Thursday, March 31, 2011

Raul Castro reiterates what Barack Obama can not seem to understand

Cuban president Raul Castro said goodbye at Havana's airport to former U.S. president Jimmy Carter. He stated that Mr. Carter was one former president who is honest and has a good attitude toward Cuba.

Raul reiterated Cuba's disposition to dialogue with the United States about any themes, based on equal terms, without any preconditions and total respect toward Cuba's independence and national sovereignty.

Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton can never understand that. They want to dictate terms and preconditions to the government of Cuba. That is based, on preponderance, arrogance, and petulance.

That attitude is not acceptable to the Cuban people. They are no longer a colony of the empire.

Napoleonic museum opens in Cuba

Napoleonic Museum of Havana boasts the largest collection of French revolutionary and imperial items outside of Europe

(AFP) – March 31, 2011, 1:22 a.m.

HAVANA — Napoleon Bonaparte goes on display in Cuba on Friday with the reopening of the Napoleonic Museum of Havana, which boasts the largest collection of French revolutionary and imperial items outside of Europe.

Napoleon never set foot in Cuba but his physician, Corsican-born Francesco Antommarchi, who treated him during his last days in exile on Saint Helen, moved here after the emperor died in 1821, bringing with him the French icon's death mask.

The death mask is the centerpiece of the museum, which after a three-year renovation now includes some 8,000 French Revolutionary and Imperial artifacts and takes up four floors of an ornate Renaissance-style Havana palace.

The museum is "a contribution towards the study of an event of universal relevance that concerns many people, including those in Latin America," said Havana historian Eusebio Leal at the museum inauguration ceremony.

"This is not a monument glorifying conquest or the cult of militarism," he added.

The collection includes paintings, statues, clothing and weapons from the era, and a library of some 5,000 books relating to the period in French, Spanish and English.

It also includes a gold watch the descendents of Antommarchi gave President Raul Castro in the 1960s, at a time when Julio Lobo, a wealthy businessman and fervent Napoleon admirer, collected most of the items.

French ambassador Jean Mendelson was at the inaugural event along with Alix de Foresta, 84, the widow of a descendant of Napoleon's youngest brother Jerome.

The representative of the Bonapartes, who had visited Cuba in 1951 with her husband, was thrilled by the ceremony and donated a porcelain dinner service to the museum.

In his opening presentation historian Leal mentioned Francisco de Miranda and Simon Bolivar, South American leaders in the early 19th century wars of independence against Spain, who were strongly influenced by the French Revolution.

Miranda actively participated in the French Revolution, rising to the rank of general, and his name is engraved on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Fidel Castro and Jimmy Carter meet


The former U.S. president stated that the U.S. embargo of Cuba should be lifted and that the travel ban to the island for American citizens should be removed according to a report from Xinhua.

He also called for the removal of Cuba from the State Department's list of countries which promote terrorism and for the freeing of the Cuban Five and U.S. contractor Alan Gross.

Carter slams US policy toward Cuba

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four: Perpetual Warfare

"The 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell was written from the viewpoint of a citizen of one of three fictional world-dominating superstates. These nations are in a state of perpetual war with each other. The state of war is used by each of the states to justify the control of their populations using Stalinist or other methods. By artificially creating fear and hate of an enemy, the actual existence of which is never made completely certain, the governments provided an excuse for their failures and, in the case of Oceania, enforced obedience to Big Brother. Moreover, eternal war formed the bedrock of the economy, as people could be kept busy manufacturing goods that would not improve their living standards, but would instead be destroyed on the battlefields. Thus perpetual war not only kept the population busy, it also encouraged a "siege mentality" in which hatred of the enemy and love for the government's protection were social norms." (Source:Wikepedia)

If you thought that George Orwell was writing about the U.S.S.R. you are wrong. Orwell was a very strong anti-fascist and he fought with the International Brigades against the fascists of General Francisco Franco, and wrote his Homage to Catalonia, which chronicles his experience in the Spanish Civil War.

From 1948 to today's military adventure of Barack Obama in Libya, it is the United States that is always in a state of perpetual warfare. Today's enemies are the Muslim Arabs; in the 1950's it was the communists, both domestic and foreign. We keep giving the people techie gadgets like the iPhone and the iPad to keep their minds off the perpetual wars that the U.S., Britain and France spread throughout the world. The mountains of debt, a consequence of the USA's perpetual warfare mentality keep piling up. That house of cards will come tumbling down one day.

46th Capablanca In Memoriam Chess Tournament


Objetivo: Desarrollar un Festival deportivo, científico y cultural para rendir merecido homenaje a la insigne figura del Ajedrez cubano, José Raúl Capablanca en el marco de la 46 edición del Torneo Internacional Capablanca in Memoriam, propiciando la mas alta calidad competitiva, a partir de una amplia participación de atletas Nacionales e Internacionales, así como la realización de diversas actividades colaterales.

FECHA DE REALIZACIÓN:
Del 9 al 21 de Mayo de 2011
SEDE PRINCIPAL: HOTEL HABANA RIVIERA
LA HABANA, CUBA

Source:
Capablanca, Sitio Oficial del Ajedrez Cubano

Barack Obama, barefaced and petulant

I read most, but not all, of the Reflexiones del Compañero Fidel. The one published today under the name of NATO's Fascist War is one that it is very important because of the illegal and unconstitutional actions put in place by the current president of the United States.

I had to run to a dictionary for a proper translation of the word 'descarado' which describes very well the character of Barack Obama.

Here it is: cheeky, impertinent, barefaced, blatant, petulant. Choose the one you like. They all fit Barack Obama to a T.

He was elected with the overwhelming support of the American people, after the disastrous presidency of George W. Bush, who started a war on Iraq based on lies. Now, Barack Obama continues traveling the same road. He has made the Afghanistan war his war, and not content with all the mistakes of Dubya, he is repeating them now in Lybia, which is an illegal and unconstitutional military action, because only Congress can declare war.

The presidents of the United States no longer care about what the U.S. constitution says. Military adventures are born instantly based on arrogance and petulance.

Barack Obama deserves to be impeached! Hopefully, we will only have him in the Oval Office for one term.

Fidel Castro: La Guerra Fascista de la OTAN

29 Marzo 2011

No había que ser adivino para saber lo que preví con rigurosa precisión en tres Reflexiones que publiqué en el sitio Web CubaDebate, entre el 21 de febrero y el 3 de marzo: “El plan de la OTAN es ocupar Libia”, “Danza macabra de cinismo”, y “La Guerra inevitable de la OTAN”.

Ni siquiera los líderes fascistas de Alemania e Italia fueron tan sumamente descarados a raíz de la Guerra Civil Española desatada en 1936, un episodio que muchos tal vez hayan recordado en estos días.

Han transcurrido desde entonces casi exactamente 75 años; pero nada que pueda parecerse a los cambios que han tenido lugar en 75 siglos, o si lo desean, en 75 milenios de la vida humana en nuestro planeta.

A veces parece que, quienes serenamente opinamos sobre estos temas, somos exagerados. Me atrevería a decir que más bien somos ingenuos cuando suponemos que todos debiéramos estar conscientes del engaño o la colosal ignorancia a que ha sido arrastrada la humanidad.
Existía en 1936 un intenso enfrentamiento entre dos sistemas y dos ideologías aproximadamente equiparadas en su poder militar.

Las armas entonces parecían de juguete comparadas con las actuales. La humanidad tenía garantizada la supervivencia, a pesar del poder destructivo y localmente mortífero de las mismas. Ciudades enteras, e incluso naciones, podían ser virtualmente arrasadas. Pero jamás los seres humanos, en su totalidad, podían ser varias veces exterminados por el estúpido y suicida poder desarrollado por las ciencias y las tecnologías actuales.

Partiendo de estas realidades, son bochornosas las noticias que se transmiten continuamente sobre el empleo de potentes cohetes dirigidos por láser, de total precisión; cazabombarderos que duplican la velocidad del sonido; potentes explosivos que hacen estallar metales endurecidos con uranio, cuyo efecto sobre los pobladores y sus descendientes perdura por tiempo indefinido.

Cuba expuso en la reunión de Ginebra su posición respecto al problema interno de Libia. Defendió sin vacilar la idea de una solución política al conflicto en ese país, y se opuso categóricamente a cualquier intervención militar extranjera.

En un mundo donde la alianza de Estados Unidos y las potencias capitalistas desarrolladas de Europa, se adueña cada vez más de los recursos y el fruto del trabajo de los pueblos, cualquier ciudadano honesto, sea cual fuere su posición ante el gobierno, se opondría a la intervención militar extranjera en su Patria.

Puedo expresar mis puntos de vista sobre la guerra en Libia con entera libertad.
No comparto con el líder de ese país concepciones políticas o de carácter religioso. Soy marxista-leninista y martiano, como ya he expresado.

Veo a Libia como un miembro del Movimiento de Países No Alineados y un Estado soberano de los casi 200 de la Organización de Naciones Unidas.

Jamás un país grande o pequeño, en este caso de apenas 5 millones de habitantes, fue víctima de un ataque tan brutal por la fuerza aérea de una organización belicista que cuenta con miles de cazabombarderos, más de 100 submarinos, portaaviones nucleares, y suficiente arsenal para destruir numerosas veces el planeta. Tal situación jamás la conoció nuestra especie y no existía nada parecido hace 75 años cuando los bombarderos nazis atacaron objetivos en España.

Ahora, sin embargo, la desprestigiada y criminal OTAN escribirá una “bella” historieta sobre su “humanitario” bombardeo.

Si Gaddafi hace honor a las tradiciones de su pueblo y decide combatir, como ha prometido, hasta el último aliento junto a los libios que están enfrentando los peores bombardeos que jamás sufrió un país, hundirá en el fango de la ignominia a la OTAN y sus criminales proyectos.

Los pueblos respetan y creen en los hombres que saben cumplir el deber.

Hace más de 50 años, cuando Estados Unidos asesinó a más de cien cubanos con la explosión del mercante “La Coubre”, nuestro pueblo proclamó “Patria o Muerte”. Ha cumplido, y ha estado siempre dispuesto a cumplir su palabra.

“Quien intente apoderarse de Cuba -exclamó el más glorioso combatiente de nuestra historia- solo recogerá el polvo de su suelo anegado en sangre”.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Carter meets Jewish leader in Cuba

He met with Adela Dworin. According to her, their talk was not about anything involving politics. She said Carter asked about religious freedom and he was told "that we openly practice our religion."

They did not discuss the activities of Alan Gross, a covert U.S. agent sent by the Obama administration to distribute communications equipment to the mercenaries that the U.S. employs inside the island.

Source: Reuters

Jimmy Carter Visits Jewish Patronato in Havana, Cuba

US Government to Spend $30 Million on Internet Campaign against Cuba

Cuban News Agency

HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 28 (ACN) The US government is planning to spend some extra $30 million on projects aimed at using the internet to destabilize the Cuban government, Granma newspaper reported Monday.

The Cuban daily revealed that with that purpose the US Agency for International Development (USAID) requested non-governmental organizations and specialized companies to submit their “ideas”, according to a document recently posted at the Cuba Money Project website by US journalist and researcher Tracey Eaton.

The document —dated January 11, 2011— was brought to light the day before the beginning of the trial in Havana against American USAID contractor Alan Philip Gross, who was charged of leading illegal activities in Cuba.

The document details in a precise way, so much that it seems to be referring directly to the Gross case or to previous intelligence operations, that applying organizations must have experience on intense hostile Internet fields.

The spearhead of these operations, called web-based circumvention technology, is aimed at going around firewalls and filters used to discover multiple forms of illegal use of the Internet according to the laws of every country.

The strategy includes a training program for the development of a network of instructors to train bloggers, citizen-journalists and civil organizations to operate illegally.

The program comprises as well a “defense” fund for activists facing legal charges of hacking and “cyber intrusion.” Granma said that in addition to requesting proposals of initiatives against Cuba under the classical rhetoric of “help” for “digital activists,” the document also mentions China, Burma, Iran, Russia and Venezuela, all of which are countries refusing to submit to U.S. imperial domination.

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JG: Yankee imperialism, under both George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama, can't stomach the fact and the reality that they lost their neocolony in the Caribbean on January 1st, 1959. And so, they have to revert to immoral and unethical conduct to covertly subvert (with fools like Alan Gross) the internal affair of the island. Would you buy a used car from either Bush, Obama or Hillary?

Jimmy Carter arrives in Havana

Former President Jimmy Carter arrives at the Jose Marti airport in Havana, Cuba, Monday, March 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)

Green Party advances in Germany

Winfried Kretschmann is likely to become the Green party's first regional 'minister president' after the Baden-Württemberg state elections. Photograph: Uli Deck/AFP/Getty Images

The Green party has taken power from Angela Merkel's conservatives in one of Germany's richest states, preliminary results from the Baden-Württemberg elections show.

The chancellor's Christian Democratic Union party, or CDU, had ruled the region's state legislature for almost 58 years, but found itself on the wrong side of the nuclear debate following Fukushima. Even before the Japanese earthquake, the party was unpopular locally for sanctioning a multibillion euro project to build a railway station in Stuttgart.

Support for the CDU slumped from 44.2% in the 2006 state election to 39%, according to official results.

More from The Guardian

Friday, March 25, 2011

Jimmy Carter Returning to Cuba


Havana Times

March 25, 2011

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES, March 25 — US President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) will make his second trip to Cuba starting next Monday, March 28th, invited by the Cuban government.

Carter, and his wife Rosalynn, plan to be in Cuba for three days and are scheduled to meet with President Raul Castro and other Cuban officials.

During his first visit in 2002, Carter spent much of his visit touring Havana with then President Fidel Castro. He also addressed the Cuban population from the University of Havana.

Carter is the only US president either in or out of office to visit Cuba, where he exchanged ideas and perspectives with Fidel Castro.

The Carters will be visiting Cuba under the auspices of the not-for-profit Carter Center founded in 1982 and based in Atlanta, Georgia.

A press release from the Center states that Carter seeks “to learn about new economic policies and the upcoming Party Congress, and to discuss ways to improve U.S.-Cuba relations.”

Since...

... the Yankee imperialists are powerless to influence the internal affairs of Cuba with its paid mercenaries (Yoani Sanchez, Elizardo "El Camajan" Sanchez and the Damas de $$$) they have to constantly whine about false ghosts inside the island.

That is what happens when free and independent people do no kiss the rear end of Uncle Sam!

Torturing people in Guantanamo Naval Base, secret renditions and C.I.A. jails in countries where U.S. puppets govern, the Ken State University shootings, the My Lai massacre in South Vietam, and the invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan and air bombardments of Kosovo and Lybia are not violations of human rights. Yeah, sure! I have some choice land in the Florida Everglades. Wanna buy it?

In the meantime, the fiscal crisis in the United States and its fifty state governments keeps on growing. Uncle Sam is not interested in cutting the money it gives to the military industrial complex, its promotion and subsidies to huge U.S. transnational corporations, or the huge tax cuts given to the supper rich by Bush and Obama.

Lets cut down the social programs that benefit the masses even more! LET THEM EAT CAKE!

Septeto Nacional de Cuba to perform in California

At the University of California, Santa Barbara.
7:00 p.m.

Granma's Special Website for the 50th National Baseball Series Playoffs

Click below:

Play Off, Fiesta del béisbol cubano 2011

John Paul Rogers denounces racism

Ex-Klan Candidate for Lake Wales Mayor Denounces Racism

Rogers is a former Florida Grand Dragon of the United Klans of America.


By PHIL ATTINGER
NYT REGIONAL MEDIA GROUP

Published: Friday, March 25, 2011 at 12:48 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 25, 2011 at 12:48 a.m.

LAKE WALES | At a candidates' forum Thursday night, John Paul Rogers, former Florida Grand Dragon of the United Klans of America, publicly condemned racism.

The 70-year-old candidate for Lake Wales mayor read from a prepared statement, thanked the three dozen people assembled, and then left without any further word to constituents or reporters.

More from The Ledger

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JG: This is too little, too late. He does not deserve to be named the Mayor of Lake Wales. In that city, the council commissioners name a mayor. He needs to totally repudiate and condemn the past crimes of the KKK against African-American citizens.

Nuclear situation 'grave' Japan Prime Minister warns

Al Jazeera

25 Mar 2011 12:09

Japan's prime minister has warned the situation at the country's quake-hit nuclear power plant remains "unpredictable" after officials said they suspected a breach in the reactor core of a unit at the complex.


"The current situation is still very unpredictable. We're working to stop the situation from worsening. We need to continue to be extremely vigilant," Naoto Kan said on Friday.

He also praised emergency workers at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan, which was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami two weeks ago, for "risking their lives" in the battle to control the situation.

Earlier, officials from the plant's operator said there was possible damage at reactor number three at the complex, meaning more radioactive contamination may have leaked into the environment.

"It is possible that the pressure vessel containing the fuel rods in the reactor is damaged," a spokesman from Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) told the AFP news agency.

More...

Asahi Shimbun EDITORIAL: Radioactive iodine in water is a cause for alarm

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Will Obama be challenged from the left in 2012?

Chicago Tribune

March 23, 2011 | By Steve Chapman

By launching the war in Libya, President Obama has taken on a significant military risk -- and a big political one. Liberals in the Democratic party have been disappointed with him over health care (no public option), taxes (extending the Bush cuts even for the richest Americans) and his stimulus program (too small to be potent). But they've stuck with him.

Libya, however, could be the last straw with many Democrats. They could soon start looking for their Gene McCarthy -- a credible challenger who stands for peace. Obama's opposition to the Iraq war was his strongest credential for them in 2008, and they may take this war as a terrible betrayal.

That could be fatal to Obama's re-election prospects. Incumbent presidents can expect to get a second term unless they face serious primary opponents -- like Lyndon Johnson in 1968 (McCarthy), Jimmy Carter in 1980 (Ted Kennedy), and George H.W. Bush in 1992 (Pat Buchanan). A nasty intra-party fight is hard to recover from.

Who could lead a Democratic insurgency? Maybe Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. Maybe Jim Webb of Virginia. Or maybe someone who isn't well-known yet. But if things go badly in Libya, there's a good chance Obama will have to worry about a Democratic opponent before he faces a Republican.

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JG: The answer to this rhetorical question is YES!, Barack Obama should be challenged from the left in 2102. He has not lived up to the expectations of the people who put him in the White House. On the Cuba issue he has continued to pander to the Miami right-wingers, by promoting and continuing the Cuba blockade/embargo. I would like to see Bernie Sanders run for President in 2012, as an independent.

U.S. Government Rests Its Case Against terrorist Luis Posada Carriles

KVIA

The 83-Year-Old Is Public Enemy No. 1 In His Native Cuba

POSTED: 11:07 am MDT March 24, 2011


EL PASO, Texas -- The prosecution has rested its perjury and immigration fraud case against an ex-CIA agent after 11 weeks and 23 witnesses.

Defense attorneys for anti-communist militant Luis Posada Carriles will begin presenting their case immediately, with two witnesses scheduled for Thursday.

More...

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JG: Posada Carriles is being tried for being a liar and not for being a terrorist at the service of the C.I.A. The empire is afraid that he would spill the beans about the secret missions that he did for the United States.

The Top 10 Cuban Sluggers of the 50th National Baseball Series

All the 90 games of Cuba's 50th National Baseball Series have been played. Here are the top sluggers. The playoffs to crown the new Cuban Champion Team start tomorrow.

# 1
Jose Dariel Abreu
Team: Cienfuegos
Slugging Percentage: .986
Batting Average: .453
Home Runs: 33
Total Bases: 209
RBI's: 93
Games played in: 66

# 2
Frederich Cepeda
Team: Sancti Spiritus
Slugging Percentage: .774
Batting Average: .397
Home Runs: 28
Total Bases: 236
RBI's: 81
Games played in: 83

# 3
Alfredo Despaigne
Team: Granma
Slugging Percentage: .693
Batting Average: .356
Home Runs: 27
Total Bases: 181
RBI's: 74
Games played in: 67

# 4
Joan Carlos Pedroso
Team: Las Tunas
Slugging Percentage: .692
Batting Average: .312
Home Runs: 29
Total Bases: 175
RBI's: 83
Games played in: 74

# 5
Yoennis Cespedes
Team: Granma
Slugging Percentage: .667
Batting Average: .333
Home Runs: 33
Total Bases: 236
RBI's: 99
Games played in: 90

# 6
Reutilio Hurtado
Team: Santiago de Cuba
Slugging Percentage: .660
Batting Average: .324
Home Runs: 30
Total Bases: 212
RBI's: 77
Games played in: 90

# 7
Alexander Malleta
Team: Industriales
Slugging Percentage: .659
Batting Average: .322
Home Runs: 27
Total Bases: 205
RBI's: 76
Games played in: 88

# 8
Yordanis Samon
Team: Granma
Slugging Percentage: .657
Batting Average: .385
Home Runs: 21
Total Bases: 215
RBI's: 76
Games played in: 90

# 9
Donal Duarte
Team: Pinar del Rio
Slugging Percentage: .650
Batting Average: .356
Home Runs: 21
Total Bases: 197
RBI's: 62
Games played in: 84

# 10
Edilse Silva
Team: Holguin
Slugging Percentage: .634
Batting Average: .335
Home Runs: 25
Total Bases: 210
RBI's: 87
Games played in: 89

Simón Bolívar, el Libertador


By Manuel Pérez Vila

Descendiente de una familia de origen vasco que se hallaba establecida en Venezuela desde fines del siglo XVI, y ocupaba en la Provincia una destacada posición económica y social, Simón Bolívar nació en la ciudad de Caracas el 24 de julio de 1783. Sus padres fueron el Coronel don Juan Vicente Bolívar y Ponte, y doña Concepción Palacios Blanco. Tenía tres hermanos mayores que él -María Antonia, Juana y Juan Vicente- y hubo otra niña, María del Carmen, que murió al nacer. Antes de cumplir tres años, Simón perdió a su padre, fallecido en enero de 1786. La educación de los niños corrió a cargo de la madre, mujer de fina sensibilidad, pero también capaz de administrar los cuantiosos bienes que poseía la familia. Además de la herencia paterna, Simón era titular de un rico mayorazgo, instituido para él en 1785 por el Presbítero Juan Félix Jerez y Aristaguieta.

Caracas en el siglo XVIII En su ciudad natal transcurrieron sus primeros años, con ocasionales viajes a las haciendas que la familia poseía en los Valles de Aragua. En 1792 falleció doña Concepción. María Antonia y Juana contrajeron matrimonio bien pronto, y los dos varones de la familia, Juan Vicente y Simón, siguieron viviendo con el abuelo materno, don Feliciano Palacios, tutor de ambos. La casona de la familia daba al frente a la plazuela de San Jacinto, en pleno centro de la ciudad. Al morir el abuelo, Simón quedó al cuidado de su tío y tutor Carlos Palacios. En julio de 1795, cuando cumplía 12 años, sufrió una crisis muy propia de la primera adolescencia: huyó del lado de su tío, para acogerse a la casa de su hermana María Antonia y de su marido, hacia quienes sentía mayor afinidad afectiva. A consecuencia de estos hechos, que pronto se arreglaron favorablemente, Simón Bolívar pasó algunos meses como interno en la casa de don Simón Rodríguez (1771-1854), nacido también en Caracas, quien regentaba entonces la Escuela de primeras letras de la ciudad. Entre aquel genial pedagogo y reformador social y el niño Simón Bolívar, se estableció pronto una corriente de mutua comprensión y simpatía, que duraría tanto como sus vidas. Rodríguez se marchó de Caracas en 1797. Antes y después de ser alumno suyo, tuvo Bolívar otros maestros en Caracas, entre los cuales se cita a Carrasco y a Vides, quienes le dieron lecciones de escritura y de aritmética, a Fray Jesús Nazareno Zidardia, al Presbítero José Antonio Negrete, profesor de Historia y de Religión, y a Guillermo Pelgrón, preceptor de latinidad. Recibió también lecciones particulares de Historia y de Geografía que le dio don Andrés Bello (1781-1865), quien atesoraba ya en su juventud el caudal de conocimientos que habría de conducirlo con el tiempo a ser el primer humanista de América.

Simón Bolívar en el ejército

La vocación de Bolívar era el ejercicio de las armas. En enero de 1797, ingresó como cadete en el Batallón de Milicias de Blancos de los Valles de Aragua, del cual había sido Coronel años atrás su propio padre. No tenía aún 14 años cumplidos. En julio del año siguiente, cuando fue ascendido a Subteniente, se anotaba en su hoja de servicios: «Valor: conocido; aplicación: sobresaliente». El adiestramiento práctico en los deberes militares lo combinaba Bolívar con el aprendizaje teórico de materias consideradas entonces la base de la formación castrense: las matemáticas, el dibujo topográfico, la física, etc., que aprendió en la Academia establecida en la propia casa de Bolívar por el sabio Capuchino Fray Francisco de Andújar desde mediados de 1798, y a la cual asistían también varios amigos de Simón.

A comienzos de 1799, viajó a España. En Madrid, bajo la dirección de sus tíos Esteban y Pedro Palacios y la rectoría moral e intelectual del sabio Marqués de Ustáriz, se entregó con pasión al estudio. Recibió allí la educación propia de un gentilhombre que se destinaba al mundo y al ejercicio de las armas: amplió sus conocimientos de historia, de literatura clásica y moderna, y de matemáticas, inició el estudio del francés, y aprendió también la esgrima y el baile, haciendo en todo rápidos progresos. La frecuentación de tertulias y salones pulió su espíritu, enriqueció su idioma, y le dio mayor aplomo. En Madrid conoció a María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alayza, de quien se enamoró. A fines de 1800 pensaba en constituir un hogar, asegurarse descendencia, y regresar a su país, para atender al fomento de sus propiedades. Hubo un compás de espera: en la primavera de 1801 viajó a Bilbao, donde permaneció casi todo el resto del año. Hizo luego un breve recorrido por Francia que le condujo hasta París y Amiens. En mayo de 1802 estaba de nuevo en Madrid, donde contrajo matrimonio, el día 26, con María Teresa. Los jóvenes esposos viajaron a Venezuela, pero poco duró la felicidad de Simón. María Teresa murió en enero de 1803. El joven viudo regresó a Europa a fines de ese mismo año, pasó por Cádiz y Madrid, y se estableció en París desde la primavera de 1804.

En la capital del naciente Imperio Francés los placeres de una vida social, mundana, y los estímulos de orden intelectual, comparten la atención de Bolívar, no menos que el espectáculo fascinante de una Europa en plena ebullición política. Frecuenta teatro, tertulias y salones, donde conoce a bellas mujeres, pero trata igualmente a sabios como Alejandro de Humboldt y Amado Bonpland, y asiste a las conferencias y a los cursos libres de estudios donde se divulgan los conocimientos y las teorías más recientes. En esta época de su vida se entrega con pasión a la lectura. Se ha encontrado de nuevo con Simón Rodríguez, cuyo saber y cuya experiencia hacen de él un extraordinario compañero de conversaciones, lecturas y viajes. Van juntos a Italia, y cruzan a pie la Saboya. En Roma, un día de agosto de 1805, en el Monte Sacro, Bolívar jura en presencia de su maestro no dar descanso a su brazo ni reposo a su alma hasta que haya logrado libertar al mundo Hispanoamericano de la tutela española. De nuevo se separan Bolívar y Rodríguez. El primero, poco más tarde, asciende al Vesubio en compañía del Barón de Humboldt y de otros científicos. Bolívar regresa a París, en donde se afilia a una logia masónica. A fines de 1806, conocedor de los intentos realizados por el Precursor Miranda en Venezuela, Bolívar considera que ha llegado el momento de volver a su patria. Se embarca en un buque neutral que toca en Charleston en enero de 1807; recorre una parte de los Estados Unidos, y regresa a Venezuela a mediados del mismo año.

Vive ahora como un joven aristócrata, atento al fomento de sus haciendas, y en 1808 sostiene un sonado pleito con Antonio Nicolás Briceño por los linderos de una de ellas; pero piensa siempre en el porvenir del país. En las reuniones que él y su hermano Juan Vicente celebran con sus amigos en la quinta de recreo que poseen en Caracas a orillas del río Guaire, se habla de literatura, pero también se hacen planes para la Independencia de Venezuela.

La Junta establecida ese día nombra a Bolívar, en compañía de Luis López Méndez y de Andrés Bello, comisionado ante el Gobierno Británico. Cumplida su misión, Bolívar regresa de Londres a fines del mismo año. En Inglaterra ha visto el funcionamiento práctico de las instituciones. En el seno de la Sociedad Patriótica de Caracas es uno de los más ardientes abogados de la Independencia, que el Congreso proclama el 5 de julio de 1811. Bolívar se incorpora al Ejército, y con el grado de Coronel contribuye en 1811, bajo las órdenes de Miranda, al sometimiento de Valencia. En 1812, a pesar de grandes esfuerzos, no logra evitar que la plaza de Puerto Cabello, de la cual era comandante, caiga en poder de las fuerzas realistas por una traición. A mediados de 1812, el General Miranda capitula ante el jefe español Domingo de Monteverde. En el puerto de La Guaira un grupo de oficiales jóvenes, entre los cuales figura Bolívar, deseosos de continuar la lucha, arrestan al infortunado Precursor. Pero todos los esfuerzos son inútiles. Bolívar logra salvarse gracias a la hidalguía de un amigo suyo, don Francisco Iturbe, quien obtiene un pasaporte para él. Se traslada a Curazao, y luego a Cartagena de Indias, donde redacta y publica su «Memoria dirigida a los ciudadanos de la Nueva Granada por un caraqueño», uno de los escritos fundamentales, en el cual expone ya su credo político, así como los principios que habrán de guiar su acción en los años futuros.

Comienzan entonces sus fulgurantes campañas militares, en las cuales alternarán victorias y reveses hasta 1818, y a partir del año siguiente predominarán los triunfos. A la cabeza de un pequeño ejército, limpia de enemigos las márgenes del río Magdalena, toma en febrero de 1813 la Villa de Cúcuta, e inicia en mayo la liberación de Venezuela. La serie de combates y de hábiles maniobras que en tres meses le condujeron vencedor desde la frontera del Táchira hasta Caracas, a donde entró el 6 de agosto, merecen en verdad el nombre de Campaña Admirable con que se les conoce. A su paso por Trujillo, en junio, había dictado el Decreto de Guerra a Muerte, con el objeto de afirmar el incipiente sentimiento nacional de los venezolanos. Poco antes, a su paso por la ciudad de Mérida, los pueblos le habían aclamado Libertador, título que le confieren solemnemente en octubre de 1813 la Municipalidad y el pueblo de Caracas, y con el cual habrá de pasar a la historia.

El período que va de agosto de 1813 a julio de 1814, la Segunda República, es en verdad el Año Terrible de la Historia de Venezuela. La Guerra a Muerte hace furor, y los combates y batallas indecisos, afortunados o perdidos, se suceden unos a otros con gran rapidez. A pesar de victorias como la de Araure, la de Bocachica, o la primera batalla de Carabobo, y de resistencias tan heroicas como la del campo atrincherado de San Mateo y de la ciudad de Valencia, tanto Bolívar como el General Santiago Mariño (quien había libertado antes el Oriente del país) se ven obligados a ceder ante el número de los adversarios, cuyo principal caudillo es el realista José Tomás Boves. Éste triunfa en la Batalla de La Puerta (junio de 1814), y los patriotas se ven en la necesidad de evacuar la ciudad de Caracas. Se produce una gran emigración hacia el Oriente del país. Allí, Bolívar y Mariño ven su autoridad desconocida por sus propios compañeros de armas. El Libertador halla de nuevo fraterno asilo en la Nueva Granada, donde interviene con varia suerte en las contiendas políticas internas y logra que la ciudad de Bogotá se incorpore a las Provincias Unidas. En mayo de 1815, hallándose frente a Cartagena, Bolívar abandona el mando para evitar el estallido de la guerra civil.

Aislado en Jamaica desde mayo hasta diciembre de 1815, aguarda impaciente el momento de intervenir de nuevo en la lucha. Mientras tanto, medita acerca del destino de Hispanoamérica y redacta en septiembre la célebre Carta de Jamaica, donde abraza con penetrante comprensión y con visión profética el pasado, el presente y el porvenir del Continente.

Mientras que la derrota de Napoleón en Europa, y la llegada a Venezuela de un poderoso ejército español que manda el General Pablo Morillo, infunden nuevos ánimos a los partidarios de la causa realista, Bolívar se traslada a la República de Haití, en busca de recursos para continuar la lucha. El Presidente de aquel Estado, Alejandro Petión, se los proporciona con magnanimidad. Pronto sale de Los Cayos una expedición al mando de Bolívar, que llega en mayo de 1816 a la Isla de Margarita y pasa poco después al Continente. Carúpano es tomado por asalto, y ahí da Bolívar, el 2 de junio, un decreto que concede la libertad a los esclavos, el cual ratificará poco después. La expedición pasa luego al puerto de Ocumare de la Costa, en donde Bolívar se ve separado accidentalmente del grueso de sus fuerzas, y debe embarcarse de nuevo. Regresa a Haití, en donde organiza una segunda expedición que llega a la Isla de Margarita a fines del año. A comienzos de 1817 Bolívar se halla en Barcelona. Su objetivo es apoderarse de la Provincia de Guayana, y hacer de ella la base para la liberación definitiva de Venezuela. En julio, la capital de aquella Provincia, Angostura (hoy Ciudad Bolívar), es tomada por los patriotas. Se organiza de nuevo el Estado. Bolívar crea el Consejo de Estado, el Consejo de Gobierno, el Consejo Superior de Guerra, la Alta Corte de Justicia, el Tribunal del Consulado, y se preocupa por establecer un periódico (que aparecerá en junio de 1818), el «Correo de Orinoco». Entre tanto, tiene que luchar no sólo contra los españoles sino también contra la anarquía que se había insinuado en su propio campo: en octubre de 1817, tras un juicio militar, el General Manuel Piar, uno de los principales jefes republicanos, es fusilado en Angostura. Hacia esos mismos días, el Libertador dicta la «Ley de Repartición de Bienes Nacionales», que habrá de contribuir a fortalecer el sentimiento patriótico.

En 1818 la campaña del Centro se inicia bajo favorables auspicios, pues el Libertador logra sorprender en la ciudad de Calabozo al general realista Morillo, pero los republicanos son derrotados en el sitio de Semén. Días después, en el Rincón de los Toros, Bolívar está a punto de morir a manos de una patrulla realista, en plena noche. El 5 de junio está de nuevo en Angostura. Llegan entonces un Agente Diplomático de los Estados Unidos y un gran número de voluntarios europeos.

El Segundo Congreso de Venezuela, convocado por Bolívar, se reúne en Angostura el 15 de febrero de 1819. Ante él pronuncia un Discurso que es uno de los documentos fundamentales de su ideario político. Le presenta, también, un proyecto de Constitución. Poco después emprende la campaña que habrá de libertar a la Nueva Granada. El ejército tramonta los Andes por el inhóspito páramo de Pisba, y tras los cruentos combates, en julio de 1819, de Gámeza y del Pantano de Vargas, obtiene un triunfo decisivo en la batalla de Boyacá, el 7 de agosto. Días después Bolívar entra en Bogotá. Dejando organizadas las provincias de la Nueva Granada bajo el mando del General Santander, el Libertador regresa a Angostura, donde el Congreso, a propuesta suya, expide la Ley Fundamental de la República de Colombia en diciembre de 1819. Este gran Estado, creación del Libertador, comprendía las actuales repúblicas de Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador y Panamá.

A estos acontecimientos que habían fortalecido la causa republicana, vino a sumarse la Revolución Liberal que estalló en España en enero de 1820. La situación ha cambiado. En todas partes los ejércitos de la República obtienen ventajas. Cartagena es sitiada, Mérida y Trujillo libertadas. El nuevo Gobierno español intenta llegar a un acuerdo pacífico con los patriotas. Los comisionados de ambas partes firman en Trujillo, en noviembre de 1820, un Tratado de Armisticio y otro de Regularización de la Guerra. El Libertador y el General Morillo se entrevistan en el Pueblo de Santa Ana. Algunos meses después, expirado el Armisticio, los ejércitos republicanos se ponen en marcha hacia Caracas. El 24 de junio de 1821, en la Sabana de Carabobo, Bolívar da una batalla que decide definitivamente la independencia de Venezuela. Los restos del Ejército Realista se refugian en Puerto Cabello, que caerá en 1823. El Libertador entra triunfador en su ciudad natal en medio de la alegría de sus conciudadanos.

Vuelve ahora la mirada hacia el Ecuador, dominado todavía por los españoles. Por Maracaibo se dirige a Cúcuta, en donde se halla reunido el Congreso, y de allí a Bogotá. En 1822 dos ejércitos patriotas tratan de libertar a Quito: Bolívar conduce el del Norte, y el General Antonio José de Sucre el del Sur partiendo de Guayaquil. La acción de Bomboná, dada por Bolívar en abril, quebranta la resistencia de los pastusos, mientras que la batalla de Pichincha, ganada por Sucre el 24 de mayo, liberta definitivamente al Ecuador, que queda integrado a la gran República de Colombia. En Quito Bolívar conoce a Manuela Sáenz, el gran amor de los últimos años de su vida. El 11 de julio Bolívar se halla en Guayaquil, en donde desembarca el día 25 el General José de San Martín, procedente del Perú. Allí se abrazan y se entrevistan los dos ilustres capitanes de la Independencia Suramericana. Lo que conferenciaron en privado, consta en los documentos auténticos emanados de Bolívar y de su Secretaría General. El objetivo principal del General San Martín, que era negociar sobre el destino futuro de Guayaquil, no pudo realizarse, puesto que la Provincia se había incorporado ya a la República de la Gran Colombia. A mediados de 1823 la situación político-militar del Perú se había deteriorado muchísimo. Llamado por el Congreso y por el pueblo de aquella Nación, el Libertador se embarcó en Guayaquil el 7 de agosto y llegó a comienzos de septiembre al Callao. La anarquía reinaba entre los patriotas. Bolívar, facultado únicamente para dirigir las operaciones militares, se dedicó con tesón a reorganizar el ejército, dándole como núcleo central los cuerpos que le habían acompañado desde Guayaquil. En enero de 1824 Bolívar se hallaba enfermo de cuidado en Pativilca, en la Costa del Perú, donde recibió la noticia de que la guarnición del Callao se había pasado a los realistas. Ante tantas dificultades, su indomable espíritu se manifestó en su exclamación famosa: «¡Triunfar!».

Lima cae en manos de los realistas, pero el Congreso del Perú, antes de disolverse, nombra a Bolívar Dictador -como en la antigua República Romana- con facultades ilimitadas para salvar al país. Él acepta serenamente tan tremenda responsabilidad. Retirado a Trujillo, trabaja infatigablemente; su genio y su fe en el destino de América operan el milagro. Emprende la ofensiva, y el 7 de agosto de 1824, en Junín, derrota al Ejército Real del Perú. La campaña continúa, y mientras Bolívar entra en Lima y restablece el sitio del Callao, el General Sucre, en Ayacucho, pone el sello definitivo a la libertad americana el 9 de diciembre de 1824. Dos días antes, desde Lima, Bolívar había dirigido a los gobiernos de Hispanoamérica una invitación para enviar sus plenipotenciarios al Congreso que habría de reunirse en Panamá, el cual efectivamente se celebró en junio de 1826.

Ha terminado la fase militar de la Independencia.

El 10 de febrero de 1825, ante el Congreso Peruano reunido en Lima, Bolívar renuncia los poderes
ilimitados que le habían sido conferidos. Dos días más tarde aquel cuerpo decreta honores y recompensas al Ejército y al Libertador, pero éste no acepta el millón de pesos que se le ofrecían particularmente. Sale luego de la capital para visitar a Arequipa, El Cuzco y las provincias que entonces se llamaban del Alto Perú. Éstas se constituyen en Nación, y lo hacen bajo la égida del héroe: «República Bolívar», se llamó la que hoy conocemos con el nombre de Bolivia. Para el Nuevo Estado Bolívar redacta en 1826 un Proyecto de Constitución en el cual están expresadas sus ideas para la consolidación del orden y la independencia de los países recién emancipados.

Entretanto, una Revolución acaudillada por el General Páez «La Cosiata» ha estallado en Venezuela contra el Gobierno de Bogotá, en abril de 1826. Bolívar regresa a Caracas y logra restablecer la paz a comienzos de 1827. Sin embargo, las fuerzas de disociación predominan sobre las tendencias aglutinadoras. Bolívar se distancia más y más, política y personalmente, del Vicepresidente Santander, hasta que sobreviene la ruptura total. El 4 de julio de 1827 Bolívar sale por última vez de Caracas, se embarca en La Guaira, y por la vía de Cartagena llega a Bogotá. Allí, el 10 de septiembre, presta ante el Congreso juramento como Presidente de la República.

La Convención Nacional reunida en Ocaña en 1828 se disuelve sin que los diversos partidos hayan logrado ponerse de acuerdo. Bolívar, aclamado Dictador, escapa en Bogotá, en septiembre de aquel año, a un atentado contra su vida; poco después ha de ponerse en campaña para enfrentarse a las fuerzas del Perú que han penetrado en el Ecuador, en donde permanece durante casi todo el año de 1829. A pesar de estar enfermo y de sentirse cansado, lucha por salvar su obra. A comienzos de 1830 vuelve a Bogotá para instalar el Congreso Constituyente. Venezuela se agita de nuevo y se proclama Estado Independiente. En la Nueva Granada la oposición crece y se fortalece. El Libertador, cada vez más enfermo, renuncia a la Presidencia y emprende viaje hacia la Costa. La noticia del asesinato de Sucre, que recibe en Cartagena, le afecta profundamente. Piensa marchar a Europa, pero la muerte le sorprende en San Pedro Alejandrino, una hacienda situada en las cercanías de Santa Marta, el 17 de diciembre de 1830. Días antes, el 10, había dirigido a sus compatriotas su última proclama, que es su testamento político.

Sobresalió entre sus contemporáneos por sus talentos, su inteligencia, su voluntad y abnegación, cualidades que puso íntegramente al servicio de una grande y noble empresa: la de libertar y organizar para la vida civil a muchas naciones que hoy ven en él a un Padre. Sus restos mortales, traídos a Venezuela con gran pompa en 1842, reposan hoy en el Panteón Nacional.

Sociedad Bolivariana de Venezuela, Caracas, 1968.

What average Americans say about Obama's military adventure in Libya

MfgMan:

I understand the desire to help stop civilians from being killed by Gadhafi, but to attack a country, which is basically an act of war, without thinking it through or having any type of strategy, is really bad. Of course, we've done the same thing in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, etc. etc. (From: USA Today)

What JG is saying: read the U.S. Constitution, "Only Congress can declare war."

What Barack Obama is doing is illegal and it is clearly an impeachable offense.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ann Louise Bardach is nearly done testifying in Luis Posada Carriles' case

Mercury News

By WILL WEISSERT Associated Press
Posted: 03/23/2011 12:06:34 AM PDT

EL PASO, Texas—An ex-New York Times reporter who interviewed an anti-communist militant about planning 1997 bombings in Cuba is finishing her testimony after six days as a witness in his perjury trial.

Ann Louise Bardach wraps up Wednesday, concluding 11 weeks of prosecution witnesses against ex-CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles.

The defense should begin presenting its case after she finishes.

Bardach now works for The Daily Beast but interviewed Posada for the Times in 1998 about masterminding bombings at Cuban tourist sites in 1997 that killed an Italian man.

The 83-year-old Posada is Public Enemy No. 1 in his native Cuba. He sneaked into the U.S. in 2005 and is charged with lying about planning the Cuba bombings during immigration hearings in El Paso.

His trial began Jan. 10.

Diario de El Paso: Bardach en el País de las Maravillas

Diario de El Paso: El tango de Posada

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Yoennis Céspedes is the new all-time Cuban Home Run King

2009 World Baseball Clasic
Photo: Jose L. Anaya

New Home Run King
Photo: Ricardo Lopez Hevia

Yoennis Céspedes hit today his home run # 33 during the 89th game of Cuba's 50th National Baseball Series. He is now the all-time Cuban home run leader. The previous record of 32 home runs in a season was held by his fellow team-mate Alfredo Despaigne.

CONGRATULATIONS YOENNIS!

Fidel Castro’s retirement announcement, the end of an era, spurs Cuba succession buzz

The Washington Post

By Associated Press, Tuesday, March 22, 3:28 PM

The safest choice for the No. 2 party spot would probably be Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, a strict disciplinarian of unquestioned loyalty who has been with the Castros since their guerrilla days in the Sierra Maestra mountains and once extracted a bullet from Argentine revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara’s foot.

Machado Ventura, 80, is already Raul Castro’s first vice president and holds several other key posts in the government.

Another old-timer who could get the nod is Ramiro Valdes, 78, who is vice president of Cuba’s supreme governing body, the Council of State, and oversees the crucial ministries of telecommunications and construction from a new position carved out for him in January.

But neither choice is likely to shake things up politically, or result in improved relations with the United States, which has maintained an economic embargo on Cuba for 48 years.

Bilateral ties have plunged into a deep freeze recently due to the conviction earlier this month of U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who received a 15-year prison sentence for bringing satellite equipment into the country illegally.

A congressional staffer involved in U.S.-Cuba relations said Fidel’s official departure from the party will not lead, at least in the short term, to improved relations with Washington.

“It will not have much of a political impact on bilateral relations because Raul has the same last name,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. He said it would take the death of one or both of the two brothers to change perceptions in the United States.

“His stepping down will be a watershed on the island, for sure, and it will be seen as such by most in Washington,” he said. “But some people will still say Fidel is calling the shots, whether or not it is really the truth anymore.”

However the party shake-up plays out, it is likely to leave Raul with more room to transform the island’s ever-weak economy.

The Communist Party Congress at which Fidel’s successor is likely to be picked has been called to set a new economic path for the country, one which Raul has been pushing since he took office.

Many of the changes Raul has already embraced, like allowing Cubans to go into business for themselves, rent homes and even hire employees, have long been anathema to his brother.

There has been speculation — impossible to confirm in Cuba’s hermetically sealed political culture — that Raul Castro would have moved the reforms along faster if not for his older brother’s larger-than-life presence and continued influence behind the scenes.

Tomas Bilbao, the executive director of the Washington-based nonprofit Cuba Study Group, which supports increasing economic and academic exchanges with the island, said the impact of Fidel’s resignation cannot be overstated.

“I think it’s significant because if nothing else it’s Fidel Castro sending a clear message that his brother is in charge of the country,” he said. “It’s a big boost in credibility for Raul and the reforms he’s trying to push.”

Gerardo Hernandez claims innocence in shooting down planes that dropped pro-democracy leaflets in 1996

By Associated Press, Tuesday, March 22, 2:27 PM (as published in The New York Times)

MIAMI — In a new appeal, [the person who the Associate Press calls] a convicted Cuban spy insists he is innocent of any role in shooting down exile planes that dropped pro-democracy leaflets in 1996 on the communist island and helped rescue migrants in the ocean.

“I came to Florida in service to my country, unarmed, to contribute to end violence against my people and therefore to save lives,” Gerardo Hernandez, 45, said in a sworn statement filed in Miami federal court. “That I would be charged with a conspiracy to murder was the furthest thing from my thinking and reality.”

Hernandez is one of the so-called Cuban Five, convicted in 2001 of [according to the Associated Press] spying in the U.S. He is also the only one serving a life sentence for a murder conspiracy conviction arising from the Brothers to the Rescue planes that were shot down by Cuban fighter jets, which killed four men.

[The Associated Press very conveniently forgets to report that the planes were illegally flying inside Cuban territorial waters.]

Attorneys for Hernandez are asking U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard to throw out his conviction and sentence, based in part on his new claims filed Monday.

In the documents, Hernandez contends he was never told that he could have been tried separate from the others on the murder conspiracy charge. If he had, Hernandez said he would have testified in his own defense that he was innocent, something he did not do in the spy trial.

Attorney Richard Klugh said Hernandez could not testify in the spy trial because he would have had to admit on the stand that he was a Cuban agent and could not call his co-defendants as witnesses.

“He clearly had no involvement in the shootdown in 1996,” Klugh said. “Clearly there was a clamor for someone to take responsibility for it, but Gerardo Hernandez is not responsible.”

The Miami U.S. attorney’s office had no immediate comment.

Hernandez said in the affidavit he was unaware of any Cuban plan to shoot down the exile planes. Instead, he said he was involved in a plan labeled “Operation Venecia” to call international attention to their purported violations of Cuban sovereignty.

“The idea that Cuba would elaborate a plan to confront those planes on international waters was to me, and still is, absurd and irrational,” Hernandez said in the affidavit.

In one new wrinkle, Hernandez also said that he was replaced for several months by an agent known as “A-4” or “Miguel,” who took possession of a computer disk the spies used to decode messages from Havana. That’s significant because Hernandez said he did not have the disk when he supposedly sent a message warning that no Cuban agents should fly on the exile planes from Feb. 24-27 in 1996.

The Brothers to the Rescue planes were shot down Feb. 24.

His affidavit also contends U.S. prosecutors portrayed a commendation he received and a promotion as linked to the downing of the planes. In fact, Hernandez said, he was promoted from lieutenant to captain along with dozens of others strictly based on length of service.

Hernandez has lost several other appeals, while three of the Cuban Five had their sentences reduced in 2009 because they never obtained top secret U.S. information — despite efforts to do so — from military installations such as the Miami-based Southern Command and Key West’s Boca Chica Naval Air Station. The five are hailed as heroes in Cuba.

Yoennis Céspedes ties Cuba's home run record

Photo: Jose L. Anaya

Céspedes iguala récord de jonrones para una Serie Nacional

La Habana, 21 mar (RHC-AIN). El toletero granmense Yoennis Céspedes disparó este domingo su cuadrangular número 32 en la actual Serie Nacional de Béisbol, e igualó el récord para una campaña de su coequipero Alfredo Despaigne.

Source:
Radio Habana-Cuba

FCBA: Yoenis Céspedes iguala récord de cuadrangulares

Operation Pluto: a failed military adventure of American imperialism

Next month the Cuban people will be celebrating and commemorating the ignominious 50th anniversary of the first defeat of American imperialism in Latin America. The C.I.A. minions of the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration called it "Operation Pluto." It consisted of training mercenary Cuban exiles from Miami, Florida, who supposedly were going to "liberate" Cuba and restore Batista democracy and American rule to the Caribbean island.

It was a bipartisan effort on the part of the two major capitalist political parties. Eisenhower planned it, Kennedy inherited it and foolishly carried it through to its tragic and disastrous finale.

Below are some historical facts, and a little bit of opinion, from Tom Cooper, from AGIC (Air Combat Operations Group).

Clandestine US Operations: Cuba, 1961, Bay of Pigs

Sep 1, 2003, 11:28

On 31 December 1959 the Cuban dictator Batista was forced to flee the country as the rebels lead by Fidel Castro occupied Havana after almost four years of civil war. The USA were one of the first countries which recognized the new government in Cuba, but in the following months a rift developed in reaction to the lynch-justice of the new government, which also nationalized all the US-owned capital on the island. As the tensions rose, Washington put Cuba under economic sanctions, and Castro then turned to the Soviet Union for help, thus causing a stand-off which very much lasts until today.

Initially, the CIA – at the time a secret service which was very active organizing different subversive activities against plethora of governments around the world – planned not to leave Castro as long in power: in the case of Cuba, already in September 1960 the organization and planning of the Operation called "Pluto" were initiated.

The Operation Pluto was organized within a remarkably short period of time, between September 1960 and March 1961, and mainly based on the fact that after the fall of Batista thousands of Cubans have left the country and settled in the USA. Many of these could be recruited for taking part in the counter-invasion which was to start an uprising against the new – increasingly communist – regime under Castro. The original plans for "Pluto" saw landings of small parties, which would fight a guerrilla war and undertake subversive operations, but the response from the Cuban exiles was such, that it soon become clear, that a much larger operation – a true invasion, which would also need support from the air – could be organized.

In total, the Operation Pluto was actually well prepared – even if the intelligence was poor – and had fairly serious chances for a success if executed in aggressive manner with proper support from the air. It was based on three aspects:

- successful recruitment of enough Cuban exiles,
- successful organization of resources - including B-26s
- training of the needed invasion- and support-forces in at least two countries (Guatemala and Nicaragua).

In August 1960, the CIA established the "Camp Trax" near Retalhuleu, in Guatemala, which has got an own airfield Simultaneously, in Miami, a number of Cuban exiles were gathered in order to be trained as pilots and technical personnel at the Homestead AB, and Opa Locka. Meanwhile, no less but 1.400 Cubans were recruited, and most of them were organized into the "Brigade 2506", which was to become the main fighting force.

In order to better conceal the preparations for the invasion, the CIA organized a series of front companies, and ever since, a pretty good overview of these became available. The first group of exiled Cubans destined for being trained as pilots were gathered at Opa-Locka, a disused Marine air base near Miami. Despite a large number of trained Cuban personnel, some US citizens were needed to train them and maintain aircraft. Both the US and Cuban flying and technical personnel were recruited via the "Double-Check Corporation", with the help of Gen. Doster, the then commander of the Alabama National Guard. Doster gathered some 80 Americans, between them many experts for the B-26s from the 117th TRW, USAF, and at least 60 Cubans. Via the company Intermountain Aviation a total of 26 B-26Cs were purchased. Of these, 20 were considered as usefull and made fully operational. Other companies supporting the Operation Pluto were the "Civil Air Transport" (CAT), a company founded by former General Chennault already in 1946 (foremost for operations in China). CAT was regularly purchased by the CIA, and turned into "Pacific Corporation" Holding, which included the new main company, "Southern Air Transport" (SAT) and operated also two smaller companies, the "Air America", and "Air Asia".

In order to better conceal the size of the Operation Pluto, the Invaders and their crews were officially controlled by the "Carribean Marine Aero Corporation", which was also paying the Cuban crews. The training of the crews was officially undertaken by the "Zenith Technical Enterprises Inc.", while all the transport aircraft were operated by the CAT and its subsidiaries. The small arms were purchased via the – in Carribic very well known – Interarms company, owned by the well known arms dealer Sam Cummings. By November 1960, the training of the exiled Cuban crews was so far that they were moved from Fort Lauderdale and Opa-Locka to Retalhuleu, in Guatemala, to get additional training on B-26s, C-46s, and C-54s. The more experienced Cuban pilots have already started to fly their first missions over Cuba, transporting dissidents, saboteurs, arms, and ammunition. Despte many problems with poorly marked drop-zones and poor communications, by March 1961 no less but 68 such missions were flown over Cuba.

Despite the purchase of many aircraft, it was obvious that all the men and heavy weapons could never be delivered to Cuba by transport aircraft only. Therefore, five merchant ships, each 5.000dwt, were chartered from "Garcia Line", in Nicaragua. Via the "Minearal Carriers Ltd." the CIA also purchased two LCI landing crafts, and a 110m long landing ship USS San Marcos, which was actually taken out of the USN reserve. Some slight postponements were caused due to the need to use some of the Cuban crews and transport aircraft for putting down some unrests in Guatemala.

Although at least two B-26Cs were damaged in training and one crashed, and an AT-11 was shot down over Cuba on 11 March 1961 (the crew was recovered by a destroyer of the USN), by the time the Operation Pluto was initiated, there were still up to 16 Invaders at hand. All the Invaders prepared for the operation were equipped with drop tanks taken from USAF F-84s, giving them an increased endurance. It was planned, namely, that these aircraft would be used to destroy the FAR during the early hours of the invasion, so to establish the air superiority over the bridgehead and a better part of Cuba. As already mentioned, in order to conceal the actual origins of these planes, all were painted in fake FAR-markings, getting the FAR national markings on the fin and serials on the nose. In fact, these markings were only superficially similar to those indeed used by the "original" Cuban aircraft: the FAR B-26Cs, for example, had not only a glazed nose, but were also painted in olive drab overall, while the B-26Bs of the exiles had noses with eight machine guns and were left aluminum overall.

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The Miami mercenaries landed at Playa Giron, Bay of Pigs, Cuba, on April 17, 1961. We all know how the story ended 66 hours later.

Eight teams set to start on Friday the playoffs of Cuba's 50th National Baseball Series

Western Division

Cienfuegos

Sancti Spiritus

La Habana

Pinar del Rio


Eastern Division

Guantanamo

Granma

Ciego de Avila

Villa Clara


FCBA: Play off comenzará el viernes próximo

Jean Bertrand Aristide: defender of the poor in Haiti


Aristide returns to Haiti, calls for inclusion of poor and disenfranchised

People's World

by: Emile Schepers
March 18 2011

Former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide returned to Haiti this morning after a seven-year period of exile in South Africa. Speaking at the airport in the Haitian capital, Port au Prince, Aristide used the French, Spanish, English and Zulu languages to address the crowd. Zulu was a gesture of gratitude to his former South African hosts whose President, Jacob Zuma, is a Zulu speaker. Aristide had been studied African languages while in exile.

Aristide did not comment directly on the flawed general elections in Haiti, the second round of which is due to take place this Sunday, March 20. Instead he focused on the need to replace "exclusion" of the mass of the Haitian poor with "inclusion" through educational and economic improvements. "Today there are not even two doctors per 11 thousand Haitians; that is the result of exclusion...Haiti lives in extreme poverty, hunger, unemployment, drugs and injustice and exclusion."

He made a point of thanking Cuba for its solidarity work after last year's earthquake in the Puerto Prince area, which killed 300,000 people, and the current cholera epidemic, which has killed another 4,000.

Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest, had been a strong critic of the brutal dictatorship of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, who has also returned to Haiti after a long exile in France. Aristide was elected president in 1991, but was almost immediately overthrown by the Duvalierist military, which proceeded to massacre thousands of poor Aristide supporters.

In 1994, Aristide obtained the armed support of the Clinton administration to return him to Haiti, in exchange for which he accepted most of the "Washington Consensus" plan of "free trade" (which, in practice, meant eliminating import tariffs on U.S. taxpayer subsidized rice and other imports), privatization and austerity. As a result, thousands of Haitian farmers were driven off the land because they could not compete with U.S. imports, while American rice producers, based in Clinton's home state of Arkansas, reaped a bonanza.

Aristide did succeed in abolishing the army, which had been such a source of instability and human rights abuses in the past. After a period out of power, Aristide was elected again in 2001, with the support of militant poor people's organizations that sometimes constituted themselves as armed militias to fight against the rich and against Aristide's opponents.

In 2004, he was overthrown again by violent right-wing gangs supported by the Bush administration and the French government. Aristide accuses the United States of being directly involved in his overthrow. France was angry with Aristide for demanding reparations for money that France had extorted from Haiti in the 19th and 20th centuries, and thus is seen to have connived in the coup.

Since then there has been a UN peacekeeping contingent in Haiti, which itself has become controversial because of clashes with poor Haitians. Aristide's enemies and the Bush administration made accusations against Aristide of corruption and abuse of power, but his supporters see this as mere propaganda.

Aristide's party, Fanmi Lavalas, very popular among poor Haitians, was excluded from the elections under the pretext of a technicality. As a result, there was to be a runoff between Merlande Manigat, a right-wing candidate with Duvalierist connections, and Jude Celestin, the candidate of the Inte (Unity) party of President Rene Preval. However, the elections were deeply flawed and the United States, Canada and France pressured Preval's government to push Celestin out of the runoff, and instead permit Michel "Sweet Mickey" Martelly, another Duvalierist who has promised to restore the army, to run against Manigat in the runoff. Martelly, who is a popular singer, has pulled ahead of Manigat in the polls.

The United States had been trying to pressure South Africa into keeping Aristide out of Haiti until after the elections. This was the topic of a last minute phone call by President Obama to President Zuma of South Africa yesterday. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had also asked for South Africa to block Aristide's return The South African Foreign Ministry angrily retorted that his country would have no part in "holding [Aristide] hostage" and facilitated his flight to Haiti, in which Aristide was accompanied by his U.S. lawyer, Ira Kurzbahn, and actor Danny Glover.

Aristide may have timed the trip because no matter who wins the election, they would be likely to take action to prevent his return, by cancelling his passport (given to him by the current government headed by Rene Preval) or other means, perhaps including violence.

So perhaps it was now or never.

Busybody Barack Obama continues to stick his nose in the internal affairs of the Cuban people

Here is what he said in his visit to Chile: "Since taking office, I’ve announced the most significant changes to my nation’s policy towards Cuba in decades. I’ve made it possible for Cuban Americans to visit and support their families in Cuba. We’re allowing Americans to send remittances that bring some economic hope for people across Cuba, as well as more independence from Cuban authorities."

"Going forward, we’ll continue to seek ways to increase the independence of the Cuban people, who I believe are entitled to the same freedom and liberty as everyone else in this hemisphere. I will make this effort to try to break out of this history that’s now lasted for longer than I’ve been alive."

"But Cuban authorities must take some meaningful actions to respect the basic rights of their own people — not because the United States insists upon it, but because the people of Cuba deserve it."

Message to Barack Obama: It is not your island and American imperialism no longer rules it. If you really wanted to do something constructive, rather than constantly whine, you would lift the genocidal Cuba blockade/embargo. The Cuban people repudiate and condemn you, and I add my voice to theirs.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bolivian President Evo Morales is asking that the Nobel Peace Prize be withdrawn from Barack Obama

For a report in Spanish from Cubadebate click here. For a report in Spanish from El Universal de Caracas, click here.

Breaking News: Israeli F-16's are bombing the Gaza strip


Zionist Bombing Victim

Will Barack Obama go to the U.N. security council and demand that a no-fly zone be established over the Gaza strip?

Don't count on it. The Zionists are 'OUR' S.O.B's.!

Cough! Cough! Who manufactures the F-16 and who gives it to the Zionists?

Twitter Report:
Palaestina - Voice from Palestine
Witnesses: Israeli Airstrikes across #Gaza http://ow.ly/4j88C #Palestine

The Guardian reports that: "seven Palestinian children among those hurt in raids."

Cuba Condemns Foreign Military Intervention in Libya

Havana, Cuba, Mar 21.- The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) strongly condemned on Sunday the ongoing foreign military intervention in Libya’s current domestic conflict.

In a statement published on Monday by Cuban newspapers and other media outlets, MINREX notes that the conflict must be resolved through dialogue and negotiations and not through military intervention.

The declaration points out that the UN Security Council gave in to the pressure exerted by some western powers “to create conditions leading to the ongoing military aggression, which constitutes a coarse manipulation of the UN Charter and of the authority of the Council, and which is another example of its double-standard behavior.”

“However,” —the text adds, “Resolution 1973, approved last Thursday by the Security Council, in no way authorizes these attacks against Libyan territory, which are a violation of International Law.”

“The western powers carrying out these military attacks against Libyan territory are bringing death, wounds and suffering to innocent civilians. Some of these powers are coincidently responsible for the death of more than one million civilians in Iraq and more than 70,000 in Afghanistan, whom they call ‘collateral damages’. They are also accomplices to the crimes against the Palestinian people,” the statement continues.

“Cuba supports the Libyan people’s inalienable right to self-determination without any foreign interference whatsoever. Cuba also condemns the death of civilians in Libya and supports Libya’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over its resources,” the declaration concludes. (acn).

Source: Radio Cadena Agramonte

PS 199 Chess Tournament


Source: Chess New York City

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Demonstrators are burning the flags of France, Britain and the US


The winds of war are being sown by the evil trio of Western Imperialist powers!

If Qaddafi is so bad, let them put foot soldiers in the sands of Libya. No guts!

Vitali Klitschko knocks out Odlanier Solis in the first round



(AP) – 45 minutes ago

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — Vitali Klitschko retained his WBC heavyweight title with a first-round knockout of Odlanier Solis, who injured his knee in the fall on Saturday.

Klitschko's right to Solis' left temple staggered the Cuban, who wobbled then fell on his back and clutched his right knee.

Solis managed to beat the count but was unsteady on his feet as referee Jose Guadalupe Garcia of Mexico called the fight.

"It was a full blow," Klitschko said in the ring, with the crowd in Cologne's indoor arena booing.

Klitschko's punch came in the final second of the first round, after Solis hit him on the chin with a right.

"It was definitely my knee," Solis said, also in the ring.

He hobbled with help back to his dressing room and was taken to a hospital to have his knee examined.

The sudden end stunned the crowd, which booed and whistled for a long time.

Solis, a former three-time world amateur champ, fell to his first defeat in 18 pro fights.

The 39-year-old Klitschko improved to 42-2.

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Photo Gallery: Vitali Klitschko Stops Odlanier Solis

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JG: Odlanier Solis ain't Muhammad Ali. What a phony!

SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! Former KKK member wants to be the Mayor of Lake Wales, Polk County, Florida

John Paul Rogers

Lake Wales, Florida - 70-year-old John Paul Rogers wants to become the next mayor of Lake Wales, but critics say he could have a tough time bringing the town together because he's a former member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Retired University of South Florida Professor Darryl Paulson, an expert on the Klan, says Rogers was the head of the organization in Florida that was part of one of the largest and one of the most violent branches of the KKK, The United Klans of America.

Source: WTSP. Channel 10 News, Tampa Bay

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JG: Is John Paul Rogers stupid? In the WTSP article he is quoted as saying that he was merely a member of an organization which opposed communism. Really? All the blacks that the KKK lynched were communists? This guy owes the people of Polk County an apology!