Saturday, March 28, 2015

Isla de la Juventud defeats Matanzas 8-5 and takes a commanding lead in their semifinal series


The Cocodrilos now have their backs against the wall. Another collapse?

Boxscore

¿Serie del Caribe en Cuba?



Marzo 22, 2015 ~ cuban-play.com

La inclusión de Cuba como miembro pleno de la Confederación de Béisbol Profesional del Caribe (CBPC) y la posibilidad de acoger la Serie del Caribe de 2019 o 2020 son los principales temas del diálogo que sostendrán próximamente las principales autoridades beisboleras cubanas y sus homólogos de la región.

José Francisco Puello, presidente de la CBPC y los máximos directivos de las ligas regionales (Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominicana y México) visitarán la Isla en el marco de la gran final de la Serie Nacional que el martes 24 de marzo comenzará su etapa semifinal con los enfrentamientos entre Matanzas vs. Isla de la Juventud y Granma vs. Ciego de Ávila.

La noticia trascendió en una reunión celebrada en La Habana donde se abordaron varios tópicos relacionados con el inicio de la postemporada del clásico local.

Según el sitio www.jit.cu, vocero del Instituto Cubano de Deportes Educación Física y Recreación (Inder), Heriberto Suárez Pereda, director nacional de béisbol, indicó que “la agenda del diálogo incluye la inclusión de Cuba como miembro pleno (de la CBPC), la posible presencia de jugadores en las ligas de la zona y la realización aquí de una Serie del Caribe para el 2019 o 2020″.

En la primera etapa de la también denominada Serie Mundial Latinoamericana -entre 1949 y 1960- Cuba organizó tres veces la contienda (1949, 1953 y 1957). La última vez que recibió a los campeones de los torneos del Caribe en 1957, los Tigres del Marianao dominaron a su antojo al terminar invictos en seis presentaciones.

Con relación a la próxima edición del torneo local, Suárez Pereda adelantó que mantendrá a los 16 equipos y se detendrá en par de ocasiones con motivo del Premier 12, evento auspiciado por la Confederación Mundial de Béisbol y Softbol (WBSC, por sus siglas en inglés) que se efectuará entre el 8 y el 21 de noviembre en Taiwán y Japón, y la Serie del Caribe en República Dominicana en febrero del 2016.

Por su parte, Higinio Vélez, titular de la Federación Cubana de Béisbol, reconoció que equipos profesionales de Nicaragua, México, Venezuela, Canadá y Europa están interesados en sumar talento cubano a sus filas en el futuro cercano.

Después de que el gobierno liderado por el exgobernante Fidel Castro suprimiera el béisbol profesional en 1962, Cuba comenzó en 2013 una tímida reinserción en el contexto rentado con la inclusión de Michel Enríquez, Alfredo Despaigne y Yordanis Samón en la liga mexicana.

Poco después Frederich Cepeda, el bateador con mejores números en la breve historia de los Clásicos Mundiales, Yulieski Gourriel, Héctor Mendoza y Despaigne desembarcaron en tierra japonesa para unirse a equipos de la Nippon Baseball League (NBP), considerada el segundo torneo de mayor calidad en el mundo, solo antecedido por las Grandes Ligas estadounidenses.

La medida, añorada por casi toda la población en la nación caribeña durante muchísimo tiempo, no por esperada dejó de tomar por sorpresa dado que Castro siempre se opuso al carácter mercantil del profesionalismo y frustró a legendarias figuras que no pudieron brillar tanto o más de lo que hoy lo hacen en la mayores José Abreu, Yasiel Puig, Aroldis Chapman, Alexei Ramírez, Yoenis Céspedes y José Iglesias, entre otros.

Varios analistas aseguran que la apertura “es el pataleo del ahogado” debido a que el éxodo masivo de los peloteros hacia ligas profesionales ha obligado a las autoridades cubanas a buscar alternativas para evitarlo y de paso, es una forma de recuperar el esplendor de antaño, toda vez que tuvieron una sequía de más de siete años (2008-2014) sin títulos relevantes a nivel internacional.

La victoria de la selección nacional disfrazada de Pinar del Río en la Serie del Caribe de San Juan, Puerto Rico, constituyó un aliciente después de tantas decepciones para un país que respira béisbol. De cualquier manera la medida hasta el momento apenas ha beneficiado a unos pocos jugadores.

Este año jugarán en la NBP: Cepeda, Despaigne, Mendoza, Gourriel y su hermano menor Lourdes Y. Gourriel, un jugador de cuadro de 21 años que es considerado por los expertos como el mejor prospecto en la Isla.

Publicado en ESPNDeportes.com por Damián L. Delgado Averhoff.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Greece warns: "We will stop meeting debt obligations if negotiations fail"

Greece  submitted a long-awaited list of structural reforms to its creditors on Friday as its leftist-led government warned it would stop meeting debt obligations if negotiations failed and aid was not forthcoming.

(The Guardian)
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/mar/27/greece-submits-reform-proposals-to-eurozone-creditors-with-a-warning

The bumbling, short-sighted policies of the German government under Chancellor Angela Merkel and the spineless Brussels bureaucracy dominated by Berlin are in many ways similar to previous miscalculations by European leaders that plunged Europe and the world into disaster.

And it is not helped by a U.S. foreign policy in disarray under the weak and uneven leadership of a president ill-equipped to deal with global realpolitik.

(MarketWatch.com)

Matanzas and Isla de la Juventud are tied 6-6 in the bottom of the 10th inning. PIRATES WIN 7-6 IN THE BOTTOM OF THE 12TH!

5:50 p.m. This is a critical game for both teams.

Luis Yander La O had a home-run for the Cocodrilos in the seventh inning.

Isla de la Juventud has 10 hits, Cocodrilos 9. Each team has two errors.

Matanzas has utilized six pitchers. The Pirates have used four. Hector Mendoza is now pitching for the Pirates.

6:01 p.m. inning 12 starts for the Pirates.

6:40 p.m. The game continues tied 6-6. The game started a 1:15 p.m. Who will blink first? Will it be decided by a home-run or an error?

A huge win for the Pirates. Hector Mendoza gets the win.

Boxscore

FCBA: Ahogaron a Cocodrilos


A big round of applause for U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.

 

Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Elizabeth Warren challenges Obama to break up 'too-big-to-fail' Wall St banks 

Senator Elizabeth Warren cemented her growing reputation as a darling of the political left on Tuesday with a wide-ranging speech challenging the Obama administration to take on Wall Street and break up its biggest banks.

Amid renewed speculation that she might challenge Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination, Warren appeared at a congressional event to attack regulators for failing to tackle the problem of financial institutions that are "too big to fail".

"We have got to get back to running this country for American families, not for its largest financial institutions," said Warren, who said the issue was an indictment of how little had changed since the 2008 banking crash.

The four biggest Wall Street banks are 30% larger than before the financial crisis, she said, while the five biggest institutions hold more than half the bank assets in the country.

Link to complete article:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/12/elizabeth-warren-obama-banks

JG: Wall Street banks are run by fanatical and greedy capitalists. They only care about MONEY and not the American people. It is now time to star considering NATIONALIZING the top five banks.

See also:
21st Century Glass Steagall Act Fact Sheet
http://www.warren.senate.gov/files/documents/Fact%20Sheet%20-%2021st%20Century%20Glass-Steagall.pdf

 

WOW! Ciego de Avila demolishes Granma 16-5


This semifinal series is now tied. Both teams have won one game.

Boxscore

Next game, today:

 vs 
01:15pm

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Capitalist SCUM, a.k.a. gasoline retailers, do it again.


In the morning the price of gasoline was $2.35 a gallon. In the afternoon, they all raised the price (at the same time) to $2.55 a gallon.


I wonder how much of that goes into to pockets of Florida Governor Rick "Baldy" Scott. Biggest crook scum since Richard Nixon and and his water carrier, Henry Kissinger.


'Everybody wants to get into the [Cuba] act' (Jimmy Durante, R.I.P.)

California legislators headed to Cuba for trade mission'

March 26, 2015 ~ Reporting from Sacramento
 
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) is leading a delegation of nine California legislators and 18 other state officials on a five-day trade mission to Cuba starting on Monday.

Complete article @ the L.A. Times:
http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-california-lawmakers-head-to-cuba-for-trade-mission-20150326-story.html

Cuba, USA to Talk on Human Rights

Havana, Mar 26 (Prensa Latina) Cuba and the United States will open dialogues next week on Human Rights, meeting suggested by Havana and accepted by Washington, said here a Foreign Ministry official. In press conference, Pedro Luis Pedroso, general deputy director for Multi Lateral Affairs and International Law in the Foreign Affairs Ministry said the dialogue will take place on March 31st in the USA capital.

Cuba expects the meeting will take place in a constructive environment, on reciprocal basis, without conditions, or discriminatory treatment and within full respect to the sovereignty, independence and the no interference in the parties internal affairs, Pedroso said.

He added the dialogue will include topics of interest for both countries and in that context Cuba will talk on its achievements in the promotion and protection of Human Rights, not only for the people, but also to numerous nations in the world, with which the country has cooperated in sectors like health and education.

At the same time we will talk on our concerns about the situation of Human Rights in USA and in other places where that country has direct incidence, he added.

These talks on Human Rights are an example of the will of Cuba to exchange with USA on any topic despite differences, under basis of equity and reciprocity, he remarked.

We are conscious of the deep differences between us and the USA government regarding political systems, democracy, human rights and international law but we have the invariable wish that both countries can have a civilized relationship within the recognition and respect of these differences, he added.

Baseball players born in Cuba appear now in Japanese Baseball Cards








Source:

What Barack Obama has had to admit


The Cuba embargo, which in reality is a financial and economic blockade, and which was started by JFK in 1961, did not achieve its goal of overthrowing the Cuban Revolution.



54th Cuba Béisbol Series Semifinals. Two more games finished.

Yesterday, 25 March 2015.

Granma defeated Ciego de Ávila 9-2. Boxscore. (First game of their  semifinal series)

Isla de la Juventud defeatd Matanzas 4-2. Boxscore.  Each team has won one game.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

U.S. removes dead Cubans, sunken ships from sanctions list

Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:01pm GMT

HAVANA/WASHINGTON Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:01pm EDT


(Reuters) - The United States removed 45 companies and individuals from a Cuba sanctions blacklist on Tuesday, most of them dead people, defunct companies or sunken ships.

Among them was Amado Padron, a Cuban executed by a firing squad 26 years ago along with Arnaldo Ochoa, a decorated army general who was sentenced to death by Cuba's communist government after he was found to be connected to international drug trafficking.

The U.S. Treasury Department said the delisting was aimed at clearing "out-of-date" names from its list of Specially Designated Nationals.

Washington bans those designated from trading with U.S. individuals or companies, who face heavy fines if caught doing business with them.

 
 
The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) removed six people, 28 companies and 11 vessels from the list as part of an ongoing review of older cases. Four of the people are dead and two were delisted because the companies they were affiliated with were dissolved, officials said.

The ships had either sunk or were otherwise not operational.

"While these removals are not related to the recent changes to our Cuba sanctions program and rather reflect OFAC's consistent effort to review and update its SDN list, these delistings are in line with the President's Cuba policy," OFAC said.

President Barack Obama rewrote longstanding Cuba policy in December, agreeing with Cuban President Raul Castro to restore diplomatic relations and seek to end more than five decades of animosity between the old Cold War rivals.

Obama has since eased the U.S. trade embargo by allowing some financial transactions and sales of computer technology and construction materials to Cuba while permitting importers to buy from Cuban independent contractors.

The Specially Designated Nationals list adds another level of sanctions, banning transactions even in fields cleared by Obama.

"It's life or death for these companies," said Washington-based trade sanctions lawyer Scott Maberry. "You want to be taken off because that gives you access to the U.S. financial system."

For four people just taken off the list, death has already come.

Besides the man executed in 1989, the list included revolutionary Osvaldo Castell, a Cuban who led a 1957 assault on the presidential palace, two years before Fidel Castro's rebels came to power. Castell died in 2011 at age 78.

Another was Panamanian politician and one-time presidential candidate Carlos Duque, who died last year at 84. It did not say what his Cuba links were. He was an ally of former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega, ousted from power by U.S. forces in 1989.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta, Nelson Acosta and Rosa Tania Valdés in Havana and Anna Yukhananov in Washington)

JG: These are purely cosmetic changes. What is really needed is for the U.S. government to remove Cuba from their nefarious list of countries who promote terrorism. The whole world knows that statement or charge is not true. The U.S. government no longer rules Cuba with its appointed puppets of the day. It is time for the U.S. government to join the civilized world.  
 


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Resumen: Piratas contra Cocodrilos. IJV 1, MTZ 10. K.O. Siete innings.

7:19 p.m. El juego a comenzado.

No. No ha empezado todavia.

Ahora si ha empezado. Cinco bateadores han visitado el home plate para batear.

Michel Enriquez tuvo el primer hit de los Piratas.

Yoanni Yera es el abridor de los Cocodrilos. Y por los Piratas abre Ulfrido Garcia.

El primer inning ha terminado.

Matanzas anota dos carreras en el segundo inning.

Matanzas anota otra carrera en el tercer inning.

Los Piratas tienen un pitcher nuevo, Yunier Gamboa. Ha pitcheado dos innings completos. Isla de la Juventud tiene cinco hits, con cero carreras. Los Cocodrilos tienen tres carreras con tres hits.

Boxscore

Matanzas imponente en apertura

Yera pudo judicarse el primer triunfo del play off.
Foto: José L. Anaya

Soft Drinks (Gaseosas) in Cuba before 1 January 1959

 Materva

 Orange Crush
 Cawy

 Jupiña

 Ironbeer
 Royal Crown Cola
 Salutaris
 Coca Cola
Pepsi Cola

The top three were my favorites back then.
I still drink Materva today.

Most soft drinks were cinco centavos.

Batista policemen would drink gaseosas
at la bodega
and leave without paying anything.
Cabrones que eran.

Tonight at 7:15 p.m. the first semifinal of the 54th National Baseball Series of Cuba

Cocodrilos vs Pirates

Tourists are flocking to Cuba. Miami gusanos are sure to be pissed! Big applause for Barack Obama!

Tourists watch Che sculpture at Revolution Square.

By Andrea Rodriguez

HAVANA (AP) - Bookings to Cuba jumped 57 percent for one New York tour operator in the weeks after Washington said it would renew ties with Havana. In February, they were up 187 percent; and so far this month, nearly 250 percent.

The boom is just one sign that the rush is on to see Cuba now - before, as many predict, McDonald’s claims a spot in Old Havana and Starbucks moves in on Cubita, the island’s premium coffee brand.

The sense that detente will unleash an invasion of Yankee tourists and change the unique character of one of the world’s last remaining bastions of communism is shared by many travelers flocking here.

(Yahoo News)

Monday, March 23, 2015

In Spanish: A great article about the illegally occupied U.S. Naval base in Guantánamo

Bahía de Guantánamo

Juventud Rebelde Article

Cuba's Bee Hummingbird

Mellisuga helenae

Believed to be the world’s smallest bird, Cuba’s native bee hummingbird buzzes around forests and field edges in many parts of the island, where it feeds on flower nectar. It grows to about 2 inches long and weighs less than an ounce, or less than a dime. Some locals call it “zunzun,” and believe it is a symbol of love. Birders from all over the world travel to Cuba in hopes of catching a glimpse of this tiny bird. (naturescrusaders.wordpress.com)

How Obama outmaneuvered hardliners and cut a Cuba deal

WASHINGTON/MIAMI Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:06am EDT

(Reuters) - The December breakthrough that upended a half-century of U.S.-Cuba enmity has been portrayed as the fruit of 18 months of secret diplomacy.

But Reuters interviews with more than a dozen people with direct knowledge of the process reveal a longer, painstakingly cautious quest by U.S. President Barack Obama and veteran Cuba specialists to forge the historic rapprochement.

As now-overt U.S.-Cuban negotiations continue this month, Reuters also has uncovered new details of how talks began and how they stalled in late 2013 during secret sessions in Canada. Senior administration officials and others also revealed how both countries sidelined their foreign policy bureaucracies and how Obama sought the Vatican’s blessing to pacify opponents.

Obama's opening to Havana could help restore Washington's influence in Latin America and give him a much-needed foreign policy success.

But the stop-and-start way the outreach unfolded, with deep mistrust on both sides, illustrates the obstacles Washington and Havana face to achieving a lasting detente.

Obama was not the first Democratic president to reach out to Cuba, but his attempt took advantage of - and carefully judged - a generational shift among Cuban-Americans that greatly reduced the political risks.

In a May 2008 speech to the conservative Cuban-American National Foundation in Miami, Obama set out a new policy allowing greater travel and remittances to Cuba for Cuban-Americans, though he added he would keep the embargo in place as leverage.

“Obama understood that the policy changes he was proposing in 2008 were popular in the Cuban-American community so he was not taking a real electoral risk,” said Dan Restrepo, then Obama’s top Latin America adviser.

Six months later, Obama was validated by an unexpectedly high 35 percent of the Cuban-American vote, and in 2012 he won 48 percent - a record for a Democrat.

With his final election over, Obama instructed aides in December 2012 to make Cuba a priority and "see how far we could push the envelope," recalled Ben Rhodes, a Deputy National Security Advisor who has played a central role in shaping Cuba policy.

Helping pave the way was an early 2013 visit to Miami by Obama's top Latin American adviser Ricardo Zuniga. As a young specialist at the State Department he had contributed to a 2001 National Intelligence Estimate that, according to another former senior official who worked on it, marked the first such internal assessment that the economic embargo of Cuba had failed.

He met a representative of the anti-Castro Cuban American National Foundation, and young Cuban-Americans who, according to one person present, helped confirm the waning influence of older Cuban exiles who have traditionally supported the half-century-old embargo.

But the White House wasn't certain. "I don’t think we ever reached a point where we thought we wouldn’t have to worry about the reaction in Miami," a senior U.S. official said.

The White House quietly proposed back-channel talks to the Cubans in April 2013, after getting notice that Havana would be receptive, senior U.S. officials said.

Obama at first froze out the State Department in part due to concern that "vested interests" there were bent on perpetuating a confrontational approach, said a former senior U.S. official. Secretary of State John Kerry was informed of the talks only after it appeared they might be fruitful, officials said.

Cuban President Raul Castro operated secretly too. Josefina Vidal, head of U.S. affairs at Cuba's foreign ministry, was cut out, two Americans close to the process said. Vidal could not be reached for comment.

The meetings began in June 2013 with familiar Cuban harangues about the embargo and other perceived wrongs. Rhodes used his relative youth to volley back.

"Part of the point was 'Look I wasn’t even born when this policy was put in place … We want to hear and talk about the future'," said Rhodes, 37.

"THE CUBANS WERE DUG IN"

Obama's people-to-people Cuba strategy was complicated by one person in particular: Alan Phillip Gross.

The U.S. government had sent Gross, a USAID contractor, on risky missions to deliver communications equipment to Cuba's Jewish community. His December 2009 arrest put Obama's planned "new beginning" with Cuba on hold.

The secret talks were almost derailed by Havana's steadfast demand that Obama swap the "Cuban Three," a cell of Cuban spies convicted in Miami but considered heroes in Havana, for Gross.

Obama refused a straight trade because Washington denied Gross was a spy and the covert diplomacy stalled as 2013 ended.

Even as Obama and Castro shook hands at the Johannesburg memorial service for South African leader Nelson Mandela, the situation behind the scenes did not look very hopeful.

"The Cubans were dug in … And we did kind of get stuck on this," Rhodes said.
Rhodes and Zuniga spent more than 70 hours negotiating with the Cubans, mostly at Canadian government facilities in Ottawa.

By late spring 2014, Gross’ friends and family grew alarmed over his physical and psychological state. The White House and the Cubans knew that if he died in prison, repairing relations would be left to another generation.

With Gross’ mother, Evelyn, dying of lung cancer, the U.S. government and his legal team launched an effort to convince the Cubans to grant him a furlough to see her.

That bid failed, despite an offer by Gross's lawyer Scott Gilbert to sit in his jail cell as collateral.

But a turning point had occurred at a January 2014 meeting in Toronto. The Americans proposed - to the Cubans' surprise - throwing Rolando Sarraff, a spy for Washington imprisoned in Cuba since 1995, into the deal, U.S. participants said.

The White House could claim it was a true "spy swap," giving it political cover. But it took 11 more months to seal the deal.

Castro did not immediately agree to give up Sarraff, a cryptographer who Washington says helped it disrupt Cuban spy rings in the United States.

And Obama, stung by the outcry over his May 2014 exchange of five Taliban detainees for U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, was wary of another trade perceived as lopsided, according to people close to the situation.

He weighed other options, including having the Cubans plead guilty to the charges against them and be sentenced to time served, according to the people.

Gilbert worked with the Obama administration, but urged it to move faster. From his vantage point, the turning point came in April 2014, when it became clear key Obama officials would support a full commutation of the Cuban prisoners' sentences.

JG: What Obama did was a plus, but there are still roadblocks that must be removed.