Thursday, April 29, 2010

House panel mulls bill to ease Cuban embargo

The Washington Post

By Doug Palmer
Reuters
Thursday, April 29, 2010; 1:12 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Business and human rights groups urged Congress on Thursday to ease the decades-old embargo on Cuba by passing a bipartisan bill to lift a ban on travel to the communist country and remove certain obstacles to legal farm sales.

"We believe the proposed legislation represents a necessary step toward ending a U.S. policy that has failed for decades to have any impact on improving human rights in Cuba," Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director the Americas division of Human Rights Watch, said at a congressional hearing.

President Barack Obama's election in November 2008 stirred hopes throughout the Hemisphere that the United States would move to end the embargo codified by Congress in 1963 and strengthened twice in the 1990s.

The embargo is seen in the rest of the region as a outdated holdover from the Cold War, when Cuba was a close ally of the now defunct Soviet Union. In February, leaders of all 32 nations of Latin America meeting at a summit in Cancun again called on the United States to lift the embargo.

Obama has taken some steps to improve relations with Havana, such as allowing unlimited family travel and remittances and greater telecommunication links. But the Cuban government has failed to reciprocate, making it politically difficult for the White House to move further.

Representative John Tanner, chairman of a trade subcommittee in the House of Representatives Ways and Means, called the hearing on Thursday to examine a bill crafted by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Colin Peterson, a Democrat, and Republican Representative Jerry Moran.

JOB INCREASE SEEN

That legislation would lift restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba and remove certain obstacles to cash agricultural sales already allowed under previous reforms.

"Lifting these travel and trade restrictions is about what is best for the United States," Tanner said in a statement, adding it would create U.S. jobs through additional farm sales and help the Cuban people through increased tourism.

Myron Brilliant, senior vice president for international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, argued maintaining the embargo allows Cuban authorities to blame the United States for the island's poverty when the real culprit "is a half century of Marxist mismanagement."

A March study by Texas A&M University estimated that approving the Peterson-Moran bill to lift the travel ban and ease agricultural export restrictions could lead to $365 million in additional sales of U.S. goods and create 6,000 jobs in the United States, Brilliant said.

Boycott Arizona's Diamondbacks Baseball Team

Major League Baseball has a strong presence in Arizona and a high number of Latino players, making it a prime target for opponents of Arizona's new immigration law who hope to persuade the state to change its divisive law through economic boycotts. Activists and sports columnists across the country are calling on baseball fans to ask the MLB to pull the 2011 All-Star Game out of Phoenix and to relocate the spring training Cactus League.

Protesters are also already picketing Arizona Diamondbacks games. A small group gathered outside of Coors Field in Denver yesterday, the Denver Post reports, to protest the law as Phoenix's team took on the Colorado Rockies. Activists are planning to be outside of Wrigley Field today when the Diamondbacks play the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago Tribune reports. They'll ask fans in attendance to wave posters during the nationally televised game condemning the law.

Source: CBS

Just say NO! to xenophobia!

Mauricio Claver-Carone spins his tale of Cuba hate

Mauricio Claver Carone, the executive director of the Miami-based ultra-right-wing U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC, one more time goes to the capitalist mainstream news media to propagate his tale of hate toward Cuba and its people.

He is not content with distributing millions of dollars to corrupt politicians in the U.S. Congress. He realizes that he is totally powerless to determine the affairs and lives of the people inside Cuba.

So he has to conform himself with venting his hate vitriol toward Socialist Cuba. It is to be expected. As much as Hitler's Nazis hated the Jews, the U.S. capitalist ruling elites hate Cuba. They are not able to exploit the islanders anymore.

If you want to read his diatribe, click here.

Mauricio, why don't you move to Honduras, which has a right wing government which was installed by Obama's inspired and supported military coup d'etat? Once living there you could organize an invasion to "liberate" the Cuban people. Naw! You do not have the necessary 'cojones' needed to undertake such a task!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2010 Cuban Baseball All-Stars

Michael González, from the La Habana team, was selected the best short-stop. Photo: Alex Castro

Cuban daily Juventud Rebelde announced the all-stars and the golden gloves for the 49th National Baseball Series.

All Stars 2010

Catcher: Yosvani Alarcón (LTU) 20 votes.
First Base: José Dariel Abreu (CFG) unanimous vote.
Second Base: Danel Castro (LTU) 16 votes.
Third Base: Yulieski Gourriel (SSP) unanimous vote.
Short Stop: Alexander Guerrero (LTU) 21 votes.
Outfielders; Alfredo Despaigne (GRA) unanimous vote.
Alexei Bell (SCU) 18 votes.
Frederich Cepeda (SSP) 13 votos.
Designated Hitter: Rolando Meriño (SCU) 19 votes.
Utility: Raúl González (CAV) 13 votes.
Right Handed Pitcher: Vladimir García (CAV) 18 votes.
Left Handed Pitcher: Yulieski González (HAB) 19 votes.
Relief Pitcher: Dunier Ibarra (CFG) 18 votes.

Golden Gloves

Catcher: Eriel Sánchez (SSP) 14 votes.
First Base: Yunier Mendoza (SSP) 21 votes.
Second Base: Mario Vega (CAV) 21 votes.
Third Base: Yulieski Gourriel (SSP) unanimous vote.
Short Stop: Michael González (HAB) 13 votes.
Outfielders: Jorge Johnson (LTU) 21 votes.
Denis Laza (HAB) 16 votes.
Juan Miguel Soriano (CFG) 15 votes.
Pitcher: Yoelkis Cruz (LTU) 12 votes.

Most Valuable Player: Alfredo Despaigne (second consecutive year).

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Arizona: Anti-immigrant hysteria run amock

American xenophobes are extremely happy today. Yesterday, the governor of Arizona signed into law a bill approved by the legislators of that state which has as its foundation unadulterated racism. Racial profiling is now the law of the land in that state.

This dastardly law will effectively violate the human rights of immigrants living in the United States. If you are not a blue-eyed blond, and your last name is Hernnadez, Rodriguez or Gonzalez, you better watch out.

Adolf must be smiling from his grave!

I urge the readers of Cuba Journal to boycott Arizona. Do not travel to that state or buy any of its products.

Cuba: People's Elections

Radio Habana Cuba

Everything is in place to carry out the voting test today prior to the April 25 Municipal Elections when more than 8 million Cubans are expected to go out and exercise their right to vote for the delegates of the 169 Municipal Assemblies across the country.

In addition to the trial run, thousand of volunteers have been trained last week to help at the polls to ensure the absolute quality, transparency and mass participation that is demanded in the Cuban electoral system.

During the lead up to the election, voters are provided with sufficient information to form an opinion to vote for the right candidate for the job according to his or her merits and virtues. Unlike many other countries, political parties, are not allowed to propose, nominate or elect any candidate but only the people in a direct an absolutely anonymous way.

Most of scheduled meetings in neighborhoods and delegations have already taken place where an increased number of young people and women candidates have been noted.

More than 8.4 million voters, 71 percent of the Cuban population, have the right to participate in this year’s municipal elections where 35,000 candidates were nominated from February 24 to March 24. If needed, a second round of voting will be held May 2 in cases were no candidates received more than 50 percent of the vote.

The strict legal observance of Cuba’s municipal elections endorses the democratic process in Cuba and is acknowledged by all its citizens and expressed through their overwhelming participation.

This is the 13th Cuban Electoral Process since the creation of the National Assembly of People’s Power in 1976, the highest political entity of the Cuban state empowered at all levels and validated throughout country to express and defend Cuba’s socialist principles and revolution.

The policy of openness of Cuban electoral processes encourages the confidence of the people towards its political system.

JG: Of course, the imperialists do not like these types of elections. The elections which they prefer are ones where huge amounts of money decide who is the winner.

Friday, April 23, 2010

U.S.-Cuba Policy Topic of Upcoming Hearing

Farm Futures

The House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee will hold a hearing on U.S.-Cuba policy next Wednesday. According to Chairman John Tanner, D-Tenn., the hearing will consider whether relaxing current Cuba travel and trade restrictions would advance U.S. economic objectives as well as democracy and human rights in Cuba. Tanner says it's clear to him that the embargo has failed to achieve its objectives and has shut U.S. workers, farmers and businesses out of the Cuban market.

Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., has introduced legislation to expand U.S. farm exports to Cuba and hopes to move it out of his committee before Memorial Day. Peterson's bill, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, would also make it easier for American citizens to travel to Cuba to facilitate new agriculture sales.

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JG: The U.S. embargo against Cuba has got to go. It does not hurt Fidel or Raul. It hurts the Cuban people, and American businesses are effectively being shut out of the Cuban market. Brazil, China, Canada, Spain and other countries are laughing all the way to the bank!

University of North Carolina profesor Louis Pérez to deliver "The Cultural Politics of Identity and the Cuban Revolution"

Golz Lecture: "The Cultural Politics of Identity and the Cuban Revolution" (Louis Pérez)

4/29/2010 at 7:30 p.m. in Searles-315, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The lecture for the 2009-2010 academic year will be delivered in April 2010 by Lou Pérez an authority on the nineteenth and twentieth century Spanish-speaking Caribbean, especially Cuba.

Professor Pérez is the J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned his M.A. at the University of Arizona in 1966 and his Ph. D from the University of New Mexico in 1970. He also serves as the director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is considered a major force for developing the field of Cuban studies in the US, especially in opening the island to American academics. An article about his role in Cuban studies appeared in 2000 in The New York Times. Currently he is both the editor of the UNC Press book series "Envisioning Cuba" and of the journal Cuban Studies. Most recently, Professor Pérez was inducted into the 2008 class of fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent policy research centers.

His book On Becoming Cuban won the 2000 Bolton-Johnson Prize from the Conference on Latin American History and was a 2000 Choice Outstanding Academic Title. Professor Pérez’s other books include To Die in Cuba: Suicide and Society (winner of the 2007 Elsa Goveia Prize from the Association of Caribbean Historians), Winds of Change: Hurricanes and the Transformation of Nineteenth-Century Cuba (winner of the 2001 George Perkins Marsh Prize from the American Society for Environmental History), and The War of 1898: The United States and Cuba in History and Historiography (a 1999 Choice Outstanding Academic Title).

Aroldis Chapman wins his first Minor League game

Players of El Béisbol Cubano

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cuba ought to take drastic steps to resolve its rapidly deterioriting economy

Anyone who has visited this blog since I started it back in December 2005, knows that I am one Cuban émigré who constantly comes to a quick defense of the current Cuban government. The capitalists in the United States and especially in Miami, which has a whole industry dedicated to constantly attacking the island's government, would like to go back to the times before 1959, when foreigners exploited Cubans on a daily basis. It was a paradise they say! Yes, it was paradise for the American Ambassador and the American Mafia.

This week I was surfing the Internet and I came across a website that is dedicated to sports, not politics. One recent Cuban-born visitor had a long report about his recent visit to the island. His tone was one of sadness. He didn't attack the government for violating anyone's human rights. That is a red herring promoted by Yankee imperialists and European colonialists. The story that he told about the current state of the Cuban economy was not pretty. He came across as being extremely sad and disappointed.

Hardly a week goes by that I don't get an email or an attempted blog comment that does not call me a communist or a Castro agent. I laugh it off.

I have said it in the past, and I will say it one more time: Cuba's centrally planned economy is not planned very well, because it does not work very well. Why is it that the same effort that is put in place to have a good health-care and educational system can not be put in place to make sure that Cuba is able to produce enough food or have enough toilet paper for its citizens?

You can not fill people's stomachs with never ending ideology and speeches. If the People's Republic of China can have a growing and expanding economy, why is it that Cuba can't? Too many bureaucrats? Too much corruption?

I am not an expert in economics, but something has got to give. The Cuban government ought to declare another special period to tackle the huge economic problems that it faces. If everyone wants to leave the island, that is not a good sign.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Incredible baseball play at home plate!

FBI is investigating Marco Rubio

Talking Points Memo reports that Federal Bureau of Investigation agents “have begun several probes into spending and tax records at the Florida Republican Party -- including an investigation into the finances of Senate candidate Marco Rubio.”

“That investigation, run by the IRS, stems from an existing scandal surrounding the use of Florida GOP-issued American Express cards by elected officials and members of the party organization. The list of officials under investigation includes Rubio, and is essentially a search for evidence that could lead to future charges.”

JG: Marco Rubio runs with the extremist ultra right wing crowd from Miami. Kendrick Meek isn't any better; he receives cash from the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC. Two very bad choices for the Florida electorate.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Venezuela celebrates independence bicentenary

Bolivian President Evo Morales (left) and Cuba's President, Raul Castro (second left), were also on attendance with Mr. Chavez's eldest daughter, Rosa Virginia, right.

Venezuela celebrates bicentenary with Caracas parade

Page last updated at 22:56 GMT, Monday, 19 April 2010 23:56 UK

BBC

BBC News, Caracas

Celebrations have been taking place in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, to mark the country's bicentenary.

A large parade included the military and different groups from across Venezuelan society.

Attending the celebrations were allies of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, such as President Raul Castro from Cuba and President Evo Morales from Bolivia.

Mr Chavez said his socialist policies were part of the same battle as that of independence hero Simon Bolivar.

Leading up to the celebrations marking 200 years since the start of the process that led to the country's eventual independence from Spain, he called for a civil-military celebration in the Avenue of the Independence Heroes.

As a result, his supporters have turned out in their thousands - bussed into Caracas from across Venezuela.

This has been a pro-Chavez party like no other.

A parade drawn from every sector of society has trooped past the socialist leader - including Venezuela's Olympic athletes, Afro-Caribbean descendants and indigenous groups.

The military has been ever-present too, with F-16 fighter jets screaming overhead.

Everywhere are red T-shirts, red baseball caps and Venezuelan flags.

Opening the celebrations, President Chavez said his socialist revolution was "part of the same battle as Simon Bolivar's" and many of his supporters agree.

"I completely agree - this is the dream of our liberator, Simon Bolivar, that we create Latin American unity - one nation, one people," said one man.

Another reveller talked of a "struggle for resistance".

"The indigenous people in the parade, for example, are fighting against deculturalisation - having a culture imposed which we don't want," she said.

However Mr Chavez's opponents remain sceptical.

For them, the display of so much military and armed civilian might is a demonstration of how radicalised and divided Venezuela has become under Mr Chavez.

They do not share the sentiment that the 200-year anniversary is a reason for celebration given, they say, the way in which Mr Chavez has used the memory of Bolivar to further his own ends.

But whether Venezuelans agree with him or not, Mr Chavez will be glad of a strong dose of national pride with just a few months to go before crucial elections.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Poll shows Americans want better ties with Cuba

(Reuters) - A majority of Americans believe the United States should improve its long-strained relationship with Cuba and reestablish diplomatic and business ties, an opinion poll showed on Monday [04/19/2010].

U.S.

A Cuba Business Bureau/Insider Advantage poll of 401 people showed that 58 percent of those surveyed supported full diplomatic relations with Cuba, while 33 percent opposed it.

The poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points, also showed that 61 percent believed U.S. citizens should be allowed to travel to Cuba and 57 percent thought Washington should allow U.S. companies to do business in Cuba.

The United States has lifted some limits on Cuban Americans traveling and sending money to Cuba and initiated talks with Havana on migration and mail service.

But U.S. President Barack Obama has said the economic embargo will stay until Cuba improves human rights and frees political detainees.

(Reporting by Deborah Charles, Editing by Sandra Maler)

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JG: The Democratic Party, under Barack H. Obama, is not interested in any of the results of this poll. They are firmly committed to following the failed policies of George W. Bush and the Miami Mafia. Or, like a ten year old would say, "Monkey See, Monkey Do!"

Martín Dihigo - "El Maestro"

Martín Dihigo plaque.
Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame.

Make sure that you visit and read the excellent Martín Dihigo Bio at Mop-Up Baseball.

Upon retiring from baseball Dihigo became a radio broadcaster for Cuban League Games. In 1952 he fled Cuba as a protest towards the government of Fulgencio Batista. His playing days were over, but as it turned out, he had not yet had his greatest impact on Cuban baseball. In 1952 Dihigo met someone whom he would later describe as a “smiling young man in a Prussian-blue suit” at a restaurant in Mexico City. It was Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Subsequently Dihigo gave modest financial support to the Granma expedition, which launched Fidel Castro’s over throw of Batista.

Dihigo returned to Cuba after Castro’s successful revolution in 1959. He became minister of sports under Castro’s new communist regime. He also spent time developing an interlocking system of amateur baseball leagues for all levels from grade school youths to the best adult players in the country. He then taught baseball in Matanzas, and created national standards to be established for the technical aspects of the game.

Dihigo is buried in Cruces, Cuba and there is a bust depicting Martin Dihigo at Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba, where he is known as “El Immortal.”

Raul Castro on a state visit to Venezuela


The President of the Council of States and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, Raul Castro, arrived in Maracaibo, Venezuela, yesterday for an official state visit, reports Cuban daily Granma.

Not One, but Two Days of Infamy.

Alberto N Jones
April 18, 2010
 
At 5:00 PM on April 19, 1961, the Cuban government sent out its third and final military statement announcing, that all invading forces holed-up in their last outpost in Cayo Largo, had surrendered to the Cuban Armed Forces and the Militia.

This apparently simple military communiqué would become a world wide symbol of the United States vulnerability, in which it had invested endless military, political, intelligence and financial resources, only to see it evaporate before their eyes, less than 72 hours after it began.

For approximately 18 months, hundreds of Cuban exiles had been trained by the US Army, CIA and the State Department at Useppa Island, Homestead AFB, Opa Locka and Miami International Airport in Florida, Ft. Gluck and Ft. Clayton in Panama, by the Alabama National Guard, at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Ft Benning, GA, at Belle Chase, New Orleans, Vieques, Puerto Rico, Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, Quetzaltenango base in Guatemala and others.

The CIA had created hundreds of counterrevolutionary groups in Cuba, charged with spreading diversionary rumors, bombing public buildings, terrorizing teachers, uprisings across the country and sabotaging industrial and farming facilities. Many CIA funded radio stations pumped scare-tactics news and false military actions throughout the country, in a failed effort to break the will of the Cuban people.

Underreported by the media, is the important role played by Guantanamo Naval Base, which in fact, acted as a safe heaven and beachhead in Cuba from where, millions of useless pesos in the hands of Batista supporters, rich Cubans and early dissenters were laundered in broad daylight, meetings with CIA operatives and Cuban counterrevolutionaries employed or hiding on the base took place unhindered, and counterrevolutionary agents were regularly flown in and out of that military enclave.

The most important, dangerous and unforeseeable consequence that Guantanamo Naval Base was engaged in during its infamous history, was by receiving, harboring and allowing a group of Cuban counterrevolutionary men, armed with Russian weapons and dressed in Cuban military fatigue, were allowed to enter Cuba through its gates, charged with executing an auto-attack on this facility, -Remember the Maine, Gulf of Tonkin-, which would be followed by the US self defense reaction to this enclave, by bombing Cuba back into the stone ages. Operation Northwood’s provide an in depth description of this and other sinister plans of the US government.
 
Yet, most Cubanologists, mainstream media and historians, have devoted hundreds of articles attempting to determine, if the failure of this reprehensible and treacherous invasion was lost because of a lack of air support, fire power or wrong landing site, without ever questioning the morality of this action or condemning its perpetrators.

Much in tune with the overall, rotten principle of this enterprise was, the sleazy bombing raid on Cuba’s three air fields two days before the invasion, by using B-26´s disguised with fake Cuban Air Force markings in hopes of neutralizing their Air Force and by presenting to the media in Miami, a B-26 littered with fake anti-aircraft bullets and its crew, as defecting Cuban Air Force personnel, which was later shamefully presented by Adlai Stevenson to the UN Security Council.

How can anyone plan an execute such a treacherous act, when precisely twenty years before, the Japanese Air Force attacked and destroyed the US fleet in Pearl Harbor, leading president Harry Truman to declare December 7th, as A Day of Infamy, declaring war on Japan and entering into WW II?

And today, 49 years after this heinous act, the perpetrators and intellectual authors have not come to grips with their disgraceful behavior, accepted their responsibility, apologized to the Cuban people, the wounded and dead, but rather, they are actively hosting a series of events in south Florida in honor the victimizers and strengthening the punishing 50 year old embargo on innocent Cubans, because the Cubans dared to defend their homeland.

As a survivor and on behalf of tens of thousands of friends, family and neighbors living in Guantanamo, a mere 12 miles away from the US Naval Base or Ground Zero, we have no doubts, our city would have been pulverized and we would have occasionally been remembered, as the victims of Coventry, Dresden, Lidice, Mi Lay or Nagasaki.

To those whose defensive actions saved the lives of tens of thousands of fellow citizens in Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Havana and everything in between, we can humbly say, Thank You Very Much, for all what you have done.

Friendship or dictates and impositions?

One of the greatest president of the United States, Franklin Delano Rooseveldt, gave to the nations of this hemisphere the widely applauded and acclaimed 'Good Neighbor Policy.' During FDR's administration the infamous 'Platt Amendment' was repealed. A new era that rejected political rhetoric was launched. He is revered and loved to this day.

Today, we have in the White House a president that many citizens in the U.S. had great hopes for. So far, he has chosen to continue the failed polices of the Republican Party in regards to Cuba. He continues the Cuba embargo, which is more than than an embargo, it is a state of finacial and economic warfare directed against eleven million people in the largest island of the Caribbean. The embargo does not hurt Fidel or Raul.

His message to the Cuban people is “you have to do what I tell you to do, or we will not let you breath.” So far, his policies toward Cuba are based on arrogance and might makes right.

He seems to be saying to the world “your 187-3 vote at U.N. General Assembly, condemning the Cuba embargo, does not mean a hill of beans to us. We are a mighty country and we only will accept a democratic vote when it promotes our economic interests.”

Barack H. Obama does not want friendship with Cuba, or with Venezuela, or with Bolivia, or with Nicaragua or Brazil or Ecuador. When it comes to Cuba he has chosen to continue perpetrating the policy failures of his ten predecessors.

We do not need preachers. We need a new Cuba policy which starts by repealing the Cuba embargo. Cuba has a right to choose its own system.

The Cuban people would have to be incredibly stupid to accept Obama's dictates and impositions. I have great doubts that he will ever be as great as FDR. How sad! I hope that he will surprise me and proves that I am mistaken.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Playa Girón: In the Heart of Cubans


Solvision

Friday, 16 April 2010 09:53

Elayne Valera Cobas


Guantanamo.

Playa Girón, Bay of Pigs, has a special significance for all Cubans. This place is located in the western province of Matanzas, in Cuba. That name has transcended in time, in Apr 1961 that town witnessed one of the most glorious pages in the history of the island, the first greatest defeat of US imperialism in Latin America.

The story began from the very first of January 1959 with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. The government of the United States, which served as shelter to the murderers and thugs of the overthrown bloody dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, was-and still remains-as the perfect habitat to nurture the most nefarious plans against the Cuban government and people.

On April 15, 1961, aircrafts coming from the United States of America, camouflaged with Cuban insignias, unsurprising bombed several Cuban airports in Ciudad Libertad, San Antonio de los Baños and Santiago de Cuba, respectively.

The strategy was conceived as the prelude of the invasion to Playa Girón planned by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The treacherous attack was faced by the brave Cuban defense forces and the mercenaries fled northwards.

The next day, April 16, during the funeral of the bombarding victims, the Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro, proclaimed the socialist nature of the Cuban Revolution, which for 50 years is a bastion of the Cuban people who defend their sovereignty and social justice.

With the same patriotic fervor in which Cubans vowed that day to preserve their conquests, the people triumphed over the mercenary invasion and defeated them in 72 hours. It was the result of joint actions at that time: the Cuban Rebel Army, the National Revolutionary Police, the militia men and the people in general, a union that prevails and makes valid the sentence of the historic leader of the Revolution:

"They shall not have Cuba ever!"

Those were days that cannot be forgotten, as Fidel Castro said in his recent reflection, because the commitment to the martyrs of Girón is an everlasting inspiration for all Cubans, who for half a century have waged a relentless battle against the greatest power of the world that still is not aware that the Cubans have built in front of their eyes, the first socialist revolution in Latin America.

Los Angeles repudiates Nazi provocateurs


Police manage a group of counter-protesters as National Socialist Movement rally participants are escorted to their cars. Some in the crowd threw rocks and bottles at the neo-Nazis and police. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times / April 17, 2010)

White supremacist rally at L.A. City Hall draws violent counter-protest

By Robert Faturechi and Richard Winton

April 18, 2010


A rally of about 40 white supremacists Saturday on the lawn of Los Angeles City Hall drew hundreds of counter-protesters, sparked brawls in which two people were severely beaten and ended with crowds of demonstrators hurling rocks and bottles at police and departing supremacists.

More...

Cuba Is Back to the Trenches!

An authorized translation by Havana Times (from the Spanish original) published by BBC Mundo.

Fernando Ravsberg

HAVANA TIMES, April 15 – In Cuba these days we are seeing concerts in support of the Revolution, ceremonies of patriotic demands at workplaces, fiery statements in the press by readers, and speeches by those who remind people they mustn’t yield – “not even an inch.”

The country is going back to the trenches. The siege mentality returns in the face of the “foreign threat” —embodied this time by the United States and the European Union— which in words of Raul Castro have launched an “enormous smear campaign against Cuba.”

The Cuban government seems to have conceded in advance the lost battle with the international press, accusing them of complicity, but it is preparing to extract the maximum political gain from the confrontation, calling on the island’s population to close ranks.

The best example of this is Silvio Rodriguez, an artist who sought to express an independent position by outlining some criticisms of the government. Instantly, several international press agencies presented him almost as a convert.

Dozens of articles, editorials and letters appeared trying to push the founder of the nueva trova movement to break with the government. Silvio’s response made no one wait – he opened the recital last weekend in support of the Cuban Revolution.

The first victim of this battle will be domestic political debate, because many intellectual Cubans don’t appreciate it when their questioning and criticism of the system are used to justify the American embargo or the common position of Europe.

The perception of some of them is that —just like in the movies— “anything you say can be used against you” by the enemies of the Revolution. This has therefore introduced polarized language, that which leaves no space for doubts.

The statements of singers, musicians and painters evidence the atmosphere in which we live: “We’ll never give in,” “these are the times that define us, it’s necessary to unite,” “we must never kneel down” and even “if we have to take up arms, we will take them up.”

Across the entire island, firms halt work to report on the “international campaign against Cuba” and for workers to speak out against “imperialism, which has sought to destroy us for 50 years.”

The postures are becoming radicalized. My friend — a housewife in a practically apolitical home — told me the other day, “I don’t care what happens to that guy on a hunger strike because all he’s doing is allowing them to screw with us from abroad.”

Nor is the other side contributing much to a relaxation of tension. President Obama just authorized clandestine trips by Americans to the island to sneak in money and equipment to the dissident movement – tens of millions of dollars in total.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ruled out the possibility of understanding by arguing that the Cuban government doesn’t want an end to the embargo because “they would lose all their excuses.” Havana responded in turn by inviting her to suspend the blockade to see if the Revolution would in fact fall.

But Hillary could have something there. The French thinker Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “Grand revolutions that triumph make the causes that produced them disappear and, as a consequence, these very success becomes incomprehensible to the next generation.”

In this sense, the Cuban government has indeed benefited from American hostility, because this has become a permanent reminder that one of the causes that triggered the Cuban Revolution was the centuries-long dispute with the United States.

The current policies of Washington are the same as those that have failed for 50 years, which is why many believe they will continue to fail. Hillary Clinton herself recently surprised everyone by openly recognizing, “It’s possible that (transition in Cuba) won’t happen in the short term.”

Chavez Meets with Fidel and Raul

Cuban News Agency

HAVANA, Cuba, Apr 16 (ACN) The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, coming from Nicaragua and accompanied by a delegation from his government, carried out on Thursday a working visit to Cuba.

During his stay on the island, he met with Commander in Chief Fidel Castro. During the meeting, they tackled different aspects of the fruitful relations of work existing between the two peoples, as well as several topics of the international situation, the Granma and Juventud Rebelde newspapers report.

In exchanges with the President of the councils of State and Ministers, Raul Castro, the performance of cooperation between the two countries and ways to consolidate the development of wide-ranging economic and social projects, were examined.

Before his departure, Chavez, accompanied by Raul, Cuban leaders, and the Venezuelan delegation, visited a community in the process of expansion, located in the Havana municipality of Playa, where they animatedly spoke with neighbors.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

49th anniversary of the infamous landings at the Bay of Pigs

In a day like today, 49 years ago, Miami mercenaries organized, financed and directed by the CIA, landed at the Bay of Pigs, Cuba.

66 hours later, they would be slapped on their faces, defeated militarily and sent to Cuban jails.

Honor to the memory of those who gave up their lives to defend Cuba's sovereignty!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What American politicians got “contributions” from the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC for the first quarter of 2010?

Corrupt American politicians continue raking in “contributions” from the U.S.-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee.

Since this a Congressional Election year, you can expect later on during the next nine months, that these Champions of Cuban Democracy will send more cash to those politicians who are willing to sell their votes in the U.S. Congress to further the political agenda of the Miami anti-Cuba ultra right wingers.

Here is a list of those esteemed politicians and how much dough they got from this illustrious group.

Source: Schedule B (Federal Election Commission, Form 3X)

JOHN H ADLER, New Jersey, House District 03, 03/10/2010, $2,000.00
MICHAEL A ARCURI, New York, House District 24, 02/19/2010,$1,000.00
JOHN J BARROW, Georgia, House District 12, 01/11/2010, $1,000.00
MELISSA LUBURICH BEAN, Illinois, House District 8, 01/11/2010, $1,000.00
MARK BEGICH, Alaska, Senate, 02/03/2010, $2,500.00
HOWARD L BERMAN, California, House District 28, 02/19/2010, $2,000.00
JO BONNER, Alabama, House District 1, 03/22/2010, $1,000.00
F ALLEN BOYD JR, Florida, House District 2, 03/22/2010, $1,000.00
RICHARD M BURR, North Carolina, Senate, 02/03/2010, $2,500.00
DAN L BURTON, Indiana, House District 05, 01/11/2010, $2,000.00
RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri, House District 3, 02/19/2010, $1,000.00
ROBERT P CASEY JR, Pennsylvania, Senate, 03/22/2010, $2,500.00
MICHAEL K CONAWAY, Texas, House District 11, 02/19/2010, $1,000.00
ROBERT P CORKER JR, Tennessee, Senate, 01/11/2010, $1000.00
HENRY R CUELLAR, Texas, House District 28, 02/19/2010, $1,000.00
KATHLEEN DAHLKEMPER, Pennsylvania, House District 3, 03/22/2010, $1,000.00
THEODORE E DEUTCH, Florida, House District 3, 03/10/2010, $2,500.00
KIRSTEN ELIZABETH GILLIBRAND, New York, Senate, 02/03/2010, $4,000.00
SAMUEL B GRAVES, Missouri, House District 6, 03/02/2010, $1,000.00
PHILLIP G HARE, Illinois, House District 17, 01/11/2010, $1,000.00
JOHN HARDY ISAKSON, Georgia, Senate, 03/10/2010, $1,000.00
JOSEPH D MALONE, Massachusetts, House District 10, 01/29/2010, $5,000.00
JIM MARSHALL, Georgia, House District 3, 03/22/2010, $1,000.00
THADDEUS G MCCOTTER, Michigan, House District 11, 01/11/2010, $2,000.00
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey, Senate, 01/29/2010, $5,000.00
PATRICK J MURPHY, Pennsylvania, House District 8, 03/10/2010, $2,000.00
MIKE PENCE, Indiana, House District 6, 02/10/2010, $2,010.00
ED PERLMUTTER, Colorado, House District 7, 03/10/2010, $1,000.00
JOHN T SALAZAR, Colorado, House District 9, 03/29/2010, $2,500.00
ADAM SCHIFF, California, House District 29, 02/19/2010, $2,000.00
RICHARD C SHELBY, Alabama, Senate, 03/10/2010, $1,500.00
JOSEPH HEATH SCHULER, North Carolina, House District 11, 03/22/2010, $500.00
JOSEPH HEATH SCHULER, North Carolina, House District 11, 03/22/2010, $500.00
IKE SKELTON, Missouri, House District 4, 03/02/2010, $4,000.00
IKE SKELTON, Missouri, House District 4, 03/02/2010, $1,000.00
ADRIAN SMITH, Nebraska, House District, 3, 03/22/2010, $1,000.00
CHRISTOPHER H SMITH, New Jersey, House District 4, 02/19/2010, $1,000.00
BETTY S SUTTON, Ohio, House District 13, 03/22/2010, $1,000.00
PATRICK J TIBERI, Ohio, House District 12, 03/10/2010, $1,000.00
ED WHITFIELD, Kentucky, House District 1, 3/22/2010, $2,000.00
DAVID WU, Oregon, House District 1, 01/11/2010, $2,000.00

Obama's insanity

The Cuba embargo has been going on now for very close to fifty years. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to realize that its original aim and intention, the overthrow of the Cuban government and the starvation of the Cuban people into submission, has not been accomplished.

George W. Bush was fanatically anti-Cuba. He even went as far as creating a “Commission for a Free Cuba” and named a military governor who would rule Cuba after “freedom” returned to the island. He can be excused for his excesses. Dubbya was as dumb as people come. Many regard him as the worst U.S. president ever.

Enter now Barack H. Obama. He came across as a very intelligent person when he campaigned for the White House, and yet he continues to support the Cuba embargo.

Popular wisdom states that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Do we have a sane person in the White House right now, in regards to the Cuba embargo?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Miami's super-rich want to raise $34,500 per couple for the Democratic Party National Committee

I have always said, and I will continue to say, that when it comes to money “contributions” the Democrats are more corrupt than the Republicans. They sell their souls and “convictions” faster.

Gloria and Emilio Estefan, prominent celebrities in Miami-Dade county, are going to open their home tomorrow for a a $34,500 per couple fund-raiser for the Democratic Party National Committee, reports the SunSentinel.com.

During the eight years of the George W. Bush presidency, when the Republicans controlled the White House and the U.S. Congress, the Miami anti-Cuba fanatics bribed them to continue the Cuba embargo. Now that the Democratic Party controls the White House and the Congress, they will do the same thing with the Blue Party.

When the top Democratic hierarchy and Barack Obama show up at Gloria's and Emilio Estefan's house tomorrow, the first thing that they will say to the super rich couple is: SHOW ME THE MONEY!

The quid pro quo? Barack Obama and his party will continue the failed Cuba embargo, and will blame Fidel and Raul for having to do it. Or like Flip Wilson's Geraldine would have said: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!

Welcome to Barack Obama's 'change you can believe in.' What a fraud the guy is!

The infamous co-author of the Helms-Burton Act does not know the difference between a Margarita and a Mojito

Anytime that I am bored, and do not have much going on, I seek amusement by reading parts of the U.S. Congressional Record. Sometimes it is so funny that I can hardly stop laughing. Specially when the Diaz-Balart's brothers or Ileana 'La Loba Feroz' Ros-Lehtinen are talking in the floor of the House about “freedom” and “liberty” for Cuba, (made in USA, of course).

Here is a case in point. U.S. Representative Dan Burton of Indiana, the infamous co-author of the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, spoke on the floor of the House on March 23, 2010. I some times wonder which is the biggest shame, Dan Burton being the co-author of the act, together with racist Jesse Helms, or Bill Clinton signing it into law after the shot-down of two airplanes who were violating Cuban airspace.

Congressional Record, March 23, 2010.

Mr. BURTON of Indiana. So, tonight, I am adding my support to LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART and MARIO DIAZ-BALART in their Special Order because Cuba should be free. It is only 90 miles from our border. Most of the people down there yearn to have their freedom and the democracy we have here in the United States. Instead, they live in abject poverty and drive cars that are 50 years old because of the economy down there. If they work and the company they are working for is paid in dollars, that money has to go to the government and they are paid in pesos, which are worth almost nothing, and so people are kept in abject poverty with no hope except to continue to live that way.

So I hope and I pray that there will be freedom and democracy in Cuba . I hope it will be before too long. I hope that people like President Chavez in Venezuela will stop giving support to the Cuban communist government. And if there is anything that the United States can do to stop Mr. Chavez from buoying up that government, I certainly want to see us do that, because he is absolutely committed to not only keeping Cuba a communist country, but spreading communism throughout Central and South America.

But as long as the Diaz-Balart brothers are willing to fight and as long as ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN is willing to fight, I will be glad to carry their bags, because Cuba should and must be free. And one day Cuba will be free. And when it is free, we are all going to go down there and I am going to let the Diaz-Balart brothers buy me a margarita and we will all celebrate together.

Viva Cuba libre.

Mr. MARIO DIAZ-BALART of Florida. I thank the gentleman for his steadfast support for freedom.

----------

JG: I think Mr. Burton had too many margaritas that day, before he spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. He's got Mexico and Cuba confused, poor fellow.

Mr. Burton, here is a quick one minute lesson about the national drinks of Mexico and Cuba.

The Margarita is the national drink of Mexico. It is made with Tequila. The Mojito is the national drink of Cuba, it is made with Havana Club Rum.

Mr. Burton, I hope that you will amend and extend your remarks on the U.S. Congressional Record to take care of this faux pas on your part.

130th anniversary of the first baseball game in Cuba at Palmar de Junco


This Souvenir Sheet issued by Cuba Correos in 2004 commemorates the 130th anniversary of the first official baseball game in Cuba, which took place in Palmar de Junco in 1874.

The 1.00 Peso stamp memorializes Cuba's Immortal Martin Dihigo.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Aroldis Chapman makes his debut with AAA Louisville Bats


Chapman electrifies Toledo in U.S. debut

Cuban phenom fans nine in 4 2/3 innings, hitting 101 on radar


By Joe Vardon / Special to MLB.com

04/11/10 6:22 PM ET

TOLEDO, Ohio -- The Minor League debut of Reds pitching sensation Aroldis Chapman was befitting a man destined for a quick and major change of scenery.

Chapman, the Cuban defector who signed a six-year, $30.25 million deal with Cincinnati on Jan. 11, lit up the radar gun and opposing hitters in his first U.S. regular-season appearance on Sunday with the Triple-A Louisville Bats. Facing the Toledo Mud Hens, Detroit's Triple-A affiliate, Chapman allowed one unearned run, struck out nine and unleashed three pitches that registered 101 mph in 4 2/3 innings of the Bats' 2-1 triumph.

"No debut compares to that at this level," Louisville manager Rick Sweet said. "As soon as the radar gun hit 100, you could hear the buzz in the ballpark."

Chapman, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound lefty from Holguin, Cuba, walked one batter in his 85 pitches and threw 55 strikes. Of the five hits -- all singles -- Chapman allowed, only former Tigers player Clete Thomas' sharp second-inning grounder past the second baseman left the infield.

"I was happy today that everything went about how I wanted it to," Chapman said through interpreter and team trainer Tomas Vera. "Of course, there were pitches that couldn't do what I wanted them to, but overall, I was happy."

While Chapman used his off-speed pitches with varying degrees of success, his fastball was simply too much for Toledo to handle. He fired 10 pitches that read 99 mph or faster and five that traveled at least 100 mph.

Game Boxscore

Chapman Photos Gallery

Click here to see the video of Aroldis Chapaman's debut.



Interview at the Louisville Bats Stadium after his outing on Sunday, 4/12/2010

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Cuban left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman is scheduled to make his debut at Louisville Slugger Field on Friday, April 16 when the Bats take on the Columbus Clippers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Gates will open at 6:00 and first pitch is scheduled for 7:05.

Louisville Bats Website

Aroldis Chapman Statistics

25th edition of the Haarlem Baseball Tournament


Date: July 9-18, 2010

Place: Haarlem, The Netherlands, Pim Mulier Stadium

Teams: Holland, Cuba, Venezuela, Japan, Taiwan, USA

Source: BaseballdeCuba.com

Cuba: Clinton's comments on Castros 'cynical'

The Washington Post

By WILL WEISSERT
The Associated Press
Monday, April 12, 2010; 3:42 PM

HAVANA -- Cuban state media dismissed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as a cynic on Monday for her assertion that Fidel and Raul Castro don't want Washington's 48-year embargo lifted because they would no longer be able to blame America for their country's problems.

Clinton's comment last week "mixed ignorance and falsehoods at an infinite level," state-run Radio Reloj said.

"If cynicism needed an expression that would immortalize it, the American secretary of state gave it," the station said in a report read over the air and posted on its Web site.

Clinton's remarks also appeared without further commentary on Cubadebate, the government Internet site where Fidel Castro publishes frequent opinion pieces.

More...

The campaigns of the Damas de Washington continue

The well orchestrated anti-Cuba campaigns of the Yankee imperialists continue. $45 millions from George W. Bush and $20 millions from Barack H. Obama are enough inducements. There always will be plenty of people who are willing to sell their souls to the devil.

The Internet brings us reports this morning that, one more time, the Cuban government had to protect the so-called Damas de Washington from the ire of those Cuban citizens who support their government.

I wish there was peace and that the two countries could get along with each other. But the hatred of the capitalists for the word Socialism is like catnip to the wild crowd in Washington, D.C.

If you wish it, it will come?

Miami's anti-Cuba Mafia continues with their never ending wishes and hopes.

Do you remember July 31, 2006? An average person living in the United States would probably say “What is the big deal about that date?” He/she probably would not know or care that on that day, Cuban President Fidel Castro transferred power to the first Vice-President of the Council of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba. That person was Raul Castro, brother and one of the historical leaders of the Cuban Revolution. Fidel Castro had just gone through an emergency gastro-intestinal operation and he was not able to carry out his official duties.

I remember perfectly that date. The following day an avalanche of capitalist news media reports were published, none of them based on actual facts, but merely depended on wishful thinking and misguided hopes of both the United States government and Miami's Cuban Mafia. The end is near, most of those reports told us. A transition is about to happen in Cuba. The CIA even promised us that Fidel Castro had but only a few months to live. None of it happened.

So, today I had to laugh very hard when I read another “report” from the Gusano Herald which stated that there was frustration in Cuba. They are grasping at straws. They quote five or six individuals who all have their opinions about this so-called frustration. And yes, they quote again CIA ex-analyst Brian Latell, a person so discredited by his past predictions that he has zero or very little credibility. It is part of his very lucrative business to write “reports” which disparage the Cuban government. USAID probably pays him very well for his writing.

If Fidel Castro were to pass away a year, three years or five years from today, they will write reports that say: “You see, I told you so.”

What a bunch of idiots! There is nothing wrong with having opinions. But in order to convert opinions into reality or facts you need Merlin the Magician, or Mandrake El Mago.

If we embrace “If you wish it, it will come,” will it happen? Just like in “Field of Dreams?”

“Aquellos que viven de ilusiones, mueren de desengaños."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cuba will not accept lectures from anyone

Whether the name is Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, the Republic of Cuba, because it is a sovereign and independent state, will not accept lectures from the imperialists in Washington or Brussels.

That is just not my opinion, but the opinion of millions of Cubans who live inside and outside the island. The bad Cubans are the ones who sell their souls for twelve pieces of silver and who constantly kneel before their foreign masters.

Oh, how they dream about going back to the state of affairs in Cuba before January, 1, 1959. Back then the American Mafia and the American ambassador ran the island through pliant puppets with names like Machado, Grau, Prio and Batista.

The imperialists want to go back to the island. They tell all those who would be fooled that they only want to bring “democracy” to Cuba. It would be a system which would be based on the rule of the U.S. dollar. If the enemies of the Cuban people go back , the health care and the educational system of the island would be terminated. The ricachones who live in Miami would reclaim their mansions and the exploitation of the Cuban people would re-start all over again.

Would you trade a cow for a goat?

1947: Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers train in La Habana





Prior to making Vero Beach their spring training home, the Dodgers were international vagabonds. In 1947, the Dodgers trained in La Habana, Cuba, as this program cover for games from February 20 to April 6 shows

In February 1947, the Dodgers had set up their training camp in La Habana, Cuba, a long way from the Borough of Brooklyn, but Branch Rickey strategically wanted to keep his “great experiment” under wraps as long and as quietly as possible. Racial discrimination was less prevalent in La Habana, where black players had regularly participated in the Cuban Winter Leagues. Although Jackie Robinson would not be housed at the team’s headquarters, the plush Hotel Nacional, he would have relative insulation and a safe haven at the Hotel Boston in old Havana. Branch Rickey had prepared Robinson in the isolation of Cuba for the huge task ahead.

Source: www.walteromalley.com

Saturday, April 10, 2010

We will defend the truth with our ethics and our principles

EDITORIAL

THE empire and its allies have launched a new crusade in an attempt to demonize Cuba. Its powerful political and media machinery has set in motion a colossal operation of deception with the object of discrediting the revolutionary process, destabilizing the country and provoking the conditions for the destruction of our social system.

In this heated campaign they are using their mercenaries at their whim. In order to obtain shameful political dividends they are tossing them to their deaths without the most minimal concern for those human beings; just as they have never cared about the death of more than 3,000 Cubans as a result of acts of terrorism organized and financed from the United States, or the fate of the 2,000-plus compatriots mutilated by those abominable acts, or citizens who have perished in the Strait of Florida having launched themselves on ill-fated adventures after the siren calls of the murderous Cuban Adjustment Act.

They are cynically invoking the human rights that they themselves have disregarded and are still disregarding with impunity today in diverse parts of the world. They are hypocritically accusing the Revolution of being responsible for the death of one person, a common prisoner who, thanks to the anti-Cuba campaigns and the abundant resources and means dedicated to that end, they have dressed up as a political prisoner, to be sacrificed to serving as the launch pad for the denigration of the nation that has made the greatest effort in the world to save lives, by sending tens of thousands of its selfless health workers to cooperate in more than 100 countries. The Revolution that did not hesitate for one second to offer its doctors to come to the aid of U.S. citizens in New Orleans and other southern cities in the devastating wake of Hurricane Katrina; the Revolution that has given higher education to young people who were unable to graduate in their own nations, including a number from the United States; the Revolution that has placed at international disposition an innovative literacy method that has made it possible for millions of people in various countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Oceania to have access to the sacred human right of education and knowledge.

The Cuban Revolution has consistently acted on the basis of ethical, political and moral principles, following the teachings of Fidel. Respect for human beings is the essence of our system and has been one of the keys of popular support for the process since the heroic days of the Sierra Maestra, when the lives of enemy prisoners were always respected.

Despite the empire’s unvarying policy of hostility and constant aggression, ranging from armed invasion, terrorist acts of sabotage and attempts on the lives of Fidel and our leaders, to the promotion of subversion and a genocidal economic, commercial and financial blockade that has been in place for 50 years, the Revolution has never murdered, tortured or disappeared even one of its enemies.

Can the governments of the United States and the European countries that are shouting their heads off criticizing Cuba and condemning it as if they were vestal virgins, say the same thing? What can they say about the million dead in Iraq and the tens of thousands of victims in Afghanistan as a consequence of the illegal wars executed there? How can they explain the secret prisons and the torture of alleged terrorists? What is the legal basis for the selective assassinations that the United States has perpetrated against its enemies in various parts of the world with a special force headed during this period by the very same general who is now commanding the troops in Afghanistan? How can they justify the death in the last five years of more than 100 immigrants who were in the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement?

What human right sustains the brutal blows dealt to representatives of social movements protesting during the Climate Summit in Copenhagen or Californian students demanding a larger budget for and less money taken out of education? Who is supervising the humiliating treatment meted out to immigrants in hundreds of detention centers scattered throughout Europe? Have the U.S. Congress or the European Parliament and the right-wing parties of Europe, currently so concerned about Cuba, responded with alarm to, denounced or condemned these scandalous violations of human rights?

What is really making them concerned is the moral fortitude of the Revolution, its fidelity to principles, its growing prestige in our region, where it has become an important actor in promoting the integration process; its intelligent and serene response to confronting the harsh consequences of the international economic crisis and the blockade; and its clarity in terms of having to change what has to be changed in pursuit of attaining full justice for our people, as we have been asked by Fidel and Raúl.

It is for that reason that the empire and its European allies are drawing up plans, coordinating the work of their special services, sending their diplomats onto the streets to monitor the work of their paid agents on the island, and increasing funds for subversion in Cuba. The USAID alone has a budget of $20 million this year to supply counterrevolutionary group and finance the media attack on Cuba.

They are currently focusing their cynical campaign on another hunger striker – whose common crimes and counterrevolutionary acts were exposed in Granma last March 8 – and who is being offered all the qualified medical treatment he requires.

They are internationalizing his show while maintaining a cynical silence concerning his cruelty and criminal record, his aggression and death threats to a doctor, the director of the hospital where he worked, and his attack on a defenseless elderly man who had to undergo emergency surgery as a result of the injuries he received.

They are likewise kicking up a fuss around the self-denominated Damas de Blanco (Women in White), who are lending themselves to the enemy’s game while supporting themselves with dollars stained with Cuban blood, supplied among others by the terrorist Santiago Alvarez Fernández Magriñá, who attempted to blow up the Tropicana Cabaret and is the Miami benefactor of Luis Posada Carriles. Thus it is not surprising that the mastermind behind the sabotage of a Cubana de Aviación passenger plane and other execrable acts should have come out a few days ago in Miami to show his support for these "damas," whose only sanction to date has been the overwhelming and energetic repudiation of our people in the streets.

Receiving money from a terrorist organization is a felony that is severely punishable in the United States. So is acting in the service of a foreign power. The crimes of the so-called "dissidents" have nothing to do with freedom of expression, but are related to paid collaboration with the enemy superpower in its conspiracies against our nation. It is proven that all of them were in direct or indirect receipt of funds from the U.S. government and more than a few European foundations collaborating with the policy of war on Cuba.

What would happen to these "dissidents" if they acted in the country of their master in the same way they are in Cuba? The U.S. Penal Code sets out a sentence of 20 years for those who advocate the defeat of the government or the established order; 10 years for persons who make false statements with the aim of threatening national interests in relation to another nation, and three years for those who maintain "correspondence or relations with a foreign government" with the intention of influencing its conduct in relation to a conflict or controversy with the United States."

The enemy is using all its weapons of pressure. It is using political coercion and ordering the media annihilation of those wishing to show their solidarity with Cuba. It is attempting to silence any voice that is in discrepancy with its dictate. It has even forgotten the much-trumpeted "freedom of expression" by obliging Google to close the digital blog of a Cuban intellectual who has exposed with irrefutable arguments the real political propositions of the campaign against our homeland.

Nothing surprises us. They are the same perverse methods as those put into practice 50 years ago when President Eisenhower passed the Covert Action Plan against Cuba.

As compañero Raúl stated in the closing session of the 9th UJC Congress:

"More than half a century of permanent combat has taught our people that vacillation is synonymous with defeat."

"We will never yield to coercion from any country or group of nations, no matter how powerful they might be, and regardless of the consequences. We have the right to defend ourselves. Let them know that if they try to corner us, we will take cover, first and foremost with truth and principles. Once again we will be firm, calm, and patient. Our history is rich with such examples!"

We will make battle with our ideas, in our streets and in all international scenarios.

This May Day will receive an overwhelming and unequivocal response of support for the Revolution from our nation and its workers!

We will defend the truth with our ethics and our principles!

Translated by Granma International

La Habana, April 8th, 2010.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama want to keep an anachronistic cold war policy toward Cuba

It is the United States who is intransigent. It is the United States government of Barack H. Obama who wants to keep the current state of warfare with Cuba. His 'new beginning' with Cuba is nothing but a huge fraud and scam. Hillary and Barack are not smart enough to reintroduce FDR's 'Good Neighbor Policy'. Why? Because they are arrogant and display the typical traits of an empire: might makes right.

Things are not going very well in the United States since Obama assumed office on January 20 of 2009. Although I give him credit for the health care reform recently passed by Congress, his administration is more interested in confrontation than carrying out the “change you can believe in” that he promised as a presidential candidate. He comes across as too professorial, a person who constantly gives lectures to people who do not want to listen to his ill timed messages. He is not a re-conciliator. He displays all the traits of an aggressor bully.

On the Cuba issue he has chosen to continue supporting and enforcing the favorite policy of the Miami extremists, the Cuba embargo. When ultra-right-wingers start supporting the chief executive, you have to start doubting his real intentions.

My take of the situation is that Barack Obama will become another mediocre president like Bill Clinton.

On the fiscal side, Barack Obama continues to accumulate huge mountains of debts which ultimately may lead to the bankruptcy of the United States. What is happening in Greece could very well happen here. People could stop lending money to the United States. Economic catastrophe would follow.

If Cuba wants to continue being a sovereign and independent state, they must continue to resist the policies of Barack H. Obama and his Rasputin at Foggy Bottom. Listen Barack: the times before January 1, 1959, will not return to Cuba. Stop the hyperbole and hypocrisy of human rights!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Hillary Clinton misses again!

JG: Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill have always been officially certified Cuba haters. It all started back in 1996 when the two planes of the 'Brothers to the Rescue' were justifiably shot down after repeated violations of Cuban air space. The nuts in Miami have never learned the fact that if they play with fire they are going to get burned.

President Bill Clinton wanted to bomb Havana. The Yankee imperialist always solve everything by bombing, because they do not want to risk their asses. Someone convinced Bill not to bomb Havana and suggested that what he should do was to jump in bed with none other than U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, one of the most racist persons in the history of the U.S. Senate.

Today, the female Rasputin of the Obama administration, Hillary, declared:

Cuba's leadership does not want to normalize ties with Washington because they would "lose their excuses" for the country's lack of development and openness, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday.

Despite US efforts to "enhance cooperation," President Raul Castro and his brother Fidel "do not want to see an end to the embargo and do not want to see normalization with the United States because they would then lose all their excuses for what hasn't happened in Cuba in the last 50 years," Clinton said.

"I find that very sad, because there should be an opportunity for a transition" to democracy in Cuba, the only country in the Americas run by a communist regime.

"The people of Cuba should have democratically elected leaders and a chance to chart their own future. But unfortunately, I don't see that happening while the Castros are still in charge," the top US diplomat said.

JG: Hillary, sit down on your throne at the State Department, and keep on hoping and wishing about your "transition." It shows how ignorant and how little you know about the Cuban people. The Cuban people will not accept any dictates or impositions from either yourself or Barack Obama.

You are the aggressor country.

Worst lunches in the USA

Do you want to purchase a quick ticket to an early grave? Then go ahead an have one of these quick lunches.

Click here to read the article.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Cuba May Day march to counter human rights critics

By WILL WEISSERT (AP) – 1 hour ago

HAVANA — Cuba will use its annual May Day march as a huge show of popular support for the Castro government, its latest attempt to defend itself from criticism over human rights on the island.

An editorial in the Communist Party newspaper Granma titled "We defend the truth with our morals and principles" blasted the U.S. government Thursday, saying "the empire and its allies have launched a new crusade to demonize Cuba."

The editorial was similar to several opinion pieces in state-controlled newspapers recently that have blamed the foreign press, Washington and governments in Europe for glorifying dissidents Orlando Zapata Tamayo and Guillermo Farinas.

Zapata Tamayo died in February after a lengthy prison hunger strike, and Farinas has been refusing food and water for six weeks.

"On May 1, you will receive from our people and workers a resounding and unequivocal answer in support of the revolution," proclaimed the editorial, which took up the entire front page.

The revolution refers to the uprising that forced dictator Fulgencio Batista to flee and swept Fidel Castro to power on New Year's Day 1959.

Cuba traditionally marks International Workers' Day with hundreds of thousands marching through Havana's Plaza of the Revolution — though Fidel Castro no longer speaks since undergoing emergency surgery and disappearing from public view in 2006.

The demonstration is always a pro-government celebration, with many islanders waving pictures of Fidel Castro and his younger brother Raul skyward. But Granma formally declaring it as such is unusual and reflects mounting tensions.

Zapata Tamayo became the first Cuban opposition figure to die after a hunger strike in nearly 40 years, and his case drew condemnation from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the European Union. Farinas is not in prison but says he will keep refusing food and water until he dies — though he has received nutrients intravenously at a hospital near his home in the central city of Santa Clara.

The editorial said the U.S. and its allies "have set in motion a colossal operation of deception, with the objective of discrediting the revolutionary process, destabilizing the country and provoking conditions for the destruction of our social system."

Also Thursday, associates of Farinas in Havana announced he would be willing to halt his hunger strike if the government holds a referendum asking Cubans whether island political prisoners should be freed.

Cuban human rights leaders put the number of "prisoners of conscience" at about 200, while the government says it holds none. Authorities did not respond to the proposal, however, and those putting it forward said they were not optimistic it will lead to anything.

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JG: Yankee and European imperialists can not conceive of a country which does not kneel before them and chooses instead to defend its national sovereignty. Short of a massive military invasion of Cuba, Barack Obama knows and realizes that all he can do is whine, whine, whine!

Neither the United States or the European governments have the necessary morals to judge or condemn Cuba. Were the Yankees protecting the human rights of Native Americans at Wounded Knee?

Zapata and Farinas were and are individuals who seek publicity in the American and European press, which may be conducive to receiving money rewards from the Yankees. They do not represent the large majority of the Cuban people, who support the Cuban Revolution.

Where did the $45 million dollars for "democracy in Cuba" go?

US funding of Cuba democracy work draws scrutiny

JG: The answer to my question is as follow: the $45 million dollars went into the pockets of "los vive bien" in Miami. What a very lucrative business they have!

(AP) – 3 hours ago

MIAMI — During the waning months of 2008, the Bush administration quietly pushed through two major contracts to international development companies in an effort to spend a record $45 million to support regime change in Cuba.

It was the first time Cuba funds went to private contractors, marking an effort to professionalize U.S. aid to the island's independent media and people opposing the communist government.

Two years later, as the Obama administration is poised to reauthorize the Cuba democracy funding, it's tough to see where that money has gone or whether contractors have fared any better than the foundations, universities and nonprofits that were once solely responsible for the aid.

Members of Congress are starting to demand more answers. In late March, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, temporarily held up funding.

"We are asking hard questions about fraud, waste and what actually works to benefit the Cuban people," said Berman, who has also long been opposed to the U.S. embargo of Cuba.

Neither the State Department nor the U.S. Agency for International Development, which oversees most of the funds, responded to an Associated Press request for a copy of the original contracts or proposals. The State Department's notification to Congress for renewing both contracts includes one paragraph for each proposal. The contractors have been equally tightlipped about how they are using U.S. tax dollars in Cuba.

"In the recent past, our committee's oversight of these programs has uncovered outrageous abuses from personal shopping trips to hundreds of thousands of U.S. taxpayer dollars simply pocketed outright," said Berman, referring to previous investigations into Cuba funding.

Unlike USAID programs in war-torn countries like Afghanistan or even in other communist countries like China, U.S. aid to Cuba is particularly tricky because it has often gone directly to those who oppose the Cuban government. Supporters of the aid say those who oppose U.S. policy scrutinize the aid program far more closely than they do U.S. initiatives in other countries.

As a result, the program has become "an odd hybrid of overt and covert activity," said Philip Peters, a Cuba Expert at the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va.

Washington-based Creative Associates International was awarded the largest contract of $6.5 million in 2008 and is now up for another $2.5 million. It has 13 field offices worldwide and experience in Afghanistan and Iraq. But it had none in Cuba when it won the first contract. And it still doesn't list Cuba on its Web site.

It does have Caleb McCarry. Under the Bush administration, the State Department described his job as the "senior official responsible for U.S. government planning in support of a transition to democracy in Cuba." McCarry went to Creative Associates in November of 2008, two months after the company won its first contract.

Creative Associates said McCarry recused himself from assignments related to the company beginning in March 2008. McCarry referred questions about his hiring to the State Department, which declined to comment on the details. USAID said McCarry had no involvement in selecting grantees or contractors.

Even so, McCarry's move to Creative Associates raises questions, said Carlos Saladrigas of the Cuba Study Group, a nonprofit that supports U.S.-Cuba exchanges involving nongovernment groups, though he conceded he did not know the details of McCarry's hiring.

Bethesda, Md.-based Development Associates International, which received a $4.5 million contract, didn't mention its Cuba program publicly either — until one of its employees, Alan P. Gross was arrested by the Cuban government and accused of spying in December. The company has said Gross was handing out cell phones and laptops that allowed users to circumvent the island's government controlled Internet.

Officials with Development Associates told the AP that Gross was providing the equipment to nonpolitical groups, but they declined to discuss their efforts on the island in greater detail. The group is now up for another $2.6 million.

The Obama administration has made it a priority to improve Cubans' access to the Internet and other forms of outside communication, and there have been gains. More independent Cuban bloggers are posting their thoughts. When a political prisoner died on hunger strike last month, his mother's outraged reaction hit the Internet almost immediately. And recent footage of harassment of the Ladies in White — many of them mothers and wives of imprisoned dissidents — prompted tens of thousands of Cuban-Americans and their supporters to march in solidarity in Miami and Los Angeles.

But it's unclear how much of that the contractors are responsible for. Obama has loosened travel restrictions on Cuban-Americans, who can now take cell phones and other technology to relatives. And the Cuban government has eased restrictions on buying cell phones, though they are still prohibitively expensive for most Cubans.

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Miami Republican who is one of the most outspoken opponents of the Cuban government in Washington, said he hopes Obama will reconsider the Bush administration's move toward contractors.

"(Nonprofits) have historically been the most experienced and effective in providing democracy assistance in Cuba," he said.

For years, they were among the few doing the work. Compared to contractors, nonprofits generally have lower overhead and are often subcontracted by the for-profit companies.

In the case of Cuba, they built networks for delivering aid, often going through third countries to avoid U.S. travel restrictions and Cuban government surveillance and continue to send aid.

But several scathing congressional reports released in the last decade cited waste and questioned USAID grant-making practices to several of the nonprofits. Until at least 2004, many of the contracts were renewed without a competitive bidding process, and in 2008, a former employee at one Washington-based exile nonprofit was convicted of stealing $600,000 from the group.

USAID said the contracts give the agency greater input and oversight than doling out money through grants.

Many Cuban-Americans say government aid is necessary, especially to support those who don't have relatives and friends abroad who can help them. They simply want more oversight to ensure the aid gets to the island.

The Lexington Institute's Peters, who opposes the embargo, said allowing more academic and cultural exchanges between Americans and Cubans could help move Cuba toward democracy — at no cost to the American taxpayers.

"There's nothing cloak-and-dagger about it, nothing secret about it," he said, "but it could work."

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The last minutes of the seventh game at 2:00 a.m in the morning

Industriales se proclamó Campeón del béisbol cubano



April 01, 2010 — Con un cierre antológico del juvenil zurdo Joan Socarrás, los Leones de Industriales derrotaron en extrainning 7-5 a Villa Clara en el séptimo desafío de la Gran Final de la pelota cubana, y conquistaron el título de la XLIX Serie Nacional de Béisbol (AIN).

Did Barack Obama order the FBI to harass members of the Venceremos Brigade and Pastors For Peace?

Anti-U.S.-Cuba embargo group says FBI went to their homes

www.northjersey.com

Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Last updated: Wednesday April 7, 2010, 4:18 PM
BY ELIZABETH LLORENTE
The Record
STAFF WRITER

Federal agents have made unannounced visits to the homes of members of a group that visits Cuba each year to protest the U.S. ban against travel to the island, said group members and a lawyer who represents them.

Venceremos Brigade, which has members nationwide and in North Jersey, says that FBI agents earlier this year went to the homes of some of the people who traveled to Cuba with the group last summer in violation of U.S. laws barring trade with the island and traveling there.

Diego Iniguez-Lopez, a Leonia resident who is the spokesman for the group, said the FBI visits seemed to signal a new crackdown on such trips, which, while unlawful, usually have generated little more than interrogations by U.S. customs officials at U.S. ports of entry as brigade members returned from Cuba and warnings from the U.S. Treasury Department about possible fines.

"The Venceremos Brigade denounces the recent FBI harassment," said Iniguez-Lopez, who was not among those visited by the FBI. "They will not be intimidated. The brigade intends to continue traveling to Cuba, bringing material aid to the people and facilitating cultural and educational exchange."
Fast facts

* U.S. policy on Cuba forbids most Americans to travel to the island; exceptions are made in some cases, such as travel for journalistic, academic or cultural purposes.

* Americans who have relatives living in Cuba also may obtain a license from the U.S. Treasury Department to travel there.

* The U.S. government implemented the embargo in the early 1960s in the hope of pressuring the communist regime to move toward democratic practices.

* Critics of the U.S trade and travel restrictions on Cuba say they have done nothing to sway the Cuban government, and only really harm the people on the island.

"We’re regular folks, U.S. citizens, teachers, students, who learn from our trips to Cuba and exchanges with the Cuban people," Iniguez-Lopez said.

‘Right to travel’

Michael Warren, an attorney for the brigade, said FBI agents visited the homes of five people who traveled to Cuba with the group. Four of the homes were in New York and one was in Minnesota, said Warren, whose office is in Brooklyn. Warren said only one of the people the FBI tried to speak with was home at the time the agents stopped by; they left their business cards at the other homes.

"This really involves the whole question of the First Amendment, the right to travel, which we should all have," Warren said. "Our Constitution gives us the right of free association without any intimidation."

The FBI said it was familiar with the brigade and its allegations, but declined to comment specifically on them.

"The FBI does not confirm who we talk to or don’t talk to," said Special Agent Richard Kolko, adding that "the FBI does not violate people’s rights by asking them questions."

Warren declined to provide details of what the FBI discussed with the person they found home.

But Iniguez-Lopez said the agents asked the person about where in Cuba the travelers went, with whom they spoke and what they did while there, among other things.

The brigade typically refuses to answer questions from U.S. officials about its Cuba trips, and refers them to their attorneys.

Pastors for Peace, another group that travels to Cuba in violation of the ban to deliver such things as computers and medical supplies, said FBI officials stopped by their office in Manhattan last summer after years of not contacting the organization.

"They said they just happened to be in the neighborhood and thought they’d visit," said the Rev. Lucius Walker, a Tenafly resident and founder and executive director of Pastors for Peace. The group also refuses to directly provide U.S. officials with information about its Cuba trips, which it calls "peace caravans."

Benito Rivero, a Hackensack restaurateur who was born in Cuba, said he supports normalizing relations with Cuba, but objects to breaking existing U.S. laws to protest the embargo.

"It’s the law. You can’t just say you’re breaking a law because you don’t like it," Rivero said. "These groups that travel there should be prosecuted. I don’t like paying all the taxes that I have to pay every year, but I can’t just decide I’m not going to pay them to make a point."

E-mail: llorente@northjersey.com

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JG: All of a sudden, the Barack Obama administration may be increasing the harassment of the members of the Venceremos Brigade and Pastors For Peace. Both groups actively oppose the continuation of the genocidal U.S. embargo against Cuba. This is one more proof of how little difference there is between the actions of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama.