Posted: October 13, 2017 Filed under: Foreign Policy, Global, Guns and Gadgets, Mediasphere, Science & Technology, War Room | Tags: Communism, Cuba, George Washington University, Havana, Marxism, Raúl Castro, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Navy, weapons
WASHINGTON (AP) — It sounds sort of like a mass of crickets. A high-pitched whine, but from what? It seems to undulate, even writhe. Listen closely: There are multiple, distinct tones that sound to some like they’re colliding in a nails-on-the-chalkboard effect.
The Associated Press has obtained a recording of what some U.S. Embassy workers heard in Havana in a series of unnerving incidents later deemed to be deliberate attacks. The recording, released Thursday by the AP, is the first disseminated publicly of the many taken in Cuba of mysterious sounds that led investigators initially to suspect a sonic weapon.
The recordings themselves are not believed to be dangerous to those who listen. Sound experts and physicians say they know of no sound that can cause physical damage when played for short durations at normal levels through standard equipment like a cellphone or computer.
What device produced the original sound remains unknown. Americans affected in Havana reported the sounds hit them at extreme volumes.
Whether there’s a direct relationship between the sound and the physical damage suffered by the victims is also unclear. The U.S. says that in general the attacks caused hearing, cognitive, visual, balance, sleep and other problems.
The recordings from Havana have been sent for analysis to the U.S. Navy, which has advanced capabilities for analyzing acoustic signals, and to the intelligence services, the AP has learned. But the recordings have not significantly advanced U.S. knowledge about what is harming diplomats.
The Navy did not respond to requests for comment on the recording. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert wouldn’t comment on the tape’s authenticity.
Cuba has denied involvement or knowledge of the attacks. The U.S. hasn’t blamed anyone and says it still doesn’t know what or who is responsible. But the government has faulted President Raul Castro’s government for failing to protect American personnel, and Nauert said Thursday that Cuba “may have more information than we are aware of right now.”
[Read the full story here, at apnews.com]
“We believe that the Cuban government could stop the attacks on our diplomats,” said White House chief of staff John Kelly.
Not all Americans injured in Cuba heard sounds. Of those who did, it’s not clear they heard precisely the same thing.
Yet the AP has reviewed several recordings from Havana taken under different circumstances, and all have variations of the same high-pitched sound. Individuals who have heard the noise in Havana confirm the recordings are generally consistent with what they heard.
“That’s the sound,” one of them said.
The recording being released by the AP has been digitally enhanced to increase volume and reduce background noise, but has not been otherwise altered.
The sound seemed to manifest in pulses of varying lengths — seven seconds, 12 seconds, two seconds — with some sustained periods of several minutes or more. Then there would be silence for a second, or 13 seconds, or four seconds, before the sound abruptly started again. Read the rest of this entry »
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 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: November 29, 2016 Filed under: Economics, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Barack Obama, Bitcoin, Capital Controls, Caribbean, Currency, Donald Trump, Fidel Castro, Latin America, Nicolás Maduro, Pope Francis, Raúl Castro, Venezuela
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.
Posted: November 28, 2016 Filed under: Diplomacy, Entertainment, Global, Humor | Tags: Caribbean, Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, Cuba, Cuban exile, Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, Little Havana, Raúl Castro, satire, United States
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
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: 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, 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.
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Posted: September 21, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Global, Politics, Religion | Tags: Barack Obama, Catholic Church, Che Guevara, Communism, Dictator, Fidel Castro, Havana, Marta Beatriz Roque, Mass (liturgy), Oppression, Oscar Espinosa Chepe, Our Lady of Charity, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, Raúl Castro, Tyranny
Political opponents of President Raul Castro’s Communist regime are regularly subjected to harassment and intimidation.
Nick Squires reports: Cuban authorities prevented leading dissidents from meeting Pope Francis in Havana on Sunday, in a sign of the Communist regime’s rigid intolerance of political opposition.
“The head of an opposition group called the Ladies in White said that 22 of the 24 members of the group who had hoped to attend a Mass celebrated by the Pope were prevented from doing so by Cuban security officials.”
Two well-known dissidents, Marta Beatriz Roque and Miriam Leiva, had been invited by the Vatican to attend a vespers service led by the Pope’s in Havana’s historic baroque cathedral.
But they said they were detained by security agents and barred from attending the event.
“They told me that I didn’t have a credential and that I couldn’t go to the Pope’s event that was taking place there in the plaza of the Cathedral,” Ms Roque said.
The head of an opposition group called the Ladies in White said that 22 of the 24 members of the group who had hoped to attend a Mass celebrated by the Pope were prevented from doing so by Cuban security officials.
There had been intense speculation about whether the Pope would risk incurring the displeasure of his host, President Raul Castro, by meeting political opponents of the Communist regime.
The fact that the Vatican invited the women to Sunday’s cathedral service showed Francis’ determination to try to engage with the dissident movement, which has endured years of persecution by the Castro regime.
Earlier in the day, the Pope celebrated Mass in Havana’s Revolution Square in front of tens of thousands of people.
He was driven through the crowds in a white pope-mobile, pausing to kiss children who were held up to him.
As the ceremony got underway, Cuban security officers detained at least three people who appeared to be trying to distribute leaflets in the capital’s Revolution Square, a large open area dominated by a massive likeness of revolutionary hero Che Guevara.
The three people were tackled and dragged away by the officers.
Political opponents of President Raul Castro’s Communist regime are regularly subjected to harassment and intimidation. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 19, 2015 Filed under: History, Mediasphere, Politics, War Room, White House | Tags: ABC News, Barack Obama, Cuba, Havana, José Martí International Airport, Pope, President of Cuba, Raúl Castro, United States
The horrors of the Cuban system are perhaps best illustrated in Armando Valladares‘ “Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro’s Gulag,” which was published in 1986.
“While today’s Cuba may be less totalitarian, judging by the grim depiction of life in the island’s largest city, Havana, from this 2014 City Journal article, one imagines that tragically, things are not altogether different from the Cuba Valladares left behind.”
First, a note of warning: For those made squeamish by the contents of the recently released so-called “torture report” from the Senate Intelligence Committee, you will likely not be able to make it through this book, describing Valladares’ experiences as a political prisoner, or “enemy of the regime,” for 22 years from 1960 to 1982.
Here is the conclusion of “Against All Hope,” describing Valladares’ thoughts the day he was set free:
The hour of my departure arrived. The procession of several cars headed down Rancho Boyeros Avenue toward José Martí International Airport. The plane was scheduled for seven in the evening. The setting sun dyed the afternoon pomegranate-red. My heart sent up a hymn of thanks to God, and I prayed for my family, who hadn’t been allowed to come to say goodbye, and for my friends remaining behind in the eternal night of the Cuban political prisons.
As the cars sped along, a flood of memories rushed over me. Twenty-two years in jail. I recalled the two sergeants, Porfirio and Matanzas, plunging their bayonets into Ernesto Díaz Madruga’s body; Roberto López Chávez dying in a cell, calling for water, the guards urinating over his face and in his gasping mouth; Boitel, denied water too, after more than fifty days on hunger strike, because Castro wanted him dead; Clara, Boitel’s poor mother, beaten by Lieutenant Abad in a Political Police station just because she wanted to find out where her son was buried. I remembered Carrión, shot in the leg, telling Jagüey not to shoot, and Jagüey mercilessly, heartlessly, shooting him in the back; the officers who threatened family members if they cried at a funeral.
I remembered Estebita and Piri dying in blackout cells, the victims of biological experimentation; Diosdado Aquit, Chino Tan, Eddy Molina, and so many others murdered in the forced-labor fields, quarries, and camps. A legion of specters, naked, crippled, hobbling and crawling through my mind, and the hundreds of men wounded and mutilated in the horrifying searches. Dynamite. Drawer cells. Eduardo Capote’s fingers chopped off by a machete. Concentration camps, tortures, women beaten, soldiers pushing prisoners’ heads into a lake of shi#, the beatings of Eloy and Izaguirre. Martín Pérez with his testicles destroyed by bullets. Robertico weeping for his mother. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 14, 2015 Filed under: Diplomacy, Economics, Politics, The Butcher's Notebook | Tags: Barack Obama, Cold War, Cuba, Cuba–United States relations, Diplomacy, Havana, Panama, Parody, President of Cuba, Pundit Planet, Raúl Castro, satire, Summits of the Americas, United States Department of State, White House
“In its current state, Cuba can barely sponsor a roll of toilet paper, or replace a broken headlight on a 1957 Chevy, much less sponsor actual terrorism. It’s time our foreign policy recognizes this.”
— President Barack Obama
WASHINGTON (PunditPlanet) The White House announces President Barack Obama is removing Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, and adding it to the new list of “state suggesters of terrorism”, whey they say reflects Cuba’s lack of resources to be a meaningful threat to neighboring nations.
“The last thing I sponsored was a medianoche sandwich, on a paper plate, and a bottle of Fanta. That was in 1989. We’re broke. Sponsoring terrorism is just not an option.”
— Raul Castro
This is a critical step in President Barack Obama’s effort to normalize relations between the two countries, and provide much-needed economic relief to the impoverished nation, suffering from years of decay under communist dictatorship.
“I have tried to get a volunteer terror projects going on Twitter, and Facebook, but they keep deleting my accounts. I can ‘suggest’ terror, I just can’t finance it.”
— Raul Castro
The new designation reflecting President Obama’s pledge to help support Marxist regimes, regardless of their ongoing human rights violations. According to biographers, policy advisors, and fellow sympathizers on the academic left, this fulfills a long-held personal ambition for the president.
“Even if I did have a few thousand pesos for a car bomb, or some black market Korean bio-weapons, I’d probably save it for a dentist appointment, or just buy some new sandals, and a pack of gum.”
— Raul Castro, lamenting Cuba’s economic misfortunes
Since his college days a Columbia University, Obama has explored various ways to try give economic and ideological support to murderous communist regimes and militant Marxist dictatorships in Latin America, but, as one insider complained, “U.S. foreign policy was always a barrier,” adding “Obama always hated the Truman and Kennedy tradition of pro-American, anticommunist rhetoric.”
“America is a strong and prosperous nation. It’s our obligation to help restore Cuba’s economic vitality, so that the modest resources required to be a credible sponsor of terrorism can once again be an achievable goal for the Castro regime.”
— President Barack Obama
“Obama has always viewed this as a tragic error, out of sync with the sympathies of the modern left, leaving a stain on the Democratic party’s post-war trajectory.” Now that he’s president, the insider concluded, “Obama is finally in a position to promote Marxist ideology, both rhetorically, and materially”.
“Getting off this ‘terror sponsor’ list may piss off a bunch of elderly Cuban-Americans in Florida, but who cares? We can still torture their friends and relatives left behind in Cuba. A pair of pliers, a blow torch, a car battery. It doesn’t cost much to have a few laughs, and keep our opponents in line. Obama understand this.”
— Spokesman for Committee for the Defense of the Revolution
“In its current state, Cuba can barely sponsor a roll of toilet paper, or replace a broken headlight on a 1957 Chevy, much less sponsor actual terrorism. It’s time our foreign policy recognizes this. It’s our obligation to help restore Cuba’s economic vitality, so that the modest resources required to be a credible sponsor terrorism can once again be an achievable goal for the Castro regime,” the president said this morning from the rose garden, in a brief statement to the press.
“Obama always hated the Truman and Kennedy tradition of pro-American, anticommunist rhetoric. Obama has always viewed this as a tragic error, out of sync with the sympathies of the modern left, leaving a stain on the Democratic party’s post-war trajectory.”
— White House insider
“Sponsor terrorism, are you kidding? The last thing I sponsored was a medianoche sandwich, on a paper plate, and a bottle of Fanta. That was in 1989. Sponsor terrorism? I wish! Even if I did have a few thousand pesos for a car bomb, or some black market Korean bio-weapons, I’d probably save it for a dentist appointment, or just buy some new sandals”, said Raul Castro. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 20, 2014 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Cuba, Cuban Revolution, Havana, John Kerry, Josh Earnest, President of Cuba, Raúl Castro, United States, Washington State
HAVANA — President Raúl Castro declared victory for the Cuban Revolution on Saturday in a wide-ranging speech, thanking President Obama for “a new chapter,” while also reaffirming that restored relations with the United States did not mean the end of Communist rule in Cuba.
“I do not believe we can keep doing the same thing for over five decades and expect a different result.”
In a televised speech that lasted less than an hour at the end of Cuba’s legislative session, Mr. Castro alternated between conciliatory and combative statements against the United States and the rest of the world.
He emphasized that Cuba would accelerate its economic reform, prioritizing an end to the country’s dual-currency system. But he also said that changes needed to be gradual to create a system of “prosperous and sustainable communism.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 17, 2014 Filed under: Diplomacy, Economics, Global | Tags: Barack Obama, Cuba, Diplomacy, Fidel Castro, Havana, Human Development Index, Miami, Public policy of the United States, Raúl Castro, United States
Bobby Ghosh writes: Many Americans and Cubans believe that it is the tight noose of the US embargo that keeps the island nation deep in poverty. This narrative suits the regime of Fidel and Raul Castro, because it gives the grim brothers a ready excuse for their inability to give their subjects decent economic opportunities.
“For a microcosm of the Castros’ failure as managers of the Cuban economy, look no further than the tourism industry….for 20 years most tourist services and imported products in Cuba have been priced in an artificial currency created by the regime to bilk foreigners.”
But the noose is pretty loose: Most of the world does business with Havana. Although much is made of Cuba’s special relationship with Russia and Venezuela, it trades with most of the countries that would be considered close US allies. With a halfway competent government, Cuba could be a fairly wealthy nation, able to brush off the American embargo as a minor inconvenience.
For a microcosm of the Castros’ failure as managers of the Cuban economy, look no further than the tourism industry. The island—blessed as it is with gorgeous beaches, warm weather, fantastic music, and terrific rum—gets nearly 3 million foreign tourists a year. Nearly a million come from Canada, with the UK, Italy, Spain, and Germany all accounting for large groups. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 17, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Diplomacy, Global, Russia, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Communist Regime, Cuba, Fidel Castro, Fredo Corleone, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Marxist Rebels, Michael Corleone, Moroccan detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Raúl Castro, The Godfather, Twitter, U.S. Embassy
Steps to restore ties with Cuba are certain to meet resistance by some groups, particularly the Cuban community in South Florida that remain staunchly opposed to the communist leadership in Havana
Brian Murphy reports: The United States and Cuba will begin talks to normalize relations, including opening an embassy in Havana and putting to rest one most enduring Cold War standoffs, a U.S. official said Wednesday.
The landmark initiatives appeared to be set in motion by a surprise prisoner swap that freed American contractor Alan Gross after five years in custody in Cuba. In exchange, the United States would release three Cubans jailed for espionage, the Associated Press reported.
President Obama was expected to make a statement on Cuba at noon. At the same time, Cuban President Raul Castro was scheduled to address his nation about relations with the United States, Cuban state television reported.
Possible moves to close the rifts would mark a significant moment in Western Hemisphere politics.
The United State has maintain various sanctions against Cuba for more than five decades and enmity between Washington and Havana has played a role in affairs across the world — from snubs against the United States from Cuba’s allies in Latin America to the hero’s welcome given to then-President Fidel Castro during a visit to Tehran in 2001.
“President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government.”
— Senator Marco Rubio
At the moment, the United States and Cuba do not have full diplomatic relations, but allow interest sections to handle outreach.
The U.S. official said Gross departed Cuba on a U.S. government plane earlier Wednesday. He was released on humanitarian grounds by the Cuban government at the request of the United States, the official said.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
There was no immediate comment from the White House.
Gross, 65, was detained in December 2009 while setting up illegal Internet access as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. It was his fifth trip to Cuba to work with Jewish communities on setting up Internet access that bypassed local censorship. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 26, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Global | Tags: Óscar Elías Biscet, Baruch College, Cuba, Cuban dissident movement, Holguín, New York Times, Raúl Castro, Yoani Sánchez
Prominent Cuban dissident Dr. Oscar Biscet was arrested today, according to blogger Yoani Sanchez and other sources. He was reportedly threatened with a return to prison if he failed comply fully with the harsh terms of his house arrest.
In a rare demonstration of public dissent, dozens of Cuban artisans and vendors protested in the city of Holguín this week (above), demanding the right to work without government harassment, The New York Times reports.
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