Cuba: In The Country of Solidarity, There Are No Foreigners

Graffiti painted on a wall and later erased in Havana. (14ymedio)

Graffiti painted on a wall (left) and later erased (right) in Havana. (14ymedio)

14ymedio, Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, 12 October 2015 — Pepes, Yumas and tourists are some of the names we give to those who visit our country. For many Cubans, these travelers are their main source of income, through accommodation, transportation, dance and language classes. Some also share classrooms at the university, or work in a joint venture. However, in most cases their stay is brief, they are passing through, for only a few days or months. What happens when they come to stay?

A painting on a Havana wall addresses the contradiction between the official discourse that prides itself on the solidarity of a nation, but one where the immigrant has no place. This drawing of Che Guevara with a contentious quote – “In the homeland of solidarity there are no foreigners” – lasted just a few hours in its makeshift place, before the censor arrived in the form of a blue brushstroke to cover it over. For the government, when the foreigners arrive on their cruises, stay a few nights and leave their cold hard cash in the state coffers, everything seems fine. It is a whole different thing when they decide to come and stay. Then, the nationalistic hostility that characterizes the Cuban system shows itself.

Cuban immigration law is perhaps one of the strictest on the planet for a foreigner who settles in the national territory. For decades, living here was a privilege allowed only to the “comrades” of Eastern Europe, apprentice guerrillas, and political refugees from Latin American dictatorships. Diplomatic personnel and some chosen academics completed the map of natives of other countries who would stay in Cuba more or less permanently.

The island ceased to be a country of immigrants, where the crucible of identity joined together cultures far and near. Chinese, French, Arabs, Haitians, Spaniards and Poles, among many others, brought their customs, culinary recipes, and entrepreneurial initiatives to achieve the wonder of diversity. Today it is rare to see gathered around family tables people who were not born here.

At the end of 2014, the National Bureau of Statistics announced that the number of foreign residents in Cuba in 2011 represented just 0.05% of the population. A figure that contrasts with the 128,392 foreigners – 1.3% of the population – that we shared the island with in 1981. Two factors explain the sharp drop in foreign residents: the implosion, in the 1990s, of the socialist camp, whence the “technicals” of yesteryear; and, above all, because our country long ago ceased to be a nation of opportunities.

While foreign residents were leaving, temporary visitors were becoming an economic “lifeline” in the face of an increasing material misery. These latter were, for a long time, the only ones with hard currency, and with it the ability to buy shampoo in the “diplotiendas” (diplomat stores), and to experience the enormous luxury of enjoying a cold beer in a hotel bar. The tourist became the Prince Charming of many young Cuban women’s dreams, the son-in-law that every father-in-law wanted, and the preferred tenant of rooms for rent.

Even today foreigners are seen by many Cubans as wallets with legs who walk the streets, which must be emptied of every coin. It is difficult for a foreigner in Cuba to determine to what extent the friendliness they come across in the streets is the natural kindness of our people, versus a histrionic performance the objective of which is to get one’s hand in their pocket.

Cubans have lost the habit of living – equal to equal – with “the other.” Sharing jobs with immigrants, accepting that people speak different languages on a public bus. Our kitchens have been impoverished by lack of contact with other gastronomic experiences, we have become less universal and markedly more “islanders” in the worst sense of the word. We have lost the capacity to tolerate and welcome other ways of doing, speaking and living.

How will we react when our country becomes a destination for immigrants? Will they be condemned to the worst jobs? Will xenophobic groups emerge that reject those who come from overseas? Will there be NGOs to protect them? Programs to help them integrate? Politicians who don’t fear them? All these questions need to be answered in a shorter time frame than we think. Cuba could again be, very soon, a nation of people who come from many places.

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88 thoughts on “Cuba: In The Country of Solidarity, There Are No Foreigners

  1. LOOKS LIKE KING OBAMA’S US-CUBA POLITY IS BEARING FRUIT! PODRIDA/ROTTEN!

    INVESTORS BUSINESS DAILY : Cuban Proxies Fighting Russia’s War In Syria? What Did Putin Offer In Return?

    Could Cuban troops really be acting as Russia’s boots on the ground in Syria? Two credible reports say they are. If so, Cuba has done a big favor for an old ally. More importantly now, what did Russia offer in return?

    All the same, for Cuba to perform a favor that significant even for an ally, there had to be reciprocity. A look at recent developments offers clues to what Putin may be giving in return, and none bode well for the U.S.:

    • Russia has been seeking land bases and sea ports in this hemisphere, and Cuba may be just what it needs to project power and serve notice the U.S. no longer dominates the Caribbean. Rents from such a base could keep Cuba’s regime afloat as it awaits U.S. tourist dollars to carry the rest. Expect new calls from Cuba to release Guantanamo; Russia may be interested in moving in.

    • Russia also wants to revive its old signal intelligence listening post like the one it had at Lourdes, near Havana, during the Cold War. This has been discussed on and off for the last three years — and as of May, a Russian official said it was on.

    • Russia has stepped up espionage operations against the U.S. Based on Cuba’s long record of hostility toward the U.S. and its planting of spies in U.S. agencies, Cuba may have some long-term spies Russia would like access to.

    • Russia has forgiven 90% of Cuba’s $350 billion debt and promised to invest in Cuba’s energy infrastructure, helping bail out the regime and strengthen the island’s economy. The quid pro quo on Syria may be Putin calling in his chits.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/101615-776098-cuban-proxies-fighting-russias-war-in-syria-what-did-putin-offer-in-return.htm

  2. A challenge!!!!! There are two current photos of Syria which is living under a brutal war and bombings , the others are of today’s Cuba who is under a ruthless and brutal tyranny for over 56 years ! See if you can tell the difference ! !
    Un reto!!!!! Hay dos fotos actuales de Siria que esta viviendo bajo una brutal guerra y Bombardeos ,las otras son de la Cuba actual que esta viviendo bajo una cruel y brutal tirania! a ver si pueden indentificarlas!

  3. Crises of population and migration – new sources of ideology?

    Human beings have always migrated, for opportunity, through war and forced exile, or simply because they could. Apparently the total human population 70,000 years ago was only a few thousand, possibly reduced by natural calamity (such as disease or the Toba super volcano). We have been restocking and moving every since. However the 21st Century human world divides itself into nations with movement only permitted through bureaucratic passports and visas. That is the theory. In practice, there are hundreds of millions of migrants and refugees on the move, with or without documentation. In many settled populations (including Australia) transnational human movement frequently becomes a major political issue. Wherever there are major political issues old ideologies and new ideologies are amongst the weapons brought into play. I sense that in the coming century questions of human movement will become acute as populations increase, the knowledge of regional disparities in wealth become far more universal, universal instant communication worldwide enlists sympathies and inflames fears, and any part of the world can be travelled to in a few hours. It is already apparent that in the matter migration there are privileged classes of people. Those with needed skills and/or money are welcome everywhere, and there may even be international competition for their residence. Then there are vast masses of people, many with great ability and energy but without the privilege of money or needed skills. In desperation and hope they also move. We have already seen that old ideologies, like viruses, know no borders. It is therefore reasonable to expect new ideologies which try to deal with the moral dilemmas of human migration, may grow more flesh in coming decades on the bones of the UN convention on refugees, and the UN declaration of human rights. Equally, there will be forces to oppose the implementation of any such generalized humanitarian principles.

  4. The electronic frontier – a new source of ideologies?
    No human society has previously seen anything like this, and we have barely begun to grasp the consequences. At once we are liberated and endangered. We can communicate worldwide with anyone almost instantly, yet our privacy and independence of action has potentially been shredded. Everything we eat, wear, and use has been facilitated by computing, yet the vulnerability to disruption is acute. The generation of leaders now in political control worldwide are mostly barely aware of these conundrums. For them computing is a little understood convenience. For following generations if there are following generations, computing will forcibly reshape the possibilities of whatever ideologies arise.

  5. The Passionate Skeptic

    (http://thormay.net):

    I don’t care what you believe in, so long as you don’t believe in it too strongly. A belief is a weapon in the armoury of your heart, and its razor edge will murder the innocent. The ice, the fire of your passion will seduce mundane men and women. Your clarity will excite respect. And the first demagogue who comes along with a key to your heart’s armoury will wrest the weapon from your moral grasp. The first cause which wears the colours of your belief will enlist you as a soldier in ravaging crusades. Peace friend. Keep your passion to doubt with. Our civilization is a simple matter of live and let live, of giving dreams a go, but stepping back with a wry smile when we get it wrong. Let the fundamentalists perish in their own pillars of fire. Spare a dollar for the living, and have a nice day, Doubt well, do what you can, then let it be. Presidents, priests, wage slaves, hustlers, men and women, kids, we all live by the grace of those we love to despise…

    Leidenschaft ist, was Leiden schafft

    (passion is what makes you suffer – German Proverb). – Thor @1 November 1991

  6. Ideology as a public deception for private profit
    There is a good argument that all known political ideologies have never been more than a public cloak to hide the capture of wealth by ruling elites (or even by elites who can’t be bothered with the charade of ruling populations). In these terms, “ideology” falls into the same bracket as the Roman Empire’s device of “bread and circuses” to keep the population quiet, organized religion’s historical manipulation by states as a tool of social control, and perhaps modern spectator sports, mass entertainment and media with the same function. Ideology and religion have the added benefit of engaging the energies of “the chattering classes”, would-be intellectuals, while only occasionally yielding a threat or real challenge. Of course, conspiracy theories are easy to come by. However if we follow the money trail, the final impotence of ideologies seems pretty clear. The real deal: the amount of US$ in circulation is roughly US$1.2 trillion. The offshore wealth (mostly secretly) held by individuals and companies is estimated at US$21-32 trillion (Tax Justice Network 2013). For every $1 of aid sent to Africa, 80 cents recirculates back offshore. From the $1 billion or so that Google sucked out of Australia last year, $74,000 tax was paid .. and so on. Most world leaders are in on this scam, and they all stay in the same five star hotels. The critical point is that this vast accumulation of hidden wealth has come from countries all over the world, sporting every known brand of political ideology. In fact the most effective secret thieves of public wealth are very frequently the most earnest public advocates of this ideology or that.

  7. Socialism

    Socialism offers a social contract with immediate benefits for the general population by controlling the distribution of profit in the most equitable manner (usually via taxation). Socialism has usually been less articulate about the most efficient means of production, and being prone to bureaucratization has often put a brake on traditional economic productivity. For example, uncompetitive industries might be overprotected, or accumulating regulations might stifle initiative. In practice, by de-emphasizing the contributions needed to preserve the system, various brands of socialism have sometimes fostered a debilitating psychology of entitlement and dependence by beneficiaries (both individuals and industries), together with increasingly complex and arbitrary mechanisms from governments to preserve social and economic compliance.

    Capitalism (a) – the market

    Capitalism, as an ideological movement, has proved to have champions quite as doctrinaire as any other ideology, and has historically demonstrated a brutal disregard for the welfare of individuals. The claim from the high priests of capitalism is that the invisible hand of the market regulates the efficient distribution of resources to the ultimate benefit of everybody.

    In fact, there has never been anything disinterested about the “invisible hand” of the
    market. Every market is gamed constantly by whoever has privileged access to information, power and money. This distortion of markets rapidly becomes so extreme that governments everywhere intervene in the market by regulation and/or force to forestall major social unrest or even revolution. The real issue then becomes the extent, nature and efficiency of this governmental intervention. That is, so-called “mixed economies” are universal wherever markets operate with any continuing efficiency.

  8. Why do ideologies exist?

    My definition of a tattoo is that it is a problem from the inside of somebody’s head pasted

    onto the outside of their body forever. Ideologies can be a bit like that. And as with my tattoo phobia definition, ideologies can make you blood enemies forever with no credible logic or advantage to anybody involved. Yet it is undeniable that humans are a herding species, mostly disinclined to think through complex social issues in detail for themselves, and much preferring to pick a popular brand off the supermarket shelf. This goes for religions, marriage ceremonies, ideologies, football teams or crowding for a holiday in Bali or Koh Samui.

  9. Fine Words Are Not Equal To Fine Deeds

    by Aesop (c. 620–564 BC)

    Once a very good lion was king of all the animals in the fields and the forests. He was not angry or cruel or unfair, but only kind and gentle. During his reign he made a royal proclamation to all the animals. He laid out rules for a Universal League of animals. In this League, the wolf would not harm the lamb, nor would the panther harm the kid. The tiger would not hurt the deer, and the dog would not hurt the hare. Everyone should live in perfect peace and friendship. When the hare saw this proclamation, she said, “Oh how I have waited for this day. How wonderful it is that the weak will stand alongside the strong without fear.” After she said this, the hare ran away for her life.

  10. The Ideology of Capitalism

    Currently, a lot of political capital is being spent on branding people socialist and extolling the virtues of capitalism. That being said most of the people spitting the venom probably cannot define capitalism. What makes them so loyal to something they cannot define? Is capitalism really a sound idea?

    Capitalism when boiled down to its roots is the suggestion that private parties, motivated by their own interests will make better decisions for the allocation of scarce resources than government or cooperatives. The suggestion is that in the long run, more “good” is done by those acting in their own interests than those acting in the interests of others. This may sound counter-intuitive, but there’s a significant amount of history to back it up.

    While having the State own the means of production and act in the best interests of their people, sounds much more effective in theory, the countries which have tried it have not met with great success. Sadly, the people allocating assets, even with the best of intentions, tend to make worse decisions than those acting in their own interests. In fact the countries that have maintained nominal “communism,” such as China, have largely achieved this through allowing private ownership of property.

    Interestingly, depending on your view, capitalism doesn’t necessarily address the redistribution of wealth. Presumably, you could have a capitalist society in which individuals own the means of production; however some amount of this money is taxed and then redistributed to the less wealthy. In fact, this type of behavior happens, albeit through bureaucratic means, in even very “capitalist” countries like the United States.

    At the same time, countries like Great Britain, which exhibit similar behaviors, are labeled as Socialist. Although Great Britain does have a more centralized control on production, the primary difference seems to be the tax rate. Countries with higher tax rates and more social safety nets tend to be labeled Socialist, while those with less tend to be Capitalist. This seems to be a fuzzy line however. Few would content that the UK truly owns all the means of production and distribution, but it is still viewed as Socialist.

    This all seems to suggest that there really is a continuum of what is now referred to as Socialism and Capitalism, which doesn’t have much to do with their technical definitions.

  11. The Obama administration ignored the smuggling of weapons by the Castroit regime to North Korea in 2013, and the smuggling of Chinese weapons through Colombia in February 2015. Instead, it removed the Castroit regime from the state-sponsors of terrorism. Raul Castro reciprocate to the new policy of Obama administration, by sending troops to Syria to aide Assad.

  12. HMM!!! MAYBE BOBOBAMA, HILLARY CLINTON, JOHN CARRY AND ALL THOSE BOBOS WHO THINK THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA HAS CHANGE THEIR SPOTS SHOULD READ THIS ARTICLE!!
    THE ATLANTIC: Cuba: Havana’s Military Machine – On Castro’s island, most of the population is under arms – John Hoyt Williams – August 1988 Issue — The Soviets normally ferry Cuban regiments to their foreign duty stations and transport the Cubans’ tanks and other heavy weapons directly from the USSR. Even force maintenance in the field is often subsidized. In 1981, according to one scholar, Cuba received$250 million for its military and civilian operations in Angola alone. The annual subsidy rose to as much as $500 million before the oil glut caused it to plummet. Ironically, this payback(which represents a very substantial percentage of all Cuban hard-currency earnings) comes essentially from American petroleum companies’ activities in Angola’s oil-rich Cabinda enclave. Since the former Portuguese colony can generate income in virtually no other manner, it does so with American-pumped petroleum.
    The first Cuban military mission in Africa was established in Ghana in 1961. Cuba’s military forces appeared in Algeria, in 1963, when a distinctly military “medical brigade” came over from Havana to support a moribund regime. By 1966 as many as a thousand soldiers and military advisers were serving in a number of African nations, along with civilian personnel. In Guinea-Bissau, Cuban combat units saw action, fighting with Amilcar Cabral’s rebel army against Portuguese colonial rule. Also, and much to his later embarrassment, Fidel Castro posted a large group of instructors to train Eritrean rebels who were waging a secessionist war against the tottering Emperor Haile Selassie.
    By 1973-probably earlier-Cuban military advisers and instructors could be found in the Middle East, often in combat roles. Hundreds of Cubans served in unstable Marxist South Yemen, not only instructing the Yemeni armed forces but also training Dhofari guerrillas, who were busily destabilizing Oman. The guerrillas were finally overcome by elite British units after years of low-intensity but bitter fighting. In 1973, probably at Moscow’s behest, Castro dispatched 500 Cuban tank commanders to Syria. These men performed well and died well in the Yom Kippur War with Israel. Not long after their debut in Syria, Cuban military personnel were training, arming, and advising Polisario guerrillas who were fighting for the independence of the Western Sahara. The Cubans, still working out of Algeria, continue to help the Polisario guerrillas, albeit with no notable success. Recent diplomatic developments indicate a rapprochement between Algeria and Morocco, whose troops have long striven to dominate the Western Sahara.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1988/08/cuba-havanas-military-machine/305932/

  13. THE LIKELIHOOD THAT CUBAN TROOPS ARE IN SYRIA HELPING RUSSIA HELP SYRIAN DICTATOR Bashar al-Assad IS HIGH! BUT OF COURSE KING OBAMA WANTS HIS US-CUBA DEAL FOR HIS LEGACY THAT HE WILL DENY IT TILL THE END! BUT I HOPE HE FREAKING GET BITCH SLAPPED WITH IT REAL GOOD! FOR THOSE WHO STILL BELIEVE THERE ARE “CHANGES” COMING FROM THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA, I HAVE A BROOKLYN BRIDGE TO SELL YOU!
    THE DAILY BEAST: Cuba Is Intervening in Syria to Help Russia. It’s Not the First Time Havana’s Assisted Moscow. – James Bloodworth
    Reports that Cuban forces are now fighting in Syria follow a long history of the Castro brothers working closely with their patrons in Moscow.
    Not for the first time Cuban forces are doing Russia’s dirty work, this time in Syria. On Wednesday it was reported that a U.S. official had confirmed to Fox News that Cuban paramilitary and Special Forces units were on the ground in Syria. Reportedly transported to the region in Russian planes, the Cubans are rumoured to be experts at operating Russian tanks.
    For President Obama, who has staked his legacy on rapprochement with America’s adversaries, the entrance of Cuba into the bloody Syrian civil is one more embarrassment. Russia, Iran, and Cuba—three regimes Obama has sought to bring in from the cold—are now helping to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad, ruler of a fourth regime he also tried in vain to court early on in his presidency. Obama has been holding his hand out in a gesture of goodwill to America’s adversaries only for them to blow him a raspberry back in his face—while standing atop a pile of Syrian corpses.
    Yet for seasoned Cuba-watchers the entrance of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces into the Syrian civil war is a surprise but hardly a shock. A surprise because Cuba was forced two decades ago to curtail its military adventurism by a deteriorating economy (the Cuban military has been reduced by 80 percent since 1991).

    Yet while everyone remembers Cuban heroics in Angola, few remember Cuban terror in Ethiopia.
    Those of us who are old enough probably recall the Live Aid concert organised by Bob Geldof in 1985, put on to raise money to help alleviate Ethiopia’s worst famine in a century. 400,000 people died in the famine of 1984/85, and while many people remember the gut-wrenching television images of fly-speckled children with pronounced rib cages and distended stomachs, few know that the tragedy was largely a consequence of the policies pursued by the Communist dictatorship that ruled Ethiopia at the time—a regime propped up by Cuba and the Soviet Union.
    The Russians airlifted 17,000 Cuban troops to Ethiopia over the 14 years the Dergue—the dictatorship which ruled Ethiopia—were in power. During 1977-78 it is estimated that over 30,000 Ethiopians perished as a result of the Red Terror unleashed by the Communist government. During the terror, Sweden’s Save the Children Fund denounced the execution of 1,000 children—children whom the communist regime had preposterously labelled “liaison agents of the counter revolutionaries”.
    As with Stalin’s war on the kulaks in the ’30s, Ethiopia’s Marxist government embarked on its own utopian ventures in the countryside, forcing between 12 and 15 million Ethiopians into collectivized farms. According to Alexander De Waal, one of the foremost experts on the Horn of Africa, “more than half this mortality [400,000] can be attributed to human rights abuses that caused the famine to come earlier, strike harder, and extend further than would otherwise have been the case.” The Ethiopian army, reinforced by Cuban troops, prevented the distribution of food to areas of the country whose inhabitants were rumoured to be sympathetic to opposition groups.
    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARITCLE!
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/16/cuba-is-intervening-in-syria-to-help-russia-it-s-not-the-first-time-havana-s-assisted-moscow.html

  14. HA HA HA! DEAR Mario!! YOU ARE STILL SELLING THAT TIRED “BAD OLD USA” PROPAGAND! THAT U.S. INVASION CUENTO/TALE HAS BEEN USED BY THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA FOR SO LONG THAT THE CUBAN PEOPLE AND MOST OF THOSE WITH ANY COMMON SENSE HAVE BRUSH IT ASIDE LONG TIME AGO DEAR!

    KING OBAMA IS GOING TO DENY THIS, JUST LIKE HE DENIED THAT HE WAS MAKING A “GREAT DEAL” WITH THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY AND IRAN! BUT THINGS EVENTUALLY COME TO LIGHT MR. BOBOBAMA!

    THE HILL: Senator to Obama: HTWhy is Cuba helping Russia in Syria? – By Jordain Carney

    Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wants to know whether President Obama has confronted the Cuban government over its reported aid for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

    In light of Obama’s decision to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba, Grassley said it is “disconcerting” that the Castro government appears to be siding with Russia in the the Syrian civil war.

    “Press reports now indicate that hundreds of Cuban military personnel are on the grounds in Syria, with the purpose of supporting Russia and Iran in bolstering the Assad regime,” the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman wrote in a letter to Obama Friday.

    “It’s disconcerting that in light of your new relationship with Cuba, the Castro regime has chosen to align with Russia and Iran in supporting Assad in Syria.”

    Grassley’s letter comes after Fox News reported that Cuban military personnel are helping advise Syrian soldiers and training with Russians inside of Syria.

    The Iowa Republican asked Obama to detail any conversations the administration has had with Cuban officials over the reported military action, as well as any steps it will take in response.

    “Just months after your ‘historic step forward’ the regime of Raúl Castro has essentially thumbed its nose at the U.S. by aligning with Russia, Iran and Assad,” Grassley added, asking if the president is “disappointed.”

    Grassley, like most Republicans, has been critical of Obama’s decision to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba. Republicans say the administration should not look past the history of human rights abuses in Cuba, and argue that easing restrictions on the country only rewards bad behavior.

    The administration has repeatedly criticized Russia’s military buildup in Syria, with Obama dismissing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy as “doomed to fail.”

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/257162-key-goper-pushes-obama-on-cuban-involvement-in-syria

  15. Of course Cuba is a huge credit risk having borrowed billions of EUR that haven’t been paid back. Also the Castristas do exactly what they want when dealing with foreign companies.
    The normal way for govts to have control is to make sure that all parts of society are reasonably content. In North Korea and CubaZuela populatians are kept powerless and in poverty. Control is all they have for the people. This is perpetrated by twisted geopolitical logic…

  16. The Revolution will fail if it will encapsulate itself within the borders of one island. The Raul’s reforms are going well today, but tomorrow the US Air Force may turn them into ashes. Only international solidarity may stop the Pentagon from more bloodshed.

    Cuba needs friends and more friends. Cuban help is needed in Syria now.
    It might be ground troops, it might be medical staff, it might be via Cuban families adapting orphans of US drones in the Middle East.

  17. I GUESS THAT KING OBAMA’S US-IRAN AND US-CUBA DEALS ARE GOING REALLY WELL! INTERESTING THAT BOTH THE IRANIANS AND THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY ARE SENDING TROOPS TO PROP UP ALONG WITH THE RUSSIANS THEIR BEST BUDDY, SYRIAN DICTATOR Bashar al-Assad ! BIG SLAP IN THE FACE FOR MR. BOBOBAMA!

    FOX NEWS (See pic): Top Iranian military commander Soleimani seen rallying Iranian officers, Hezbollah in Syria. — Iran’s shadowy top military commander has been spotted in Syria addressing Iranian military officers and members of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, according to photos that emerged Thursday on social media. Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani — the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps or Qods Force — was pictured rallying Iranian military and Hezbollah members in western Syria in photos that appeared on Twitter.

    On Thursday, Reuters confirmed Soleimani’s presence in the western province of Latakia in Syria. The news agency said Soleimani was seen addressing Iranian officers and Hezbollah fighters with a microphone while clad in dark-colored clothes.

    Iran, Russia and Cuba have banded together to help Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in his bid to maintain power over ISIS — which controls large swaths of Iraq and Syria — and also Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/10/15/top-iranian-military-commander-soleimani-seen-rallying-iranian-officers/

  18. It seems that they’re all running in circles around the US regarding Syria, Russia, Iran and now even Cuba. They’re taking the lead to the degree that the US is made to look pathetic, not wanting to talk. Great progress was made with the Iran deal, which was seen as a US initiative.
    Now should be the time to continue talking and resolving issues in the region. There’s no more urgent issue than Syria anywhere. The White House needs to swallow its pride…

  19. THE NEWS GAZETTE : Davis frustrated with conditions in Cuba – by Tom Kacich

    Just back from a four-day trade agricultural trade mission to Cuba, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said today he was frustrated and disappointed with conditions he found in the island nation. “Since I traveled there 10 years ago, I expected more privatization and more innovation in the country of Cuba and less governmental control,” he said. “Unfortunately I didn’t see as much as I had hoped. Frankly some things disappointed me when it came to the government and its complete control over most aspects of society.” Davis said Cuban officials blamed the drop in U.S. imports on a provision in U.S. law that requires payments to be made in cash, not credit. He called it “a flimsy excuse since these provisions have been in place” for years.

    He said the cash-only requirement should be lifted by Congress, but admitted that “its going to be difficult” politically to change the law.

    “But I think it is an excuse. Quite frankly I don’t think they have the cash to actually buy as many products on a worldwide basis because I don’t think their government is as flush with cash as they want you to think they are,” he said.

    He said he thinks Cuba would be a reasonable credit risk.

    “We’ll never know if they’re going to be a worthy credit risk if we don’t take that excuse off the table for them,” he said. “I heard a lot of excuses down there from government officials as to why they’re not moving toward more privatization, why they haven’t combined currencies, why they can’t buy American ag products when they were just a few years ago. I think it’s an opportunity for us to maybe call their bluff on the fact that they say they’re a very good credit risk with their other trading partners like Brazil and Argentina.”

    http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2015-10-15/davis-frustrated-conditions-cuba.html

  20. I DOUBT IF THE UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI WOULD HAVE PUT RUMORS AS FACTS! BUT TIME WILL TELL!
    WASHINGTON TIMES: White House doubts reports of Cuban military aid for Syria — The White House expressed skepticism Thursday about reports that the Cuban military is cooperating with Syria in its brutal civil war. “Let me just state unequivocally we’ve seen no evidence to indicate that those reports are true,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. A Miami-based research group said this week that Gen. Leopoldo Cintra Frias, the head of Cuba’s armed forces, and a cadre of Cuban defense officials were dispatched to join Russia’s growing military operations in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Mr. Earnest said Russia “would relish the opportunity to add additional nations to their coalition, primarily because they’re sort of out there operating on their own.”
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/15/white-house-doubts-reports-cuban-military-aid-syri/

  21. GUESS KING OBAMA’S NEW BEST FRIENDS THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY IS SIDING WITH RUSSIAN AGAIN! THAT NEW US-CUBA DEAL IS WORKING WONDERS1
    WASHINGTON TIMES: Obama rejects Putin’s offer to coordinate military action in Syria

    Russian President Vladimir Putin mocked the Obama administration’s rejection of high-level talks to coordinate military action in war-torn Syria, amid reports that Cuba may join Iran in coming to the aid of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, Moscow’s top ally in the region.

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the Russian offer to send a high-level team headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to Washington was a sign of desperation for Mr. Putin’s air campaign in support of Mr. Assad, but Mr. Putin said the rejection represented the deeply muddled thinking in the U.S. and other parts of the West about the need to act decisively against Islamic State militants fighting the Syrian leader.

    The report of a possible Cuban military role in Syria represented a fresh diplomatic headache for the White House, as President Obama pushes forward with plans to normalize ties with Havana.

    A Miami-based research group said Gen. Leopoldo Cintra Frias, the head of Cuba’s armed forces, and a cadre of defense officials from the communist island have been dispatched to join Russia’s growing military operations in support of Mr. Assad.

    In a memo circulated to reporters, the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami said it received inside information that Havana was sending the defense officials to operate sophisticated Russian tanks that Moscow has been providing to the Syrian military.

    Any Cuban support for Syria would be a political embarrassment for the White House given the intense criticism of Mr. Obama as he pushed to normalize ties with the regime of President Raul Castro. Iran’s expanded troop deployment in Syria presents a similar problem, given the Obama administration’s push for a major nuclear deal with Tehran.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/14/obama-rejects-putins-offer-send-emissaries-us-conf/

  22. FOUNDATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN CUBA: Today is the Day. Free El Sexto Now! — According to the mother of Danilo Maldonado Machado, aka “El Sexto,” if he is not released from prison today, as promised by the Cuban government, he will resume his hunger strike. #FreeElSexto
    Según la madre de Danilo Maldonado Machado, aka “El Sexto”, si no es liberado de la cárcel hoy como prometido por el gobierno cubano, reiniciará su huelga de hambre.
    http://www.fhrcuba.org/2015/10/today-is-the-day-free-el-sexto-now/#.Vh-vHvci3V8.facebook

  23. THIS HYPOCRITE Collin Laverty AND I HAVE COMMUNICATED IN THE PAST WHEN I CRITICIZED THE WORK OF THE HYPOCRITICAL GROUP Center for Democracy in the Americas HEADED BY THE OTHER HYPOCRITE Sarah Stephens WHO ALWAYS CRITICIZED YOANI AND NEVER SUPPORTED ANY OF THE DISSIDENTS! THAT “DEMOCRACY” IN THEIR TITLE IS PRETTY MEANINGLE$$

    FROM THE ARTICLE I JUST POSTED!

    “Collin Laverty heads one of the best-known American companies organizing the educational trips to Cuba permitted under US rules barring pure tourism. In July, he created a new business called Havana Strategies to handle the growing demand for his investment consulting services.

    Laverty said he’s been flooded with calls from “everyone from folks that sell pipes to people that sell tractors to these cruise ship companies to folks that develop hotels, folks that develop triathlons and concerts. It’s incredible, the interest across sectors.””

    Collin Laverty is a Cuba consultant at the Center for Democracy in the Americas. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish and has lived, studied and conducted research throughout Latin America. Collin graduated with honors from the College of Charleston, where he majored in Political Science. He coordinated CDA’s Cuba program from 2008-2010, helping to organize and accompanying fact-finding and research delegations of policymakers, academics and experts to Latin America. He has performed extensive research on developments in the region over the years, contributing to CDA publications and offering opinion pieces in the Havana Times, Huffington Post, Progresso Weekly and Venezuela Analysis.

    After leaving CDA, Collin studied at the University of California, San Diego. In May 2012, he completed a Master’s degree at the Institute for International Relations and Pacific Studies, where he was a FLAS fellow and managing director of the International Policy Solutions Journal. After graduating, Collin founded Cuba Educational Travel, through which he now organizes and leads people-to-people delegations to Cuba.

    http://www.democracyinamericas.org/about-cda/staff/

  24. GUESS KING OBAMA’S US-CUBA POLICY IS WORKING VERY WELL! FOR THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY, RICH BUSINESSMEN, CELEBRITIES LOOKING FOR PUBLICITY, THE ELITE IN CUBAN SOCIETY AND THOSE POLITICALLY CONNECTED! BUT NOT THE ORDINARY CUBAN CITIZEN! THE TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMIC THEORY DID NOT WORK IN THE USA NOR WILL IT WORK IN CUBA!

    N.Y. POST: AP- Celebrities and rich people conspire to turn Cuba into tourism hell

    The city is filled with celebrities coming to party and hedge-fund managers sizing up their chances to make millions in one of the last bastions of communism. As an influx of American cash starts feeling imminent and inevitable, there’s a giddy, frothy feeling in the air, at least the air breathed by Havana’s privileged. While most Cubans remain on the outside looking in, Havana’s high society has a gold-rush, center-of-the-universe pulse that hasn’t existed here since Fidel Castro stormed down from the mountains in 1959 and threw out the last group of foreigners who saw Havana as their tropical playground.

    “The next big bubble is going to be nightlife. That’s what happened to Cancun,” said Ziad Chamoun, a Boston-area restaurant and club owner-turned-wine importer who was drinking champagne in a waterfront villa on Saturday afternoon with five friends, including the head of one of the world’s largest emerging-market investment funds.

    “We’re talking about doing a nightclub here, a high-energy Euro-house nightclub with DJs, VJs, laser shows, music, dancing,” Chamoun said. “We want to be ahead of the curve, not behind it.”

    In 2013, a quick jaunt to Cuba by Jay Z and Beyoncé outraged Republican lawmakers and set off a federal investigation.

    In recent weeks, the only reaction to visits by the rich and famous has been the sound of Cubans rushing to grab selfies with celebrities.

    Mick Jagger and Katy Perry partied (separately) here over the last week. This month’s Vanity Fair has Rihanna on the cover, shot by celebrity photographer Annie Leibowitz in Havana. Mexico City’s hottest chef is scoping out sites for a Havana restaurant. Usher and Ludacris have shown up. Jimmy Buffet played a private backyard concert for friends.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://nypost.com/2015/10/15/celebrities-and-rich-people-conspire-to-turn-cuba-into-tourism-hell/

  25. CUBA…Raptors 22 have your back too in Syria…
    the Raptor has been flying combat missions against Islamic State militants, the F-22 fighters have flown just 204 sorties. Of those, the Raptors launched airstrikes in about 60 locations, and dropped 270 bombs, as of July 9. In contrast, the U.S. and coalition aircraft have flown nearly 44,000 sorties since last August, including refueling and surveillance flights, and have conducted airstrikes in close to 7,900 locations.

    Air Force leaders and the pilots who fly the F-22 say, however, that the Iraq and Syria deployments have given them greater insights into how well it can sweep up information about enemies beyond the horizon and spread that intelligence to the fighters moving in to strike targets on the ground.

    “The F-22s make other U.S. aircraft more survivable. It really is enabling all the rest of the team,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told The Associated Press. “Perhaps this is a good model to think about for the future.”

    Officials acknowledge that the counterinsurgency fight against IS isn’t the main type of combat the F-22 was built to wage. The high-performance fighter is designed to excel in more challenging combat situations, with its abilities to evade sophisticated air defense systems and be nearly invisible to other highly capable aircraft. Its advanced engines allow it to fly at faster-than-sound speeds without using afterburners that consume more fuel.

  26. Humberto: It will take less time to Perfect Socialism in Cuba than is taking the United States to eradicate racism, hunger, inequality and build a more “perfect union” of a Capitalistic Democracy which is unsustainable anyway and it has to be reformed without perfecting….

  27. Humberto: Cuba is doing its part to fight ISIS as requested by President Obama
    UNITED NATIONS — President Obama on Wednesday charted a muscular new course for the United States in a turbulent world, telling the United Nations General Assembly in a bluntly worded speech that the American military would work with allies to dismantle the Islamic State’s “network of death” and warning Russia that it would pay for its bullying of Ukraine.

    Two days after ordering airstrikes on dozens of militant targets in Syria, Mr. Obama issued a fervent call to arms against the Islamic State — the once-reluctant warrior now apparently resolved to waging a twilight struggle against Islamic extremism for the remainder of his presidency.

    “Today, I ask the world to join in this effort,” Mr. Obama said, seeking to buttress a global coalition that he said would train and equip troops to fight the group, also known as ISIL, starve it of financial resources, and halt the flow of foreign recruits to its ranks

    “Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can,” Mr. Obama said, foreshadowing the blows to come. “For we will not succumb to threats, and we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy.” The brutality of the militants, he said, “forces us to look into the heart of darkness.”

  28. “These individuals believe that Cuba will be a better place to live by embracing a Capitalistic Democracy that is aligned with the United States objectives than a more perfect Socialistic Republic in Cuba.” – Omar Fundora

    HA HA HA! SO HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO “PERFECT” SOCIALISM IN CUBA? I HATE TO TELL YOU DEAR Omarito CUBA HAS NEVER HAD A SOCIALIST “GOVERNMENT” WITH THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY! WHAT THEY HAVE HAD IS 56+ YEARS OF THE SAME FAMILY RUNNING A SLAVE PLANTATION WHILE THEY LIVE LA DOLCE VITA DEAR!

    FOREIGN POLICY MAGAZINE: The Castro family playground- Blake Hounshell Friday, May 2, 2008
    During the past few years family members of both Fidel and Raúl Castro have come to occupy important positions in Cuba’s government. This Castro clan represents in addition to the military, the security apparatus and the Communist Party, a significant force in Cuba’s political and economic structures.

    Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart- Relationship: Fidel Castro’s son
    Position: Advisor, Ministry of Basic Industry

    Col. Alejandro Raúl Castro Espin – Releationship: Raúl Castro’s son
    Position: Chief, Intelligence Information Services, Ministry of the Interior; Coordinator, Intelligence Exchange with China

    Ramón Castro Ruz- Relationship: Fidel and Raúl’s oldest brother
    Position: Advisor, Ministry of Sugar

    Dr. Antonio Castro Soto – Relationship: Fidel Castro’s son
    Position: Investment Chief, Frank Pais Hospital. Doctor for Cuba’s baseball team

    Major Raúl Alejandro Rodríguez Castro – Relationship: Raúl Castro’s grandson
    Position: Raúl Castro’s military guard in charge of his personal security

    Deborah Castro Espin – Relationship: Raúl Castro’s daughter
    Position: Advisor, Ministry of Education

    Mariela Castro Espin – Relationship: Raúl Castro’s daughter
    Position: Head, Center for Sexual Education

    Marcos Portal León – Relationship: Married to Raúl Castro’s niece
    Position: In charge of nickel industry, member of the Central Committee of Cuba’s Communist Party

    Col. Luís Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja – Relationship: Raúl Castro’s son-in-law
    Position: Chief Executive Officer of Grupo GAESA (Grupo de Administración de Empresas, S.A.) which supervises military enterprises Alfonsito Fraga, Related to Raúl CastroMinistry of Foreign Relations

    Dr. José Antonio Fraga Castro – Relationship: Nephew of Raul & Fidel Castro
    Position: President of LABIOFAM Entrepreneurial Group (now fired because of the Che & Hugo Colognes debacle) – biopharmaceutical and chemical products.

    http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2008/05/02/the_castro_family_playground

  29. HMM! WONDER WHAT KING OBAMA WILL SAY ABOUT HIS NEW BEST FRIENDS THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA SENDING TROOPS TO SYRIA TO PROP UP THEIR DICTATOR BUDDY Bashar al-Assad WITH HELP FROM THEIR OTHER BUDDY Vladimir Putin!! GUESS THAT US-CUBA DEAL IS WORKING WONDERS!

    FOX NEWS: Top Cuban general, key forces in Syria to aid Assad, Russia, sources say Published October 14, 2015

    Cuban military operatives reportedly have been spotted in Syria, where sources believe they are advising President Bashar al-Assad’s soldiers and may be preparing to man Russian-made tanks to aid Damascus in fighting rebel forces backed by the U.S.

    Gen. Leopoldo Cintra Frias, head of Cuba’s Armed Forces, recently visited Syria to lead a group of Cuban military personnel joining forces with Russia in their support of Assad, according to information received by the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies.

    On Wednesday, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News that Cuban paramilitary and special forces units are on the ground in Syria, citing evidence from intelligence reports. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Cuban troops may have been training in Russia and may have arrived in Syria on Russian planes.

    An Arab military officer at the Damascus airport reportedly witnessed two Russian planes arrive there with Cuban military personnel on board. When the officer questioned the Cubans, they told him they were there to assist Assad because they are experts at operating Russian tanks, according to Jaime Suchlicki, the institute’s executive director.

    “It doesn’t surprise me,” Suchlicki told FoxNews.com, noting Russia’s long history of supplying military equipment to Cuba as well as Cuba’s assistance in Soviet-led operations in Africa the 1970’s.

    “They have a very close relationship,” Suchlicki said. “The Russians have been training the Cubans for years and supplying them with all sorts of military equipment.”

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/10/14/cuban-military-forces-deployed-to-syria-to-operate-russian-tanks-say-sources/

  30. Humberto: Human Rights are not bad what is bad is how they are being exploited for economic reasons. ( The U.S. communication industry wants to monopolize 90% of the World market..)

  31. Activism inside of Cuba and in exile have aligned themselves with the objectives of the strategic goals of the United States. These individuals believe that Cuba will be a better place to live by embracing a Capitalistic Democracy that is aligned with the United States objectives than a more perfect Socialistic Republic in Cuba. Unfortunately, the Cuban People have gone this same road before with bad outcomes for the island nation. It never pays for any People to seek the help of a powerful nation. History has taught us that sooner or later nothing good comes of this. What Cuba is doing today is the right sustainable strategy for Cuba. Cuba has aggressively engaged in forming trade relations with the World. Cuba rightly so has decline to accept “gifts” from NGO’s owned by Americans. Cuba has resisted being pulled into the IMF and the World Bank for loans. This is also the prudent thing for Cuba to do under the present relations with the United States. Cuba’s restriction of freedom of the press to activist journalist is necessary because of the public diplomacy of the United States and its allied toward Cuba. Cuba complies with international agreements regarding freedom of expression and communication by allow Media like 14YMEDIO to exist. There are also other Media organizations inside Cuba besides 14YMEDIO that are also critical of the Cuban government. Journalist and artists are incarcerated only when they violate Cuban Law. Cuba as a sovereign and independent nation has the right to govern itself without outside intervention.
    I great deal of the individuals outside of Cuba who are engaged in Democracy for Cuba Now type of organizations and claim that they want consensus from Cubans inside and outside of Cuba to bring about a regime change or transition out from the present trajectory to a more perfect Socialistic Democratic Republic criticize State Capitalism, State Freedom of the Press in Cuba, Cooperatives, Cuban regulations regarding trade, Human Rights, Cuban democracy, Cuban immigration policies, Cuban international commitments with doctors, teachers and other professionals. In essence a propaganda campaign to discredit the Cuban government and win the hearts and minds of the Cuban People away from their government. But, if you talk to Cubans in Cuba they will tell you that they do not want to loose their Welfare State. The Cuban People like their Healthcare, they like their Education and other services available to all equally. They like the changes that Raul Castro has made and do not want regime change. The United States is very much aware of this fact irregardless of what Cubans in exile and dissidents inside of Cuba think or want. I believe in light of this the United States government should stop funding all exile organizations that it now does as a good will gesture to show the Cuban government that the United States is willing to pay the high price required to normalize relations between Cuba and the United States.

  32. HMMM! SO ACCORDING TO Omar Fundora THE “..ideology of Freedom of Speech, Liberty, Democracy and Human Rights is a masterful model of intervention against Cuba and the World.”

    SO IN OTHER WORDS DEAR Omarito HAVING ACCESS TO INFORMATION, FREEDOM OF THOUGHT AND EXPRESSION IS BAD? OF COURSE THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY HAS PLENTY OF ALL OF THESE BUT NOT THE CUBAN PEOPLE! I THINK MOST OF US ARE GETTING TIRED OF ALL OF THESE “BAD OLD USA”, “CIA, TED, USAID BOOGIEMAN” RESPONSES Omarito! THOSE ARE NOT INTELLIGENT ANSWERS TO DEBATE WITH DEAR!

    MR. PAPA MISSED A BIG OPPORTUNITY TO STAND FOR THE OPPRESSED CUBAN PEOPLE, BUT INSTEAD TOOK PICTURE WITH THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA MEMBERS AND KEPT HIS MOUTH SHUT ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN CUBA! YOU BET HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INCREASE POLITICAL REPRESSION IN CUBA! HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE AN ENLIGHTENED LEADER AND SHARES THE HISTORY OF DICTATORSHIPS OF HIS BIRTHPLACE OF ARGENTINA!

    THE CATO INSTITUTE: Abandoned by the Pope, Will Cuba’s Political Prisoners Abandon All Hope? – By Nat Hentoff

    It is with regret that I must now write that by abandoning Cuba’s political prisoners, Pope Francis bears some responsibility for their increased suffering.

    The PanAm Post, an online magazine covering the Americas, reported that prior to the Pope’s visit to Cuba, a list of political prisoners was sent to the Vatican by Nelis Rojas de Morales — secretary of the International Coordinator of Former Cuban Political Prisoners. Cuban human rights groups were therefore stunned when Cardinal Ortega, the architect of the Pope’s visit, denied the very existence of political prisoners in Cuba during two interviews with Spanish language media.

    Elizardo Sanchez, leader of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN), contested Cardinal Ortega’s claim that there were no political prisoners left in Cuba. According to the PanAm Post, the CCDHRN identified at least two dozen prisoners serving long sentences for peaceful political activities, 13 of whom were members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), Cuba’s largest dissident organization.

    The Catholic Register reported that Jose Daniel Ferrer — general coordinator of Cuba’s Patriotic Union (UNPACU) — “wrote an open letter to Pope Francis Sept. 3 asking him to ‘intercede and take up the defense of the rights of the oppressed in Cuba.’”

    Damas de Blanco (“Ladies in White”) leader Berta Soler told Reuters that she would like to “discuss with the Pope the need to stop police violence against those who exercise their freedom to demonstrate in public.”
    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/abandoned-pope-will-cubas-political-prisoners-abandon-all-hope

  33. CUBAN EXILE QUARTER: Celebrating Celia Cruz and her decision to live and sing in freedom How the Castro regime sought to censor and punish Celia Cruz for living in freedom — However in Cuba the Castro regime continues to ban the music of Celia Cruz from the radio airwaves. She is not alone. There are other banned Cuban musicians of great importance. According to Shoot the singer!: music censorship today, a book edited by Marie Korpe states that there is increasing concern within the international music community that post-revolution generations are growing up without knowing or hearing these censoredmusicians and that this could lead to a loss of Cuban identity in future generations.The phrase cultural genocide is used to describe the “cultural revolution” of the 1960s and 1970s that blacklisted andcensored scores of Cuban musiciansand artists. The above censorship is widely known, but not as well known is that when the mother of Celia Cruz was dying the Cuban musical icon was blocked by Fidel Castro from returning to Cuba to say goodbye to her mom or attend her funeral afterwards. This practice still goes on today with Cuban dissidents in the diaspora barred arbitrarily from seeing their loved ones by the Castro regime.

    http://cubanexilequarter.blogspot.com/2015/10/celebrating-celia-cruz-and-her-decision.html

  34. I WAS IMPRESSED BY TELEMUNDO’S GUTS TO PUT ON A TELENOVELA ABOUT AND WHERE MOST OF THE ACTORS ARE FROM AFRICAN DESCENT! ALSO IMPRESSED BY THE EXCELLENT MARKETING AND ONLINE TOOLS INCLUDING ACCESS TO THE FIRST THREE EPISODES PRIOR TO THE PREMIER! HEARD THEY WERE TO BE SUB-TITLED INTO ENGLISH BUT DID NOT FIND THAT TO BE THE CASE ONLINE, MAYBE IT’S BEING DONE IN THE BROADCASTS!

    BILLBOARD: Telemundo Goes the ‘Empire’ Route With Celia Cruz 80-Episode Docudrama Series Other Musical Soap Operas – By Leila Cobo — “Her life wasn’t scandalous,” says Cuban singer Aymee Nuviola, 43, who plays the older Cruz in the series. “But as an artist she had an ­unsettling life. She had to leave her country [after the 1959 revolution], she went through great hardship in her career, she never saw her mother again because she couldn’t go back to Cuba.” And while Cruz, who died in 2003, was famously down-to-earth and married to trumpeter Pedro Knight for more than 40 years, she endured many ups and downs in her career and faced rampant racism and sexism, which the series portrays unsparingly.
    Produced in Colombia by Fox Telecolombia and RCN, Celia, which will run through February 2016, is the latest of Telemundo’s extended, action-packed dramas and the first of three that will focus on music (Mexican singer Juan Gabriel is next). “Telemundo has taken a big risk with super series in the past 18 months, and it has paid off,” says network president Luis Silberwasser, citing the success of Señor de los Cielos (about a drug dealer) and Bajo el Mismo Cielo (about an undocumented immigrant in Los Angeles); Señor’s Sept. 21 season finale drew more than 2.5 ­million viewers, according to Nielsen, ­beating out ABC, CBS and Latin-market leader Univision. “We said, ‘What can we do that doesn’t have narcos or crime?’ If you look at Empire, that combination of soap opera and music is working.”

    Because licensing Cruz’s recordings was ­prohibitively expensive, RCN held a sound-alike audition and hired singer Patricia Padilla to record the series’ repertoire, spanning Cruz’s lifetime.

    The two actresses that play Cruz, however, are recording artists in their own right. Jeimy Osorio, who plays the young Celia, recently signed a recording deal with Sony and is working on an album of Cruz covers. Nuviola was nominated for a Latin Grammy last year.

    To support Celia, Sony, which owns a large chunk of her catalog, is planning an 18-month marketing campaign that will include re-recording some of Cruz’s signature songs — including “La Negra Tumbao,” which is the series’ theme song — featuring Cruz’s vocals together with those of guest artists.

    Likewise, here in the U.S., where an entire generation has grown up since Cruz’s death in 2003, Telemundo had no interest in marketing her as a nostalgia act. Instead, they’ve aggressively gone after audiences young and old, including releasing the initial first episodes On Demand, making the first episode available on Facebook and YouTube in advance, and promoting Celia in a “college tour” that includes screenings at 20 campuses around the country.

    “I really admire that a Spanish-language network has taken a shot at doing something with an iconic artist like Celia,” says Sony A&R exec Anthony Gonzalez. “And I hope there’s more to come.”

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/latin/6722633/celia-cruz-series-telemundo-empire

  35. Public Diplomacy
    Public diplomacy is an essential part of any new U.S. policy toward Cuba. It will need to be a sustained campaign ring-fenced from political problems that are bound to arise with the Cuban government. Raúl Castro will be confident he can reduce or eliminate the impact of U.S. public diplomacy with his counter-diplomacy. He will expect that, just as in the past, Washington will change its approach due to congressional and other pressure. This time the United States should prove him wrong. The U.S. legacy of intervention and aggression against Cuba cannot be ignored. Even if Radio Marti funding by the U.S. Department of State is stopped as a concession to Cuba to continue the process of normalizing relations, the Cuban government need to recognize that this is not enough, because as Global internet access increases in Cuba, specially communications from the United States, Radio Marti will simply be replaced by the many Right Wing offerings in the internet Media outlets of the United States to the World. China, along with other countries block communications into their country to protect their nations from international activism endorse by the United States government or outright funded by the U.S. government. The United States has taken a page from the Soviet Union World Mission. The United States is after World Capitalistic Democracy just like the Soviet Union was after World Communism. Cuba is after a more perfect Socialist Democratic Republic and not a Capitalistic Democracy. The price for Cuba to co-exist with the United States will be higher for the United States than Cuba…will the United States be willing to accept this price to respect the sovereignty and independence of the Cuban People.

  36. I must confess that I’ve been too optimistic about a new private sector in Cuba. The businesses can’t grow and bring economic empowerment. The world is changing fast, but Cuba is being left behind. Change has to come there too, but not soon…

  37. The U.S. public diplomacy towards Cuba and ideology of Freedom of Speech, Liberty, Democracy and Human Rights is a masterful model of intervention against Cuba and the World. For a country that projects these values around the World, it is not doing so good a job at home. Journalist in the United States have been under scrutiny after 9-11 as part of the plan to fight terrorism. The true nature of Freedom of the Press in the United States is really freedom of the Media owners to direct how and what information is provided to their viewers. The American journalist is restricted in what he/she investigates, writes or talks about to their audience by their institution markets, their business owner and sponsors. In China or Cuba the State is the one that has the Freedom to publish what it wants the public to know. In essence it has become more blurry the distinction between how freedom of the press which is an established human right in the World is practiced in Democracies or Authoritarian countries. The constant criticism of the government of Cuba regarding oppression of Freedom of Speech and journalists is driven by U.S. public diplomacy and the rest of the American Soft Power being used for intervention against Cuba. At the same time, the United States camouflages and diverts scrutiny from the United States own oppression of Freedom of Speech in the country with the ideology of Freedom of Speech, Liberty, Democracy and Human Rights it uses against the American citizen. Private owners and sponsors of Media in the country are the parallel “villains” to Cuba’s authoritarian government when it comes to issues of Freedom of the Press and the free flow of communication without restraints. America and Exiles stop throwing stones when you live in a glass house.

  38. GLAD THAT KING OBAMA’S US-CUBA POLICY IS WORKING SO WELL!
    FOREIGN POLICY MAGAZINE: Obama’s Open Hand Meets Cuba’s Clenched Fist – By José R. Cárdenas

    Last week, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker became the second Cabinet member to visit Cuba, following on Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip in August to raise the flag at the newly rechristened U.S. Embassy in Havana.
    n a scathing editorial the Washington Post noted, “Mr. Castro has in fact appeared to pocket Mr. Obama’s concessions — and raise his demands.” Another in the Wall Street Journal asserted, “The U.S. President has given [Castro] diplomatic recognition, easier travel by Americans to the island, and returned some spies. But Mr. Castro now says he won’t make any concessions until the U.S. lifts the trade embargo and returns Guantanamo Bay to Cuba.”

    Moreover, in a recent news story, the Post reported that, in response to U.S. concessions, the Castro regime “seems to have done little beyond reopening its Washington embassy.” And that, despite all the hype, “No new U.S. companies have been allowed to establish a presence in Cuba or to hire Cuban workers.”

    In an eye-opening detail, the Post also quoted an unnamed administration official who said that those in Congress who are promoting legislation to lift sanctions “are desperate for gestures” from the Cuban government, “and they aren’t getting those gestures…. There’s been no real give at all.”

    Meanwhile, the esteemed rights expert Nat Hentoff, who is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, wrote, “The Cuban government’s response at each stage in the process of reconciliation has been a steady escalation in the arbitrary harassment, abuse, arrest and detention of Cuba’s pro-democracy dissidents.”

    It is not as though the Castro regime’s intransigence should shock anyone. After all, with the Obama administration making all the moves, why wouldn’t Castro pocket them and demand more?

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/10/13/obamas-open-hand-meets-cubas-clenched-fist/

  39. GLAD THAT KING OBAMA’S US-CUBA POLICY IS WORKING SO WELL!
    BBC NEWS: What pigs protest says about Cuba – By Will Grant

    In the days after last December’s historic announcement that the US and Cuba were to re-establish diplomatic relations, a number of dissidents were released from Cuban jails as part of the deal.

    But just as Roberto Hernandez was being released, another dissident was being detained – a graffiti artist called Danilo Maldonado, commonly known as “El Sexto”, whose work is unrelentingly critical of the Cuban government.

    On this occasion, the authorities decided he had gone too far: he had mocked the leaders of the revolution.

    On 25 December 2014, he painted the names Fidel and Raul on two pigs and intended to release them in a plaza in Havana.

    His idea was that people would try to catch the pigs and the winner could keep them.

    Whether you see it as a cheap publicity stunt or a valid artistic expression, the event was never likely to be allowed to happen in Cuba.

    Maldonado was stopped by state security officers before he got to the square and was put in jail, reportedly without trial.

    The government say “El Sexto” is a mercenary in the pay of anti-Castro groups in Washington and Miami.

    But Amnesty International recently deemed him a prisoner of conscience.

    “To jail an artist for painting a name on a pig is ludicrous,” said Carolina Jimenez, the organisation’s Americas Deputy Director for research.
    Complicates Obama case

    Now, there is some expectation that Maldonado might be released soon, after he spent days on hunger strike and US President Barack Obama apparently discussed his case in person with Cuban President Raul Castro earlier this year.

    No official release date has yet been confirmed.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-34503221

  40. Actually Mario, you’d rather be the poorest Brazilian than a poor Cuban.

    You’re not taking your raft to Cuba.

    And neither is the poorest Brazilian.

    The pension received by the poorest Brazilian is a lot of money for a Cuban.

    And poor Brazilians eat a lot better than poor Cubans.

    Just sticking with the facts, you can stick with your delusions.

  41. HMMM! I DONT SEE A LOT OF RAFTS GOING TO CUBA FROM THE “BAD OLD USA”! IF ANYONE SETTLES IN CUBA FROM ABROAD IS WITH MORE THAN $20/MONTH (Sarcasm)! MOST WHO RETIRE THERE FROM ABROAD LIVE LIKE KINGS, AND OF COURSE THAT GIVES THEM SELF ESTEEM AGAINST THE LIVES OF THE SLAVES IN THE CASTRO PLANTATION !

    How love makes the Cuban passport really pricey Posted: July 20, 2014

    Make no mistake: Cuba is a poor country. The situation is not as desperate as it can be in some African failed states, or some of the poorest countries in Latin America, but for sure the Cuban economy is in bad shape. Still, the Cuban passport is insanely pricey, considering the average salary of USD 20/month.

    Cubans who live in Cuba must pay 100 CUC to request a new passport or to renew it.

    Theoretically,1 CUC = 1 USD. Thus you may find many online currency converters telling that. However, CUC can only be exchanged inside the island, the actual rate being 1USD = 0,80 CUC. So, in real life, we are talking about USD 125. But let’s calculate according the official numbers and pretend that it’s 100 USD.

    In comparison, US passport costs 165 and it’s valid for 10 years. The Australian passport costs AUD 244 (USD 229) also valid for 10 years. I have learned that some countries, such as New Zealand, issue passports only valid for five years, where it costs NZD 134 (USD 116). There’s actually an interesting debate in NZ about this five years validity and how citizens are paying a lot more than other countries for the document. Still, they don’t spend in five years more than Cubans spend in six.

    That’s not it. The passport expires every six years, but every two years, for some random reason I can only imagine responds to the government’s desperate need for cash, the passport needs an extension, which costs 20 CUC/USD. Two extensions are required, so make it 40.

    By the end of a 6 years period, Cubans have paid 140 CUC/USD for a passport that doesn’t rank high in the global ranking of passports. According an infographic that circulated the Web a while ago, Cubans have access forto 61 countries, either without need f visa, or with a visa granted on entry. According this other ranking, Cuba ranks 111 out of 221 nation-states.

    https://jennroig.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/how-love-makes-the-cuban-passport-really-pricey/

  42. THESE PEOPLE ARE FINALLY GETTING TO KNOW HOW THE CASTRO MAFIA RUN THE COUNTRY! CONTROL AND MONOPOLY KEYWORDS!

    CNBC VIDEO: Sec. Pritzker: Barriers to entry in Cuba 4 – Ago U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, discusses ways to improve U.S.-Cuba relations and ease economic restrictions, including lifting the trade embargo
    http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000431798

    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

  43. The author has “forgotten” the Directive No. 4/2014 of the MININT, which establishes new migrant category: “residente de inmobiliaria”
    (I say “forgotten”, but we all know that the US propaganda workers do not forget. They just filter out)

    http://cubansky.com/articles/cuba_real_estate.php

    Foreigners may now purchase property and settle down in Cuba.

    The author has also “forgotten” thousands of children from the Ukraine given permanent shelter in Cuba after the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

    But really, Cuba is not an attractive country for wealthy people. Some new golf courses don’t make much difference. It is very difficult to bring your own domestic staff to Cuba. Service for decent cars is very poor or non-existent outside of Havana. Property insurance is a joke. There is no luxury shopping on the island and on-line shopping is practically impossible due to US blockade.

    I would rather be the wealthiest Brazilian then the wealthiest Cuban.
    But I would rather be the poorest Cuban then the poorest Brazilian.

  44. Scarcity in the World has a way of turning people into animals in the way they behave towards each other. The more freedom people have the worse is this “dog eat dog” behavior. In the United States downturns in the economy turn many politicians and business owners into agents of segregation. Minorities are target of discrimination in jobs and services all over the country. Racism surfaces above the laws that protect minorities against it. Demonstrations with “immigrants go home”. Politicians with “immigrant reforms ideas’ that don’t make sense because they break up families, cause more harm than good and create corruption. The island of Cuba population size and Cuba’s ability to maintain the Middle Class Country status is already a struggle. An ideal solution would be to have as a goal zero population growth in the island. To achieve this immigration laws have to be dynamic and flexible to quickly adjust to the ever changing ability of a country to have sustainable growth. It is impossible to have complete freedom of migration in and out of the country. This does not work. The United States is a classic example why this does not work. The United States population in modern times has been growing by 1 Million new citizens per year at a time when the standards of living have been declining for 1/2 a century. The result can be seen in the Media: demonstrations, growing inequality, racism, crime, suicide rates increase, homeless people, not enough living wages jobs, corruption, declining birth rates. A society in trouble even though it is a country with the largest economy and very Rich. Zero population growth can be achieve, but it requires support from the People to make it work. Cuba should take the initiative and have as part of meeting the U.N. Sustainable goals for 2030 to achieve Zero Population Growth. This will ensure that Cuba continues to excel in obtaining the outcomes from governance required by every country in the World today and the near future.

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