The Lilliput Rebellion

Gulliver being tied by the Lilliputians (CC)

Gulliver being tied by the Lilliputians (CC)

14ymedio, Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, 5 November 2015 – Calling for austerity while living in opulence has been common practice for Cuban leaders for more than half a century. Demands to “tighten one’s belt” are brandished about by officials with fat necks and ruddy faces, who for decades haven’t known what a refrigerator with more frost than food looks like. This contradiction undoubtedly annoys those who have to divide rationed bread with a family member, or cleverly cut up a bar of soap so it will last for several weeks.

The popular unease before the contrast between words and deeds could have led the journalist Alexander A. Ricardo to publish a metaphorical but accurate text in the opinion section of the Havana Tribune*. Under the title The Travels of Gulliver Junior, the opinion column refers to someone who “is seen in giant enjoyment of the shores of the Mediterranean, or as a dwarf adventurer without a problem in his life, in his visa.”

The allusion in the column was published some months ago when Antonio Castro, one of the sons of the former Cuban president, was discovered by a hidden camera while on vacation in Bodrum, Turkey. A place he arrived at from the Greek island of Mykonos on board a 150-foot yacht, and where he stayed with his companions in luxury suites.

It is hard not to relate the opulent life of Fidel Castro’s son and the calls for savings being launched today by his uncle from the dais, with the ironic phrase of the journalist: “Once he gets home he says nothing, He deceives his countrymen with stories about shipwrecks.” The similarities between the symbolic history and the real-life story have made the article go viral, and it is spreading via email within Cuba.

The coincidences grow when A. Ricardo writes, “he returned to weigh anchor, this time for the north, where the cold climate distanced him long ago,” which coincides with the onward journey of the ex-president’s son to New York, where he was also photographed, sheathed in sportswear and with a teddy bear in his hands.

“Thanks to his father Gulliver Junior travels quite often,” reads the text appearing in the newspaper of the Cuban capital. That is, because of the precarious economic situation imposed on millions of Cubans by his progenitor, now he can give himself luxuries that exceed what could be paid for with the retired father’s pension. But the Lilliputians are also getting tired. Could this journalist’s article be a sign of that indignation not at all diminutive?

*Translator’s note: A newspaper published by the Provincial Committee of the Cuban Communist Party

30 thoughts on “The Lilliput Rebellion

  1. THE GUARDIAN UK: Venezuelan group asks international court to investigate President Maduro – Opposition figures request the international criminal court investigate Venezuela’s leader for ‘crimes against humanity’ ahead of elections. “We are faced with a case of crimes … that involve murders, torture, illegal detentions, persecution, inhuman treatment,” said Vecchio, the coordinator of opposition party Popular Will, whose leader Leopoldo López is in prison.The request to the Hague-based court, which targets eight officials including Maduro, was made in the name of a group of alleged victims of the current regime, in which Vecchio has included himself.It lists more than 30 alleged murders, 3,700 detentions that the opposition considers illegal, nearly 400 suspected cases of torture and some 800 people allegedly injured since February 2014 when deadly, nationwide protestsagainst Maduro’s government broke out.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/11/venezuela-international-court-investigate-president-nicolas-maduro

  2. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro extended an invitation to famed US linguist and leftist dissident Noam Chomsky to visit the country after the latter called Venezuela’s model of Bolivarian Socialism “destructive”.
    Speaking in an interview with the website Perfil.com, the world renowned MIT professor noted that Venezuela “never succeeded in freeing itself from almost total dependence” on oil due to “tremendous corruption and incompetence”, claiming that the country’s transformations were “instituted from above, with little relation to popular initiative”.
    During the passing years, many voices- not of the same caliber as Chomsky, but well established with excellent arguments- have risen with similar warnings: corruption is a disease capable of eating away at any political model, but especially the popular governments in which the majority has placed its hopes. It has been said ad nauseam that corruption has a terrible double effect: it makes national income redistribution policies inefficient and creates a framework of anti-values that affect the revolutionary morale. To put it in (freely interpreted) Marxist terms, corruption attacks the superstructure and the base at the same time, the pragmatic and ideological levels. It has been said ad nauseam, but the deterioration has followed its course, producing a sensation of terrible frustration and unease among the most committed sectors.
    When you have people close to Maduro that are engaged in drug dealing it destroys the confidence of the People on its government. Unless the drug dealing was being used as a tool to fight the aggression and intervention by a more militarily powerful adversary. In other words, if the drug dealing objective was to increase the corruption and cost of government on your enemy, then it is totally justified. If the drug dealing was simply to create instant fortunes for individuals, then, the best course of action for Maduro is to have these individuals send back to Venezuela to face Venezuelan justice. No ideology or country can survive when corruption is rampant. Draconian measures need to be taken that include harsh punishment including firing squads and death sentences to put a stop to it. There is too much at stake in Venezuela to try to deal with the problem of corruption without a strong government.

  3. JUST THE TIP OF THE DRUG CARTEL MAFIA THAT RUNS VENEZUELA! IM SURE THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY WHO IS BEHIND THE MADURO “GOVERNMENT” ARE A PART OF IT TOO.
    FOX NEWS LATINO: Relatives of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrested trying to smuggle nearly 1 ton of drugs into U.S. – By Elizabeth Llorente, Bryan Llenas

    NEW YORK – Two nephews of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his wife have been arrested on charges of drug smuggling, Fox News Latino has confirmed.

    The two men were arrested in Haiti on Tuesday night as part of a sting operation coordinated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

    The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York presented the charges against Efraín Antonio Campos Flores and Francisco Flores de Freites. Both men are scheduled to appear before a federal judge on Thursday.

    During the arrest, Campos claimed to be the son of Flores and stepson of President Nicolas Maduro, said former DEA official Michael Vigil to the Associated Press. Campos reportedly was raised by the couple and grew up in the Maduro household.

    Vigil said he was briefed by U.S. authorities about the undercover operation that resulted in the arrests.

    The men allegedly were in the process of smuggling cocaine – just under a ton, roughly about 1,700 lbs. – into the United States when they were arrested in Port-au-Prince, where their plane arrived, and brought by authorities to New York.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2015/11/11/venezuelan-president-relatives-arrested-trying-to-smuggle-nearly-1-ton-drug/

  4. Wow, China too now! This is very interesting in the geoplitical context: Again Sec. Kerry has been talking about the US seeking advice from Cuba about Vzla, and another intrviewee on the same program – Oppenheimer/CNN – said that that wasn’t a very good idea. The point was made that the whole region may be destabilzed, as the FARC and Colombia are also mixed into this.
    The US is playing with fire, because Vzla can explode any day now…

  5. KING OBAMA’S US-CUBA DEAL IS WORKING REAL GOOD! NOW WE HAVE THE CHINESE ARMED FORCES NEXT TO THE USA!

    WASHINGTON POST: 3 Chinese warships arrive at Cuban port for visit

    HAVANA — Three Chinese naval ships have arrived in Cuba to mark the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Communist Party-ruled countries.

    The visit comes as Cuba and the United States work to normalize relations after more than 50 years of official hostility.

    The commander of the Chinese fleet, Wang Jianxun, said it is the first time a military flotilla from the Asian country has come to Cuba.

    Cuban officials, sailors and Chinese students studying on the island greeted the arriving ships Tuesday. Some young Cubans dressed up as red-and-gold dragons.

    China is a key ally of Cuba, and its No. 2 trade partner after Venezuela. The visit comes amid high tensions between Washington and Beijing in the South China Sea.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/3-chinese-warships-arrive-at-cuban-port-for-visit/2015/11/10/9b5f6914-881d-11e5-bd91-d385b244482f_story.html

  6. YOU GO TO CUBA, YOU DEAL WITH THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA!
    GLOBAL NEWS VIDEO : Another Canadian comes forward with story of being detained in Cuba – By Sean O’Shea

    TORONTO — Taylan Evrenler had been to Cuba twice before but his visit last week, that included a trip to Havana, is easily the most memorable. He was detained and questioned by police over a two-day period and was only allowed to leave when he agreed to make a payment.

    “You have to pay 4,250 pesos or else you are not going on your flight,” Evrenler said he was told by police on the second day of questioning, adding that he was warned he would not get the documentation necessary to return home to Toronto otherwise.

    Evrenler was staying at a licensed Cuban guest home called a Casa Particular in Havana last week because he wanted to visit an international trade expo.

    When he went to check out of the home, he said he was met by two non-uniformed Cuban police officers who accompanied him to a police station.

    Inside, Evrenler said he was ordered to surrender his passport and cellular phone. He said he waited most of the first day and was told to return the following day.

    “They gave me back my phone and was told to come back at eight in the morning and everything’s finished,” said the 28-year-old high risk analyst.

    CLICK LINK FOR ARTICLE AND VIDEO!

    http://globalnews.ca/news/2331789/another-canadian-comes-forward-with-story-of-being-detained-in-cuba/

  7. KING OBAMA’S NEW US/CUBA POLICY IS WORKING WONDERS! WONDERFUL FOR THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY

    WASHINGTON TIMES: An upsurge in misery in Cuba The Castro brothers crack down in the wake of the Obama wooing

    Barack Obama’s attempt to woo Fidel and Raul Castro away from their regime’s totalitarian roots has turned from disaster to catastrophe, giving a new and ugly meaning to President Obama’s campaign slogan of “hope and change.” So far there’s been no change and no hope, but more misery. The Cuban Commission for Human Rights reports an upsurge in arrests — more than a thousand peaceful dissidents during the month of October, the highest monthly tally in recent history.

    The Castro government has imposed new restrictions on the tiny Cuban private sector it had earlier permitted to blossom — with price controls, new taxes and restrictions, some petty and all meant to punish.

    The regime has cut authorizations for American imports by some 40 percent, increasing its feeble trade ties with China and Spain as an alternative. These new restrictions are meant to put more pressure on the Obama administration for trade credits. The Obama administration’s response is to persist with concessions to the Castro regime which it insists will lead to liberalization. The original deal with Havana, which Mr. Obama regards as part of his legacy, got no concessions to the United States.

    The Castro lobby within the U.S. State Department continues to assure critics that additional concessions to the Castro brothers will continue non-existent liberalization policies, mounting contrary evidence notwithstanding. So the regime wobbles on. Fidel, fading into dementia at 89, gave way to his 84-year-old brother to lead a youth movement, but the regime looks ever more like the usual Latin American military junta, with Soviet trappings.

    Castro propaganda insists that the American embargo, announced in 1966 and confirmed into law by Congress in 1969, is the source of all difficulties, and not the usual failures of Marxist faith. In fact, the embargo has been constantly whittled away, but the brothers continue to use it as a weapon to squeeze America for more credits and concessions.

    Mr. Obama insists that Congress lift the 1962 embargo, but that is not likely if the Republicans screw up the courage to resist in the months before the Obama era finally ends in January 2017. As part of his “opening to Cuba” Mr. Obama has twice used executive authority to ease restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba and on certain products manufactured by the small Cuban private sector. American telecommunications companies are now permitted to operate on the island. More such regulatory changes will be made if and when Cuba absorbs these concessions, says David Thorne, a senior adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/nov/9/editorial-an-upsurge-in-misery-in-cuba/

  8. YOU GO TO CUBA, YOU DEAL WITH THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA!

    GLOBAL NEWS VIDEO : Cuba admits Canadians were held against their will at Cayo Coco resort – By Sean O’Shea

    Canada’s department of foreign affairs and the Cuba tourist office confirm two Canadians were held against their will in a Cayo Coco, Cuba hotel last week. As Sean O’Shea reports, the couple was detained for causing damage to their hotel room; problem was — they couldn’t pay. “That’s a violation of international law under the Geneva Convention,” said Waldman. “You are supposed to be able to call your embassy and get counsel or assistance.”
    TORONTO–Cuba’s tourist office in Canada and a Cayo Coco hotel acknowledge two Canadians were detained at the seaside resort last week against their will.

    Canada’s foreign affairs department confirmed to Global News on Friday that “two Canadian citizens … were detained in Cuba” but would not discuss specifics of the case.

    Foran said she and Babuik offered to pay the $400 demanded by the hotel but said her Vancity Visa credit card would not function, although they say they had sufficient credit to cover the damage charges. However, when the couple could not pay, they were not allowed to leave the hotel.

    “When you travel to any country where the rule of law isn’t respected, you are always taking a chance,” said Toronto immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman, who has represented clients imprisoned in Cuba for a variety of reasons.

    “Fortunately, it was only two days; I’m aware of a lot of other instances where people have been confronted with a lot more serious problems,” Waldman said.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE AND VIDEO!

    http://globalnews.ca/news/2329537/cuba-admits-canadians-were-held-against-their-will-at-cayo-coco-resort/

  9. Just some other news from the Greater Carribean Region: FARC wants seats in both the Colombian Senate and Congress. Thus they will be rewarded for half a century of terror, and Colombia can become another CubaZuela…

  10. Humberto: I like your post!!..glad to see that Cuba is importing less from the United States and more from China…why go through a middle man to get your “stuff”…China is the manufacturer for the World, not the United States…the United States today is only the Financial Center for the World….and if you don’t mind eating agricultural products that are grown or raised with artificial chemistry, then you buy American….but, if you care to protect Man’s natural evolution on planet Earth, you stay away from the products created in the Frankenstein Society ….the utopia society that brought us DDT, hormone and excess antibiotic injected into our cattle that makes the use of antibiotic less effective because we have so much in our bodies by eating this beef. How about the red dyes added to meat so that it would look fresh on the shelves when actually the beef was sometimes more than (6) months old. Engineered grains that other living beings on our planet will not eat because their instinct tells them it is not good for them…nobody stops to think if the other living creatures on the planet will not eat it, don’t we think that we shouldn’t be eating it either…But, ConAgra and others say to us …”don’t worry, is safe” (because we say so…trust us …we are not in business just for the money…we are good corporate citizens)….Asbestos….this is totally safe….trust us ….we are not in for the money only …we want to help build the future…. :) :) :)…we need more Freedom in the market place…we need less regulations and less taxes so that we can bring you more wonder technologies for your pleasure and convenience…(and to fill our hospitals too…we only have invented 500 or so diseases we can absorbed more diseases in our human society…there is not enough misery in the World with our wars of intervention and chaos of regime change…we need more, more…)

  11. KING OBAMA’S US-CUBA POLICY IS WORKING WONDERS! THAT IS THE REASON FOR A HUGE UPSURGE OF CUBANS IMMIGRANTS ARRIVING AT THE “BAD OLD USA”! HE WANTS THIS DEAL TO BE HIS LEGACY AT ALL COSTS! LAME!

    WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL : Obama’s olive branches are lifelines for authoritarian regimes – By Jackson Diehl

    Since announcing the end of the 50-year freeze between the countries 11 months ago, Obama has twice loosened restrictions on U.S. travel and investment in Cuba. Thanks to that, tourism arrivals are up 18 percent this year, and billions in fresh hard currency are flowing into the regime’s nearly empty treasury. The White House has dispatched a stream of senior officials to Havana, including Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. The deputy secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas, last month paid court to the general who heads Castro’s repressive internal security apparatus.

    In response to this, Castro has done virtually nothing, other than reopen the Cuban Embassy in Washington and allow a cellphone roaming agreement . His answer to repeated pleadings from U.S. officials for gestures on human rights has been to step up repression of the opposition. According to the independent Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, there were at least 1,093 political detentions in October, the highest number in 16 months.

    Castro has meanwhile shunned offers from U.S. businesses and dramatically cut U.S. imports. Pritzker did not sign a single deal during her high-profile visit last month. Instead, Cuban officials are using the prospect of increased U.S. trade and investment as “chum” to strike bargains with other countries, according to a report by the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council. While imports of U.S. food are down 44 percent this year, imports from China are up 76 percent.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamas-olive-branches-are-lifelines-for-authoritarian-regimes/2015/11/08/87a1b2b2-83e8-11e5-a7ca-6ab6ec20f839_story.html

  12. N.Y. TIMES PHOTOS : Cuba’s Secret Bedrooms – By David Gonzalez – Nov. 9, 2015

    Mr. Otero Blanco has traveled the length of the island to make pictures of the most private of private spaces, from the humblest farmers’ to would-be urban sophisticates’, in a country where privacy is at a premium. He calls his project “Dormir Con 120” — To Sleep With 120 — a nod to the film format he uses.

    “My photos show what most people have never seen,” said Mr. Otero Blanco, 47, who lives in Havana and just returned from a 15-day bike ride photographing bedrooms in a remote part of Oriente Province. “It’s the most intimate part of a home. A lot of things happen there: They love, argue, dream, procreate. Visitors may see a living room or bathroom, but they are never allowed to go to bedrooms where people have their private lives.”

    “When you look at the photos, you discover the person who lives there,” he said. “Someone may have no money but they have a cellphone, which is expensive. Those are the contradictions: Their house is falling down, but they have designer shoes.”

    Getting access was easy, he insisted, though it did take some doing. He would knock on a door and say he was a photographer who takes pictures of bedrooms. With a smile and some schmoozing, he was able to get into most places. But not all.

    “The people who have money, they think you want to go in there with bad intentions,” Mr. Otero Blanco said. “They are more preoccupied because they have more. The humble people have no such fear, so they open their doors.”
    http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/11/09/cubas-secret-bedrooms/?_r=0#

  13. LOOKS LIKE KING OBAMA’S US-CUBA POLICY IS WORKING REAL GOOD! THERE IS A LOT OF “HOPE” IN CUBA! HOPE THAT THEY CAN MAKE IT TO THE “BAD OLD USA” BECAUSE THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY 2.0 IS COMING SOON!

    FINANCIAL TIMES: Cuba detente creates migrant crisis in Mexico – by Amy Stillman in Tapachula, southern Mexico

    Almost 6,500 Cubans arrived in Mexico en route to the US in the first nine months of the year, more than five times as many as a year earlier, according to official statistics. And the numbers have continued to surge. Mexico’s national migration institute, INM, said that more than 8,000 Cubans have been processed in Mexico so far this year. The national human rights commission, CNDH, noted that over a thousand Cubans turned up at the Tapachula migratory station in the space of one week in October, overwhelming migration officials’ capacity to attend them.

    Many Cubans have spent days sleeping rough outside the Tapachula station awaiting processing. Local human rights groups have begun to open their doors to them amid the growing humanitarian crisis.

    The Cubans, meanwhile, are sceptical that the gradual lifting of economic restrictions will improve their lives. Political freedom and economic opportunity, they say, are still lacking on the island.

    “The [trade] opening is good, but it is not enough to change the culture in Cuba,” said López, 50, who had arrived at the Tapachula migration office with his wife and two grown children after a gruelling, month-long slog through South and Central America.

    López, who asked to be identified with a pseudonym, had earned the equivalent of $25 a month working for the government in Havana. Fearing that the US law might change, in September he and his family made plans to join their relatives in North Dakota, selling their car and scrounging all of their savings to afford the trip, which cost $2,500 per person. Like so many Cubans, López hopes to find better-paid work in the US. “America is a different democracy, it is a different opportunity,” he said.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/77580a0c-84b3-11e5-8e80-1574112844fd.html#slide0

  14. “The government must not fail to protect the people.” – Marion Bartoli

    YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING Marion Bartoli!! THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY NOT ONLY HAS FAILED THE CUBAN PEOPLE, BUT THEY HAVE USED AND ABUSED THEM!

    YOUTUBE: DOCUMENTARY/DOCUMENTAL: “Cuba and the Elephants/Cuba y los Elefantes” – Full version w / English Sub-titles: A Look at Cuba, in reality beyond its tourist attractions. A documentary that takes us to reflect on the achievements of the socialist system and how truly the common Cuban people live. A production of the Political Institute of Peru for Liberty.

  15. HMMM! SO THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY WANTS CASH BEFORE THEY LET CHARTER PLANES FROM THE USA LAND IN CUBA! FUNNY, THEY WANT TO BE GIVEN CREDIT SO THEY CAN BUY U.S. MADE PRODUCTS THAT ARE EXEMPTED FROM THE EMBARGO! QUITE HYPOCRITICAL!

    MIAMI HERALD: Banking woes ground some charter flights to Cuba – By Mimi Whitefield — But this time, he said, four, then five days passed and the wire transfer still hadn’t been completed. Because he had other flights coming up and the Cuban government wants payment in full before a charter flight lands, he also requested transfers of $65,000, $100,000 and $50,000 to cover them. Those transfers also were delayed. Hauf said it took numerous phone calls to the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, his local bank and Chase — the correspondent bank that handles the transfers — before the problem was resolved. While he was waiting for a solution, he had to cancel a week of flights to Cuba because his payments hadn’t arrived in time.

    French, of Blanco International, which has been offering charter flights to Cuba for the past 20 years, said wire transfers involving Cuba have always been slow. What has changed in his view is the Cubans’ attitude toward tardy payments.

    Cuba used to be more accepting about wire transfer delays, he said, and as long as Havanatur Celimar knew a payment was in progress, there wasn’t a problem with landing rights. But now, French said, “The Cuban goodwill has run out; they are enforcing the contracts.”

    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article43698861.html#storylink=cpy

  16. The picture is stunning absolutely amazing it could work on so many different opinions and different ideas.

    But to me this is a terrifying image, excuse me if I offend you. I can see the large man representing cuban people; the might of the revolution, the strength, the endurance and the intellect and the courage the cuban people have had to endure and then the smaller humans deciding how to extract the information.

    The government must not fail to protect the people.

    Imagine the same image for the ever growing problems and the many older issues in the middle east. Who would be who? Why would the governments fail their people? or just allow racism to creep into society via method which is even scarier as it clearly shows that it could happen anywhere?

    I know hand on heart Cubans would wipe the floor with racism.

    All my love

    THE UNITED KINGDOM

    Long live the Queen!

  17. I must say I really like the drawing chosen by the author of this blog.

    Gulliver being the imperialism and the Lilliputians the working people from around the world.

  18. BAD NEWS: CUBA LAGS BEHIND

    The Mexican Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled to allow a small group to use recreational marijuana legally, opening the door to nationwide legalization and a potential new front in a drug war whose violence has devastated the country.

    The 4-1 decision allows four representatives of a group to plant, transport and smoke marijuana for recreational use and declared unconstitutional five articles of a health act that banned the use and cultivation of the drug.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/04/americas/mexico-supreme-court-legal-marijuana/index.html

    Fidel said in the year 2000: “Revolución es sentido del momento histórico; es cambiar todo lo que debe ser cambiado….”. This is right and the drug policy is one of the things that need to be changed in Cuba

  19. When members of oppressing groups believe dominant messages, it is easy for them not to see their privilege and deny that others are oppressed. The united states white minority and culture suppresses conversation about class privilege. In the land of the free, the myth persists that all have access to potential economic equality supports the invisibility of privilege, along with the other power systems that prevents fulfillment of that ideal

  20. THESE MAFIA TACTICS HAS HAPPENED MULTIPLE TIMES TO TOURISTS IN CUBA! HAVE A NICE TRIP!
    GLOBAL NEWS VIDEO: Canadians held ‘hostage’ in Cuban hotel room after damage to room – By Sean O’Shea
    TORONTO — Two Canadian tourists say they were virtually held hostage in their Cayo Coco, Cuba hotel room because their credit cards couldn’t be accessed to pay $400 in room damages. The couple say they were prohibited from making phone calls or contacting the Canadian Embassy in Cuba or to get legal assistance. “I was floored,” said Foran. “I could not sleep at night knowing any other tourist would go through this,” said Katharine Foran, 26, of Vancouver, who just returned to Canada. Foran and her partner, Adam Babuik, 30, also of Vancouver, say they ran into trouble before checkout at the Hotel Playa Coco.

    Admitting they damaged a wall and broke a light bulb inside their room, they were ordered to pay the hotel for damages. They say they agreed.

    Foran says the hotel couldn’t process payment using their credit card; not because of insufficient funds, but because of the card issuer.

    “Because we were a part of a credit union in Vancouver, they didn’t accept that in Cuba,” said Foran, who told Global News the couple’s other card, a TD debit Visa, couldn’t be processed either.

    http://globalnews.ca/news/2324568/canadians-held-hostage-in-cuban-hotel-room-after-damage-to-room/

  21. DO BUSINESS IN CUBA AT YOUR OWN RISK! THEY ARE A DEADBEAT STATE RUN BY THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA!

    REUTERS: U.S. companies drawn to Cuba, unsure if profits will follow – By Jaime Hamre

    About 50 American businesses came to Havana this week for a trade expo, many of them intrigued but still unclear how to make money in a Communist-ruled country of 11 million people who have little purchasing power.

    With detente raising hopes that full commercial ties could be restored, U.S. companies are being drawn to Cuba. But it is a market whose attraction defies convention, given that foreign businesses complain about the island’s bizarre dual-currency system, rigid labor market and opaque legal guarantees.

    UNCERTAINTIES HANG OVER BUSINESS

    The newcomers can look at the experience of privately held shipping company Crowley Maritime Corporation, which has been making losses or breaking even in Cuba for 14 years.

    Jacksonville, Florida-based Crowley entered Cuba in 2001, after Washington started allowing food sales to Cuba, largely because Jay Brickman fell in love with Cuba in 1978, when his boss Thomas Crowley first sent him to Cuba to investigate business opportunities.

    As Crowley and European, Canadian and Latin American investors can attest, uncertainties hang over the business climate.

    “How guaranteed is your investment? Are you sure that you can make profits? Are you sure that there will be no confiscation of your industry?” Brickman said.

    There are U.S. companies with a firm business plan. Sprint Corp (S.N) signed an agreement with Cuba’s state telecoms monopoly Etecsa on Sept. 25 and added an agreement on roaming services on Monday.

    Read more at Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/07/us-cuba-usa-trade-idUSKCN0SV2D120151107#wAKDj2Sj5uLysTMF.99

  22. LIKE FATHER, Fidel Castro! LIKE SON Antonio Castro! HE LEARNED WELL FROM LA MOMIA!

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

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

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2637927/Castro-commie-hypocrite-lives-like-billionaire-Hes-posed-man-people-But-new-book-reveals-Cubas-leader-led-life-pampered-hedonism-fortune-big-Queens.html

  23. LA DOLCE VITA OF THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA!

    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

  24. YOUTUBE: Three bodyguards of Antonio Castro Soto Del Valle’s — the son of former Cuba leader Fidel Castro — attacked photographers from a news agency for filming the younger Castro during his vacation in Turkey’s resort district of Bodrum on Wednesday, according to the Doğan news agency.

  25. FAMOUS QUOTES
    Before the throne of the Almighty, man will be judged not by his acts but by his intentions. For God alone reads our hearts.
    Mahatma Gandhi

    Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.
    Milton Friedman

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”,[Declaration of Independence]

    Too many dissidents scream about this right or that right, when in all actuality, most of what they are screaming about are really privileges. If what you see as a right requires something of someone else, and what is required of them infringes upon their rights, it is not a right, it is a privilege. Too many people these days have no concept of what the difference is between a right and a privilege.If it is a right, it does not require anything of anybody… If on the other hand, it does require someone else to sacrifice or give of themselves in any way, it is most likely a privilege.
    Dissidents are screaming about not having the same privilege as they see the Castro family having more than they are demanding rights. Scarcity in the World manage with Capitalistic apartheid is about 27% winners and 73% losers and discarded. Centralized governments like the one Cuba has is about privilege for the ones that hold power and rights for the rest in an egalitarian distribution of scarce resources.

  26. It’s like austerity vs an expansive debt-driven economic policy. Europe used austerity – and it did’t work well – to try to get out of the Great Recession, but the US went the opposite way, and that’s worked better. In Europe austerity austerity lasted half a decade, but Cubans have had it for half a century!

  27. Pingback: Reports from Cuba: The Lilliput Rebellion | Babalú Blog

  28. A person was walking along a road and whilst he was overtly interested in the sky he kept falling over. Blaming others for your lack of ambition or giving up a struggle in achieving an idea or as many people use the term “being mother Teresa” in a mocking manner is this deemed normal?

    So eventually the same person found himself in a shop selling medicine, after being persuaded that the ingredients of the ointment would soothe the wounds the balm was bought. As you can probably tell gather the person who kept being having these incredible incidents was prone to few knocks and that very second he stepped out of the shop he fell flat on his bottom. The pavement being at fault. As he lay on his back with a million thoughts were being processed about the seriousness of this trip. A swollen ankle appeared and even though a few people walked by not a single person asked to see if this injured person could stand up.

    After attending the Hospital it was examined as a very badly torn achilles, and was told not to go to work in the mines until the ankle had recovered.

    Weeks went by the people who had supplied the ointment to the shop where very convincing that it would help smaller bumps and knocks. After applying some of the gel to the ankle the person eyes closed and relaxed, the foot felt odd and when it was time to make a cup of tea the person walked to cooker and the strangest sensation was being felt. It felt like there was a piece of Jelly stuck to the swollen ankle. Wibble wobble jelly on the foot.

    Are peoples intentions motivated by what they can get in return?

  29. FAVORITISM IS A FACT NO MATTER WHAT THE IDEOLOGY. ONE OF THE REALITY OF THE SOCIETY OF MAN SINCE WE LIVED IN CAVES. http://www.thedailybeast.com
    Get Elected, Get Your Kids Rich: Washington Is Spoiled Rotten
    A governor’s daughter is made CEO without a MBA. A senator’s son starts a hedge fund right out of college. Democrats have joined Republicans in the new nepotism.
    Joe Manchin’s daughter Heather was looking for a job. The now-senator and one-time governor of West Virginia was only a state level rep when he ran into Milan Pushkar—the head of Mylan Inc., a Fortune 500 pharmaceuticals company—at a West Virginia University basketball game. Heather was hired for an entry-level position at the company soon after. Records show Mylan benefitted from millions of dollars worth of corporate tax breaks in the state during Manchin’s gubernatorial tenure. And these days, after stints as Mylan’s director of government relations and strategic development, Heather Bresch (née Manchin) is the company’s CEO, one of Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. All this without even an MBA—a 2008 investigation found that Bresch did not actually earn her degree from WVU as claimed. Officials had altered her official records and covered up for it, perhaps motivated by Mylan’s lucrative relationship with the University—co-founder Pushkar (Bresch’s business world fairy godfather) donated over $20 million and had the football field named after him.
    Connected children of political families catching a break is something we Americans are plenty used to—there would be no Kennedy or Bush dynasties without the public’s acceptance that some people just raise their kids up all square-jawed and rolled shirtsleeves, ready to run for office. But the nexus of private business and politics is always one that’s skated over lightly in high school civics classes. Perhaps that’s why there was so much consternation over the recent revelations that Wall Street banks had hired the children of prominent Chinese politicians with hopes of currying favor with those who wield power over business decisions in the rising economic superpower. The hiring of so-called “Chinese Princelings” has been a widespread one in the banking community; JPMorgan Chase had a “Sons and Daughters” program that separated applications of Chinese elites’ children from the wider pool and held them to less rigorous standards. Documents have been uncovered indicating that the bank directly tracked the hiring of influencers’ children to the success of business deals.
    The banks’ cozy arrangements with the Chinese have been difficult for many to stomach, but others have scoffed at what they perceive as prissy outrage, framing the affair as simply the ways of the world revealed. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Arthur Levitt, head of the SEC under President Clinton (and son of a former New York State comptroller), called the accusations, “scurrilous and hypocritical,” pointing out that wealthy and powerful Americans employ many of the same nepotistic practices on behalf of their own children. The right schools, the right friends, the right job out of college.
    But it might be that Americans are less aware of political family power plays when they’re not accompanied by gripping and grinning and kissing our babies for cameras and votes. Business is the less ostentatious version of trading on one’s family political connections—for the scion desirous of a cream-interior country home lifestyle rather than the comforts of a post-war split level hastily bought in a congressional district up for grabs next election cycle. “Members of Congress basically are profit centers for their entire families,” says Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “Some people can get by solely on talent, but talent and connections is a much better combination—and if you have to have one or the other, it’s probably the connections.”
    Take Senator Ron Wyden’s son, Adam—directly upon graduation from his Columbia MBA program he started his own hedge fund, no doubt capitalizing on contacts he made interning at the $19-billion fund of one of his father’s supporters, David Shaw. “Not many college kids get to intern on a D.E. Shaw portfolio for the summer,” Brian Marshall, who once ran the fund, was quoted as saying in a 2011 Bloomberg article on the younger Wyden.
    It’s also fair to speculate that former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin’s son James might have had a few family friends numbers in his Rolodex starting out as well. Rubin worked for a big New York law firm directly out of school (Harvard, then Yale), went on to hold a few policy jobs in Clinton’s FCC, then found himself at a series of investment and private equity jobs (including the private-equity arm of JPMorgan), where his employers were no doubt heartened by the thought of one of the nation’s most powerful influencers in finance talking shop over the family dinner table with their guy.
    By the time she landed a spot as a Deputy Director of Public Affairs for International Trade in the Obama administration from 2009-2011, Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, daughter of North Carolina Congressman G.K. Butterfield, had already turned an internship with Russell Simmons into a position as the Executive Director of his Hip Hop Summit Action Network (in the span of three years), founded a non-profit focused on portrayals of women in the media, and done campaign work. She now has a production company, is president of a communications and management firm, and married Dahntay Jones of the Dallas Mavericks. Her personal website also lists Buttefield-Jones as a “lifestyle expert.”
    Nathan Daschle, son of former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, went the mixed media route as well; the Harvard Law School graduate did a stint at a D.C. firm before heading to the Democratic Governor’s Association (where he eventually served as Executive Director), and now works for Clear Channel Media as its Executive Vice President for Political Strategy.

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