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[VIDEO] 3 Ways Bitcoin Is Promoting Freedom in Latin America

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How bitcoin is allowing Venezuelans to circumvent capital controls, Brazilians to get around tariffs—and might one day improve Latin America‘s overall business climate.

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Covert CIA Plot to Wait Until Fidel Castro Dies of Old Age Successful

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Langley, VA – A decades-long plot to get Cuban dictator Fidel Castro to pass away peacefully in his sleep has come to fruition, according to a statement from the CIA. “We are proud to announce that our 53 years of patience have finally paid off,” said CIA spokesperson Ryan Trimarchi. “It seems silly in retrospect…(read more)

Source: The Beaverton


[VIDEO] REWIND January 11, 1959: Rebel Leader Fidel Castro on CBS ‘Face the Nation’

Shortly after leading rebel forces in overthrowing Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, Fidel Castro appeared on the Jan. 11, 1959 edition of Face the Nation.

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Castro, Chavez, and ‘Bad Luck’

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Castro and his ilk showed us that under socialism, the powerful grow rich — and everyone else grows poor.

Robert Heinlein once wrote:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.em

This is known as “bad luck.”

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Glenn Reynolds writes: I thought about this statement this weekend, reading two news stories. The first was about the tide of Venezuelans taking to boats to escape Venezuela’s economic collapse. As The New York Times reported, “Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s richest countries, flush with oil wealth that attracted immigrants from places as varied as Europe and the Middle East.”

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“Although many among Western political and entertainment elites still think of Fidel Castro fondly, such people are, at best, what Lenin called ‘useful idiots.'”

“But after President Hugo Chávez vowed to break the country’s economic elite and redistribute wealth to the poor, the rich and middle class fled to more welcoming countries in droves, creating what demographers describe as Venezuela’s first diaspora.”

[Read the full story here, at USAToday]

Now, in their absence, things have gotten worse, and it’s poorer Venezuelans — the very ones that Chavez’s revolution was allegedly intended to help — who are starving. Many are even taking to boats, echoing, as the Times notes, “an image so symbolic of the perilous journeys to escape Cuba or Haiti — but not oil-rich Venezuela.”

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Well, Venezuela was once rich. But mismanagement and kleptocracy can make any country poor and Venezuela — as is typical with countries whose leaders promise to soak the rich for the benefit of the poor — has had plenty of both.  Read the rest of this entry »


DO-OVER? Trudeau Humiliated for Statement of Condolences in Which He called Mass Murderer Fidel Castro a ‘Remarkable Leader’

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Fidel Castro was a dictator and he did not intend to minimize the former Cuban leader’s human rights abuses…but then goes on to double down on his statements of heartfelt sympathy and enduring affection for Cuba’s murderous totalitarian dictator.

The prime minister came under fire Saturday after issuing a statement of condolences for Castro in which he described the former president as “a remarkable leader” and family friend.  Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose, as well as a number of Conservative leadership hopefuls and U.S. Republican senators, lambasted Trudeau for his choice of words.

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“On the passing of his death I expressed a statement that highlighted the deep connection between the people of Canada and the people of Cuba.”

— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Trudeau did not back down from the statement when pressed by reporters Sunday in Madagascar, where he is attending la Francophonie summit of French-speaking nations.

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“Yes, his accomplishments will be in various tones of grey — some white, some black — but historians will have to decide this. I see no controversy in describing him as a giant of the 20th century.”

— Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard

“There are people who have many memories and who experienced a great deal of difficulty because of what happened in Cuba, and I am not minimizing any of that,” Trudeau said.

Asked by CBC News senior parliamentary reporter Catherine Cullen whether he believes Castro was a dictator, Trudeau replied: “Yes.”

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“The fact is Fidel Castro had a deep and lasting impact on the Cuban people. He certainly was a polarizing figure and there certainly were concerns around human rights. That’s something that I’m open about and that I’ve highlighted,” he added.

“But on the passing of his death I expressed a statement that highlighted the deep connection between the people of Canada and the people of Cuba.”

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, who is also at the summit, defended Trudeau, calling his statement about Castro’s death “well-balanced.” Read the rest of this entry »


Nicolás Maduro es Encantador y Persuasivo! Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Threatens to Jail Opponents

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Caracas (AFP) – Venezuela‘s President Nicolas Maduro threatened on Friday to jail his political opponents if they follow through on their vow of launching a legislative trial to remove him from power.

Shrugging off a partially-observed strike which the opposition called to raise pressure on him, the socialist president went on the counterattack.

Maduro sharpened the tone in a volatile political and economic crisis that has sparked food shortages and riots in the South American oil producer.

“If they launch a supposed political trial, which is not in our constitution, the state prosecution service must bring legal action in the courts and put in jail anyone who violates the constitution, even if they are members of Congress,” Maduro said in a speech Friday.

Friday’s strike was called after authorities blocked a bid by the center right-dominated MUD coalition to hold a referendum on removing Maduro from power.

After that move, the crisis heated up this week. Opposition lawmakers vowed to put Maduro on trial and exchanged accusations of coup-mongering with the mustachioed president.

Friday’s strike seemed to be only partially observed.

In the capital Caracas and cities such as Maracaibo and San Cristobal, the streets were quieter than normal but public transport was running and banks and some schools opened as usual.

Clashes broke out in recent days between riot police and pro- and anti-government protesters around the country.

Maduro earlier threatened to break the strike by sending the army to take over firms that took part in it.

The center-right coalition’s latest move to pressure the unpopular leftist leader came after anti-government protests drew hundreds of thousands of people on Wednesday.

Maduro vowed to respond forcefully. Read the rest of this entry »


Panama Papers Are About Government Corruption, Not ‘Tax Evasion’

 Russian President Vladimir Putin (Reuters)

Governments will seek to focus on general tax evasion charges to distract from evidence of corruption by public officials.

 writes: While contemporary governments have carved out for themselves significant authority in demanding citizens of their countries do specific things with their money, it doesn’t change the principle of self-ownership. Were private citizens to follow their money off-shore in the wake of this, would their governments demand to control their flight as well as their capital’s? It’s not just theoretical.

“A person’s money belongs to them, not the government, just as their bodies and their freedoms do.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has pushed the idea of seizing the passports of citizens who have too many interests overseas. Maybe he ought to support Donald Trump building a big wall after all—at least that’d be consistent and honest. Capital controls are restrictions of free movement much like walls are.

The euro tumbled to a nine-year low Monday as new worries flared over Greece, where a woman in Athens passed a currency-changing business. Associated Press

“The ‘Panama Papers’ are the largest leak in world history, revealing millions of documents related to the offshore accounts of politicians, former politicians, and billionaires around the world.”

Despite much of the media’s focus on tax evasion as the primary theme of the Panama Papers story, which embarrassed governments are happy to adopt as the primary theme as well, the question is one of official corruption.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) itself, which first published the data, says it reveals the holdings of “drug dealers, Mafia members, corrupt politicians and tax evaders–and wrongdoing galore.”

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Yet the numbers they offer tell a different story. According to ICIJ, 214,000 entities are described in the Panama Papers. They include the off-shore assets of 140 politicians and other public figures (including 12 current or former heads of state or government), as well as 33 people and companies that were “blacklisted by the U.S. government because of evidence that they’d been involved in wrongdoing, such as doing business with Mexican drug lords, terrorist organizations like Hezbollah or rogue nations like North Korea and Iran.” Yet The Economist counts 33 Forbes list billionaires to the 140 politicians in the Panama Papers. Read the rest of this entry »


Polls: Americans’ Opposition to Mass Immigration Spikes to All-Time High

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American opposition to the Obama administration and GOP establishment’s extremist immigration policies is boiling at an all-time high, a broad survey of polls shows.

Katie McHugh reports: Sixty percent of Americans are displeased with the current levels of immigration, according to Gallup—a decline from 72 percent in 2008, when the country plunged into a recession, but an increase of six percent from 2014. The majority of adults Gallup polled, 39 percent in a plurality, said they wanted to see immigration levels decrease. Gallup presents these numbers through a partisan filter as “fodder” for Republicans, discomforted as they are by the results.

According to Pew Research Center, 69 percent of Americans want to “restrict and control” immigration rates. That’s 72 percent of whites, 66 percent of blacks, and 59 percent of Hispanics. Pew frames its questions to suggest that minorities are being somehow oppressed in America, so the results are not only indicative of support for immigration control but also a rejection of the leftist narrative that the U.S. selfishly hoards its goodies from the world. (DREAMers are just breaking into the country for a better, more exciting life of murder and mayhem, you see.)

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A nervous Reuters report, published before the historic 2014 midterm elections, found that support for reduced rates of immigration crushed support for an increase by a three-to-one margin, 45 percent to 17.

With reports revealing that foreign-born workers seized all newly-created jobs from 2000 to 2014, Americans sense that while low-skilled immigrants steal opportunities from Americans looking to enter the job market, highly-skilled immigrants imported on the cheap by businesses threaten to turn middle class professionals into commoditiesSixty-one percent of respondents polled by Princeton Survey Research Associates in June 2013 said we must restrict the number of highly-skilled foreign workers coming into the country, the same summer the Senate struggled to pass the Gang of Eight immigration bill to open the floodgates. Read the rest of this entry »


The 20th Anniversary of the Castro Regime’s ’13 de Marzo’ Tugboat Massacre

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All they wanted was to escape tyranny and slavery and give their children and themselves a chance to live in freedom. For Cuba’s Castro dictatorship, however, such yearning for liberty is a sin against the revolution. In fact, it is a sin so grave and so heinous that it is punishable by death….(read more)

L.A. Liberty


Revealed: U.S. Secretly Created Network to Undermine Castro Regime, Stir Cuban Unrest

The Associated Press has learned the U.S. government created of a ‘Cuban Twitter,’ a communications network designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba.

Ed has some commentary at Hot Air:

…it also has a whiff of the NSA scandal, too:

“Mock ad banners will give it the appearance of a commercial enterprise,” one written proposal obtained by the AP said. Behind the scenes, ZunZuneo’s computers were also storing and analyzing subscribers’ messages and other demographic information, including gender, age, “receptiveness” and “political tendencies.” USAID believed the demographics on dissent could help it target its other Cuba programs and “maximize our possibilities to extend our reach.”

Of course, had this worked, it would have been hailed as a success story. Unfortunately, right now it looks like the worst of government programs: unauthorized, secret, incompetent, and snooping…(read more)

 

YouTube, AP, Hot Air

Read the rest of this entry »


Cuba: The Lost World, Part II

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This is the second in a two-part series about Cuba beyond HavanaClick here for Part I.

Michael J. Totten writes:  Most of Cuba is flat with low rolling hills, but after leaving Cienfuegos and heading toward Trinidad, I saw the Escambray Mountains—home of the anti-communist insurgency known as the Escambray Rebellion—off in the distance.

The island finally had a skyline.

Those mountains might be a nice place to camp or go hiking (you would not want to camp or hike in the sweltering lowlands), but the overwhelming majority of Cubans have no way to get there. They aren’t prohibited from traveling to or in the mountains, but hardly anyone owns a car. Salaries are capped at twenty dollars a month. Driving to the mountains for a day hike from Havana would cost more than a months’ salary just for the gas. A bus ticket likewise costs more than a month’s salary.

Animal and Car Trinidad

Then it hit me, ton-of-bricks style. Most Cubans have never seen those mountains. Nor have they seen Trinidad, one of the oldest Spanish colonial cities in the hemisphere which lies on a narrow coastal plane between the Escambray and the Caribbean.

Read the rest of this entry »


Cuba: The Lost World

Michael J. Totten has an essay in World Affairs Journal you won’t want to miss:

Classic cars for rent in Havana

Michael J. Totten  writes:  I needed to go on a road trip in a country where hardly anyone can go on a road trip.

“Don’t even think about driving in Cuba.”

That’s what I was told by an American man and travel industry pro who has visited the Caribbean people’s republic more times than I’ve left my home country combined.

“But I’ve driven in Lebanon,” I said. “And Albania.” No one drives as badly as the Lebanese and Albanians, bless their hearts. Even the Iraqis and Israelis drive like Canadians by comparison. “Besides, Cuba hardly has any cars. How bad could the traffic possibly be?”

“The roads are dark at night and filled with pedestrians, bicycles, and animals,” he said. “There are no signs and you’ll be arrested if you get in an accident.”

Getting arrested in a communist police state ranks on my to-do list alongside being stricken with cancer and getting snatched off a Middle Eastern street by Al Qaeda.

Read the rest of this entry »


American Heiress Slain at Luxury Honduras Spa

Nedenia Dye is shown in this video titled, "GW Women’s Leadership Program Speaker Series – Robin Delaloye and Nedenia Dye." YouTube

Nedenia Dye is shown in this video titled, “GW Women’s Leadership Program Speaker Series – Robin Delaloye and Nedenia Dye.” YouTube

Gillian Mohney reports:  The great-granddaughter of General Mills heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post was found stabbed to death in her luxury Honduras spa, law enforcement officials told the Associated Press.

Nedenia Post Dye, 46, was found stabbed in her spa on the resort island of Roatan, Honduras on Dec. 22.

Lenin Roberto Arana, 25, was arrested and charged with Dye’s murder, police officials told The Associated Press.

Arana allegedly said he and Dye were romantically involved, but police said Dye was trying to help Arana quit drugs, according to the AP.

“She was a good woman who worked with young people at risk, drug addicts and alcoholics,” Roatan police chief Alex Madrid told the AP.

Roatan police did not respond to ABC News’ attempts to contact them.

Madrid said Arana, a local singer who goes by the stage name “Canary,” was soaked in blood when police stopped him in Dye’s car. Arana told local reporters that he is innocent.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Once Great City of Havana

“Havana is like Pompeii and Castro is its Vesuvius.” – Anthony Daniels

Michael J. Totten writes: Almost every picture I’ve ever seen of Cuba’s capital shows the city in ruins. Una Noche, the 2012 gut punch of a film directed by Lucy Mulloy, captures in nearly every shot the savage decay of what was once the Western Hemisphere’s most beautiful city.

So I was stunned when I saw the restored portion of Old Havana for the first time.

It is magnificent. And it covers a rather large area. A person could wander around there all day, and I did. At first glance you could easily mistake it for Europe and could kid yourself into thinking Cuba is doing just fine.

Restored Square Old Havana

And yet, photographers largely ignore it. Filmmakers, too. It must drive Cuba’s ministers of tourism nuts. Why do you people only photograph the decay? We spent so much time, effort, and money cleaning up before you got here.

Perhaps the wrecked part of the city—which is to say, most of it—strikes more people as photogenic. But I don’t think that’s it. The reason restored Old Havana is ignored by photographers, I believe, is because it looks and feels fake.

It was fixed up just for tourists. Only communist true believers would go to Cuba on holiday if the entire capital were still a vast ruinscape. And since hardly anyone is a communist anymore, something had to be done.

But it doesn’t look fake because it looks nice. Czechoslovakia was gray and dilapidated during the communist era, but no one thinks Prague isn’t authentic now that it’s lovely again. The difference is that the Czechs didn’t erect a Potemkin façade in a single part of their capital just to bait tourists. They repaired the entire city because, after the fall of the communist government, they finally could.

Nothing like that has occurred in Havana. The rotting surfaces of some of the buildings have been restored, but those changes are strictly cosmetic. Look around. There’s still nothing to buy. You’ll find a few nice restaurants and bars here and there, but they’re owned by the state and only foreigners go there. The locals can’t afford to eat or drink out because the state caps their salaries at twenty dollars a month. Restored Old Havana looks and feels no more real than the Las Vegas version of Venice.

It’s sort of pleasant regardless, but it reeks of apartheid. The descendents of the people who built this once fabulous city, the ones who live in it now, aren’t allowed to enjoy it. All they can do is walk around on the streets outside and peer in through the glass.

Nice Narrow Street Havana

The semi-fake renovation is, however, good enough that one thing is blindingly obvious: If Cuba had free enterprise, and if Americans could travel there without restrictions, the economy would go supernova.

“The touristy parts of Havana are lovely,” said a friend of mine who has been there many times and returned home with a Cuban wife a few years ago. “But if you get out of the bubble and look at the places the tourist busses don’t go, you will see a different Havana.”

That’s for damn sure.

I walked toward the center of town from the somewhat remote Habana Libre Hotel and found myself the only foreigner in a miles-wide swath of destruction. Read the rest of this entry »