Raul Castro: Man Alone in the Crowd

Raul Castro during a public event

The shouts, the posters, the slogans in a million voice chorus, awaken dormant, extinct sensations. Seeing the sea of people passing in front of the platform, his heart skips a beat in his chest. The red face, dilated pupils, goosebumps and tension in the jaw. They are the first symptoms of the excitement crowds provoke in caudillos. A ritual they need to dip their hand into from time to time, to avoid the solitude of power.

Autocrats invent marches, huge processions, lavish parades–“the biggest in the world”–to rejoice in their own authority. They know that they, and only they, can force a million people out of their beds in the early hours, load them onto buses, write down the names of every attendee, and set them to marching through a great plaza. To make it clear who’s the boss, to send a message by way of a crowd chanting their name, worshiping them and giving thanks. A “mass” that would never dare to stand down, people whom they don’t rub shoulders with, whom they fear and who–deep inside–they despise.

Today, in the Plaza of the Revolution, an elderly man in sunglasses will preside over the May Day event. Days ahead of time every rooftop near the place has been checked out and guards have been posted at the highest points in the city, calculating how a shot could be fired at the platform. His own grandson will remain close to protect him and a fleet of cars will be waiting “in case something happens” and he has to escape. He doesn’t trust the very crowd that he himself has summoned.

The autocrat is afraid of his own people. Fear and suspicion. The feeling is mutual. He knows that the hundreds of thousands of heads he looks down upon are there… because they fear him, not because they love him.

97 thoughts on “Raul Castro: Man Alone in the Crowd

  1. I HAVE NEWS FOR THE CASTROFASCISTS AND THEIR OLIGARCHY! THE “TIMBIRICHE” ECONOMIC CHANGES ARE JUST PUTTING TO LIGHT WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN THE BLACK MARKET ALREADY! THE RULING CLASS IN CUBA LIVE IN THE 20th CENTURY AND CUBA NEEDS TO BE MOVE TO THE 21st!
    MIAMI HERALD: U.S. academics say Cuban reforms not going well – by Juan Tamayo

    Cuban government efforts to open its doors to more private enterprise cut state payrolls and lure foreign investors face a string of restrictions and complications, several U.S. academics said during a seminar Saturday in Coral Gables.

    The island’s communist government “has a love-hate relationship with the private sector,” said Mario Gonzalez-Corzo, a Cuban-born professor at the City University of New York.

    Ruler Raúl Castro has been allowing more private economic activities in hopes of jump-starting a Soviet-style economy since he succeeded brother Fidel Castro, temporarily in 2006 and then officially in 2008.

    But while up to 485,000 Cubans are reported to be licensed to work in low value-added jobs such as tailors and seamstresses, there are many constraints, Gonzalez-Corzo told the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies (ICCAS).

    An “onerous tax system” piles “taxes upon taxes upon taxes” that make it difficult for the new micro-enterprises and “confiscate the limited prosperity that people are generating,” he said.

    There’s a shortage of appropriate retail space needed for the new businesses, property rights remain largely unclear and government inspectors often look for bribes, the professor added.

    The cooperative sector is not doing as well as projected by the government, Gonzalez-Corzo said. And the average bank loan approved under a micro-credit program designed to help the private sector stands at about $55.

    Cuba now has an estimated total of $500 million in foreign investments, Quijano said, compared to $16 billion for Costa Rica and $17 billion for the Dominican Republic – two other relatively small Latin American nations.

    Quijano also said there are three economic tendencies on the island: “statists” who want to largely retain the current model; “economicists” who favor some type of market socialism; and democratic socialists who favor broader use of cooperatives.

    Cuba’s ruling elites know they have to modernize the Soviet-style economy “but fear a modernization because it might lead to rebellion,” said Juan Antonio Blanco, head of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Initiatives at Miami Dade College.

    The island “is a poor, technologically backward country at the margins of the new digital age of globalization and knowledge economies,” added Blanco, a former analyst with the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/10/4109734/us-academics-say-cuban-reforms.html

  2. There is an aspect seldom commented of Raúl Castro’s life and the fact is that in all the “judicial” processes of great importance that have taken place in Cuba after the triumph of the insurrection, has played a fundamental role. He has been a kind of special prosecutor, a prosecutor with the capacity to sanction.

  3. DEAR Omar Fundora! YOU CAN POST ALL YOUR TEXTS (without links) FROM SOME CASTROFASICST DOCUMENTS ALL YOU WANT BUT THE WORLD IS GETTING TO KNOW THE REALITY OF THE CUBA SLAVE/SURF SYSTEM! BUT CARRY ON DEAR! AND THAT “BAD OLD USA” PLOY! PLEASE! SOO PASSE!

    YOUTUBE: DOCUMENTARY “Under Cuban Skies” — Workers and Their RIghts – Under Cuban Skies Workers and Their Rights is an account of the systematic violation of human and labor rights committed by Fidel and Raul Castro since they took power fifty years ago, supposedly on behalf of the Cuban worker. Their revolutionary government, as the film shows, is the only hiring entity and, as such, is guilty of discrimination in employment, of confiscating 97% of the salaries paid by foreign investors, and of prohibiting the workers right to organize representative unions, or to conduct collective bargaining. Interviews with hotel workers the privileged class of the Cuban labor force and with independent labor leaders and dissident journalists, were conducted in Cuba, while counterpart interviews were filmed in Spain, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Miami. The two sets of interviews make clear the stark contrast between the labor conditions in hotels operated by multinational corporations in Cuba and hotels run by those same corporations abroad.

  4. DEAR Omar Fundora! YOU CAN POST ALL YOUR TEXTS (without links) THAT YOUR LITTLE CASTRO AGENT/APOLOGIST HEARS DESIRE, BUT THE REALITY OF THE CASTRO FAMILY OLIGARCHY PLANTATION JAIL WITH ALL IT’S SLAVES AND SURFS IS ALL OVER THE NET DEAR!

    Background to Labor Rights in Cuba – World Movement for Democracy.

    Independent unions, workers’ rights to collective bargaining, and the right to strike are not recognized by the Cuban government. Individuals associated with independent unions are often fired, harassed, arrested, threatened with sanctions, physically attacked, and imprisoned for long periods of time. According to the International Confederation of Trade Unions (ICFTU), “Anyone who engages in independent trade union activity runs the risk of being persecuted and losing their job. Workers are required to keep an eye on their colleagues and report any ‘dissident’ activity.”

    Independent labor groups have had their property and belongings confiscated, and the state security has infiltrated the movement with state agents. In March 2003, 75 human rights activists, including seven leaders of independent trade unions, suffered harassment and imprisonment and were charged with “treason and conspiracy.” The recent crackdown represented a violation of these workers’ universal rights to freedom of expression and association.

    The Cuban government only recognizes one official governmental trade union, the Central de Trabajadores Cubanos (Cuban Worker’s Confederation- CTC). During recent years, several labor leaders have broken with the CTC and formed independent unions. In February 2001, one of these groups, in alliance with several other individual independent labor leaders, formed the Confederacion Obrera Nacional Independeiente de Cuba (International Confederation of Free Labor Organizations- CONIC), which is represented in exile by Federacion de Plantas Eléctricas, Gas y Agua en Exilio (Federation of Electric, Gas and Water Plants in Exile)and composed of representatives from various sectors of society. Federacion is an example of a group working in exile that focuses on raising awareness of Cuban labor rights violations in the international community. Federacion recently produced the Violations of Social and Labor Rights in Cuba report and presented it to the International Labor Organization (ILO).

    http://www.cubasindical.org/docs/d122104.htm

  5. C095 – Protection of Wages Convention, 1949 (No. 95)
    Convention concerning the Protection of Wages (Entry into force: 24 Sep 1952)
    HERE IS WERE CUBA IS NOT VIOLATING KEEPING THE FOREIGN CURRENCY AND PAYING IN PESOS OR CUC…….

    Article 4
    1. National laws or regulations, collective agreements or arbitration awards may authorise the partial payment of wages in the form of allowances in kind in industries or occupations in which payment in the form of such allowances is customary or desirable because of the nature of the industry or occupation concerned; the payment of wages in the form of liquor of high alcoholic content or of noxious drugs shall not be permitted in any circumstances.
    2. In cases in which partial payment of wages in the form of allowances in kind is authorised, appropriate measures shall be taken to ensure that– (a) such allowances are appropriate for the personal use and benefit of the worker and his family; and
    (b) the value attributed to such allowances is fair and reasonable.

  6. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA SHOULD BE TAKING TO INTERNATIONAL COURT ON THIS ONE FIRST BEFORE CUBA…US HAS A 17 TRILLION DOLLARS ECONOMY IT FAILS MISSERABLY TO PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL THAT WANT TO WORK AT THEIR SKILL LEVEL…GLASS CEILING IN EXISTANCE, DISCRIMINATION, EXPLOITATION. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE 2011 REFORMS IN CUBA ARE FOR???…THE CUBAN ISSUE IS POLITICAL AND NOT ECONOMIC….QUIT THE CRITICISM WHEN THE GOVERNMENT IS TRYING HARD TO FIX THE ECONOMIC PROBLEMS….FOCUS ON THE POLITICAL ISSUE..CUBA ALREADY RE-WROTE THE LABOR REGULATIONS TO ACCOMODATE THE 400,000 PLUS PRIVATE SECTOR….NO SMOKING GUN HERE…DISSENT AGAINST THE ECONOMY WITHOUT A SOLUTION THAT PROTECT CUBAN SOVEREINGTY IS NOTHING MORE THAN PEEING AGAINST THE WIND…

    C122 – Employment Policy Convention, 1964 (No. 122)
    Convention concerning Employment Policy (Entry into force: 15 Jul 1966)

    Article 1
    1. With a view to stimulating economic growth and development, raising levels of living, meeting manpower requirements and overcoming unemployment and underemployment, each Member shall declare and pursue, as a major goal, an active policy designed to promote full, productive and freely chosen employment.
    2. The said policy shall aim at ensuring that– (a) there is work for all who are available for and seeking work;
    (b) such work is as productive as possible;
    (c) there is freedom of choice of employment and the fullest possible opportunity for each worker to qualify for, and to use his skills and endowments in, a job for which he is well suited, irrespective of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin.

    3. The said policy shall take due account of the stage and level of economic development and the mutual relationships between employment objectives and other economic and social objectives, and shall be pursued by methods that are appropriate to national conditions and practices.

    Article 2

    Each Member shall, by such methods and to such extent as may be appropriate under national conditions–
    (a) decide on and keep under review, within the framework of a co-ordinated economic and social policy, the measures to be adopted for attaining the objectives specified in Article 1;
    (b) take such steps as may be needed, including when appropriate the establishment of programmes, for the application of these measures.

    Article 3

    In the application of this Convention, representatives of the persons affected by the measures to be taken, and in particular representatives of employers and workers, shall be consulted concerning employment policies, with a view to taking fully into account their experience and views and securing their full co-operation in formulating and enlisting support for such policies.

    Article 4

    The formal ratifications of this Convention shall be communicated to the Director-General of the International Labour Office for registration.

  7. THIS ONE TOO..PEOPLE CLAIM THAT CUBA IS IN VIOLATION…national policy designed to promote, by methods appropriate to national conditions and practice BLOWS ALLEGED VIOLATION OUT OF THE WATER….

    C111 – Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)

    Article 1
    1. For the purpose of this Convention the term discrimination includes– (a) any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin, which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation;
    (b) such other distinction, exclusion or preference which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation as may be determined by the Member concerned after consultation with representative employers’ and workers’ organisations, where such exist, and with other appropriate bodies.

    2. Any distinction, exclusion or preference in respect of a particular job based on the inherent requirements thereof shall not be deemed to be discrimination.
    3. For the purpose of this Convention the terms employment and occupation include access to vocational training, access to employment and to particular occupations, and terms and conditions of employment.

    Article 2

    Each Member for which this Convention is in force undertakes to declare and pursue a national policy designed to promote, by methods appropriate to national conditions and practice, equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of employment and occupation, with a view to eliminating any discrimination in respect thereof.

    Article 3

    Each Member for which this Convention is in force undertakes, by methods appropriate to national conditions and practice–
    (a) to seek the co-operation of employers’ and workers’ organisations and other appropriate bodies in promoting the acceptance and observance of this policy;
    (b) to enact such legislation and to promote such educational programmes as may be calculated to secure the acceptance and observance of the policy;
    (c) to repeal any statutory provisions and modify any administrative instructions or practices which are inconsistent with the policy;
    (d) to pursue the policy in respect of employment under the direct control of a national authority;
    (e) to ensure observance of the policy in the activities of vocational guidance, vocational training and placement services under the direction of a national authority;
    (f) to indicate in its annual reports on the application of the Convention the action taken in pursuance of the policy and the results secured by such action.

    Article 4

    Any measures affecting an individual who is justifiably suspected of, or engaged in, activities prejudicial to the security of the State shall not be deemed to be discrimination, provided that the individual concerned shall have the right to appeal to a competent body established in accordance with national practice.

    Article 5
    1. Special measures of protection or assistance provided for in other Conventions or Recommendations adopted by the International Labour Conference shall not be deemed to be discrimination.
    2. Any Member may, after consultation with representative employers’ and workers’ organisations, where such exist, determine that other special measures designed to meet the particular requirements of persons who, for reasons such as sex, age, disablement, family responsibilities or social or cultural status, are generally recognised to require special protection or assistance, shall not be deemed to be discrimination.

  8. CONVENTION 98: RIGHT TO ORGANIZE AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. Again, there are people who believe that Cuba is in violation of this one too…APPROPRIATE TO NATIONAL CONDITIONS BLOWS OUT OF THE WATER THE ALLEGE VIOLATION

    Article 1
    1. Workers shall enjoy adequate protection against acts of anti-union discrimination in respect of their employment.
    2. Such protection shall apply more particularly in respect of acts calculated to– (a) make the employment of a worker subject to the condition that he shall not join a union or shall relinquish trade union membership;
    (b) cause the dismissal of or otherwise prejudice a worker by reason of union membership or because of participation in union activities outside working hours or, with the consent of the employer, within working hours.

    Article 2
    1. Workers’ and employers’ organisations shall enjoy adequate protection against any acts of interference by each other or each other’s agents or members in their establishment, functioning or administration.
    2. In particular, acts which are designed to promote the establishment of workers’ organisations under the domination of employers or employers’ organisations, or to support workers’ organisations by financial or other means, with the object of placing such organisations under the control of employers or employers’ organisations, shall be deemed to constitute acts of interference within the meaning of this Article.

    Article 3
    Machinery appropriate to national conditions shall be established, where necessary, for the purpose of ensuring respect for the right to organise as defined in the preceding Articles.

    Article 4

    Measures appropriate to national conditions shall be taken, where necessary, to encourage and promote the full development and utilisation of machinery for voluntary negotiation between employers or employers’ organisations and workers’ organisations, with a view to the regulation of terms and conditions of employment by means of collective agreements.

    Article 5
    1. The extent to which the guarantees provided for in this Convention shall apply to the armed forces and the police shall be determined by national laws or regulations.
    2. In accordance with the principle set forth in paragraph 8 of Article 19 of the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation the ratification of this Convention by any Member shall not be deemed to affect any existing law, award, custom or agreement in virtue of which members of the armed forces or the police enjoy any right guaranteed by this Convention.

    Article 6

    This Convention does not deal with the position of public servants engaged in the administration of the State, nor shall it be construed as prejudicing their rights or status in any way.

    Article 7

    The formal ratifications of this Convention shall be communicated to the Director-General of the International Labour Office for registration.

  9. Las áreas de trabajo prioritarias para la OIT en la region del Caribe son:

    1. Libertad sindical y la negociación colectiva
    2. Empresas sostenibles
    3. Administración del trabajo y la legislación laboral
    4. Empleo y trabajo decente para la juventud
    5. Protección social
    6. Salud y seguridad en el trabajo
    7. Pobreza, desigualdad y género

    Many critics say that Cuba’s labor code violates International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions by privileging the role of the CTC, Cuba´s labor federation. (See, for instance a recent Brookings report on foreign investment, here.) The ILO has repeatedly called on Cuba to modify the labor code, permitting workers to choose between different unions.

    But that´s not all the labor code does. It provides important protections and benefits to Cuban workers. While they recognize the urgent need for reforms, most Cubans don’t want to lose these benefits. Now, as the Cuban economy undergoes reforms, new labor relations that take into account cuentapropistas and cooperatives will have to be developed. The challenge for the CTC and for Cuban society is how to re-work its social contract in a way that increases productivity and incomes while maintaining protections. The Cuban government will need to adapt its social safety net—including social security, health care, disability, and education—to the changing economy. It will need to develop a new tax code (which it has begun to do). And it will need to adapt its system of labor protections, establish minimum wage levels in non-state enterprises, ensure access to labor courts for grievances, and establish a new role for unions in a society where private enterprise is expanded. A consultation process that encourages honest debate on these issues could help contribute to a revised labor code that adapts to the changing economy and the resulting changes in labor relations, while seeking to preserve an effective framework of protections and benefits for workers.

    ILO No. 87 ( some Cuban-Americans believe that Cuba is in violation of this law…but, they are wrong because according to this convention, labor unions have to comply with the law of the land and Cuba single union is the only way a labor union can comply with the law of the land in Cuba)

    PART I. FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION

    Article 1

    Each Member of the International Labour Organisation for which this Convention is in force undertakes to give effect to the following provisions.

    Article 2

    Workers and employers, without distinction whatsoever, shall have the right to establish and, subject only to the rules of the organisation concerned, to join organisations of their own choosing without previous authorisation.

    Article 3
    1. Workers’ and employers’ organisations shall have the right to draw up their constitutions and rules, to elect their representatives in full freedom, to organise their administration and activities and to formulate their programmes.
    2. The public authorities shall refrain from any interference which would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof.

    Article 4

    Workers’ and employers’ organisations shall not be liable to be dissolved or suspended by administrative authority.

    Article 5

    Workers’ and employers’ organisations shall have the right to establish and join federations and confederations and any such organisation, federation or confederation shall have the right to affiliate with international organisations of workers and employers.

    Article 6

    The provisions of Articles 2, 3 and 4 hereof apply to federations and confederations of workers’ and employers’ organisations.

    Article 7

    The acquisition of legal personality by workers’ and employers’ organisations, federations and confederations shall not be made subject to conditions of such a character as to restrict the application of the provisions of Articles 2, 3 and 4 hereof.

    Article 8
    1. In exercising the rights provided for in this Convention workers and employers and their respective organisations, like other persons or organised collectivities, shall respect the law of the land.

  10. Humberto: Cuba’s no. 1 economic problem is lack of dollars. The multiple currency money arrangement allows Cuba to obtain dollars for the use of its resources. Human Resources being an abundant one while fighting inequality and keeping the income in the country for people at the average rate which is $20….The Brookings Institute is being bias to economic apartheid. Cuba uses the dollars to invest in healthcare, imports and governance. Nobody in Cuba is getting Rich with the dollars the government keep. It is used for governance. If they do unify the currency in 2016… This tax will stop outright or they will continue to tax the salaries of people so they can continue with the Socialist Democratic Model….this is not necessarily a bad thing from the economic point of view. The real issue in Cuba are political ones. The Cuban Socialist government with a one Party System is making all the right economic moves to succeed. I know the dissidents have a problem with this political reality. But, we need to keep the eye on the price and not get entangle in issues that are normal for a Poor Country. I have noticed that the Cuban government gets blame for Cuba being a poor country. Cuba has being a poor country since the Spaniard colonial days.

  11. 1919 Cuba ingresa en la OIT (ORGANIZATION INTERNACIONAL DEL TRABAJO)

    Cuba ha sido miembro desde la fundación de la Organización en 1919. Desde su ingreso ha ratificado 90 convenios, lo que la convierte en uno de los países con mayor número de ratificaciones. Las delegaciones cubanas ante las diferentes comisiones de la Conferencia Internacional del Trabajo, principal órgano de la Organización y donde se adoptan convenios, recomendaciones, resoluciones y declaraciones de alcance universal, son particularmente activas en los debates. Asimismo, tanto el Gobierno como las organizaciones de trabajadores y de empleadores de Cuba han tenido una valiosa participación en las actividades de cooperación técnica que brinda la Oficina en ese país.

  12. THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTE CONCURS WITH THE MIAMI HERALD PIECE!

    BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: The New Cuban Economy: What Roles for Foreign Investment? – By: Richard Feinberg
    .
    THE WORLD’S HEAVIEST TAX ON LABOR
    The most unusual characteristic of the Cuban FDI regime is the labor contract system . FDI firms are not generally allowed to directly hire labor . Rather, a state employment agency—typically a dependency of the relevant sectoral ministry (e .g ., tourism, light industry)—hires, fires, settles labor disputes, establishes wage scales, and pays the wages directly to the workers . The FDI pays the wage bill to the state employment agency which in turn pays the workers . But there is a very special twist to the Cuban system: the FDI pays wages to the employment agency in hard currency and the employment agency turns around and compensates the workers in local currency, an effective devaluation or tax of 24-to-1 . Thus, if the firm pays the employment agency $500 a month and the employment agency pays the workers 500 pesos, over 90 percent of the wage payment disappears in the currency conversion; the effective compensation is instantly deflated to $21 per month . This could be the world’s heaviest labor tax . It provoked one Cuban worker to remark to the author: “In Cuba, it’s a great myth that we live off the state . In fact, it’s the state that lives off of us .”

    This labor system, which also authorizes only one national union (the Confederation of Cuban Workers, which is closely allied with the Communist Party), violates many principles of the International Labor Organization, of which Cuba is a charter member . It also freezes Cuba into a low-wage, low-productivity trap .

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE REPORT!

    http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2012/12/cuba-economy-feinberg

  13. THE CASTROFASCISTS HAVE VIOLATED INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS ON MANY LEVELS FOR OVER 54 YEARS AND COUNTING!

    MIAMI HERALD: Report says Cuba’s new foreign investment law violates international labor agreements – by Juan Tamayo

    Cuba’s new foreign investment law violates a string of international agreements on fair labor practices and could lead to legal demands in the future, according to a report made public Friday by an emeritus professor at the University of Florida.

    The law also does not allow for international arbitration of disputes, and denies Cuban citizens the right to invest in their own country, said Jose Alvarez, considered one of the top experts on the island’s sugar industry.

    Alvarez wrote the 14-page report for the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba because the new law represents the continued exploitation of the island’s labor force, said FHRC Executive Director Pedro Rodriguez.

    The professor said the foreign investment law approved by the country’s parliament earlier this year violates at least seven international labor agreements and declarations approved by the United Nations and the International Labor Organization.

    “A democratic Cuba cannot ignore than a notorious and public felony has been committed,” Alvarez told a conference at the FHRC’s Miami office. “In the future they will be overwhelmed with legal demands for the exploitation of workers.”

    The new law is designed to attract new capital that will help ruler Raúl Castro’s efforts to move the economy away from its Soviet model of central government controls. The communist government is considered to be the least investor-friendly in the region.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/09/4108310/report-says-cubas-new-foreign.html

  14. Hank,

    Q: How’s President Obama doing ?
    A: Well the first Black President has lasted longer than the first Catholic one did.

    Who killed Kennedy Hank?
    I Dunno.
    I’ve heard a ton of theories:
    This was covered up… That was hushed up…
    This witness was quashed… That evidence was mislaid….
    Autopsy procedurally incorrect etc etc etc
    Do you know what the truth was Hank ?
    I don’t, despite the ton of theories.
    There are theories that the CIA planned it.
    The Mafia?
    There are even theories that Fidel Castro was Kennedy’s executioner.
    Are these theories based on anything other than political agenda ?
    Are these theories based on nothing else but the fact that the conspiracy business is big business?

    But you know all about what happened that afternoon in Granma Province don’t you Hank ?
    Of course you do.
    Or at least you believe you do.
    As for myself, I don’t know what happened.
    I would be surprised if the book that Carromero is hawking did not sound plausible.
    But I’m certainly not going to believe something happened just because this Carromero said it happened.
    No more than I would believe something just because that is what is put out by the Cuban Authorities.

    You always have great difficulty grasping this type of open minded point of view Hank.
    That’s perhaps because your conclusions are based not on fact, or probability, but on your agenda.
    Based on your predisposition to believe one side of the story.

  15. WOW!! THE CASTRO FAMILY OLIGARCHY IS SOOO GENEROUS! THEY ARE “ALLOWING” THE CUBAN PEOPLE TO BUY FROM THE GOVERNMENT OWNED STORES WITH THE CUBAN CURRENCY THE “PESO” ! OF COURSE AT THE EXCHANGE RATE OF 25 PESOS TO THE CUBAN DOLLAR (CUC)!! THEY NEVER SEEM TO AMAZE ME (heavy Cuban sarcasm)!
    HAVANA TIMES: Cuba Has a New Unified Payment System – By Café Fuerte

    The option of purchasing products at hard currency stores in regular Cuban pesos (CUP) will be made available in commercial centers around Cuba this month as part of the government’s plan to re-establish a single-currency monetary system on the island.

    The possibility of paying with CUP or combining these with Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) in cash or through debit cards will be offered by Cuba’s 28 largest shopping centers and by smaller establishments at a later date, with a view to having at least one major establishment employing this new system in each province by the end of May, Cuban commercial authorities told the press.

    Since early March, the hard currency stores La Copa (operated by Cuba’s TRD corporation) and La Puntilla (part of the CIMEX branch) have begun to accept payments in CUP on an experimental basis, converting these payments into their equivalent in CUC by applying the official exchange rate of 1 CUC – 25 CUP.

    CIMEX Commercial Vice-President Barbara Soto Sanchez and commercial expert Arturo Kautzmann Torres told Cuba’s Juventud Rebelde newspaper that the measure will be applied gradually across the country, and that its implementation will be regulated by the Implementation Commission tasked with supervising the economic reforms now underway.

    Avoiding Traumas

    “The process is making headway without any traumas and our work schedule allows us to implement the new system gradually, first in the food section and then in the entire stores, so as to allow customers to become familiarized with it,” Kautzmann said.

    Officials added that product inventories kept by Cuban corporations continue to be entered into the books in CUC and that their bank accounts are in that currency. This requires a differential deposit of CUP incomes and new security measures to avoid any kind of financial crime.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=103531

  16. FINALLY SOME TEETH BY THE US AGAINST THE CHAVISTASFASCISTAS!
    EL UNIVERSAL NOTICIAS VENEZUELA: The US opens doors to impose sanctions on Venezuelan officials
    A bill approved Friday by the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs is to be discussed by the 435 representatives comprising the US Congress lower house.
    The US House Committee on Foreign Affairs passed on Friday a bill seeking sanctions against Venezuelan officials liable for human rights abuses during anti-government protests taking place in Venezuela since February and resulting in 42 people dead thus far.

    The initiative will now be subject to debate by the 435 representatives of the US Congress lower house. On Thursday, the US Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs said it would not support the application of sanctions at this very moment.

    If passed by the House plenary session, the bill -introduced by Republican lawmaker Ileana Ros-Lehtinen- will then be discussed by the relevant committee and the Senate plenary session. To become an Act, the bill finally requires US President Barack Obama’s enactment.

    Translated by Jhean Cabrera
    http://english.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140509/the-us-opens-doors-to-impose-sanctions-on-venezuelan-officials

  17. FROM THE US DEPT. OF STATE DAILY BRIEFING

    The first from Cuba: Roberto de Jesus Guerra is the director of Hablemos Press, one of Cuba’s embattled independent press outlets. Government security forces have detained Guerra over 100 times for his work to share information on human rights conditions on the island. Independent press remains illegal in Cuba despite Cuba’s signature to UN and international standards. Journalists working there have been routinely harassed and detained. Their reporters often face confiscations of equipment and documents, as he did on April 4th upon his return to the island after testifying before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

    We call on the Government of Cuba to cease arbitrary short-term detentions, at times with violence, and to silence independent voices and unduly restrict freedom of expression and of the press. Obviously, those are all things we want them to stop doing.

    Read more: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2014/05/20140501298662.html#ixzz31FFwhxIP

  18. CHAVISTAS SOCIALIST MODEL CONTINUES TO BE IMPLEMENTED

    Chiefs for the country’s five economic zones appointed

    President Nicolás Maduro announced the creation of an “economic offensive” fund with an initial capital of Bs.3.5 billion. He appointed five of his ministers to lead “the economic offensive” in five zones: Industry Minister José David Cabello (Central Zone), Trade Minister Dante Rivas (Andean Zone), Agriculture Minister Yván Gil (the Plains), Economy, Finance and Public Banking Minister Rodolfo Marco Torres (Western Zone) and Mining and Oil Minister, PDVSA Chief and Economic Vice President Rafael Ramírez (Eastern Zone). He also approved the creation of three strategic economic zones: Puerto Cabello-Morón in Carabobo state, the Orinoco Oil Belt and Jose-Guanta in Anzoátegui state.

  19. SPECIAL REPORT: A few key figures on Venezuela
    •0.5% economic contraction is the latest projection on Venezuela’s economy by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America. It is the worst projection of the 20 economies it measures.
    •2559 people have been arrested since demonstrations started on Feb. 4 according to the Penal Forum.
    •U$D 16,965 is the real per capita income in Venezuela according to the World Bank, the second highest in Latin America, after Uruguay.
    •18% drop in non-oil exports in 2012-2013, down to U$D 2.1 billion from U$D 6.816 billion in 2006.
    •15.8% unemployment under 24 years old in February 2014, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE). There are 2,181,777 active persons 15-24 years old.
    •29.5% is the March scarcity index on personal care products, according to the Central Bank.
    •43% salary increase decreed by the government during 2014, while March inflation rate was 59.4%.
    •U$D 12 billion is the government’s loss due to gasoline subsidies, says PDVSA.
    •U$D 96.5 was the average per barrel price of oil last week, down U$D 1.2 from the previous week.
    •U$D 18 million were paid by PDVSA to F1 Williams to cancel a contract with Pastor Maldonado. Despite results last season, Williams reported a U$D 15 million profit.
    •97% completion on the Guanapa thermoelectric plant which will add 50 MW to the electric grid.
    •1.16% is the final sales price coffee growers receive locally. The remainder goes to intermediaries and salesmen.
    •5-7%-15.8% is the price cut on MITSUBISHI vehicles, according to the Consumer Protection Agency.
    •32,25% cut in airline seats available to Venezuelans, since January. 5 additional airlines will cut back starting May.
    •12% cut in vehicle parts sales nationwide, according to the Auto Parts Industry Federation.
    •10,485 abandoned cars, 9,651 motorcycles and 539 bicycles were sent to SIDOR in order to produce steel for 32,772 housing units, according to government sources.
    •53.7 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants is the average in Venezuela, according to the UN, making it the 2nd homicide rate in Latin America, following Honduras.
    •45 bodies entered the Caracas morgue during the first 3 days in May, and 412 bodies arrived at the morgue in April. The daily average was 13.73.

  20. THIS SHORTAGE OF BEER MIGHT BE THE “SUDS THAT WILL BREAK THE CASTROFASCIST CAMEL’S BACK”! SHOW ME THE BEER Raul Castro!!

    SWISS BROADCASTING CORPORATION: Raul Castro’s reforms fail to end Cuba’s chronic shortages – by Rosa Tania Valdés

    HAVANA (Reuters) – In a land where the potato is scarce, black marketeers peddle tubers in hushed tones, like drug dealers on a big city street corner. A months-long reduction in the beer supply has made Cubans cranky. Worse still, some lovers have struggled to find condoms. Despite market-oriented reforms enacted by President Raul Castro, the communist-run country still encounters chronic shortages.

    Most shortages pass without official comment, but the recent lack of beer sounded so many alarms that government-controlled media reported a wave of complaints.

    Demand was being met for only 55 percent of bottled beer and 73 percent for canned beer, officials said.

    After the shortage dragged from February to March without explanation, Cuban brewer Bucanero S.A., a joint venture with the global beer company Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, finally addressed it on Tuesday in the official daily, Granma, saying there were delays in the import of Czech malted barley.

    No further explanation was given, and Bucanero said the problem was resolved in the first half of April, implying the shortage should soon be over because it takes 23 days to produce beer for retail sale.
    Some reforms have led to a boom in food production, but other measures such as reducing imports and cracking down on the black market may be aggravating the shortfalls.

    “Cubans are beer people. This beer drought is really hurting sales,” said Jose Daniel, the administrator of a Havana cafe. “People see there’s no cold beer and they just harrumph, then walk away in a bad mood.”

    Castro has staked much of his authority on improving the economy since replacing his ailing brother Fidel in 2008. Some experts warn of the political consequences of shortages, saying they impede development and leave the public unhappy.

    “Arguably the Soviet Union collapsed when Gorbachev attempted to suppress the consumption of vodka. First priority must be to keep the suds flowing,” said Richard Feinberg, a Cuba expert and former national security advisor to U.S. President Bill Clinton.

    LIMITS OF REFORM

    The persistence of shortages reveals the limits of reform.

    While a nascent retail market has proliferated, Cuba has yet to establish a wholesale market, impeding some new 450,000 small business owners who need inventory.
    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/news/international/Raul_Castros_reforms_fail_to_end_Cubas_chronic_shortages.html?cid=38550672

  21. LETS TURN THE SCREWS REAL TIGHT ON THE CHAVISTASFASCISTAS AND THEIR LORDS THE CASTROFASCISTS! THE BATTLE FOR DEMOCRACY IN LATIN AMERICA AND AGAINST THE CASTRO FAMILY OLIGARCHY MAFIA IMPERIALISM IS BEING FOUGHT RIGHT NOW IN VENEZUELA!

    ABC NEWS: Congress Moves Toward New Venezuela Sanctions – By BRADLEY KLAPPER
    Congress is moving closer to imposing economic penalties against Venezuela’s government.

    State Department officials will brief a Senate committee Thursday on violent street protests that have rocked the country for weeks, and a House panel will finalize its version of a sanctions bill Friday.

    The legislation in both chambers is relatively modest. It centers on $15 million in new funds to promote democracy and rule of law in the South American country. It bans visas for Venezuelan officials who crushed anti-government protests by students, opposition leaders and others and freezes their assets.

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a sponsor of the Senate legislation, said the message penalties would carry is most important, coming at a time when human rights groups accuse Venezuelan security officials of arresting, torturing and even killing unarmed demonstrators.

    “This is happening in our very own hemisphere,” Rubio said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. He said sanctions should target anyone responsible for human rights violations, refusing to rule out Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as a potential target.

    Action now would show the U.S. is “firmly on the side of the democratic aspirations of the Venezuelan people,” Rubio said.

    Sanctions are gaining support following the release of a scathing report this week by Human Rights Watch. The group said judges and prosecutors have repeatedly ignored evidence of systematic rights abuses by government forces, citing dozens of protesters who have suffered serious physical and psychological abuse. At least 41 people have died since February, while others have suffered broken bones, denial of medical treatment and threats of rape or death.

    At least 10 cases were serious enough to be considered torture, the New York-based organization said. Nearly all the cases it examined involved people who were denied due process, with many held incommunicado and refused access to legal counsel until minutes before they went to court, often in the middle of the night.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/congress-moves-venezuela-sanctions-23634441

  22. Hank,

    Carromero won’t ever get rich documenting the corruption and violence of the Castro regime.

    For getting rich, I recommend praising Castro. Just ask any loony bin or coward from Oliver Stone to Fernando Ravsberg.

  23. By the way, Nick.

    You keep mentioning conspiracies, yet you put forth such absurdities as your CIA swine flu conspiracy.

    Corruption and rigged trials in Cuba are just part of daily life.

    I know many Cubans who have been on the receiving end of Cuba’s corrupt police and judges, and they are not even dissidents.

    I would hate to think what would happen to them if they were.

  24. Nick,

    Based on historical statistics and knowledge of the Castro regime, the chance of the 4 people arrested being anti-Castro terrorists is well under 1%.

    Castro is a friend and supporter of most of the world’s terrorists. He hardly has a violent enemy in the world.

    His worst enemies are little old ladies carrying flowers as a sign of protest. These are the people Castro calls terrorists. In Cuba, everybody who criticizes Castro is a terrorist.

    And Carilles and anyone else in Miami who might have a violent hatred of Castro are under close and constant watch by the US government.

    They have a lot of powerful enemies in the US who would love to put them in jail.

    If what you believe is true, these people will shortly be arrested.

    If not, just more propaganda from Castro for his gullible followers.

    You should take Hank’s advice and open your mind to a different point of view – one closer to reality.

  25. Nick,

    You have obviously not done your homework and read Angel Carromerro’s book “Muerte Bajo Sospecha, Toda La Verdad Sobre El Caso.”

    Carromerro’s book is easily available on Amazon.com, unless of course you live in Cuba. Have any of your family and friends in Cuba read the book, Nick? Why don’t you mail it to them so they can read it?

    Better yet, why don’t you buy ten copies of the book and bring them with you in your luggage the next time you visit that enchanted isle? What are you afraid of?

    As you’ve probably heard tell, the book is Angel Carromerro’s eye-witness account of the events surrounding the murders of Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero by agents of the Cuban dictatorship and the subsequent cover-up of those murders by the Cuban dictator and his henchmen.

    Rosa Maria Paya, Oswaldo Paya’s daughter, wrote a moving Prologue to the book explaining why she wishes the book was never written in the first place. You should read what she wrote, Nick. Are you going to attempt to discredit her too? the daughter of yet one more murdered dissident in Cuba?

    I’m not surprised that you discredit the conclusions to be drawn from the book without even having read it, and I’m not surprised that you attack the integrity of the author. It is par for the course for you.

    You ask me why you should believe what Carromero says—I ask you why shouldn’t you believe what he says? You haven’t even read the book. Carromero was there, you were not. Do you really expect Carromerro to get rich by publishing such a book?

  26. THOSE ARE ANSWERS??? SOUNDS LIKE A COPOUT! COMPOUNDED BY A FUACATAAA!!!!

  27. HUMBYR!
    I will respond to your ‘Carromero TRIAL QUESTIONS’ in a very simple way:
    They are concrete proof that you believe a conspiracy has taken place.
    The thing is HUMBY,
    You would believe in a conspiracy theory regardless of the type of trial.
    You believe this theory because of your political agenda.
    That’s fine with me DEAR OLD HUMBYROO!
    In fact I would be alarmed if you believed anything other than a conspiracy theory.

  28. Mr ‘Good Detective’ Observer,
    You state that I ‘label as opportunists, mercenaries, etc, like Carramero, Alan Gross, Ladies in White…’
    Again you distort.
    I have not labelled Carromero or Alan Gross mercenaries.
    Mr Carromero was in Cuba for religious and political reasons. But not violent purposes to the best of my understanding.
    If he was in Cuba for violent purposes, I feel sure that Mr Paya would have had nothing to do with him.
    I have suggested that Alan Gross was a fool gambler. He knew the amount of dollar he stood to put in his pension pot. He gambled. He lost.
    I have many times put forward my viewpoint that I think he should be released on humanitarian grounds.
    The so called ‘Ladies in White’ are known to be paid by the U.S. government.
    In the strict sense of the word they are not mercenaries as their protests are peaceful and they do not take up arms.

    In your next comment you give yourself away again Mr Observer.
    You seem to make a presumption that the four people from Florida who have been arrested are not terrorists.
    You appear to be making this presumption because of your own political agenda.

  29. Cuba moves ahead with U$D 2.7 Billion LNG, ammonia Projects

    Cuba continues moving forward with development of a U$D1.4 billion natural gas re-gasification project and a U$D1.2 billion urea and ammonia plant under a Venezuelan initiative to provide cheap fuel to regional allies. The re-gasification project will have the capacity to process 2.06 million metric tons per year and consist of building facilities to receive and process liquefied natural gas, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. said in a December report released last week. The aim of the project is to provide a clean and low-cost energy source to the population, the company said without giving a completion date. The urea and ammonia plant will have the capacity to process 400,000 metric tons per year of urea and 370,000 metric tons per year of ammonia. The project seeks to benefit Cuba’s industrial sector, particularly plastics, industrial agriculture and chemical products, PDVSA said. (Bloomberg, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-28/cuba-moves-ahead-with-2-7-billion-lng-ammonia-projects.html)

  30. HOLLYWOOD GOES TO CUBA FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1959 ….

    A forthcoming biopic of Ernest Hemingway has become the first full length Hollywood feature film to shoot in Cuba since the 1959 revolution, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
    Papa, which tells the story of the iconic American writer’s friendship with a young journalist in 1950s Havana, received special dispensation from the US government to film despite the six-decade American embargo of Cuba. Director Bob Yari wrapped production over the weekend following a two-month shoot. His film stars Giovanni Ribisi as Denne Bart Petitclerc, the young journalist who befriended Hemingway, with stage and screen veteran Adrian Sparks as the novelist. It is based on Petitclerc’s autobiographical script.

    “It was an absolute passion to actually make it in Cuba where everything that is in the script happened, where the finca [farm] is where [Hemingway] lived, where his boat was, all the spots from the Morro castle to Cojimar where he fished,” Yari told the Hollywood Reporter. “It’s all here, so trying to duplicate it somewhere else was not very appealing.”

  31. THE PRINCES Mariela Castro IS TRYING TO CLEAN UP THE HOMOPHOBIC AND VIOLENT HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AGAINTS THE CUBAN PEOPLE BY HER FAMILY! SOME OF THE LEFT ARE BUYING HER LITTLE CIRCUS! SO WHY HAS SHE NOT INVESTIGATED THE UMAP Military Units to Aid Production CAMPS (1965-1968)? IT HAS BEEN ABOUT 50 YEARS SINCE THESE CONCENTRATION CAMPS WERE ESTABLISHED IN CUBA!

    SOOO Nickaroono!! YOU GOING TO RESPOND TO MY Angel Carromero TRIAL QUESTIONS DEAR? IN CASE YOU FORGOT TO READ THEM HERE THEY ARE!

    WHY DO YOU THINK THAT THE CASTROFASCISTS DID NOT ALLOW THE CHILDREN OF THE LATE Oswaldo Paya ATTEND THE TRIAL OF Angel Carromero DEAR?? AND WHY DID THEY NOT ALLOW THE PRESS INSIDE THE COURTROOM? AND WHY DID THEY TAKE AWAY THE REPORTERS RECORDING DEVICES?? AND WHY CANT WE FIND TRANSCRIP OF THE TRIAL ANYWHERE DEAR??? GET THE PICTURE YET DEAR???

    THE WASHINGTON BLADE: Cuban advocates not invited to international LGBT conference
    A group of independent Cuban advocates have sharply criticized organizers of an international LGBT conference underway in the Communist country over their decision not to invite them to the event.

    The Washington Blade on Tuesday obtained a copy of a statement onto which the Cuban League Against AIDS and six other LGBT advocacy groups that are not affiliated with the country’s National Center for Sexual Education signed. CENESEX’s director, Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro, is president of the local committee that organized the sixth International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean Conference that is currently taking place in the beach resort of Varadero.

    “We reject and denounce the fact that this meeting will take place with only the presence of a Cuban official and some non-governmental organizations,” reads the statement.

    The groups describe the conference as a “mockery,” referring to the Cuban government’s human rights record they say includes continued harassment of independent LGBT activists from the authorities. The organizations specifically criticize both ILGALAC and Mariela Castro.

    “Cuban civil society of which we are members is one that permanently denounces all these violations of human rights not acknowledged by those organizing the event,” reads their statement. “We are those who are not able to take a seat at the table of complicity that pretends to show an island where our community covers new ground.”
    Ignacio Estrada Cepero, founder of the Cuban League Against AIDS, noted to the Washington Blade from Miami where he currently lives with his wife, Wendy Iriepa Díaz, a trans woman who once worked at CENESEX, that the Cuban government sent more than 25,000 gay men and others deemed unfit for military service to forced labor camps in the years following the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

    Former Cuban President Fidel Castro in 2010 apologized for sending gay men to the camps known as Military Units to Aid Production or by the Spanish acronym UMAPs. Estrada told the Blade the Cuban government has yet to fully investigate them.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2014/05/07/cuban-advocates-invited-international-lgbt-conference/

  32. Omar,

    They were part of a plot to launch paper airplanes from Miami which would crash into Cuba’s top secret defense headquarters and unleash a torrent of paper cuts.

    One of the arrested is a CIA guy named Rambo.

    I’m glad Castro’s super-hero defenders managed to quash this evil CIA plot and protect the safe haven of Cuba for all the oppressed proletarians of the world who aspire to earn 10 dollars a month.

    Thanks for bringing us the latest NEWS from Granma.

  33. COMPANY FOR ALLEN GROSS IN PRISON:

    Four Cuban exiles from Miami are being held for planning “terrorist actions” against military targets on the island, Havana authorities said Wednesday in announcing the first such arrests in years.

    The Interior Ministry said the men were detained April 26, but released few specific details. It was not clear why it took so long to make the arrests public.

    “They intended to attack military installations with the goal of perpetrating violent actions,” the ministry said in a statement published by the Communist Party newspaper Granma. “To such ends, since mid-2013, three of them had made several trips to the island to study and carry out their plan.”

    The arrests come amid increased exchanges between exiles and their homeland, including visits by several prominent former hardliners who had vowed never to set foot in Cuba while brothers Fidel and Raul Castro were still in charge.

    The statement identified the detained men as Jose Ortega Amador, Obdulio Rodriguez Gonzalez, Raibel Pacheco Santos and Felix Monzon Alvarez.

    None are well-known within the exile community in South Florida, but Cuba claimed they were acting on orders from others who do have a history of militancy. Pacheco had been part of a tiny exile group called Fuerza Cubana de Liberacion Inc., defunct since 2010.

    The ministry said it was reaching out to U.S. authorities to investigate.

    “We have seen the statement by the Cuban Ministry of Interior,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “We don’t have any further information at this time. The Cuban government has also not been in touch with us yet on these cases.”

    The U.S. Interests Section in Havana and the FBI office in Miami had no immediate reaction.

    In its statement, the Interior Ministry alleged the plot was masterminded by Santiago Alvarez Fernandez Magrina, Osvaldo Mitat and Manuel Alzugaray in Miami. It also linked them to perhaps the best known militant Cuban exile, Luis Posada Carriles, whom Cuba and Venezuela have sought to prosecute for a 1976 airliner bombing that killed 73 people aboard a flight bound for Cuba.

    “We categorically deny that Luis has absolutely anything to do with this or has any knowledge of any of these individuals who were allegedly arrested in Cuba,” said Arturo Hernandez, Posada Carriles’ attorney.

    Hernandez said that Posada has been ill with cancer for most of the past two years and that it was “ridiculous” to suggest he would lead any military incursion in Cuba.

    Santiago Alvarez and Mitat pleaded guilty in 2006 in the United States to conspiracy after an informant tipped the FBI that a large cache of weapons, including machine guns and a grenade launcher, was being moved from apartments Alvarez owned.

    A subsequent search of a storage area at the apartment revealed more weapons and thousands of bullets. Another arms cache was found in the Bahamas, including C-4 plastic explosive, which prosecutors claimed was linked to Alvarez. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and Mitat got a two-year sentence.

    Contacted Wednesday, Santiago Alvarez denied involvement in any plot and said he did not know the detained men. He said he rarely speaks to Posada Carriles and only sees Mitat occasionally. Posada Carriles declined to comment.

    Alvarez accused Havana of trying to drum up an excuse to crack down further on island dissidents. He said he still supports change on the Communist-run island, but no longer condones violence.

    “Honestly, if I could, I would be doing it,” he said. “But the truth is, the thought of everybody of how to fight the dictatorship in Cuba has changed — the tactics at least.”

    “This is nothing more than a plan to use my name to go against the opposition in Cuba,” he said.

    It has been years since Cuban authorities have reported a specific terror threat such as the one alleged Wednesday.

    In 2001, three Cuban-Americans were detained on the island after coming onshore with guns and ammunition, according to Cuban authorities. They were prosecuted nine years later over an alleged plan to place a bomb in the famous Tropicana nightclub.

    In 1997, a series of hotel bombings hit Havana, one of which killed an Italian man. Salvadoran and Guatemalan nationals were arrested and pointed to Posada Carriles and other exiles as the intellectual authors of the attacks.

    Elizardo Sanchez, a Cuban non-governmental human rights monitor on the island, said he had not heard anything about the detained exiles. His organization has regular communication with people in Cuban lockups.

    “It is very strange,” he said. “This feeds the idea that there is an external threat.”

    Longtime Cuban exile activist Pepe Hernandez, who heads the Cuban American National Foundation in Miami, also said he did not recognize the names of the detained men.

    He said he found the timing of Cuba’s announcement suspicious, noting that among other things the arrests come as a growing number of exiles and others are urging the Obama administration to expand opportunities for travel to Cuba and support for small businesses there.

    “The Cuban government may be trying to raise the stakes for the United States. Historically, whenever it negotiates, it always tries to so from a position of strength,” Hernandez said.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Laura Wides-Munoz and Curt Anderson in Miami and Luis Alonso Lugo in Washington and AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

    ___

  34. Nick,

    Don’t be scared to read Carromero’s book.

    A good detective looks at all the evidence with an open mind.

    A bad detective puts innocent people in jail and lets the guilty walk free.

  35. Nick,

    I have no bias in the case. I do know the Castro police version contains some big lies. There are many reasons to lie and manufacture evidence; only one of them is that they murdered Paya and Cepero.

    I also know that Carramero’s account is plausible.

    I was making the point that you obviously haven’t read Carramero’s account, preferring to label him a right-wing religious fundamentalist opportunist.

    And from previously posts on the case, you clearly have read and believed the accounts of real opportunists, like Fernando Ravsberg.

    I have noticed that all the people you label as opportunists, mercenaries, etc, like Carramero, Alan Gross, Ladies in White, etc, have all risked their lives against a dictatorship.

    I think that most real opportunists support Castro.

    Opposing him will put your life or liberty at risk.

  36. Mr Observer,
    You state:
    ‘Even if, as you want to believe, Carromero is a right-wing religious fundamentalist opportunist, this doesn’t mean he is lying.’
    It is blatantly obvious that this man is a right wing religious fundamentalist.
    He also comes across as an opportunist.
    In response to Hanks question directed at me I said ‘why on earth would I choose to believe him ?’
    I did not say that he was lying.
    I was not there so I have no proof either way.

    You also state: ‘basically, Nick, you have decided that everyone involved in the case is a liar, except for those proven liars – Castro and his propaganda corps.’
    Wrong yet again Mr Observer. If you read what I wrote you would find it was this:
    ‘I would not be one to believe everything that the Cuban Government puts out either as they have their own political agenda.’

    The simple fact is that your conspiracy theories are based on your political opinions and on your opposition to the Cuban Government. This is yet another example of a lack of neutrality.
    Whatever the story was, you would choose to believe this Spanish Guy over the Cuban Authorities.
    That’s fine.
    That’s your prerogative.
    Its also your prerogative to post your rants on here.
    But, with just a little bit more effort, perhaps you could rant without trying to distort what I write.
    There’s a good fella….

  37. Raúl Castro is impulsive, dogmatic and sometimes brutal, in 1959, during the surrender of Santiago, the second largest Cuban city; Raul presided over the execution of more than 70 soldiers and officers who were machine-gunned and their corpses thrown into a ditch.

  38. HERE COME THE Omar Fundora’s APOLOGIZING FOR HIS MASTERS THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA BY SAYING HOW BAD THE REST OF THE WORLD IS! TYPICAL TACTIC THE CASTRO AGENTS USE! ARE YOU A CASTRO AGENT Omar Fundora? DONT WORRY DEAR! WE LOVE YOU JUST THE SAME!

    AND Nick! THAT OLD TIRED BOOGIEMAN Posada Carriles MIGHT DIE SOON! HE HAS BEEN BATTLING CANCER! WHAT OTHER MIAMI MAFIA BOOGIEMAN ARE YOU GUYS COOKING UP TO REPLACE HIM?? PERSONALLY THIS IS A FEEBLE ATTEMPT BY THE CASTROFASCISTS TO TAINT THE USA AND THE CUBAN COMMUNITY AFTER THEY THREW A TANTRUM FOR NOT BEING REMOVED FROM THE State Sponsors of Terrorism LIST!

    ABC NEWS: Cuba Arrests 4 Exiles, Alleges Terror Plot – By PETER ORSI and ANDREA RODRIGUEZ
    Four Cuban exiles from Miami are being held for planning “terrorist actions” against military targets on the island, Havana authorities said Wednesday in announcing the first such arrests in years.

    The Interior Ministry said the men were detained April 26, but released few specific details. It was not clear why it took so long to make the arrests public.

    “They intended to attack military installations with the goal of perpetrating violent actions,” the ministry said in a statement published by the Communist Party newspaper Granma. “To such ends, since mid-2013, three of them had made several trips to the island to study and carry out their plan.”

    None are well-known within the exile community in South Florida, but Cuba claimed they were acting on orders from others who do have a history of militancy. Pacheco had been part of a tiny exile group called Fuerza Cubana de Liberacion Inc., defunct since 2010.

    The ministry said it was reaching out to U.S. authorities to investigate.

    “We have seen the statement by the Cuban Ministry of Interior,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “We don’t have any further information at this time. The Cuban government has also not been in touch with us yet on these cases.”

    The U.S. Interests Section in Havana and the FBI office in Miami had no immediate reaction.

    “We categorically deny that Luis has absolutely anything to do with this or has any knowledge of any of these individuals who were allegedly arrested in Cuba,” said Arturo Hernandez, Posada Carriles’ attorney.

    Hernandez said that Posada has been ill with cancer for most of the past two years and that it was “ridiculous” to suggest he would lead any military incursion in Cuba.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE~!

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/cuba-arrests-exiles-alleges-terror-plot-23621779

  39. SOOO Nick! WHY DO YOU THINK THAT THE CASTROFASCISTS DID NOT ALLOW THE CHILDREN OF THE LATE Oswaldo Paya ATTEND THE TRIAL OF Angel Carromero DEAR?? AND WHY DID THEY NOT ALLOW THE PRESS INSIDE THE COURTROOM? AND WHY DID THEY TAKE AWAY THE REPORTERS RECORDING DEVICES?? AND WHY CANT WE FIND TRANSCRIP OF THE TRIAL ANYWHERE DEAR??? GET THE PICTURE YET DEAR???

    EXCELLENT ARTICLE ON THE CORRUPTION OF THE CHAVISTASFASCISTAS!

    REUTERS: Special Report: Billions unaccounted for in Venezuela’s communal giveaway program – by Brian Ellsworth
    The neighborhood of El Chaparral began receiving cash from the Venezuelan government in 2005. The windfall came courtesy of the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez’s plan to fight poverty by transferring billions of dollars in oil revenue to communities around the country.

    Within a year, auto mechanic Juan Freire was urging authorities to cut off El Chaparral and its sister community of Los Pinos, with a combined population of 250. The money wasn’t going to the needy, he says, and it wasn’t sowing growth. Instead, Freire alleges, leaders of the community council in this mountain suburb were using some of the cash for personal expenses and to build houses for family members. He and neighbors filed complaints with nearly a dozen state agencies seeking a halt to the transfers.

    Yet the money kept rolling in: In 2008, the council received close to $1 million – equal to about $4,000 a resident.

    “When we filed complaints, the responses would always be something like, ‘We’ll send some recommendations,'” said Freire, 57. “They never gave us answers.”

    The unsupervised spending in El Chaparral is symptomatic of a vast community aid effort with lax financial controls. A network of more than 70,000 community groups has received the equivalent of at least $7.9 billion since 2006 from the federal agency that provides much of the financing for the program, Reuters calculates, based on official government reports.

    The money is part of a broad government effort called the “communal state” that steers funds to communities, primarily through an outfit called the Autonomous National Fund for Community Councils, or Safonacc. But exactly how much money passes through this system, who gets it and how it’s used are largely a mystery.

    HIDDEN ACCOUNTS

    But the Venezuelan government doesn’t publish an official accounting of how the community-support funds are spent. The Finance Ministry didn’t respond to questions about the financing of community groups for this article. Safonacc is overseen by the Communes and Social Movements Ministry, which promotes “participative social development.” An official at the ministry said she wasn’t authorized to provide any information.

    Some officials have raised red flags about the spending. The comptroller of Venezuela in its 2011 annual report singled out Safonacc for scrutiny. That report concluded Safonacc has no centralized system to track outlays or follow up on projects.

    The comptroller’s office said it does not keep a tally of total transfers to community groups; it only tracks the finances of the councils it audits. In spite of the irregularities it identified at Safonacc, the office said in an email, the complaints “do not allow objections with respect to the relevance of the existence of these social and community groups. On the contrary, (the complaints) illustrate the need to cooperate in the development and consolidation” of the community councils.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/06/us-venezuela-communes-special-report-idUSBREA450CA20140506

  40. INEQUALITY IN THE WORLD (CUBA’S SITUATION IS SMALL POTATOES IN CONSIDERATION)

    – 1% of the population controls approximately 40% of the world’s riches.- 10% of the world’s richest households concentrate 85% of the world’s wealth.- one billion people live with 4% of the world’s wealth.- 1% of the population in the USA provides 2 thirds of the total budget in electoral campaigns. 0,01% of donors give a quarter of the total.- in 2008, aid given to development by donor countries did not reach a tenth of the world military expense. – according to United Nations, with 300 billion dollars extreme poverty could be eradicated. The amount implies a third of the annual military expense. – 0,1% of the world population accumulates financial actives amounting to 4,27 billion dollars. Of this 0,1%, 73% are men.53% are from Japan, USA and Germany.- in 2012 Carlos Slim continues to be the richest person in the world. His fortune is estimated in 69 billion dollars.- In 2012 the number of persons with patrimonies above one billion dollars reached a record of 1226. The average fortune is 3,7 billion dollars. The total sum of their fortunes is 4,6 billion dollars.- income of the wealthiest 500 persons in the world are bigger than the income of the poorest 416 million people. – in a world that produces food to cover loosely the needs of all its population, one billion people in the world go to bed hungry every night. – 3.5 billion people, about half the world population, live with less than 2 dollars a day. – inequality is worse in all the world than in a concrete country. Such a terrible injustice would probably cause a social and political upheaval if it happened in one individual country.- according to Oxfam’s calculations, based on the World Bank’s data about income distribution, if global inequality could be reduced, to the level of Haiti (which is one of the countries with the largest inequalities in the world), the number of persons that would live with less than a dollar a day would be cut in half: 490 million. Moreover, if an income distribution of a middle country (with reference to inequality) could be attained globally, such as Costa Rica, poverty of 1 dollar a day would go down to 190 million (a fifth of the present total).

  41. the martyr theologian vision for the World….( it is not capitalistic apartheid )

    the “civilization of shared simplicity.” If we continue to make profit at any cost
    the objective of the economy, hunger, misery, violence and predatory behaviour will
    continue growing. Neoliberal capitalist growth can only be defeated by a “harmonious
    and world-wide “de-growth.” “Living Well and Living Well Together” demands and
    makes it possible for humanity to really grow by becoming more human at all levels.
    “Humanize humanity” is the slogan: Ecologically, pluri-culturally, with equality and
    diversity in the Common House,

  42. COOPERATIVES A BETTER ALTERNATIVE THAN ECONOMIC APARTHEID FOR A WORLD OF SCARCITY

    a legacy of seven principles:
    1. Voluntary and open membership
    2. Democratic member control
    3. Member economic participation
    4. Autonomy and independence
    5. Education, training and information
    6. Cooperation among cooperatives
    7. Concern for the community

    These principles clearly differ from the capitalism’s drive for maximum profit and its need for private ownership.

  43. Nick,

    I hope you don’t work as a detective for Scotland Yard.

    The reason some people might choose to believe Carromero rather than Castro is that Carromero’s version is more plausible, considering all the evidence.

    Even if, as you want to believe, Carromero is a right-wing religious fundamentalist opportunist, this doesn’t mean he is lying.

    Dictators have a habit of killing and torturing all sorts of people, including right-wing religious fundamentalists.

    The most damning piece of evidence in the Paya and Cepero deaths is the fact that Castro did not allow any piece of evidence to be examined by a neutral party.

    The trial of Carromero was closed to the public, closed to all independent journalists, and closed to the families of the dead. Even lackeys of Castro, like Fernando Ravsberg, were kept in a separate room and given a prepared script to recite to the West.

    I’m sure you know that Ravsberg, a “journalist” whose account you believe, was so overtly biased in his reporting from Cuba that he recently parted ways with the BBC, after they asked him to tone down one of his more outrageous lies.

    Can you imagine how extreme your pro-Castro bias has to be to part ways with the BBC? It’s not easy, Nick.

    In the case of the Paya deaths, Paya’s daughter and others have publicly stated that Ravsberg lied in his reporting of his interview with the families and everything to do with the case.

    So basically, Nick, you have decided that everyone involved in the case is a liar, except for those proven liars – Castro and his propaganda corps.

    I prefer to take a more impartial view and read Carromero’s account with an open mind.

  44. CUBA DOES NOT WANT THE FREE MARKET APARTHEID SYSTEM

    the thrust of arguments by Cuban social scientist Camila Piñeiro Harnecker who
    advocates for a democratic decentralization. She proposes “the power to decide, to
    manage, no longer be in the hands of the management councils of the enterprises or local
    governments, but in the hands of the workers and citizens themselves.”
    She points out that “If we promote a decentralisation that is not democratic, the
    management of these decentralised spaces, and therefore with greater autonomy, will be
    guided by the individual interests of the administrators and not necessarily by those of the
    collectives they should represent. The growth of corruption among state administrators
    that has taken place since the [economic] reforms of the 1990s is due not only to the fact
    that they cannot satisfy their necessities with their [low] salaries, but also because neither
    workers or citizens had the means nor the motivation to control their management [of
    enterprises or local governments]. In addition, democratic management is indispensable
    for the full self-development of individuals,”
    She goes on to say “if we want to construct a society in which everyone will be able to
    develop themselves fully as human beings, we must organise our enterprises and local
    governments and all spaces of social activity in such a way that the social relations are of
    association and cooperation, not subordination and competition.”
    [Camila Piñeiro Harnecker, “Cuba needs changes, but to take us forward rather than
    backwards” Espacio Laical No. 4, 2010, pp.15-18, October 20th, 2010. trans. Marce
    Cameron

  45. A sober quotation from Fidel Castro: “Capitalism tends to reproduce itself under any
    social system because it is based on egotism and on human instincts. Human society has
    no other alternative but to overcome this contradiction; otherwise, it would not be able to
    survive.” “The law of the jungle”, October 13, 2008.

  46. NEWS FROM VENEZUELA: THE WAR IN THE SHADOWS CONTINUES

    Maduro bodyguard shot dead

    29 year-old Lieutenant Marco Cortez, a member of President Maduro’s bodyguard unit was shot dead from another running vehicle while he was driving on a Caracas freeway, with his wife – who was unharmed. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the Military Hospital. He also worked on the security detail for the late President Chavez. One week ago the bullet riddled body of former Director of Intelligence, Eliécer Otaiza, was found in a little travelled road near Caracas. Maduro claimed he was the victim of former politicians now living in Miami. More in Spanish: (Infolatam)

    Regime says 58 foreigners among unrest detainees

    Interior Minister General Miguel Rodriguez Torres told a news conference that 58 foreigners had been arrested on suspicion of inciting anti-government protests and violence that have rocked the nation for the last three months. He said Colombians, an American, a Spaniard and an Arab were among the scores of “mercenaries” rounded up before and during demonstrations against the socialist government. He showed reporters numerous flow-charts and photos of alleged meetings, phone calls and plotting. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/02/us-venezuela-protests-idUSBREA410TN20140502)

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