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

viernes, marzo 27, 2015

Barack, Raúl y la democracia

Aunque las discusiones para el restablecimiento de relaciones entre Estados Unidos y Cuba se plantean en términos de igualdad, existe una gran diferencia entre los dos jefes de Estado envueltos.
Barack Obama es el representante democrático de su pueblo, elegido limpiamente en dos ocasiones. Raúl Castro ostenta el poder, por el dedo de su hermano, sin que un proceso electoral avale su mandato.
Votar en un país en donde todos, absolutamente todos los candidatos son de un único partido (el comunista) es participar en una burda campaña de propaganda y dejar que todo siga tan mal como hasta entonces. No hay otro resultado.
En esos eventos obligatorios, para simular que en la isla hay elecciones democráticas, han tenido que participar todos los cubanos durante los 56 años de castrismo.
Esta es una verdad innegable que pone en tela de juicio cualquier acuerdo al que pudiera llegarse en las pautadas conversaciones, pero también es una oportunidad para exigirle a la dictadura que legitime su autoridad, a través de las urnas –que pudiera ser mediante un plebiscito–, para que el pueblo pueda decir “sí” o “no” a seguir siendo gobernado por un dictador.
Para eso no hacen falta partidos políticos. Basta con que se abra un período prudente de libertad de expresión y que, a partes iguales, ambos bandos estuvieren en capacidad de defender sus puntos de vista, incluyendo a líderes del exilio. Sin la persecución de los del “no”. Existe un precedente en el Chile de Pinochet.
Por supuesto, dada la extensa historia del castrismo, con tretas engañosas, mentiras y traiciones (como luchar contra Batista por el rescate de la democracia y después imponer el comunismo), es de esperar que el necesario plebiscito sea manipulado por la dictadura, sin el menor de los escrúpulos.
Es ahí cuando habría que exigir la fiscalización del proceso electoral por las organizaciones internacionales de derechos humanos, así como de las Naciones Unidas, para validar los resultados de la votación.

miércoles, marzo 18, 2015

How Obama’s Cuba Deal Is Strengthening Its Military

In the hit 1992 movie A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson’s fictional Colonel Jessup famously declares: “I eat breakfast 300 yards from 4,000 Cubans who are trained to kill me.” The Cuban officers I met never gave me that impression. As the State Department’s former representative to negotiations with Cuba’s military, I can tell you that our discussions were typically convivial and constructive. And today, President Barack Obama’s initiative to normalize relations with Havana has presented the United States with a truly mind-boggling prospect: Our most reliable partner on that long-isolated island is probably going to be the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, Cuba’s military establishment.
And soon they’re going to be making a lot of money.
The Communist Party of Cuba may constitute the country’s political leadership, but it is seen increasingly as an anachronism by the population, and after Fidel Castro, 88, and Raúl Castro, 83, pass from the scene, the party may too. Cuba’s legislature, the National Assembly of People’s Power, is a rubber stamp appendage of the party and likewise held in low popular esteem. Civilian agencies have proven inept and sclerotic in managing government programs. The powerful Ministry of Interior is widely feared as the blunt instrument of oppression, but it too is likely to be swept aside eventually by the tide of change. And more than a half-century of authoritarian single-party rule has stunted civil society and held the Catholic Church in check.
This leaves the FAR. Under Raúl Castro’s leadership from 1959 until he succeeded brother Fidel as president in 2006, the now 60,000-strong military has been widely considered to be Cuba’s best managed and stablest official entity. Furthermore, it has never been called upon to fire on or suppress Cuban citizens, even during the so-called Maleconazo protests in 1994, and most observers believe the FAR would refuse any orders to do so.
For years our discussions with the FAR have focused on cooperating on practical matters: avoiding tensions along Guantánamo Naval Base’s 17-mile perimeter, collaborating on firefighting and working out arrangements for the return of Cuban citizens who were picked up at sea while trying to escape their country. In contrast with our stiff exchanges with the North Koreans at Panmunjom, these monthly encounters tend to be productive, constructive and amiable.
Now they could be historic. And for the FAR, profitable. Indeed, Americans flocking to Cuba in years ahead will likely be shoring up the Cuban military’s bottom line. Today, senior FAR officers are in charge of sugar production, tourism, import-export, information technology and communications, civil aviation and cigar production. It is estimated that at least 60 percent of Cuba’s economy and 40 percent of foreign exchange revenues are in the hands of the military and that 20 percent of workers are employed by the FAR’s holding company, GAESA. Tourists sipping a mojito at Varadero beach, flying by commuter to lush resorts in the Cuban keys, visiting historic attractions, enjoying the cuisine at a five-star hotel or lighting up a Cohiba after one of those meals are unconsciously contributing to the coffers of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias and the communist government to the tune of several billion dollars a year. Some of this hard-currency infusion has fed corruption within the FAR. Nonetheless, when the U.S. embargo is eventually lifted, American companies interested in investing in Cuba will need to partner with enterprises under the control of the Cuban military. It follows, therefore, that the U.S. government will need to broadly engage with the FAR on economic and trade as well as political and military matters. Former CIA Cuba analyst Brian Latell believes the pragmatic-oriented FAR will be easier to deal with than the old-guard civilian leaders.

The FAR is the most demographically representative Cuban institution as well, traditionally a vehicle for rural poor and black young men and women to advance themselves. During my time on “the Line,” the Afro-Cuban colonel commanding the Border Defense Brigade (the spearhead of Col. Jessup’s perceived nemesis) was one such soldier. Though difficult to gauge, the FAR appear generally to be held in respect by Cubans. No other institution will be able to force through policies that a unified and disciplined military command will not support. The Cuban military therefore is the 800-pound gorilla in Havana, an institution Washington will need to work with well past the Castro era. “The generals will either dominate a praetorian successor regime after Fidel Castro dies or is incapacitated, or, like the militaries in the former communist countries of Eastern Europe, be the willing accomplices in the demise of Marxism,” according to Latell.
Cuba’s falling-out with Moscow following the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of that country’s subsidies impelled then-defense minister Raúl Castro to replace the FAR’s Soviet-style centralized planning and command system with Western-style management and accounting methods. He sent some of the FAR’s brightest officers to Europe and Latin America for training in capitalist business practices, creating a new cadre of “technocrat soldiers” to manage the FAR’s growing military production enterprises. After assuming the presidency in 2006, Raúl further expanded the military’s role in both the political and economic spheres. The Council of Ministers executive committee is dominated by military men, while eight of the government’s 27 ministries are led by active duty or retired FAR officers. Half of the Communist Party’s Politburo comprises individuals with military background.
The end of Soviet subsidies also led the FAR to expand into non-military-related economic activities in order to help pay for defense outlays as well as to fund the civilian side of government. It has focused its efforts on three key sectors: agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. Many high-ranking active and retired FAR officers subsequently have turned into “entrepreneur soldiers,” i.e., olive-drab businessmen in charge of large, hard-currency-earning industries, all controlled by GAESA, headed by Raúl’s son-in-law, Luis Alberto Rodríguez, an Army brigadier who speaks English with an impeccable upper-class British accent.

sábado, marzo 14, 2015

The Cuba Deal: How Raúl Castro Duped Obama - Forbes

Néstor T. Carbonell*
On December 17, following a year and a half of secret negotiations with the Castro regime, President Obama trumpeted what many have called a historic breakthrough—a new course to normalize relations with Cuba.
The course, however, is not really new. It was pursued by 10 previous American presidents who tried to engage Fidel Castro directly or through intermediaries both during and after the Cold War. The desired rapprochement failed mainly because the Cuban dictator would not agree to stop his subversive activities and open up the island, or offer a modicum of respect for human rights.
What’s new about President’s Obama’s détente is that he is engaging Raúl Castro—not his ailing brother Fidel—and has not established any preconditions for normalization.
How different is Raúl from Fidel? He is certainly less charismatic and verbose than his older brother, but more focused and disciplined. While Fidel roused and manipulated the masses, Raúl, with Soviet assistance, quietly bolstered the armed forces and built the totalitarian infrastructure of the regime. Despite their contrasting physique and personality, they both share a visceral hatred of the United States, cold-blooded ruthlessness and mastery of deceit.
Fidel’s duplicity, combined with a fair amount of histrionics, is well known. He bragged about tricking the Cuban people, who fell for his promise to restore democracy, and unabashedly proclaimed in December 1961: “I am a Marxist-Leninist and will be one until the last day of my life.”
Fidel also was able to dupe U.S. presidents and senior government officials into believing that he would be amenable to a fair settlement of all outstanding disputes. Even David Rockefeller, a strong advocate of engagement who had a good rapport with Fidel, felt that he could help strike a deal with him.
Heading an impressive delegation of foreign policy heavyweights, Rockefeller presented to Fidel Castro in February 2001 a proposal developed by the Council on Foreign Relations to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba. After five hours of marathon discussions which ended at 4AM, Fidel rejected the “half-measures” proposed by the Council and demanded the unconditional lifting of the U.S. embargo without acquiescing to any significant economic and political reforms. A disillusioned Rockefeller wrote in his memoirs: “Castro harangued us continuously throughout the night…I think there is little possibility for change while Castro remains in power…”
But that was Fidel Castro. What about with Raúl now calling the shots and posing as a pragmatist? Even though Raúl had only introduced non-systemic, revocable reforms to alleviate the appalling living conditions on the island, Obama thought that he could be lured or tamed with goodwill gestures and concessions. So shortly after taking office in 2009, the President relaxed restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba and voted in favor of inviting the Cuban regime to rejoin the Organization of American States, only to be rebuffed by both Castro brothers.
Raúl then played the hostage trick on Obama, and it worked. He arrested Alan Gross, a USAID contractor who was distributing computer equipment to the Jewish community in Havana to gain access to the internet, and sentenced him to 15 years in prison. Fearing that Gross, in poor health, might die behind bars in Cuba, the President accepted the swap proposed by Castro—Gross for three convicted Cuban spies, including one serving a life sentence in the U.S. for conspiring to commit murder. Trying to balance out the uneven swap, Castro released several dozen political prisoners, a bargaining chip he uses when it suits his purpose.
To conduct the secret negotiations, which were broadened beyond the exchange of prisoners, Castro assigned two of his sharpest KGB-trained intelligence officers, fluent in English and well versed in diplomacy as a cover for espionage in the U.S., Josefina Vidal and Gustavo Machin. The deal they were able to extract from the American delegation is so one-sided in favor of the Castro regime that it could well be called the Cuban Munich.
Indeed, from a weak position, with Cuba in dire straits and facing the possible loss of its Venezuelan financial lifeline, Castro got pretty much what he wanted. And Obama, who surrendered the U.S. leverage of continued economic pressure on the Cuban regime and support for the dissident movement, got virtually nothing in return.
The U.S. will restore diplomatic relations with Cuba while repression continues on the island, and will ship telecommunications technology with no assurance that censorship will end. In addition, the Castro regime will receive more dollars from U.S. “purposeful visits,” which will flow to the owners of the tourist industry in Cuba: the military.
But for Castro, more important than those concessions is the removal of Cuba from the U.S. list of terrorist states which would open doors to the IMF, World Bank and other international financial institutions. His regime gets this provision despite smuggling 240 tons of heavy weapons to North Korea in violation of U.N. sanctions, maintaining close links to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, and harboring dozens of fugitive terrorists and criminals, including one of the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted Terrorists, Assata Shakur.
To meet Castro’s ultimate requirement for normalization of relations, President Obama promised to seek congressional approval for the unconditional lifting of the U.S. trade embargo. This would open the floodgates for U.S. investments in bankrupt Cuba, but in a subordinate position to the only authorized partner—the Cuban government—which controls the economy, hires and fires the labor force, and pockets 92 cents on every dollar of each worker’s salary. Not quite Deng Xiaoping’s model of capitalism.
Not content with that, the cagey Raúl Castro surprised the White House last month with two additional demands that did not surface during the negotiations: payment by the U.S. to Cuba of reparations for the alleged damages caused by the embargo (his claim is for $100 billion), and the return to Cuba of the U.S. Naval Base of Guantanamo. Moreover, he declared that he will not change his Socialist system—not one iota, he emphasized. So democracy, human rights and free enterprise are out.
The Cold War may be over but Raúl Castro seems intent on  reigniting it. Last year, he offered Putin an espionage listening post on the island, and is currently training and equipping Venezuela’s repressive forces in support of President Maduro’s plan to Cubanize his country.
The only way out of the President’s one-sided deal with Cuba is not to give the deceitful Cuban ruler a blank check, but to insist on a step-by-step quid pro quo that would safeguard the interests and security of the U.S., as well as the long-fought aspirations of freedom-loving Cubans.

* Mr. Carbonell is an international affairs consultant and author of "And The Russians Stayed: The Sovietization of Cuba."

sábado, marzo 07, 2015

Rick Perry: U.S. got 'short end' of Cuba deal

By Mark Hensch
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said Saturday that Cuba got the better half of its bargain with the U.S. earlier this year.
“We got the way short end of that deal,” Perry said in a speech at the inaugural Iowa Agriculture Summit in Des Moines. “We got a bad deal. This administration basically empowered the Castro regime with no thought of the Cuban people.”
Perry’s remarks took aim at President Obama’s decision in January to normalize relations with Havana. The U.S. eased travel and trade restrictions on Cuba as part of the landmark deal.
The former Texas governor — and potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate — took issue with Obama’s diplomatic priorities. He said the president’s decision to deal with Raul Castro, Cuba’s dictator, hurts everyday Cubans.
“This president missed the point on Cuba’s relationship with its people,” Perry said. “Cuba has been incredibly onerous to its people. We have a pretty sordid history with them when you get down to it.”
Perry said trading with Castro’s Cuba was unlikely to change the communist nation’s ways. Improving trade relationships elsewhere, he added, would best serve American interests.
“I’m not sure you can change the culture of Cuba until Castro is dead and gone,” he said.
Perry proposed China as a better trading partner. Increasing U.S. ties with Beijing, he said, could lead the Asian nation towards democracy.
“China’s different,” Perry said of both countries. “China basically practices communism at night and capitalism in the daytime. There’s a chance for our trade to engage with them and possibly change the culture.”
Foreign policy was not the only swipe Perry took at Obama’s decisions. The former Texas lawmaker also criticized the president’s recent executive orders on immigration.
“The president doesn't respect the Constitution,” Perry said of the orders. “His executive actions are a result of Washington not getting the job done.”
Perry said Texas’s status as a border state gave him rare insight on immigration. Solving America’s immigrant problems, he said, begins with protecting U.S. borders.
“I don’t think the American people will ever trust Washington on the issue of immigration until they secure the border,” Perry said.
Another problem, he added, is the office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Perry called the agency “broken” during his remarks Saturday.
“One of the first things I would do is overhaul the agency that oversees immigration policies in this country,” he said. “The idea that it takes seven or eight years to become a citizen of this country is hard for me to wrap my arms around. It’s so slow.”
The Iowa Ag Summit hosted several other potential 2016 GOP presidential contenders: Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Texas), former Sen. Rick Santorum (Penn.), Govs. Chris Christie (N.J.) and Scott Walker (Wis.), former Govs. Jeb Bush (Fla.), George Pataki (N.Y.) and Mike Huckabee (Ark.) and New York real estate mogul Donald Trump.

miércoles, marzo 04, 2015

Obama is Clearly Out-of-Touch With Cuba's Reality

Yesterday, in an interview with Reuters, President Obama said he would like to see diplomatic relations established with Cuba's dictatorship by April's "Summit of the Americas" in Panama.

Apparently, at all costs, as the Castro regime has made its removal (or announced removal) from the state-sponsors of terrorism list a precondition for diplomatic relations -- a statutory threshold that Cuba doesn't meet. But that's for another post.

In the interview, Obama offered the following defense of his policy:

"The very fact that, since our announcement, the Cuban government has begun to discuss ways in which they are going to reorganize their economy to accommodate for possible foreign investment, that’s already forcing a series of changes that promises to open up more opportunities for entrepreneurs, more transparency in terms of what’s happening in their economy."

Seriously? That's it?

And what exactly is Obama referring to?

Is he referring to Castro's foreign investment decree, which reiterates that all foreign trade and investment in Cuba must be conducted through the dictatorship's monopolies?

Is he referring to Castro's foreign investment decree, which requires every foreign investor in Cuba to form a joint venture -- as a minority partner -- with the dictatorship?

Is he referring to Castro's foreign investment decree that requires every foreign investor in Cuba to hire workers via a state-employment agency ("Cubalse, S.A."), which in turn pockets 92% of the wages?

Is he referring to Castro's new foreign investment decree, which contravenes the International Labor Organization's (ILO) Forced Labor Convention (No. 29), Abolition of Forced Labor Convention (No. 105), Freedom of Association and Protection to Organize Convention (No. 87), Protection of Wages Convention (No. 05), Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention (No. 98), Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (No. 111) and Employment Policy Convention (No. 122)?

As for "entrepreneurs," is he referring to the Cuban regime's official entrepreneurs, i.e., the military-owned conglomerates?

Or is he referring to the "self-employed" workers, who have no corporate ownership rights, contractual rights, property rights or capital accumulation rights?

In other words, those working for a façade of the state.

Is Obama that out of touch with Cuba's reality?

Apparently so.

Here's a reminder of the events that have actually transpired since Obama's December 17th policy announcement:

- There have been well-over 800 political arrests.

- Many of the 53 political prisoners released, pursuant to the Obama-Castro deal, have been re-arrested on multiple occasions.

- There's been a crackdown on Cuban artists, including Danilo Maldonado "El Sexto," who has been imprisoned since the day after Christmas; rapper Maikel Oksobo "El Dkano," who was handed a one-year prison sentence for his lyrics; and New York-resident Tania Bruguera, who has been prohibited from leaving the island for a free speech performance (#YoTambienExijo).

- Digna Rodriguez Ibañez, a member of the pro-democracy group, The Ladies in White, was tied to a tree and pelted with tar for her peaceful activism.

- Eralisis Frometa Polanco, also a member of The Ladies in White, forcefully aborted due to violent blows to her stomach during a beating for her peaceful activism.

- The Castro regime has reiterated that it will not extradite any most-wanted fugitives to the United States, including Joanne Chesimard, who is on the FBIs Top Ten Most Wanted Terrorists list.

- Spain's request for the extradition of two Basque terrorists (ETA) has gone unanswered.

- Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro traveled to Havana for consultations prior to ordering the arrest of the Mayor of Caracas and the wave of repression that resulted in the murder of a 14-year old. Castro's regime has declared its full support of Maduro's actions.

- A Chinese-flagged ship was intercepted in Colombia full of undeclared "war materiel" destined for Cuba.

- The Castro regime pinned medals on the Cuban spy, whose life sentence for the murder of Americans was commuted by Obama.

- Raul Castro expanded his list of demands of the Obama Administration to include the return of Guantanamo and reparations for the embargo.

- The Castro regime welcomed a Russian spy vessel, The Viktor Leonov, to dock in the Port of Havana during normalization talks with the U.S.

- A Congressional delegation, led by U.S. Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) stayed at a hotel confiscated from Americans.

- Two other Congressional delegations, one led by U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and another led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), were coerced into not meeting with with any dissidents.

- Congressional hearings showed how Obama Administration officials lied to the families of the Americans murdered in a conspiracy by the exchanged Cuban spies.

- Congressional hearings showed how Obama Administration officials were unaware (or pretended to be unaware) of how the Cuban military exerts monopolistic control over the island's tourism industry.

- Cuban intelligence officials, some previously expelled from the United States, are Castro's top negotiators in the normalization talks.

- Paris Hilton took "selfies" with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's son, Fidelito.

- Conan O'Brien filmed a comedy show in Havana at the expense of the Cuban people's tragedy.

- At this week's inauguration ceremony for new Uruguayan President Tabare Vázquez, Raul Castro was lauded and honored with the keys to Montevideo.

- Despite numerous U.S. concessions, the Cuban people do not have any iota of greater freedoms than they had on December 16th.

- Raul Castro declared to the National Assembly - "We won the war!"

- Code Pink led a celebratory delegation of over 150 radical activists to celebrate Castro's victory over the U.S.

That's quite the achievement, Mr. President.

viernes, febrero 27, 2015

Optimismo Vergonzante: Declaraciones de Josefina Vidal y Roberta Jacobson al concluir la 2da ronda de Conversaciones entre Cuba y EE.UU.

cuba recoge pita y levanta el condicionamiento de la apertura de embajadas a la exclusion de la lista de paises patrocinadores del terrorismo, mientras la representante norteamericana da virtualmente por sentado que el dpto de estado le propondra al presidente obama similar medida. 
por otra parte cuba se niega a devolver a criminales buscados por la justicia norteamerica a los que brinda refugio politico, excusandose con las "violaciones" estadounidenses del tratado de extadiccion de 1906 consistente en la no extradiccion a cuba de miembros del gobierno de fulgencio batista. circo para ingenuos observadores donde el neocastrismo se apunta tambien el 2do round. castro 2 - eeuu 0.
Cuba Hoy

martes, febrero 10, 2015

Sevcec entrevista a Roberta Jacobson


Analyzing Obama’s Cuba Policy

By Elliott Abrams of The Council on Foreign Relations:

Analyzing Obama’s Cuba Policy

The shortcomings of the new Obama administration policy toward Cuba have been sharply described in a recent blog post at the Cuban civil society web site Estado de SATS, by Antonio G. Rodiles. Rodiles, a human rights activist, was beaten and arrested in 2012, and released after Amnesty International and other groups protested this arrest.

What does Rodiles say?

First, the Obama approach grants treats the Castro regime as the legitimate government of Cuba. But it has never been elected, and should not be granted that legitimacy.

Second, the Obama approach grants that Cuba’s future and its “transition to democracy” will be in the hands of the current regime and its top officials. No political preconditions have been put in place before the United States moves forward toward diplomatic relations, removing the embargo, and taking other steps that aid the regime. The assumption seems to be that today’s powers that be –the Castros and their closest collaborators–will remain tomorrow, but that is a formula for continuing authoritarianism.

Third, the Obama approach treats democratic development and respect for human rights as the eventual product of supposed economic transformations in Cuba. But freedom should be the prime goal, not a hypothetical by-product of economic change.

Finally, Rodiles notes that this Obama approach will of course favor those Cubans who go along, as against those who seek a quicker move toward liberty and view the regime as brutally repressive and illegitimate. This too helps the Castro regime. Instead, the goal should be to open sufficient space for political actors and civil society to have the main say in the direction of change in Cuba.

Cuban dissidents, democracy activists, and human rights activists have many opinions about U.S. policy, all the products of a living under the Castro regime where they face and often experience brutality and prison. It’s unfortunate in the extreme that those views appear to have no role in the formulation of American policy toward Cuba.

lunes, febrero 09, 2015

So How’s That Cuba Deal Going?

By Mary Anastasia O'Grady in The Wall Street Journal:

So How’s That Cuba Deal Going?

Raúl Castro’s demands include reparations and no more U.S. asylum for doctors who defect.

Less than two months after his “historic” outreach to Havana with a promise to “normalize relations,” the U.S. commander in chief is getting the back of Raúl Castro’s hand.

On Dec. 17, President Obama floated his plan to revise a half-century-old U.S.-Cuba policy by promising engagement. “We intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people,” he said. The trouble is that as his statements in recent weeks have shown, Raúl Castro has no interest in doing things differently.

The message from Havana is that if Mr. Obama wants a Cuba legacy it will have to be on Cuba’s terms. That means he will have to go down in history as the U.S. president who prolonged the longest-running military dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere.

Days before Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs Roberta Jacobson arrived in Havana on Jan. 21 for talks, the Cuban state newspaper Granma published the government’s list of “demands” for normalizing relations. One of them was that the U.S. recognize Cuban state-run community groups as nongovernmental organizations. It did not name any, but the notorious “Committees to Defend the Revolution,” which exist to enforce repression by spying on the neighbors, come to mind. Also on the list published in Granma was a demand that the U.S. end its asylum program for Cuban doctors who escape while serving in third-world countries where they have been sent to work for slave wages.

A few days later, at a summit of Latin American and Caribbean leaders in Belén, Costa Rica, the 83-year-old little brother of Fidel reiterated some of his other demands. He said that relations would not be normalized unless Washington unilaterally lifts the embargo, returns Guantanamo Bay to Cuba, ceases radio and television transmissions beamed into Cuba and makes reparations for the half-century-long embargo.

Mr. Obama may want to give back Guantanamo as his critics claim. But it is not clear that he could do so without congressional approval. He definitely needs Congress to lift the embargo and there’s not a snowball’s chance in Havana that Congress is going to accept any such thing as embargo reparations, let alone pay them. Raúl Castro knows this, so in other words he’s telling Mr. Obama to take a hike.

But Mr. Obama wants to be friends with the military dictatorship. To prove it, he has promised to use his executive pen to streamline the permit process for so-called educational and cultural travel by Americans to the island. The military owns the tourism industry and more American tourists will mean more dollars going into its coffers.

No problem there for the Castros. But don’t expect any quid pro quo that requires a softening of the totalitarian machine. That much was made clear in the days following Mr. Obama’s speech.

Mr. Obama said that Cuba had pledged to release 53 prisoners of conscience in exchange for three Cubans serving lengthy sentences in the U.S. for espionage. This was supposed to be proof that Havana would behave more reasonably if only Washington would show more humility.

Snookered again. The spies were released but Havana did not keep its side of the bargain until pressure mounted weeks later, and not even then in any true sense. When the names of the prisoners finally were made public, the Havana-based Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation found that about a dozen of them had been released before the “swap” was even announced. Some had completed or were close to completing their sentences and were already scheduled for release.

Marcelino Abreu Bonora was on the list. He had been released in October. He was rearrested on Dec. 26 and spent two weeks in a solitary punishment cell before being released again in mid-January. His crime was holding a sign that said “change.” There were some 200 political arrests in the four weeks following Mr. Obama’s speech.

Cuba has never granted freedom to prisoners of conscience, as the treatment of the 75 dissidents rounded up during the “Black Spring” of 2003 shows. Sixty-three of them were exiled. The 12 who refused to leave are sporadically detained and denied the right to travel abroad.

Mr. Obama says Cuba can help the U.S. fight drug trafficking. Cuba certainly knows the business. It runs Venezuelan intelligence these days—and Caracas is home to some of the region’s most notorious drug capos. But who can believe that Havana would interfere with the cash flow the trade generates for its closest revolutionary ally?

Cuba’s top demand is that it be taken off the U.S. list of state-sponsors of terrorism. But in 2013 it was caught running weapons for North Korea. It is an Iranian ally. Last week the Colombian military intercepted 16 Russian-made antiaircraft rocket launchers bound for the Cuba-supported Colombia guerrilla group FARC.

No one doubts that Mr. Obama is hard up for friends these days, but courting Cuba makes him look desperate.

jueves, febrero 05, 2015

House members question how new Cuba policy will improve human rights

One America News Network

Chairman Royce: Obama Gives Cuban Regime New Lease on Life
Excerpts from the opening remarks of U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House

[T]alks with the Cuban regime were conducted by two White House officials. Unfortunately the White House was unwilling to provide these key witnesses today. This Committee, charged with oversight of our foreign policy, is handicapped when those officials most involved in policy making are unavailable. The Administration’s growing track record of secret negotiations, whether Iran or the release of the “Taliban Five,” is increasingly troublesome.

Had the White House consulted more widely, it may have heard that Havana is facing the threats of losing Venezuelan oil subsides and mounting public pressure for basic reforms. This could have been used to leverage meaningful political concessions by the regime. But this was a one-sided “negotiation,” with the U.S. making a series of concessions to Havana [...]

In defending this policy change, the President has compared our economic relationship with Cuba to that of China and Vietnam. But in China and Vietnam - while Communist - at least foreign firms can hire and recruit staff directly, without their pay going directly to the government.

Not so in Cuba, which is more like North Korea than China. A Cuban worker at the foreign-owned resort receives only a fraction of their salary – as little as 5 percent. Castro or Kim, the method is the same – extract hard currency from foreign business and invest in the security apparatus.

Instead of dismantling a 50-year-old failed policy, as it claims, the Administration may have given a 50-year-old failed regime a new lease on life to continue its repression at home and militant support for Marxist regimes abroad.
Foreign Affairs Committee, during today's Cuba policy hearing:

martes, febrero 03, 2015

Three Cuba Hearings on Capitol Hill

From The Miami Herald:

Cuba hearings to begin Tuesday on Capitol Hill

The first in a series of congressional hearings examining the potential impact of President Barack Obama’s new Cuba policy gets underway Tuesday in the Senate.

Later in the week, the action switches to the House with two hearings: the main show — “Assessing the Administration’s Sudden Shift’’ — before the Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday and a subcommittee hearing on human rights in Cuba on Thursday.

The common theme for this week’s hearings seems to be whether Obama gave away too much without getting enough from Cuba as the two countries work toward restoring diplomatic relations.

That’s the position of Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Western Hemisphere subcommittee called the first Cuba hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

In an opinion piece he wrote Monday for CNN, Rubio recalled a line from The Godfather Part II in which mob character Michael Corleone responds to the demands of a U.S. senator by saying, “My offer is this: nothing.”

“In recent months, I’ve made clear that I believe the president and his allies in Congress are misguided for supporting a policy that gives away practically all the leverage the United States has to bring about democratic change in Cuba in exchange for virtually nothing,” wrote Rubio.

The senator said he wants answers on what the administration has done to secure the repatriation of an estimated 70 fugitives from U.S. justice who now live in Cuba as well as “what exactly the Castro regime has done in exchange for Obama’s softening of travel and banking regulations that will now allow more U.S. dollars to fill the Castro regime’s coffers.”

Rubio, who is testing the waters for a possible presidential run, called the hearing the same day he assumed the subcommittee chairmanship last week.

Among those scheduled to testify at the Senate hearing are Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, who recently headed the U.S. delegation during normalization talks in Havana, and Tomasz Malinowski, assistant secretary for democracy, human rights, and labor.

Rosa María Payá, of the Cuban Christian Liberation Movement, also is scheduled to testify. She is the daughter of Oswaldo Payá, one of Cuba’s most respected dissidents when he died in a mysterious 2012 car crash.

She’ll be joined by activists Berta Soler, Miriam Leiva, and Manuel Cuesta Morúa.

There’s expected to be an overflow crowd when the House Foreign Affairs Committee convenes at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

“The Obama administration’s sudden shift on Cuba policy raises many concerns, including how hard the United States pressed the Castro regime on its abysmal human-rights record during the secret White House negotiations that cut out the State Department,” said Republican Rep. Ed Royce, a Californian who chairs the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

“When it comes to the unilateral concessions provided to the Castro regime, the Obama administration has much to answer for. From the commercial goodie bag provided to the Castro regime to the pardons bestowed upon three convicted spies, one of whom was responsible for the murder of American citizens, the concessions provided to these Caribbean despots is pathetic,” said South Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

“I look forward to hearing from State, Treasury, and Commerce and questioning the basis for normalizing relations with an unworthy regime that continues to detain dissidents,” she said.

In addition to Jacobson, John E. Smith, deputy director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration Matthew S. Borman are slated to testify.

During a Thursday morning hearing on human rights before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, Jorge Luis García Pérez, an anti-Castro activist known as Antúnez, will testify.

Rubio Op-Ed in CNN: Cuba Taking Advantage of U.S.

By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) in CNN:

Cuba taking advantage of U.S.

In "The Godfather Part II," Michael Corleone famously responds to a U.S. senator's demands by saying, "My offer is this: nothing."

Since President Barack Obama announced his normalization deal with the Cuban regime in December, life appears to be imitating art. Last week, Cuban President Raul Castro declared that his regime would not even entertain the Obama administration's requests to normalize ties until the United States abandons our naval base at Guantanamo Bay, ends the trade embargo, ceases pro-democracy radio and television broadcasts into Cuba and compensates the regime for "human and economic damages" the U.S. has, according to him, inflicted on the Cuban people. Last month, the regime's lead negotiator summed up its position even more succinctly after the first round of U.S.-Cuba normalization talks in Havana, saying, "Change in Cuba is not negotiable."

In other words, emboldened by the first wave of concessions Obama gave the Castro regime in the form of access to more U.S. dollars, it wants even more in exchange for nothing.

When dealing with tyrants, you can't wear them down with kindness. When that approach is attempted and one-sided concessions are made, tyrants don't interpret them as good faith gestures. They interpret them as weakness. This is a lesson the Obama administration has failed to learn from its dealings with Iran, North Korea and Russia, and even terrorists such as the Taliban.

On Tuesday, the American people will have their first opportunity to hear from the Obama administration about its dealings with the Castro regime when I chair a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere affairs. I look forward to hearing the perspectives of State Department officials, even though I am already concerned by the administration's reluctance to allow the American people to hear directly from the two White House officials who negotiated the deal with the Castro regime over the course of 18 months of secret negotiations, and without the input of our government's top diplomats and negotiators.

Many important questions remain about what exactly the Castro regime has done in exchange for Obama's softening of travel and banking regulations that will now allow more U.S. dollars to fill the Castro regime's coffers. For example, it's unclear why, with all the economic leverage it initially brought to the table, the administration apparently accepted a deal to free conditionally 53 political prisoners -- many of whom were released, but with charges pending or were threatened with more jail time if they renew their pro-democracy work. Indeed, some have already reportedly been rearrested in addition to hundreds of new detentions since the December announcement.

Questions also remain about what, if anything, the administration has done to secure the repatriation of what the FBI estimates to be more than 70 fugitives from justice being provided safe harbor in Cuba, including known cop killers such as Joanne Chesimard. Also unknown is what, if anything, the administration intends to do to secure billions of dollars' worth of outstanding American property claims and judgments against the Cuban government. The list of questions and concerns like these goes on and on.

In recent months, I've made clear that I believe the President and his allies in Congress are misguided for supporting a policy that gives away practically all the leverage the United States has to bring about democratic change in Cuba in exchange for virtually nothing. While reasonable people can disagree on the merits of what U.S.-Cuba policy should be in the 21st century, no serious person can argue that America is stronger when we give a cruel regime such as the one in Cuba everything it wants from the United States, including money it uses to repress its opponents, while we get nothing in return except more anti-American bluster from a geriatric dictator.

With Cuba in the news recently, many Americans are asking why Cuba matters to them and why they should care. The simple answer is that what happens with Cuba has far-reaching and potentially damaging implications far beyond the island nation. Cuba is not the only rogue regime with which Obama is engaging in an attempt to end bad behavior. When America sits at the negotiating table with one tyrant or radical regime, the others -- from Iran to North Korea and elsewhere -- watch closely and learn best practices that they can apply to advance their own anti-American agendas. Just as the Cuban regime reportedly cited our swap of five members of the Taliban in the negotiations for Alan Gross' release, the Iranians watched how North Korea exploited U.S. diplomacy, slow-walked negotiations and ultimately achieved their goal of developing a nuclear weapon.

There should therefore be no doubt that regimes around the world will be looking to emulate the Castro regime's so far successful efforts to take advantage of Obama's weaknesses and to undermine the U.S. role as the world's leading economic and military power.

When the President settles for one-sided deals with the Castro regime, it hurts the Cuban people and their aspirations for freedom. When Obama allows the Castro regime to get the best of him in negotiations, it emboldens tyrants around the world. As the President's engagement with the Castro regime continues, I will do all I can to ensure that his "normalization" does not come at all costs, becoming yet another instance of a failed foreign policy that makes America weaker in the world and, ultimately, less safe.

domingo, febrero 01, 2015

Medidas de Obama facilitan contratación de cubanos en Grandes Ligas

aplicaria similar disposicion en los casos de los peloteros cubanos "contratados" por cuba con equipos de las grandes ligas?
Los prospectos cubanos a quienes equipos de las Ligas Mayores de Béisbol (MLB) deseen contratar parecen figurar entre los primeros beneficiarios de las normativas publicadas el pasado 16 de enero por los Departamentos del Tesoro y de Comercio de EE.UU. que regulan las medidas de apertura hacia Cuba anunciadas en diciembre por el presidente Barack Obama.
Si hasta ahora los peloteros cubanos establecidos en terceros países necesitaban para ser declarados agentes libres una licencia específica de la Oficina de Control de Activos Extranjeros de la Tesorería (OFAC), el trámite parece haberse reducido a las cláusulas de una licencia general.
Según reportan varios medios estadounidenses especializados en béisbol el representante del beisbolista cubano Yoan Moncada, David Hastings, recibió el viernes un correo electrónico de la OFAC en ese sentido tras solicitar la licencia específica que requiere la MLB.
Según la dependencia gubernamental, "no se concederá una licencia específica a nacionales cubanos que ya están desbloqueados a través de la licencia general".
En la comunicación a Hastings y otros jugadores y agentes, la OFAC precisa que la Sección 515.505 (a) (2) del Reglamento de Control de Activos Cubanos (CACR) "desbloquea a todo individuo nacional de Cuba que haya establecido su residencia permanente fuera de Cuba, siempre y cuando se obtenga  cierta documentación requerida y el individuo no sea un funcionario del Gobierno o miembro del Partido Comunista de Cuba prohibido".
La Oficina explica a los jugadores que "es política de la OFAC no conceder licencias específicas autorizando transacciones para las cuales son aplicables las disposiciones de una licencia general”.
"En consecuencia, no estamos emprendiendo ninguna acción en atención a su solicitud, a fin de que usted pueda determinar si el solicitante cualifica como un nacional cubano desbloqueado en virtud de la sección 515.505 (a) (2) del CACR. Si se determina que lo es, no se requiere una nueva autorización de la OFAC".
En otras palabras, cualquiera que cumpla con los requisitos del gobierno para ser amparado por la licencia general, que ya reúnen Moncada y los también prospectos cubanos Héctor Olivera y Andy Ibáñez, tiene luz verde de la OFAC para firmar con equipos de Grandes Ligas, y ahora la pelota estaría en la cancha de la MLB, que tendría que revisar sus directrices y ajustarlas a la nueva normativa.
"Me alegra que la Administración haya relajado el proceso para que los cubanos que salen de la isla puedan perseguir una carrera en el béisbol en Estados Unidos", dijo Hastings la noche del viernes.
"Voy a estar atento a la reacción de la MLB a la comunicación que recibí del Departamento del Tesoro aclarando que mi jugador cuenta de inmediato con una licencia para ser firmado y ya no tenemos que esperar una autorización especial, pues ya ha cumplido con las regulaciones que entraron en vigor el 16 de enero de 2015, de conformidad con las políticas anunciadas por el presidente para relajar las relaciones entre nuestros dos países".

MLB realizará consultas

La MLB exige actualmente que los cubanos obtengan una licencia específica más exigente de la OFAC antes de concederles la agencia libre, un proceso que les permite obtener contratos más jugosos que si lo hicieran a través del llamado reclutamiento, pero que puede tardar hasta seis meses. La licencia general sin embargo se centra en que el deportista haya fijado su residencia en un tercer país.
La organización emitió un comunicado fijando su posición en torno a los cambios:
 "La MLB tiene preguntas importantes con respecto a cómo las nuevas regulaciones se aplican a las circunstancias particulares de los jugadores cubanos, a partir de nuestra amplia experiencia en esta área, y nuestras conversaciones con la OFAC en años anteriores. La MLB está comprometida a  respetar las leyes de los Estados Unidos, y no cambiará su política, que requiere que los jugadores cubanos reciban una licencia específica de la OFAC para su desbloqueo, hasta que confirme con todas las ramas pertinentes de nuestro gobierno, incluida la OFAC, que cualquier nuevo enfoque sea coherente con la ley. Esperamos aclarar esta cuestión lo antes posible ".
Los expertos anticipan que el cienfueguero Moncada firmaría por alrededor de 40 millones de dólares. Se cree que los Medias Rojas, Yankees y Dodgers son los grandes favoritos para asegurar los servicios del fenómeno cubano de 19 años. Por un monto similar sería contratado Ibáñez, de 21 años, mientras que el pronóstico sobre Olivera, a punto de cumplir 30 y con algunas lesiones a cuestas, oscila entre los 20 y 40 millones.

jueves, enero 29, 2015

El contrarrevolucionario Fidel Castro

Habló. O mejor dicho, escribió. Nada importante ni trascendente, solo para desmarcarse de lo que sucede en estos días entre La Habana y Washington.
“No confío en la política de Estados Unidos ni he intercambiado una palabra con ellos, sin que esto signifique, ni mucho menos, un rechazo a una solución pacífica de los conflictos o peligros de guerra”, señala en una carta que menciona la prensa del régimen, la única permitida legalmente en Cuba.
Sus palabras fueron para asegurar que no tiene nada que ver con las decisiones de su hermano Raúl. Y recordar que el alacrán siempre clava el aguijón. En su exabrupto no puede ocultar rencor y rabia. Todos los gobiernos del mundo y casi todos los cubanos, independientemente de que apoyen o no la política del presidente Obama, mostraron satisfacción por lo que ocurría. Por eso Fidel Castro tenía que mostrar, si no su disgusto, porque hacerlo resultaría una torpeza monumental, al menos su indiferencia.
Eso de que lo que señala “no signifique, ni mucho menos, un rechazo a una solución pacífica de los conflictos o peligros de guerra” es difícil de creer, cuando fue precisamente él quien pidió a Nikita Jrushov, máximo dirigente soviético durante la crisis de los misiles de 1962, lanzar un primer golpe nuclear contra Estados Unidos. Fue él quien envió centenares de miles de cubanos a combatir a Angola y Etiopía para apoyar grupos políticos y dictadores aliados al comunismo. Fue él quien entrenó y exportó combatientes, guerrilleros, terroristas, dinero y recursos militares y de inteligencia a casi todos los países de América Latina, el Caribe y África, para inmiscuirse en sus asuntos internos y modificar por la fuerza sus sistemas políticos.
Tratando de restar méritos a su hermano, a quien ni menciona por su nombre, añadió que “el presidente de Cuba ha dado los pasos pertinentes de acuerdo a sus prerrogativas y las facultades que le conceden la Asamblea Nacional y el Partido Comunista de Cuba”. Como si la Asamblea Nacional sirviera para algo en Cuba.
Las destinatarios de su mensaje esta vez —aunque Fidel Castro sabe que sería reproducido por todos los medios de difusión del régimen— fueron estudiantes universitarios listos a recordar la llamada Marcha de las Antorchas. No tuvo trascendencia la marcha original en 1953, pero con ella hizo propaganda a su favor, como hace con todo lo que puede.
Algunos medios de prensa hablan de una “supuesta carta”. Poniendo en duda su autenticidad. ¿Cuándo aprenderán? ¿Todavía no conocen su estilo para escribir? O tal vez lo quieren muerto, porque no pueden creer que siga vivo. Aunque con posterioridad a la “supuesta” carta recibió a su compinche Frei Beto. A algunos por Miami se les podría caer el “tumbao” con la muerte del cadáver. Porque no lo quieren ni necesitan muerto. ¿Qué sería de ellos entonces? Y de las ayudas de “los yanquis” a vividores del anticastrismo, que en ocasiones gastan en “la Yuma” más del 75 % de lo que reciben para ayudar a “restablecer la democracia en Cuba”.
Sin embargo, en realidad lo que señala el otrora “invencible comandante” demuestra una vez más que su capacidad para interferir o vetar decisiones de la gerontocracia en el poder es cada vez más insignificante, si es que le queda alguna. Si hubiera tenido una salud aceptable y la mente lúcida, ni se hubieran producido conversaciones con EEUU, porque su estado natural de actuación es la confrontación, mientras más violenta mejor, siempre y cuando quienes participen en los choques y combates sean otros y no él.
Lo más cínico de su reciente mamotreto es el señalamiento de que Cuba —es decir, el régimen, porque para él ambas cosas son lo mismo, encarnadas en su persona— siempre defenderá “la cooperación y la amistad con todos los pueblos del mundo y entre ellos los de nuestros adversarios políticos. Es lo que estamos reclamando para todos”.
Habría que ver si reclamando para todos, pero de seguro no para disidentes y opositores dentro de la Isla, que no reciben del régimen cooperación ni amistad, sino todo lo contrario: condenas, cárcel, aislamiento, golpizas, amenazas, mítines de repudio, presiones, insultos, agresiones, discriminación, chantaje, acoso: castrismo puro y duro.
Afortunadamente para todos los cubanos —los de adentro y los de afuera— y el resto del mundo, Fidel Castro es cada vez más intrascendente. Su actuación contrarrevolucionaria ya no puede hacer mucho más daño que el que ha hecho hasta ahora, que ha sido demasiado.
En realidad, ya en estos momentos ni manda ni es noticia.
Aunque algunos aquí, allá y acullá, todavía no hayan podido sacarse definitivamente ese pequeño Fidel Castro que llevan en lo más profundo de su alma.

El senador Marco Rubio presidirá audiencia sobre Cuba

El senador republicano por la Florida, Marco Rubio, fuerte crítico del Gobierno de Raúl Castro y posible candidato a la Presidencia del país en 2016, presidirá el próximo martes la primera audiencia sobre el deshielo de las relaciones con Cuba que se celebra en el Senado tras su anuncio.
Rubio fue hoy nombrado Presidente del Subcomité para Asuntos del Hemisferio Occidental, Crimen Trasnacional, Seguridad Civil, Democracia, Derechos Humanos y Asuntos Mundiales de la Mujer, ante el que se celebrará dicha audiencia.
"Siendo de Florida, he visto cómo los acontecimientos en el Hemisferio Occidental no sólo impactan en nuestro estado sino en toda nuestra nación. Durante demasiado tiempo, el Congreso y la Administración no han logrado priorizar nuestras relaciones en este hemisferio", dijo Rubio tras su nombramiento.
"Esta falta de atención nos ha impedido aprovechar las oportunidades de una clase media en ascenso, ha envalentonado a los tiranos, ha permitido que actores no estatales erosionen valores democráticos y que competidores globales profundicen su influencia en el continente", aseveró el Senador, citado por la agencia EFE.
Rubio alertó, asimismo, sobre que Estados Unidos ha perdido su capacidad para responder ante la proliferación de la delincuencia organizada en las Américas.
"Como presidente del subcomité –añadió–, promoveré medidas audaces que mejoren los intereses económicos y de seguridad, abordando los crecientes llamados a la región para contar con instituciones transparentes, acceso a una educación de calidad, competitividad del sector privado, y respeto por la libertad política y económica para todos".
El legislador, gran escéptico sobre el proceso de acercamiento entre La Habana y Washington, resaltó también que trabajará por defender los Derechos Humanos en los países americanos, especialmente en Venezuela y Cuba.

miércoles, enero 28, 2015

Emilio Ichikawa » Todo el mundo oía… pero nadie escuchaba, ni atendía

El establishment (casta, elite, jet set, claque, etc.) de la disidencia/oposición cubana “exige” al gobierno norteamericano que le “escuche” antes de seguir adelante con la implementación de los lineamientos de su política hacia Cuba.
El pedido es correcto, porque no hay que ser muy exquisito para comprender que “escuchar” es un verbo un poco más exigente que “oír”. Sobre un deseo o una elección, “oír” indica una exposición ocasionalmente involuntaria. Es algo orgánico y no pocas veces hasta invasivo.
Como todo el mundo sabe (ellos en primer lugar) los miembros de la casta opositora, endogámica como el castrismo y con sus reses sagradas (valga la redundancia), han sido suficientemente “oídos” por representantes de las instituciones legislativas y ejecutivas norteamericanas. Lo que ruegan y exigen ahora (son sinónimos en su jerga) es que los “escuchen”.
Pero, ¿qué es lo que puede decir la disidencia/oposición cubana que los norteamericanos necesiten “escuchar”? O lo que es lo mismo: ¿qué desconocen los norteamericanos que, para saberlo, tengan que preguntar y por tanto “escuchar” a la disidencia/oposición cubana?
Un dato esencial, el mismo de siempre; aquel por el que los norteamericanos preguntaron en 1961 a los pioneros y adelantados anticastristas de Miami y a los antifidelistas de la isla: Si decidimos hacer algo fuerte, algo drástico contra la dictadura: ¿Los cubanos de a pie nos van a apoyar, se nos van a sumar?
Con seguridad, la respuesta que la disidencia/oposición cubana daría hoy es la misma de 1961: Adelante, que en Cuba todo el mundo se la pasa hablando mal del gobierno en privado y el apoyo público es un paripé.
En 1961 los norteamericanos no solo “oyeron”, no solo “escucharon”, sino que además “atendieron” a los disidentes/opositores de las dos orillas. Ya se sabe el resultado: En contra de su voluntad miles de cubanos aplaudieron el socialismo; bajo presión miles de cubanos ingresaron en las milicias y millones de cubanos hicieron el paripé de que apoyaban el canje de 1 (centenar de prisioneros) por 5 (millares de cajas de compota).
“Atender” indica un sistema de acciones que implica “asistir”, “estar”, “participar”. En este referente, “oír” y “escuchar” se presuponen.
Por demás es normal que la gente hable bien de los gobiernos en el espacio público “fingiendo”, desdoblándose; cuando está bajo algún tipo de presión, compulsión o coacción. Hablar voluntariamente bien de los gobernantes en el ámbito de lo privado es perturbador; y en la esfera de lo íntimo, enfermizo.
Aunque “oigan”, los oficiales del gobierno de Obama no “escuchan” ni “prestan atención” a la disidencia/oposición cubana porque tienen conocimiento de la historia y de la lógica. Y porque tienen a la CIA y la Agencia Nacional de Seguridad, que son fuentes más confiables para que el Presidente de EEUU esté correctamente informado de lo que pasa en Cuba y en la cama de tu casa.
-IMAGENWe Demand / Nosotros exigimos: Por firuzkutal, en ToonPool

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.
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Retratos de fusilados por el Castrismo - Juan Abreu


"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


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.


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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


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]


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


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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