Posts Tagged ‘Fidel Castro’

Guest Opinion: Beware of investing in Cuba

| March 30th, 2015 | No Comments »
Brainer Dispatch

Minnesota farmers and business owners should beware of investing in Cuba. Fidel Castro and his brother, Raul, have been the only communist dictators of Cuba, all while the U.S. elected presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama to the office of U.S. President. The Castro dictators have never stopped working to spread communism and socialism into South and Central America. Particularly in Venezuela, Fidel Castro has mentored Hugo Chavez and his designated successor Nicolas Maduro in the methods of “nationalizing” western businesses. In the 1960s Fidel Castro nationalized 382 U.S. businesses, including banks and factories, under communism in Cuba.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Fidel Castro actually urged the Soviet leader, Khrushchev,, to launch a nuclear weapon strike against the U.S. using Soviet missiles based in Cuba. As Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara revealed many years later, the U.S. did ... Read More

Kelly: Another fugitive complicates Cuba thaw

| March 30th, 2015 | No Comments »
North Jersey

BY MIKE KELLY

On a January afternoon 40 years ago, Mary Connor of Fair Lawn made a pan of lasagna for a dinner she was planning with her husband to celebrate the birthdays of their two sons.

As Mary labored in her kitchen, her husband, Frank, who had risen from clerk to assistant vice president at Morgan Guaranty Trust, went to lunch at Fraunces Tavern, the Revo­lutionary War-era restaurant in lower Manhattan where George Washington bid farewell to Continental Army officers two centuries earlier.

As Frank Connor ate with colleagues, a bomb exploded — a homemade device, hidden near his table by Puerto Rican nationalists who said in a note that they wanted to kill “reactionary corporate executives.”

Conner, 33, died along with three others. Mary ended up serving her lasagna at her husband’s wake.

Terrorism tears into the lives of ordinary people in unexpected ... Read More

Americans cling to claims for properties seized by Castro

| March 27th, 2015 | No Comments »
Times Argus

OMAHA, Neb. — The smell of Cuban coffee drifts from the kitchen as Carolyn Chester digs through faded photos that fill boxes spread across the dining table.Friends linked arm-in-arm on a Cuban beach.Men in suits and women in evening gowns at a Havana nightclub.And in almost every frame, an American man with a salt-and-pepper mustache and a raven-haired woman — Chester’s parents — smiling at good fortune that, they could not know, would soon be snatched away.“I always heard about Cuba … and all this money that we lost and `Maybe one day,’ but I didn’t understand it,” Chester says.Six decades later, that day may finally be nearing for Chester and others like her. To reach it, though, diplomacy will have to settle very old scores.After Fidel Castro seized power in 1959, Cuba confiscated property belonging to thousands of American citizens and companies. Edmund and Enna Chester lost an 80-acre ... Read More

How Obama’s Cuba Deal Is Strengthening Its Military

| March 18th, 2015 | No Comments »
Politico

In the hit 1992 movie A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson’s fictional Colonel Jessup famously declares: “I eat breakfast 300 yards from 4,000 Cubans who are trained to kill me.” The Cuban officers I met never gave me that impression. As the State Department’s former representative to negotiations with Cuba’s military, I can tell you that our discussions were typically convivial and constructive. And today, President Barack Obama’s initiative to normalize relations with Havana has presented the United States with a truly mind-boggling prospect: Our most reliable partner on that long-isolated island is probably going to be the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, Cuba’s military establishment.

And soon they’re going to be making a lot of money.

The Communist Party of Cuba may constitute the country’s political leadership, but it is seen increasingly as an anachronism by the population, and after Fidel Castro, 88, ... Read More

Venezuela and Cuba: Partners in repression

| February 24th, 2015 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Editorial Board

Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro paid a visit to Havana and met with Raúl and Fidel Castro, who have been his patrons and who helped to install him in power after the death of Hugo Chávez. Mr. Maduro’s political situation is desperate: As Venezuelans suffer severe shortages of staple goods and soaring inflation, his approval rating has dropped to 22 percent — and that’s before the full impact of falling oil prices hits a country dependent on petroleum for 96 percent of its hard-currency revenue.

On his return from Havana, Mr. Maduro turned to a familiar tactic. Intelligence agents stormed the residence of the elected opposition mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, and took him away to a military prison. Mr. Maduro then delivered a three-hour rant on television in which he accused the opposition leader of plotting a coup against him with the help of the Obama administration. Needless to say, he had no evidence to support this ludicrous charge.

If this ... Read More

Self-Inflicted Misery and Tyranny among Latin America’s Left

| February 24th, 2015 | No Comments »
Mexi Data

By Jerry Brewer

It is astonishing that with so much focus and dialogue on demands for world freedom, self-expression and human rights, many tend to ignore or simply fail to do their homework on repressive dictatorial-like regimes floundering throughout Latin America and oppressing their citizens.

It was certainly no secret that the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s 14 years in office was a tired precursor to a near failed state in Venezuela today. Chavez spent his entire rule in office working to recruit and support leftist presidential candidates throughout the hemisphere, touting his Bolivarian Revolution – that is quite simply the more exhausted Cuban Revolution that remains in Venezuelan to this very day.

Chavez demolished independence in Venezuela’s institutions, seized control of the economy, militarized the government, and virtually destroyed private enterprise. Death, destruction and insufficiencies in Venezuela remain rampant.

If there was even a modicum of value to add to the history of Venezuela from ... Read More

The Truth About ‘Tourist Apartheid’ in Cuba

| February 17th, 2015 | No Comments »
Yahoo News-01

By Kim-Marie Evans

Contrary to recent headlines, Cuba is not flinging open its doors for tourist travel. Although there have been recent changes in U.S. regulations, it is still technically illegal for an American to be a tourist in Cuba. In fact, during a recent art-buying trip I took to Cuba, I learned there is a term used to describe the visitor situation in the country: “tourist apartheid.” In other words, travelers still remain separate from the general population.

The purpose of my trip was to buy art, but the visit also allowed me to learn more about the lives of “real” Cubans — which is very different from what tourists see and experience. The people I interviewed whispered their answers while glancing over their shoulders. “Who could possibly be listening?” I asked.

The truth is that anyone can be listening.

I took a similar trip ... Read More

Rough Seas for Venezuela

| February 17th, 2015 | No Comments »
The New York Times

BY ENRIQUE KRAUZE

MEXICO CITY — At the University of Havana in 1999, President Hugo Chávez assailed those who would “ask Cuba to follow the path of false democracy” and declared that Venezuela was “moving toward the same ocean as the Cuban people, an ocean of happiness, of true social justice, of peace.” But the recent steep plunge in oil prices has thrown both Cuba and the Venezuela that supplies its oil into a much more turbulent ocean than Mr. Chávez ever imagined.

To emulate Cuba politically was an inexcusable choice, but Mr. Chávez began carefully to do so. In order to distance Venezuela from “false democracy,” he accumulated control over the organs of government and over much of the information media: radio, television and the press. His successor, Nicolás Maduro, has remained on that road but much more crudely — with little attention to nuance or pragmatic pressures. He took over the rest ... Read More

4 Cuba Experts Have Differing Views on Island’s Future

| February 12th, 2015 | No Comments »
Daily Signal-01

BY JOSH SIEGEL

MIAMI—When Sebastian Arcos steps back to evaluate President Obama’s move to normalize relations with Cuba, he tries to forget his own experiences with the Castro regime.

But it’s difficult for Arcos to have a clean perspective because the Cuban government’s imprints are all over his life—he spent a year in prison, and was kicked out of school, for trying to escape repression.

“My experiences have everything to do with the way I feel about it,” said Arcos, now the associate director of the Cuban Research Institute.

“I feel like I have a better grasp of the nature of the regime than the people changing the policy. They don’t know Cuba the way I do. They can look at it more objectively.”

Arcos was one of four experts on Cuba to speak at Florida International University last week at an event hosted by The Heritage Foundation. ... Read More

Obama’s gambit misunderstands Cuban reality

| February 12th, 2015 | No Comments »
AEI

Key Points

President Obama’s new push to normalize relations with Cuba neglects the Cuban dictatorship’s internal oppression, relentless hostility to US interests, and implacable opposition to change. The Obama administration has rushed to facilitate new travel and trade with Cuba, but the Castro regime controls virtually every aspect of the economy, benefits from cash remittances and tourism, and stifles the country’s potential growth. While the Obama administration struggles to justify its unilateral concessions and has yet to press for international help on Cuba, the Castro regime has rejected calls for change and is making new demands to put the administration on the defensive. For Obama to salvage his new Cuba approach, his team will have to develop and implement an actual strategy that measures up to his rhetoric without letting down American interests and ideals.

President Obama’s decision to normalize diplomatic relations with the Castro government after 54 years is certainly ... Read More

So How’s That Cuba Deal Going?

| February 9th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY Less than two months after his “historic” outreach to Havana with a promise to “normalize relations,” the U.S. commander in chief is getting the back of Raúl Castro ’s hand.

On Dec. 17, President Obama floated his plan to revise a half-century-old U.S.-Cuba policy by promising engagement. “We intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people,” he said. The trouble is that as his statements in recent weeks have shown, Raúl Castro has no interest in doing things differently.

The message from Havana is that if Mr. Obama wants a Cuba legacy it will have to be on Cuba’s terms. That means he will have to go down in history as the U.S. president who prolonged the longest-running military dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere.

Days before Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs Roberta Jacobson arrived in Havana on Jan. 21 for talks, the Cuban state newspaper ... Read More

Cuba wants the US to stop diplomats from supporting political opposition

| February 3rd, 2015 | No Comments »
Business Insider

BY DANIEL TROTTA

Cuba warned the United States on Monday that it wants American diplomats to scale back aid for Cuban dissidents before the two countries can reopen embassies in each other’s capitals.

The long-time adversaries are negotiating the restoration of diplomatic relations as a first step toward reversing more than five decades of confrontation. Officials for both governments met in Havana in January and a second round of talks is expected to be held in Washington this month.

But Cuba’s lead negotiator said in an interview broadcast on state television that if the United States wants free movement for its diplomats in Cuba, it must stop using them to support the political opposition.

“The way those (U.S.) diplomats act should change in terms of stimulating, organizing, training, supplying and financing elements within our country that act against the interests of … the government of the ... Read More

Investing in Cuba can be a risky business

| January 30th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By FRANK CALZON

The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce holds its annual South Florida Economic Summit today. This is what businessmen should know about doing business with Cuba:

From a business perspective, commercially engaging with Havana is different than doing business in most countries. Until now the American companies that have exported hundreds of millions of dollars in products to the island have benefited from American restrictions that required a cash and carry basis for American exports to Cuba.

Those restrictions have saved U.S. taxpayers millions because Havana is well-known for not paying its bills.

In 1986, Cuba stopped paying principal and interest to the Paris Club, to whom it owed billions of dollars to governments, banks, and foreign companies. Since then, Havana has restructured some debt. Some creditors forgave part of it due to the regime’s near bankruptcy.

The Heritage Foundation 2015 Index of ... Read More

Why Castro’s demand for reparations from US could backfire

| January 30th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in The Christian Science Monitor

By Howard LaFranchi

WASHINGTON — Cuban President Raúl Castro had a surprise for the Obama administration when he issued a new and considerably tougher set of demands this week for reaching normalized relations with the United States.

Return of the Guantánamo Bay naval base to Cuban sovereignty was perhaps the most stop-and-take-notice condition Mr. Castro set in a speech Wednesday. But it was the brother of Fidel Castro’s demand concerning reparations that could end up stirring the bitterest pot and posing the highest obstacle to normalization.

Castro said United States payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in economic reparations for damages caused by the five-decade-old embargo, and indeed a lifting of the embargo Cuba considers a “blockade,” would also have to take place before the two adversaries can renew relations that were severed soon after the Cuban revolution of 1959.

But Castro’s reparation demands also carry a risk. That’s because ... Read More

Castro demands Guantanamo Bay in return for US-Cuba diplomatic deal

| January 29th, 2015 | No Comments »
BBC

In a speech, President Raul Castro also called for the lifting of the US trade embargo and Cuba’s removal from a terror list.

Last month the two countries announced a thaw in relations, agreeing to restore diplomatic ties. They were severed in 1961.

High-level talks were held last week.

A Congressional delegation arrived in Havana to begin negotiations aimed at reopening embassies in the two countries’ capitals.

Meanwhile, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro appeared to signal his approval for the political rapprochement.

Cuba’s state-run newspaper published a letter on Tuesday in which he wrote: “We will always defend co-operation and friendship with all the people of the world, including with our political adversaries.”

He wrote that although he did not “trust the policy of the US”, it did not mean he rejected a “peaceful solution to conflicts”.

‘Illegally occupied’

His brother Raul, who succeeded him as president in 2008, made his demands at the summit of Community of ... Read More

Fear of immigration policy change triggers new wave of Cuban migrants

| January 28th, 2015 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Nick Miroff

HAVANA — President Obama’s opening to Cuba has accelerated a surge in Cuban migration to the United States, the latest U.S. statistics show, as many on the island grow worried that America’s long-standing immigration benefits for Cubans are now in jeopardy.

Last month the Coast Guard intercepted 481 Cubans in rickety boats and rafts, a 117 percent increase from December 2013. But the boaters account for only a fraction of those attempting to reach the United States. At the Miami airport and ports of entry along the Mexican border, the number of Cubans who arrived seeking refuge jumped to 8,624 during the last three months of 2014, a 65 percent increase from the previous year.

Many Cubans have heard warnings for years that their unique immigration privileges — which essentially treat anyone from the island who sets foot on U.S. terra firma as a political refugee — would not last forever.

And they have seen ... Read More

Remarks of Ambassador Roger F. Noriega on “Promoting Human Rights and Democratic Reforms in Cuba”

| January 23rd, 2015 | No Comments »
By Roger Noriega

Remarks of Ambassador Roger F. Noriega

Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Forum on “Promoting Human Rights and Democratic Reforms in Cuba”

At the Heritage Foundation, Friday, January 23, 2015

Those of us who are critics of President Obama’s new initiatives on Cuba do not oppose them because we hope he’s wrong, but because we know he’s wrong.

We know that the single biggest obstacle to economic and political freedom in Cuba for 55 years has been and still is the Castro regime. We know that a courageous, quiet, Christian, Oswaldo Payá, who sought a plebiscite under the rules of Castro’s own constitution, was killed when police ran his car off the road in southeastern Cuba in July 2012.

We know that an American aid worker, Alan Gross, who tried simply to offer Cuba’s small Jewish community Internet access on the island was held hostage for five years for his efforts. We know that while the Obama ... Read More

Obama should help Cubans, not Castro

| January 16th, 2015 | 1 Comment »
AEI

Touted as a historic shift in US-Cuba relations, ironically, the Obama administration’s latest initiatives serve to reinforce the status quo — legitimizing and benefiting a regime that has a 55-year track record of opposing change.

President Obama’s new Cuba policy is taking shape this week as his administration announced high-level talks on diplomatic recognition of the Castro regime and released new regulations to liberalize travel to and transactions with the island. Touted as a historic shift in US-Cuba relations, ironically, all of these initiatives serve to reinforce the status quo — legitimizing and benefiting a regime that has a 55-year track record of opposing change. Accepting that this is not what the president intended, he must get serious about engaging the 11 million people of Cuba rather than placating the regime that torments them.

The State Department has announced that Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson will travel ... Read More

Administration details eased travel, trade restrictions on Cuba

| January 15th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Hill

By Justin Sink

The Obama administration on Thursday announced the details of sweeping new regulations that will ease travel and trade restrictions with Cuba as part of President Obama’s bid to normalize relations with the communist nation for the first time in a half century.

The rules, announced by the Treasury and Commerce departments, will take effect on Friday.

Under the new policies, travelers who qualify under a dozen broad categories of authorized travel will be able to visit the country without applying for a license. Travelers visiting Cuba won’t be limited in how much money they can spend while on the island, and they’ll be allowed to use their U.S. credit and debit cards.

Travelers can also bring back up to $400 worth of goods, including $100 in alcohol and tobacco products. And travel agents and airlines will be allowed to provide service to the island without the need of ... Read More

Cuban dissident ‘titan’ slams normalization while in Tampa

| January 14th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Tampa Tribune

By Paul Guzzo

TAMPA — There was more at stake than a photo op when Mayor Bob Buckhorn met Cuban opposition leader Jorge Luis García Pérez in Tampa on Tuesday.

To hear the man who arranged the meeting, it was meant to help preserve the safety of this leader known in Cuba as Antúnez.

 If the Cuban government knows the 50-year-old Antúnez, who continues to live on the island nation, has friends in high places in the United States, it may be less likely to punish him for what he says, said Ralph Fernandez, a Tampa lawyer long active in the movement to overthrow the Castro regime.

 “This is a protective measure,” Fernandez said. “And it might not be enough.”

Antúnez’s visit comes as the U.S. moves toward normalizing relations with Cuba, with the announcement last month by President Barack Obama that he will reopen an embassy in ... Read More

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