Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Investigation of U.S. Senator Menendez Is Getting Very Hot

U.S. Senator Menendez denies all the allegations.

Go to PolkCubiche @ twitter for more links to articles tweeted today.

My opinion is that Menendez is a typical Mafia hoodlum from New Jersey, a state which, like Nevada, is under the control of Organized Crime.

Menendez may end up resigning, just like his teacher, Torricelli.


FBI Raids Office of Doctor Tied to U.S. Senator Bob Menendez

Wednesday, 30 Jan 2013 09:27 AM

By Lisa Barron

Source: NewsMax (a right-wing outfit)

The FBI on Tuesday raided the Florida office of an eye doctor linked to reports that Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez traveled to the Caribbean to use underage prostitutes, according to the Miami Herald and other news organizations.

The New Jersey senator has repeatedly rejected the prostitution allegations, calling them “fallacious.”

Agents hauled away evidence from Dr. Salomon Melgen's office in West Palm Beach in several vans, reported the Herald, which said the doctor owes the IRS $11.1 million for taxes from 2006 to 2009. It said a previous IRS lien for $6.2 million was released in 2011.

It is not clear if the raid is tied to the prostitution allegations, Melgen’s finances, or both. Records show that Melgen has donated to Menendez and several other politicians of both parties.

Melgen was first linked to Menendez in news accounts in November, when the Daily Caller reported that the senator allegedly had sex with underage prostitutes at the doctor’s mansion in the Dominican Republic. Menendez has admitted flying on Melgen’s private plane.

Melgen has an outstanding IRS lien of $11.1 million for taxes owed from 2006 to 2009, according to records filed with the Palm Beach County recorder’s office, the Herald reported. A previous IRS lien for $6.2 million was released in 2011.

Despite those financial problems, Melgen and his family have contributed at least $357,000 to candidates and committees since 1998, according to Florida and federal campaign records. Of that, the Melgens have contributed about 9 percent to Menendez’s federal campaigns.

The Daily Caller said two prostitutes, in videotaped interviews with the help of a translator, maintained they were promised $500 to sleep with the lawmaker but were ultimately paid just $100.

The Caller said it received additional confirmation from a Dominican government official who told the website that Menendez frequents “sex, hookers and drinking” parties in the Caribbean nation.

On Jan. 25, the website followed up with new allegations, contained in documents that a tipster published online, suggesting that the FBI was actively investigating the matter and that some of the prostitutes Menendez slept with were under 18.

On Monday afternoon, Menendez, a divorced father-of-two, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba, told a Daily Caller reporter that he was “not going to respond to the fallacious allegations of your story.”

But with Menendez, 59, due to take over as chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, succeeding John Kerry, who has now been confirmed as secretary of state, there could be a full investigation into his conduct. Menendez also is a key player in Democratic efforts at immigration reform.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told journalists “I always consider the source” of allegations, referring to the Daily Caller as “a source that has brought up a lot of non-issues.”

Cuba's Version of Murderers Row

 Jose Dariel Abreu
 Alfredo Despaigne
Frederich Cepeda

If they hit well in World Baseball Classic III, Cuba will be a contender.

Speech of Cuban President, Raul Castro, at the CELAC Summit

CELAC has emerged from the heritage of 200 years of struggle for independence and is based on a profound community of objectives
• Speech given by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, at the 1st Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Santiago de Chile, January 28, 2013



Your Excellency Mr. Sebastián Piñera, President of the Republic of Chile:

Esteemed Presidents, Prime Ministers and Heads of Delegation:

Sister people of Chile:

Let it be my first thought to honor the memory of Salvador Allende, a distinguished Latin American and patriot who gave up his life for the independence of his nation and social justice. We think like him, when he said, "History is ours and is made by the peoples."


With the Cuban President, Council of Ministers Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel, and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez.
The existence of CELAC allowed us to face the challenges of 2012 with more awareness of who we are and where we are headed, in the midst of volatile and complicated circumstances.

We are building, in harsh reality, laboriously, the ideal of a diverse Latin America and Caribbean, but united in a common forum of political independence, of sovereign control over our enormous natural resources in order to advance toward sustainable development, regional integration and enrichment of our culture.
The obstacles have not been, nor will be, minor. Threats to peace are growing and interference in the affairs of our region continues. The transnationals, fundamentally United States ones, are not going to relinquish control of energy and water resources and strategic minerals on the way to extinction. NATO’s strategic conception is constantly more aggressive and clearly directed in this context. Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, the enormous nuclear and conventional arsenals are growing and these, as Fidel has said, cannot kill hunger or poverty.

The international economic order is unjust and exclusive, and trapped in a global crisis to which, for now, no solution can de discerned. Climate change is advancing inexorably, given the lack of political will on the part of developed countries.

Without our unity, nothing is possible and everything achieved will be lost. In the so-called Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Our America took a decisive step, based on the solid foundations of Mar del Plata where, in 2005, the FTAA was defeated. With the dissipation of United States siren songs at the 2009 Summit in Trinidad & Tobago, Latin America and the Caribbean excelled in their unity and independence when they reclaimed the Malvinas as Argentine and demanded an end to the blockade and exclusion of Cuba, an event that the Cuban people will always remember with profound gratitude.

The exercise of self-determination and sovereignty of the peoples and the sovereign equality of states established in the Caracas Declaration, are CELAC principles which cannot be waived.

We know that among us there are distinct ways of thinking and even differences, but CELAC has emerged from the heritage of 200 years of struggle for independence and is based on a profound community of objectives. Thus, CELAC is not a succession of mere meetings or pragmatic agreements, but a shared vision of the Latin American and Caribbean Patria Grande (Greater Homeland), which is owed only to its peoples.

The unquestionable victories won by the patriotic forces in the presidential and regional elections in Venezuela and recent mobilizations demonstrate the exceptional leadership of President Hugo Chávez Frías, and the enormous popular support for the Venezuelan process. Alongside the pain and concerns related to the health of the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, this sister people is giving, together with Chávez government leaders, an outstanding example of loyalty, conviction and unity with which to further confirm their irreversible victories.

The Bolivarian government is facing a constant campaign of intrigue and discredit on the part of the empire and pro-coup oligarchy; but it has continued its work, dedicated to the defense of the legitimate interests of workers and all patriotic Venezuelans, of the Constitution and its revolutionary democracy.

From here, we reiterate to Chávez our affection, respect and admiration, and to his valiant people, who are fighting for the greatest sum of political stability, social security and the greatest sum of happiness, the dream of the Liberator Simón Bolívar.

We share and support the resolution and expediency with which UNASUR has acted in response to the parliamentary coup in Paraguay. In a region which has suffered decades of bloody dictatorships, imposed and sustained by the United States, impunity for violent and pro-coup sectors cannot be allowed.

Our community is incomplete while lacking a seat for Puerto Rico, a genuinely Latin American and Caribbean sister nation, which is suffering from its colonial condition.

We cannot forget that close to 170 million Latin Americans and Caribbean people are living in poverty, of them, 75 million children; 66 million people in the region are living in extreme poverty, of which 34 million are minors. What can CELAC signify for them?

It is a fact that we have advanced in the development of economic and social development programs within various countries, such as Brazil. The experience of ALBA and PETROCARIBE in cooperation based on solidarity and complementarity among our nations is considerable.

CELAC is in a position to draft its own conception of cooperation, adapted to our realities and the finest experiences of the last decade.

Despite advances, we could do more in support of Haiti, whose government needs resources for reconstruction and development. It is possible to do this among all of us, on the basis of decisions made by the Haitian government.

We are morally bound to achieve considerable progress in education as the basis of economic and social development. Nothing that we propose, from decreasing inequality to reducing the technological and digital gap will be possible without education. The elimination of illiteracy, as a primary goal, is totally achievable.

With appropriate policies and regional cooperation in the provision of a minimum of resources to the most in need, we could make a leap forward within a few years.

We must be capable of promoting our own regional architecture, adapted to the particularities and needs of Latin America and the Caribbean.

We can also combine efforts against drug addiction, as proposed in the last two days of this meeting, and illicit drug trafficking.

It was stated here yesterday that there are drugs in all the countries of the continent. I want to clarify that there are no drugs in Cuba; there was an attempt to introduce them, more than 250 foreigners from different countries on the continent have been detained (*) for attempting to smuggle in drugs. There is just a small amount of marijuana, which can be cultivated on any balcony in any Cuban city; but there are no drugs, nor will there be.

I only wish to comment on this issue – departing from the text – that measures can be taken.

As is known, Cuba is not an attractive country for drugs, for drug traffickers; but when tourism began to increase, and this past year we were getting close to three million foreign visitors, it did become a focus of traffickers. Additionally, along our coastline, especially our northern coast, packages of differing sizes and weights began to appear, which traffickers had thrown overboard when pressured or pursued by U.S. agents and, approaching our coasts, by us.

Different currents, especially from the northeast, deposited the packages on our beaches – to a lesser degree in the south. Consumption began to increase and there were citizens of some Latin American countries who began to freely provide, give away, individual portions.

I personally had a meeting with all the bodies which have some relevance to the problem and we made a decision, "We are going to fight drug use, which was beginning to threaten us, tooth and nail." All the relevant factors were coordinated; we used our mass organizations, closely tied to the people, to our governing party and the government; that is to say, the Cuban Workers Federation, the national campesino association, the Federation of Cuban Women, Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. And we appealed to families, saying that the collaboration of the entire country was needed to locate and legally prosecute those beginning to attempt to introduce drugs to our youth, ranging from marijuana to a few samples of cocaine, as we said.

They were arrested. If we want to win, these are the types of problems which must be confronted when they are small, or better yet, before they emerge. This is the best time; if we allow them to gain strength – we said and thought – well, you have the example of other sister countries on the continent. Therefore, the battle must be tooth and nail.

Our laws allow for the death penalty, it has been suspended, but it is on reserve, because once we suspended it and the only thing we accomplished was to encourage aggression and sabotage against our country throughout the last 50 years, as you all know.

I reasoned with my colleagues: there’s the case of Mexico. We deeply love Mexico, we said: Mexico is Mexico, its history, the ties between our countries. We received generous refuge there in 1955 and 1956. Our expedition departed from there, surely violating some Mexican laws, but we never violated our friendship with Mexico and they exercised their right to arrest all of the compañeros, including Fidel. I was one of the few who managed to escape. Given the natural pressure we felt as our departure for Cuba drew near, we left during a small storm, part of a powerful front which almost led to a shipwreck and the death of the 82 expeditionaries on board. We had only one day of calm waters south of the Cayman Islands. The storm was so bad that one of the experienced sailors who was trying, from the prow, on the stormy night of our departure, to see the Cabo Cruz lighthouse in southeast Cuba, was carried away by a wave. We lost almost an hour recovering him, until we finally headed toward the coast and disembarked into a terrible swamp. Before we could get out of it, the dictator Batista’s air force was on to us.

I was reasoning with my colleagues, I was wracking my brain thinking of a solution for Mexico. It is no accident that it is Mexico, not because Mexicans have caused this situation, but rather, as a former Mexican President said during the last century, "Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States!" This is where the problem lays – the fundamental problem, where drugs are being sent. I have never read about a large operation against traffickers in the United States, I’ve never read about this, just seen films of small gangs of traffickers. And weapons to be sold enter via the same route through which drugs enter; this is the problem.

I spoke about this issue with President Calderón during the Sauipe meeting in Brazil, in 2008, when this magnificent organization which is now celebrating its first meeting, after the foundational meeting in Venezuela, was being developed. I spoke extensively with President Calderón about these issues. We have continued, and continue, to be concerned. But this problem is advancing south like a terrible tide; there are problems in Guatemala, problems in other Central American countries. And I can only give one opinion to those where this nefarious and tragic tide has yet to arrive – because it is truly tragic when drug addicts, as you know, are capable of killing even a family member to obtain money to buy drugs. That’s why our population supports this measure and why it has been easy for us to capture close to 5,000, sentenced according to everything allowed within the Penal Code, and we were mistaken in very few cases, which were resolved immediately.

How? Because of collaboration on the part of the population, which was extremely interested in containing the problem. The lesson we can draw from this, which we suggest to other countries not yet victimized by this scourge – these problems are the types of problems which must be confronted when they first emerge, or better yet, before they emerge. That is why there are not, and will not be, drugs in Cuba.

Forgive my digression on this issue.

As you can see, I also improvise speeches up to two, even three hours, but I don’t want to do that. I did it when I was young, but at this point, I prefer to read my remarks. I don’t criticize those who improvise; the first improviser was my Jefe, Fidel Castro, who has the record for the longest speech ever in the United Nations. He has a record that not even Chávez has beat. (Laughter)
We cannot renounce our demands for the protection of our immigrants, victims of the current situation of xenophobia and discrimination which is worsening in the industrialized world.

We also have the very real opportunity to constitute ourselves on the basis of appropriate and concrete foundations, within a peaceful context, in which we can build on our traditional rejection of nuclear weapons of mass extinction and those being developed today which are increasingly lethal, with the expressed, firm commitment to resolve our differences through peaceful means, through negotiation and dialogue.


I conclude with a heartfelt tribute to José Martí, today – as compañero Maduro has said – on the 160th anniversary of his birth. We have learned from his thinking that in difficult times such as these, "The trees must form ranks to keep the giant with seven-league boots from passing! It is the time of mobilization, of marching together, and we must go forward in close ranks, like silver in the veins of the Andes."

Thank you very much. (Applause)

(*) Of the number mentioned, 114 currently remain imprisoned.

Source and Translation: Granma International



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Four Teams Have Classified For The Second Phase of Cuba's 52nd National Baseball Series

Alexander Malleta - Industriales
Photo: Ricardo Lopez Hevia

Sigfredo Barrios, of Granma daily, reported on Monday that four teams have already classified for the second phase of Cuba's 52nd National Baseball Series. They are: Cienfuegos, 28-14; Sancti Spirtitus, 27-14; Industriales, 26-16; Matanzas, 25-17. The first number is the number of wins, and the second one is the number of losses.

The first phase is composed of 45 games. The top eight teams will advance to the second phase.

GO INDUSTRIALES!

An Amendment to the Constitution of the United States


113TH CONGRESS
1ST SESSION

S. J. RES. ___

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to expressly exclude for-profit corporations from the rights given to natural persons by the Constitution of the United States, prohibit corporate spending 
in all elections, and affirm the authority of Congress and the States to regulate corporations and to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures.

______________________________

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
__________

Mr. SANDERS (for himself and Mr. BEGICH) introduced the following joint resolution; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on __________

JOINT RESOLUTION

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United
States to expressly exclude for-profit corporations from
the rights given to natural persons by the Constitution
of the United States, prohibit corporate spending in all
elections, and affirm the authority of Congress and the
States to regulate corporations and to regulate and set
limits on all election contributions and expenditures.


Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives
of the United States of America in Congress assembled
(two-thirds of each House concurring therein),
That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:


ARTICLE—

SECTION 1. The rights protected by the Constitution
of the United States are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities
established for business purposes or to promote business interests under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.

SECTION 2. Such corporate and other private entities
established under law are subject to regulation by the people through the legislative process so long as such regulations are consistent with the powers of Congress and the States and do not limit the freedom of the press.

SECTION 3. Such corporate and other private entities
shall be prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in any election of any candidate for public office or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the people.

SECTION 4. Congress and the States shall have the power to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending, and to authorize the establishment of political committees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources of those contributions and expenditures.

------

JG: True democracy is rule by the people, and not rule by corporations. Democracy and Fascism are two very different and opposing ideologies.

One thing that is sorely needed in the U.S. current political and economic system is a National Plebiscite, where proposed constitutional amendments and other important proposals would be voted upon directly by the people.

That course of action is necessitated by the fact that the current U.S. Congress is sometimes under the influence of corporate lobbyists. The irresponsibility of our politicians is revealed by major polls; only 12 to 18 % of the population feels that our top legislative body is doing a very good job.

Direct democracy will put an end to the corruption culture in Washington, D.C. They do not behave like responsible people. The big thing right now is 'government by crisis.' The two major political parties are failing the people of the United States.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Seven Actions Obama Should Take On Cuba Now

The Nation




TeleSur TV: Raul Castro's Arrival in Chile for the CELAC Summit



Cuba has been named the 2013 President Pro-Temp of CELAC.

160th Anniversary of the Birth of José Martí


 Cuba Coin

Today, Cubans in the island, and throughout the world, celebrate the 160th anniversary of the birth of José Martí, our Apostle of Independence. Today, because of his teachings, Cuba is a free and sovereign nation, free of the domination of colonialist Spain and imperialist USA.

¡Honor a quien honor merece!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cuban Ajiaco Stew Recipe

Ajiaco Criollo 

Cuban Country-Style Stew

By Three Guys From Miami

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

The traditional favorite of Cuban farm people in the countryside, ajiaco is a complex stew of multiple ingredients – a real tour de force.


INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons olive oil
6 slices smoked bacon
6 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on
3/4 pound pork loin , cut into bite-size pieces
3/4 pound skirt or flank steak, cut into bite-size pieces
3 cups beef stock
3 cups ham stock
1 1/2 cups red wine
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 cup malanga, cubed
1 cup boniato, cubed
1 cup yuca, cubed
1 cup calabaza, cubed
2 ears fresh sweet corn, husked
1 green plantain
1 semi-ripe plantain (starting to get black)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cream

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the bacon until most of the oil is released; remove bacon from pan.
 
Lightly salt and pepper the chicken, pork, and beef. Dredge in flour; brown the meat (chicken first) in the hot, bacon-flavored oil. Remove the browned meats from the oil.

Put all the meats (including the bacon) in a large, heavy 8-quart stockpot; add the beef and ham stocks and red wine. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and green pepper until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, and tomatoes, and cook for about 5 minutes. At about the 45-minute point in the cooking, add this sautéed vegetable mixture and the bay leaf to the cooking meat and the broth in the stockpot. Let simmer for 15 minutes while you peel and cut the vegetables.

Peel the malanga, boniato, yuca, and calabaza; cut into cubes and add to the broth. Cut the corn and plantains into 2-inch chunks. Add the corn and green plantains to the simmering stew.

After about 20 minutes, add the semi-ripe plantains and the lime juice; continue cooking for an additional 20 to 30 minutes. The plantain and root vegetables need to be tender!

Thicken the stew slightly by whisking in the cornstarch mixed with water.
Just before serving, stir in the cream.

Serve hot in large bowls with Pan Cubano–Cuban Bread.

Historical Photos: The Succesful Guerrilla

Fidel Castro trains his guerrillas at the Sierra Maestra.
Photo: Wall Street Journal



Team Cuba Uniforms for the WBC III

These and some other items are available for sale at the 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Report: Cuba Using Undersea Fiber-Optic Cable

Time Magazine


HAVANA (AP) — Cuba apparently has finally switched on the first undersea fiber-optic cable linking it to the outside world nearly two years after its arrival, according to analysis by a company that monitors global Internet use.

In a report posted Sunday on the website of Renesys, author Doug Madory wrote that Cuba began using the ALBA-1 cable on Jan. 14.

Until now the island’s Internet service has been through satellite links that are slower than hard-wired fiber-optic connections. Starting a week ago, Madory said, routing data showed significantly faster traffic to the country and the emergence of Spanish telecom Telefonica as a provider of routing service to Cuban state-run communications company ETECSA.

Routing speed is measured by how long it takes to send a data packet somewhere and receive confirmation back at the original server, akin to how submarines “ping” each other with radar to determine location.

Madory wrote that the sudden improvement in latency measurements between Cuba and four cities in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil indicates the cable is in use. But speeds have not reached levels suggesting that the cable is handling all traffic, leading him to conclude that outgoing data is still traveling via satellite.
“We believe it is likely that Telefonica’s service to ETECSA is, either by design or misconfiguration, using its new cable asymmetrically (i.e., for traffic in only one direction),” Madory wrote.

Cuban government officials and Telefonica did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday. Cuba has said in the past that it would prioritize the cable for usage deemed in the public interest and for social good.
Dial-up Internet access, essentially the only option for most Cubans who are able to go online, has continued to be slow and creaky in recent days.

Cuba is the last country in the western hemisphere to get a fiber-optic hookup and, according to Akamai Technologies Inc., has the second-lowest Internet connectivity rates in the world.

Havana says about 16 percent of Cubans are online in some capacity, mostly through work or school, but often that’s limited to email and access to an island Intranet. Just 2.9 percent report having full Internet access, though analysts say it’s probably more like 5 or 10 percent due to underreporting of black-market resale of minutes.

“While the activation of the ALBA-1 cable may be a good first step to providing ETECSA a better link to the Internet, the lack of widespread public access to Internet service throughout the island will likely continue,” Madory wrote.

The $70 million cable strung from Venezuela came onshore in eastern Cuba in February 2011 and was supposed to be online as early as that summer.

But officials suddenly stopped talking about the cable amid rumors of arrests at ETECSA and the Ministry of Communications, and whispers of purported mismanagement or embezzlement involving the project.

Last May, Venezuela’s minister of science and technology said the cable was operational and it was up to Cuba to decide how it wanted to use it.

---

JG: Even in this GREAT REPORT, you see the negativity that is the signature of all Yankee imperialism mainstream news-media. 

Cuba Postage Stamps: 1959 Liberation Day


Stamp issued by Cuba to commemorate
the overthrow of Cuban dictator in 1959.

After three wars of National Independence,
CUBA WAS FINALLY FREE!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Jamaica: Foreign Affairs Minister Says Cuba Remains Valued Partner


Friday, 18 January 2013 10:25
 
Written by E. Hartman Reckord
 
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson, says Cuba has been and continues to be “a most valued and highly respected brother on the Latin American and Caribbean landscape and beyond”.

He praised Cuba’s invaluable assistance and co-operation towards developing countries, despite the country’s difficulties and challenges.

The Minister was speaking at a reception to mark Cuba’s National Day, held on January 16 at the Cuban Ambassador’s residence in Kingston.

Senator Nicholson said that Jamaica owes a debt of gratitude for the continuous support rendered to the country by Cuba in the fields of education, health, agriculture and culture.

Meanwhile, Cuba’s Ambassador, Yuri Gala Lopez, said his country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to increase to 3.7 per cent in 2013.
“Despite the tensions associated with the global economic and financial crisis and other external challenges, the Cuban economy was expected to close in 2012 with a 3.1 per cent growth of its Gross Domestic Product. For 2013, Cuba foresees a 3.7 GDP growth,” Ambassador Gala said.

The Ambassador said Cuba is gradually recovering from the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in October.

He pointed out that Cuba continues to enjoy diplomatic relations with over 180 countries, and that “we keep receiving the moral support of many governments and peoples of the world in our denunciation of the five decade-old blockade.”
The Ambassador informed the large gathering that Cuba will assume chairmanship of the 33-country Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) at a CELAC-European Union summit in Chile at the end of this month.

The function was also attended by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller; former Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson; and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

A Message To Capitalism


 “Only after the last tree has been cut down
Only after the last river has been poisoned
Only after the last fish has been caught
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten”

Cree Prophecy
Barbara H. Hahn
The Nation
January 28, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cuba's 28-Man Roster For The WBC III

Havana, Jan 16 (Prensa Latina) A combination of established figures and newcomers stands out on the list of the selection of Cuba to the Third World Baseball Classic, to be held from March 2 to 19 in several countries.

The Cuban Baseball Federation, chaired by Higinio Velez, the manager Victor Mesa and head coach combined, Jorge Fuentes, said the group of 28 players chosen can be considered the national team but there could be future changes.

The team chosen is subjected to be changed for various reasons or "injury or poor performance", and participant teams have until February 20 to make moves if necessary.
Cuban authorities announced roster of Cuba on Wednesday:
Catchers: Yulexis La Rosa, Frank Camilo Morejon and Eriel Sanchez.

Infielders: José Dariel Abreu, Luis Felipe Rivera, José Miguel Fernández, Andy Ibañez, Yulieski Gourriel and Barbaro Arrebarruena.

Outfielders: Frederich Cepeda, Alfredo Despaigne, Rusney Castillo, Alexei Bell, Guillermo Hernandez Heredia and Yadiel Hernandez.

Pitchers: Freddy Asiel Alvarez, Ismel Jimenez, Raciel Iglesias, Odrisamer Despaigne, Norberto Gonzalez, Darien Nuñez, Wilber Perez, Yulieski Gonzalez, Vladimir Garcia, Alexander Rodriguez, Danny Betancourt, Vichyoandri Odelín and Yander Guevara.

Manager: Victor Mesa

Head Coach: Jorge Fuentes

Technical Staff: Primitivo Diaz, Angel Castillo, Juan de Dios Peña, José Ramón Riscart, Pedro Jose Rodriguez and Victor Figueroa.

Cuba will meet Japan, Brazil and China in the qualifying group A in Fukuoka, Japan.

Cuba To Release Today Its 28-Man Roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic III

The news that all Cuban baseball fans have been waiting for – who will be the designated members of Team Cuba to the WBC III – will be released today. It will be published by the Federación Cubana de Béisbol Aficionado (FCBA), a Spanish acronym that stands for the Cuban Federation of Amateur Baseball.

In Cuba professional baseball was abolished in 1961. There is no capitalist exploitation of players by team “owners,” since Cuba is a sane Socialist country. The players play for the love of the game and for the love of their country.

Come back later on today. I will publish the list as soon as it is published, either in Spanish or in English.

Source: Zona de Strike

BaseballDeCuba.com: III Clásico Mundial de Béisbol: Perspectivas del Cuba

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Text: H.R. 214

H.R.214 -- Cuba Reconciliation Act (Introduced in House - IH)

HR 214 IH
113th CONGRESS
1st Session
 
H. R. 214
 
To lift the trade embargo on Cuba, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 4, 2013

Mr. SERRANO introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, the Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform, and Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL
 
To lift the trade embargo on Cuba, and for other purposes.
    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Cuba Reconciliation Act'.

SEC. 2. REMOVAL OF PROVISIONS RESTRICTING TRADE AND OTHER RELATIONS WITH CUBA.

    (a) Authority for Embargo- Section 620(a) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2370(a)) is repealed.
    (b) Trading With the Enemy Act- The authorities conferred upon the President by section 5(b) of the Trading with the Enemy Act, which were being exercised with respect to Cuba on July 1, 1977, as a result of a national emergency declared by the President before that date, and are being exercised on the day before the effective date of this Act, may not be exercised on or after such effective date with respect to Cuba. Any regulations in effect on the day before such effective date pursuant to the exercise of such authorities, shall cease to be effective on such date.
    (c) Exercise of Authorities Under Other Provisions of Law-
      (1) REMOVAL OF PROHIBITIONS- Any prohibition on exports to Cuba that is in effect on the day before the effective date of this Act under the Export Administration Act of 1979 (as continued in effect under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act) shall cease to be effective on such effective date.
      (2) AUTHORITY FOR NEW RESTRICTIONS- The President may, on and after the effective date of this Act--
        (A) impose export controls with respect to Cuba under section 5, 6(j), 6(l), or 6(m) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (as continued in effect under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act); and
        (B) exercise the authorities he has under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act with respect to Cuba pursuant to a declaration of national emergency required by that Act that is made on account of an unusual and extraordinary threat, that did not exist before the enactment of this Act, to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.
    (d) Cuban Democracy Act of 1992- The Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 (22 U.S.C. 6001 and following) is repealed.
    (e) Repeal of Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996-
      (1) REPEAL- The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 is repealed.
      (2) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS- (A) Section 498A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2295a) is amended--
        (i) in subsection (a)(11), by striking `and intelligence facilities, including the military and intelligence facilities at Lourdes and Cienfuegos,' and inserting `facilities,';
        (ii) in subsection (b)--
          (I) in paragraph (4), by adding `and' after the semicolon;
          (II) by striking paragraph (5); and
          (III) by redesignating paragraph (6) as paragraph (5); and
        (iii) by striking subsection (d).
      (B) Section 498B(k) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2295b(k)) is amended by striking paragraphs (3) and (4).
      (C) Section 1611 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by striking subsection (c).
      (D) Sections 514 and 515 of the International Claims Settlement Act of 1949 (22 U.S.C. 1643l and 1643m) are repealed.
    (f) Termination of Denial of Foreign Tax Credit With Respect to Cuba- Subparagraph (A) of section 901(j)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to denial of foreign tax credit, etc., with respect to certain foreign countries) is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new flush sentence:
    `Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, this subsection shall not apply to Cuba after the date which is 60 days after the date of the enactment of this sentence.'.
    (g) Sugar Quota Prohibition Under Food Security Act of 1985- Section 902(c) of the Food Security Act of 1985 is repealed.
    (h) Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000- The Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7201 and following) is amended--
      (1) in section 906(a)(1)--
        (A) by striking `Cuba,'; and
        (B) by inserting `(other than Cuba)' after `to the government of a country';
      (2) in section 908--
        (A) by striking subsection (b);
        (B) in subsection (a)--
          (i) by striking `Prohibition' and all that follows through `(1) IN GENERAL- ' and inserting `In General- ';
          (ii) by striking `for exports to Cuba or';
          (iii) by striking paragraph (2); and
          (iv) by redesignating paragraph (3) as subsection (b) (and conforming the margin accordingly); and
        (C) in subsection (b) (as redesignated), by striking `paragraph (1)' and inserting `subsection (a)';
      (3) by striking section 909; and
      (4) by striking section 910.
    (i) Repeal of Prohibition on Transactions or Payments With Respect to Certain United States Intellectual Property- Section 211 of the Department of Commerce and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999 (as contained in section 101(b) of division A of Public Law 105-277; 112 Stat. 2681-88) is repealed.

SEC. 3. TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES.

    Any common carrier within the meaning of section 3 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153) is authorized to install, maintain, and repair telecommunications equipment and facilities in Cuba, and otherwise provide telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba. The authority of this section includes the authority to upgrade facilities and equipment.

SEC. 4. TRAVEL.

    (a) In General- Travel to and from Cuba by individuals who are citizens or residents of the United States, and any transactions ordinarily incident to such travel, may not be regulated or prohibited if such travel would be lawful in the United States.
    (b) Transactions Incident to Travel- Any transactions ordinarily incident to travel which may not be regulated or prohibited under subsection (a) include, but are not limited to--
      (1) transactions ordinarily incident to travel or maintenance in Cuba; and
      (2) normal banking transactions involving foreign currency drafts, traveler's checks, or other negotiable instruments incident to such travel.

SEC. 5. DIRECT MAIL DELIVERY TO CUBA.

    The United States Postal Service shall take such actions as are necessary to provide direct mail service to and from Cuba, including, in the absence of common carrier service between the 2 countries, the use of charter providers.

SEC. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    This Act, and the amendments made by this Act, shall take effect 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

An Open E-mail To the President of the United States


From: Cuba Journal

To: The White House

Subject: Isolated United States

Sir:

On November 13, one week after your re-election, the General Assembly of the United Nations  where you have no veto power approved a resolution titled “The necessity of putting an end to the economic and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba.”

The vote, as you and the world know, was 188-3.

On the Cuba issue, how does it feel to have no friends? How do you feel about the total isolation of the United States, who hasn't learned yet that the Cold War is over?

Only warmongering Zionist Israel and some island specks in the Pacific sided with you. Even all of your NATO allies condemned your policy of continuing the genocidal blockade against people who do not seek to harm you.

This was the twenty first consecutive year that the U.N. General Assembly has rebuffed the United States on the Cuba issue.

ENOUGH!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cuba Reaches Record Number of Visitors in 2012

Havana, Jan 11 (Prensa Latina)

In 2012 Cuba received 2,838,648 visitors, a record that shows the consolidation of Cuban tourist product despite the difficult economic situation in the world.

With the increasing flow of tourists, the country achieved a growth of 4.5 percent, which places it rigged to the general trend in the Caribbean area and slightly above the world average, estimated at between three and four percent.

According to the newspaper Granma, sun and beach product continue in the preference of visitors, with an increase in tourist resorts in Varadero, in the western province of Matanzas, Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria, both located in the north and center of the island.

Similarly, the interest in cultural, historical and natural heritage programs have increased, as well as events and incentives, besides health tourism.

For 2013, the country intends to continue increasing its contribution to the development of the Cuban economy, and to reach that it is guaranteed a quality product based on natural attributes, improving service, and especially in the hospitality and joy characteristics of the Cuban people.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cuba - Island of Music


Superb PBS Video About Cuba



Last night, my PBS station aired the one hour program titled "Cuba: The Accidental Eden."

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

The photography was superb. Do not miss seeing the bee hummingbird, the smallest bird in our planet. It weighs less than a copper penny.

The story about the Florida turtle, who travels to Cuba in violation of Obama's embargo to lay her eggs in a Cuba beach was beautiful.

Another Yankee Imperialist Mercenary QUACKS in Cuba

The number one mouthpiece of the Miami Fascists and of Yankee imperialism in Cuba, The Miami Herald, reports the following:

"Cuban dissident and former political prisoner Oscar Elias Biscet on Wednesday called for a new mass movement that will demand democracy and human rights “in public places, in a non-violent political defiance” of the government."

---

JG: Ha! Ha! Ha! Oscarito: ustedes los comemierdas que reciben su cheque de welfare en USIS, en el Malecon de la Habana, no ponen una!
 
¡EL PUEBLO LOS REPUDIA!

Perezoso, trabaja, en lugar de chuparle la teta a los Americanos. 


After “Miami Vice” Came “Miami Necrophiliacs”


I used to watch, at times, the popular TV program of the nineteen-seventies, not because it was any good, but because I particularly liked the introductory musical arrangement.

Life in the United States is mostly about crimes and vices. It is a life that is devoid of any redeeming values. Americans do not know how to enjoy life. Their lives are a never-ending chase after a pile of dollar bills, preferably those with a high denomination.

The current “thing” in Miami is waiting for someone to die. What a bunch of sick people! They must also belong to the NRA, another group of demented people.

Imagine, being “happy” when someone dies. The dummies in Calle Ocho, when they get up in the morning, don't ask “how is the weather going to be today?” They ask “has he died yet?” They are waiting for their ultimate orgasm of hate.

I do not need to explore or tell you why they have so much hate in them. You know the answer to that. Their lives do not amount to much. They can never forget that they were forced to leave the island, with their despretigiado general Batista.

The Supreme and Historical Leader of the Cuban Revolution, like all mortals, one day will pass away. Millions and billions of written and spoken words will spring alive with energetic force, telling and retelling the world about the life of the most important Cuban that ever lived.

José Martí was a great inspiration for us Cubans. He was The Apostle and our Great Teacher. He planted the seed and showed succeeding generations of patriots the trail to follow in the future. He told us, shortly before his death, about his life “inside the entrails of the monster.” His life was cut short, before his dream could come true. His example and his teachings will never wither.

But the generation of the Centenary of Apostle's Birth, the generation of the 1950's, knew what they had to do, and they accomplished it 100%, under the courageous leadership of Fidel Castro Rúz.

Fidel will never die. He will always live on, forever and ever, in the lives of the next succeeding generation of Cubans.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

APPLAUSE! Chuck Hagel Worked To Lift The Cuba Embargo

Source: BuzzFeed Politics

Jan 9, 2013 3:17pm EST

Andrew Kaczynski - BuzzFeed Staff

Add the Cuba embargo to the growing list of hot-button issues Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel may have to address during his impending confirmation hearings.

Hagel first wrote to President Clinton in 1999 after Clinton announced he was loosening restrictions on humanitarian aid and travel to Cuba, calling it a "good first step." But Hagel added "he should have done more."

When calling for a bipartisan commission to review the U.S. policy toward Cuba, Hagel called it "outdated and ineffective, and not relevant for the next century."

In 2001, Hagel and former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd introduced a bill to open the Cuban market for the export of American agricultural and medical products.
"The exports of American food and medicine is not just an economic issue, it is also a humanitarian undertaking. Blocking exports in these commodities harm the health and nutrition of the people of the sanctioned nation. It does nothing to harm governments and the government leaders with which we disagree," said Hagel.

"Passage of this provision, and the one last year, acknowledges what most Nebraska grain and livestock producers have always known – when the United States places unilateral sanctions on other nations, American producers are hurt, not the sanctioned nation," Hagel continued.

In March 2003, Hagel and Senator Max Baucus introduced a bill known as the United States-Cuba Trade Act of 2003 that sought to lift the embargo.

The bill, which died before gaining much traction, said, "the continuation of the embargo on trade between the United States and Cuba that was declared in February of 1962 is counterproductive, adding to the hardships of the Cuban people while making the United States the scapegoat for the failures of the communist system."

In a letter to colleagues on the bill, Hagel wrote "trading with and traveling to Cuba does not represent an endorsement of the Castro regime. To the contrary, it helps ensure that children in Cuba will be afforded more opportunity than their parents to have lives that are more full, free and just by opening Cuban society to democratic ideals."

In October 2003, Hagel succeeded in co-sponsoring an amendment that passed which ensured Americans were not punished for traveling to Cuba to do business or study.

"It does not serve U.S. interest to isolate ourselves from the people of Cuba. The current U.S. policy places our farmers, workers, and companies at an international competitive disadvantage. Nebraska’s agriculture producers should have open access to the Cuban market," Hagel said.

Hagel's work to lift the embargo could rankle some Senate Republicans, who maintain the U.S. should not trade with a country that is under the rule of a Communist regime.

[JG: But republicans in Washington D.C. approve of trading with Vietnam and the People's Republic of China! Is there no end to the hypocrisy of the Republican Party? The GOP, and Barack Obama too, forget that the United Nations, by a vote of 188-3 repudiated and condemned the Cuba embargo seven days after Obama's re-election on November 6th.]

Barack Obama wants North Korea to obey United Nations resolutions, but he himself, with his never-ending arrogance at full blast, ignores United Nations resolutions when it suits him.

He is a typical mediocre POTUS whose main pronoucement is "Do as I say, but not as I do." And we thought that Obama would be an improvement over Dubbia? How wrong we were! ]

One leading Republican on these issues, however, held his fire when asked by BuzzFeed about Hagel's position.

A spokesman for Florida Senator Marco Rubio commented said, "We have a process for nominations, and Senator Rubio won’t prejudge these nominees. Senator Rubio hopes he will be able to meet with Senator Hagel prior to his confirmation vote. We’ll have questions about some of Senator Hagel’s past positions, including sanctions on Iran and promoting democracy in Latin America, since that’s long been a priority for Senator Rubio."

JG: Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Robert Menendez are right wing extremists. The Cuban people laugh at them. They are self-promoting U.S. politicians.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Barack Obama's FBI Is Thoroughly Incompetent when Dealing With Miami Terrorists

We are approaching the one year anniversary of the bombing of the offices of Airline Brokers in Coral Gables, Florida.

The FBI has not made any arrests. It hasn't even named suspects. No news have  been published about the "investigation." Total silence.

Is the Barack Obama administration's FBI incompetent, or is it that it does not want to compromise the thousands of dollars that the Miami fascists send to the various political campaigns of Barack Obama?

U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel: "Our Cuba Policy Is Outdated and Unrealistic"

Outdated policy

Chuck Hagel’s comments about engagement with Cuba a when he was questioned on CNN a week ago.

“On Cuba, I’ve said that we have an outdated, unrealistic, irrelevant policy,” he said.

“It’s always been nonsensical to me about this argument, well, it’s a communist country, it’s a communist regime.

“What do people think Vietnam is? Or the People’s Republic of China? Both those countries are WTO members. We trade with them. We have relations.

“Great powers engage,” Hagel said. “Great powers are not afraid. Great powers trade.

Source: Journal Star

US Government: “We Know You Guys Are Crooks. We Will Help You Along.”

During the two terms of the George W. Bush administration, the largest and the biggest scam/fraud ever perpetrated by American capitalism was foisted upon the unsuspecting American population.

It was directed and choreographed by capitalist banks, mortgage companies, and stock-peddling Wall Street brokers. The “project” was aided and abetted by the real estate industry. Add bankers and Realtors to your ever-growing and never-ending list of capitalist crooks, which have always included lawyers, doctors and politicians.

Comes now the Barack H. Obama administration and slaps lightly the writs of all these capitalist crooks with a mere $8.5 billion fine.

The news was carried in the front page of a newspaper report by Daniel Wagner of the Associated Press. The Associated Crooks made trillions of dollars in illegal profits. The victims of the greed of American capitalism, on average, will receive around $2,00.00. The fools will probably be happy with that amount. There is a sucker born every minute in American capitalism.

Mr. Wagner's states in his report that “the agreements are the bank's latest step toward eliminating hundreds of billions of dollars in potential liabilities related to the housing crisis that crested in 2008 ... Regulators are settling at too low a price and possibly at the expense of the consumer.”

Here are the new inductees into the American Capitalism Hall of Shame:

Bank of America
JP Morgan Chase
Wells Fargo
Citigroup
MetLife Bank
PNC Financial Services
Sovereign
SunTrust
U.S. Bank
Aurora

The 2011 action also included:

GMAC Mortgage
HSBC Finance Corp
EMC Mortgage Corp

Until such a time that the American people wise up and stop sending Republicans and Democrats to the White House and U.S. Congress, the scams/frauds of American capitalism will continue.

Their slogan is “We screw you better!”

Monday, January 07, 2013

Cuba boasts lowest infant mortality rate in Latin America

English.news.cn 2013-01-04 14:30:59

HAVANA, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Cuba ended 2012 with an infant mortality rate of 4.6 per thousand live births, the lowest in Latin America, the Cuban News Agency reported Thursday.

2012 marked the fifth year in a row that Cuba had kept its infant mortality rate below 5 per thousand, thanks mainly to the government's free universal health care programs, the news agency said.

According to figures from the Public Health Ministry, the country's infant mortality rate was 4.9 in 2011, 4.5 in 2010, 4.8 in 2009 and 4.7 in 2008.

Cuba's central province of Sancti Spiritus registered the lowest rate of 2.8 per thousand live births, while 26 of the country's 168 municipalities ended the year with zero infant mortality.

The ministry also reported a fall in birth rates, with 125,661 babies born in 2012, 7,400 less than the year before.

The latest infant mortality report from the United Nations Children Fund, released in September 2012, shows that Cuba leads the Western Hemisphere, followed by Canada, the United States, Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay.
Editor: Hou Qiang

U.S. Representative Jose Serrano Introduces H.R. 214, To Lift the Trade Embargo on Cuba

The text of H.R. 214 has not yet been received from GPO

Bills are generally sent to the Library of Congress from the Government Printing Office a day or two after they are introduced on the floor of the House or Senate. Delays can occur when there are a large number of bills to prepare or when a very large bill has to be printed.

Latest Major Action: Introduced on 1/4/2013. Referred to House committee.

Status: Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, the Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform, and Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned. 

Come back to Cuba Journal in about a week. As soon as the Government Printing Office prints the bill, it will be posted here.

Contact your two U.S. Senators and U.S. House Representative and ask them to support and/or co-sponsor H.R. 214.


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Can the future Secretary of State, John Kerry, make friends with Cuba?

Probably not. While he is a critic of US policy toward Havana, he’ll have a hard time actually changing anything.

By: Nick Miroff - January 2, 2013 06:00 - www. globalpost.com  

HAVANA, Cuba — At the last Summit of the Americas, held in Colombia in April, Washington’s rivals in Latin America and its political allies had the same piece of advice for better US diplomacy in the region: get over your Cuba fixation.

Now, with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) likely to be confirmed as the next secretary of state, the United States will have a top diplomat who has been a frequent critic of America’s 50-year-old effort to force regime change in Havana.

In recent years, Kerry has been the Senate’s most prominent skeptic of US-funded pro-democracy efforts that give financial backing to dissident groups in Cuba and beam anti-Castro programming to the island through radio and television programs based in Miami.

Kerry has also favored lifting curbs on US travel to the island, and opening up American tourism to the only country in the world the US government restricts its own citizens from visiting.

For the rest of Latin America, where leaders say they're eager for Washington to modernize its view of the region and engage in new ways, Cuba remains “a litmus test” for the Obama presidency, according to Julia Sweig, director of Latin American Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“The strategic benefits of getting Cuba right would reverberate throughout the Americas,” said Sweig, calling Kerry “ideally suited to the task.”
“Kerry's instincts and experience in Latin America are to see past lingering and often toxic ideology in the US Congress and bureaucracy in favor of pragmatism and problem solving,” she said.

Regardless of Kerry’s record on Cuba policy in the Senate, analysts say he will face several obstacles to major change, not least of which will be the man likely to replace him as chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), a Cuban American.

If Menendez becomes chairman, then the committees responsible for shaping US foreign policy in both branches of Congress will be led by Cuban Americans who want to ratchet up — not dial back — US pressure on Havana. The chair of the House Committee on Foreign Relations is Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen.

So while Kerry may have some latitude to adjust Cuba policy from inside the White House, Latin America experts don’t expect sweeping change — like an end to the Cuba Embargo — which requires Congressional action.
“On Latin America, in general, I think Kerry has a longer and broader vision,” said Robert Pastor, professor of international relations at American University. But when it comes to Cuba, he cautioned, “Kerry is also a political realist.”

“Changing US policy is not a high priority for him, but not changing US policy is the only priority for Bob Menendez,” Pastor said.

In 2011, Kerry delayed the release of nearly $20 million in federal funds for pro-democracy Cuba projects run by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), questioning their effectiveness and insisting on greater oversight.

“There is no evidence that the ‘democracy promotion’ programs, which have cost the US taxpayer more than $150 million so far, are helping the Cuban people,” Kerry said at the time. “Nor have they achieved much more than provoking the Cuban government to arrest a US government contractor.”

The US government contractor is Alan Gross, jailed on the island since December 2009. Cuban authorities arrested Gross while he worked on a USAID project to set up satellite communications gear that would allow members of Cuba’s Jewish community to connect to the internet without going through government servers.

Cuba sentenced him to 15 years in prison, but now says its willing to work out a prisoner swap for the “Cuban Five,” a group of intelligence agents who have been serving time in a US federal prison.

The Obama administration has refused to negotiate, calling on Havana to release Gross unconditionally, and even US lawmakers who advocate greater engagement with Cuba say no change will be possible as long as he’s in jail.

The Castro government insists it’s not willing to give up Gross for nothing.

Carlos Alzugaray, a former Cuban diplomat and scholar of US-Cuba relations at the University of Havana, said a resolution to the Gross case and other significant changes in US policy would “require a big investment of political capital” by Kerry and Obama.

“The question is if Kerry will be willing and able to convince Obama that he should push for change, and if they can neutralize Menendez,” Alzugaray said.

“If that happens, then we will see change,” he said. “If not, it will be more of the same: minimal and timid changes but nothing big.”

-----

JG: I personally like John Kerry, but Barack Obama has become the favorite whore of the Miami fascists. And with Cuban Mafia Boy, Robert Menendez, assuming the chairmanship of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, nothing much will change for the betterment of our failed Cuba policies. Menendez and Ros-Lehtinen are purely motivated by Nazi-like hate.

The Cuban government must continue to protect the island's national sovereignty and independence. If they survived George W. Bush, they will survive the current mediocre president of the U.S.