The Risks of Journalism

Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 21 May 2015 – If you has asked me a year ago what would be the three greatest challenges of the digital newspaper 14ymedio, I would have said repression, lack of connection to the Internet, and media professionals being afraid to work on our team. I did not imagine that the another obstacle would become the principal headache of this informative little paper: the lack of transparency in Cuban institutions, which has found us many times before a closed door and no matter how hard we knock, no one opens or provides answers.

In a country where State institutions refuse to provide the citizen with certain information that should be public, the situation becomes much more complicated for the reporter. Dealing with the secrecy turns out to be as difficult as evading the political police, tweeting “blind,” or becoming used to the opportunism and silence of so many colleagues. Information is militarized and guarded in Cuba as if there is a war of technology, which is why those who try to find out are taken, at the very least, as spies.

Belonging to an outlawed media makes the work even more problematic, and gives a clandestine character to a job that should be a profession like any other. Now, if we look at “the glass half full,” the limitation of not being able to access official spaces has freed us, in 14ymedio, from that journalism of “statements” that produces such harmful effects. To quote an official, to collect the words of a minister, or to transcribe the official proclamation of a Party leader, has been for decades the refuge of those who do not dare to narrate the reality of this country.

Lacking a press credential to enter an event, we have approached its participants in a less controlled setting, one where they have felt more free to speak

Our principal limitation has become the best incentive to seek out more creative ways of to inform. Government silence about so many issues has motivated us to find other voices that can relate what happened. Lacking a press credential to enter an event, we have approached its participants in a less controlled setting, one where they have felt more free to speak. From Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who answered several of our questions outside the press conference where our access was denied, to employees who alert us in whispers about an act of corruption in their companies or anonymous messages that put us on the trail of an injustice.

It has also been hard to work out our true role as providers of information, which is different from the role of a judge, a human rights activist and a political opponent. It is our role to make facts visible, so that others can condemn or applaud them. In short, as journalists we have the responsibility to inform, but not the power to impute.

Nor can we justify our failings because we are outlawed, persecuted, stigmatized and rejected. No reader is going to forgive us if we are not in the exact place of history’s twists and turns.

76 thoughts on “The Risks of Journalism

  1. The Norwegians and many others really need to hear the truth about wha’s really going on in Cuba. Too many are supporters of the “proceso de paz de miercoles” with the FARC, Socialist Dreamers and Lalaland dwellers…

  2. Again I have to admit that Simba has a point: Too many people are concerned about what the USA can get out of interaction with Cuba. The US already has too much.
    It’s all about too many poor people in too many countries. Helping people to live decent lives is the way to eliminate wars and terrorism. That last part is quite interesting for the US of A. I’ve heard…

  3. SIMBA SEZ: IF CUBANS WERE NOT A PEOPLE THAT HAVE LIVED IN OWE AND ADULATION OF THE UNITED STATES AND LIVE WISHING THEY CAN LIVE LIKE AMERICANS I WOULD NOT POST ANYTHING ABOUT THE UNITED STATES. ACTIVISM IN CUBA IS PRIMARILY INFLUENCE MORE BY THE EMPIRE TO THE NORTH THAN IT IS BY ANYTHING ELSE. If they would learn to manage their psychosis about regime change they can see why the Pope, the United States and Europe, for now, are more interested in normalizing relations with Cuba as part of creating an inclusive World, than they are about regime change…why????…..scarcity demands it. A scarcity created by Man and the consequences of creating a Frankenstein Society because Nature’s design do not suit the few monarchs that are in charge of governance of the World. Activism in Cuba top priority should be how to conserve what ecosystems are left on the island. Freedom of Speech will be a gradual process once the embargo is lifted. Rationing and directed economy is the direction the World is going into, the Free Market Economy is on its way out scarcity demands it. The structural inequality of Capitalism is a threat to World Peace under the present condition of changing World environment and excessive depletion of resources due to the profit system and efficiency of Capitalism……

  4. GLOBAL WARMING??…PLUS UNSUSTAINABLE CAPITALISM EQUALS A LOT OF HURT TO MANKIND AND LIFE ON THE PLANET

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    HYDERABAD, India (AP) — Eating onions, lying in the shade and splashing into rivers, Indians were doing whatever they could Thursday to stay cool during a brutal heat wave that has killed more than 1,400 in the past month.

    Meteorological officials said the heat would likely last several more days — scorching crops, killing wildlife and endangering anyone laboring outdoors.

    Officials warned people to stay out of the sun, cover their heads and drink plenty of water, but poverty forces many Indians to work despite the risks.

    “Either we have to work, putting our lives under threat, or we go without food,” farmer Narasimha said in the badly hit Nalgonda district of southern Andhra Pradesh state. “But we stop work when it becomes unbearable.”

    In the city of Nizamabad, 150 kilometers (93 miles) north of the state capital of Hyderabad, construction workers were also still on the job.

    “If I don’t work due to the heat, how will my family survive?” said Mahalakshmi, who earns a daily wage of about $3.10.

    Most of the 1,412 heat-related deaths so far have occurred in Andhra Pradesh and neighboring Telangana, where temperatures have soared up to 47 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit), according to government figures.

    Among the most vulnerable were the elderly and the poor, many of whom live in slums or farm huts with no access to air conditioners or sometimes even shade-giving trees.

    Those who were able were heeding the government’s advice to avoid the outdoors.

    “With so many people dying due to the heat, we are locking the children inside,” teacher Satyamurthy said in Khammam, which registered its highest temperature in 67 years on Saturday when the thermometer hit 48 degrees Celsius (more than 118 Fahrenheit).

    Cooling monsoon rains were expected to arrive next week in the southern state of Kerala and gradually advance north in coming weeks.

  5. Berta Soler, the leader of Ladies in White, during the Oslo Freedom Forum, has the great courage to denounce the deafening silence of the US government, the European Union and the Pope with regard to the Castroit regime repression of the Cuban society.

    The Ladies in White: U.S.-Cuba Talks Not Empowering Civil Society
    http://www.capitolhillcubans.com/2015/05/ladies-in-white-us-cuba-talks-not.html

    at 10:37 PM Tuesday, May 26, 2015

    We, Ladies in White, believe that these relations and conversations between the Cuban and U.S. governments will not be of any benefit to the Cuban people. And even less will it empower civil society, as President Barack Obama says. If no conditions are placed on the Cuban government, it will be more of the same or worse. We don’t see the U.S. government, the European Union, or Pope Francis, pronouncing themselves as regards the violations of human rights on the island, which is giving the Cuban government a green light to continue violating them.
    — Berta Soler, leader of The Ladies in White democracy movement, during the Oslo Freedom Forum, EFE, 5/26/15

  6. Simba Sez: Omar, Cuba is spelled C-U-B-A, not United States. That’s only four letters. Try to memorize them. Once again— try hard now, C-U-B-A!!!

  7. ABUNDANCE OF FOOD COMES AT A HUGE PRICE- ANOTHER REASON WHY WE MUST HAVE A PLAN TO ABANDON CAPITALISM BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
    study assessed long-term groundwater depletion in 40 separate aquifer systems or subareas, and one land use category in the U.S. The cumulative volume of groundwater depletion in the United States during the 20th century is large—totaling about 800 cubic kilometers (km3) and increasing by an additional 25 percent during 2001–2008 (to a total volume of approximately 1,000 km3). Cumulative total groundwater depletion in the United States accelerated in the late 1940s and continued at an almost steady linear rate through the end of the century. In addition to widely recognized environmental consequences, groundwater depletion also adversely impacts the long-term sustainability of groundwater supplies to help meet the Nation’s water needs. Groundwater depletion also is a small contributor to global sea-level rise, but sufficiently large that it needs to be recognized as a contributing factor and accounted for when explaining long-term global sea-level rise.
    In general, unconfined aquifers exhibit greater volumetric depletion than do confined aquifers, although the latter tend to have greater water-level declines. Depletion in confined aquifers is derived primarily from leakage and storage depletion in adjacent low-permeability confining units. Depletion is also greater in the semiarid to arid western States than in the humid eastern States because of the greater potential for recharge to offset or balance withdrawals in humid areas.

    According to Earthjustice attorney Trent Orr, California’s current water crisis is a man-made problem. It is the outcome of the mid 20th century notion that equates progress with giant public works projects and assumes that we can engineer our way out of all sorts of problems, including living in a drought-prone state. This doesn’t work.
    California’s and the surrounding marshes and grasslands were once hailed as the “American Serengeti.” The area was home to billions of waterfowl, elk and grizzly bears, and lay at the heart of abundant salmon runs. That world was already disappearing by the late 1940‘s, and the giant water projects of the 50’s and 60’s were devastating to the environment of the Delta and the rivers that feed it.

    “We have re-plumbed the vast watershed of the Central Valley so that water moves very differently than it did in its natural state,” said Orr.
    The “canary in the coal mine” for the Delta ecosystem is the Delta smelt. It was once one of the most abundant fish in the Delta, but is now “perilously close to extinction.”

    A whole series of other fisheries are collapsing. All but one salmon run is on the endangered species list.

    “There seems to be a disconnect between the economic health of the state and economic health of the agribusiness,” said Orr.

    He added:

    Does it make sense to be planting thousands of acres of almond trees, in a portion of the Central Valley that is practically a desert, when we know we are a state that has these cycles of drought? This should be a zone where you plant annual crops. Then in drought years you either let the land go fallow or plant less water-reliant crops. You don’t have that choice when you are talking about a permanent crop of trees.

    Though California’s agricultural sector only accounts for 1.5% to 2% of the state’s economy, it consumes 80% of the state’s water.

    The more fresh water that is pumped from the Delta and shipped south, to nourish agribusiness in the arid southern Central Valley, the more salt water intrudes into the Delta from San Francisco Bay. So Delta farmers who have long tapped directly into the Delta for their irrigation water are now getting increasingly salty water! In a dreadful irony, these farmers, once located next to a natural supply of fresh water, will eventually be unable to use the increasingly salty water. Meanwhile, fresh water pumped out of the Delta upstream will continue to be sent south to arid, far less suitable farmlands at an enormous energy cost.

  8. America’s Resource Geopolitics

    The United States—the world’s current economic and military superpower— entered the industrial era with a nearly unparalleled endowment of natural resources that included an abundance not only of forests, water, topsoil, and minerals, but also of oil, coal, and natural gas. Like all other nations, the U.S. has approached resource extraction using the low-hanging fruit principle. Today its giant onshore reservoirs of conventional oil are largely depleted, and the nation’s total oil production is down by over 40 percent from its peak in 1970—despite huge discoveries in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. Its total coal resources are vast, but rates of extraction probably cannot be increased significantly and will likely begin to decline within the next decade or two. Unconventional hydrocarbon resources (such as natural gas liberated by the hydrofracking of shale deposits) are beginning to be commercialized, but come with high investment costs and worrisome environmental risks. U.S. extraction rates for many minerals have been declining for years or decades, and currently the nation imports 93 percent of its antimony, 100 percent of its bauxite (for aluminum), 31 percent of its copper, 99 percent of its gallium, 100 percent of its indium, over half its lithium, and 100 percent of its rare earth minerals.

    America has much to lose from any substantial reshuffling of global alliances and resource flows. The nation’s leaders continue to play the game of geopolitics by 20thcentury rules: they are still obsessed with the Carter Doctrine and focused on petroleum as the world’s foremost resource prize (a situation largely necessitated by the country’s continuing overwhelming dependence on oil imports, due in turn to a series of short-sighted political decisions stretching back at least to the 1970s). The ongoing war in Afghanistan exemplifies U.S. inertia: most geostrategic experts agree that there is little to be gained from the conflict, but withdrawal of forces is politically unfeasible.

    The United States maintains a globe-spanning network of over 750 military bases that formerly represented tokens of security to regimes throughout the world—but that now increasingly provoke resentment among the locals. This enormous military machine requires a vast supply system originating with American weapons manufacturers that in turn depend on a prodigious and ever-expanding torrent of funds from the Treasury. Indeed, the nation’s yawning budget deficit largely stems from its trillion-dollar-per-year, first-priority commitment to maintain its military-industrial complex.

    The U.S. currently engages in “special operations” in 120 countries, using elite commando units skilled in assassination, counterterrorist raids, foreign troop training, and intelligence gathering. These teams can be deployed to support U.S. geopolitical interests in a variety of ways, including influencing elections or supporting factions within revolutions. The U.S. also maintains the world’s most lavishly funded ($80 billion in 2010) intelligence bureaus, the CIA and NSA, which conduct electronic and human information gathering activities in virtually every country on the planet.

    Yet despite America’s gargantuan expenditures on intelligence gathering and high-tech weaponry, and its globe-spanning ability to project power and to influence events, its armed forces appear to be stretched to their limits having continuously fielded around 200,000 troops and even larger numbers of support personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past decade, where supply chains are both vulnerable and expensive to maintain.

    In short, the United States remains an enormously powerful nation militarily, with thousands of nuclear weapons in addition to its unparalleled conventional forces, yet it suffers from declining strategic flexibility. The nation still retains an abundance of natural resources, but its consumption rates of many of those resources have grown to nearly insatiable levels, necessitating growing flows of resource imports from other nations. Meanwhile, its ability to pay for those imports is increasingly in question as its domestic economy shrinks due to financial system volatility, government spending cutbacks, high unemployment, an aging workforce, and shrinking average household net worth. For all of these reasons, the U.S. is widely characterized as “an empire in decline.”

  9. Political refugees in Cuba

    A darker side of the changes in Cuba-US relations might be that Cuba could not be safe for the refugees from the United States.

    Where will political refugees go now?
    The growth of fascism in the USA is resulting in the growing number of refugees leaving the “capitalist paradise”. In the past, some stayed safely in Cuba. (The Yankee was yelling “terrorists, terrorists”, but nobody believes them anyway).

    A few days ago Philip Zimmermann, founder of PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), maker of the Blackphone, has moved his Silent Circle company to Switzerland.
    He is not on the wanted list in the US, yet. Actually, he still keeps some branch offices operating in America. But Philipp knows better then all of us what the USA is up to.

    He prefers to go before being confronted with a FISA court order.
    FISA is a court where the defendant does not know the charges. He only knows the verdict. If you need a joke about the US Constitution just spell FISA.

    Cuba might benefit from hosting the companies such as the Silent Circle, but can Cuba guarantee safety?

    http://rt.com/news/262025-silent-circle-zimmerman-switzerland/

  10. THE SILENCE BY OBAMA ON HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN CUBA IS DEAFENING!

    COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Castro 200, Obama 0: While Talks Continue, Beatings Continue – by Elliott Abrams

    When President Obama junked 60 years of U.S. foreign policy to seek a rapprochement with the Castro regime in Cuba, he was aware that he would be accused of ignoring human rights. After all, the Obama administration got next to nothing for the concessions it made to Cuba, and from all accounts did not bargain hard for more. So the administration took the line, right from the start, that its actions would help human rights in Cuba almost automatically.

    The returns appear to be in, and Mr. Obama is simply wrong. His “engagement” is helping the regime by reducing U.S. pressure to respect human rights and bringing it more money from tourism and remittances. And the Castros know all this–know that the administration is now set on business as usual and that they will have an even freer hand to abuse dissidents.

    How do we know this? Last week, on May 21, the State Department issued this press release:

    So, talks on the 21st, 200 arrests just four days later. In other words, the two events are viewed by the Castro regime as entirely unrelated: talk and arrest, talk and imprison, talk and beat up protesters and demonstrators. Sadly, the two events also appear to be viewed by the Obama administration as entirely unrelated. Where is the protest? Where is the cancellation or postponement of talks? Where is any action that tells the regime it cannot embarrass the President this way?

    And where is the President? It is one thing for him to predict that “we can do more to support the Cuban people and promote our values through engagement.” It is quite another for him to remain silent when that proves to be wrong, and our “engagement” leads to more and more abuses of human rights.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://blogs.cfr.org/abrams/2015/05/26/castro-200-obama-0-while-talks-continue-beatings-continue/

  11. India and Venezuela review bi-lateral agenda, announce presidential visits

    The Foreign Ministers of India and Venezuela have met in Caracas to review their bi-lateral agenda and announce presidential visits for the coming months. “We have reviewed the bi-lateral agenda, with big expectations of co-operation in the areas of energy, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, technology, and the automotive industry. It’s a full agenda for both countries to take to a strategic level,” said Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez. She also spoke of an exchange of visits by the presidents of both countries in the near future. (Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2388911&CategoryId=10717)

    Well…India and Venezuela are moving to the next phase of the agreements for commerce between the two countries. This is an indicator that India has confidence in the Venezuelan government handling of the economy.

  12. Venezuela has asked EXXON to withdraw from the waters off Guyana where it has been exploring for oil as they are part of the disputed area, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodríguez. She claims Venezuela is ratifying its rights over the territorial dispute it has with Guyana. (Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=44018&idc=4; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150525/venezuela-asks-exxon-mobil-to-stop-oil-prospecting-at-the-essequibo)

  13. Credit activity at Venezuelan banks up 89.01%

    The net yield (profit) of the Venezuelan financial system recorded a 71.77% surge in the first four months of 2015 over the same term last year, according to SOFTLINE CONSULTORES, which put the indicator at US$ 5.67 billion versus US$ 2.36 billion in January-April 2014. The credit portfolio increased 89.01% over last year. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150523/credit-activity-in-venezuelan-banks-up-8901)

    Over 80 percent of bank financing extended to public firms is in the
    form of lines of credit, and unused lines of credit on corporate balance sheets represent 10 percent of total assets. (when business is doing well). banks extend credit mainly to
    firms with higher profitability, and banks carefully manage lines of credit through covenants on
    profitability. What all of this means???..the confidence level of the banking industry in Venezuela’s business community is improving. In other words, they are willing to lend more money to businesses then they were before.

  14. China creates international gold fund

    China has created an international gold fund that is expected to reach a total value of US$ 16.4 billion. The project, which is being overseen by the Shanghai Gold Market and has attracted investment from 60 countries, will make it easier for member states’ central banks to increase their gold reserves.}The fund will be operated as part of the New Silk Road, an investment project being promoted by China to bolster its trade and financial position in Asia. (Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2388896&CategoryId=13280)

  15. VENEZUELA OIL PRICE IS ABOVE IMF EXPECTATIONS-AVERAGE OF $50/BARREL FOR 2015
    Venezuela oil price falls after 8 weeks of gains

    Venezuela’s weekly oil basket price broke 8 straight weeks of gains as oil prices began to moderate in some well-supplied markets. According to figures released by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, the average price of Venezuelan crude sold by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) during the week ending May 22 was US$ 56.28, down US$ 0.72 from the previous week’s US$ 57.00. (Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2388852&CategoryId=10717

  16. PANAM POST: Venezuela’s Bolívar Plummets to New Low amid Hyperinflation Fears – Black-Market Dollars Worth Nearly 70 Times More than Government Rate – by SABRINA MARTÍN – MAY 25, 2015
    More than a month later, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has yet to unveil the details of the “economic overhaul” he announced would address the nation’s current crisis. Meanwhile, the black-market exchange rate of bolívares for US dollars continues to climb.+
    On Thursday, May 21, the exchange rate broke the 400 Bs. per dollar mark for the first time, meaning Venezuelans living on the minimum wage are left earning only US$16.80 per month.+
    The unofficial rate — 422.5 Bs. per dollar at press time — is now 67 times higher than the lowest fixed rate set by the government’s foreign-exchange controls put in pace over 12 years ago on February 5, 2003.+
    The black-market exchange rate is calculated by the website DolarToday, which reports the value of the foreign currency in Venezuela based on daily exchange operations in Cúcuta, a Colombian city near the southern border.+
    Reactions were immediate and the hashtag #400Bs became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter on Thursday evening.
    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://panampost.com/sabrina-martin/2015/05/25/venezuelas-bolivar-plummets-to-new-low-amid-hyperinflation-fears/

  17. Vzla was already doing badly before the oil price plummeted. After Chavez was gone it just got even much worse very quickly…

  18. AN ENLIGHTENED AMERICAN TRAVELER! THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA COULD NOT HIDE THE REALITY OF THE CUBAN STATE FROM HER EYES!

    HUFFINGTON POST: Reflections on a Cuba Visit – by Kathy Kemper – Founder and CEO, Institute for Education

    Havana is a fractured place–beautiful, colorful, and hopeful, but at the same time, poor, deprived, and repressed.

    Central Havana, on the other hand, is poor and developing. It is common for many generations to live under a single room. Homes are generally dilapidated and, by Western standards, would be considered slums. Many buildings are falling apart from neglect. People don’t own homes; instead, they trade them as people die or babies are born.

    Although Havana is a port, there were no sailboats, fishing boats, or any pleasure boats. In fact, there was hardly a beach community. On the boardwalk along the Atlantic called Malecón, people were all looking inwards, never out at sea. There were few joggers, and no restaurants with views of the sea.

    The restaurants, called paladares, are small family-run businesses that are permitted to operate privately by paying a monthly tax to the state. No locals frequent these establishments, only tourists, due to the expense. We found some very nice ones with lovely gardens, but some were uninteresting and expensive, located in small rooms filled with tourist groups.

    Although the Cuban educational system is highly regarded, many of our tour guides did not have any information on subjects that the state does not want Cubans to know about. When I asked one of our guides to tell me more about Batista, the Cuban dictator who was overthrown during the revolution, she knew a couple of dates but had no stories or insights. As many Internet sites are blocked and most Cubans lack access to the Internet, it is almost impossible for locals to obtain basic information or context.

    Cubans who work in tourism do have some connectivity in their offices, but it is spotty. The Internet connection was equally unreliable in hotels, even the best. It was impossible to download any newspapers. One paper in Cuba called Granma, named after the boat Fidel took from Mexico for the purpose of overthrowing Batista, was in fact more of a pamphlet.

    I asked another tour guide if Castro would be embalmed like Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Kim Jong-il, and other Communist leaders, but she had no idea what I was talking about. No Cubans seem to know much about Fidel–his health, his family, or where he lives. With no press, how could they? They are hopeful with Raul. They all say, “it is about time,” meaning they welcome change.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-kemper/reflections-on-a-cuba-vis_b_7443306.html

  19. So the **** is – finally – hitting the fan regarding giving away the oil that belongs to the Vzla people. The nations that receive the oil must have seen this coming for a while. The Castro broz saw things getting much worse when Chavez was gone, and started cozying up to the good ol’ US of A…

  20. “Look at my last post, like Fidel Castro, a Rich Cuban with a conscience” – Omar Fundora
    I THINK YOU GOT THE FIRST PART RIGHT OF RICH CORRECT! WITH A CONSCIENCE? DONT THINK SO DEAR!
    SO Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, THE EX-BODYGUARD OF Fidel Castro JUST PASSED AWAY ONLY A FEW WEEKS AFTER HIS BOOK ABOUT THE OPPULENT AND HYPOCRITICAL LIFESTYLE OF Fidel AND HIS FAMILY WAS PUBLISHED IN ENGLISH (it has been out in French for over a year). I HOPE THEY DO AN AUTOPSY AS WE ALL KNOW THE ARM OF THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA CAN REACH ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.

    BOOK: The Double Life of Fidel Castro: My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Lider Maximo by Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, Axel Gyldén and Catherine Spencer (May 12, 2015)http://www.amazon.com/Juan-Reinaldo-Sanchez/e/B00KTPSLXY

    THE DAILY MAIL: Castro the commie hypocrite who lives like a billionaire: He’s posed as a man of the people. But a new book reveals Cuba’s leader has led a life of pampered hedonism and a fortune as big as the Queen’s – By Guy Adams

    In a new, 338-page memoir, titled The Hidden Life Of Fidel Castro (published in France by Michel Lafon and co-authored by Axel Gyldén), Sanchez, an employee of 20 years’ standing, lifts the lid on the luxurious excesses enjoyed by the autocrat and his inner circle.The book portrays a man obsessed with power and money, who styled himself as a hero of the working classes while living the opulent existence of a medieval potentate.Unlike a gilded royal, however, the Cuban leader — whose British apologists have, by the by, included Ken Livingstone, Arthur Scargill and the late Tony Benn — managed to keep his life of luxury a closely guarded secret.For that, like any good dictator, he can thank the agents of a security state every bit as oppressive as that forged by dictatorial chums in Zimbabwe, China and the old Soviet Union.Sanchez was one of Castro’s security guards from 1977 to 1994, accompanying him on overseas trips to meet everybody from popes to U.S. presidents, and witnessing first hand his boss’s ability to exploit Cuba as a personal fiefdom.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2637927/Castro-commie-hypocrite-lives-like-billionaire-Hes-posed-man-people-But-new-book-reveals-Cubas-leader-led-life-pampered-hedonism-fortune-big-Queens.html

  21. Omar,

    Socialists can’t eradicate capitalism because all Socialists are capitalists.

    To eradicate capitalism you have to eradicate yourself.

    Don’t you see the problem?

    You are capitalism.

    Just a very greedy deluded corrupt form.

    The form that worships billionaire tyrants like Castro.

  22. NEUTRAL OBSERVER: Look at my last post, like Fidel Castro, a Rich Cuban with a conscience, a Rich Saudi Banker with a conscience exposes, with investigative journalism, a tragedy due to unsustainable capitalism

  23. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE UNSUSTAINABLE ABUNDANCE (SAUDI ARABIA)
    The government allowed wealthy landowners to dry up its groundwater in just three decades.

    Saudi Arabia’s mysteriously disappearing water came to light around the turn of the century. By 2002, the government had formed the Ministry of Water to search for answers. But the Sherlock Holmes of this story came from a surprising background.

    A Saudi banker turned water detective put together the pieces in 2004 and published the now seminal report “Camels Don’t Fly, Deserts Don’t Bloom.” Elie Elhadj’s investigation revealed the culprit: Wealthy farmers had been allowed to drain the aquifers unchecked for three decades.

    Beginning in the late 1970s, Saudi landowners were given free rein to pump the aquifers so that they could transform the desert into irrigated fields. Saudi Arabia soon became one of the world’s premier wheat exporters.

    By the 1990s, farmers were pumping an average of 5 trillion gallons a year. At that rate, it would take just 25 years to completely drain Lake Erie.

  24. I wonder when “socialist” Omar will remove his investments from his capitalist bank and start giving his money away.

    I haven’t met any socialist Socialists, but they must exist somewhere? Not in Cuba, that’s for sure.

    Why do Socialists worship Castro?

    Because he is worth billions of dollars and pays most Cubans under 20 dollars a month?

    Because he has dozens of properties throughout Cuba, with swimming pools, private farms, private livestock, private ice cream factory, private butlers, private chefs, all for his household alone, while millions of Cubans have waited decades to move out of their crumbling buildings?

    Because he went fishing every weekend on his yacht and private island while making it illegal for most Cubans to get on a boat or fish?

    Or because he wanted to nuke the USA?

    I’m curious why Socialists love Castro.

    Must be his great wealth and power or is it the fact he hates the USA and ran his own private wars over 5 continents. Maybe all of the above?

    Is a Socialist just a deluded lazy greedy capitalist who wants wealth and power out of the mouth of a gun?

    I’m really curious.

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