Posts Tagged ‘Fidel Castro’

Easter No. 3 for a Prisoner of Castro

| April 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

Bearing witness to Cuba’s political persecution costs Sonia Garro her freedom.


Christians the world over celebrated the resurrection of their savior on Sunday with worship services and family gatherings. Thirty-eight-year-old Sonia Garro shares the faith too, but she spent the holiday in a Cuban dungeon as a prisoner of conscience, just as she has for the past two years.

Ms. Garro is a member of the Christian dissident group Ladies in White, started in Havana in 2003 by sisters, wives and mothers of political prisoners to peacefully protest the unjust incarceration of their loved ones. It has since expanded to other parts of the country and added many recruits. The group’s growing popularity has worried the Castros, and they have responded with increasing brutality.

Cuba’s military government wants us to believe that the Brothers Fidel and Raul Castro are “reforming.” To buy that line you have to pretend that Ms. ... Read More

Letter from Cuba: To Embargo or Not

| April 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
World Affairs

By Michael J. Totten

Aside from the Arab boycott against Israel, American sanctions against Cuba have lasted longer than any other embargo in the modern era.

The sanctions were imposed in stages in the early 1960s after Fidel Castro began economic warfare against the United States by nationalizing private US property on the island. Cuban communism survived the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, so in 1993 the purpose of the embargo was modified by the Cuban Democracy Act, stating that it will not be lifted unless and until the government in Havana respects the “internationally accepted standards of human rights” and “democratic values.”

For years now, the embargo has appeared to me as outdated as it has been ineffective. The Chinese government, while less repressive nowadays than Cuba’s, likewise defies internationally accepted standards of human rights, yet it’s one of America’s biggest trading partners. And the embargo ... Read More

Southern Command: Venezuela on the brink of a catastrophe

| March 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald



WASHINGTON – The Commander of the United States Southern Command, General John Kelly, testified Thursday that it is necessary that Venezuelans resolve the internal conflict before it gets out of control and violence escalates.

“It’s a situation that obviously is falling apart in front of us,” Kelly said during in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Unless there is some kind of miracle in which the opposition or Maduro’s government pull back, this will turn into a catastrophe in terms of the economy and democracy.”

To a question from Sen. Joe Donnelly (Indiana), Kelly expressed his hope that “somehow Venezuelans resolve this themselves, without [the situation] spiraling out of control with much more violence.”

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz asked if Southern Command may limit the possible Iranian and Cuban assistance to Caracas to “use cyber tools against Venezuelan citizens,” but Kelly did not answer the question ... Read More

Cuba Transition Project: Cuba Investors Beware

| March 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
Focus on Cuba

Since the 2006 announcement by the Cuban government that octogenarian Fidel Castro had transferred power to his brother Raul, there has been increasing speculation regarding political and economic changes in Cuba. More recently, some potential investors seem to have bought the narrative that the Cuban government has embarked on a process of genuine political and economic reforms. But investors beware.

In its 2014 “Index of Economic Freedom” report, the Heritage Foundation ranks Cuba as one of the world’s least free economies with a score of 28.7 compared to a world average of 60.3, and an average of 84.1 for the free economies of the world. Cuba’s economic milieu continues to deteriorate in terms of most of the factors considered in the Heritage Foundation methodology such as trade freedom, fiscal freedom, monetary freedom, and particularly freedom from corruption.

One implication for enterprises seeking to do business with Cuba is that this legacy manifests ... Read More

Una broma orwelliana-PROYECTO DE DECLARACIÓN (Misión Permanente del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia)

| March 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
Evo Morales OAS



(Misión Permanente del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia)


Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores


MPB- OEA- ND002 -2014

Washington , DC , 05 de marzo 2014

Su Excelencia :

Tengo el agrado de dirigirme a Vuestra Excelencia en relación con el Aviso de Convocatoria CP / INF 6878/14 del 4 de marzo de 2014, por el cual se convocó a una reunión privada del Consejo Permanente el 6 de marzo , 2014, en respuesta a la solicitud de Panamá “para considerar la situación que se desarrolla en la República Bolivariana de Venezuela.”

A este respecto , la Misión Permanente del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia ante la OEA se complace en adjuntar a la presente un proyecto de declaración ... Read More

Cuba Manipulating Health Care Statistics

| March 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon


Cuba’s socialist regime continues to engage in widespread manipulation of its health care statistics to enhance its legitimacy abroad, experts say.

The issue of Cuba’s health care record came up again recently after Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) visited the island in January, telling reporters afterward that Cuba is a “poor country” but “their public health system is quite remarkable.” He said Cuba has a lower child mortality rate than the United States and a higher life expectancy.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) contested Harkin’s claims in an impassioned floor speech last week.

“I wonder if the government officials who hosted him, informed him that in Cuba there are instances reported, including by defectors, that if a child only lives a few hours after birth, they’re not counted as a person who ever lived, and, therefore, don’t count against the mortality rate,” he said.

Dr. Rodolfo Stusser, former adviser to the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, said in an email that the ministry has contrived ... Read More

A Miami Congressman Adamantly Defends Isolating Cuba

| March 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times


As more Cuban-Americans find ways to engage with Cuba — through travel, helping families with new businesses, and now business training — they have increasingly come into conflict with Cuban-American lawmakers who insist that isolation, through the United States trade embargo, is the best and only acceptable approach when dealing with Cuba.

Representative Mario Díaz-Balart, the Republican congressman from Miami, has been a leader among the pro-embargo constituency for years, serving in Congress since 2003. His aunt, Mirta, was Fidel Castro’s first wife, leading many to argue that the divide between Cuba and the United States over the embargo is, at its roots, a family dispute. But Mr. Díaz-Balart argues that his position is steeped in principle, and that despite the recent changes in Cuba — allowing for more private enterprise and travel — American policy should remain focused on politics ... Read More

La OEA ausente en Venezuela

| March 5th, 2014 | 2 Comments »
The American

La Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) se mantiene inerte en Venezuela, y la inestabilidad política, la crisis económica y la violencia del gobierno contra los manifestantes estudiantiles son hechos que están apunto de colapsar al país sudamericano. Desde hace años la OEA fue secuestrada por la petro-diplomacia de Venezuela y ha sido atada y amordazada.

El “consejo permanente”, compuesto por los embajadores de la región, tenía previsto reunirse la semana pasada para revisar los eventos en Venezuela a solicitud del presidente de Panamá, Ricardo Martinelli. La reunión fue abruptamente “pospuesta” después de que el presidente de la Republica Dominicana, Danilo Medina,  le pidiera a su representante ante la OEA, quien preside el consejo permanente, que no regresara a Washington para postergar la reunión. Medina siguió las instrucciones de Venezuela. El embajador dominicano regresó a Washington ayer y convocará al consejo con la venia del gobierno venezolano.

Los estados miembros de la OEA ... Read More

The OAS is AWOL on Venezuela

| March 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
The American

The Organization of American States (OAS) sits silent on Venezuela, even as political unrest, government violence against student demonstrators, and economic catastrophe threaten to tear that country apart. At long last, the regional body that years ago was sequestered by Venezuela’s petro-diplomacy has been bound and gagged.

The “permanent council,” comprised of the region’s ambassadors, was set to meet last week to review events in Venezuela, at the request of Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli. The meeting was abruptly “postponed” after Dominican president Danilo Medina, whose ambassador is the council’s chairman, followed Venezuela’s instructions to delay his envoy’s return to OAS headquarters in Washington. The Dominican chairman arrived only yesterday and will convene the council at the convenience of the Venezuelan government.

The OAS’s member states made history on the fateful day of September 11, 2001, by adopting the Inter-American Democratic Charter and making the promotion and defense of democracy one of the ... Read More

The Roots of Venezuela’s Disorder

| March 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal


On Wednesday, as Venezuelan strongman Nicólas Maduro was promising more repression to crush relentless student protests, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told reporters that Moscow plans to put military bases in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. A few days later a Russian spy ship arrived in Havana harbor unannounced.

The usual Cold War suspects are back. More accurately, they never left. Former KGB officer Vladimir Putin is warning President Obama that Russia can make trouble in the Americas if the U.S. insists on solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Meanwhile, Latin America’s aging Marxists are lining up behind Mr. Maduro, successor to the late Hugo Chávez.

Russia and Cuba are finally reaping the benefits of the revolution they have long sown in Latin America. Any chance of defeating them requires setting the record straight about how Venezuela got so poor.

Venezuelan politicians sold left-wing populism like snake oil for decades before Chávez came to power in ... Read More

Venezuela’s Angry Students

| February 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times


MEXICO CITY — Many of the young students protesting in the streets of Venezuela have no memory of any government other than that of President Hugo Chávez. But now that he has been gone for nearly a year, they know they don’t want to grow old under the same type of regime.

In 2007, students marched in the streets after the Chávez government shut down RCTV, Venezuela’s oldest independent television network. Toward the end of the same year, they were the driving force behind the eventual rejection of Mr. Chávez’s plan to form a federation between Venezuela and Cuba.

Now, large numbers of their younger brothers and sisters have returned to the streets to demonstrate against the government of President Nicolás Maduro. They aren’t calling for the government to cease helping the poor; they’re protesting the government’s economic ineptitude and ... Read More

Cuban Strategy in Venezuela

| February 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
University of Miami


Last Sunday Raul Castro set out the essence of Cuban policy toward the increasingly volatile situation in Venezuela. Speaking to the Cuban labor confederation he described it as “a complex crisis,” indicating considerable alarm in Havana about how Cuba’s vital economic and security interests might be affected.

Memories of the outcomes of three earlier crises in Caribbean and Latin American countries tightly allied with Cuba must be worrying Raul and others in the leadership.

In September 1973 Salvador Allende was overthrown in Chile in a savage military coup as the Marxist upheaval that he led for three years in a partnership with Fidel Castro ended. Allende’s death in the coup was a devastating blow to Cuban prestige and a significant personal loss for Castro. Allende was wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a submachine gun Fidel had given him when he committed suicide in the presidential residence. Ten years later in ... Read More

La desmemoriada izquierda latinoamericana

| February 26th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Pais

La crisis de Venezuela sorprende a una izquierda desmemoriada, conceptualmente perdida, desconectada de su propia historia y normativamente a la deriva


A mediados de los setenta, buena parte de América Latina estaba bajo regímenes militares. Según decían, era para combatir a la subversión armada que buscaba tomar el poder. Para los jerarcas militares no era una guerra fría ni convencional, donde se ve los colores del enemigo enfrente de uno; esa era una guerra “sucia”. La estrategia marxista era confundirse con la población civil, había que operar en la clandestinidad como ellos. Así justificaron la represión ilegal e indiscriminada. Ocurría generalmente por las noches, para atemorizar a la población. Estaba a cargo de personas sin uniforme en vehículos sin identificación, con los que llevaban a los detenidos a centros de reclusión clandestinos. Allí algunos de ellos eran legalizados y trasladados a prisiones oficiales. Otros, la mayoría, eran ejecutados. Desaparecían, ... Read More

The Castro Caucus

| February 26th, 2014 | No Comments »
National Review


Even in liberal democracies, there are people friendly to dictators, and that is of course true in the United States. And it’s especially true when it comes to Castro (either of them, but especially Big Brother).

Who are the Castro-friendliest people in the U.S. Congress? Well, you can probably call the roll as well as I can: Charlie Rangel, José Serrano, Jim McGovern, Maxine Waters, Sam Farr, Barbara Lee. That’s on the House side. And in the Senate, the two Vermonters: Pat Leahy and Bernie Sanders. And Iowa’s Tom Harkin. And probably some others.

My apologies to those in either chamber I’ve left out.

There are alumni who deserve mention too, of course — former congressmen. First and foremost, Ron Dellums (Barbara Lee’s mentor). Well, actually, maybe Bill Delahunt should be called “first and foremost.” He was indefatigable. In addition to being Castro-friendly, he was extremely friendly to Chávez, the would-be ... Read More

Protests Continue in Venezuela against a Nightmarish Regime

| February 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
Mexi Data


The broken silence in Venezuela is deafening as the once proud and strong nation is facing mass protest demonstrations, many of which have turned deadly over the past three weeks. And the violent situations are exacerbated with the threat of anti-government protesters clashing with pro-government groups and/or security forces.

Thousands of citizens have taken to the streets in cities throughout Venezuela, to stand boldly as military, police, rogue security officials and violent civilian pro-government enforcers moved in with aggressive maneuvers and weaponry. Much of the nation’s message is that they will no longer be silent after 15 years of repression and corrupt iron-fisted rule.

The official death toll is inaccurate — actually it is unknown, this due to the massive government crackdown on media coverage.  Hundreds have been injured, hundreds more detained, many are missing, a number of the dead have been killed by tactical-style shots to the head by snipers. ... Read More

Venezuela’s violence, Cuba’s ‘farce,’ and Marco Rubio’s milestone speech

| February 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


The U.S. senator from Florida had listened patiently to Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa speak favorably about his recent trip to Cuba, all the while omitting any real references to the oppression of the totalitarian government there.

To Rubio, like many Cuban exiles and their descendants, it was too much to bear.

“Let me tell you what the Cubans are really good at,” Rubio said Monday when he took to the Senate floor. “What they are really good at is repression…. They have exported repression in real time, in our hemisphere, right now.”

This wasn’t some Cold War-era fulmination about Castro’s regime.

Rubio’s speech was about current events: the protests in Venezuela, the Maduro government and the ties it has with the Castros, who repress their own people and helped inspire the suppression in Caracas.

Venezuela is becoming the new Cuba.

For 14 minutes and 16 seconds, Rubio gave the best oration of his ... Read More

The Only Way Out is Exile

| February 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
World Affairs


If Cuba needed a Berlin Wall, Fidel Castro would have built one. Fortunately for him—though not for his much-abused subjects—one of the world’s last communist regimes is surrounded on all sides by water, cruelly trapping its people. Thus Castro’s totalitarian state, Cuban exile Humberto Fontova wrote, “gave rise to psychic cripples beyond the imagining of even Orwell or Huxley: people who hate the sight of the sea.”

But the sea can’t restrain all of them. Thousands have shoved off into the water on devices as small as inner tubes, desperately seeking refuge in the United States. One in three die attempting to cross the Florida Straits, either from drowning, thirst, shark attacks, or exposure.

Until recently, possessing anything that might float could get a person thrown into prison. Things are slightly more relaxed now, so the likes of bicycle tires aren’t contraband, but Cubans still aren’t allowed to use boats. Only ... Read More

O’Grady: Behind the Turmoil in Venezuela

| February 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal


The bloodshed in Caracas over the past 12 days brings to mind the 2009 Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, where President Obama greeted Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez with a huge grin and a warm handshake. A couple of months later the State Department attempted to force Honduras to reinstall pro-Chávez president Manuel Zelaya, who had been deposed for violating the constitution.

Brows were knitted throughout the Americas. Why did the U.S. president favor the Venezuelan dictator, protégé of Fidel Castro, over Honduras, which still had a rule of law, press freedom and pluralism?

Fast forward to last Wednesday, after four peaceful student-protesters had been confirmed as having been killed by the government’s armed minions. Mr. Obama took notice, pronouncing the brutality “unacceptable.” That must have been comforting to hear amid the gun shots and pummeling on the streets of Caracas.

That same night the government of Nicolás Maduro —Chávez’s handpicked ... Read More

The Cuban Model versus a Burgeoning Opposition in Venezuela

| February 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
Mexi Data


Much like the frustrations faced by citizens of Cuba opposing and wanting to unseat the oppressive Castro regime in their homeland, Venezuelans went much further last week in a bold and aggressive display of unity to demonstrate their desire for immediate change.

Unlike most true democracies and transparent governments, President Nicolas Maduro’s leftist regimen was quick to borrow a page out of Fidel Castro’s nearly 50 year iron-fisted repertoire of closing down the media and communications to censor violent enforcement actions from an inquiring free world.

Yet those archaic, sinister and tyrannical methods were not enough to silence thousands of youthful students and other once proud Venezuelans from demanding a full redress of their grievances.  Moreover, the Maduro administration’s suppression did not escape the social media and some news services.

Serious violence, beatings and killings were graphically demonstrated, some showing a barbaric cadre of police and other security officials retaliating in lieu ... Read More

Will Venezuela abandon Chavismo?

| February 18th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
From CNN


Editor’s note: David Frum, a CNN contributor, is a contributing editor at The Daily Beast. He is the author of eight books, including a new novel, “Patriots,” and a post-election e-book, “Why Romney Lost.” Frum was a special assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2002.

A week of demonstrations in Venezuela. Three people shot dead; dozens wounded; dozens more arrested and imprisoned. Pro-regime thugs intimidate protesting high school and college students. The question is being asked: Is Chavismo finally cracking in Venezuela?

Hugo Chavez died of cancer nearly a year ago, and the question hanging over Venezuela is how long his strange regime can live after him.

A country with a population smaller than Canada’s has more murders than the United States. Inflation exceeds 56%. Goods from toilet paper to sacramental wine have vanished from shops. A regime that calls itself “socialist” has massively enriched the former president’s family and friends. Street lights dim at night because a country ... Read More

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