Thursday, February 28, 2013

The U.S. Government Is Living Beyond Its Means. SHUT IT DOWN!

The Gangster Administration of Barack Obama wants to continue spending and spending money that the government does not have. He wants to continue borrowing and borrowing money.

All the communist governments of the world, combined, have not done as much harm and damage as Barack Obama has done in only four years.

His aim is to destroy the United States from within. Abraham Lincoln predicted that this would happen one day. It is coming to pass.

 We have to get rid of this guy, by any legal means necessary, or he will destroy the country.

  

No Difference Between John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, as Yankee Imperialism Continue Their Hate Campaign Against Cuba

Recently I had a phone conversation with Abelardo Arteaga in Tampa. He is an American who was born in the continental USA, but his ethnic roots are in Cuba. He is related to the infamous Cuban Cardinal Arteaga, who was always present at all the parties and receptions given by Cuban Dictator Fulgencio Batista before the Cuban people threw him out on 1-1-1959.

Cardinal Arteaga was also the person who gave me first communion when I was eight years old. I no longer believe in all the garbage that organized-religion disseminates. They are nothing but a huge business and they don't even pay taxes. They are parasites.

I have been "converted" to Karl Marx's dictum: "Religion is the opium of the masses." 

The fact that Abelardo had some bad relatives is not his fault. He is not not responsible for the sins committed by members of his family.

I was not able to convince Abelardo not to vote for Barack Obama. He is a Democratic Party member first, an American citizen second, and third he is a person who had relatives in Cuba.

He is a good person and he is 93 years old. He is very wise beyond all his years.

He is a believer in religion, and he said to me on the phone, "America is going to be punished by God for all that is doing around the world."

I agreed, and I told him: "God is already punishing the United States for all the immoral acts and atrocities that it is commiting. Extra-judicial assassinations by drones against American citizens is just one of the many things that Barack Obama and his gang of Chicago gangsters is doing today.

Huricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy's destruction is what the U.S. so richly deserves from the Almighty. Is God punishing the U.S.? Abelardo would answer in the affirmative.

It is merely a matter of time before a mushroom cloud will rise over one of America's cities. And then there will be crying and the gnashing of teeth.

But, I digress. The news today are not very happy for the millions of people who would like to see peace between the USA and Cuba.

John Kerry turns out to be a bigger fraud than Hillary Clinton or the Gangster from Chicago, Barack Obama.

Read the following and cry! The Miami Gusano-Fascists will party today!

ABC World News:

[begin article]

According to the U.S. State Department, the world's most prolific terrorist groups are supported by the government of Iran, Sudan, Syria and Cuba. But while Iran, Sudan and Syria have well-known and documented current ties to various terrorists groups, Cuba's place on the list has increasingly come under fire.

These four countries are considered "state sponsors of terrorism" that, according to the United States, have "repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism." They are subject to the harshest sanctions the U.S. can impose, including travel bans, financial transactions and trade.

Last week the Boston Globe reported that Secretary of State John Kerry is planning to remove Cuba from the list, and that Obama administration officials no longer believe the Caribbean country meets the requirements to be labeled a state sponsor of terror.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters that the Globe's report was untrue.

"This department has no current plans to remove Cuba from the state sponsor of terrorism list," said Nuland. "We review this every year, and at the current moment we -- when the last review was done in 2012 --didn't see cause to remove them."

That doesn't mean there aren't advocates within the U.S. government who think America's policy towards Cuba needs to change.

Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who led a delegation of U.S. lawmakers visiting the country earlier, told reporters that there needs to be more "give and take" between the U.S. and Cuba.

"I think the worst thing that can happen is if we stay either in our country or in their country in this 1960s, 1970s Cold War mentality," Leahy said on CNN's State of the Union "We're a different century now. We should be looking at what's the future for their future and ours, what's the future for their children and our children."

Leahy and the delegation were in Cuba to help free Alan Gross, a U.S. development contractor who's been imprisoned on the island since 2009. Gross was in Cuba working for the State Department's development agency USAID, installing communications equipment, when Cuban authorities arrested and convicted him of being a spy. Leahy met with both Gross and President Raul Castro, telling the Cuban president that relations between the countries would improve if Gross were set free.

But the Cubans argue that Gross's imprisonment should not have any bearing on whether the country is considered a sponsor of terrorism. According to U.S. law, "in order for any country to be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, the Secretary of State must determine that the government of that country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism."

Cuba was placed on the list in 1982 for harboring members of the Spanish terror group ETA and members of Columbia's FARC. In last year's annual Country Reports on Terrorism, the State Department said that Cuba continues "to permit fugitives wanted in the United States to reside in Cuba and also provided support such as housing, food ration books, and medical care for these individuals."

[End of ABC article, but this will not be the end of the HATE of Yankee Imperialism, the proud successors of Adolf Hitler.]

JG: Tell me Abelardo, are you still proud of Barack Obama?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bleacher Report & Cuba Journal: World Baseball Classic 2013: Power Ranking the Lineups

Bleacher Reports is a very popular baseball website. Here is how they rank the 16 teams that will play at the World Baseball Classic III, which will start this coming Saturday, March 2nd.

1) USA
2) Venezuela
3) Dominican Republic
4) Canada
5) Puerto Rico
6) Cuba
7) Japan
8) Netherlands
9) Korea
10) Mexico
11) Chinese Taipei
12) Australia
13) Italy
14) Spain
15) China
16) Brazil

Here is how Cuba Journal thinks the teams will end up:

1) The Netherlands
2) Japan
3) Cuba
4) Korea
5) USA
6) Canada
7) Venezuela
8) Dominican Republic
9) Mexico
10) Puerto Rico
11) Chinese Taipei
12) Australia
13) Italy
14) Brazil
15) Spain
16) China

Cuba's Industriales Pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne Will Start Tomorrow Against Japan's Hanshin Tigers

Odrisamer Despaigne

Victor Mesa, the manager of Team Cuba to the World Baseball Classic III, announced that the pitcher from The Industriales will start against the Hanshin Tigers, a Japanese team from their Professional League. It is a warm-up training game.

If you are bilingual and want to read the announcement in Spanish, and other comments, click here.

Cuba will play their first 2013 WBC game against Brazil on Sunday, March 3rd.

Sen. Leahy: Time for U.S. and Cuba to Discuss Relationship



JG: Allan Gross violated Cuban laws. That is the reason he is in jail.

When Barack H. Obama and George W. Bush say that they want to bring "democracy" to Cuba, what they really mean is "We want to return Batista capitalism to the island."

It ain't going to happen, Barack!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Fidel Castro: We do not struggle for glory or honors, we struggle for ideas we consider just



Havana, Februry 25, 2013

DEAR compañeros,

I deeply appreciate the noble gesture of the people electing me as a deputy to Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power.


The time I take for my comments today will not be long, nor will the period in which I occupy this honorable seat as a deputy be long, and not because of a lack of will, but rather as an imperative of nature.


I never thought my existence would be so prolonged, or that the enemy would be so inept in its hateful task of eliminating adversaries committed to the struggle.
In this unequal struggle, our people have demonstrated their amazing capacity to persevere and win. Yes, because every year of resistance between 1959 and 2013 has been a victory which our small country has the right to proclaim!

We do not struggle for glory or honors; we struggle for ideas we consider just, those to which millions of Cubans have dedicated their youth and their lives, as heirs to a long list of exemplary individuals. One figure expresses everything: the number of Cubans who have completed self-sacrificing internationalist missions is close to 800,000. Considering that at the time of the triumph of the Revolution in 1959 we didn’t have seven million inhabitants, one can appreciate the significance of such efforts.

However, this does not express it all. In October of 1962, the nation was at the point of becoming a nuclear battlefield. A year and a half before, a mercenary expedition trained and escorted by the United States Navy, came ashore at the Bay of Pigs and was at the point of provoking a bloody war which would have cost the U.S. invaders hundreds of thousands of lives – I say so without exaggeration – and our country, truly incalculable destruction and human losses.
We had, at the time, around 400,000 weapons and we knew how to use them. In less than 72 hours, the powerful revolutionary counterattack prevented that tragedy, both for Cuba and for the people of the United States.

We were victims of a "dirty war" for a long time, and 25 years after the October Crisis, internationalist troops defended Angola from the racist South African invaders, equipped in this period with several nuclear weapons based on technology and parts supplied by Israel with U.S. approval. On that occasion, the victory at Cuito Cuanavale and the subsequent resolute and audacious advance of the Cuban-Angolan forces, equipped with aircraft, antiaircraft weapons and adequate organization to liberate territory still occupied by the invaders, convinced South Africa that it had no choice but to abandon its nuclear ambitions and sit down at the negotiating table. The existence of the hateful racist system was ended.

With the efforts of all, we have undertaken the work of a profound Revolution, which, starting from zero, our people were able to carry out. Others joined the first revolutionary cells. We were united by the desire to struggle and the pain caused by the country’s tragic situation following the brutal coup. While some had hope in a future they saw as still far removed, others of us were already thinking of the need to make a historical leap.

Between the March 10, 1952 coup and January 1, 1959, only six years and 296 days transpired; for the first time in our homeland, power was totally in the hands of the people.

The battle then began against political ignorance and the anti-socialist ideas which the empire and bourgeoisie had sown in our country. The class struggle unleashed just a few miles from the empire was the most efficient political school any country has ever had. I’m talking about a school which opened its doors more than 50 years ago. Men and women, from pioneros to much older persons, we have been students within this school.

Nevertheless, according to what Raúl was telling me a few days ago, the great battle which is imposing itself is the need for an energetic and relentless struggle against the bad habits and errors which many citizens, and even Party members, commit in the most diverse sectors, on a daily basis.

Humanity has entered a unique stage in its history. The last decades have no relation to the thousands of centuries which preceded them.

In 2011, the world’s population reached seven billion inhabitants, an alarming figure. In only two centuries, the world’s population has grown seven times over, requiring a basic level of food supplies which science, technology and the planet’s natural resources are far from being able to provide.

You can do dozens of estimates, talk about Malthus or Noah’s Ark, but it is enough to know what a gram is, and what amount of any food can be produced on one hectare of land, to draw your own conclusions.

Perhaps the British Prime Minister or President Obama know the answer that could prolong human life a few days more, the multiplication of a few fish and loaves, the magic words to persuade Africans, the inhabitants of India, Latin America and all countries of the Third World, not to have children.

Two days ago, an international agency recalled that one U.S. multi-millionaire, Dennis Tito, had spent 20 million dollars on his a trip to the International Space Station, where he stayed several days in 2001.

Now Tito, who appears to be a veritable fanatic about space exploration, was discussing the details of an expedition to Mars. The journey would take 501 days. This, yes, is enjoying surplus value! Meanwhile, the polar caps are rapidly melting, sea levels are rising as a result of global warming, flooding large areas in only a few decades – all that assuming that there are no wars and that the sophisticated weapons being produced at an accelerating rate are never used. Who can understand them?

I will conclude to fulfill my promise of being brief in my words greeting our National Assembly.

On the 118th anniversary of the Grito de Baire and the 160th of the birth of our national hero, it pleases me honor the revolutionary, the anti-imperialist, the Bolivarian who planted the first seeds of duty in our youth.


Thank you very much! 

Source: Granma International
 
@ YouTube, from Cubadebate, (in Spanish).
Fidel Castro Mensaje al Parlamento cubano

The Great Affirmation By Cuba's President, Raul Castro Rúz


 “I was not elected President to restore capitalism in Cuba, nor to surrender the Revolution. I was elected to defend, maintain and continue perfecting socialism, not to destroy it.”

Speech before the National Assembly of People's Power, February 24, 2013.

JG: Stop dreaming, George W. Bush & Barack H. Obama!

Raúl Castro Says His New 5-Year Term as Cuba’s President Will Be His Last

Cuba's President Raúl Castro on Sunday 
accepted a new five-year term that will be his last.
Photo: Franklin Reyes/Associated Press

The New York Times

The race to succeed Mr. Castro, who is 81, now has a front-runner: Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, 52, an electrical engineer and former minister of higher education, whom Mr. Castro selected as his top vice president on Sunday, making him first in the line of succession.

“It represents a definitive step in the configuration of the future leadership of the nation,” Mr. Castro told lawmakers at a conference of legislative leaders in Havana on Sunday. He added that Cuba is at a moment of “historic transcendence.”

Indeed, Mr. Castro’s speech — attended by his brother Fidel, 86, who made a rare public appearance — had the tone of an unsentimental goodbye. Just as Mr. Castro has inched the island toward free market reforms since taking over from his brother in 2006, his plan for a transition amounts to a slow fade, or, as Mr. Castro put it, the “gradual transfer” of “key roles to new generations.” 

And yet, on an island where a Castro has been in charge since 1959, he also seemed intent on changing how his successors will rule. In an announcement more surprising than his retirement plan, Mr. Castro said he hoped to establish term limits and age caps for political offices, including the presidency. Some broad constitutional changes, he said, will even require a referendum.

Not that the country’s controlled socialism is on the way out, he insisted. The leaders he has elevated are all loyalists, including Mr. Díaz-Canel, who came up through the army and then served in provincial leadership before being elevated within the Communist Party. He is widely seen inside Cuba as a technocrat — a “regional czar whose power is discrete but tangible,” said Arturo López Levy, a former analyst with the Cuban government — who earned Mr. Castro’s favor not only with youth and loyalty, but also by being a good manager.

“He was a senior Communist Party official for Villa Clara and Holguin provinces, where there were important openings with foreign investment in tourism,” said Mr. López Levy. He added that Mr. Díaz-Canel often worked as an intermediary between the central government and the military, which has taken an expanded role in tourism under Raúl Castro. “In that sense,” Mr. López Levy said, “he will face the challenge and opportunity to prepare a smooth landing for a new type of civil-military relationship in the future.”

Mr. Díaz-Canel’s rise has been closely watched over the past year. He has appeared on Cuban television more often; in June 2012 he accompanied Raúl Castro to the Rio+20 meeting in Brazil and led the Cuban delegation to the London Olympics in July. He has also recently played a central role in meetings with officials from Venezuela, Cuba’s most important ally, which supplies it with subsidized oil.

But even as the meeting on Sunday projected an image of complete unity, there was no guarantee that Mr. Díaz-Canel will be Cuba’s next president. Many other young leaders have been pushed out of power over the years for reasons of scandal or disloyalty, and among the rising ranks, there are other leaders in their 50s who have recently been given more significant roles. Experts say that a power struggle is likely behind the Communist Party curtain, and in front of it as well, over the final five years of Mr. Castro’s presidency.

“Much could happen between now and then, both within the government and in various sectors of Cuba’s emergent civil society,” said Ted Henken, president of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy, a research group.

The choice of Mr. Díaz-Canel nonetheless signals a major change. Even with a five-year transition, Mr. Castro’s decision to move Cuba publicly toward a new leader means that the island is now a heartbeat away from being ruled by a person who did not fight in the revolution that brought the Communists to power. The Castros, after aligning themselves for decades with the fighters whom they knew as young guerrillas, appear to have accepted that Cuba will be ruled next by someone whose career developed after the cold war.

“This is the first time the younger generation has a figure who is first in line,” said Philip Peters, a veteran Cuba scholar and vice president of the Lexington Institute, which tracks relations between the United States and Cuba. In an interview from Havana, he said: “It is the first time the older generation admitted the possibility of someone in the younger generation becoming president. We’ll see.” 

Randal C. Archibold contributed reporting from Tapachula, Mexico.

------

Raul Castro: La mayor satisfacción es la tranquilidad y serena confianza que sentimos al ir entregando a las nuevas generaciones la responsabilidad de continuar construyendo el socialismo

Granma: Febrero 25, 2013

-----

JG: There are plenty of very capable leaders inside Cuba who will be able to run the government very well. Raul was very succinct: the island's native brand of socialism IS NOT ON THE WAY OUT.

The Cuban people owe a big debt of gratitude to both Fidel and Raul for doing an excellent job of defending Cuba's national sovereignty and  independence.


The era before 1959, will not return to the island. Barack Obama better learn to accept that. Stop dreaming! 

Vitriol, Paranoia & Warmongering


Yesterday, at the ABC Sunday news show, one American politician made an ass out of himself.

His name is U.S. Representative Mike Rogers. The “gentleman” represents the 8th congressional district of Michigan.

He should go to the shrink to treat his paranoia.

All that was missing was the foaming at the mouth while he mounted his sickening tirades against China.

He probably has been reading too many articles in the yellow press of the United States.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

PETITION: Cuba is Not a Sponsor of Terrorism; Take Cuba Off the List

Please, Sign The Petition

THANK YOU!

PETITION STATEMENT
Remove Cuba from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism now. Any rationale for keeping Cuba on this list has long-since disappeared, especially with Cuba now playing a principal role in facilitating and hosting the Colombia-FARC peace negotiations being held in Havana. Removal of Cuba from this list will allow the United States to take steps leading to normalized relations with Cuba, and it will positively impact the U.S. relationship with all of our Latin America neighbors.

Yoani Sanchez May Be A Dissident In Cuba, But She Agrees U.S. Embargo MUST GO!

Read More Here: 

McClatchy Newspapers

JG: I am glad that we finally agree on something.

Cuba's Raul Castro jokingly hints at possible retirement

Cuba's president Raul Castro gestures after a
wreath-laying ceremony at the Soviet monument in Havana
February 22, 2013 - Credit: Reuters/Enrique De La Osa
 
HAVANA | Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:34pm EST
 
(Reuters) - Cuban President Raul Castro, who is expected to begin a second five-year term on Sunday, jokingly told reporters on Friday that he was planning his retirement but left open just when he would step down.

"I'm going to retire," said a grinning Castro in the company of visiting Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Castro urged reporters to pay close attention to the National Assembly meeting this weekend, when a Council of State and president will be elected.

"I'm going to turn 82, I have a right to retire already," Castro said. "You don't believe me? Why are you so incredulous?" he added in an exchange with reporters as he visited a monument to fallen Soviet soldiers.

"It will be an interesting speech. Pay attention," Castro said before leaving with Medvedev.

Castro, who replaced his ailing brother Fidel in 2008 and turns 82 in June, has in recent years repeatedly stated that Communist Party and government leaders should be held to two, five-year terms in office.

Castro would begin his second term on Sunday, which would theoretically leave him free to retire in 2018, aged 86.

During his first term, Castro has presided over a reform process that included the gradual loosening of restrictions on travel and personal property while moving the economy in a more market-friendly direction.

He has said it is the responsibility of those who built the 54-year-old revolution to see the reforms through and leave Cuba in better condition for a new generation of leaders.

Castro, despite his age, appears fit and lucid and is widely expected by foreign experts, diplomats and Cubans to serve a second term.

"Whether it happens now or after a second term, there's no shame in putting the limits of Raul Castro's presidential tenure on the table," said Julia Sweig, director of Latin America studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, a U.S. think tank.

"I see this as very consistent with his style - but I would be surprised if this Sunday's speech would indicate he won't stand for a second term," Sweig said.

(Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by David Adams and Jim Loney)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Talk Grows of Taking Cuba Off Terror List

The Boston Globe

Secretary of State, John Kerry, reviewing policy that could pave way for renewed relations

Box Score of Feb 19 Training Game Between Cuba and Australia

Click on the graphic to enlarge
Credit: BaseballDeCuba.com

Marco Mierda Toasts the Murderer of Palestinians

I want to throw-up!

WBC warmup between Cuba and Korean club team canceled after teams argue over which ball to use

The WBC Baseball


Under normal circumstances, a baseball is about the least controversial object on the planet. The little white orbs are also usually very universal, each of them wound with the ability to bridge cultures, erase language barriers and force smiles between countries that may not like each other.

Neither of those truths, however, was present when the Cuban national team and the NC Dinos from the Korea Baseball Organization met up in Taiwan on Thursday.

While the friendly exhibition was set up as a way to help the Cubans prepare for their World Baseball Classic opener in Japan on March 3, not a single pitch was thrown.

The reason? Neither side could agree on what brand of baseball to use.

------

JG: This is rather silly and stupid! I expect endless arguing from dumb US politicians, but this is coming from supposedly adult and responsible baseball players.

Grow up guys! This was a training game! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Frederich Cepeda is batting .375 after two training games in Taiwan


LONG LIVE #24!

I am biased. Comrade Frederich is one of my favorite Cuban baseball players. The other two are: Jose Dariel Abreu and Yulieski Gourriel.

If you want to read the report (in Spanish) @ www.beisbolcubano.cu click here.

@ WhiteHouse.gov --> Break the Embargo Against Cuba

This is not a Cuba Journal petition, but if you want to sign it and support it go to the link below:


http://wh.gov/viLF


The petition was initiated by David Griffen at Twitter (@Longshoremen54).

An Open Letter To The Honorable John Kerry, Secretary of State Of The United States




February 20, 2013


The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State of the United States
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

A wise man once said that insanity consists in continuing to do the wrong thing with the hope of obtaining a different result.

That can describe very well the continuation of the blockade/embargo which the the United States maintains against the Republic of Cuba, the land where I was born.

On November 13th of 2012, one week after the re-election of President Barack Obama, the General Assembly of the United Nations, by a vote of 188-3, condemned for the 22nd consecutive year the continuation of the Cuba blockade/embargo. The General Assembly is a true democracy of the 194 nations of our planet. No nation is allowed to veto a resolution of that august body.

I consider myself a citizen of two countries and I have a deep love for both of them. I would like to see peace reign between the U.S. and Cuba. It would benefit both countries.

It is time for the United States government to recognize that the failed blockade/embargo against Cuba is not going to overthrow the socialist government of the Caribbean nation. We have to learn to coexist.

I hope that you can use your good influence to convince the current occupant of the White House to remove the single obstacle that prevents peace between the U.S. and Cuba.

Let us show the world that the U.S. is not insane and that it is willing to learn to be wise.

Sincerely,




[signature of JRG]

Jorge R. González
Publisher/Editor of Cuba Journal
Published continuously since December 10, 2005

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Barack Obama Lies Again!


 
Barack lies again! The main impediment to better relations between & the U.S. is the continuation of the U.S. Blockade/Embargo.

Pro-Cuba Brazilians REPUDIATE Yoani Sanchez!




FEIRA DE SANTANA, Brazil (AP) — Pro-Cuba protesters in Brazil have halted an event featuring the best-known U.S. mercenary from the Caribbean island who is making her first international trip in nearly a decade.

About five dozen boisterous protesters took over a film screening Monday night in Brazil's northeastern Bahia state. Blogger Yoani Sanchez was to watch a documentary featuring her and the subject of press freedom in Cuba.

The protesters began to surround Yoani, chanting pro-Cuba slogans. She was removed from the scene by security guards.

Yoani told The Associated Press minutes later she was afraid such protests might follow her as she embarks on an 80-day tour of a dozen nations.

Yoani was able to leave Cuba after 20 failed attempts because the Cuban government recently relaxed its block of dissidents traveling abroad.

Another Gang of 66 Member, Joe Baca, Has Been Defeated

There are fewer and fewer anti-Cuba Gang of 66 members serving now in the U.S. House of Representatives.

But the top two leaders, James Cliburn, from South Carolina, and Jewish Princess Debbie Wasserman Schultz, from Florida, are still there spilling their hate against the socialist Caribbean nation. They are in very safe districts.

When I have some time available, I will check which members of the Gang of 66 are still in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 2010 a large number of them were defeated, and it was very sad to see what happened to Gabrielle Giffords. Gun and rifle nuts are making the United States a prominent part of the UNCIVILIZED WORLD.

Team Cuba 28-Man Roster for WBC III


Brazilians Tell Yoani Sanchez What They Think of Her

Yoani Sanchez, Agent of the CIA

Cuba Comes from Behind and Defeats Australia 5-3 (Play By Play in Spanish)

Frederich Cepeda
(Photo: BaseballdeCuba.com)
 
In a friendly training game before the start of Baseball Classic III, Team Cuba came from behind in the seventh inning and beat Australia's national selection team by the score of 5-3.

Frederich Cepeda had two RBI's in the seventh.

The game was played in Taichung Stadium in Taiwan.

Click here for the play-by-play from Zona de Strike.

Peter C. Bjarkman's report @ BaseballDeCuba.com

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cuba Will Play Seven Games Before Their Debut at the 2013 World Baseball Classic


Cuba's national selection to the 2013 World Baseball Classic will play seven games before their debut on March 3. The first game at the Classic will be played at 10:00 a.m. (Cuba time) against Brazil.

On Monday, 18th February, Cuba will play a training game against the Chinese Taipei team, and the following day will play against Australia.

On the 21st it will play against a professional team of Chinese Taipei, and after that it will play the Chinese Taipei team and another game against The Netherlands.

On 25th February, Team Cuba will fly to Japan from Taiwan, and there will play two games against Japan.

Source: Radio Rebelde

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Cuban Five Salute Baseball Classic III Team

Team Captain, Yulieski Gourriel, Receives National Flag

2013.02.14 - 13:01:34 / web@radiorebelde.icrt.cu

HAVANA, Cuba.- A message of salutations by the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the US was read at the ceremony held at Havana’s Jose Marti Memorial, where the Cuban team that will contest the 3rd Baseball Classic was handed over the National Flag that will accompany the collective during the world championship.

The letter, signed by Antonio Guerrero, also conveyed greetings from Fernando González, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and René González, all knonw as the Cuban Five.

In the message, Guerrero referred the trust laid on the Cuban athletes who, he stressed, will do their best to take the name of their country at the highest level.

Cuban government vice-president Miguel Diaz-Canel handed over the National Flag to team captain Yulieski Gourriel, who was escorted by his colleagues Ismel Jimenez and Freddy Asiel Alvarez.

Team members Afredo Despaigne and Andy Ibanez laid a wreath at the monument of National Hero Jose Marti on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of his birthday.

Vice-president Díaz-Canel said Cuba looks forwards to the revitalization of Baseball, which is the island’s national sports, as well to its comprehensive improvement.

This includes a better preparation of coaches and trainers, the application of scientific results and the implementation of new ways to identify talents and the rescue of the competitive program at national and international competitions.

The Cuban baseball team will travel on Thursday to Asia in order to star a series of preparatory games with the professional leagues of China Taipei and Japon, and with the national team from The Netherlands.

Cuba will join the World Baseball Classic on March 3 against Brazil, and later against China and Japan.

The ceremony was attended by Olga Lidia Tapia, member of Cuba’s Communist Party Secretariat; Christian Jimenez, president of the National Sports Institute, and other government officials.

(ACN)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What U.S. Senator Marco "Mierda" Rubio Really Objects To in the Cuban Adjustment Act

That shameless cheer-leader of American capitalism, fake Cuban exile and professional Cuba-hater, U.S. Senator Marco "Mierda" Rubio, made some recent declarations about the Cuban Adjustment Act, that have been picked up and published by the Miami "Gusano" Herald. His babble is as follow:

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify it for my colleagues when there are people who come to the United States … and within a year and a day are traveling to Cuba 25 and 30 times a year”

So, what this shit-head objects to is not the fact Cubans come to live in the United States, but that those Cubans love their families in the island.


 

Family Visits With Ramon Labanino: Does Mrs. Alan Gross Deal With Stuff Like This?

Marxism Leninism Today

February 11, 2012

Written by W.M. Tillow

Click here to go to the article.

NYT: The Joyce Theater and the Brooklyn Academy of Music Announce Cuba Dance Partnership

The New York Times

February 13, 2013, 9:58 am

By FELICIA R. LEE

A new, two-year project to promote an arts partnership between the United States and Cuba was announced Tuesday by the Joyce Theater Foundation and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The project is designed to offer Cubans arts administration training, internships and help creating a new dance work to be performed at the Joyce Theater.

The project is funded with a $215,000 grant to the Joyce and BAM from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, which supports the arts and exchanges between arts organizations here and abroad. Other partners in the initiative are the choreographer Ronald K. Brown and the non-profit Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, which promotes contemporary Cuban artists and culture.

Mr. Brown will travel to Cuba to select a Cuban dance company to create a new work, to be performed at the Joyce in May, 2014. The Cuban dance company will also participate in a production residency at the Joyce with Mr. Brown and his company, Evidence, A Dance Company.

“I had an amazing time when I went to Cuba in 2001 and had the opportunity to meet some artists, so I am grateful for this awesome opportunity,” Mr. Brown said in a statement.

The program begins this month with a professional development seminar in Havana led by Joyce and BAM staff members, who will work with 20 Cuban arts professional selected by the Ludwig Foundation. Four participants from the seminar will be invited to New York this fall and in spring of 2014 for internships at both the Joyce and BAM. The Joyce and Brooklyn Academy of Music worked together in 2011 on the ¡Sí Cuba! Festival.

American Capitalists Are the Only Ones Who Believe their Own Patrañas


The silly boys of American journalism keep on printing on their rag sheets that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a nation that faces famine and starvation. (They used to say the same thing about Cuba after 1959).

WOW!

If that is so, where do they get the strength to develop nuclear weapons and missiles? Or did the Martians sold those things to the DPRK?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In Spanish: Historical Record: Fidel Speaks on Feb 3, 2013

(El Comandante saluda a los presentes, dialoga con algunos electores
 y con los miembros de la mesa electoral 
y luego procede a ejercer su derecho al voto.)

Entrevista ofrecida por el Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz a la prensa nacional después de ejercer su derecho al voto, el 3 de febrero de 2013, “Año 55 de la Revolución”

Revisado y actualizado por el entrevistado

(Versiones Taquigráficas - Consejo de Estado)

Report: Menendez emails sought to aid donor's firm

San Francisco Chronicle / SF Gate

By HENRY C. JACKSON and STEPHEN BRAUN, Associated Press

Updated 1:31 pm, Monday, February 11, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — Emails between Sen. Robert Menendez's office and the Homeland Security Department describe efforts by his staff in January to thwart U.S. donations of cargo-screening equipment to the government of the Dominican Republic. Donated equipment could have jeopardized a port security contract benefiting a close Menendez associate and fundraiser.

The emails came six months after Menendez raised concerns about the Dominican government's port security in a Senate hearing with senior officials from the State and Commerce departments. A company run by Dr. Salomon Melgen, Menendez's biggest political donor, has pushed to secure a lucrative port security contract with the Dominican government.

In the emails, an unidentified staffer for Menendez told U.S. Customs and Border Protection that the Dominican government wouldn't use any U.S.-supplied security equipment as effectively as the port's private contractor, which the aide did not mention by name. "My boss' concern is that the CBP equipment will be used for ulterior purpose and asks that you hold off on the delivery of any such equipment until you can discuss this matter with us," the staffer wrote.

The Associated Press reviewed the content of the emails, which were first disclosed Monday by The New York Times.

A spokeswoman for Menendez's office, Tricia Enright, told AP on Monday that "our office was merely inquiring about and asking for a briefing on something that it turned out wasn't even happening." Enright said Menendez's office did not contact the agency to halt any equipment transfer. "A transfer was never planned in the first place, so any suggestion we stopped it makes little sense."
Separately, Menendez acknowledged last week that his office had contacted U.S. health agencies in a way that would help Melgen, whose private jet Menendez used for two personal trips to the Dominican Republic. Menendez said he contacted the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ask about billing practices and policies. The contacts came during a dispute between CMS and Melgen. The FBI recently searched Melgen's offices.

Menendez has also acknowledged that he flew on Melgen's private plane and failed, initially, to properly pay for the trips. He told reporters he reimbursed some $58,500 from his personal funds. The Senate Ethics Committee is investigating.

In the January emails, the Menendez aide asked Customs whether the U.S. planned to donate cargo-screening equipment to the Dominican government. The aide wrote that "individuals who do not want to increase security in the DR (Dominican Republic) might be holding up the fulfillment of a port security contract." The staffer added that "these elements (possibly criminal) want CBP to give the equipment because they believe the government use of the equipment will be less effective than the outside contractor."

A CBP official replied that there were no plans to donate any screening equipment, adding that "the CPB has not agreed to any expanded operations in the Dominican Republic and hasn't provided any additional equipment."

The "outside contractor" currently selected to provide cargo screening in the Dominican Republic is ICSSI, a Dominican company that was partially bought in 2011 by Boarder Support Services, a company based in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Corporation records held by the Florida Department of State show Melgen as Boarder's owner.

Last July, at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Menendez pressed two senior U.S. officials about problems between the Dominican government and the unnamed port screening contract. Menendez suggested the government's port security was endangered by its reluctance to deal with the unidentified company.

The ICSSI firm now partially owned by Melgen signed a contract in 2002 to provide screening throughout the country but the government suspended the deal in 2004 before it went into effect, claiming the contract was too expensive and the bidding was not competitive. Melgen's company has been trying to reinstate the contract, which is tied up in Dominican courts. The Times has reported the contract could be worth as much as $500 million over 20 years.

The events have engulfed Menendez, 59, just as he assumed the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, succeeding former Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who resigned to become secretary of state.

Melgen has been a friend and political supporter of Menendez's for many years. Last year, Melgen's practice gave $700,000 to Majority PAC, a super political action committee set up to fund Democratic candidates for Senate. Aided by Melgen's donation, the super PAC became the largest outside political committee contributing to Menendez's re-election, spending more than $582,000 on the senator's behalf.

------

JG: Menendez and Melgen are a couple of crooks! The Senator from New Jersey, and his buddy, Barack Obama, want to bring "democracy" to Cuba. It would be of the Fulgencio Batista variety.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Forbes: It's Time For The U.S. To End Its Senseless Embargo Of Cuba

Forbes 

@ http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/01/16/its-time-for-the-u-s-to-end-its-senseless-embargo-of-cuba/

01/16/2013

By Daniel Hanson, Dayne Batten & Harrison Ealey

For the first time in more than fifty years, Cuban citizens can travel abroad without permission from their government.  The move, part of a broader reform package being phased in by Raul Castro, underscores the irrationality of America’s continuation of a five-decade old embargo.

While the embargo has been through several legal iterations in the intervening years, the general tenor of the U.S. position toward Cuba is a hardline not-in-my-backyard approach to communism a la the Monroe Doctrine.  The official position is outdated, hypocritical, and counterproductive.

The Cuban embargo was inaugurated by a Kennedy administration executive order in 1960 as a response to the confiscation of American property in Cuba under the newly installed Castro regime.  The current incarnation of the embargo – codified primarily in the Helms-Burton Act – aims at producing free markets and representative democracy in Cuba through economic sanctions, travel restrictions, and international legal penalties.

Since Fidel Castro abdicated power to his brother Raul in 2008, the government has undertaken more than 300 economic reforms designed to encourage enterprise, and restrictions have been lifted on property use, travel, farming, municipal governance, electronics access, and more.  Cuba is still a place of oppression and gross human rights abuse, but recent events would indicate the 11 million person nation is moving in the right direction.

Despite this progress, the U.S. spends massive amounts of money trying to keep illicit Cuban goods out of the United States.  At least 10 different agencies are responsible for enforcing different provisions of the embargo, and according to the Government Accountability Office, the U.S. government devotes hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of man hours to administering the embargo each year.

At the Miami International Airport, visitors arriving from a Cuban airport are seven times more likely to be stopped and subjected to further customs inspections than are visitors from other countries.  More than 70 percent of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control inspections each year are centered on rooting out smuggled Cuban goods even though the agency administers more than 20 other trade bans.  Government resources could be better spent on the enforcement of other sanctions, such as illicit drug trade from Colombia, rather than the search for contraband cigars and rum.

At present, the U.S. is largely alone in restricting access to Cuba.  The embargo has long been a point of friction between the United States and allies in Europe, South America, and Canada.  Every year since 1992, the U.S. has been publically condemned in the United Nations for maintaining counterproductive and worn out trade and migration restrictions against Cuba despite the fact that nearly all 5,911 U.S. companies nationalized during the Castro takeover have dropped their claims.

Moreover, since Europeans, Japanese, and Canadians can travel and conduct business in Cuba unimpeded, the sanctions are rather toothless.  The State Department has argued that the cost of conducting business in Cuba is only negligibly higher because of the embargo.  For American multinational corporations wishing to undertake commerce in Cuba, foreign branches find it easy to conduct exchanges.

Yet, estimates of the sanctions’ annual cost to the U.S. economy range from $1.2 to $3.6 billion, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Restrictions on trade disproportionately affect U.S. small businesses who lack the transportation and financial infrastructure to skirt the embargo.  These restrictions translate into real reductions in income and employment for Americans in states like Florida, where the unemployment rate currently stands at 8.1 percent.

What’s worse, U.S. sanctions encourage Cuba to collaborate with regional players that are less friendly to American interests. For instance, in 2011, the country inked a deal with Venezuela for the construction of an underwater communications link, circumventing its need to connect with US-owned networks close to its shores.

Repealing the embargo would fit into an American precedent of lifting trade and travel restrictions to countries who demonstrate progress towards democratic ideals.  Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary were all offered normal trade relations in the 1970s after preliminary reforms even though they were still in clear violation of several US resolutions condemning their human rights practices.  China, a communist country and perennial human rights abuser, is the U.S.’s second largest trading partner, and in November, trade restrictions against Myanmar were lessened notwithstanding a fifty year history of genocide and human trafficking propagated by its military government.

Which, of course, begs the question: when will the U.S. see fit to lift the embargo?  If Cuba is trending towards democracy and free markets, what litmus test must be passed for the embargo to be rolled back?

The cost of the embargo to the United States is high in both dollar and moral terms, but it is higher for the Cuban people, who are cut off from the supposed champion of liberty in their hemisphere because of an antiquated Cold War dispute.  The progress being made in Cuba could be accelerated with the help of American charitable relief, business innovation, and tourism.

A perpetual embargo on a developing nation that is moving towards reform makes little sense, especially when America’s allies are openly hostile to the embargo.  It keeps a broader discussion about smart reform in Cuba from gaining life, and it makes no economic sense.  It is time for the embargo to go.

Daniel Hanson is an economics researcher at the American Enterprise Institute.  Dayne Batten is affiliated with the University of North Carolina Department of Public Policy.  Harrison Ealey is a financial analyst.

Cuban Anti-Drug Strategy Proven Effective


Havana, Feb 11 (Prensa Latina) Cuba's anti-drug strategy was proven effective in 2012, when the presence of suspicious aircraft and vessels decreased drastically in national territory, and almost all drugs drifting to shore were captured, Granma newspaper reported on [Page 3, printed edition, Feb 11, 2013. By FRANCISCO ARIAS FERNÁNDEZ] .

According to the newspaper, there was a minimal presence of such substances in the country's interior last year, while sightings of suspicious aircraft and vessels decreased from 54 in 2011 to 24.

Authorities also seized nearly all illicit drugs off the Cuban coast, amounting to some 2,961 kilograms, a figure below the 8,508 kg seized this way the previous year.

About 3,045 kg (2,997 kg of marijuana, 43 kg of cocaine, two kilograms of hashish and small amounts of other illegal substances) were also confiscated within national territory during 2012.

These are the results of the "Coraza Popular" and "Ache III" operations, implemented a decade ago to deal with the problem in a context marked by increased international threats and the complexity of the phenomenon of drug trafficking in the region, the newspaper said. Granma notes that 628 people were also sanctioned for drug-related crimes last year.

Modificado el (lunes, 11 de febrero de 2013)
 

Co-Op: The Antithesis of the Capitalist Corporation


I remember very well when I joined my fist co-op. The year was 1965 when I started attending Portland State College (PSC), in the beautiful City of Roses in the Pacific Northwest. It would later on become Portland State University, and it was located across the very pleasant Park Blocks in the South West part of the city, in downtown Portland. It is still there today.

On beautiful and sunny-weather days many of the teachers would give their lectures on the lawn at the Park Blocks.

At the time I was working at I. Magnin and Company, across the street from the Hilton on S.W. Fifth avenue and Salmon street. About ten blocks west of that location was Lincoln High School, where I graduated on June, 1963. The school was at the time the best high school in the city. It was at the foot of the west hills, where all the wealthy families lived. The sport color of the school was red and the mascot was a Cardinal bird. Little did I know at that time that I would become a political “red” later on.

My work schedule was 4:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and after I left work I would walk to PSC. The college book store was a co-op. It was owned by the students attending PSC; it was not owned by capitalist “investors.”

After the college school year was over, the co-op would buy back your books, which it would then offer next year as used books to the incoming new class of students. In September it would issue a co-op rebate to all its members. You could get the rebate in cash or apply it to purchase new or used books on the new school year.

The co-op is an eminently socialist idea. It is people helping people, not people screwing people.

In the changes being instituted in Cuba by President Raul Castro, co-ops have now a very important place in society. Any gains or losses are shared by the members of the co-ops.

With co-ops a better world is possible.

Excerpts: It’s Time to Start Treating Cuba as a Neighbor

www.politicususa.com





February 10th, 2013

Excerpts:

Fidel Castro entered the American consciousness with his 1959 overthrow of Fulgencio Batista, a brutal, Mafia-loving dictator who, like Castro, seized power through a coup. Philosophically, Batista was the Cuban version of Mitt Romney. All the spoils go to major corporations and to hell with the other 99%. He was also corrupt as hell, censored the media and through his goons, was constantly imprisoning, torturing and killing those who took issue with his repressive policies.

In a glaring example of his geopolitical naiveté, George W. Bush tightened the screws on remittances and travel where such a move wasn’t even remotely necessary. Obama has loosened some of these screws, but not nearly enough to consider his actions as a normalization of relations

------

JG: Everything else is the typical garbage talking points of American capitalism.

This guy is an ignoramus. He does not know the difference between a coup d'etat and a revolution.

The Pope Resigns. I Nominate Cuba's Jaime Cardinal Ortega.

Pope Benedict XVI

 
Cuba's Jaime Cardenal Ortega

Were he to be elected, Cardenal Ortega would be the perfect mediator to help settle the differences between the United States and Cuba.

Pope Benedict XVI to Resign

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Para Aquellos Que Hablan y Leen Espanol - For Those Who Speak & Read Spanish

Click on the link below. Oprima el enlace a continuacion.

MIAMI IS A CIRCUS - Miami es un circo

http://cambiosencuba.blogspot.com/2013/02/miami-es-un-circo.html

The latest activities of the Miami Cuban exiles counter-revolutionary organizations.

"Dios los cria y el diablo los junta."

Cuba’s reforms pave the way for new US policy, too

Fidel Castro, 86, speaks to reporters
at a polling station in Havana Feb. 3, 2013.

A Boston Globe Editorial

February 09, 2013

Relations between the United States and Cuba have been stuck since the United States imposed a full economic embargo in 1962, and during the election season neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney signaled much desire to change the status quo. Yet while Americans have been looking elsewhere, significant change has come to Cuba. The communist government of the ruling Castro brothers, Fidel and Raul, is in the midst of a slow experiment to promote economic entrepreneurship. Late last year, Cuba instituted reforms to its immigration policies that allow Cubans to travel abroad freely and allow those who have emigrated or fled to return home.

These changes, and the beginning of Obama’s second term, create an unusual opportunity to acknowledge Cuba’s gestures and respond in a substantive way. Rather than simply extend policies that, in five decades, have failed to dislodge the Castros, the Obama administration has a chance to drag US policy into the 21st century.

The Cuban-American population, which has historically opposed any loosening of US policy, is no longer monolithic. Supporting greater contact with friends, family, and the Cuban economy now animates a younger generation of Florida voters. Because of this trend, Obama — who performed nearly as well with Cuban-American voters as Romney — has more maneuvering room politically.

The first step would be to end the silly claim, reinstated by the Obama administration last summer, that Cuba remains a “state sponsor of terrorism.” The administration argued that Cuba harbored members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. It has, but the FARC and Colombia are now in negotiations; those peace talks are supported by the Obama White House in order to end a bloody civil war.

By depoliticizing the Cuba portfolio, the United States could then begin to lessen trade restrictions, starting with promoting cultural exchanges; ending the travel ban; and eventually allowing for trade in oil, gas, and other commodities. Over time, billions of dollars in new trade between the two nations will benefit both. This would include boosts to US farm companies while helping Cubans.

Direct relations would also further US national security and environmental interests; as Cuba opens up, other countries will sweep in to seek influence, as China has already done. Especially as Cuba increasingly promotes offshore drilling and other maritime exploration, the United States must improve communication with Havana. Currently, even though the United States and Cuba are separated by a narrow channel, the two countries have no bilateral communications to ensure safety standards for their mutual protection from oil spills.

Secretary of State John Kerry should make Cuba a focus of his first months in office. Unfortunately, his successor as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a son of Cuban immigrants who has opposed the administration’s efforts to ease relations. Menendez will need to be convinced that he can help Cubans more by resetting American policy.

Absent military intervention, there are very few opportunities for a president to dramatically alter relations with a historic foe; Obama has taken such advantage of a disorientingly rapid liberalization by Burma’s military rulers. Raul Castro’s recent decision to lift travel restrictions on Cuban citizens is similarly momentous — and signals that the timing is ripe for a new diplomatic agenda with Cuba.

------

JG: Hear! Hear!

The Wisdom of Pertinax

Publius Helvius Pertinax Augustus
Pertinax was the Roman Senator who was appointed emperor of the Holy Roman Empire when the very corrupt, bloody and despicable tyrant emperor Commodus was assassinated on December 31, A.D. 192.

Pertinax found that the exhausted treasury of the Roman Empire had but only eight thousand pounds to defray the current expenses of the government.

Here is what Pertinax said:

It is better to be satisfied to administer with innocence a poor republic than to acquire riches by the ways of tyranny and dishonor.”

As related in:

“The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”
by Edward Gibbon

The Modern Library Classics
Random House, New York, 2003

JG: Cubans banished tyranny and dishonor on January First, 1959. Cuba may be a poor republic, but it has honor. People helping people! Capitalism has a lot to learn from the island.
 


Friday, February 08, 2013

Perks to The Cuban Mafia in Miami Could be Abandoned

Cuban Perks Could Go Under Immigration Reform

Friday, 08 Feb 2013 07:30 AM

Source URL: http://www.newsmax.com/US/cuban-perks-attacked-immigration/2013/02/08/id/489473 

[JG: It is amazing, but not surprising, that a right-wing outfit like NewsMax is advocating the abandonment of the Cuban Adjustment Act. NewsMax is an outfit associated with the Tea Baggers, and those people hate all immigrants. You have to be blond and blue eyed for them to like you.]

All Ana Soto had to do to gain entry to the United States at the Texas-Mexico border in 2008 was show her Cuban identity card and birth certificate.

Soto has since brought her husband from Cuba, reunited with her parents in Miami and got an accounting job - building a dream life thanks to one of the most generous U.S. immigration laws: the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA).

"I had no future in Cuba. My life, and my entire family's life has changed for the better thanks to the Adjustment Act," said Soto, 24.

Those who follow in Soto's footsteps may not be so fortunate. As the U.S. Congress takes up immigration reform, the special status of Cuban emigres is being called into question by critics who say the CAA is a costly and anachronistic Cold War relic that should be abolished.

The issue has gained urgency after a relaxing of travel restrictions by both Cuba and the United States that has led to a dramatic increase in the number of Cubans traveling between the two countries. Soto herself has returned to Cuba a dozen times, on the last occasion to visit her dying grandmother.

Last month Cuba ended its practice of requiring an exit permit to leave the island, and said all Cubans could obtain a passport, potentially increasing the exodus.

Even traditional defenders of the CAA in the nation's large Cuban American community, concentrated mostly in South Florida, say the law is out-dated and may need adjusting.

"I'm not sure we're going to be able to avoid, as part of any comprehensive approach to immigration, a conversation about the Cuban Adjustment Act," Florida's Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a son of Cuban immigrants, told reporters last month.

Rubio, one of eight senators pushing for bipartisan immigration reform, said the CAA was intended to protect refugees fleeing an oppressive regime but an increasing number of Cuban exiles were traveling to and from Cuba on family vacations and business trips, undermining the justification for the act.

"It's becoming increasingly difficult to justify it to my colleagues," said Rubio.
Cuban immigrants are just a sliver of the roughly one million foreign-born nationals who become legal permanent U.S. residents each year and their fate might seem small compared to the 11 million estimated to be in the United States illegally. But as a touchstone of American freedom, they play an outsized role in the nation's politics.

As such, the CAA is unlikely to be thrown out entirely, analysts say, but it could well be tightened to limit eligibility to genuine victims of political persecution in Cuba.

"There is going to be a discussion and there are going to be changes, but how far they will go nobody knows," said Jaime Suchlicki, director of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami. "There is no reason now for Cubans to have preference in the immigration line," he added.

The reform could also mark the end of the controversial 'wet foot, dry foot' policy, coined after the 1994 Cuban rafter crisis, that allows entry to undocumented Cubans who reach U.S. soil ('dry foot') either by home-made rafts or smuggler 'go-fast' boats, as well as thousands who show up each year at the Mexico border. Others intercepted at sea ('wet foot') are repatriated.

ECONOMIC EXILES?

Cuban immigration has become a deeply divisive issue in Miami's exile community in recent years. Unlike older exiles who left Cuba in the 1960s with their entire families and vow never to return until the ruling Communist Party is ousted, newer arrivals in Miami retain close family ties on the island.
"It's not an exile community anymore," said Philip Peters, a Cuba expert at the Lexington Institute, a Virginia think-tank.

Around 327,000 Cubans have emigrated to the United States in the last 10 years, more than in any previous decade since Cuba's 1959 revolution, Peters said.
A survey of visa applicants in 2009 by the State Department, which was published by Wikileaks, noted: "Overwhelmingly, applicants appear motivated to leave Cuba due to economic and family reasons."

Travel restrictions are now so loose that a top Cuban baseball pitcher, Jose Contreras, recently visited the island without incident. A decade earlier he was excoriated as a mercenary by Communist officials for defecting from Cuba's national team and signing with the New York Yankees for $32 million.

An estimated 476,000 Cuban Americans visited the island last year according to a Miami consumer research firm, The Havana Consulting Group. That was more than double the number in 2007.

Under the CAA, Cubans receive unique and highly favorable treatment, including granting of permanent residency a year after arrival, as well as being elibible for government benefits, such as Medicaid, supplemental social security income, child care, and disability.

No other foreign nationals enjoy these benefits except for the few who are granted political asylum.

The CAA was passed in 1966 to adjust the status of some 300,000 Cubans who found themselves in legal limbo after fleeing Cuba's socialist revolution of 1959. Cuba has railed against it.

These days an average of about 36,000-40,000 Cubans arrive each year. Many are selected by a visa lottery, others come under a family reunification program and there are a handful of political asylum cases. Roughly 10,000 arrive without visas each year, smuggled by boat or via the border with Mexico.

Being Cuban is so advantageous it has spawned its own form of identity fraud. Last year federal agents busted a ring that sold almost 50 fake Cuban birth certificates for up to $15,000 apiece to undocumented immigrants from Latin America so they could obtain green cards.

THE BENEFITS OF BEING CUBAN

According to an estimate by the University of Miami's Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, the cost of public benefits provided to Cuban immigrants was $322 million in 2008.

"Everybody knows they are economic refugees and have been for a long time," said Vivian Mannerud, president of Airline Brokers, a Miami travel agency that books flights to Cuba.

"We cannot keep giving all the benefits to people coming from Cuba who have not paid a penny into the system, especially at a time when Congress is talking about taking benefits from people who have been paying into the system for years," added Mannerud, who is of Cuban descent.

Support for the CAA is still strong among many exiles who say the conditions that led to the CAA in the first place, including repression in Cuba, still exist.
Even though many newer exiles may be economic migrants "the economy is part of politics in Cuba," said Humberto Rodriguez, 67, who came to Miami from Cuba in 1983 and operates a one-man home repair business. "The Cuban economy is a product of the communist political system, so everyone is persecuted in that sense," he said.

Immigration experts note that if that were the definition of political asylum, rather than specific persecution for political or religious beliefs, residents of any poor, misgoverned country would be eligible.

Soto is rooting for the CAA to survive. "I have to think of all the other people in Cuba who deserve the same opportunity that I had," she said.

Like many young Cubans, she left Cuba because she saw no professional future for herself in the communist system after she graduated.