Posted: February 27, 2017 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Barack Obama, Communist Party, Cuba, Cuba–United States relations, Dictatorship, Donald Trump, Fidel Castro, Havana, Marxism, Miami, President of Cuba, Raúl Castro
Mimi Whitfield and Nora Gámez Torres report: A year from now — on Feb. 24 — something is expected to occur in Cuba that hasn’t happened in more than 40 years: a non-Castro will occupy the presidency.
The coming year will be one of definitions in Cuba. But right now there is only uncertainty — not only about how the transition will proceed but also about the future of Cuba’s relationship with the United States with President Donald Trump at the helm.
In 2013, Raúl Castro told Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power, the parliament, that he planned to retire from the presidency of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers on Feb. 24, 2018. His heir apparent became Miguel Díaz-Canel, a party stalwart who at the time was promoted to first vice president of both councils.
When Castro retires as president, the Cuban Constitution also calls for him to relinquish his post of commander in chief of Cuba’s armed forces. A Cuba without a khaki-clad Castro commanding the Revolutionary Armed Forces is something many younger Cubans have never experienced.
Díaz-Canel’s ascension next Feb. 24 — a date that has long had resonance in Cuba history — is not assured, but most observers believe that a new National Assembly that will be seated then will rubber stamp him as Cuba’s next president and he will replace the 85-year-old Castro.
Even with a successor, Castro is still expected to retain consider clout. He has said nothing about stepping down as chief of Cuba’s powerful Communist Party and Cuba’s military leaders are solid Raúlistas. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 22, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Entertainment, History, Humor | Tags: Communism, Cuba, Death of Fidel Castro, Dictator, Dictatorship, Fidel Castro, Havana, Marxism, Miami, murder, Oppression, Terror, Torture
Posted: December 19, 2016 Filed under: Censorship, Crime & Corruption, Global | Tags: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Cuba, Dilma Rousseff, Fidel Castro, Fulgencio Batista, Havana, Miami, Raúl Castro, Santiago de Cuba, United States Secretary of Defense
In the first such anti-dissident operation since Fidel Castro’s death last month, President Raul Castro seemed to indicate the Americas’ only one-party communist state was in no mood for dissent.
Havana (AFP) – Authorities across Cuba have cracked down on dissidents, arresting dozens, keeping others from marching in Havana, and detaining an American human rights lawyer, activists said Sunday.
“There was a joint operation at 6:00 am in Santiago and Palma Soriano. They searched four homes, and so far we have 42 reported arrests — 20 in Santiago, 12 in Palma and 10 in Havana…They threatened me, and said by calling the demonstration I was facilitating public disorder…. disobedience and espionage.”
— Jose Daniel Ferrer, head of the Patriotic Union of Cuba
In the first such anti-dissident operation since Fidel Castro’s death last month, President Raul Castro seemed to indicate the Americas’ only one-party communist state was in no mood for dissent.
A roundup in the country’s east snared dozens and derailed street protests planned to demand that political prisoners be freed.
“There was a joint operation at 6:00 am in Santiago and Palma Soriano. They searched four homes, and so far we have 42 reported arrests — 20 in Santiago, 12 in Palma and 10 in Havana,” Jose Daniel Ferrer told AFP by phone.
The 46-year-old, who heads the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu), had called the demonstrations to demand that political prisoners be set free. Castro insists there are no political prisoners, just lawbreakers.
Ferrer said he was detained in Santiago, Cuba‘s second biggest city, at a police unit known as Micro 9.
“They threatened me, and said by calling the demonstration I was facilitating public disorder…. disobedience and espionage,” Ferrer said.
Most arrests of dissidents in roundups are brief. Sometimes, the authorities prevent them from leaving their homes to attend a protest or march.
Ladies in White, shut in
In Havana, the award-winning Ladies in White group, which presses for the release of jailed dissidents who are their relatives, said that at least 20 of its activists were “under siege,” kept from attending their weekly march. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 2, 2016 Filed under: Global, History, Mediasphere, Politics, Terrorism | Tags: Cuba, Death of Fidel Castro, Fidel Casto, Havana, Miami, Peter Hitchens
Posted: November 28, 2016 Filed under: Censorship, Crime & Corruption, Global, Mediasphere, Terrorism | Tags: Batista, Charles M. Blow, Che Guevara, CNN, Cold War, Communist Party of Cuba, Cuba, Cuban Revolution, Democratic Party (United States), Fidel Castro, General Fulgencio Batista, Miami, Raúl Castro, Soviet Union, The New York Times, United States
There is irony in the convergence of two story lines this month.
James Zumwalt writes: In the aftermath of a contentious U.S. presidential campaign, the first involved concerns over the rise of fake news stories online. As one critic notes, they “proliferate on social media… often shared more than real news is.”
That critic suggests, “To remove the appeal of fake news, people need to value debate and discussion with those who hold opposing views.” Sadly, as the presidential campaign demonstrated, the public leaves its education to the Internet and not debate.
“During a triumphant 1959 visit to New York City, Castro claimed his ‘greatest ploy’ was fooling Matthews. Castro said he only had twenty men left at the time but convinced Matthews he had control of a huge army.”
But such fake news stories are not an evolutionary evil of the Internet. The rise of fake news stories to manipulate public sentiment existed long before the Internet became a gleam in Al Gore’s eye. Late 19thcentury America bore witness to “yellow journalism”—the practice of sensationalizing stories to stir up public sentiment and newspaper sales.
New York Times reporter Herbert Lionel Matthews with Fidel Castro
“When questions surfaced in early 1957 regarding whether Castro was even alive, Fidel agreed to a NYT interview, at his mountain hideout, with reporter Herbert Matthews. Matthews’ article gleefully reported Castro was still alive and the Cuban government was fighting a ‘losing battle’ against him. Matthews described an abundance of activity and troop movements in and out of Castro’s hideout.”
The second storyline this month involved the death of Cuba’s nonagenarian former president and dictator, Fidel Castro, 90, who unabashedly took credit for having long ago fed the New York Times (NYT) fake news.
[Order Armando Valladares‘ book “Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro’s Gulag” from Amazon.com]
In 1952, a coup by General Fulgencio Batista overthrew the democratically elected Cuban government. The following year, Castro and a small group of followers formed “the Movement.” The group undertook sporadic guerrilla operations against Batista.
[Read the full story here, at Breitbart]
By 1957, the Cuban Revolution had stalled. The NYT began publishing a series of pro-Castro articles portraying him as a freedom fighter seeking to restore democracy to the island nation.
Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. holds up four fingers to indicate the four Pulitzer Prizes won by the New York Times, as winners for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize are announced at The New York Times newsroom in New York April 15, 2013. Also pictured are (from L-R): CEO Mark Thompson, Sulzberger, Assistant Managing Editor Susan Chira, Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal (obscured by Chira) and Executive Editor Jill Abramson. REUTERS/Ruth Fremson/Pool
“Despite the NYT’s post-U.S. presidential election demands for more responsibility monitoring fake news, in writing about Castro, its reporting staff failed to get the word. The newspaper pays tribute to the brutal dictator as ‘the fiery apostle of revolution’ who ‘bedeviled 11 American presidents…’ Only buried deep therein is any reference made Castro wielded power ‘like a tyrant.’”
When questions surfaced in early 1957 regarding whether Castro was even alive, Fidel agreed to a NYT interview, at his mountain hideout, with reporter Herbert Matthews. Matthews’ article gleefully reported Castro was still alive and the Cuban government was fighting a “losing battle” against him. Matthews described an abundance of activity and troop movements in and out of Castro’s hideout.
“This salute stands in stark contrast to a book written by the ‘Cuban Solzhenitsyn,’ as Armando Valladares is known, who spent 22 years in the country’s dungeons. Titled ‘Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro’s Gulag’, his book is credited with revealing Cuba’s communist tyranny to the same extent Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago revealed Soviet despotism.”
The articles elevated Castro’s profile, giving him credibility both at home and abroad and helping propel his rise to power. In January 1959, the Batista government fell—and Fidel, the avowed democratic leader, established a revolutionary socialist state. In 1965, the Movement revealed its true colors, becoming the Communist Party.
“His legacy in Cuba and elsewhere has been a mixed record of social progress and abject poverty, of racial equality and political persecution, of medical advances and a degree of misery comparable to the conditions that existed in Cuba when he entered Havana as a victorious guerrilla commander in 1959.”
— The New York Times’ final Castro salute to Fidel Castro
During a triumphant 1959 visit to New York City, Castro claimed his “greatest ploy” was fooling Matthews. Castro said he only had twenty men left at the time but convinced Matthews he had control of a huge army. Matthews’ observations supported this as he wrote, “From the look of things, General Batista cannot possibly hope to suppress the Castro revolt.”
Castro accomplished this ploy by marching “the same group past Matthews several times and also stag(ing) the arrival of ‘messengers’ reporting the movement of other (nonexistent) units.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 28, 2016 Filed under: Global, History, Mediasphere, War Room | Tags: Caribbean, Cuba, Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, Fulgencio Batista, Little Havana, Miami, Miami Herald, Raúl Castro, United States
Shortly after leading rebel forces in overthrowing Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, Fidel Castro appeared on the Jan. 11, 1959 edition of Face the Nation.
Posted: November 28, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Global, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Africa, Angola, Barack Obama, Bay of Pigs Invasion, Caribbean, Che Guevara, Cuba, Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, Havana, Latin America, Little Havana, Miami, Raúl Castro, The New York Times
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.”
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.”
“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.”
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 »
Posted: November 27, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere | Tags: Barack Obama, Cold War, Cuba, Cuban Missile Crisis, Fidel Castro, Havana, Little Havana, Miami, President of Cuba, Raúl Castro
North Korea and Cuba maintained close ties throughout the Cold War era. Havana has remained one of Pyongyang’s strongest international allies for over half of the century.
Vasudevan Sridharan reports: North Korea has declared three days of mourning beginning on Monday, 28 November to mark the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Hailing the Cuban revolutionary as a “comrade and close friend” of North Korean people, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has also penned a condolence letter to President Raul Castro.
“He was the close friend and comrade of the Korean people who made all efforts to strengthen the friendly and cooperative relations between the two parties, governments and peoples of our two countries and extended firm support and encouragement to our efforts for national reunification and just cause with the invariable revolutionary principle and obligation for over half a century.”
The ruling party’s central seat of power – the presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly and the cabinet had jointly decided that there will be a three-day mourning period – Pyongyang’s state-run mouthpieces say. According to the regime-backed Rodong Sinmun, the North Korea’s top political bodies have decided to “hoist flags at half-mast at major organisations and designated places”.
“Though he passed away, the precious feats he performed will remain forever in the hearts of the peoples of our two countries and the hearts of progressive mankind.”
The death of Castro, who came to power in 1959 ushering in a communist revolution, was announced on Friday, 25 November. Cuba had declared nine days of mourning to commemorate the 90-year-old. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 27, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere | Tags: Barack Obama, Bay of Pigs Invasion, Central Intelligence Agency, Cuba, Cuban Missile Crisis, Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, Havana, Little Havana, Miami, President of Cuba, Raúl Castro, Soviet Union, United States
Maldonado had reportedly begun to spray-paint the words ‘he’s gone’ along the streets of Havana. Police are reportedly stationed outside his door, preventing anyone from entering the apartment. Maldonado’s mother fears police are planting evidence in his house to keep him detained on false charges.
Frances Martel reports: Cuban secret police have abducted the anti-communist artist Danilo Maldonado, according to his mother, who told the Spain-based Diario de Cuba that he had taken to the streets late Friday to celebrate the death of dictator Fidel Castro.
“They asked the landlady for his key, they broke into his house and took him away. We don’t know where,” María Victoria Machado González said of her son, calling his arrest an “abduction.” “He went out last night to celebrate Fidel Castro’s death, to place signs all over Havana,” she noted.
“They asked the landlady for his key, they broke into his house and took him away. We don’t know where… He went out last night to celebrate Fidel Castro’s death, to place signs all over Havana.”
— María Victoria Machado González
Maldonado had reportedly begun to spray-paint the words “he’s gone” along the streets of Havana. “The images are already circulating” in Cuba, his mother alleged. Police are reportedly stationed outside his door, preventing anyone from entering the apartment. Maldonado’s mother fears police are planting evidence in his house to keep him detained on false charges.
[Read the full story here, at Breitbart ]
Even if they do not plant any evidence, Maldonado’s mother says the artist kept a collection of about 30 political works, all of which could be punishable under communist law.
Maldonado became famous in Havana for his anti-communist street art and served time in prison in 2015 following an attempted art installation in public. In October 2015, Maldonado was arrested carrying two pigs painted with the names “Fidel” and “Raúl” on their backs, in an homage to the novel 1984. He planned to set them loose in a Havana square. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 27, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Diplomacy, Global, History, Politics, Russia, Terrorism, War Room | Tags: Bay of Pigs Invasion, Che Guevara, Cold War, Cuba, Cuban Missile Crisis, Cuban Revolution, Cubans, Fidel Castro, Florida, Havana, Little Havana, Miami, President of Cuba, Raúl Castro, Soviet Union, United States
‘Pointing out to such believers that Castro imprisoned, tortured and murdered thousands more of his own people than any other Latin American dictator was usually futile. His well-documented cruelty made little difference, even when acknowledged, for he was judged according to some aberrant ethical code that defied logic.’
Carlos Eire writes: One of the most brutal dictators in modern history has just died. Oddly enough, some will mourn his passing, and many an obituary will praise him. Millions of Cubans who have been waiting impatiently for this moment for more than half a century will simply ponder his crimes and recall the pain and suffering he caused.
“According to Castro and to his propagandists, the so-called revolution was not about creating a repressive totalitarian state and securing his rule as an absolute monarch, but rather about eliminating illiteracy, poverty, racism, class differences and every other ill known to humankind.”
Why this discrepancy? Because deceit was one of Fidel Castro’s greatest talents, and gullibility is one of the world’s greatest frailties. A genius at myth-making, Castro relied on the human thirst for myths and heroes.
[Read the full text here, at the Washington Post]
His lies were beautiful, and so appealing. According to Castro and to his propagandists, the so-called revolution was not about creating a repressive totalitarian state and securing his rule as an absolute monarch, but rather about eliminating illiteracy, poverty, racism, class differences and every other ill known to humankind. This bold lie became believable, thanks largely to Castro’s incessant boasting about free schools and medical care, which made his myth of the benevolent utopian revolution irresistible to many of the world’s poor.
Many intellectuals, journalists and educated people in the First World fell for this myth, too — though they would have been among the first to be jailed or killed by Castro in his own realm — and their assumptions acquired an intensity similar to that of religious convictions.
[ALSO SEE – Fidel Castro and dead utopianism]
[What Fidel Castro Taught Me About the Radical Left]
Pointing out to such believers that Castro imprisoned, tortured and murdered thousands more of his own people than any other Latin American dictator was usually futile. His well-documented cruelty made little difference, even when acknowledged, for he was judged according to some aberrant ethical code that defied logic.
If this were a just world, 13 facts would be etched on Castro’s tombstone and highlighted in every obituary, as bullet points — a fitting metaphor for someone who used firing squads to murder thousands of his own people.
●He turned Cuba into a colony of the Soviet Union and nearly caused a nuclear holocaust.
●He sponsored terrorism wherever he could and allied himself with many of the worst dictators on earth.
●He was responsible for so many thousands of executions and disappearances in Cuba that a precise number is hard to reckon.
●He brooked no dissent and built concentration camps and prisons at an unprecedented rate, filling them to capacity, incarcerating a higher percentage of his own people than most other modern dictators, including Stalin.
●He condoned and encouraged torture and extrajudicial killings.
[Read the full story here, at the Washington Post]
●He forced nearly 20 percent of his people into exile, and prompted thousands to meet their deaths at sea, unseen and uncounted, while fleeing from him in crude vessels.
●He claimed all property for himself and his henchmen, strangled food production and impoverished the vast majority of his people.
●He outlawed private enterprise and labor unions, wiped out Cuba’s large middle class and turned Cubans into slaves of the state.
●He persecuted gay people and tried to eradicate religion.
●He censored all means of expression and communication.
●He established a fraudulent school system that provided indoctrination rather than education, and created a two-tier health-care system, with inferior medical care for the majority of Cubans and superior care for himself and his oligarchy, and then claimed that all his repressive measures were absolutely necessary to ensure the survival of these two ostensibly “free” social welfare projects.
●He turned Cuba into a labyrinth of ruins and established an apartheid society in which millions of foreign visitors enjoyed rights and privileges forbidden to his people.
●He never apologized for any of his crimes and never stood trial for them.
“This bold lie became believable, thanks largely to Castro’s incessant boasting about free schools and medical care, which made his myth of the benevolent utopian revolution irresistible to many of the world’s poor.”
This Kafkaesque moral disequilibrium had a touch of magical realism, for sure, as outrageously implausible as anything that Castro’s close friend Gabriel García Márquez could dream up. For instance, in 1998, around the same time that Chile’s ruler Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London for his crimes against humanity, Cuba’s self-anointed “maximum leader” visited Spain with ample fanfare, unmolested, even though his human rights abuses dwarfed those of Pinochet.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 27, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Diplomacy, Global, Mediasphere, Politics, Terrorism | Tags: Barack Obama, Caribbean, Cuba, Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, Florida, Fulgencio Batista, Havana, Little Havana, Miami, Miami Herald, Miami-Dade County, Raúl Castro
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.
“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.
“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.”
“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 »
Posted: November 26, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Entertainment, History, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Chevy Chase, comedy, Death of Fidel Castro, Fidel Castro, Generalissimo Franco, Havana, Little Havana, Miami, News for the Hard of Hearing, Saturday Night Live, SNL, SPAIN, Weekend Update
Posted: November 26, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, History, Humor, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Belgium, Canada, Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, Cuba, Cuba–United States relations, Cuban exile, Cuban Missile Crisis, Cuban Revolution, Donald Tusk, European Union, Fidel Castro, Havana, Jean-Claude Juncker, Jeremy Corbyn, Justin Trudeau, Miami, President of Cuba, President of the European Commission, Prime Minister of Canada, Raúl Castro
CNN mourns: Fidel Castro Ruz, the political personality, has died. Fidel Castro, the historical persona, has been born. He passes from the present into the past, to serve as an enduring historical subject of debate and dispute, about whom dispassion will be impossible for years to come. Fidel Castro was not a man about whom one is likely to be neutral.
NRO‘s Andrew Stuttaford writes:
Fidel is a metaphor. He is a Rorschach blot upon which to project fears or hopes. A prism in which the spectrum of colors refracted out has to do with light that went in. He is a point of view, loaded with ideological purport and political meaning. A David who survived Goliath. A symbol of Third World intransigence against First World domination.
But it is also possible to discuss the historical “essences” of Fidel Castro. He emerged out of a history shaped by a century of Cuban national frustration, heir to a legacy of unfulfilled hopes for national sovereignty and self-determination, aspirations that put Cuba on a collision course with the United States. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 26, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Andrea Mitchell, CNN, Cuba, Fidel Castro, Fulgencio Batista, Little Havana, Miami, MSNBC, President of Cuba, Raúl Castro, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Chronicle
reports: Fidel Castro, who died late Friday night, was a tyrant who oppressed Cubans and brought misery to many for several decades and while much of the breaking news coverage emphasized that reality, journalists on ABC, CNN
– matching how too much of the media approached Castro for decades – couldn’t resist crediting him for supposed great advancements in education, literacy and health care.
“Castro ‘was considered, even to this day, the George Washington of his country among those who remain in Cuba’.”
On MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell
insisted in a stock bio that Castro “gave his people better health care and education.” Appearing live by phone, she soon trumpted how Castro “will be revered” for “education and social services and medical care to all of his people.”
Along a similar theme, in an ABC Special Report during Nightline, Jim Avila maintained that “even Castro’s critics praised his advances in health care and in education.”
In a relatively tough report on Castro’s abuses, CNN’s Martin Savidge, in a pre-recorded bio piece, highlighted how “many saw positives, education and health care for all, racial integration.”
[More, media’s worst from the MRC archive as collected by Rich Noyes: “Fidel’s Flatterers: The U.S. Media’s Decades of Cheering Castro’s Communism”]
A meandering Brian Williams popped up by phone on MSNBC to ruminate and recalled how in his last visit to Cuba, in 2015: “You see the medicine system they are very proud of.”
ABC’s Avila went so far as to tout how Castro “was considered, even to this day, the George Washington of his country among those who remain in Cuba.”
Reminiscing about his high school years, via phone on MSNBC, Chris Matthews asserted that Castro was Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 26, 2016 Filed under: Global, History, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Communism, Cuba, Cuban Exhiles, Exiles, Fidel Castro, Immigrants, Little Havana, Miami, Torture
Posted: November 26, 2016 Filed under: Global, History, Politics, Religion, Terrorism | Tags: Barack Obama, Cuba, Cuba–United States relations, Donald Trump, Fidel Castro, Hillary Clinton, Justin Trudeau, Miami, Raúl Castro, United States
With Fidel now dead, many believe Raul will move more quickly toward reforms.
Fidel Castro burst on the world scene in 1959, spawning the very image of a revolutionary with his scruffy beard, rifle and cigar, ruling Cuba for a half-century while rankling 11 U.S. presidents and helping bring the world to the brink of nuclear war.
Mr. Castro, who was suffering from undisclosed illnesses, died at 90 years old, his brother, President Raul Castro, announced Friday.
Mr. Castro, nicknamed the “guerrilla prince” by one of his many biographers, animated millions in Cuba and across the world with his promises of democracy, social justice and economic progress. Early in his reign, Mr. Castro forged an anti-Washington stance, allying with the Soviet Union and supporting guerrilla movements from Latin America to Africa.
But by the time he formally resigned in 2008 as Cuba’s president and handed power to his younger brother, Raúl, he had come to embody all the contradictions of his movement.
Mr. Castro pursued egalitarian ideals of free health care, housing and education, while outlawing free speech, jailing dissidents and banning fair elections. He played world politics with the skill of a grandmaster, but embraced an ideology that ultimately failed. He overthrew one dictator in 1959 only to become Latin America’s longest-ruling one, 49 years.
He sought to free Cuba of its dependence on sugar and make it a wealthy country, only to bankrupt the island and make it dependent first on the largess of the Soviet Union, and then of Venezuela. But Venezuela’s economic crisis has curtailed aid to Cuba.
When Mr. Castro stepped down, many had hoped the more pragmatic Raul would quickly launch economic and political overhauls to ease Cuba into the global economy and introduce a more democratic system. But he has only taken a few hesitant steps in that direction. Instead, the elder Castro developed a second career as a Cassandra-like commentator, raging against the U.S. and frequently predicting an inevitable nuclear war. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 25, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Global, History | Tags: Barack Obama, Communism, Cuba, Cuba–United States relations, Dictator, Dictatorship, Donald Trump, Fidel Castro, Havana, Mass murder, Miami, One-Party State, Raúl Castro, Tyranny, United States, United States embargo against Cuba
Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former Dictator and leader of the Communist revolution, has died aged 90.
Fidel Castro ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost 50 years before Raul took over in 2008.
Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former president and leader of the Communist revolution, has died aged 90, his brother Raul has announced.
The Washington Examiner‘s Daniel Chaitin writes:
…The U.S. was among the first to formally recognize his government, cautiously trusting Castro’s early assurances he merely wanted to restore democracy, not install socialism.
Within months, Castro was imposing radical economic reforms. Members of the old government went before summary courts, and at least 582 were shot by firing squads over two years. Independent newspapers were closed and in the early years, homosexuals were herded into camps for “re-education.”
In 1964, Castro acknowledged holding 15,000 political prisoners. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans fled, including Castro’s daughter Alina Fernandez Revuelta and his younger sister Juana.
Still, the revolution thrilled millions in Cuba and across Latin America who saw it as an example of how the seemingly arrogant Yankees could be defied. And many on the island were happy to see the seizure of property of the landed class, the expulsion of American gangsters and the closure of their casinos.
Castro’s speeches, lasting up to six hours, became the soundtrack of Cuban life and his 269-minute speech to the U.N. General Assembly in 1960 set the world body’s record for length that still stood more than five decades later.
As Castro moved into the Soviet bloc, Washington began working to oust him, cutting U.S. purchases of sugar, the island’s economic mainstay. Castro, in turn, confiscated $1 billion in U.S. assets…(read more)
“The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening,” President Raul Castro said.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 10, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank, White House | Tags: 2016, African Americans, Barack Obama, Cuba, Cuban Americans, Democratic Party (United States), Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, Miami, Pew Research Center, Republican Party (United States), Rum, The New York Times, Twitter
Trump’s resounding victory spotlights a wealthier and more diverse coalition of supporters than many Americans thought possible, including educated voters, women and minority voters.
Catherine Triomphe and Jennie Matthew report: The myth that only uneducated white men would vote for Donald Trump exploded in a sensational win for the maverick billionaire, a former reality star with no political experience whatsoever.
“There is a world outside of the East Coast and the California Coast which nobody wants to think about. It’s the have and have not divide.”
— Sam Abrams, professor of political science at Sarah Lawrence College
His resounding victory — even if Hillary Clinton won the popular vote — spotlights a wealthier and more diverse coalition of supporters than many Americans thought possible, including educated voters, women and minority voters.
Here is a look at who voted for whom in the biggest political upset in American politics for generations:
Middle Class and Educated
Half of Americans who are considered middle class, making $100,000 a year or more, voted for the 70-year-old billionaire according to USA Today’s exit polls.
Forty-three percent of people with college degrees backed the Republican, although post-graduates voted overwhelmingly for Clinton, the Democrat, at 58 percent to 35 percent.
“Half of Americans who are considered middle class, making $100,000 a year or more, voted for the 70-year-old billionaire according to USA Today’s exit polls. Forty-three percent of people with college degrees backed the Republican.”
“We wanted to send a message that there’s too much government ruling our life and that had to stop,” said Rolando Chumaceiro, a family doctor who lives in affluent White Plains, New York.
He recognized problems with Trump, questioned the way he spoke and his vulgar remarks about women and but said overall he was the better choice.
“Mrs Clinton comes from the establishment. It’s the same old fashioned government. We don’t need that anymore,” he said.
“He created one of the most pro-Israel platforms in the history of the country, this is just crazy to say that he’s running anything as anti-Semitic in his campaign.”
— Aliza Romanoff, whose father advised Trump
Lower income voters leaned towards Clinton but their support had eroded since President Barack Obama’s election in 2012, perhaps fueled in part by resentment of the high costs associated with Obamacare.
Trump’s success was rooted in profound dissatisfaction with the status quo — felt keenly in rural areas and smaller towns far from prosperous cities that voted overwhelmingly for Clinton.
“The Latino vote is not homogenous, experts say. Cuban Americans backed Trump, others who are socially conservative also supported him.”
“There is a world outside of the East Coast and the California Coast which nobody wants to think about,” said Sam Abrams, professor of political science at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.
“It’s the have and have not divide,” he said.
In a city-based service and knowledge economy, people in more rural areas are struggling. “When you struggle you get angry… and Trump became the symbol of that anger,” said Abrams. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 28, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: Arrest, Attempted murder, Blog, blogger, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Broward County, Delray Beach, Florida, Javier F. Manjarres, Miami, Palm Beach County, Pompano Beach, SharkTank, Twitter
A prominent Florida political blogger has been arrested in Broward County.
Javier F. Manjarres, 44, was arrested Saturday by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with attempted murder. An arrest report was not immediately available Monday.
According to a Jan. 2012 report in the Miami New Times, this is not Manjarres first run in with the law. In 1995, he was arrested for burglary with assault.
According to the Miami New Times story, Manjarres drove to the Boca Raton home of a man who, at the time, was dating Manjarres’ ex-girlfriend. Manjarres reportedly punched the man while the woman called 911….(read more)
Source: Florida Politics – Miami New Times
Posted: June 7, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Diplomacy, Global, History | Tags: Associated Press, Cuba, Cuba–United States relations, Cuban cuisine, Ernest Hemingway, Finca Vigía, Havana, Juan Reinaldo Sánchez, Miami, Nancy Pelosi, The Double Life of Fidel Castro, United States
A former security agent shows the leader lived large while preaching revolutionary sacrifice
Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: For 17 years Juan Reinaldo Sánchez was part of the elite team of Cuban security specialists charged with protecting the life and privacy of Fidel Castro.But in 1994 his loyalty came into question when, with a daughter already living abroad, a brother jumped on a raft for Florida. Castro fired him.
“The Obama administration has just removed Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism amid sharp criticism from exiles. Their concerns are sensible: Though Castro is now rumored to be feebleminded, the intelligence apparatus he built—which specializes in violence to destabilize democracy and trafficks in drugs and weapons—remains as it has been for a half century.”
Sánchez was imprisoned for two years and tortured. In 2008 he defected to the U.S., making him the only member of el maximo lider’s personal escort ever to flee the island.
“When a Canadian company offered to build a modern sports-facility for the nation, Castro used the donation for a private basketball court. Wherever he traveled in the world, his bed was dismantled and shipped ahead to ensure the comfort he demanded.”
Last month Sánchez died, weeks after he published “The Double Life of Fidel Castro,” an English-language version of “La Vida Oculta de Fidel Castro,” first published in 2014 in Spain. The timing of his demise has some wondering if the long arm of the dictatorship did not reach out to exact revenge for his tell-all about his former boss. The official cause of death has been reported as lung cancer.
The legend of Castro as a great revolutionary who sacrifices for his people is preserved by keeping the details about his life a state secret. Sánchez’s account shows the real Castro: vengeful, self-absorbed and given to childish temper tantrums—aka “tropical storms.” “The best way of living with him,” Sánchez wrote, “was to accept all he said and did.”
[Order Juan Reinaldo Sánchez’s book “The Double Life of Fidel Castro: My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Lider Maximo“ from Amazon.com]
The book is timely. The Obama administration has just removed Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism amid sharp criticism from exiles. Their concerns are sensible: Though Castro is now rumored to be feebleminded, the intelligence apparatus he built—which specializes in violence to destabilize democracy and trafficks in drugs and weapons—remains as it has been for a half century.
Sánchez witnessed firsthand Castro’s indifference to Cuban poverty. The comandante gave interminable speeches calling for revolutionary sacrifice. But he lived large, with a private island, a yacht, some 20 homes across the island, a personal chef, a full-time doctor, and a carefully selected and prepared diet. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 29, 2015 Filed under: Entertainment, Mediasphere | Tags: Amateur pornography, Florida, Miami, Netflix, Pornography, Rashida Jones, Sundance Film Festival, Television program, Twitter, Young Women (organization)
This Rashida-Jones produced documentary looks at the amateur porn industry. Directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, Hot Girls Wanted follows the several 18- and 19-year old pornographic actresses. The picture debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival where it was picked up by Netflix….(read more)
Posted: April 13, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Barack Obama, Charles Krauthammer, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Miami, National Review, Rand Paul, Republican Party (United States), Ted Cruz
From The Corner:
Marco Rubio is in, and his message is clear. “This was clearly a speech about old and new,” says Charles Krauthammer.
“This goes back not just to Clinton in ’92 or Obama in ’08; this is to Kennedy in 1960.”
Krauthammer observed on Monday evening, following Rubio’s speech in Miami. “Remember, in his inaugural address he said the torch has been passed to a new generation…
“Basically he’s saying, ‘Do you want old or do you want new?’ And he’s also implying, versus Jeb Bush, ‘Do you want privileged or unprivileged?’ And, ‘I’m the one.’ I mean that’s his attractiveness.”
“His issue is, he’s unknown,” said Krauthammer, “but that gives him a very high upside…(read more)