Thursday, July 31, 2008

Do not forget the Peregrines

I just sent my modest check to the Twin States Peregrines, a little league baseball team which is traveling to Cuba in August to play ball with Cuban kids.

Let us answer the hate of Lincoln Diaz Balart with our LOVE.

Send contributions to:

      Hanover Baseball Association
      Cuba Trip Fund
      2 Freeman Rd
      Hanover, NH 03755


Peregrines Photo

Defectors

Definition: a sports athlete, usually from Cuba, who comes to the United States seeking to make a lot of money. They are usually mediocre athletes.

The good baseball players, like Omar Linares, German Mesa and countless others stay in their country and play because they love the sport and they love their country. They have no interest in chasing the almighty dollar.

And who can forget the incomparable and unforgettable Teofilo Stevenson. He loved his country and stayed in the island. Many said that he could have made millions of dollars by fighting Muhammad Ali. But the love of his people was more important to him.

Those are just three examples. They have class. There are many others.

Sham trial at Guantanamo

There is nothing wrong in trying to bring to justice those who perpetrated the horrors of 9/11.

But the first war crimes trial being conducted at Guantanamo is nothing but a sham.

All the war crimes at Nuremberg were public trials. None of the accused was tortured.

That is not the case with the current trial. Much of the so called evidence was obtained using coercive measures like waterboarding, which the International Committee of the Red Cross has called an act of torture.

It is very ironic that the only place in Cuba where human rights are consistently violated is under the control of the United States government.

Evil

We all have heard the phrase “voting for the lesser of two evils.”

It is a very old political cliché, which in my opinion, misrepresents what people really mean.

Evil is evil. There are no degrees or percentages to measure it.

I believe that what people really mean is “Who will do less harm?" But then the purists will raise the same argument.

Barack Obama is not an evil person. And his opponent, who I dislike intensely, is not an evil person.

The problem really lies in the fact that both of our major capitalist political parties represent first the interests of the big corporations and in a very distant second place are the interests of the people.

A very clear example is the recent case of the granting civil immunity to the big telecom corporations for their illegal and warrantless wiretapping of the communications of law abiding Americans. Both the Republicans and the Democrats voted for the final FISA bill. Because both parties choose to defend corporations rather that the average Dick and Jane, many more people will probably not vote in December.

We are clearly moving in the direction of establishing a huge corporate fascist state.

Senator Leahy to Lincoln Diaz Balart: "Pick on someone your own size"

Leahy counters Florida critic of Cuba baseball trip

July 31, 2008

By Bruce Edwards Rutland Herald Staff

Vermont's senior U.S. senator has some blunt advice for a South Florida congressman: "He should pick on someone his own size."

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., leveled his criticism Wednesday at Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., who has expressed serious reservations about a combined Vermont/New Hampshire youth baseball trip to Cuba next week.

Leahy said in a statement that Diaz-Balart should leave the kids alone.

"I don't like the idea of the government telling ordinary Americans, let alone Little Leaguers, where and when they can travel," Leahy said. "If the president can go to China at taxpayers' expense, these kids ought to be able to go on a privately paid trip to Cuba to play some baseball."

Diaz-Balart, a staunch anti-Castro Cuban-American, convened a meeting of the Cuba Democracy Caucus on July 10 to discuss the trip, according to a column in Wednesday's Washington Post.

The all-star team of 11- and 12-year-olds from the Connecticut Valley South Little League is scheduled to travel to Cuba for 10 days starting Aug. 8 for a series of games with their Cuban counterparts.

Travel to Cuba by Americans without the express permission of the U.S. government is forbidden — a travel and trade embargo that's been in effect for nearly 50 years since Fidel Castro seized power in 1959 and installed a communist regime.

The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control issued a travel license for the 14 players and their coaches in late March. The license allows the team to spend U.S. dollars in Cuba.

In his invitation to the Cuba Democracy Caucus, Diaz-Balart said the meeting would be attended by officials from the Treasury and State departments. The subject of the meeting was "… the very troubling granting of a Treasury/OFAC license to a Little League team to travel to Cuba in August," reported Washington Post columnist Al Kamen, quoting the e-mail.

Diaz-Balart and other supporters of the travel ban argue that it denies hard currency to a repressive regime.

Treasury Department spokesman Andrew DeSouza on Wednesday would neither confirm nor deny the existence of the travel license, saying licenses are protected by the Trade Secrets Act.

Because the trip is not sanctioned by Little League International in Williamsport, Pa., the team is playing in Cuba as the Twin State Peregrines (www.twinstateperegrines.com).

The Vermont players are from Thetford, Norwich, Fairlee and Corinth. Representing New Hampshire are players from Hanover and Lyme. The team is coached by Ted Levin of Thetford and Dartmouth College professor John Carey.

According to the team's Web site, as of July 15, the team had raised $17,000 toward the trip with the estimated cost to be in excess of $40,000.

The trip has the backing of lawmakers from Vermont and New Hampshire, including Leahy, Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie.

Leahy went on to say that there are far more important issues facing the country than taking issue with a group of youngsters playing baseball in Cuba. He also pointed out that the Bush Treasury Department didn't think there was a problem.

"The fact that the Bush Administration, which tries to make travel to Cuba nearly impossible, decided it had no basis to deny the team's request shows how far off-base these critics are," Leahy said.

Dubie, a Republican who has gone on two trade missions to Cuba as lieutenant governor, supports the trip as a way to foster goodwill between the countries.

"I believe it will lead to a better and more secure world and I believe it's through grass-roots connections of people-to-people and baseball teams playing one another that we expand our understanding and that's consistent with the objectives of our initial trips to Cuba," Dubie said in a June interview.

Messages left Wednesday for Diaz-Balart were not returned.

Contact Bruce Edwards at bruce.edwards@rutlandherald.com.

------

JG: Bravo, Senator Leahy! Well said!

U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz Balart hates little kids who play baseball

This time the object of his hate is not a beer company, but little league baseball kids who just want to have fun and play with their peers in Cuba.

The Maine-New Hampshire Peregrine Falcons will be traveling to Cuba to play baseball with Cuban kids of their age.

The Internet has reported that U.S. Representative Lincoln Diaz Balart, the capo de tuti capi of the Miami Mafia declared that the goverment should not have granted permission for the kids to travel to Cuba.

Is there no end to his hate?

Cuba Commemorates the 51th Anniversary of the Murder of Frank Pais


Memorial March for Frank Pais

Yesterday, Cuba commemorated the 51th anniversary of the murder one of the most prominent leaders of the 26th of July Movement.

The historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, former president Fidel Castro Ruz, sent a floral offering to the march which commemorated the death of this valiant Cuban fighter.

Frank Pais was murdered by the goons of U.S. supported puppet Fulgencio Batista.

I do not remember the United States government ever going before an international human rights organization and denouncing this heinous crime by the Cuban dictator. Why? Because during the 1902-1958 era Uncle Sam was always on the side of those who exploited and misgoverned the Cuban people!

Frank’s death was avenged on January 1st, 1959. The despot and his buddies had to high tail it to Miami and the Dominican Republic.

Canada, Cuba and Puerto Rico are tied for first place in pool B of the World Junior Baseball Cahmpionship


Canada, Cuba and Puerto Rico are currently tied for first place in pool B of the 2008 World Junior AAA Baseball Championship being played in Edmonton, Canada.

Each country has three wins and one loss.

In their last game on Tuesday, the Cuban team team KO'd China's Taipei by the score of 13-3.

Specter asks for a meeting with Raul Castro

Pennsylvania Ave.Blog

Posted by Josh Drobnyk at 2:14:04 PM on July 30, 2008

U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter said he has requested a meeting with Cuban leader Raul Castro and hopes to sit down with him during a trip to Latin America next month.

The Pennsylvania Republican often uses his time away from the Senate -- it is scheduled to adjourn for a month-long recess Friday -- to meet with foreign leaders, as photos on his office walls can attest. On three previous occasions, he has met with Fidel Castro, who is ill and recently handed over power to his brother Raul.

"I think that chances are really on the horizon for reestablishing relations with Cuba now that Fidel Castro is no longer in charge," he told reporters today. "I'd like to see Raul Castro. There is a real opportunity to get Cuban cooperation on drug interdiction. ... And also I'd like to see trade and tourism develop and I think we are right on the cusp of doing that."

He said he has sent a letter to Castro and is awaiting a response. "I think he'll see me," Specter said.

Specter said he also hopes to meet with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez during the trip, with whom he last met in August 2005.

"I'm a firm believer in dialogue. I think there is a potential to salvage the relationship with Chavez -- will be very helpful in Latin America."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pollster.com: The 2008 Presidential race is all but over!

Click here to see their current electoral votes map.

Cuba Bills: A Step in the Right Direction

Latin America Working Group

After years without any positive change in U.S. policy toward Cuba, the House Appropriations Committee recently demonstrated support for alleviating the inhumane restrictions on trade and travel to the island.

On June 25th, the committee passed the Financial Services Appropriations bill with a provision that will ease travel for Cuban Americans who want to travel to the island to visit family. The bill also increases agricultural trade between the United States and Cuba.

The provision was presented by the chairman of the Financial Service subcommittee Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY), and is a small step in the right direction of ending travel restrictions for all Americans. The specific provisions include:

* Allowing Cuban Americans to travel to Cuba to visit family once a year rather than once every three years.

* Expanding the definition of family to include aunts, uncles, first cousins, nieces, and nephews.

* Tweaking the “cash-in-advance” regulations to allow agricultural goods to leave U.S. ports for Cuba prior to receiving Cuba’s cash payment; title is transferred after the cash is received in the seller’s account.

Typically, the next step after committee approval would be for the bill to move to the House floor for amendments and a final vote. However, because this is an election year, it is difficult to determine whether the legislation will even make it this far. Democrats in Congress are likely to hold up current appropriations bills in favor of re-writing them in early 2009 under a new (and potentially Democratic) administration. However, if the bill does come to the House floor, we have to be ready to defend the Cuba provisions. Losing this vote would send the wrong message to a new administration about the level of support in Congress for changing this failed policy.

The Senate has also taken significant steps toward abandoning the inhumane restrictions on trade and travel to Cuba. On July 9, the Senate Financial Services and General Government Appropriations subcommittee unanimously approved a spending bill that included Cuba related provisions similar to those introduced by Mr. Serrano in the House. The provisions included in the Senate bill would restore the rights of Cuban Americans to the level they were at before 2004, when President Bush’s “Commission for Assistance for a Free Cuba” tightened restrictions. This means that Cuban Americans could now be able travel to the island once a year rather than once every three years and that the 14-day travel limit would be lifted. The bill also includes a provision to increase the spending limit for Americans traveling to Cuba from $50 to $170.

In both the House and the Senate, opponents of Cuban-American family travel have said they are going to challenge the Cuba provisions. Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Congressman Boyd (D-FL) both expressed their opposition to the Cuba language in the bill during the full House Appropriations committee meeting. Senator Brownback (R-KS) also expressed opposition to the Cuba provisions in a recent Congressional Quarterly article, announcing that he “may provide a different option” at the full Senate committee markup.

Ultimately, if this bill moves to the floor in either chamber, the hard-liners in Congress will continue to mischaracterize any provisions that support family travel as condoning the Castro regime. It will be essential for activists to remain vigilant in order to ensure that this legislation is seen for what it can truly be, a first step toward the full restoration of rights for all Americans and their families to travel to Cuba.

—Aarendy Gomez & Paulo Gusmao

Fidel Castro still a force, two years out of power


Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:08am EDT

By Jeff Franks

HAVANA (Reuters) - The era of Fidel Castro appeared to be ending July 30, 2006, when the ailing leader handed over power to his brother Raul Castro. But two years later, he remains a force to be reckoned with in Cuba and to some degree on the international scene.

Although he no longer rules the Caribbean island as he did for almost 50 years, the 81-year-old still has his brother's ear and is using a newfound career as a newspaper columnist to make his views known.

Diplomatic cocktail gossip in Havana centers on whether he is using his clout to hold back economic reforms favored by his brother and keep Cuba true to his vision of socialism, but the Castros say there is no disagreement between them.

What is certain is that Fidel Castro has staged a remarkable comeback after apparently being near death following emergency intestinal surgery for an undisclosed ailment in July 2006.

He handed power provisionally to his brother and has not been seen in public since, appearing only in occasional videos on state-run television.

In the earliest videos aired months after his surgery, Cubans were shocked to see how frail and gaunt Castro was.

In February, he officially resigned as president, allowing the National Assembly to formally elect Raul, 77, as his successor.

But instead of fading away, as many expected, Fidel Castro re-emerged.

In June, after five months out of the public eye, a more robust Castro was shown in videos meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Chinese official He Guoqiang.

An avalanche of his columns followed on everything from the Cuban Olympic baseball team to North and South Korea.

People who have met with him say his health has improved and his mind is clear.

He wrote in one column of a five-hour meeting with old friend, Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who afterward told Cuban news agency Prensa Latina that Castro spoke "of many topics, with great profundity and lucidity."

SPECULATION

Castro's comeback has been accompanied by speculation -- not all of it favorable -- about his role in the government.

Raul Castro began his presidency with a flurry of reforms that included allowing Cubans to buy cell phones and computers and use previously off-limits tourist facilities, the lifting of wage limits to encourage greater productivity and the decentralizing of agriculture management.

Agriculture reforms continued with the granting of additional land to private farmers and cooperatives, but a broader opening of the state-run economy that many expected has not occurred.

"I don't think Fidel likes the idea of it," said one Western diplomat in Havana.

Others think his role is exaggerated.

"Fidel is not very much in the way, in my view," said Julia Sweig at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

"Maybe slowing things down a bit, but in his absence would be other constraints and conditions acting as a damper on more rapid reforms."

Castro tends to describe his role in limited terms.

In his meeting with He from China, he was quoted by state-run media as saying: "What do I do? I help in gathering news and data and doing analysis about the most important international problems, which I furnish to the leadership of the (Communist) Party and the state."

As the last major Cold War figure, Castro still has a global audience, said Dan Erikson at the Inter-American Dialogue think-tank in Washington.

"Fidel remains Cuba's most prominent international voice, even though his tools of communication are now contained to the written word," he said.

How many in Cuba are still listening to the older Castro is uncertain, but 19-year-old medical student Maybel, who asked not to be fully identified, said she prefers Raul Castro because he talks less and is more straightforward.

"There are less speeches and Raul says bread is bread and wine is wine," she said. But "we miss Fidel's style."

(Additional reporting by Rosa Tania Valdes; editing by Michael Christie and Stacey Joyce)

The Diaz-Balart brothers spew their hate


Knowing full well that they will never be able again to control the affairs of state in the Republic of Cuba, the two most prominent Batistianos in the city of Miami, U. S. Representatives Lincoln and Mario Diaz Balart inveighed against the purchase of Anheuser-Busch by Belgian beer giant In-Bev.

Their daddy was a sub minister of corrupt U.S. puppet General Fulgencio Batista.

McClatchy Washington Bureau reported that the brothers are "deeply concerned that Anheuser-Busch is about to be purchased by a company with ties to the Cuban dictatorship, a state sponsor of terrorism."

They are deeply worried that they are going to have to start drinking Bucanero. In Bev brews the popular Cuban beer in a joint venture with the island’s government.

How they dream and hope to go back to the times when the Yankee imperialists ruled Cuba.

Japan’s Eternal Peace Flame


Harry Truman's Gift To The World
Hiroshima


Atomic Bomb Dome
Peace Memorial Park
Hiroshima, Japan

It is reassuring that that there is a person in the world who cares about peace. The place is Japan. Here in the United States, the only thing they care about is war.

In 1948, after one of the worst presidents in modern history, Harry S. Truman, gave the order to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, one lonely Japanese soldier named Tatsuo Yamamoto preserved a small fire from Harry’s genocidal nuclear bombing. He did it in complete silence until 1960.

Tatsuo died four years ago, but the eternal peace flame is kept under a glass shield at a peace monument near Hiroshima.

The keeper of the flame is Takuo Yamamoto, the son of Tatsuo. He is 58 and he is a monk.

Source: AFP

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Are George W. Bush’s Fusion Centers the twenty first century equivalent of George Orwell’s 1984?

If the federal government announced that it was creating a new domestic intelligence agency made up of over 800,000 operatives dispersed throughout every American city and town, filing reports on even the most common everyday behaviors, Americans would revolt. Yet this is exactly what the Bush administration is trying to do with its little-noticed National Strategy for Information Sharing, which establishes state, local and regional “fusion centers” as a primary mechanism for the collection and dissemination of domestic intelligence.

Wake up America! Read the ACLU report. Click here to view the PDF file. You will need Adobe Reader.

With a new victory in Biel, Cuban GM Leinier Dominguez advances to #17 in the world

Today, Cuban Chess Grandmaster Leinier Dominguez (ELO 2724) scored another impressive victory against GM Evgeny Alekseev of Russia (ELO 2707) who dropped to #27 in the world rankings.

Dominguez had the black pieces and used a Sicilian Najdorf defense.

The Biel Tournament has one more round to go.

The new ELO’s were reported by Live Top List.

Indictment: Another politician who sold himself to the highest bidder

It is all too frequent in our highly corrupt capitalist system. It is a very simple exchange: you give me lots of cash or in-kind services and I will protect your interests. American politicians have no souls, and no concept of honesty or ethics.

It is very similar to the case of the two votes in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007, when the Democratic Party’s Gang of 66 sold their anti-Cuba votes in exchange for $270,500.00 in “contributions” from the U.S.-Cuba Political Action Committee.

Read about the indictment of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens by clicking here.

USA: The best politicians that money can buy.

No wonder that a very large number of Americans do not bother to participate and/or vote in political elections.

Analyzing the silly posts of Babalu Blog

Any time that I want to amuse myself and have a good laugh I make it a point to visit the pages of Babalu Blog, one the prominent Miami blogs of the professional Cuba and Castro haters.

No matter how many silly posts they publish, they are not going to influence the internal affairs of the Republic of Cuba. The Batistianos and their American Mafia buddies were ignominiously kicked out of the island by Fidel and his Cuban Revolution, which was triumphant on January 1st, 1959. They took with them to Miami the same kind of corruption that general Fulgencio Batista had in Cuba. It makes sense. The famous ‘birds of the same feathers.’

The gusanos in Miami think that anyone listens to them. Only when they are preaching to their converted choir are they taken seriously.

I am only going to analyze the first sentence of one of their silly posts from Henry 'Conductor' Gomez, because it is a perfect example of their silliness. Once, someone asked Mr. Gomez if he was “conducting” the new struggle to depose the rulers of Cuba. He had to say no, and then changed his nick from 'conductor' to plain Louis.

Says Henry:

“raul castro, who the media consistently and mistakenly refers to as Cuba's president officially took over in monarchical succession from his brother, fidel the terrible, back in February. But he's been the de facto tyrant for exactly two years now.”

The first thing that you will notice is that some of the gusanos who publish this blog do not capitalize the names of the leaders of Cuba. How silly can they get? Do they think that this is going to make any difference? LOL.

He then goes on to whine about the media. The Babalusians can not stand the fact that the American or international media refer to the leaders of Cuba by their correct official titles.

And then Mr. Gomez goes on to repeat their favorite word about the leader of Cuba.

Neither the writers of Babalu Blog, nor the so called dissidents inside Cuba, are taken very seriously in the island. They are just defending their paymasters: the U.S. government, which would like to go back to status quo ante 1959.

Cuba beats Canada 4-3 in youth baseball


Photo: Radio Coco

Radio Coco in Havana reports that Cuba beat Canada 4-3 at the World Youth Baseball Championship which is being played at Edmonton, Canada. It is the second Cuban victory at the games.

They also published an excellent report about the current Cuban Youth Baseball Players.

Click here to read it.

New rule in Olympic baseball goes against the spirit of the game

Sigfredo Barros, writing in Granma’s special Olympic website, reports about a new baseball rule which is going to be used at the Beijing games.

According to Sigfredo, this new rule has been imposed to “shorten” long games which are tied after ten innings.

The new rule, developed by the International Baseball Federation is as follow: at the start of the eleventh inning, if a game is tied, two runners will be placed on base, one on first base and the other on second. They could be any player in the at bat team who is in the lineup at that point of the game.

The person who thought of this rule ought to be sent to the psychiatrist. Baseball has been removed from the Olympics. Are they trying to destroy the game with this idiotic rule?

What are those two players on base going to be called? Manufactured runners? How will it will be scored? A manufactured single and double?

What do you think?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister set to visit Cuba

The Moscow Times

29 July 2008

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin plans to travel to Cuba this week for talks on joint energy projects, Interfax reported Monday, citing an unidentified Russian government official.

Cuba has asked Russia to review the possibility of state-owned Zarubezhneft developing two onshore fields, the news service reported, citing the official.

LUKoil is interested in upgrading two Cuban refineries, Interfax reported, citing sources in the country's largest independent oil company.

Sechin, whose responsibilities include energy, was in China on Saturday and Sunday for energy talks, Interfax said. His tentative Cuba travel dates are Tuesday to Saturday, the news service said.

On Thursday, former Cuban President Fidel Castro said his country did not need to apologize to the United States over a report in Izvestia that Russia might start sending nuclear bombers to the island nation.

Cuban GM Leinier Dominguez takes lead at Biel Chess Tornament


Cuban chess Grandmaster Leinier Dominguez (2708 ELO) today assumed sole possession of first place with a convincing win over GM Yannick Pelletier (2670 ELO) in the seventh round of the 2008 Biel Chess Tournament in Switzerland .

To replay the game click here.

GM Magnus Carlsen of Norway, number two in the world rankings, lost to Evgeny Alekseev and is now half a point behind the Cuban Grandmaster.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Top two in Chess, Vishy and Magnus, to meet at the 2008 Classic Mainz Tournament; Cuba's GM Dominguez in second place in Biel

Current world chess champion Vishy Annand, India, 2798 ELO, will meet Magnus Carlsen, Norway, 2796 ELO, at the 2008 Classic Mainz Tournament, which will be played from July 28 to August 3rd.

It promises to be a very exciting tournament!

In other chess news, Cuba's Grandmaster Leinier Dominguez is in second place at the Biel 2008 Tournament, after six rounds have been played.


Leinier vs Onischuk (Round 6)



Leinier in Biel
Industriales Baseball Cap


The Fearless Ambassador of Cuba


Leinier Dominguez Perez

Cuba, 25 years old
Elo: 2705
World ranking: 25


It is common knowledge that chess is very popular in Cuba. As a reminder, the third world champion in history, José Raúl Capablanca (1888-1942) came from that country. His quasi invincibility earned him the nickname of “chess machine.”

Soviet money does not flow into Cuba anymore, and this situation has had consequences for chess. Nevertheless, first-rate players climb the world’s rankings. Leinier Dominguez is the one who has gone the furthest. He is now 25th in the recent FIDE ratings, his best personal result as he arrives at the Biel festival, terra incognita for him.

The name of Leinier Dominguez was first heard in 1999, when, at 16, he finished third in the Cuban national championship. A year later, he became a grandmaster and won the zonal tournament of Latin America (qualifying stage for the world championship); then, he successfully represented his country at the Olympics. He accomplished his greatest achievement at the Tripoli world championship (knock-out system), in which he reached the quarterfinals; he lost by a narrow margin to the Azeri player Teimour Radjabov.

Leinier Dominguez was twice Cuban national champion (in 2004 and 2006); one of his main rivals is his fellow citizen Lazaro Bruzon, who played in Biel in 2006. Dominguez has won twice the famous Capablanca Memorial, one of the most renowned tournaments in Latin America. His second victory is only a few weeks old. The best Cuban player of this time is able to outdo himself and achieve great things, such as his victory in Barcelona (2006), when he beat the top-10 player Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine) with 8 points in 9 matches and a performance of 2932 Elo points.

Leinier Dominguez’s repertoire of openings is varied. He is at ease in solid and tactical positions. He is fearless when he faces big names of the chess world. Needless to say, he could do well in Biel if he maintains the quality of play he has demonstrated this year.

Simon Kümin, Olivier Breisacher

Source: Chess Base

Al Jazeera: Raul Castro

130 Countries

Cuba Journal has had visitors from 130 countries and we thank every one of them for visiting our modest pages.

I started this blog with the specif purpose of helping improve the relations between Cuba and the United States. I am pleased with the results. We are neighbors, and even though we have different systems, we have to learn to live with each other peacefully.

My goal is to have at least one visitor from every one of the 192 countries that are members of the United Nations.

When you get up in the morning, remember what Jesus said: Love One Another!

Peace!

Below is a list of the countries.

Algeria
Andorra
Anguilla
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Aruba
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bermuda
Bolivia
Brazil
Bulgaria
Burkina Fasso
Canada
Cape Verde
Cayman Islands
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Cote D'ivoire
Croatia
Cuba [Paz, Amor y Felicidades para mis hermanos y hermanas en la isla!]
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Estonia
European Union
Finland
France
French Guiana
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guam
Guatemala
Guyana
Haiti
Hong Kong
Honduras
Hungary
India
Indonesia
Iran
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Kenya
Korea, Republic of
Kuwait
Latvia
Lebannon
Lithuania
Luxemburg
Lybia
Macau
Macedonia
Malaysia
Malta
Martinique
Mauritius
Mexico
Montenegro
Moldova
Morocco
Namibia
Netherlands
Netherlands Antilles
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Nigeria
Norway
Pakistan
Panama
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Phillipines
Puerto Rico
Romania
Russian Federation
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saudia Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
St Kits and Nevis
Sudan
Suriname
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan
Tanzania
Thailand
Togo
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Turks and Caicos Islands
United Arab Emirates
Ukraine
United Kingdom
United States
Uruguay
Venezuela
Vietnam

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Raul Castro: Our Battle Today Is The Same As The One We Initiated On July 26, 1953



DISCURSO POR EL ANIVERSARIO 55 DEL ASALTO A LOS CUARTELES MONCADA Y CARLOS MANUEL DE CÉSPEDES
(26 DE JULIO DE 2008)


RAUL CASTRO'S SPEECH ON THE 55TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ATTTACKS ON THE MONCADA AND CARLOS MANUEL DE CESPEDES BARRACKS

Raúl presides over central event in Santiago de Cuba


Raul Castro and Juan Almeida

Granma International

55TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MONCADA ASSAULT

Havana. July 26, 2008

Raúl Castro, president of the Councils of State and Ministers, is heading the central event for the 55th anniversary of the assault on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrisons, which began at 7:00 p.m. this July 26 in Santiago de Cuba.

The commemoration is taking place in the polygon of the former military fortress assaulted one day like today in 1953 by a group of young revolutionaries headed by Fidel Castro, which was converted into the 26th of July Ciudad Escolar (Education Center) after the triumph of the Revolution.

Present at the event are 10,000 Santiago residents representing the people of Cuba; assailants of the Santiago de Cuba and Bayamo garrisons; Granma expeditionaries; leaders of the Communist Party of Cuba and the Union of Young Communists; senior state administration officials; mass and student organizations; the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution; and chiefs and officers of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior.

The national radio and television channels, Radio Habana Cuba and Cubavisión Internacional are transmitting live this significant patriotic and political event.

Translated by Granma International

------

Al Jazeera: Cuba leader makes cautious speech

BBC: Cuban leader warns of austerity

Discursos e intervenciones del Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, Presidente del Consejo de Estado de la República de Cuba


------

JG: Check back with Cuba Journal later. As soon as Raul's speech is published in either Spanish or English, we will publish the text here.

Fidel's Guide in the Sierra Maestra

Felíx Martínez is 72 now, but there was a time when Fidel's life and the survival of the revolution itself were in his hands. He was El Guía, the guide.

He knew the peaks and folds of the Sierra Maestra as well as any man alive, and could find his way from farm to farm and town to town in the pitch black of night as surely as if the route were lit by neon arrows. In the early days, when Fidel had just a handful of guerrillas bivouacked in craggy mountains surrounded by thousands of Batista's soldiers, the entire army was just one wrong turn away from annihilation. El Guía's knowledge kept the revolution alive.

"Fidel had a way of turning defeats into victories. And when he did make a mistake, he admitted it. He'd say, 'I screwed up,' and when he admitted it like that, everyone would applaud and smile."

He gave an illustration of Fidel's military thinking. "We come across a thousand Batista soldiers. The rest of us would be afraid, but for Fidel each one of them was just a frightened, illiterate young man with a rifle. We might have only a hundred armed fighters, but Fidel would inspire us. He would say that we were going to be better than those thousand soldiers, because we were going to split ourselves into ten groups of ten men each. We were going to surround them and they would be confused and frightened, and they would disperse and we would win. And we did."

Fidel "hated to loose" -- he seemed to love winning for winning's sake -- and inevitably, sometimes the enemy would get the best of an engagement. "When we lost, that put Fidel in a bad mood," Guía said, shaking his head. "No, he didn't like that at all."

The young Fidel that Guía described was a man so sure of himself, and so able to transmit that certainty to others, that he inspired men and women to put themselves in mortal risk with no rational expectation of victory or even survival, and to feel good about the whole endeavor. "He has a virtue that nature gave him, una simpatía," was the way Guía put it. "Even his enemies, they may hate him, and have good reason to, but deep inside they admire him too."

Guía was one of the many, many campesinos who were fed up to the point of insurrection with the brutality and corruption of the Batista regime, ripe fruit fot this magnetic rebel who could make people believe in the unbelievable, and in themselves.

      Last Dance in Havana
      Eugene Robinson
      Free Press, New York, 2004

Jamaica's Prime Minister: Cuba Embargo is outdated

Saturday, July 26, 2008

South Florida Caribbean News

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Jamaica's Prime Minister Bruce Golding is of the view that the United States embargo against Cuba has no usefulness and that its impracticability is glaringly obvious and stands in stark contrast to how other countries are treated.

Mr. Golding's comments were made on Wednesday, July 23 at a forum hosted by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI) under the theme 'Cuba and its Neighbours: The Challenges of Change.' The forum was held at the Mona Visitor's Lodge at the University of the West Indies. "My hope is that within a short time we can see an end to the isolation of Cuba," Mr. Golding said, adding that it was his expectation that its relations within Latin America will shortly be fully normalized.

He said a window of opportunity now exists with increasing interaction between Cuba and US Congressmen and the expressed willingness by a presidential candidate to engage Cuba.

More...

July 26, Cuba’s National Holiday


Moncada Barracks

Author: W. T. Whitney Jr.

People's Weekly World Newspaper, 07/25/08 19:59

At dawn on July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro, a young lawyer, told a group of young people, “Comrades, within a few hours, we will either succeed or be defeated. But regardless of the outcome, listen well, comrades, this movement will triumph.”

Losing would be acceptable. “The action will serve as an example to the people of Cuba, to raise the flag and continue forward.”

They lost. Of the 134 rebels who attacked the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba, regional headquarters for the Cuban Army, and 30 more who fought in Bayamo, 78 were killed.

Eight years later, on July 26, 1961, Fidel Castro spoke at the first mass celebration of the day designated as the beginning of the revolution that took down the tyrannical and corrupt Batista regime. Since then the holiday has begun the night before with neighborhood parties throughout the island. A city is selected to host the day’s major rally.

On that first occasion, Fidel Castro spoke of struggle “to give to the men who had nothing, everything, and everything for a man is bread, bread to nourish him and bread to nourish his mind — knowledge.” The theme of the battle of ideas thus emerged.

Struggle then, and now, meant defense against “direct and indirect attacks organized against us by the imperialist government of the United States. For this reason we, the Cubans, must have nerves of steel.” Fidel Castro’s long speech was replete with history, analysis, and ideals, but above all else, it signified combativeness.

The revolutionary government, Castro explained, results from “a long process of struggle, the culmination of a great desire of all of our people, who began to struggle in the past.” The notion of the long haul is one that would resonate later.

Or it seemed 50 years later, on July 26, 2003. That year President Castro delivered the main speech of the day at the Moncada Barracks, now a school and museum. To remind Cubans of prerevolutionary horrors, he quoted from his famous “History Will Absolve Me” speech given as legal defense at the trial following the Moncada attack.

In the speech, Castro described describing “six hundred thousand Cubans without work ... five hundred thousand farm laborers who work four months of the year and starve the rest.” Castro noted “retirement funds embezzled,” “wretched” housing, “productive land in foreign hands,” “starving children” and “mass murder of so many thousands of children.”

Fifty years later, Fidel Castro catalogued the social achievements of the revolution he led. For one such as the present author, a Cuba watcher then for almost 50 years and present in the audience that day, this was icing on the cake. History was unfolding in front of me.

But — surprise — history did not stop. Fidel Castro castigated the European Union for sanctioning Cuba that month, withholding its scant humanitarian aid. (The sanctions had been imposed in response to the jailing earlier that year of 75 counterrevolutionaries convicted of taking U.S. money. They were lifted this year.)

Yes, the July 26 event serves as an educational forum and an occasion for rededication. But it seemed that day to grab onto the present moment. In Cuba, immediate realities are always on the agenda, and combativeness never far below the surface.

atwhit @roadrunner.com.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Export-to-Cuba Conference Aug. 15 in San Antonio

The Farmer Stockman

July 25, 2008

By Blair Fannin

Producers wanting to learn more about exporting goods to Cuba can attend an Aug. 15 conference in San Antonio, Texas.

"Exporting to Cuba" to be held at the International Center at 203 South St. Mary's St., will help participants learn more about how to export food, agricultural goods, lumber and certain medical products, says Dr. Parr Rosson, Texas AgriLife Extension Service economist, and one of the conference presenters.

The workshop will include an overview of recent changes in the Cuban political system and the implications for Texas, presented by Dr. Jonathan Brown, Institute of Latin American Studies, at the University of Texas.

This conference will help producers, ranchers, agribusiness, export-service providers, as well as government officials, get an in-depth look at how to reach the Cuban export market, Rosson says. Cuba has become an important market for Texas over the past four years, and it holds more promise in the future.

The workshop will focus on the future of the Cuban export market, opportunities for food and agricultural trade, and provide a forum featuring several industry leaders. The export process, shipping, logistics, and port facilities will be discussed.

"The workshop will provide participants tools for a clearer understanding of how to move forward with agricultural and food trade with Cuba—a vendor who pays U.S. sellers cash in advance for our products," says Cynthia Thomas, president of the Texas-Cuba Trade Alliance and Dallas-based TriDimension Strategies LLC.

Registration to the conference is $35 prior to Aug. 1 and $50 afterwards. Seating is limited, and early registration is encouraged. The Texas-Cuba Trade Alliance is sponsoring the event. AgriLife Extension and the Free Trade Alliance are co-sponsors.

For more information, visit the Web sites on Texas-Cuba Trade Alliance at www.tcta.us or texasextension.tamu.edu or www.freetradealliance.org.

- Blair Fannin is with Texas AgriLife Extension Communications, College Station.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

McCain, like Hillary, is now desperate


John McCain, like Hillary Clinton during the Democratic Presidential Preference Primaries, is now desperate, so he is turning to guilt by association advertising. No surprise here. The Repugs are masters of fear and smear attacks ads.

A poll released yesterday stated that if the minor parties presidential candidates are included, McCain is down by thirteen points. McSame is now toast #2, the first being Hillary on Super Tuesday.

Source: Raw Story

Russia denies planning to base bombers in Cuba

38 minutes ago

MOSCOW (AFP) — Russia's defence ministry on Thursday denied a report it was considering basing bomber aircraft in Cuba in retaliation for US missile defence plans in Eastern Europe, a news agency reported.

"We regard these sorts of reports from anonymous sources as disinformation," RIA Novosti quoted defence ministry spokesman Ilshat Baichurin as saying.

Baichurin was referring to an article published Monday in the Izvestia daily that cited an anonymous military source as saying that Moscow was considering sending bombers to Cuba in retaliation for the US plans, RIA Novosti said.

He suggested the report could have been spread by foreign countries building military bases and installations around Russia, an apparent allusion to US plans to build elements of a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Moscow does not plan to build bases threatening other states, he said.

"Russia, out of its peace-loving policies, does not build military bases along the borders of other states," RIA Novosti quoted Baichurin as saying.

On Tuesday, US General Norton Schwartz said Russia would cross "a red line for the United States of America" if it were to base nuclear-capable bombers in Cuba.

The controversy over Cuba comes amid an ongoing US-Russian spat over Washington's plans to build an anti-missile radar facility in the Czech Republic and site interceptor missiles in Poland.

Last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned that Moscow would take countermeasures against the planned US installations. Russia argues that they threaten its national security despite US assurances that they are directed against "rogue states" like Iran.

---

JG: I would not be surprised if the dark hand of the CIA is behind the "anonymous sources" report.

Glorious 55th Anniversary: the July 26, 1953 attack that launched Cuba revolt

Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:57am EDT

FACTBOX

(Reuters) - President Raul Castro gives a speech this week at the birthplace of the Cuban revolution, and his words will be watched for news on his next steps in reforming its socialist economy.

Following are some facts about July 26, 1953 attack that started the Cuban revolution against U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.

* Fidel Castro, a 26-year-old lawyer angry after Batista took over the Cuban presidency in a 1952 coup, led about 150 rebels on an attack on the Moncada army barracks in eastern city of Santiago.

* The rebels attacked at dawn after a big festival the night before in Santiago, believing the soldiers would be hung over.

* One of their goals was to take over a radio transmitter in the garrison so they could broadcast their message of insurrection against Batista

* The assault was a fiasco with several dozen rebels killed in the fighting. Fidel Castro escaped, but was soon captured. In a subsequent trial, he gave a famous, "History will absolve me," speech, but was convicted and went to jail until his early release in 1955.

* The attack, though a failure, gave the name to Castro's 26th of July Movement and is considered the first fight in the revolution that ended with Castro taking power in 1959.

(Writing by Jeff Franks in Havana, Editing by Michael Christie and Kieran Murray)

Lieberman shows his true colors

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, who is one of the strongest Cuba-haters in the United States Senate, showed his true colors by saying that he has a “bond” with ultra right wing Christian preacher John Hagee.

Senator, you are neither Independent nor Democrat. If you support those who preach hate, you are an accomplice of those individuals.

Cuba silent on Russian bomber report: Fidel Castro

Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:53am BST

HAVANA (Reuters) - Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro on Wednesday said Cuba does not have to explain or "ask forgiveness" about a report out of Russia this week that Russia might use its Cold War ally Cuba as a refueling base for nuclear-capable bombers.

He did not address whether the report was true or false, and Cuban officials have made no comment.

"Raul did very well keeping a dignified silence," Castro wrote, referring to his brother, President Raul Castro, in a column published online at www.cubadebate.cu.

"One doesn't have to give explanations nor ask excuses or forgiveness," the ailing 81-year-old said in one of his increasingly frequent opinion pieces.

More...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cuba Presents its 24 Baseball Players for the Beijing Olympics


Giant Pedro Luis Lazo will participate in his fourth Olympics.
Photo: José L. Anaya

Catchers: Ariel Pestano, Rolando Meriño and Eriel Sánchez.

Infield Players: Alexander Malleta, Yulieski Gourriel, Héctor Olivera, Michel Enríquez, Eduardo Paret and Luis M. Navas.

Outfield Players: Frederich Cepeda, Yoandry Urgellés, Yorbis Duvergel, Alexei Bell and Alfredo Despaigne.

Pitchers: Pedro L. Lazo, Norge L. Vera, Yunieski Maya, Vicyohandri Odelín; Jonder Martínez, Yadiel Pedroso, Luis M. Rodríguez, Adiel Palma, Norberto González, Yulieski González. The last three are lefties.

Source: www.jit.cu - José Luis Salmerón

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Anti-Cuba money for Miami extremists is frozen

Frances Robles at The Miami Herald reports that "Congress has put the U.S. Agency for International Development's $45 million Cuba program's 2008 funding on hold, following a series of troubling audits and cases of massive fraud."

"A recenct review turned up irregularities at the Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia (Group in Support of Democracy), a Miami group criticized in the past for using federal funds to send Nintendo games to Cuba."

"The executive director of Grupo de Apoyo admitted that an employee used the organization's credit card for thousands of dollars in personal items and then billed them to the grant aimed at bringing democracy to Cuba.

It looks to me like the taxpayers checks for their very lucrative anti-Cuba business have been stopped, at least for the present.

------

Tuesday, July 22, 2008, 9:52 p.m.

Further developments on this story:

According to a report from CBS News, "House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) said that the alleged theft from two U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs for Cuba is estimated at roughly $700,000.00"

USAID is supposed to be spending about 45 million dollars of our taxpayers money to bring "democracy" to Cuba.

The money is ending up in the pockets of corrupt gusanos in Miami.

Well Said Nerakami!

Why do we continue to gloss over the obvious in making statements about Obama vs McCain's foreign policies. Here's the deal, I could NEVER trust McCain on foreign affairs because he doesn't even know his facts about the region, its people and how our involvement affects them. These gaffes are a serious matter as it depicts his ignorance.

McCain is looking at the Iraqi and Middle east situation ONLY from an American self-centered perspective (albeit not in harmony with most Americans) continuing the image of us being the pompous, self absorbed renegade cowboys running off doing our own thing even with the disapproval of the rest of the world. The days of the wild, wild, west is over as the American taxpayers cannot afford to carry the financial burden of such silly and costly notions.

Posted by nerakami at 07/22/2008 @ 10:40am |

Don't Do It Russia!

It would be a huge mistake to base and/or send nuclear capable bombers to Cuba. Use diplomacy. Do not imitate the Bush administration. Give peace a chance.

Mascots and Medals of the 2008 Beijing Olympics







Club 100/30

Who will be the first member of Club 100/30 in the 2008 baseball season?

Club 100/30 is a very exclusive group. You must have at least 100 runs batted in and at least 30 home runs to be admitted to that prestigious club.

In 2007 only 15 MLB players made it to the club, and 2006 was an unusual year: 26 MLB players were admitted to the elite group.

As of July 21, 2008, here are some potential members for 2008 with their RBI’s and HR’s:

Club 100/30 Prospects for 2008
MLB PLAYERRBIHR
Josh Hamilton9822
Ryan Howard8729
Carlos Lee8022
David Wright7619
Adrian Gonzalez7422
Lance Berkman7322
Mark Texeira7319
Carlos Quentin7224
Ryan Braun7124
Chase Utley7025

Where are Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez? Will they make it this year?

September 28 will be the last day of the regular season.

Cuban-Venezuelan ties boom under Raul Castro

Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:06pm BST

By Marc Frank

HAVANA, July 21 (Reuters) - Speculation that Cuba's relations with Venezuela, its closest ally, might cool when Raul Castro became president has disappeared as the countries have forged even deeper and broader ties.

Some experts thought Raul Castro could not maintain the close relations his brother Fidel Castro had with his socialist protege, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but the oil-rich South American country is investing billions of dollars in Cuba in increasingly complex ventures.

The two revolutionary allies aim to use the projects to reshape Latin America's political map by showing there is an alternative to capitalism and its main proponent, the United States.

They have an oil-for-services deal in which Venezuela ships 92,000 barrels a day to Cuba in exchange for the services of thousands of Cuban doctors and other technical assistance.

But they also reported more than 300 cooperation projects in 2007 and Venezuelan banks are financing 58 Cuban manufacturing programs and more than a dozen agricultural development schemes.

"Since the beginning, both Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez have been determined to move the relationship between their countries beyond the oil-for-doctors swap and toward something that is much broader and has the potential for sweeping regional impact," said Dan Erikson, a Caribbean expert at the Inter-American Dialogue policy group in Washington.

"Raul Castro is strongly interested in moving beyond an alliance built on personalities by creating sustainable, institutional arrangements, and this has helped to cement the Cuban-Venezuelan relationship," he said.

OIL WEALTH

Venezuela, which is benefiting from high oil prices, is buying new rice harvesters and irrigation systems in central Cuba, upgrading fertilizer manufacturing and building new factories in the eastern city of Santiago.

The two countries have also signed some 30 joint ventures, most of which were sealed after Raul Castro first stepped in for his ailing brother two years ago. Some are huge by Cuban standards.

A $5 billion petrochemical complex under construction around a renovated oil refinery in Cienfuegos, 150 miles (250 km) southeast of Havana, represents more direct investment than hundreds of Western businesses put into Cuba between 1995 and 2000.

There are an assortment of other oil-related ventures, from pipelines and refinery expansions to shipping and port renovations.

A nickel plant in eastern Holguin province is getting a $700 million upgrade and will ship its product to Venezuela to be processed into stainless steel by a joint venture in which Cuba has a 49 percent stake.

New ventures are also underway in telecommunications, fishing, agriculture, boat building, railways and cement.

The two countries' economic ties are cloaked in secrecy, but Cuban President Fidel Castro valued them at $7 billion per year just before he took ill in July 2006 and provisionally handed power to his brother.

Too ill to return to power, Fidel Castro resigned in February and the National Assembly formally elected Raul Castro president.

Most of the joint energy projects aim to serve PetroCaribe, a Venezuelan initiative that provides preferentially financed oil to 15 Caribbean and Central American countries.

For Cuba, its state-run economy worn down by inefficiency, 46 years of a U.S. trade embargo and dealt a severe blow by the collapse of its former Soviet benefactors, Venezuela's help has brought welcome improvements.

Daily life in Cuba remains difficult by Western standards, but there are fewer blackouts, subsidized buses are back on the roads, health clinics, schools, waterworks and highways are being upgraded and more housing built.

The danger, experts said, is that Cuba becomes as dependent on Venezuela as it did on the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

"For Cuba it is the best deal in town. However, it of course implies dangers, as Cuba becomes dependent on Chavez staying in power and remaining as generous as he is at present," said Cuba specialist Bert Hoffmann at the German Institute of Global Area Studies in Hamburg.

(Editing by Jeff Franks, Michael Christie and Kieran Murray)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Another excellent article by Yasel about Cuban Baseball

Yasel Porto, of Havana's Radio Coco, Home of Cuban Baseball, has published another excellent article about Cuba's National Baseball Selection.

Click here to read it. It is in Spanish.

Stolen Arts proudly displayed in Daytona Beach

Alberto N Jones
7/21/08

Since May 19, June 13, 21 and 23rd, 2008, numerous newspapers in Florida, websites, bloggers and newswires, have reprinted an in-depth, comprehensive and award deserving journalistic research “A bit of Cuba in Daytona Beach” 6/13/08, in which Laura Stewart painstakingly gathered and documented irrefutable evidence, demonstrating how hundreds of pieces of invaluable Cuban arts have been willfully and illegally withheld for the past fifty years by the Cuban Foundation Museum, who have trafficked with and presented it to the public as their own.

Not satisfied with stealing more than 700 million dollars from Cuba’s public funds, priceless pieces of arts, jewelry and other valuables as he fled the country under the cover of night on January 1, 1959, dictator Fulgencio Batista donated part of his loot to this Foundation, which is now presided over by his grandaughter out of Miami.

As despicable as it is to see the children of Cuba wickedly deprived of their arts, culture and patrimony, so is the deafening silence of many moralists, ethicists, intellectuals, clergy, educators and others, who have chosen to turn a complicit blind eye, pretend it never happened, while they applaud many law enforcement agencies, chasing across the globe and apprehending others involved in the heists of pieces of arts, belonging to the rich and famous.

The friendly and respectful relation that have existed between Daytona Beach and Cuba since the early 40’s was reinforced during the 90’s with the collapse of the Cuban economy, when hundreds of ordinary citizens and especially our healthcare community generously donated tens of thousands of dollars in medicine, medical supplies, childcare, educational material and others, cannot and should not be tarnished by the actions of a few selfish and heartless individuals.

Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan Computers for Cuba cross into Mexico

19th US-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan








------

JG: Pastors for Peace is a great organization. They take humanitarian assistance to Cuba WITHOUT applying for a license from the OFAC thugs. Applause!

Havana Club's Maximo: Cuba's Premium Rum


The master rum makers in Cuba claim to have worked magic to create this very limited edition rum. They have taken the best and oldest rum in their cellars to hand blend this liquor treat.

Only 1,000 bottles will be available worldwide, at a price of $2,000. Each is in an elegant hand-blown crystal decanter - The Giraldilla - which represents the city of Havana. The symbol is also etched on the crystal stopper.

The makers recommend this be sipped neat after dinner. Psssyeah! At a couple thousand bucks for a bottle, you bet I’m sipping it.

Failing to kill Fidel

Green Left Weekly

Review by Simon Butler

19 July 2008

Executive Action: 634 Ways to Kill Fidel Castro
By Fabian Escalante
Ocean Press, 2006
RRP $28, 229 pages


Former Cuban president Fidel Castro holds one world record most politicians would not envy. He has survived at least 634 assassination attempts.

The caveat “at least” is necessary because this figure only includes the plots actually uncovered by Cuban counterintelligence. It is very likely that other failed or aborted attempts to kill the Cuban leader remain known only to their originators in the CIA and other US spy agencies.

Former head of Cuban state security department, Fabian Escalante, documents these attempts in his book Executive Action: 634 Way to Kill Fidel Castro. According to Escalante, Cuban counterintelligence confirms 167 homicidal plots whose authors were either punished by the courts or exposed before the relevant authorities in third countries.

A further 467 conspiracies to murder Castro were uncovered by Cuban authorities in the planning phase.

The first attempt to murder Castro was initiated in late 1958, days before the mass general strike of January 1, 1959 overthrew the US-backed Batista dictatorship.

FBI agents offered US citizen Alan Robert Nye US$50,000 to infiltrate the Castro-led July 26 Movement rebel army base in the Sierra Maestra mountains posing as a volunteer fighter in order to assassinate Castro. Once captured, Nye confessed and named the plot’s instigators.

By December 1959, Castro’s murder had become an officially endorsed CIA policy. A range of methods were employed, including sniper rifle attacks, bombs in crowded amphitheatres, bazooka attacks, poisoned ice cubes, fragmentation grenades and drive-by shootings.

All failed either due to infiltration by the tenacious Cuban counterintelligence, or the reluctance of the assassins to kill Castro when it would likely result in their own death as well.

The CIA resorted to increasingly desperate strategies that bordered on the comical. Attending the United Nations in New York in 1960, conspirators tried to place a box of poisoned Cuban cigars in Castro’s hotel room.

When this failed, operatives tried slipping Castro a cigar laced with LSD prior to a televised interview, calculating this would cause him to break into uncontrolled laughter on air. Later during the same trip, the CIA impregnated Castro’s shoes with a chemical designed to make Castro’s beard fall out!

Escalante’s narrative itself may have lost something in the translation from Spanish. The fictionalised accounts of meetings and discussions between CIA operatives and Mafia figures will not sit well with some.

But the essential historical accuracy of the various US state-sanctioned plots to murder Fidel Castro is indisputable. Many have been conceded to be the work of the CIA by the 1975 Church Commission report to the US Senate.

That various US spy agencies could spend so much energy and resources in a bid to kill one man is a testament to the remarkable power Castro’s ideas and the threat the revolution he has led poses to the US empire.

For decades, imperialism has attempted to portray the Cuban Revolution as the work of one evil person. The US refers only to “Castro’s revolution”. Laughably, the US State Department even lists Castro as one of the world’s richest men on the assumption that Cuban state property somehow belongs to him personally.

In this, they try to deny that the Cuban Revolution has been the result of the courageous, dedicated struggle of millions of people. The morbid, five-decade-long obsession with killing Castro shows that the US and Cuban emigre elites have fallen victim to their own shallow propaganda.

Yet, although Castro’s historical leadership role has been central, his role in the revolution today is not indispensable.

During the extensive 2006 interview that was published in 2006 as My Life, French journalist Ignacio Ramonet asked Castro if he feared further US inspired assassination attempts.

Castro responded, “If that’s it, I’m not worried in the slightest … Everybody knows they want to assassinate Chavez. And they think that if they can assassinate me too, they’ve solved the problem. But the ideals for which I’ve struggled all my life cannot die, and they will live on for a long, long time.”

From: Cultural Dissent, Green Left Weekly issue #759 23 July 2008.

------

JG: The evil of imperialism has no boundaries or scruples. They have the same methods as the activities of organized crime organizations.

Fidel Castro hails Mandela at 90 as 'symbol of humanity's highest nobility'

International Herald Tribune

Published: July 20, 2008

HAVANA: Fidel Castro on Sunday hailed Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday, calling the Nobel Peace Prize winning icon "a symbol of humanity's highest nobility."

"Glory to you Nelson, for 25 years from a solitary prison you defended human dignity!" Castro wrote in a brief note to Mandela that was published in the Communist youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde and appeared in other state-controlled media. "You knew how to resist and, without wanting to or trying to, you became a symbol of humanity's highest nobility."

Mandela turned 90 on Friday. Imprisoned for nearly three decades for fighting apartheid, he was release in 1990 and went on to be elected president in South Africa's first democratic elections.

Castro, who is suffering from an unknown illness and will tun 82 next month, has not been seen in public since undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006. His younger brother Raul succeeded him as president in February, becoming Cuba's first new head of state in 49 years.

Fidel Castro won the gratitude of many Africans by sending 350,000 troops to battle the former white-dominated South African government in Angola's civil war, draining resources from the apartheid system.

When Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president in 1994, he made Castro a guest of honor and praised Cuba's "selfless support for the struggle to free all of South Africa's people."

Castro wrote to Mandela Sunday that "you will live on in the memories of future generations and with you, so will the Cubans who fell defending liberty and their brothers in other parts of the world."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Operation Peter Pan: How the Yankee imperialists destroyed the lives of 14,000 Cuban children

My name is Jorge Gonzalez, and I was one of the victims of operation Peter Pan in 1961. The imperialist government of the United States, together with the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Cuba at that time, vented its full HATE on the lives of 14,000 innocent children. It is one of the worst crimes in history directed toward family division and/or destruction.

No doubt in my mind that this operation was one of the family jewels of the CIA. They are always extremely good in spreading lies and misinformation.

The Peter Pan campaign started as soon it was apparent to the imperialists that the Cuban Revolution was not going to be just another typical Latin American upheaval. This time the Cuban people had decided that the changes were going to be different. They would be systemic changes like the Yankees had never seen before. The exploitation of the Cuban people by the Americanos would come to a screeching halt.

The rumors, lies and misinformation started as soon as the Yankees detected the Socialist nature of the Cuban Revolution, so ably led by Fidel, Raul, Che, Camilo and others.

La Patria Potestad, the right of parents to raise and educate their children was going to be taken away by the revolutionary government. The children would be sent to the godless Soviet Union and the Socialist block of nations to be indoctrinated. It was all just a bunch of lies.

Parents panicked. They sent many children unaccompanied to the United States.

Many of those children ended up in orfelinatos, the dreaded reform schools for criminal children. Many were scarred for life, both physically and psychologically.

I never saw my dad again.

Thanks Uncle Sam.

Olympics Baseball Teams Performance Table

OLYMPICS BASEBALL TEAMS PERFORMANCE

COUNTRYWINSLOSSESAVERAGE
CUB333.917
USA207.741
JAP2214.611
TPE97.563
CAN54.556
NIC45.444
AUS914.391
KOR610.375
HOL714.333
DOM25.286
PUR25.286
ITA622.214
SUD16.143
ESP16.143
GRE16.143

Source: Granma

Beijing Olympics Baseball Schedule