right of free speech, a free press, freedom of assembly, and it must lead to elections that are free and fair. This is my commitment.”

He stated that he would not begin to “normalize” relations with Cuba until all political prisoners are released. To all of the political prisoners still in Cuba, President Obama’s promise must ring very hollow today based on his decision to renew relations with the Castro brothers’ oppressive regime. To those of us who know what he said in 2008, it is just one more significant lie piled on a continuous stack of presidential lies.

One wonders how any politician today, knowing that there exists volumes of recorded utterances, can so blatantly ignore what they promised and now do the exact opposite. Apparently the president shares the beliefs of Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor who scoffed that the American people were stupid as they drafted and passed Obamacare.

I ask myself, how many times can anyone lie before you recognize that this person is no longer trustworthy? The entire litany of President Obama’s lies would exceed my column space, but the important ones would be his 30-plus promises that you could keep your health care plan, doctor and save money, or his 20-plus utterances that he could not ignore a significant portion of our immigration laws since he was a president not an emperor.

Obama campaigned against the spending of George Bush, only to make Bush look like a miser. He said Bush was un-American for adding $4 trillion to our national debt over eight years, only to see his administration run up $7.4 trillion more debt during his six years. He states that he has issued fewer executive orders than previous presidents but does not mention that his numerous presidential proclamations virtually amount to the same thing. This was just a deliberate half truth. We’re making progress.

Throughout his administration, over 20 times, he has promised that Iran would not get nuclear weapons. Does anyone now believe that? Iran has played Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama like novices in a high stakes poker game. It is one thing to disagree with the president based on an honest difference of opinion, but to constantly be inundated with lies is dumbfounding.

Vaclav Havel was correct, “Lying can never save us from another lie.” For the past six years, we have been subjected to a series of major lies that can all be fully documented by the president’s very own words.
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"Hablame"

"EN TIEMPOS DIFÍCILES" - Heberto Padilla

A aquel hombre le pidieron su tiempo

para que lo juntara al tiempo de la Historia.

Le pidieron las manos,

porque para una época difícil

nada hay mejor que un par de buenas manos.

Le pidieron los ojos

que alguna vez tuvieron lágrimas

para que contemplara el lado claro

(especialmente el lado claro de la vida)

porque para el horror basta un ojo de asombro.

Le pidieron sus labios

resecos y cuarteados para afirmar,

para erigir, con cada afirmación, un sueño

(el-alto-sueño);

le pidieron las piernas

duras y nudosas

(sus viejas piernas andariegas),

porque en tiempos difíciles

¿algo hay mejor que un par de piernas

para la construcción o la trinchera?

Le pidieron el bosque que lo nutrió de niño,

con su árbol obediente.

Le pidieron el pecho, el corazón, los hombros.

Le dijeron

que eso era estrictamente necesario.

Le explicaron después

que toda esta donación resultaria inútil.

sin entregar la lengua,

porque en tiempos difíciles

nada es tan útil para atajar el odio o la mentira.

Y finalmente le rogaron

que, por favor, echase a andar,

porque en tiempos difíciles

esta es, sin duda, la prueba decisiva.

Los Aldeanos: "El Socialismo en Tiempos del Colera: Toda Una Nación"

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La columna de Cubanalisis

NEOCASTRISMO [Hacer click en la imagen]

NEOCASTRISMO [Hacer click en la imagen]
¨Saturno jugando con sus hijos¨/ Pedro Pablo Oliva

Seguidores

Carta desde la carcel de Fidel Castro Ruz

“…después de todo, para mí la cárcel es un buen descanso, que sólo tiene de malo el que es obligatorio. Leo mucho y estudio mucho. Parece increíble, las horas pasan como si fuesen minutos y yo, que soy de temperamento intranquilo, me paso el día leyendo, apenas sin moverme para nada. La correspondencia llega normalmente…”

“…Como soy cocinero, de vez en cuando me entretengo preparando algún pisto. Hace poco me mandó mi hermana desde Oriente un pequeño jamón y preparé un bisté con jalea de guayaba. También preparo spaghettis de vez en cuando, de distintas formas, inventadas todas por mí; o bien tortilla de queso. ¡Ah! ¡Qué bien me quedan! por supuesto, que el repertorio no se queda ahí. Cuelo también café que me queda muy sabroso”.
“…En cuanto a fumar, en estos días pasados he estado rico: una caja de tabacos H. Upman del doctor Miró Cardona, dos cajas muy buenas de mi hermano Ramón….”.
“Me voy a cenar: spaghettis con calamares, bombones italianos de postre, café acabadito de colar y después un H. Upman #4. ¿No me envidias?”.
“…Me cuidan, me cuidan un poquito entre todos. No le hacen caso a uno, siempre estoy peleando para que no me manden nada. Cuando cojo el sol por la mañana en shorts y siento el aire de mar, me parece que estoy en una playa… ¡Me van a hacer creer que estoy de vacaciones! ¿Qué diría Carlos Marx de semejantes revolucionarios?”.
¨La patria es dicha de todos, y dolor de todos, y cielo para todos, y no feudo ni capellaní­a de nadie¨ - Marti

"No temas ni a la prision, ni a la pobreza, ni a la muerte. Teme al miedo"
-
Giacomo Leopardi

¨Por eso es muy importante, Vicky, hijo mío, que recuerdes siempre para qué sirve la cabeza: para atravesar paredes¨Halvar de Flake [El vikingo]

"Como no me he preocupado de nacer, no me preocupo de morir" - Lorca

"Al final, no os preguntarán qué habéis sabido, sino qué habéis hecho" - Jean de Gerson

"Si queremos que todo siga como está, es necesario que todo cambie" - Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

"Todo hombre paga su grandeza con muchas pequeñeces, su victoria con muchas derrotas, su riqueza con múltiples quiebras" - Giovanni Papini


"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans" - John Lennon

"Habla bajo, lleva siempre un gran palo y llegarás lejos" - Proverbio Africano

"No hay medicina para el miedo" - Proverbio escoces

"El supremo arte de la guerra es doblegar al enemigo sin luchar"
- Sun Tzu

"You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother" - Albert Einstein

"It is inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office" - H. L. Menken

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented" - Elie Wiesel

"Stay hungry, stay foolish" -
Steve Jobs

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five years ther'ed be a shortage of sand" - Milton Friedman

"The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less" - Vaclav Havel

"No se puede controlar el resultado, pero si lo que uno haga para alcanzarlo" -
Vitor Belfort [MMA Fighter]

Liborio

Liborio
A la puerta de la gloria está San Pedro sentado y ve llegar a su lado a un hombre de cierta historia. No consigue hacer memoria y le pregunta con celo: ¿Quién eras allá en el suelo? Era Liborio mi nombre. Has sufrido mucho, hombre, entra, te has ganado el cielo.

Para Raul Castro

Cuba ocupa el penultimo lugar en el mundo en libertad economica solo superada por Corea del Norte.

Cuba ocupa el lugar 147 entre 153 paises evaluados en "Democracia, Mercado y Transparencia 2007"

Cuando vinieron

Cuando vinieron a buscar a los comunistas, Callé: yo no soy comunista.
Cuando vinieron a buscar a los sindicalistas, Callé: yo no soy sindicalista.
Cuando vinieron a buscar a los judíos, Callé: yo no soy judío. Cuando vinieron a buscar a los católicos, Callé: yo no soy “tan católico”.
Cuando vinieron a buscarme a mí, Callé: no había quien me escuchara.

Reverendo Martin Niemöller

Martha Colmenares

Martha Colmenares
Un sitio donde los hechos y sus huellas nos conmueven o cautivan

CUBA LLORA Y EL MUNDO Y NOSOTROS NO ESCUCHAMOS

Donde esta el Mundo, donde los Democratas, donde los Liberales? El pueblo de Cuba llora y nadie escucha.
Donde estan los Green, los Socialdemocratas, los Ricos y los Pobres, los Con Voz y Sin Voz? Cuba llora y nadie escucha.
Donde estan el Jet Set, los Reyes y Principes, Patricios y Plebeyos? Cuba desesperada clama por solidaridad.
Donde Bob Dylan, donde Martin Luther King, donde Hollywood y sus estrellas? Donde la Middle Class democrata y conservadora, o acaso tambien liberal a ratos? Y Gandhi? Y el Dios de Todos?
Donde los Santos y Virgenes; los Dioses de Cristianos, Protestantes, Musulmanes, Budistas, Testigos de Jehova y Adventistas del Septimo Dia. Donde estan Ochun y todas las deidades del Panteon Yoruba que no acuden a nuestro llanto? Donde Juan Pablo II que no exige mas que Cuba se abra al Mundo y que el Mundo se abra a Cuba?
Que hacen ahora mismo Alberto de Monaco y el Principe Felipe que no los escuchamos? Donde Madonna, donde Angelina Jolie y sus adoptados around de world; o nos hara falta un Brando erguido en un Oscar por Cuba? Donde Sean Penn?
Donde esta la Aristocracia Obrera y los Obreros menos Aristocraticos, donde los Working Class que no estan junto a un pueblo que lanquidece, sufre y llora por la ignominia?
Que hacen ahora mismo Zapatero y Rajoy que no los escuchamos, y Harper y Dion, e Hillary y Obama; donde McCain que no los escuchamos? Y los muertos? Y los que estan muriendo? Y los que van a morir? Y los que se lanzan desesperados al mar?
Donde estan el minero cantabrico o el pescador de percebes gijonese? Los Canarios donde estan? A los africanos no los oimos, y a los australianos con su acento de hombres duros tampoco. Y aquellos chinos milenarios de Canton que fundaron raices eternas en la Isla? Y que de la Queen Elizabeth y los Lords y Gentlemen? Que hace ahora mismo el combativo Principe Harry que no lo escuchamos?
Donde los Rockefellers? Donde los Duponts? Donde Kate Moss? Donde el Presidente de la ONU? Y Solana donde esta? Y los Generales y Doctores? Y los Lam y los Fabelo, y los Sivio y los Fito Paez?
Y que de Canseco y Miñoso? Y de los veteranos de Bahia de Cochinos y de los balseros y de los recien llegados? Y Carlos Otero y Susana Perez? Y el Bola, y Pancho Cespedes? Y YO y TU?
Y todos nosotros que estamos aqui y alla rumiando frustaciones y resquemores, envidias y sinsabores; autoelogios y nostalgias, en tanto Louis Michel comulga con Perez Roque mientras Biscet y una NACION lanquidecen?
Donde Maceo, donde Marti; donde aquel Villena con su carga para matar bribones?
Cuba llora y clama y el Mundo NO ESCUCHA!!!

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