Monday, February 28, 2011

Cuba infiltrates U.S. mercenaries groups operating inside the island

The premiere of Cuban TV series Los Peones del Imperio (the pawns of the empire) shows how easy it is to infiltrate the groups directed and financed by Yankee imperialism inside the island.

Cuba is a very valuable piece of real estate. The imperialists want to steal it so they can re-install one of their pliant puppets in Havana, like they did from 1902 to 1959.

CONTINUE TO RESIST, CUBA! Don't let Cuba become another Honduras. And, above all, do not trust Barack H. Obama. He is no improvement over George W. Bush, since he continues to support and implement the genocidal embargo/blockade.

Peones del Imperio



May 4, 1970: The day USA's democracy butchered its own people at Kent State University

Mary Vecchio, screaming over the dead body of Jeffrey Miller, killed at Kent State on May 4, 1970.

National Guardsmen with bayonets fixed near Taylor Hall at Kent State University prior to the massacre.

The list of atrocities committed by the imperialists, Wounded Knee, My Lai, Kent State, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, is well known to all.

Top duo of U.S. capitalist news media scum make a tag team to bash Cuba

The Facebook revolution did not happen in Cuba, much to the dismay of the top duo of Yankee imperialists, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

So now, Faux News and the Gusano Herald are coming to the rescue with their well worn out campaign of "If you wish it, it will come!"

Sorry, big ears, Cuba does not want to go back to the Batista "democracy." Keep your gusano buddies in Miami. Give them a few more $100.00 bills!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The End of an Era

Alberto N Jones
February 25, 2011


For the past weeks, a constant call went out of Radio Mambi 710 AM to all Cuban-Americans and people from all nations living in south Florida, to gather in mass on Calle 8 on February 24th, not to celebrate the defining event that took place in Baire in 1895 under the guidance of Jose Marti, but rather, to send a clear message to the island, that this vibrant, partisan, anti-Castro community, was ready to take command of Cuba.

In order to energize its followers, boost the attendance and raise the level of hatred against their country of birth, a transmission between the Cuban Air Force pilots and their control tower before, during and after the downing of two planes belonging to Brothers to the Rescue on February 24th, 1996, was played non-stop for weeks.

Leading this march and concentration, was the best and brightest of Unidad Cubana, Cuban American National Foundation, Liberty Council, The New White Rose, FIU Cuban Research Institute, Municipalities in Exile, CID, Presidio Politico, Alpha 66, Assault Brigade 2506, Command L, UMAP, Brothers to the Rescue and many others.

A smiling photo-op on Univision Home Page of Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lethinen, Perez-Roura and others, symbolizes the human material that was present at this gathering, which the Miami Herald and others have placed on or around 3,000 out of a community of over 800,000 Cuban-Americans or a shameful participation of 0.3%

Not even resorting to the lowest human denominator, by using over and over the tragic death of these four pilots, who had been warned repeatedly by the US and Cuban authorities about the hazards associated with their hostile incursions into the Cuban airspace and the first anniversary of the death of hunger striker Orlando Zapata Tamayo, suddenly turned into a martyr by this well documented racist, segregationist, anti Nelson Mandela community, was sufficient to change the embarrassing outcome of this tragic-comedy gathering.

Equally puzzling, is the non-response of the policy makers of the governments of the US and Cuba, who refuses to recognize that this tiny, reactionary, right-wing community is on life support in intensive care, suffering from a terminally ill pathology, whose confrontational and frequently aggressive behavior in Cuba and the US, should have no impact on how other Cuban-Americans are perceived and treated, on both sides of this artificial divide.

After fifty years of Cuba been forced to be in the trenches, defending itself from real or imaginary aggressions coming out of the US and having lived to see an impossible dream come true with an Afro-American becoming president of the United States, what can possibly hinder both sides from coming together and solve the minor issue of improved relations between our nations, as compared with those stated above?

No well-wishing, peace-loving humanist, should sit silent in these trying moments of massive world upheaval and not demand from both governments, our inalienable right to live in peace; by putting away false pride, arrogance and grudge, by focusing of the enormous, mutually beneficial advantages that are readily available for both neighbors, if peace, justice, respect and friendship could prevail.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Xinhua: Alan Gross could be swapped for one of the Cuban Five

Xinhua News Agency has reported the following in an article published today: "The U.S. State Department launched a plan recently for swapping Gross for one of the five Cubans held in prison in the United States since 1998."

Cuba denounces Obama for support of dissidents, says US media lies

By Paul Haven (CP) – 12:20 p.m.

HAVANA — Cuba on Friday denounced U.S. President Barack Obama as a copy of his conservative Republican predecessor, and said he gave more credence to Cuban-American exiles than his own diplomats.

An opinion piece in the official Communist Party newspaper Granma criticized Obama for supporting dissidents on the island and called for Cuba to release all political prisoners. It said the president's Wednesday statement shows he is being manipulated by exiles, uninformed advisors and a biased U.S. media.

"The White House is giving more attention to pressure from Miami and its mafia in the capital than it is to its own diplomats," the article says, adding that Obama's emotional statement "emulated his predecessor George W. Bush in its abuse of adjectives."

"In an era where newspapers are filled with more lies than advertisements ... it is hard to tell who got the president so worked up, the New York Times or an adviser on the National Security Council," it said.

Granma also carried an article denouncing The Wall Street Journal for an editorial that drew parallels between Cuba and Egypt.

The article said the newspaper's "image of sobriety and power cannot hide fanaticism and hate."

The article come days after Cuban media lashed out at CNN's Spanish-language network for reporting that an opposition demonstration was going to take place in Havana. The protest never occurred.

------

JG: CNN is an outfit that lacks credibility and has consistently gone downhill since it was created. It devotes most of its time to gossip, unconfirmed reports and sensationalism. It has huge amounts of commercial advertising, as it conforms to the capitalist mandate: profits come first.

As to the Wall Street Journal, it is the mouthpiece of American capitalism. Its hatred for Socialism and Communism is well known. It is devoid of any objectivity

Cuban Militias, Victors in the Bay of Pigs Invasion

Havana, Feb 25 (Prensa Latina) The Revolutionary National Militias, created by the Cuban people in 1959, played a key role in defeating the invaders that the United States sent 50 years ago to Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs), in the western province of Matanzas.

The popular organization was created on October 26, 1959, and its objective was to defend the island from U.S. threats of military aggressions, and protect civil targets from terror actions.

The Cuban people remember that two years later, on April 15, 1961, U.S. planes bearing Cuban emblems bombed the San Antonio de los Baños and Ciudad Libertad Airports, in Havana and Santiago de Cuba, respectively.

During the national act of mourning, the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro, proclaimed the socialist character of the process started on January 1, 1959 and that historic decision was supported by thousands of militia members holding up their rifles.

The Revolutionary National Militia, along with what was the Rebel Army at the time and the National Police, were the first to contain the advance of the invading contingent, which was heavily armed and backed by air and sea forces.

The Cuban peole expelled the invaders in less than 72 hours, dealing the first major defeat to the United States in Latin America.

Modificado el viernes, 25 de febrero de 2011.

How Rich are the Super-Rich?


My thanks for Mother Jones for an excellent set of graphics.
(Click on the png if you want to enlarge it)

La Loba Feroz dice:

Top 15 List: Professional Cuba Haters

Luis Posada Carriles
George W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
Jose Maria Aznar
Robert Menendez
Lincoln Diaz-Balart
Ileana 'La Loba Feroz' Ros-Lehtinen
Debbie 'Dubya' Wasserman-Schultz
Hillary Clinton
Madelaine Allbright
Mario Diaz-Balart
Albio Sires
David Rivera
Marco Rubio
Bill Nelson

En Prise


I enjoy playing chess. I learned when I was around 15 years old. My granddaughter Lilly is starting at an early age. She is four and already can correctly name all the chess pieces.

An important concept in chess is the term 'en prise.' It means 'subject to attack.' I have improved my game by ruthlessly concentrating on unprotected opponent pawns. Any piece that is unprotected is 'en prise.'

If you can capture two or three unprotected pawns you will have a strong edge at the end of the game. Try it, and you will see the difference!

Fabio DiCelmo and his mother

The life of young Fabio was cut at an early stage
by the actions of anti-Cuba terrorist Luis Posada Carriles

Diario de El Paso: La forense cubana

La Juventud Cubana tomará la Plaza de La Revolución el Primero de Mayo

Another great Cuban Cigar: The Partagas Serie E No. 2


2011 Habanos releases unveiled

In Cuba, Cigar Lovers Are a Lifeline

Thursday, February 24, 2011

IT'S ON! Boycott the following Koch Industries products


Koch Industry Gasoline:

Chevron
Union
Union 76
Conoco

Koch Industry/Georgia-Pacific Products:

Angel Soft toilet paper
Brawny paper towels
Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups
Mardi Gras napkins and towels
Quilted Northern toilet paper
Soft ‘n Gentle toilet paper
Sparkle napkins
Vanity fair napkins
Zee napkins

Koch Industry/Invista Products:

COMFOREL® fiberfill
COOLMAX® fabric
CORDURA® fabric
DACRON® fiber
POLYSHIELD® resin
SOLARMAX® fabric
SOMERELLE® bedding products
STAINMASTER® carpet
SUPPLEX® fabric
TACTEL® fiber
TACTESSE® carpet fiber
TERATE® polyols
TERATHANE® polyether glycol
THERMOLITE® fabric
PHENREZ® resin
POLARGUARD® fiber and
LYCRA® fiber

Georgia Pacific Building products

Dense Armor Drywall and Decking
ToughArmor Gypsum board
Georgia pacific Plytanium Plywood
Flexrock
Densglass sheathing
G/P Industrial plasters (some products used by a lot of crafters)-
Agricultural Plaster
Arts & Crafts Plaster
Dental Plaster
General Purpose Plaster
Glass-reinforced Gypsum (GRG)
Industrial Tooling Plaster
Investment Casting Plaster
Medical Plaster
Metal Casting Plaster
Pottery Plaster
FibreStrong Rim board
G/P Lam board
Blue Ribbon OSB Rated Sheathing
Blue Ribbon Sub-floor
DryGuard Enhanced OSB
Nautilus Wall Sheathing
Thermostat OSB Radiant Barrier Sheathing
Broadspan Engineered Wood Products
XJ 85 I-Joists
FireDefender Banded Cores
FireDefender FS
FireDefender Mineral Core
Hardboard and Thin MDF including Auto Hardboard,
Perforated Hardboard and Thin MDF
Wood Fiberboard -
Commercial Roof Fiberboard
Hushboard Sound Deadening Board
Regular Fiberboard Sheathing
Structural Fiberboard Sheathing

Source: Green Tea Party

OBAMA, TIO FEO: LEVANTA YA EL BLOQUEO!


Un centenar de personas se concentró hoy en Madrid frente a la Embajada de Cuba para solidarizarse con la Revolución y rechazar el bloqueo estadounidense a la Isla, en el 116 aniversario del “Grito de Baire”, que marcó el reinicio de la lucha por la independencia cubana de España.

Convocados por la Coordinadora Estatal de Solidaridad con Cuba, los manifestantes, ondeando banderas de Cuba, corearon vivas por el pueblo isleño y a favor de la excarcelación de “Los cinco”, cinco cubanos detenidos y juzgados en Estados Unidos.

The P.J. Crowley Tweet

"A trial date has been set for #AlanGross in #Cuba. We hope he receives a fair trial and is allowed to come home. What he did is not a crime."

Philip J. Crowley
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.

Trial of U.S. covert agent Alan Gross to start on March 4

By PAUL HAVEN The Associated Press
Feb. 24, 2011, 11:21AM


HAVANA — An American contractor jailed since December 2009 on suspicion of spying will go on trial in Cuba on March 4, U.S. diplomats said Thursday, in a case sure to have profound ramifications for relations between the two Cold War enemies.

Cuban prosecutors are seeking a 20-year prison term for Alan Gross, a 61-year-old native of Potomac, Maryland, who was working for a firm contracted by the U.S. Agency for International Development when he was arrested and sent to Havana's high-security Villa Marista prison.

The U.S. government and Gross' family say he was distributing communications equipment to the island's Jewish community when he was arrested. Cuba says he was part of a multimillion-dollar plan to destabilize the government, and charged him with "acts against the integrity and independence" of the country.

Cuban officials informed the U.S. State Department of the trial date on Wednesday, Molly Koscina, a spokeswoman for America's diplomatic mission in Havana, told The Associated Press. She added that Gross has also been notified that a trial date has been set.

"The Office of Cuban Affairs in Washington DC was informed yesterday," Koscina said. "The Cuban government has said that the family can travel and that US officials can attend."

Koscina had no information on where the trial will be held. News that a date would be set for Gross's trial came first in a Twitter posting sent from State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, though he did not state the date.

The Cuban government had no immediate reaction, and Cuban state-run media has not reported word of the trial date.

Cubadebate report

A crazy man gets on a rooftop and starts yelling

HAVANA — Police detained former hunger striker Guillermo Fariñas as he shouted anti-government slogans from his rooftop on the anniversary of the death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata, his mother said.

"Two officers detained him here at home, after he climbed up on the roof and spoke out against the government and paid tribute to Zapata," said Fariñas' mother Alicia Hernandez, speaking to AFP by phone from her home in Santa Clara, 280 kilometers (175 miles) east of Havana.

After Fariñas' arrest, a bus stopped outside the home and some 40 people got out and spent more than an hour chanting pro-government slogans, Hernandez said.

JG: Send Coco Fariñas and his mother to Miami! That is where they belong. They could go to the Big Five and start a new Cuban Liberation Front, and then they could ask Barack Obama and the CIA for help.

February 24th, 1995: El Grito de Baire, a real alzamiento


Today, Cubans all over the world celebrate El Grito de Baire. Eternal glory to the patriots who started Cuba's last liberation war of the IXX century.

But to be truly free, Cubans would have to wait until January First, 1959.

February 24th: Bugle of freedom for Cuba

Wednesday, 23 February 2011 13:39 Isaac García Cárdenas

Solvision, Guantanamo TV Website On Line


Guantanamo .- That February 24, 1895 the bugle sounded more energetic. Riots ordered by José Martí and Juan Gualberto Gómez took place simultaneously in 35 villages of the island of Cuba. In Guantanamo , insurgent winds flowed strong guided by Pedro Agustín Pérez who harangued the revolutionaries. The moment to be free and independent from the Spaniard colonialism had come.

To return to the jungle as a continuing process that Carlos Manuel de Cespedes began in on October 10, 1868, was the only way to get rid of the shameful and despotic regime.

The people lived a very poor social and economic situation, which Martí sensed from his exile, where he insisted in the strengthening of a revolutionary unit that would continue the fight.

In the West of Cuba, the insurrection aborted early, but in the East Guillermón Moncada, Bartolome Maso, Periquito Perez and other patriots welcomed the revolution.

Locals from Guantanamo feel honored to have contributed to the feat that although failed to comply with all the details and reach the vastness pointed out by Marti to the beginning of the liberation struggle, it demonstrated the strength of patriots for freedom and independence.

Today, after 116 years the sound of the bugle can be felt as higher as in those days and the current generation of people from Guantanamo remains determined to ride to the jungle if necessary to defend the Cuban Revolution that in its fifty two years has given dignity to his people.

Baire recuerda a sus patriotas

Marlene Montoya


Santiago de Cuba, 23 feb (AIN) Descendientes de patriotas de Baire, en la provincia de Santiago de Cuba, se dieron cita en el museo de ese poblado para recordar páginas gloriosas de la historia, víspera del 24 de febrero.

Nietos, biznietos y otros familiares hablaron con orgullo del Mayor General Jesús Rabí, el General de División Florencio Salcedo, el Coronel Juan Joaquín Urbina y Eduardo Barbán, todos vinculados a acciones del levantamiento armado de 1895, que reinició las luchas libertarias.
Lilia Martínez, directora del Museo Casa Jesús Rabí, dijo a la AIN que este encuentro, el número 20, estuvo dedicado a la figura de Barbán, quien vivió en una finca de la zona La Salada, del Consejo Popular de Baire.

Ese patriota participó en 36 combates, fue escolta del General Rabí y recibió el grado de Cabo, precisó.

Yaima Pereira, trabajadora del museo, destacó que siempre resultan interesantes estas citas, ya que salen a la luz pasajes de la vida de esos revolucionarios, por familiares, historiadores, museólogos y otros estudiosos.

En el ámbito del 24 de febrero, se realizó el Taller de Historia Local, donde los participantes profundizaron en hechos y figuras vinculados al suceso conocido como Grito de Baire, acontecido hace 116 años.

Como es costumbre, se celebró el Día del Bairense Ausente, a cuya invitación acuden muchos que radican fuera de la localidad, pero quieren su terruño natal.

Igualmente, en el museo quedó abierta la exposición de pinturas Variedades, del instructor de arte Joan Manuel Álvarez.

En esa casona de arquitectura colonial vivió desde 1906 hasta 1915 Jesús Rabí, veterano de las tres guerras de independencia de Cuba.

La institución atesora fotografías de la época, documentos militares y objetos personales del alto jefe mambí, quien llevó el peso de las acciones en la región, días después del levantamiento del 24 de febrero.

America's Far-Right Paranoia


Source: Political Left Blog City

We seem to be returning to the right-wing “paranoid style” in American politics. The generation and dissemination of these ideas and style is proceeding at a record pace thanks in great measure to the spectacular expansion of right-wing media.

Numerous deeply ignorant, conspiratorial, and paranoid ideas have buzzed around the margins of the American right for decades, of course, before and since the McCarthy era.

Such ideas have now have resurfaced and gained legitimacy in the dominant political culture like no time since the 1950s. There are at least four basic reasons for this.

First, the Republican Party continues to move rightward and no longer seems willing or able to reign in its more extreme elements.

In the early 1960s, Princeton historian Sean Willentz notes, “the [John] Birch [Society] …provoked deep anxiety among conservatives, who feared being perceived as paranoids and conspiracy-mongers.”

That fear has disappeared on the part of much of the current Republican elite, which rushes in many cases to align itself with “the Tea Party,” which, according to one poll in the fall of 2010, garnered support from more than 70 percent of Republicans.

Second, top Democrats seem unwilling or unable to denounce the authoritarian threat on the right. In a 1961 speech in Los Angeles, Democratic president John F. Kennedy clearly denounced those “discordant voices of extremism” that “equate[d] the Democratic Party with the welfare state, the welfare state with socialism, and socialism with Communism.

There has been no such clear and explicit denunciation of the new right paranoia from Obama or other top Democrats on the whole.

Obama’s White House [in October 2010] is still struggling to make sense of its enemies. In the absence of forthright leadership, on both the right and the left, the job of standing up to extremists appears to have been left to the electorate.

Third, a powerful right-wing communications empire arose in the late 1980s and now holds major propaganda strongholds operating from within the very heart of mainstream media.

Fox News and the vast talk radio network broadcast the delusions of hard-right propagandists and their false– and rancid-populist paranoia and rage.

With all due respect to the frothing reactionism of Father Coughlin in the 1930s, Joe McCarthy’ short-lived televised bully pulpit in the 1950s, and Mort Downey in the 1980s, there’s just never been anything like the current “right wing noise machine” in American media and politics culture.

Finally, late 20th and early 21st century America is dangerously bereft of a really existing relevant Left capable of countering right-wing stereotypes.

One that can push the Democrats to enact effective and progressive programs that might keep right-wing critiques at bay, and capturing legitimate popular anger that is dangerously captured and misdirected by right-wing activists and personalities.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The latest stupid fabrication of the Miami Mafia: "Cuban pilots are bombing in Libya"

The Miami fascists are running out of things to say about Cuba. Their latest fabrication is that Cuban pilots are bombing in Libya.

LISTEN STUPIDS: Cuba sends doctors to other countries, not pilots. It is the U.S who is sending planes to bomb the people in Aghanistan and Pakistan, and their buddies, the Israeli zionists, bomb the Palestinian people regularly. Do you really think that the people of the world are that stupid?

Click here if you want to read the report from LaRepublica.es.

Se tornan agresivas las damas del verde...

Damas del $$$

An excellent photo-report from Ismael Francisco. Click here. Better than reality TV!

Barack Obama defends common Cuban criminal

It was to be expected, as he continues to pander to the $$$ of the Miami gusanos. Now, he has really lost forever my vote in 2012.

The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 23, 2011; 6:52 PM

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is marking the one-year anniversary of the death of a Cuban dissident by calling on the island nation to release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally.

Obama's statement Wednesday came a year after Orlando Zapata Tamayo died after a lengthy hunger strike behind bars.

The Cuban government has been gradually releasing political prisoners, including some of those arrested in a 2003 crackdown. Most are being released at the behest of the Roman Catholic Church and quickly sent into exile.

Obama called Tamayo's death "selfless and tragic" and said it brought the world's attention to the mistreatment of prisoners unjustly held by Cuban authorities for standing up for the rights of the Cuban people. Tamayo's mother was detained in Cuba over the weekend, an action Obama criticized.

Typical garbage of the Yankee imperialists!

Indignacion popular vs Damas de $$$ Blanco



PIN, PON, FUERA, ABAJO LA GUSANERA!

CUBA PARA LOS CUBANOS!

Último show mediático de Guillermo Fariñas: ocupa un centro de salud para ser detenido.

jueves 3 de febrero de 2011

Fuente: La Isla Desconocida

"(Al gobierno cubano) no le conviene hacerme daño. Están interesados en que yo no obtenga el Premio Nobel de la Paz". Guillermo Fariñas.

José Manzaneda, coordinador de Cubainformación.

La violencia policial contra diferentes protestas sociales es el pan de cada día en el mundo. Citemos tres ejemplos de estos días pasados, todos ubicados en América Latina: el día 25 de enero, en Honduras, centenares de maestros fueron dispersados con gases lacrimógenos y cuatro de ellos detenidos (1). El 19 de enero, en Puerto Rico, la policía disparó gases y balas de goma contra estudiantes. Decenas de ellos y un periodista fueron detenidos (2). En Venezuela, la policía del municipio Chacao, gobernado por la derecha, desalojó violentamente a un grupo de 250 personas que ocupaban terrenos abandonados, y hubo 30 detenidos (3).

Ninguna de estos sucesos violentos se ha convertido en noticia internacional. Por el contrario, televisiones, radios y periódicos de todo el mundo han realizado un seguimiento pormenorizado, de varios días, de unos incidentes, de mínima trascendencia social y nula gravedad, protagonizados en Cuba por el conocido “disidente” Guillermo Fariñas (4).

Los medios reportan que el día 28 de enero, Guillermo Fariñas fue detenido en Santa Clara, Cuba, “por participar en una protesta vecinal” en contra del desalojo de una familia. Pero a estos medios se les “olvida” mencionar un pequeño detalle: que la citada familia había ocupado, como vivienda particular, el consultorio médico que da servicios gratuitos a toda la comunidad del barrio El Condado, en Santa Clara. Ningún medio se molestó en hablar, por ejemplo, con la doctora María Antonia Izquierdo, quien trató de dialogar con la citada familia. Sus palabras fueron recogidas en el blog de la periodista cubana Norelys Morales (5): “Nos personamos la Dirección Municipal de Salud, con el vice-director de asistencia médica del municipio, para persuadir a la señora de que tratara de abandonar el lugar, porque la población lo necesita para recibir los servicios de asistencia médica. Ya se había tramitado su situación de vivienda, que en Cuba es crítica. Le pedimos que lo pensara ese día, que la población pedía que le devolvieran su institución, porque ahí están su médico y su enfermera. El local está incluso custodiado por la comunidad, que tiene la llave. Y le dijimos que estuviera tranquila, que no se había hecho denuncia, que éramos simples médicos que veníamos a dialogar con ella, para que por la noche salieran y entonces seguir su caso por las instituciones estatales”.

La lógica apunta a que la ocupación de un centro comunitario de salud para solventar un problema particular de vivienda es algo absurdo e insolidario. Y que, en cualquier caso, el diálogo es la mejor manera de solucionar una situación de ese tipo. Pero la lógica no tenía cabida en aquella situación, porque la ocupación solo era la excusa para el show que Guillermo Fariñas, la bloguera Yoani Sánchez y varios corresponsales de medios internacionales había pactado previamente.

Seguimos escuchando a la doctora. “En ese momento se nos acercó un compañero alto, nos interrumpe y dice: `ella no tiene nada que hablar, porque yo soy el dueño de esta situación aquí, yo soy Guillermo Fariñas´. No teníamos conocimiento de quién era el compañero, no sabíamos su vinculación con la señora, si eran familia, no sabíamos qué persona era. Salimos, bajamos la escalera del consultorio para montarnos en el vehículo. Entonces sale el compañero en cuestión y se acuesta delante del carro, sale otra señora y se sube encima del capó. Él decía `yo quiero que me metan preso´. Mire compañero –le dijimos- nosotros no somos policías, somos personal de salud, somos médicos”.

Es decir, Guillermo Fariñas buscaba desde un comienzo ser detenido, y la ocupación del centro médico fue solo el instrumento para conseguirlo.

En Cuba, las provocaciones de quienes, como Guillermo Fariñas, reciben fondos de organizaciones de extrema derecha de Miami, del gobierno de EEUU y, ahora, de la Unión Europea, son respondidas por la movilización espontánea de numerosas personas (6). En minutos, había más de 200 personas del barrio El Condado rodeando a Fariñas. Por supuesto, ningún corresponsal se molestó en recoger las opiniones de los citados vecinos, o el relato de la doctora.

Para evitar males mayores, intervino la policía, que separó a Guillermo Fariñas de la multitud que le rodeaba y se lo llevó a comisaría, siendo liberado horas después.

Curiosamente, los mismos medios que ven con normalidad la ocupación de un local público de salud en Cuba, criminalizan a quienes, en otros países, ocupan y rehabilitan locales abandonados, propiedad de especuladores inmobiliarios, y justifican las intervenciones policiales más brutales.

Fariñas reconocía que el trato policial en el arresto fue correcto, aunque daba una explicación sobre la que sobran los comentarios: "No les conviene hacerme un daño que implique mi ingreso en un hospital, porque eso podría contribuir a (que me dieran) un Premio Nobel de la Paz" (7).

Y añadía: “Todo esto ocurre porque el gobierno tiene miedo de que haya un estallido social y que nosotros seamos capaces de canalizarlo” (8). No hay más que ver el poder de convocatoria de éste y de otros actos de la llamada “disidencia” cubana, en los que siempre hay más periodistas extranjeros que manifestantes, para entender el miedo que debe tener el gobierno cubano a un estallido social.

El show de Guillermo Fariñas contaba de antemano con la participación de la famosa bloguera Yoani Sánchez, encargada de amplificar los incidentes a través de Internet y de los medios internacionales. Allí, llegaba a comparar la situación de Cuba ¡con la de Egipto! (9) Habría que recordar a Yoani Sánchez que ninguna de las más de cien personas asesinadas por la policía en Egipto había tenido el privilegio de recibir, como ella, en solo 3 años, 250.000 dólares de grandes empresas de comunicación y fundaciones políticas internacionales, así como una cantidad indeterminada del gobierno de EEUU (10).

Hablar de represión y brutalidad policial en Cuba viendo las imágenes en las que la policía retira de la vía pública a Fariñas -y comparándolas con las de otros países- resulta chocante. Pero, dentro de la burbuja informativa creada por los medios para la llamada “disidencia” cubana, todo es posible. “Han sido víctimas de la represión de la policía política”; “(la policía utiliza) mucha violencia física y verbal, pero sin dejar pruebas legales de lo ocurrido”; “esta semana, en la provincia de Villa Clara, ha habido mucha represión”. En diferentes televisiones se podían oír mensajes de este tipo.

A falta de imágenes y testimonios sobre violencia policial, la prensa internacional nos ofrecía todo tipo de detalles sobre el cuadro médico de Guillermo Fariñas que, en uno de sus arrestos, sintió –al parecer- un dolor en el pecho. Los lectores de los principales diarios ya saben que a esta persona se le practicaron placas de tórax, un electrocardiograma, y que el día 28 estaba “inmunodeprimido, (tenía) acefalea, (estaba) afónico y deshidratado” (11). Si los medios hicieran lo mismo con la información sobre cada persona detenida en el mundo, ayudarían sin duda a elevar la cultura médica de la población mundial.

A la causa solidaria con Guillermo Fariñas se sumaban en pocas horas otros actores del sistema de poder mediático: la Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa, patronal de la prensa con sede en Miami (12), y Reporteros sin Fronteras (13), la conocida ONG financiada por el gobierno de EEUU y la Unión Europea, por varios grupos mediáticos y por fabricantes de armamento de Francia (14).

Resumamos el procedimiento: un individuo que recibe, anualmente, miles de dólares del gobierno de EEUU, de la extrema derecha de Miami y de la Unión Europea, provoca un incidente para ser detenido; previamente ha pactado con medios internacionales la cobertura informativa de un suceso sin relevancia que, en la practica, aparta de la actualidad informativa verdaderos dramas sociales en otros lugares del mundo. Los medios, a su vez, solo recogen la versión del protagonista, e ignoran la del resto de testigos. Y poderosas organizaciones internacionales, también financiadas por empresas y gobiernos, condenan al gobierno cubano en nombre de una supuesta “sociedad civil”.

Recordamos, por su brutalidad, las imágenes de la intervención de la Policía Nacional española en Valencia, contra un grupo de vecinos y vecinas que, en abril de 2010, trataba de evitar el derribo de sus viviendas. Ninguna de ellas ha sido propuesta para el Premio Nobel de la Paz. Esperemos que tampoco lo sea Guillermo Fariñas. Porque sería un final demasiado esperpéntico para unos premios cuya credibilidad está ya de por sí muy tocada.

Notas:

(1) http://www.kaosenlared.net/noticia/153042/honduras-policias-capturan-cuatro-maestros-persiguen-gasean-toletean-c
(2) http://www.almamater.cu/sitio%20nuevo/paginas/fotorrep/2011/represion.html
(3) http://www.telesurtv.net/secciones/noticias/87726-NN/vicepresidente-rechaza-represion-policial-en-municipio-gobernado-por-oposicion-venezolana/
(4) http://www.elmundo.es/america/2011/01/27/cuba/1296087026.html
(5) http://islamiacu.blogspot.com/2011/01/el-dia-que-farinas-pidio-que-lo.html
(6) http://www.cubainformacion.tv/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=17866:=96&Itemid=65
(7) http://www.europapress.es/internacional/noticia-cuba-liberan-farinas-19-horas-detencion-advierte-podria-ser-arrestado-nuevo-20110128201035.html
(8) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwnM337v0x8&feature=related
(9) http://cubaout.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/yoani-sanchez-se-salta-la-censura-e-informa-que-han-vuelto-a-detener-a-farinas/
(10) http://yohandry.wordpress.com/2010/12/25/cuba-el-gran-globo-de-la-bloguera-yoani-sanchez/
(11) http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/Farinas/detenido/liberado/tercer/dia/consecutivo/elpepuint/20110129elpepuint_2/Tes
(12) http://www.cronica.com.mx/nota.php?id_nota=557364
(13) http://opinion.eluniversal.com/2011/01/28/int_ava_reporteros-sin-front_28A5062371.shtml
(14) http://www.cubainformacion.tv/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=255&Itemid=65

Cohiba 1966 Leads Trio of New Cuban Edición Limitadas

El Laguito Factory

Cigar Aficionado
David Savona
Posted: February 21, 2011

We have the names of this year's trio of Cuban Edición Limitadas, and the star of the group is a fat new Cohiba that is sure to grab worldwide attention.

The Cohiba 1966 Edición Limitada measures 6 1/2 inches long by 52 ring gauge. The shape, dubbed a cañonazo especial by the Cuban cigar industry, has the same girth as the Cohiba Behike BHK 52, Cigar Aficionado's Cigar of the Year. The cigar is meant to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the cigar brand, which originally was only available as a gift of the Cuban government.

Cuba releases three Edición Limitadas a year, announcing the lineup in late winter or early spring, and releasing the cigars worldwide much later in the year. The other two cigars are the Hoyo de Monterrey Short Hoyo Piramides, a 5 1/3 inch long, 46 ring figurado, and the Ramon Allones Allones Extra, a 44 ring gauge cigar that's slightly longer than 5 1/2 inches.

The information comes at the very start of the thirteenth annual Festival del Habano, the largest cigar festival in the world. A team from Cigar Aficionado is heading to Havana to cover the event. To get all news coming out of Cuba, follow the website all this week.

For much more on the Edición Limitada program, read Gordon Mott's in depth interview with the top officials from Habanos S.A. in the April issue of Cigar Aficionado, on newsstands soon.

Cuba's celebration of books draws millions

February 23, 2011

By Associated Press (through: topnews360.tmcnet.com)

HAVANA (AP) — A river of people flows through the old colonial fortress, and the antics of clowns and music blasting from loudspeakers are interrupted only when an announcer summons the parents of a lost child. It's a festival all right, but a festival of books.

The high walls of El Morro and La Cabana, which offer a spectacular view of Havana's bay, house a giant celebration that mingles literary chitchat with an exuberant popular fair where some 6 million visitors socialize, browse for sandwiches of sizzling pork and scramble for novels, essays and scientific tomes.

With an illiteracy rate near zero, Cuba boasts that its International Book Fair — which turns 20 this year — has little in common with what it calls more elitist events in the Americas and Europe.

"This fair is oriented toward the reader ... as a chance to acquire books and have a dialogue with the authors, both Cubans and foreigners," organizer Edel Morales told The Associated Press (News - Alert).

"It is a notable difference to others in the world where people rarely attend," he said. "Here it is the people who make the fair."

Still, what sets the fair apart also presents some challenges.

The absence of a "professional segment" of meetings between critics, large publishing houses and other experts is one of its shortcomings, Morales acknowledged.

The event catalog lists more than 60 national exhibitors including publishers and regional cultural centers. All share one characteristic: They either are run by the state or have strong ties to the government.

About 30 foreign publishers have also turned out. Most are small and some are financed by the nations honored at this year's festival: the leftist ALBA bloc that includes Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Zuleica Romay, president of the Cuban Book Institute said 2,400 titles are for sale and an estimated 6 million people, counting return visitors, will attend, either during the Havana run that ends Sunday or during a two–week tour of the country's provinces.

The most–visited pavilion appeared to be one offering local volumes on everything from art and literature to social sciences, alternative medicine and biographies at prices attractive to Cubans who love to read but often finds books hard to find.

"I come every year. It is good to walk through and get books that are not always available," said Nadira Reyes, a 30–year–old teacher who was looking for colorful books with animals gracing the covers for her preschool–age son.

A few yards (meters) away, Yadriana Torres, 20, wanted books on beauty and massage, which she is studying.

"The problem is that they are expensive, because the most interesting in my field are sold in foreign currency," Torres said. The book that caught her eye cost 25 convertible pesos, or $27 — more than the average monthly salary in Cuba.

Reyes was headed for a pavilion that offered mostly local books in the local currency, a peso that is worth a little under 5 cents. Torres was lined up for one that sells in "convertible pesos," which are worth just over a dollar.

Many local books are made of modest paper, simple printing and soft, rustic binding, and they usually are heavily subsidized.

A good example is one of the most anticipated items of this year's fair: "The Man Who Loved Dogs," by Cuban writer Leonardo Padura, published last year by Spanish publisher Tusquets Editores. It sells for $24 elsewhere in the world, but islanders were able to buy it for just 30 Cuban pesos ($1.40) when it went on sale this month.

Some complaint that important books by several major writers are almost unavailable. This year's fair had no presentation of works by Latin America's new Nobel (News - Alert) Prize winner, Mario Vargas Llosa, who is a sharp critic of Cuba's communist government.

Organizers said they did not have the rights to print the books and denied any political motivations.

Despite the difficulties, foreign editors from small companies said it was worth the trip.

"I am excited to see so many people," said Abigail Garrido of Urano Mexico, which brought 35,000 copies of its publications, mostly novels like the Dan Brown best–sellers "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels & Demons."

"We sell more here than in any book fair in my country," Garrido added. "I think that for small publishers, it is a good opportunity."

Garrido said her company isn't making a profit on the fair due to the low prices. But it's important "visibility," she said.

When the book fair wraps up, the island will also benefit. Some publishers donate unsold merchandise to libraries and schools.

The art work of Cuban painter Julio Reyes Cabrera







Source: HavanaTimes.org

Solidarity with Wisconsin Workers!

ATTENTION MIAMI GUSANOS: Fidel is sending tanks into Havana!



Time to start packing your suitcases (to go live in Honduras!).

The testimony of Roberto Hernández Caballero continues


In Spanish: Diario de El Paso: Un caballero en el estrado

In Spanish: Diario de El Paso: Preguntas Vulgares

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Federal Judge says that the trial against Luis Posada Carriles can continue

Sun-Sentinel

Case against Luis Posada Carriles takes welcome turn

By Wayne S. Smith

February 22, 2011


Astonishing! And just when many of us were convinced that the trial of Luis Posada Carriles was simply a farce. After all, wasn't the U.S. government just trying this arch terrorist for perjury, for lying about the way he entered the United States (illegally of course), leaving aside his myriad terrorist activities?

But no. U.S. prosecutors have now presented evidence of terrorist acts he committed against Cuba, and in Cuba. He's still not being tried for terrorism; rather, he's accused of having lied about it. But the result may well be the same. If he's convicted, he'll spend a long time in jail. And the conviction will be tied to his acts of terrorism.

Even more incredibly, much of the evidence is being presented by Cuban officials invited by the United States to testify against him. This is really a first.

Posada Carriles is accused on three counts of perjury related to a series of bombings against various Cuban hotels between April and September of 1997, resulting in the death of an Italian tourist. He lied about them, and the United States intends to prove that the bombings, in fact, took place.

One of the key Cuban witnesses is Major Roberto Hernandez Caballero, who was involved in the investigation of the hotel bombings back in 1997. And there are two other Cuban witnesses, a forensic doctor and another police investigator.

This is a case we will all watch with fascination. A first of its kind, so to speak.

Posada Carriles is of course an arch terrorist, who is believed to have been involved in plots to assassinate Fidel Castro, in the downing of a Cubana airliner with the loss of 73 lives back in 1976, and in various other acts of violence. And in most of those past episodes, he is thought to have had the sympathy if not the active support of various U.S. agencies.

If he is now brought to justice by representatives of the U.S. government, it may suggest that a new, and prouder, day has dawned.

Wayne Smith served as Chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana from 1979 until 1982 and since then has been on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University, involved in Cuban affairs. Since 1992 he has also been Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy in Washington, D.C. , where he directs the Cuba program.

News coverage by the Gusano Herald (click on the link)

El Alzamiento de Facebook - The Facebook Uprising

¿Donde está? Where is it?

If you joined this Facebook alzamiento/uprising, you should expect to receive letters, messages and emails asking you for money.

"There is a sucker born every minute." P.T. Barnum

American and European imperialism are treating Egypt and Libya differently

When Hosni Mubarak was being overthrown by his own people, you never heard the U.S. government call Egypt a "dictatorship." There was never a United Nations Security Council emergency meeting. Hosni may have been an S.O.B., but he was our S.O.B.

Now, in the terrible situation developing in Libya, I will not defend Gaddafi. What his forces are doing is worthy of condemnation. But Qaddafi was always a very strong anti-imperialist. In other words: he is not "our" S.O.B.

Add to that the fact that Libya has, like Iraq, huge oil deposits, and you can see and understand why American and European imperialists are starting to circle Libya. The imperialists care about, and are only interested in oil and money; they do not care about the Egyptian or Libyan people.

Sales of Cuban cigars rose two per cent last year, after steep drop in 2009

Ariadna Gomez smokes a cigar next to an image of Cuba's leader Fidel Castro during the 13th annual Cigar Festival in Havana, Cuba, Monday. Cigar enthusiasts from around the world come to Cuba during the annual celebration to visit tobacco farms and... (Photo:AP)

Cape Breton Press

Published on February 21, 2011

HAVANA, Cuba (AP) — The exclusive seller and exporter of Cuban cigars said Monday that sales of the island’s coveted smokes rose two per cent in 2010, rebounding slightly after falling for two straight years amid the global economic crisis.

James Buchanan, the U.S. president who wanted to annex Cuba

James Buchanan

Salon

Monday, Feb 21, 2011 07:30 ET

Who's the worst president of them all?

When it comes to who least deserves to be honored today, it's a close call between the 43rd and 15th presidents

By Glenn W. LaFantasie


In 2006, while the Bush administration smashed its way through two wars, countless constitutional constraints, and a fragile economy constructed on the slippery slope of tax cuts for the wealthy, Sean Wilentz, a Princeton historian, pondered in Rolling Stone whether W. would be regarded as America's worst president. Rather coyly, Wilentz never came right out and said that Bush 43 was the worst, but his essay gathered together all the evidence that pointed toward only one verdict: guilty as charged.

In making his case, Wilentz mentioned a 2004 poll of historians, who predicted that Bush would surely end up among the worst five presidents. While presidents have a way of rewriting their own history -- witness Bush's recent book tour -- he doesn't seem to be on a path to any near-term redemption. For example, a poll conducted in July 2010 by the Siena Research Institute revealed that 238 "presidential scholars" had ranked Bush among the five worst presidents (39 out of 43), with Andrew Johnson solidly occupying the very bottom of the list. Johnson is a particular favorite for the bottom of the pile because of his impeachment (although he was acquitted in the Senate by one vote in May 1868), his complete mishandling of Reconstruction policy, his inept dealings with his Cabinet and Congress, his drinking problem (he was probably inebriated at his inauguration), his bristling personality, and his enormous sense of self-importance. He once suggested that God saw fit to have Lincoln assassinated so that he could become president. A Northern senator averred that "Andrew Johnson was the queerest character that ever occupied the White House."

Queerest? Perhaps. But worst? Johnson actually has some stiff competition for the bottom rung of the presidential rankings, not only from W, but also from one of his own contemporaries, James Buchanan, the fifteenth president.

Interestingly enough, Johnson and Buchanan, two of the worst presidents, stand as bookends for arguably the best: Abraham Lincoln. But Lincoln's greatness might never have manifested itself if it weren't for Buchanan's utter and complete incompetency, and for that reason I cast my ballot in favor of the fifteenth president as our absolutely worst chief executive ever.

While I acknowledge that Bush 43 was certainly the worst president I've seen in my lifetime (12 presidents have occupied the White House since my birth), he runs neck and neck with Buchanan's inadequacies as chief executive. Both of them pursued their own agendas: Buchanan hoped to placate the South as the sectional controversy grew worse (and became increasingly more violent) in the late 1850s, while Bush worked assiduously to dismantle the federal government while trying to fit his presidency into his vacation schedule. Buchanan failed to reach his goal; Bush succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. Both presidents handed a broken country on to their successors. But Bush broke the nation's back on purpose, so he wins points for what we might call a competent incompetency.

- - - - - - - - - -

By any measure, Buchanan was an odd duck. As the last president to be born in the 18th century (1791), he began life as the son of a storekeeper in Pennsylvania, attended Dickinson College (from which he was briefly expelled for rowdiness), and became an able attorney. Apart from eyelashes and eyebrows, Buchanan lacked any facial hair; he never shaved throughout his adulthood. His eyes were slightly crossed; to compensate for the defect, he often kept one eye shut and cocked his head to the side. Actually Buchanan was nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other.

Yet Buchanan built up a prosperous law practice, and savvy investments -- particularly in real estate -- made him a wealthy man. In 1819, he was engaged to Ann Caroline Coleman, the daughter of a prosperous manufacturer, but he devoted most of his time to his work as an attorney and to politics. For whatever reason, Ann Coleman broke off the engagement and died shortly afterward, perhaps from an accidental or self-induced overdose of laudanum. Her death left Buchanan distraught with grief. "I feel that happiness has fled from me forever," he told his father. The Coleman family prevented him from attending the funeral. He would mourn Ann's death for the rest of his life. From time to time friends urged him to marry, but Buchanan vowed never to take a wife. "My affections," he said, "were buried in the grave."

The mysteries surrounding his relationship with Ann Coleman resemble the bleak and brooding elements of an Edgar Allen Poe story, with Buchanan cast in the role of a bereft and inconsolable inamorato. He remained a committed bachelor until his death. Some historians have speculated that Buchanan was actually a homosexual, but these claims are based solely on the fact that he roomed for several years with a close friend, William Rufus King, an Alabamian who served in the U.S. Senate and as vice president under Franklin Pierce. Andrew Jackson once called Buchanan "an Aunt Nancy." A Tennessee governor referred to him and his roommate as "Buchanan & his wife." But such 19th century political slurs should not be interpreted in a 21st century context. Like most of us, Buchanan kept his sexual preferences -- whatever they were -- to himself.

During the War of 1812, Buchanan turned to politics, joined the Federalist Party, and served in the Pennsylvania Legislature from 1814 to 1816; he later won election to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served from 1821 to 1831. In Washington, he turned his back on the Federalists and ardently -- although somewhat incongruously, given his wealth and high status -- supported Andrew Jackson and the rising populism of the Democratic Party. Jackson appointed him minister to Russia, a diplomatic post that placed Buchanan as far away from Washington as the spoils system could manage. When he returned to the States, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he displayed all the traits of a Democratic Party stalwart, a strict constitutional constructionist (in the Jeffersonian mode), and -- again, incongruously -- a Northerner who strongly, even sometimes impulsively, supported Southern interests, including any measure that would protect or extend the institution of slavery.

In the 1840s, he hoped to receive the Democratic Party nomination for president, but he did not attract much attention in Congress or as a diplomat, and he occupied a middling rank in his own party. When James K. Polk won the presidency in 1844, he named Buchanan secretary of state -- a plum appointment -- but the new president grew frustrated with the Pennsylvanian, calling him indecisive and thinking him ineffective. "Mr. Buchanan is an able man," Polk wrote in his diary, "but in small matters without judgment and sometimes acts like an old maid." As secretary of state, Buchanan's biggest idea was to propose the annexation of Cuba while the United States went about adding great expanses of territory in the Southwest and along the Pacific Coast after defeating Mexico in the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846-1847. The dream of acquiring Cuba danced in Buchanan's head for the rest of his life, obviously to no avail, even though plenty of Southerners would have loved taking over an island in the Caribbean where slavery already existed, just 90 miles or so off the U.S. mainland. Americans, he believed, should go wherever they wanted to go, although he said so in a potentially tongue-tying sentence: "Let us go on whithersoever our destiny may lead us."

Echoes of Buchanan's belief in Manifest Destiny can still be heard in our own time. In his 2004 State of the Union address, George W. Bush recast (but only slightly) Buchanan's belief in manifest destiny by trumpeting: "America is a Nation with a mission -- and that mission comes from our most basic beliefs. We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire. Our aim is a democratic peace -- a peace founded upon the dignity and rights of every man and woman." That was one of his explanations for why the United States had invaded Iraq without provocation. Buchanan's "whithersoever" had landed us in the Middle East -- without an exit strategy. For Bush and Buchanan, there was simply no way to avoid destiny and providence. If God wanted the U.S. to possess California and Oregon, so let it be done. Ditto Iraq and Afghanistan.

Buchanan thought he could grasp the presidency by wooing support from Southern Democrats, so he remained steadfast in his defense of states' rights, slavery and its extension into western territories, and aggressive expansionism. Yet his bid for the Democratic nomination failed in 1848, when Lewis Cass of Michigan ran and lost to Zachary Taylor, the Whig candidate, and again in 1852, when Franklin Pierce won the Democratic nomination and the election. Buchanan hoped that Pierce would name him secretary of state, but the new president instead appointed him minister to Great Britain. Once again Buchanan's ostensible political friends had succeeded in getting him out of the country and, one assumes, out of their hair. In London, he could not stop thinking about Cuba. He traveled to Ostend, Belgium, in October 1854, where, with two other American ministers, he drew up a "manifesto" that called for the use of force by the U.S. to take possession of the island. Inevitably, the Ostend Manifesto was leaked to the press, giving rise to a storm of protest at home and abroad. Congress investigated the diplomatic correspondence surrounding the document's creation, and Northern antislavery forces denounced it as nothing more than a Southern attempt to expand slavery into the Caribbean. The Pierce administration gave up its designs on Cuba, but Buchanan kept longing for the island, hoping that someday the United States (and he) would hold it in a loving embrace.

From across the Atlantic, Buchanan also kept his eye firmly focused on presidential politics. He resigned as minister to England and returned to the U.S. in time to throw his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination in 1856. His timing was perfect, since the Democratic Party had been thrown into disarray by the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act two years earlier. The act, which was the brainchild of Sen. Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, voided the earlier Missouri Compromise by allowing the voters of Kansas and Nebraska to decide by means of what was called "popular sovereignty" whether their territories should allow slavery inside their borders. Conflict between pro-slavery "border ruffians" and "free-soilers" resulted in violence between the two sides. President Pierce supported the pro-slavery element in Kansas, despite the fact that free-soilers actually constituted a major of the population. As a result, both Pierce and Douglas, who also had presidential aspirations, lost support in the Democratic Party -- a political development that worked to Buchanan's great advantage.

Regarded as a safe candidate, since he had been overseas during the upheavals over Kansas, the Democrats nominated him at their convention in Cincinnati. In the general election, Buchanan faced off against two other candidates: John C. Frémont of the Republican Party and Millard Fillmore, the former president, of the American (or "Know-Nothing") Party. Buchanan won, but only by a plurality, not a majority. Nevertheless, he saw his victory as a mandate, namely that Americans had voted for Union over disunion.

From the start of his presidency -- indeed, from the very moment of his inaugural address -- Buchanan revealed that he was going to do everything he could to sustain slavery and Southern interests, no matter how much his policies would give Northern Republicans proof that the new president was part of what they called a "Slave Power Conspiracy." Sixty-five years old, with snow white hair, Buchanan took the oath of office and delivered his inaugural address. He made plain his own and his party's belief that Congress had no authority to interfere with the institution of slavery.

What really mattered to him, however, was the prospect of finding a judicial, rather than a congressional or a presidential, solution to the sectional issue of slavery. Going beyond accepted political bounds, and ignoring the principle of separation of powers, Buchanan had used his influence to sway a Northern Supreme Court justice to side with the Southern majority in a pending case, Dred Scott v. Sandford. When he delivered his inaugural, Buchanan already knew the outcome of that case, although in his address he deceitfully alluded to the forthcoming decision by saying of the Court: "To their decision, in common with all good citizens, I shall cheerfully submit, whatever this may be." Two days later, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney issued the most infamous decision in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court -- an opinion holding that Dred Scott, a slave who sued for his freedom because he had lived with his master for a time in a free state, was not free; that no slave or black person could be a citizen of the U.S.; that Congress had no power to exclude slavery from a territory; and that the slavery exclusion clause of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was unconstitutional. The opinion did not resolve the sectional controversy as Buchanan and the Taney court had hoped. Instead, it produced thunderous outrage throughout the North. In the South, of course, the decision was cheered. But Northerners saw the court's action as a partisan ploy.

Ignoring the clamor of criticism from the North, Buchanan nestled into the White House by surrounding himself with advisors who told him what he wanted to hear rather than what he needed to know. The new president lived in a bubble, despite the fact that the nation was beginning to crumble around him. During his first year in office, an economic depression (referred to as the Panic of 1857) hit the country and persisted for his entire term in office. With striking ineptitude, Buchanan failed to deal with the economic crisis in any effective manner, which only helped to increase bitterness between Northern commercial interests and Southern agrarians. Spouting his philosophy of limited government, he told the public that the government lacked the power "to extend relief" to those hardest hit by the depression. As he promised to reduce the federal debt and all government spending, Buchanan nevertheless oversaw during his one term in office a growth in federal spending that amounted to 15 percent of the budget in 1856. When he left office, Buchanan handed over a $17 million deficit to Lincoln.

In the heat of mounting sectional discord and as the economy bottomed out, Buchanan abandoned the traditional understanding in U.S. politics of regarding his political enemies as a loyal opposition; instead, Buchanan, like George W. Bush 150 years later, accused his political opponents of disloyalty, extremism and treason. "The great object of my administration," Buchanan wrote in 1856, "will be to arrest, if possible, the agitation of the Slavery question at the North and to destroy sectional parties." In other words, Buchanan wanted to eliminate the Republicans, not just defeat them, rather like how Karl Rove worked strenuously to create a "permanent majority" for the Republican Party during Bush 43's presidency.

While Buchanan condemned Republicans and abolitionists as the source of all the nation's troubles, the Kansas problem continued to boil over. When the pro-slavery minority in Kansas submitted a fraudulent constitution legalizing slavery in the territory, Buchanan endorsed the document as legitimate. Then he tried to force his arch-rival, Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, to do the same. In a White House meeting, Buchanan threatened Douglas by pointing out that since Andrew Jackson's time no senator had opposed a presidential measure successfully without then losing his next bid for reelection. Furious, Douglas replied: "Mr. President, I wish you to remember that General Jackson is dead!" He then stormed out of the White House. (Douglas won reelection to his seat, successfully defeating Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois Senate contest of 1858.)

Buchanan went forward and submitted the Kansas issue to Congress. Then, in his annual message, he enjoyed a "Mission Accomplished" moment by declaring that "Kansas is ... at this moment as much a slave state as Georgia and South Carolina." But Congress had not yet decided the fate of Kansas. After fierce debate, the Senate approved the bill admitting Kansas as a slave state, but the House of Representatives did not. Finally, in Kansas, the free-soil majority voted against the pro-slavery constitution in a fair election. (Kansas would remain a territory until 1861, when, after the departure of Southerners from Congress, it was admitted into the Union as a free state.) With a smugness that smacked of delusion, Buchanan took credit for making Kansas "tranquil and prosperous."

Even as Buchanan was fanning the flames of sectional strife over Kansas, another crisis in the West demanded his attention as president. In Utah territory, the Mormons combined an overt patriotism and demonstrations of loyalty to the U.S. government with rebellious rhetoric and actions -- such as the practice of polygamy, otherwise outlawed in the U.S. -- that left many Americans outside of the Great Basin convinced that the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were intent on dominating the government of Utah, ignoring federal officials and authority in the territory, and enforcing a "Theodemocracy," rather than a true democracy, under the leadership of Brigham Young. When reports reached Washington in the spring of 1857 that the Mormons were in a state of near insurrection against federal authority, Buchanan concluded -- on something less than reliable evidence -- that the Utah settlers had "for several years past manifested a spirit of insubordination to the Constitution and laws of the United States," that the inhabitants of the territory were under "a strange system of terrorism," and that those who resisted the federal government were therefore traitors. Accordingly, he ordered, in his capacity as commander in chief, a military expedition to the territory that was "not to be withdrawn until the inhabitants of that Territory shall manifest a proper sense of the duty which they owe to this government." The army blundered its mission, and the Mormons fought an effective guerrilla campaign against the federal troops. Eventually, Buchanan felt the heat of political pressure to end the so-called Mormon War, and a peaceful end to the fiasco. True to form, however, Buchanan claimed credit for a victory in Utah.

The president was a saber-rattler. To solve a dispute between the U.S. and the British over the boundary through the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the Northwest, Buchanan sent troops under the command of Gen. Winfield Scott to Puget Sound. Luckily the argument was settled peacefully. He also dispatched 2,500 sailors and Marines to Paraguay after a U.S. naval captain had been killed there. The campaign lasted months without any appreciable results. Like other presidents who would follow him, including George W. Bush, Buchanan resorted to military force without qualms and then, when the use of force did not quite work out as he intended, he simply declared victory and hoped that everyone would forget his mistakes. At least he did not say out loud to the Mormons, the British or the Paraguayans, as Bush 43 did to his enemies, "Bring them on." Even so, he assumed the posture of an aggressive commander in chief -- one who conveniently overlooked the fact that Congress, and not the chief executive, was supposed to declare war.

Meanwhile, Buchanan pushed ahead with what he considered his most important piece of business: acquiring Cuba for the United States. After his nomination for the presidency, Buchanan reiterated his extraordinary lust for Cuba. "If I can be instrumental in settling the slavery question ... and then adding Cuba to the Union," he exclaimed, "I shall be willing to give up the ghost." Yet Spain had not changed its mind since the time of the Ostend Manifesto. It had no interest in relinquishing Cuba to any other country, including the United States. A bill to purchase the island languished and then died in Congress. Undeterred, Buchanan kept saying over and over, "We must have Cuba." Because his desire for Cuba was not fulfilled, he did not give up the ghost.

Instead, he led the nation into its worst crisis. The crisis, at least, was not entirely of his own making, although he surely contributed to the steady escalation of belligerent feelings between North and South while he sat in the White House. He also helped bring about a schism in the Democratic Party that led to a four-way race for the presidency in the election of 1860: in the North, Abraham Lincoln (R) versus Stephen Douglas (D), and in the South, John C. Breckinridge (D) versus John Bell (Constitution Union Party). Buchanan did not run for reelection because he had promised the nation he would serve only one term. In that sense, he was a lame-duck president from the moment he had been elected in 1856, and his disputes with Congress suffered because everyone in Washington knew that he would be gone after four short years.

What triggered the immediate chain of events that led to the Civil War was Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency on Nov. 6, 1860. Fearful that Lincoln was a die-hard abolitionist, rather than a Republican who simply wanted to prohibit the spread of slavery into the western territories, a good number of Southern extremists called "fire-eaters" vowed to take their states out of the Union if Lincoln became president. With his election, South Carolina quickly called a convention to consider the matter of secession, and on Dec. 20, after Lincoln's election had been confirmed by the Electoral College, the Palmetto State jubilantly declared that it was no longer in the United States. Despite all the rationalizations and elaborate justifications for secession, then and ever after, the action taken by South Carolina was illegal and traitorous. Buchanan, as the nation's chief magistrate, watched with a slack jaw as the South warned the nation that it would not abide Lincoln's election, despite the fact that the Illinoisan had been legally elected (and not, say, appointed to the presidency by the U. S. Supreme Court as George W. Bush would be in 2000). Rather than taking the South's threats seriously, Buchanan in his annual message ignored the impending crisis and asked one last time for a congressional appropriation with which to purchase Cuba. He also suggested that it might be prudent to send a military expedition into Mexico for the purpose of establishing an American protectorate in Chihuahua and Sonora to ward off Indian attacks and bandit raids into Texas and New Mexico. Congress refused his requests.

At first, though, it looked like Buchanan might take decisive action against disunion. In his annual message to Congress, in December 1860, he denied "the right of secession." The Founders had established a perpetual union, he said, and the federal government had the duty to defend it from all enemies, foreign and domestic. In Buchanan's estimation, there was no wiggle room when it came to disunion: "Secession is neither more nor less than revolution. It may or may not be a justifiable revolution; but still it is revolution." By inserting the word "justifiable" in this last sentence, one could detect Buchanan faltering, his knees buckling like a boxer who's about to collapse to the mat. Sure enough, Buchanan also declared in his message that he and Congress lacked the authority to force any seceded state back into the Union. "The power to make war against a State," he contended, "is at variance with the whole spirit and intent of the Constitution ... Our Union rests upon public opinion, and can never be cemented by the blood of its citizens shed in civil war."

But he said this 17 days before South Carolina or any other Southern state had left the Union. He was, in other words, providing the South with a handy justification for secession and letting them know the federal government would do nothing to stop the disintegration of the nation. No longer did Buchanan rattle sabers, as he had done in Utah or had threatened to do in acquiring Cuba or invading Mexico. When it came to the South and secession, the president professed to be powerless. In the North, his professed impotence seemed inexcusable, especially among those anti-slavery Democrats who remembered how Andrew Jackson had effectively handled the Nullification Crisis of 1832, when South Carolina tried to void a federal tariff law. Jackson had responded by threatening to use military force against South Carolina, which wisely had backed down. Stephen Douglas was right, though: Jackson was dead, and Buchanan was nothing like him.

Buchanan's lack of resolve, once South Carolina and the other states of the Deep South did abandon the Union, opened the door for those rebellious states to take possession of federal property -- forts, armories, post offices, customs houses -- without hindrance. Fort Sumter in South Carolina, which sat on a small island in the middle of Charleston's harbor, was among the few federal military installations that remained in the hands of the U.S. government. The fate of Fort Sumter threw Buchanan into a fit of indecision. Always something of a sponge who absorbed the ideas and strength of others around him, like W did under the mesmerizing influence of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, Buchanan continued to listen to his Southern advisors who told him to tread carefully or not at all. Throughout the month of December 1860, Buchanan nearly suffered a complete breakdown: He cursed aloud, he wept, his hands trembled, he could not remember orders he had given or documents he had read. Some mornings he found it difficult to get out of bed. Observers noticed that there was a constant twitching in his cheek, an indication that he might have suffered a minor stroke as the crisis mounted. Finally, he decided not to give up the fort, and the Southern members of his Cabinet resigned in protest. Buchanan replaced them with Cabinet officials who were more decisively Unionist in their sentiments.

He wanted someone -- anyone but himself -- to find a solution to the nation's problems. Nevertheless, by the end of December Buchanan ordered a supply ship to Fort Sumter; the effort failed, however, when the ship was forced to abandon Charleston harbor when it came under heavy fire from batteries along the shore. Buchanan decided to do nothing else about the fort and the troops who defended it. In fact, it became clear that he intended to take no action against the South for the remaining eight weeks of his term. When he shared a carriage with Lincoln back to the White House after the new president's inauguration, Buchanan said, "If you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland [his private estate in Pennsylvania] you are a happy man." Lincoln's reply, if any, is not recorded.

Buchanan spent the rest of his life at Wheatland justifying his actions -- and, more pointedly, his inaction -- in a memoir in which he referred to himself in the third person, as if he were a figure he had never met in person. He continued to blame abolitionists and the Republican Party for the nation's troubles, and he absolved himself of any responsibility for the Civil War, stating that he was "completely satisfied" with everything he had done as president. Forgotten by his countrymen as he spent his last years at Wheatland, he died in 1868. Many Americans had assumed he was already dead.

- - - - - - - - - -

Numerous historians have said that no president was better qualified to serve in the White House than James Buchanan, given the vast amount of experience he had gained in elected and appointed offices over the course of a long career in public service. In 1988, some pundits said the same thing about George Herbert Walker Bush, who had served as vice president, ambassador, congressman and director of the CIA before winning the presidency. Too few pundits, however, pointed out how injuriously unqualified George W. Bush was for the presidency. But, then, we all learned that for ourselves over eight long years.

Lately some historians have tried to rehabilitate Buchanan. "It is unrealistic," writes a recent historian, Russell McClintock, "to think that in 1860 the White House could have been occupied by a chief executive willing to take a sufficiently bold stand" in the secession crisis. Really? McClintock believes that "few of the men who have occupied the White House could have stood up to the challenge of the moment." But that's nonsense. It amounts to admitting that most presidents are mediocre, and Buchanan should be forgiven for simply being more mediocre than most of them. Yet Lincoln had no experience in leadership when he took the oath of office. And while it's true that he fumbled during his first weeks in office, he eventually rose "to the challenge of the moment." What distinguishes Buchanan, then, is not that his mistakes can or should be excused, it's that he totally lacked the capacity to rise to the occasion, to act when action was necessary, to defend the country precisely when it needed defending. In other words, he was a terrible president.

Even so, Buchanan's incompetent incompetency resulted in our worst national catastrophe, though the Civil War cannot entirely be laid at his feet. Other forces, beyond his blunders, led to secession and war, and to some extent, when all's said and done, there was probably little he could have done to prevent the cascade of Southern states that left the Union after South Carolina marched out in December 1860. Indeed, it's just possible that if he had attempted to coerce South Carolina to rescind its secession, other Southern states might have seceded in even more rapid order than they ended up doing. That's not an excuse for his inaction, and my statement differs significantly in substance than McClintock's apologia for Buchanan. Buchanan might not have been able to change the course of history or to stop the onslaught of Civil War. But he might have at least tried.

As for George W. Bush, and his incompetent competency, he did not usher in a civil war -- not quite. But he did make a mockery of the Office of the President of the United States, initiate foreign wars without provocation, mismanage the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, overstep his constitutional authority as president and commander in chief, violate human and civil rights, approve the use of torture, call his domestic political opponents enemies of America and traitors, alienate most of the nation's allies around the world, lie about WMD, pass tax cuts for the wealthy that brought the national economy to its knees, sign the TARP bill into law while letting foreclosure victims eat cake, and spend a great amount of time pedaling his trail bike and clearing brush on vacation.

Buchanan's sins were many. Their consequences were felt by Northerners and Southerners through four years of a bloody Civil War. And so we still feel the effects of his ineptness 150 years after the fact. But we are still too close to Bush 43's despicable actions in office -- the ripple effect of all the mayhem he sought purposely to create -- for us to understand just how much lasting damage he actually accomplished. Even so, Bush's eight years in office were an unmitigated disaster. In fact, the more we learn as time goes by, the worse Bush's presidency continues to get; there will undoubtedly be more damning revelations in the years and decades ahead.

Hence my verdict: As of today, Presidents' Day 2011, James Buchanan wins the dubious distinction of having been our worst president. Nevertheless, it is well within the realm of possibility -- once historians have a chance to reckon more completely with all of Bush 43's extraordinary transgressions as president -- that W might someday unseat Buchanan as the very worst president this nation has ever had.

* Glenn W. LaFantasie is the Richard Frockt Family Professor of Civil War History at Western Kentucky University. He is working on a book about Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bernie Sanders on Obama Budget: "I think it's bad"

Urmaris 'El Yogui' Guerra, la revelación del equipo Granma



Ni Alfredo Despaigne Rodríguez ni Yoennis Céspedes Milanés y mucho menos Yordanis Samón Matamoros -- los tres implacables toleteros de Los Alazanes- han podido eclipsar la actuación del increíble Urmari Guerra Vargas, en la 50 Serie Nacional de Béisbol (SNB).

JG: !Que buen trabajo está haciendo esta año!

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson continues to pander to the Miami right wing nuts

Here is another specimen of the Democratic Party, who like U.S. Rep. Debby 'Dubbya' Wasserman-Schultz, tries to convince the gullible Florida voters that he is a "progressive."

I am talking about none other than U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, who is making an extra effort this year to be more right wing than the Tea Baggers.

Nelson "has introduced [in the U.S. Senate] bills to deny visas and entry into the United States to executives of oil companies that want to drill [for oil] in Cuba," according to www.naplesnews.com.

Senator: you just lost my vote in November of 2012!

¡Cuba para los Cubanos!

February 26, 2011: UCF Wind Ensemble

Click on the graphic to enlarge

El popular Coquito de Puerto Rico


Ingredientes:

1 taza de leche de coco o 1/2 taza de crema de coco
4 yemas de huevo
1 cdta.de vainilla
1 lata de leche evaporada
1 lata de leche condensada
1 1/2 taza de ron blanco

Procedimiento:


Bata las yemas, añada la leche evaporada y demás ingredientes. Luego caliente a fuego mediano. Añada el ron. Deje enfriar y sirvalo en botellas.

¡Es un excelente regalo de Navidad!


Source: El Colmadito de Puerto Rico (elcolmadito.com)

El levantamiento en Satiago de Cuba, Noviembre 30, 1956

Objetivos

El 30 de noviembre de 1956 se produjo en Santiago de Cuba un levantamiento armado que tenía como propósito principal apoyar el desembarco del yate Granma que venía de México con una expedición para comenzar una insurrección armada contra la dictadura batistiana.

Organización

Este levantamiento fue organizado principalmente por Frank País García, que en aquel entonces era el principal dirigente del Movimiento 26 de Julio (M-26-J).

Se había acordado que las principales acciones se realizarían allí porque era el lugar donde mayores concentraciones de unidades militares existían y era necesario impedir por todos los medios que estas fuerzas impidieran el desembarco y que los cubanos llegaran a la Sierra Maestra, lugar donde se efectuarían las posteriores luchas. Las demás provincias del país debían, principalmente, eliminar las comunicaciones entre las fuerzas batistianas.

Los puntos básicos a ser atacados durante el enfrentamiento eran la Policía Nacional, la Policía Marítima y el famoso Cuartel Moncada.

El plan de acción se configuró de la siguiente manera:

* 5 comandos tenían que rodear y embestir el Moncada, sin ocuparlo, a partir de que oyeran los estallidos del mortero; de no escucharse las explosiones, debía seguirse con el plan a partir de las 7:00 a.m. de cualquier manera.

* Las Brigadas Juveniles debían construir barricadas en las vías de salida del cuartel para impedir que se le llevaran refuerzos a las unidades de Policía Marítima y la Nacional.

* Una brigada debía darle apoyo al plan de huida de los prisioneros políticos de la Cárcel de Boniato, y luego se incorporarían al ataque en el Moncada. De una ferretería se debían obtener los fusiles de bajo calibre que se utilizarían.

* La Triple A y la organización Acción Libertadora serían las encargadas del asalto al aeropuerto y al Distrito Naval.

* Se emitirían transmisiones radiales y se repartirían proclamas a la población.

* Los dirigentes dirigirían las acciones desde la Casa Cuartel escogida.

Los dirigentes nacionales eran Frank País García, Armando Hart y Haydee Santamaría. Los principales dirigentes provinciales Bilito Castellan, Gloria Cuadras, Ramón Álvarez, María Antonia Figueroa y Vilma Espín.

Luego de las acciones los expedicionarios serían guiados a la Sierra Maestra según la recepción organizada por Celia Sánchez.

Las condiciones de la acción no fueron las mejores dado que no todos los combatientes estaban armados ni uniformados pero aun así no desistieron de cumplir con lo que se había planificado y se acordó que ellos tomarían las armas que se ocuparan de la policía.

Acciones

La señal para iniciar las acciones no fue efectiva ya que el comando destinado a darla fue capturado por lo que las acciones se realizaron sin simultaneidad. El cerco al cuartel Moncada no llegó a efectuarse. A pesar de esa situación adversa, los restantes comandos ocuparon la Estación de la Policía Marítima y tomaron sus armas, produciéndoles muchas bajas.

La Policía Nacional fue quemada y derribada, pero no pudo ser tomada. Murieron en combate Tony Alomá, Pepito Tey y Otto Parellada, Jefe del Comando, y otros 2 compañeros fueron heridos. Disímiles combates tuvieron lugar con las tropas que intentaron expulsar a los rebeldes atrincherados en el Instituto de Segunda Enseñanza. En Guantánamo se ocupó un diminuto cuartel y en otras provincias se efectuaron sabotajes a los medios de comunicaciones.

Resultados

El resultado final de la operación no coincidió con los objetivos ya que el desembarco no llegó a producirse ese día pero marcó el reinicio de la luchas que había comenzado Fidel Castro y sus compañeros con el ataque al Cuartel Moncada el 26 de julio de 1953 en esa misma ciudad.

Source: Wikipedia