Carnival Cruise Lines, A Paradigm of Our Times

A cruise ship from the American company Carnival Cruise Lines (14ymedio)

A cruise ship from the American company Carnival Cruise Lines (Carnival)

Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 9 July 2015 – There are several ways to react when faced with another person’s affluence. One of them is the one taught to us by the Castro regime from the time we were little, and that is based on anger and stigmatizing the prosperous. A Robin Hood-like intransigence, the point of which is to snatch from the other person the “excess” or whatever he “has too much of.” This animosity toward anyone who makes progress, accumulates property, or enjoys certain material comforts, has ended up becoming an inseparable component of our idiosyncrasy, although the times seem to be changing.

“I am never going to go on a cruise, but the more they come… the more we gain,” a retired man said yesterday, chewing tobacco and wearing a shirt so worn out his skin showed through. The official news just announced that the US company Carnival Cruise Lines received authorization from Washington to travel to Cuba, and the gentleman was expressing his own opinion about the luxuries enjoyed by others. This symbol of a capitalism of pleasures, fun and wastefulness is about to dock in Havana and it is noteworthy that officialdom will receive it not with shouts or slogans, but rather will welcome it.

Cubans don’t appear scandalized when we talk about these floating behemoths that will arrive with sumptuousness and money, a lot of money. Rather, people calculate the benefit involved when the giant of the seas touches land and a flood of tourists descend with bulging wallets and overflowing sunscreen. Restaurant owners near the Port of Havana are rubbing their hands and tchotchke sellers are hoping to improve their sales.

“Carnival Cruise Lines is the last fig leaf that has been removed and it lays bare their shameless fascination with money, their own and others’.”

Others, like the gentleman with the worn out shirt and the chewing tobacco, will probably not benefit at all from Carnival Line’s arrival. However, unlike in the past when he had spit with anger at these “exploitative bourgeois who come to leave us their trash,” now he seems disposed to cope with such an exhibition of ostentation and glamor. Asked about his tolerance for others’ luxuries, the old man explained that, “There are people here who live like that, so grandly, but they’re up there,” as he pointed a finger skyward to indicate the nomenklatura. “Here the difference is that we will see them coming by sea and they won’t be hiding what they have,” he said.

To preserve the succulent assets associated with power, the government itself is changing its discourse regarding the wealth of others, and trying to attract those, “rich people, bourgeois, empowered,” whom they renounced and fought for decades. However, in order to reap the benefits of luxury tourism, they are sending a contradictory message to their citizens who grew up under calls for egalitarianism and austerity. Carnival Cruise Lines is the last fig leaf that has been removed and it lays bare their shameless fascination with money, their own and others’.

41 thoughts on “Carnival Cruise Lines, A Paradigm of Our Times

  1. Mario,

    There is nothing wrong with a one-party system if and only if there are short term for the citizens that are appointed to leadership positions within the Parliament, Judicial and Administration of the State. But, also, in my humble opinion, we cannot allow private citizens to control immense amount of wealth and power as it is the case today in United States and Russia. In the United States, we allow 80% of the wealth and money (money in particular) to be in private hands and 50% of it is controlled by less than 1% of the population. This is why increasing the tax on wealth is a possible solution to fight inequality. Universal Health Insurance will also help fix the problem. The United States government, controlling 18.2% of the GDP in the country creates more jobs for every dollar it controls than private citizens do with the same dollar. The tax idea Piketty proposes is the “invisible hand” of the People that can leverage the Rich and Super Rich to create jobs that pay living wages. A balance approach is the best solution. It is extremely ignorant for activists to demand government representation that embraces democratic principles and human rights while at the same time demanding unsustainable capitalism as the economic model to follow. The economic data today reveals that unsustainable capitalism has the potential to destroy democracies. The foreign policy of the United States camouflage of bringing to the World Democracy, Freedom and “Free Market” is really nothing more than an expansion of Corporatism beyond American borders around the World and greater inequality which places the World Community of Nations on the path of Civil Wars and domination of Nations (like it has taken place in the United States and Russia-here is more in your face, in the U.S. is better camouflage) by Private Economic Monarchs. Cuba’s Socialist Democratic Republic, although not perfect, it is an incremental path to the future that is on the right side of history of human governance.

  2. The Castroit regime survive because of the subsidies from the Soviet Union and Venezuela. Now that the Venezuela subsidies had been cut in half, the Obama administration is throwing it a lifeline.

    Carnival Corp. will be operating the cruises under Carnival’s new “fathom” brand, which is dedicated to “social impact travel.” Progressives will be lining up for these “social impact” cruises at $3,000 per person for a seven day cruise. They would be washing the Cuban people in their cages in the island of Dr. Castro, as they were monkeys in a zoo.

    According to Kuznets’ influential hypothesis, income inequality should follow an inverse-U shape along the development process, first rising with industrialization and then declining, as
    more and more workers join the high-productivity sectors of the economy [Kuznets 1955]. Today, the Kuznets curve is widely held to have doubled back on itself, especially in the United States, with the period of falling inequality observed during the fiŽrst half of the twentieth century being succeeded by a very sharp reversal of the trend since the 1970s. This does not, however, imply that Kuznets’ hypothesis is no longer of interest. One could indeed
    argue that what has been happening since the 1970s is just a remake of the previous inverse-U curve: a new industrial revolution has taken place, thereby leading to increasing inequality, and inequality will decline again at some point, as more and more
    workers benefiŽt from the innovations. This is what the Right believe, but, here is another dimension to the problem with capitalism: ” When the rate of return on capital exceeds the rate of growth of output and income, as it did in the 19th Century and seems quite likely to do it again in the 21st. Century, Capitalism automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequality that radically undermine the meritocratic values on which democratic societies are based.” ….

  4. The Castroit regime draconian laws, don’t allow Cubans to board any vessel. The regime, in violation of maritime international laws, don’t allow Cubans, doesn’t matter where they reside, from entering the island through seaports. The regime Naval Command center says that “No Cuban is authorized to navigate in Cuba. The only exception are those married to citizens of another country, who must request a permit beforehand.”

  5. Omar, you have posted plenty of well wishing:
    “progressive tax, a global tax, based on the taxation of private property. This is the only civilised solution”

    This is all very nice, but where are the guns?

    Do you think the Wall Street will give a penny away just because your arguments are so human, so reasonable and so convincing?

    Only a one party system with a strong and bright leader has a chance to bring justice to the people. If he survives the assassination attempts.


    Piketty delivers this speech, erudite and powerful, with a quiet passion. He is, one would guess, a relatively modest and self-effacing character, but he loves his subject and it is indeed a delight to find oneself in the midst of a private seminar on money and how it works. His book is indeed long and complicated but anyone who lives in the capitalist world, which is all of us, can understand the arguments he makes about the way it works. One of the most penetrating of these is what he has to say about the rise of managers, or “super-managers”, who do not produce wealth but who derive a salary from it. This, he argues, is effectively a form of theft – but this is not the worst crime of the super-managers. Most damaging is the way that they have set themselves in competition with the billionaires whose wealth, accelerating beyond the economy, is always going to be out of reach. This creates a permanent game of catch-up, whose victims are the “losers”, that is to say ordinary people who do not aspire to such status or riches but must be despised nonetheless by the chief executives, vice-presidents and other wolves of Wall Street. In this section, Piketty effectively rips apart one of the great lies of the 21st century – that super-managers deserve their money because, like footballers, they have specialised skills which belong to an almost superhuman elite.

    “One of the great divisive forces at work today,” he says, “is what I call meritocratic extremism. This is the conflict between billionaires, whose income comes from property and assets, such as a Saudi prince, and super-managers. Neither of these categories makes or produces anything but their wealth, which is really a super-wealth that has broken away from the everyday reality of the market, which determines how most ordinary people live. Worse still, they are competing with each other to increase their wealth, and the worst of all case scenarios is how super-managers, whose income is based effectively on greed, keep driving up their salaries regardless of the reality of the market. This is what happened to the banks in 2008, for example.”

    It is this kind of thinking that makes Piketty’s work so attractive and so compelling. Unlike many economists he insists that economic thinking cannot be separated from history or politics; this is what gives his book the range the American Nobel laureate Paul Krugman described as “epic” and a “sweeping vision”. Piketty’s influence indeed is growing well beyond the small enclosed micro-society of academic economists. In France he is becoming widely known as a commentator on public affairs, writing mainly for Le Monde and Libération, and his ideas are frequently discussed by politicians of all hues on current affairs programmes such as Soir 3. Perhaps most importantly, and unusually, his influence is growing in the world of mainstream Anglo-American politics (his book is apparently a favourite in the Miliband inner circle) – a place traditionally indifferent to French professors of economics. As poverty increases across the globe, everyone is being forced to listen to Piketty with great attention. But although his diagnosis is accurate and compelling, it is hard, almost impossible, to imagine that the cure he proposes – tax and more tax – will ever be implemented in a world where, from Beijing to Moscow to Washington, money, and those who have more of it than anyone else, still calls the shots.


    What have we learned? Capitalism is bad. Hooray! What’s the answer? Socialism? Hope so. “It is not quite so simple,” he says, disappointing this former teenage Marxist. “What I argue for is a progressive tax, a global tax, based on the taxation of private property. This is the only civilised solution. The other solutions are, I think, much more barbaric – by that I mean the oligarch system of Russia, which I don’t believe in, and inflation, which is really just a tax on the poor.” He explains that oligarchy, particularly in the present Russian model, is quite simply the rule of the very rich over the majority. This is both tyrannical and not much more than a form of gangsterism. He adds that the very rich are not usually hurt by inflation – their wealth increases anyway – but the poor suffer worst of all with a rising cost of living. A progressive tax on wealth is the only sane solution.

    Professor Thomas Piketty, a modest young Frenchman (he is in his early 40s), who has spent most of his career in archives and collecting data, but is just about to emerge as the most important thinker of his generation – as the Yale academic Jacob Hacker put it, a free thinker and a democrat who is no less than “an Alexis de Tocqueville for the 21st century”.
    This is on account of his latest work, which is called Capital in the Twenty-First Century. This is a huge book, more than 700 pages long, dense with footnotes, graphs and mathematical formulae. At first sight it is unashamedly an academic tome and seems both daunting and incomprehensible. In recent weeks and months the book has however set off fierce debates in the United States about the dynamics of capitalism, and especially the apparently unstoppable rise of the tiny elite that controls more and more of the world’s wealth. In non-specialist blogs and websites across America, it has ignited arguments about power and money, questioning the myth at the very heart of American life – that capitalism improves the quality of life for everyone. This is just not so, says Piketty, and he makes his case in a clear and rigorous manner that debunks everything that capitalists believe about the ethical status of making money.

    The groundbreaking status of the book was recognised by a recent long essay in the New Yorker in which Branko Milanovic, a former senior economist at the World Bank, was quoted as describing Piketty’s volume as “one of the watershed books in economic thinking”. In the same vein, a writer in the Economist reported that Piketty’s work fundamentally rewrote 200 years of economic thinking on inequality. In short, the arguments have centred on two poles: the first is a tradition that begins with Karl Marx, who believed that capitalism would self-destruct in the endless pursuit of diminishing profit returns. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the work of Simon Kuznets, who won a Nobel prize in 1971 and who made the case that the inequality gap inevitably grows smaller as economies develop and become sophisticated.
    Piketty says that neither of these arguments stand up to the evidence he has accumulated. More to the point, he demonstrates that there is no reason to believe that capitalism can ever solve the problem of inequality, which he insists is getting worse rather than better. From the banking crisis of 2008 to the Occupy movement of 2011, this much has been intuited by ordinary people. The singular significance of his book is that it proves “scientifically” that this intuition is correct. This is why his book has crossed over into the mainstream – it says what many people have already been thinking.

    “I did deliberately aim the book at the general reader,” says Piketty as we begin our conversation, “and although it is obviously a book which can be read by specialists too, I wanted the information here to be made clear to everyone who wants to read it.’ And indeed it has to said that Capital in the Twenty-First Century is surprisingly readable. It is packed with anecdotes and literary references that illuminate the narrative. It also helps that it is fluently translated by Arthur Goldhammer, a literary stylist who has tackled the work of the likes of Albert Camus. But even so, as I note that Piketty’s bookshelves are lined with such headache-inducing titles as The Principles of Microeconomics and The Political Influence of Keynesianism, simple folk like me still need some help here. So I asked him the most obvious question I could: what is the big idea behind this book?

    “I began with a straightforward research problematic,” he says in elegant French-accented English. “I began to wonder a few years ago where was the hard data behind all the theories about inequality, from Marx to David Ricardo (the 19th-century English economist and advocate of free trade) and more contemporary thinkers. I started with Britain and America and I discovered that there wasn’t much at all. And then I discovered that the data that did exist contradicted nearly all of the theories including Marx and Ricardo. And then I started to look at other countries and I saw a pattern beginning to emerge, which is that capital, and the money that it produces, accumulates faster than growth in capital societies. And this pattern, which we last saw in the 19th century, has become even more predominant since the 1980s when controls on capital were lifted in many rich countries.”

    So, Piketty’s thesis, supported by his extensive research, is that financial inequality in the 21st century is on the rise, and accelerating at a very dangerous pace. For one thing, this changes the way we look at the past. We already knew that the end of capitalism predicted by Marx never happened – and that even by the time of the Russian revolution of 1917, wages across the rest of Europe were already on the rise. We also knew that Russia was anyway the most undeveloped country in Europe and it was for this reason that communism took root there. Piketty goes on to point out, however, that only the varying crises of the 20th century – mainly two world wars – prevented the steady growth of wealth by temporarily and artificially levelling out inequality. Contrary to our perceived perception of the 20th century as an age in which inequality was eroded, in real terms it was always on the rise.

    In the 21st century, this is not only the case in the so-called “rich” countries – the US, the UK and western Europe – but also in Russia, China and other countries which are emerging from a phase of development. The real danger is that if this process is not arrested, poverty will increase at the same rate and, Piketty argues, we may well find that the 21st century will be a century of greater inequality, and therefore greater social discord, than the 19th century.

    in global terms what he is saying is that those who have capital and assets that generate wealth (such as a Saudi prince) will always be richer than entrepreneurs who are trying to make capital. The tendency of capitalism in this model is to concentrate more and more wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people. But didn’t we already know this? The rich get rich and the poorer get poorer? And didn’t the Clash and others sing about it in the 1970s?

    “Well actually, we didn’t know this, although we might have guessed at it,” says Piketty, warming to his theme. “For one thing this is the first time we have accumulated the data which proves that this is the case. Second, although I am not a politician, it is obvious that this movement, which is speeding up, will have political implications – we will all be poorer in the future in every way and that creates crisis. I have proved that under the present circumstances capitalism simply cannot work.”


    What have been the big milestones so far?

    The first big moments, of course, were the announcements by Mr. Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro in December that the former Cold War foes would renew relations, the culmination of 18 months of secret talks.

    Then, in January, loosened travel and trade regulations went into effect, and the U.S. and Cuba began negotiating reopening embassies and restoring diplomatic ties.

    In April, Messrs. Obama and Castro met at the Summit of the Americas, the first substantive discussion between U.S. and Cuban presidents since 1956.

    In May, the Obama administration lifted Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. That was a critical step toward restoring diplomatic relations, but didn’t have much practical effect, as Congressional sanctions still ban Cuba from arms exports and sales, from receiving U.S. economic assistance and from conducting most trade.

    Wednesday’s announcement that the two countries are formally restoring diplomatic ties was another big step.

    The next milestones will be reopening ceremonies for embassies in both countries. Cuba announced it would host its event in Washington on July 20 and its delegation will be led by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. The U.S. hasn’t set a date for its flag raising, but said Secretary of State John Kerry will be there to do the honors.

    Now what?

    The U.S. and Cuba will begin lots of bilateral talks and efforts to cooperate in areas including law enforcement, development, human rights, counterterrorism and antinarcotics. Talks will also begin on property claims and the Cuban government’s claims against the U.S. The U.S. has also said Cuba has agreed to talks about extraditing fugitives, though it’s unclear what will happen with some of the higher-profile ones, including JoAnne Chesimard, now known as Assata Shakur, who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list for killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973. Cuba granted her asylum after she escaped from prison in 1979.

    The spotlight moves to Congress now, where lawmakers must act to lift bans on travel and trade. Church groups, agricultural groups, business groups and others are supportive of lifting the ban. The White House is counting on these independent stakeholders to pressure Congress to act. It’s likely to be a long battle, with supporters of normalization taking a piecemeal approach to chipping away at the embargo.

    The White House backs that strategy, and a move to lift the travel ban is likely to be the first step in the process.

  10. Bolton makes a very important point about the MO of Commies: Admit and give nothing, and accuse and present demands to the counterpart. The FARC is doing the same, in Havana of course, twisting the blame.They pretend to want to become a political party – like Sinn Fein in the UK – but what they really want is total power in Colombia, like everywhere else…

  11. THE DAILY NEWS: Obama’s outrageous Cuba capitulations – BY JOHN BOLTON (Bolton served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush)

    In return for enormous U.S. concessions to Cuba’s authoritarians, the Obama administration has received essentially nothing. Havana’s promises to lessen its repressive domestic policies have already been violated, and there is little chance that a more “open” American policy will aid the Cuban people more than the caudillos running the country.

    Even worse is what lies ahead under Obama. While he refers blithely to “normalizing” relations, Fidel and Raul have a different definition of “normal.” What will emerge in the next 18 months, unless Congress acts, is whether Obama agrees with the Castros.

    On July 1, “the Revolutionary Government of Cuba” issued a statement, distributed in New York by Cuba’s UN Mission. In the kind of Cold War rhetoric that shows it’s still the early ’60s for the regime in Havana, it says that in exchange for truly “normal” relations, the United States must:

    “Return to Cuba the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo Naval Base; cease the radio and television broadcasts, which violate international regulations and are harmful to our sovereignty; stop the implementation of programs aimed at promoting internal subversion and destabilization; and compensate the Cuban people for all the human and economic damages caused by the United States.”



    L.A. TIMES: Dissident artist Tania Bruguera has passport returned by Cuban authorities – by Carolina A. Miranda
    ore than six months after having her passport confiscated following an aborted attempt to hold a public performance in Havana, artist Tania Bruguera had her passport returned to her by Cuban authorities Friday, according to a statement issued by #YoTambienExijo, the art and activism platform run by Bruguera in collaboration with her sister Deborah.
    “The day has arrived,” reads the statement. “The Cuban government has returned Cuban artist Tania Bruguera’s passport, and she is now legally allowed to travel outside the island again.”

    “They are desperate for me to leave,” the artist told Miami’s El Nuevo Herald on Saturday. “But I worry that they won’t let me back into the country in the future.”
    The artist is a Cuban national, but frequently spends long periods in the U.S. and Europe exhibiting and teaching. She was temporarily detained in Havana just before the new year for trying to stage a performance about freedom of expression in the city’s iconic Revolution Square. During that time, she had her passport revoked by the Cuban authorities.

    In the months since, she has been temporarily detained on multiple occasions, most recently during the 12th Havana Biennial following a sanctioned performance in which she read from a book about totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt.

    After having her passport revoked, Bruguera was forced to remain in the country as the Cuban government weighed whether to pursue charges against her. With the return of her passport, it is safe to assume that the government will not pursue a legal case against her.

    Bruguera, however, is intent on remaining in Cuba until she has some assurances that she will be able to return.


  13. The Castros are already filthy rich, and they and the Castristas ake all the extra income, except for a few pennies to ordinary Cubans…


    CAPITOL HILL CUBANS: Over 120 Cuban Dissidents Arrested Today – at 4:25 PM Sunday, July 12, 2015 – For the 13th Sunday in a row, over 120 Cuban dissidents were brutally beaten and arrested for attempting to peacefully march to — or from — Mass. Over 80 of those arrested were members of The Ladies in White — including its leader Berta Soler — a group composed of the wives, mothers, sisters and other relatives of Cuban political prisoners. Among the others arrested are renowned democracy leader Jorge Luís García Pérez “Antunez”, his wife Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, former prisoner of conscience Ciro Alexis Casanova Pérez, famed artist Tania Bruguera and the young son of one of The Ladies in White.

    The women were taken to the infamous detention center in Tarara, while the men to the Vivac facility.

    This is “what change looks like” in Cuba.


    COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA, Spanish Partido Comunista de Cuba (PCC) – Cuban communist party organized by Fidel Castro and others in 1965 but historically dating from communist activity begun in Cuba in 1923. Under the constitution of 1976 it became the only party permitted to function in Cuba, and in the revised constitution of 1992 it was defined as the “organized vanguard of the Cuban nation.”
    The Cuban Communist Party (Partido Comunista Cubano) was founded in 1925 by Moscow-trained members of the Third International (Comintern). For three decades it adhered to the Stalinist line but, nevertheless, opportunistically collaborated with the regime of Fulgencio Batista in the 1940s and early ’50s, its members even being rewarded with posts in government and labour. From 1954 to 1959, however, the communists were a target of government suppression.
    In 1944 the party had been renamed the People’s Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Popular; PSP); it retained this name until 1961, when, after Castro’s overthrow of Batista and the victory of the revolution, the party was merged with Castro’s 26th of July Movement (Movimiento 26 de Julio) and Revolutionary Directorate (Directorio Revolucionario) to form the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations (Organizaciones Revolucionarias Integradas; ORI). The next year, after a widespread purge of members, the ORI was reorganized into the United Party of the Socialist Revolution (Partido Unificado de la Revolución Socialista). This in turn was dissolved on October 5, 1965, and replaced by the Communist Party of Cuba, organized along more orthodox Soviet lines.
    The PCC’s first congress was held in Havana in 1975, when members approved a new constitution (ratified in a national referendum the following year) that established it as the sole legal political entity in the country. At its 1991 congress the PCC reaffirmed its single-party rule—at a time when communism was collapsing in the Soviet Union and elsewhere in Europe—but it allowed limited foreign investment and economic reform (reaffirmed in 1997). In addition, the party congress officially removed a rule requiring party members to be atheist.
    Since its founding the PCC has been dominated by Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl Castro. The PCC’s leading institution is the Politburo, whose 25 members are drawn from the 150-member Central Committee selected by the party congress. The Politburo sets policy for the party and the state. At the 1997 party congress, Raúl was anointed by Fidel as his future successor to head the party and the country and to ensure that the Cuban Revolution “never can be corrupted by anybody [and]…never be destroyed by ourselves.” In 2011 Raúl—who had succeeded Fidel as president of Cuba in 2008—became party leader.

  16. YOUTUBE: Víctimas del remolcador “13 de marzo”.- Victims of the Tugboat Massacre in their own words

    Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (OAS) REPORT Nº 47/96 CASE 11.436 VICTIMS OF THE TUGBOAT 13 DE MARZO vs. CUBA

    CONCLUSIONS : 105. The Cuban State is responsible for violating the right to life (Article 1 of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man) of the 41 people who were shipwrecked and perished as a result of the sinking of the tug “13 de Marzo”, which events occurred seven miles off the Cuban coast on July 13, 1994. The persons who died that morning are: Leonardo Notario Góngora, Marta Tacoronte Vega, Caridad Leyva Tacoronte, Yausel Eugenio Pérez Tacoronte, Mayulis Méndez Tacoronte, Odalys Muñoz García, Pilar Almanza Romero, Yaser Perodín Almanza, Manuel Sánchez Callol, Juliana Enriquez Carrasana, Helen Martínez Enríquez, Reynaldo Marrero, Joel García Suárez, Juan Mario Gutiérrez García, Ernesto Alfonso Joureiro, Amado Gonzáles Raices, Lázaro Borges Priel, Liset Alvarez Guerra, Yisel Borges Alvarez , Guillermo Cruz Martínez, Fidelio Ramel Prieto-Hernández, Rosa María Alcalde Preig, Yaltamira Anaya Carrasco, José Carlos Nicole Anaya, María Carrasco Anaya, Julia Caridad Ruiz Blanco, Angel René Abreu Ruiz, Jorge Arquímides Lebrijio Flores, Eduardo Suárez Esquivel, Elicer Suárez Plascencia, Omar Rodríguez Suárez, Miralis Fernández Rodríguez, Cindy Rodríguez Fernández, José Gregorio Balmaceda Castillo, Rigoberto Feut Gonzáles, Midalis Sanabria Cabrera, and four other victims who could not be identified.


    As the “13 de Marzo” sailed ahead, the pursuing tugboats kept spraying the high -pressure water andgetting in its way to make it stop. After around forty-five minutes, when the “13 de Marzo” had reachedapproximately seven miles out to sea, the pursuing tugboats began ramming it. Although the “13 deMarzo” had stopped and signaled its willingness to surrender and turn back, the relentless attackcontinued. The pilot of the “13 de Marzo” attempted to radio an SOS, but the pounding water haddamaged the electrical equipment. A vessel belonging to the Cuban Coast Guard had arrived on the scene, a Soviet-built cutter referred to as “Griffin.” 5. But, it stayed back, simply observing the spectacle. The adults brought out the children on deck to see if this would deter the incessant jet streams andcollisions. In desperation, parents held their children up in the air and pleaded for their lives, puttingthem in front of the powerful reflector lights pointed at them. But, the attackers disregarded their cries andcontinued to bombard the powerless passengers with the high pressure water. The mighty streamsscattered them all over deck, ripped clothing off, and tore children from their parents? arms.Some were swept into the ocean immediately.

  18. The Social Democratic system in the Nordic countries isn’t perfect, but only very few countries in the world can compare. I’m not politically aligned with former Norway PM Jens Stoltenberg – now NATO Gen. Sec.(!) – but I fully agree with something he once said to intl press. He said that making sure that everybody gets the best services available creates a strong economy. The contrast to Cuba couldn’t be starker!

  19. Wow, that’s a real victory, Tania getting her passport back, because now it will be much more difficult for the Castristas to do to others what they did to her!

  20. In January 5, 2011, a British cruise ship arrived in Havana carrying 1,500 passengers and the regime rolled out the red carpet for it. In 2005, the cruise ships practically stopped going to Cuba after Fidel Castro complained that cruise ships were “floating hotels, floating restaurants, floating theaters, floating diversions that visit countries to leave their trash, their empty cans and papers for a few miserable cents.” He proceeded to cancel the contract with the Italian company running the island’s cruise terminals. In 2005, the island had over 100,000 cruise visitors, and in 2006 only 10,000.

    Now Raul Castro welcome cruise ships from the U.S. to leave their trash in the island “for a few miserable cents.” The regime that is cash strapped, look the other way, it do not mind the trash bring by the almighty dollar. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  21. Great comment, Ipress

    I have visited Sweden many years ago.
    What impressed me most: you can drink the tap water.
    I wish this could happen in Cuba (and in Mexico, Haiti, Nicaragua) one day.

    In the meantime: leave the internet for the scholars and businesses. Internet is a priority for the trouble makers (some call them dissidents) who can pay servants to prepare drinking water for them. Ask an average working Cuban what he would prefer.

  22. While Carnival does operate behemoths like the one shown in the illustration of this post, the Cuban cruises will be different. The ship will be a 710-passenger liner and it won’t have usual amenities like casinos and spas, however. Instead, Carnival’s plan is to offer educational activities targeted to each destination, like language classes and cultural immersion courses.

    Cuba does not have to choose between today’s poverty and gross inequality and opulence for a few — there are alternatives — consider the Swedish model for example.

    I lived in Sweden many years ago and am currently vactioning there. Incomes are not equal here, but they are relative to the my home, the United States. Medical care, education and infrastructure are provided by the government. For example, the city of Stockholm provides wholesale Internet connectivity and allows private companies to compete using that infrastructure. This has been successful — — the people have low cost service and the city makes money.

    A few days ago, I rode in a cab from the Copenhagen airport to the city. The driver told me that he was about to leave on a 4 week camping trip in Croatia with his family — that could not happen in the US. Most stores are closed on Sundays and Swedes typically take a month long summer vacation and have 16 paid holidays.

    Sweden is much better developed than Cuba, but the population (around 9,5 million) is comparable and Cuba is well educated and has around 1.8 relatively well off ex-pats nearby in the US. (Not to mention the climate :-). Could Cuba set its sites on a Sweden-like economy?

  23. Don’t Look Away
    Posted July 6, 2015

    Rodiles responded to Obama’s statement “I strongly believe that the best way for America to support our values is through engagement,” with a tweet asking, “How to talk about engagement after 11 Sundays of strong repression.” A reference to the repression of the Sunday Marches of the Ladies in White.

  24. YO TAMBIEN EXIJO/ I ALSO DEMAND: PRESS RELEASE # 12  / URGENT FOR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION.The day has arrived. The Cuban government has returned Cuban artist Tania Bruguera’s passport, and she is now legally allowed to travel outside the island again. In a meeting Friday, July 10, with State Security (including her parole officer), her Cuban passport (her only passport) was returned to her after having been confiscated six months ago when she attempted to realize a political performance in the city of Havana.“I’m not going to leave Cuba until I have an official document in my hands that legally guarantees that I can come back without any problems,” declared Bruguera. Cuban authorities have promised to provide such a document in the next two weeks.“My argument has never been about leaving Cuba; my argument is about working so there is freedom of expression and public protest in Cuba, so that violence against those who think different politically will be penalized accordingly. In Cuba people should feel free to say what they think without fear of losing their jobs or university standing, without fear of being marginalized or imprisoned,” said the artist.“My wish is that someday the police at a protest will be proud that there is plurality of thought. My argument proposes amnesty and the elimination of the concept of the political prisoner, so that no one is ever again imprisoned for thinking for themselves. I don’t ever want to look into a Cuban’s eyes and see fear of saying what they think, or fear of being themselves,” said Bruguera.“My argument has always been rooted in a need for a campaign of civic literacy, so that every Cuban knows their rights as citizens and how to defend them,” explained Tania.Memory, Truth & Justice“The concept of happiness shouldn’t be limited to beach, sex and partying (as is so often laid out as parameters in Cuba). To be truly happy, we must also be honest with ourselves, and that implies that there be consistency in what we think, what we say, and what we do,” asserted the artist from her home in Cuba.
    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE PRESS RELEASE!/notes/yo-tambi%C3%A9n-exijo/tania-bruguera-has-her-passport/1465079683792543/

  25. Mario,

    Your fantasies are very exciting, but the truth is a lot more boring.

    No US citizen has ever been convicted in a US court for going to Cuba for tourism (which is perfectly legal) or for spending money for touristic purposes in Cuba (giving money to a Castro owned business).

    The restriction on spending money on tourism in Cuba has never been upheld in a US court of law and never been enforced by US police or customs officials or any US federal agency.

    One federal agency used to send out warning letters to the occasional US tourist coming back from Cuba.

    No tourist who ignored these letters was ever prosecuted or harassed further by the US government.

    That’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    I think your communist fantasy world is a lot more exciting though.


    Are you or your family members interested in a well paid employment in Havana?
    The US Department of Treasury will soon announce the opening for 25 full time jobs as COMPLIANCE AGENTS in Havana. Please check here:

    This will be rather pleasant employment because the agents will spent the time in the Tropicana Cabaret in Havana. All expenses will be reimbursed in addition to full time salary.

    The task is to take the photographs of US citizens arriving on cruise boats to Cuba.

    The pictures will be taken to prove that the suspects have not arrived on any religious, academic or educational purpose. They will be given JOR status as soon as they board the ship again (JOR: Jail On Return)

  27. Carnival Cruises can only take passengers on academic, professional, religious or educational programs?

    I think this is allright.
    There is no such thing like a citizen’s unlimited right to travel.

    The US government only allows it’s citizens to go to Cuba on missions: academic missions, professional missions, religious missions or educational missions. (Alan Gross went on a smuggling mission, but this does not work in Cuba)
    If this is in the interest of the United States it’s fine.

    Cuba, too, should restrict the right of travel to the United States.
    If you go distribute the pamphlets of the Communist Party of Cuba: please do.
    Otherwise stay home and work for your country.

  28. Miami-based Carnival, the world’s largest cruise operator, said it was still in talks with Cuba for approval to start specialized humanitarian and cultural visits there that fall within U.S. embargo guidelines.

    Americans are still banned from going to Cuba as tourists but are allowed to go for a dozen approved motives such as visiting family or participating in academic, professional, religious or educational programs.

    Despite the ongoing restrictions, the news was welcomed by the travel industry.

    “A lot of Americans want to visit Cuba and this is one of the first real mass ways to get to Cuba,” said Brad Tolkin, chief executive of World Travel Holdings, a major booker of cruises.

    Cuba currently doesn’t have the infrastructure to handle an influx of American visitors so docking at a port would alleviate pressure on hotel accommodations, he added.

    Carnival is the first major U.S.-based cruise ship company to venture into Cuban waters. Two other Miami-based companies, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, have expressed interest but say the U.S. embargo remains an obstacle.

    Frank Del Rio, the Cuban-born president and chief executive officer of Norwegian, said Carnival’s move took the island one step closer toward an overall easing of leisure travel

    “I extend my congratulations and best wishes to Carnival for pioneering this critical first step,” he said, adding he hoped it would help ease U.S. leisure travel restrictions on Cuba.

    Swiss company MSC Cruises last week became the first cruise line to base a ship in Cuba, announcing that the 2,120-passenger MSC Opera will take up winter residence in Havana from December to April, in partnership with a Cuban state-owned travel firm.

    In May, the U.S. Treasury Department approved several licenses for passenger ferry services between the United States and Cuba.

    Such services were cut off in the 1960s, following the Cuban revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power.

    Last week, the Treasury Department issued a license authorizing a Palm Beach luxury yacht company, Paul Madden Associates, to provide charter services to Cuba.

    Carnival said its cruise license was approved by the Treasury Department and the U.S. Department of Commerce and would be launched in May under its new “fathom” brand, set up last month to run cruises with humanitarian and cultural themes to the Dominican Republic.

    Carnival will use the 710-passenger vessel, the MV Adonia, for its Cuba cruises, on the small side for the company, whose ships typically carry 2,000 to 3,000 people.

    Carnival said the cruises would focus on education, the environment and economic development and feature Spanish lessons and workshops on the country’s heritage. There will be no casinos or stage shows.

    The Cuba cruises will start at $2,990 per person excluding taxes and other fees. They will be more expensive than typical regional cruises because of visa costs, paperwork, and the fact that the U.S. rules require passengers on cruises to Cuba to spend at least eight hours a day on the ground and participating in academic, professional, religious or educational programs.

    Carnival shares closed up 0.84 percent at $50.20 on the New York Stock Exchange.

    Read more:

  29. Sorry, I didn’t see the blog in Huffost, because again I’ve been “somewhat preoccupied” with Greece. That’s another seemingly endless telenovela.
    In other places than Cuba people make a lot more money off the cruise tourists. That should change significantly in Cuba with time…

  30. Just across the Yucatan Channel from Cuba sits the town of Progreso Mexico, it gets tour ships of different sizes a few times a week. The town is a different place when a big ship is docked. The ships dock at the end of a kilometer long pier. The taxies and buses are lined up to take the land excursionist people to their destinations. Many just make the trip down the pier and spend the day soaking up sand and sun, eating and drinking, buying crafts but others opp for the inland sights. The cruse ships are an economic boost for a large part of northern Yucatan.

    And I saw your essay posted on the Huffington Post yesterday. I know it does not pay anything but it gets your skills showcased to a wider readership, so congratulations.

  31. As odious as it seems, it just one more victory for capitalism, the system that elevates the economics of all and the proof that tyrannies don’t work in the long run.

  32. The same day that Obama said “this is what change looks like” during his announcement of reopening of the U.S. embassy in Havana on July1, Rodiles warned Obama that in a tweet that appeasement meant more repression of dissidents.

    Rodiles was operated to repair his nose after receiving a beating at the hands of the Castroit regime security agents.

  33. Don’t Look Away

    Regina Coyula
    Posted July 6, 2015

    Antonio Rodiles After his Arrest

    14ymedio, Regina Coyula, Havana, 6 July 2015 — Ailer González, artistic director of the Estado de SATS project, called me on Sunday afternoon. Knowing it was her, I opened the communication with the festive and very pertinent question of whether she was a grandmother. Sounding crushed and full of indignation she let me know that Antonio Rodiles, her partner and director general of Estado de Sats had just arrived home. He had been savagely beaten in the morning by several individuals dressed in plainclothes while trying to get to the Sunday March of the Ladies in White; he was then arrested, and because of his injuries, taken to the hospital.

    According to Ailer, the doctors were shocked by his condition when he arrived at the emergency room. I do not believe that the doctors’ outrage goes far beyond the horror on display yesterday; there is an invisible but powerful barrier that many Cubans don’t dare to cross.

    These kinds of incidents are neither spontaneous nor improvised; they are the result of operational plans and decisions by the political police. Antonio Gonzalez may be a figure who is detested by the Cuban government; but he was not armed, he was not heading out to assault a barracks, or to commit an attack.

    Twelve weeks of sustained repression have been directed against the peaceful Sunday marches of the Ladies in White, and the dissidents and journalists who accompany them. Is this brutality and escalation? Are they using the dissidents that have come out against the normalization of relations with the United States to poison the normalization of those same relations? Or are they sending a message to the population? Or both combined?

    The government should be more decent. The world is carefully watching Cuba at this time, and actions by their own henchmen only confirm the lack of freedoms. Once again I recall the words of Rosa Luxembourg – an uncomfortable Communist – “Freedom always has been and is the freedom of those who think differently.”

  34. This post qualifies for the “lie of the day” reward.

    It is plainly wrong to say that Cuban government “renounced and fought for decades the rich people, bourgeois, empowered,”.

    It is the US government who stopped them from coming. Where were these boats two, twelve, twenty years ago? Where is the office of Cuban airline in New York? Where is an American newspaper publishing advertising for Cuban travel? Want to go to jail? Try to open an agency tor Cuban travel serving ALL Americans.

    Wealthy tourists have long been welcomed in Cuba and they have are actually been coming for years: from Switzerland, France, Germany, Brazil or Russia.


    The main positive economic impacts of tourism relate to foreign exchange earnings, contributions to government revenues, generation of employment and business opportunities. Some of the most important economic benefits that tourism brings along are mentioned here. .

    Foreign exchange earnings

    Tourism expenditures, the export and import of related goods and services generate income to the host economy. Tourism is a main source of foreign exchange earnings for at least 38 % of all countries

    Contribution to government revenues

    Government revenues from the tourism sector can be categorised as direct and indirect contributions. Direct contributions are generated by taxes on incomes from tourism employment, tourism businesses and by direct charges on tourists such as eco tax or departure taxes. Indirect contributions derive from taxes and duties on goods and services supplied to tourists, for example, taxes on souvenirs, alcohol, restaurants, etc.

    Employment generation

    The rapid expansion of international tourism has led to significant employment creation. For example, the hotel accommodation sector alone provided around 11.3 million jobs worldwide in 1995. Tourism can generate jobs directly through hotels, restaurants, taxis, souvenir sales and indirectly through the supply of goods and services needed by tourism-related businesses. According to the World Tourism Organisation tourism represents around 7 % of the world’s employees.

    Stimulation of infrastructure investment

    Tourism can induce the local government to improve the infrastructure by creating better water and sewage systems, roads, electricity, telephone and public transport networks. All this can improve the quality of life for residents as well as facilitate tourism.

    Contribution to local economies

    Tourism can be a significant or even an essential part of the local economy. Because environment is a basic component of the tourism industry’s assets, tourism revenues are often used to measure the economic value of protected areas. There are other local revenues that are not easily quantified, as not all tourist expenditures are formally registered in the macro-economic statistics. Part of the tourism income comes from informal employment, such as street vendors and informal guides. The positive side of informal or unreported employment is that the money is returned to the local economy and has a great multiplier effect as it is spent over and over again. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that tourism generates an indirect contribution equal to 100 % of direct tourism expenditures.

    Tourism can contribute directly to the conservation of sensitive areas and habitats. Revenue from park-entrance fees and similar sources can be allocated specifically to pay for the protection and management of environmentally sensitive areas. Some governments collect money in more far-reaching and indirect ways that are not linked to specific parks or conservation areas. User fees, income taxes, taxes on sales or rental of recreation equipment and license fees for activities such as hunting and fishing can provide governments with the funds needed to manage natural resources.

  36. So how can a cruise ship showing up help Cubans? More tourist money now only strengthens Castrismo.
    However, it’s interesting to see the lack of hostility. That means that hope is still there that all Cubans can some day get their share of tourist and other kinds of $…

    YOUTUBE: THE DAILY SIGNAL – Wasserman Shultz on Cuba: ‘Relationship With US Should Be Earned’ – In an interview with The Daily Signal, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz says that she has a “different” view than President Obama over how the U.S. should engage with Cuba.

  38. CAPITOL HILL CUBANS: Stop Hiding Details of Cuba Embassy Deal
    Since then, the State Department has been unwilling to share any details about the deal with the American people. (Caveat: If this is the case with Cuba, just imagine the secrecy that awaits with Iran.) “We’ll talk about those details later,” punted Secretary of State John Kerry.Meanwhile, at a post-announcement briefing, a senior State Department official — presumably Jacobson — also dodged any details. Why? Are they that bad?Fortunately — for those who cherish transparency — Jacobson has been nominated to become U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. Needless to say, it would be negligent for the Senate to consider Jacobson’s nomination without first carefully scrutinizing the details of the July 1st deal that she negotiated.
    After all, she was the lead negotiator of the July 1st deal — the results of which she’s responsible for.
    Thus, the following legal issues should be probed:
    — According to Section 201 of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, it is the policy of the United States that diplomatic recognition should be considered “when the President determines that a there exists a democratically elected government in Cuba.”
    Is the July 1st deal consistent with U.S. law, as codified?
    — Section 207 of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act also states that, “the satisfactory resolution of property claims by a Cuban Government recognized by the United States remains an essential condition for the full resumption of economic and diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.”

    POLITICO: Debbie Wasserman Schultz breaks with Obama on Cuba By Nick Gass 7/9/2015 — Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz thinks President Barack Obama should slow down with Cuba before continuing to reopen relations between the two countries. “My view is different from President Obama’s,” the DNC chairwoman said in an interview with The Daily Signal published Thursday. “I believe a relationship with the United States should be earned … perhaps we should make sure that some of these human rights concessions are secured prior to moving forward.” Wasserman Schultz said she hoped the administration could use its position to benefit the country.

    “Anytime we’re at the negotiating table with any nation like Cuba that has as horrendous a human rights record as they do, it’s an opportunity to be able to assert our view that making sure that any nation in the world should have freedom of their elections, that people should have the right to elect a person of their choice, that they should be able to speak freely, even if it is against the actions of their government and not be subject to arrest, that they should be able to make sure they can move freely throughout their country,” she said.“So President Obama’s policy allows us to be able to press those priorities at the negotiating table.”

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