Friday, September 30, 2011

Blind Justice

"Justice is blind" "Free press"
The Cuban 5

In this case, justice seems to live up to that notion of blindness.
Unfortunately, the press cost money. How can justice continue to be blind to
the fact that the press was paid for? Willful blindness? Press that is free to
sell itself? And sold to those sworn to uphold the Constitution?

These terms were twisted into forms that are unrecognizable. Just the fact that
this trial was allowed to proceed in Miami is enough to question the willingness
on the part of the government to hold a fair trial.

To make matters worse, we later learned that the government was busy making sure
that at least some of the press was willing to act in a way to further pollute
the jury pool in a city that has a known bias in regards to matters dealing with

Now the US finds itself stuck in a situation of its own making. It stands in
defense of a process that is supposed to be fair but by its own actions and
decisions made it impossible. If two wrongs don't make a right, five certainly
don't either. Make that six if we include Rene Gonzalez having to serve three
years of probation in Miami.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Efforts and Achievements

   The world has 146 million children suffering from malnutrition according to UNICEF.
 There is not a country or politician who doesn't say that this is a terribly difficult and
 unfortunate fact.  If wars are easy to make, a solution to the problem of malnutrition seems impossible.

   UNICEF has said that Cuba is the only country in Latin America and the Caribbean
 to have solved this horrible problem.

   Cuba has many difficult issues. Every country has difficult issues. But what
stands out about Cuba is its serious commitment to these types of problems.

   Once again, Cuba presents the world with evidence that a concentrated effort
with just goals can lead to solving problems that in other countries are simply
considered just an unfortunate fact of life.

   It hasn't the natural resources nor the size to ever be considered a superpower,
but it has the will, determination, and resolve to see to it that it can perform
in a manner that seems to elude the countries that claim themselves to be
examples of what's right.

   All of the children in the world who go to bed or wake up with hunger in their
bellies, most certainly couldn't care less about what the stock markets are
doing today, they simply need something to eat.

   Cuban children may not get to decide if they want a Pop Tart or a Happy Meal
with a cute toy inside, but they don't suffer from something so fundamentally
awful, malnutrition.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Carlos Montaner, the Economist?

   The "free market", if there ever really was one, offers no answers for anything. The fact that corrupt politicians in so-called democracies, depend on so many contributions from the powerful industries, therefore skewing the Keynesnian ideology, doesn't mean that it isn't better than what ,let's say Milton Friedman proposes. If the working public has to sit around starving while they wait for the market gods to bless the business cycle with an upswing, what happens to them? Free marketeers will say that people will become creative and that is incentive to start a new business. How many people will actually start a new business? Some, but not the majority. The rest just have to imagine that aid will come from the goodness of people who are more fortunate and wait.

    I wish that the ex-president you dined with had a name to go with his admitted corruption. I'm sure he was friendly with the governments of the world that partake in the plundering of the public's wealth. When a person is elected and chooses to try and do right for his people, Evo Morales for example, and doesn't go along with the status quo allowing the public's wealth to be syphoned off by the usual suspects, the industrialized world cries foul. Why? Because the most entrenched systematic corruption can be found in the halls of the capitols of Washington and European nations. With all of the power possessed by the hypocritical supporters of the free market system and democracy, They, along with people like you Mr. Montaner, exert a tremendous amount of pressure through economic blackmail and violence to try to ensure that a president who you call a friend can be reinstalled in the place of the honest man.

    I'm sure that your "opinion" has more to do with the political drama of the United States than it does with other countries, but your support for regimes that rob from their people flies in the face of any argument you might have in opposition to the Keynesnian ideology. Over the past thirty years the transfer of wealth from workers to the elite, thanks in large part to the trickle down theory made famous by Reagan, has left people in the US in an extremely weak situation. It is long overdue, but the politicians of both political parties have almost abandoned any ideas based on Keynes. Unless of course we want to speak about the highly profitable military industrial complex, which is an unfortunate example that would help prove Keynes theory correct. If only half, if not more of what is spent on an industry that thrives on death and destruction, were to be spent on projects that build instead of destroy, there would be numerous examples to help prove Keynesnian theory much more sound than the hopeful free market religion. When the public's money is invested properly in the economy, it is the first domino in a line of businesses that compliment the original expenditure. It is not hard to comprehend.
   The reason that people are tired of government spending is that so much of it is done as favors for powerful contributors. The allocated money is not well planned and often wasted. The people loss faith, not in an economic theory, but in the ability of the elected officials to make rational use of the public's money. People often curl into a sort of survival mentality and would, out of emotional frustration, rather the government stop spending. People are easily tricked into believing things like social security is a wasteful Ponzi scheme by either dishonest politicians playing on their fears.

   Why is it that the Social Security fund has enough money that it can be lent to the general budget yet it is the target of fiscal irresponsibility? Wouldn't the general budget, the one from which the actual money is passed to the fat cat contributors be a more logical example of where government waste can be eliminated? If the public had a better understanding of the situation, the demands of the government would be different. But as an extension of the "free market", the corporate media is the main source of information for the rightly disgruntled public. We somehow confuse free press with honest reporting, and although much reporting is honest, it is what is left out of the conversation that causes the lack of an informed public. Of course the corporate media has a an agenda, its own. It needs rating for for advertising dollars and so on and so on. There is no reason for a corporate media to go against its interests and explain the whole situation to the public. The public would react in ways that are likely to chip away at the powers that the giant political donors enjoy, the media conglomerates included.
   So once again Mr. Montaner, you use your pulpit to argue against the truth. This time about economic theory instead of the usual misrepresentations and slanders against Cuba, Venezuela, and other nations that won't follow the dictates of the self-proclaimed rulers of the hemisphere.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Political Refugees from Cuba?

   There is a lot of controversy here in the United States about the fact that so many Cubans who have taken advantage of the chance to be given political asylum often travel back to Cuba.  The idea of granting political asylum to people is based on the assumption that they were persecuted in their country.  This is something that can be granted to anyone from anywhere if the US believes that the claim of persecution is true.  Sometimes it is. 
   But a special situation has been given to Cubans arriving in the US without going through the visa process.  Because of the US' insistence that Cuba is a repressive country along with the strong anti-Cuban lobby here in the US, this policy has been maintained even though it is found to be baseless by the fact that Cubans are welcomed to travel freely to the country that supposedly had been persecuting them.  Certainly if the persecution really existed, these people wouldn't be so quick to travel back worry free. 
   Now there are congress people who want to prevent these Cubans from travelling to Cuba without obtaining their US citizenship first, which would mean that they would have to wait years before visiting their families.  Do the anti-Cuba politicians really want to prevent these visits?  Of course they do.  They want everyone to cut personal ties with their families on the island.  They would much rather do this than address the real issue of the refugee status.  Why?
   The reason the issue of refugee status won't be addressed is because when we find out that almost none of those who took advantage of the purely political "refugee" advantage given to Cubans and Cubans only, then what? The US would be left trying to explain its way out of the situation that it has almost created by itself.
    This is a policy that exists for the sole purpose of creating the myth of extreme persecution in Cuba. In the past, there were certain times of persecution and the leaders of Cuba have admitted this. There was a time where anything that questioned or opposed the Revolution was quickly accused of being counter-revolutionary. At times those "counter-revolutionaries" were in fact working for foreign governments and other times they were simply not. It is an unfortunate thing that happens in one way or another in every country, not only in Cuba. The US is no exception.
    There is no reason to grant asylum to most people coming from Cuba. Our government knows this well. The people we hear about, from the Ladies in White to the hunger strikers who are heralded in our press  as heroes are all working in conjunction with either the officials at the US Interests Section or their support groups with ties to Washington in Miami. This is not propaganda, but a fact that has been revealed by wikileaks and undercover Cuban agents who have infiltrated the ranks of these people.
    If the US seriously would like the "civil liberties" aspect of Cuba to improve even more than it has already, it wouldn't continue with its expensive and wasteful projects that don't respect the sovereignty of Cuba. As I said above, when a public feels threatened by a foreign menace, it unfairly lumps entire groups of people together and targets them. The US spies on its own citizens and always has to one degree or another. The CIA and NYPD have recently been exposed for working together to infiltrate mosques and monitor street vendors and cab drivers simply because of their religion. Is that program not supposedly justified here because of the War on Terror? Many individuals are unfairly being targeted for having a particular religion.
    So by maintaining this wet-foot/ dry-foot policy and granting a special political asylum to Cubans, the United States is trying to create facts. Statistically we can show how many people request political asylum from Cuba, but in reality it is hard to explain the lack of persecution when they are more than happy to return to visit family on the island. They are welcomed to return and can do so whenever they'd like.
    By saying that the persecution issue is blown tremendously out of proportion doesn't mean that I'm saying that life is perfect or easy on the island for everyone. I'm simply stating that in the absence of the Soviet influence excuse and the "exporting revolution" excuse, the US is stuck trying to rationalize its embargo against Cuba. The democracy issue is a subjective opinion, not an objective one. No country has figured out how to actually implement true democracy, so each country finds a form of it that it feels works best for its particular circumstance. An argument can be made that a parliamentary system like many European countries have is more democratic than a representative republic in which there is no recourse for an unpopular representative, except to wait for the next scheduled election to vote in a new person. There are many views of democracy which are not limited to either this or nothing.   So the excuse is now "a lack of democracy" in Cuba, as if the US is the final judge as to what constitutes democracy.  That is why the US sticks with the incorrect wet-foot/ dry-foot policy and is helpless to prevent the reality of the false political persecution from being exposed by the Cuban immigrants to this country themselves.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bill's Blunder

   The press had been heavily speculating on Bill Richardson's trip to Cuba and the possibility of him pulling off the unlikely, returning with Alan Gross.  If Mr. Gross is actually a bargaining chip, as the media portrays him, then Cuba has no reason to release him at this time. Has the US offered anything?  In fact, President Obama just renwed the embargo against Cuba. Also, just as Mr. Richarson sat and waited in Havana, the US announced that Rene Gonzalez, one of the Cuban 5 who is scheduled to be released in October, will be expected to serve three years of probation in South Florida for no other reason than to be spiteful.  The irony is that he will not be able to be around any known terrorists.  If he is to serve those years of probation in Miami, the he will more than likely be somewhere near to Luis Posada Carriles, hero of the Miami mafia, and the most notorious terrorist in our hemisphere.  I suppose Rene Gonzalez may need to call ahead to make sure that Posada isn't eating in one of the Miami restaurants before he decides to patronize the place!

   Bill Richardson, who according to his representatives, was invited to Cuba, certainly had in his mind that he would at the very least get to visit Mr. Gross during his time in Cuba.  He was tight lipped in the beginning of his trip, but soon turned to the tactic of trying to pressure Cuba into allowing a visit by making statements to the press referring to Mr. Gross as a "hostage."  Also Mr. Richardson decided to announce that he wouldn't leave the island until his demand was met.  Bill's blunder was to assume arrogantly that Cuban officials would buckle to his attempts to pressure them.  He had to be reminded and explained that Cuba is a sovereign country and is not willing to meet the demands of an attempted blackmail.  So he left without Mr. Gross and even without a chance to visit him.

   Countless US officials over the decades have repeated the mistake of not treating Cuba with respect.  If there is to be any progress at all in creating a new atmosphere for dialogue between the two countries, the US must understand that Cuba is an equally sovereign nation.  It is a non-starter to treat Cuba as a lesser nation than the US.  Washington may be able to get away with this type of attitude with countries that have governments that are heavily dependent on the folks in Washington, but Cuba isn't one of them.  Cuba's independence is total.  It would certainly like to have a better relationship with the northern neighbor, but it is only willing to do so as a respected nation.  If the people in Washington still, after five decades, haven't figured this out, then it is their own problem to work out.  Cuba would benefit from bilateral trade and so would the US.  But Cuba has been able to create a descent society which protects individuals in ways that many others haven't, without a relationship with the US.

   Until Washington is willing to respect Cuba, the relationship will not progress much.  Sooner or later though, someone will come along and decide to do the right thing.  It may come from a person with principle or it may be forced upon the leadership in Washington by the business community that is currently sidelined but is itching to become a part of the international community already enjoying doing business with Cuba.

   A change in US attitude is much needed.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Joe Cardona Supports Jim Cason! (Of Course)

   Still we have the usual suspects attempting to convince people that there is no reason to acknowledge the obvious, that the US policy towards Cuba is useless. These people are as rational as the 2% of the scientific community that chooses, after careful analysis, that global warming isn't real. They are made up of a tiny and ever shrinking group who decides to ignore reality. Somehow they get to hold up progress on an important issue that directly affects the well-being of a great number of people.

    These people have a strange idea of freedom and democracy. Here in the US, the freedom of money to direct government policies and the scheduled elections of those who are dependent on wealthy donors, elections which often times get less than 50% of the voting age public to even participate, is a system in which so many who even do participate feel as if they must vote for the lesser of two evils. That is why Mr. Cardona finds it hard to determine right from left anymore.

    It is simple to understand the distinction of "totalitarian" that Mr. Cason and Mr. Cardona use to differentiate Cuba from other Latin American countries. They feel that a government, sovereign and unwilling to allow the power of the multinational corporations to decide the its course, unwilling to cede its authority to the desires of Washington, should be labeled as such. If a dictator like Mubarak in Egypt or Pinochet in Chile allows the freedom of foreign capital to plunder his country, robbing the people of their dignity, well they may be dictators but at least we don't call them "totalitarian.

    Had Mr. Cason really gotten to know the people of Cuba while there, he would have realized that most of them do not appreciate or support the policy the US has continued to enforce against their country. Had he gotten to know the Cuban people, he would have realized that they don't take his "humble" friends seriously.  
    OK, so we are to believe that his "humble" friends were not at all interested in monetary gains for working with him and the US Interests Section. The recently released cables show that his successor certainly faced a different situation as he asked for thousands of dollars and even euros to be given to them. Are we to believe that this wasn't the case when he was in charge? What on earth was all of the money allocated by Washington and championed by Mr. Cason's boss, President Bush for?

    Mr. Cardona chooses to imagine those "humble" friends of Mr. Cason were victims. The real victims of this terrible situation were the millions of Cubans on the island and those who live abroad who were intentionally separated from each other by the "harder" method employed by his boss' administration. At what time in history was a "softer" method even attempted? Never. Since day one of Batista's removal, the US has tried to undermine the government of Cuba. Simply allowing more travel and remittances while continuing to subvert and strangle Cuba doesn't constitute a "softer" policy. But for those scientists who challenge the notion of global warming, they probably consider trying to keep our air cleaner some sort of backwards concession to the tree hugger tyrants of the world. Only through the eyes of the blind, can one see the success of the US policy towards Cuba

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Ping-Pong with Frank Calzon

This is my response to Frank Calzon's plea to remain ignorant in the Miami Herald.

   "Just sending athletes to Cuba to engage in some “Ping-Pong Diplomacy” won’t change Cuba." Your right about that. What will change Cuba, but not in the way you or your cohorts would hope, is the ability to sell goods to the largest consumer market in the world. Ending the embargo and all of the supplemental laws that tighten and expand the policy to other countries will give Cuba an opportunity to grow, something which the US has intentionally tried to prevent for a half century.
    You speak of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking against segregation in the US. Do you choose to leave out his belief that the US should respect the people of Cuba? Would you call him a communist as others called him back then? Would you try to marginalize him even though the majority of Americans think it is time to change our policies towards Cuba?
    Do we know about the increased repression? I certainly know that the US is still openly trying to undermine a sovereign country, Cuba. I certainly know that the video of four women standing for 30 minutes in front of the capitol building in Havana showed a camera man cheering them on almost by himself while others, ordinary Cubans walked by and laughed off the staged spectacle. After thirty minutes the women were taken to the patrol car without violence. I know that the creators of the video and their sponsors were frustrated by the fact that they couldn't provoke a violent response, but in spite of what the video shows, they still try to perpetuate the lie.
    "A single glimpse often leads to false conclusions." Right again. Americans should travel to Cuba many times, so that they can see for themselves the disservice the propaganda machine with its Miami headquarters has done by keeping American policy decades behind the rest of the world. Remember, the same press you say was duped into believing the "fresh fruits" trucks in the Soviet Union is the same press that seeks comments from people who meet regularly with the officials of the US Interests Section in Havana and receive compensation for much of their "independent work" on the island. This is the same press that sheepishly allowed the previous US administration lead us into a war in Iraq based on lies by the supposed "good guys."
    Those African nations which were aided by the Cuban people in their fights towards independence still remember to publicly appreciate the Cuban people for the support given at a time when the US was on the side of those against their independence. Is that what you call "documented anti-Americanism?" Would you say Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was also anti-American because he called our government "the greatest purveyor of violence?" Would you punish Dr. King's supporters and try to keep them separated from the rest of the world? Some arrogant people believe that not following the imaginary rules that are set in Washington is anti -American. So Washington refuses to respect the sovereignty of Cuba and continues to try to undermine it and punish the Cuban people.
    The US is increasingly marginalizing itself in a world that views its policies as being cruel and hypocritical. The "hard-liners" are finding themselves in a weakened position as they try to jockey for the sympathy of the American people and comically attempt to represent the aspirations of the Cuban people who they have intentionally caused to suffer unnecessarily for decades.
    Mr.Calzon, the end is near, you feel it, it burns. You and others know full well that you are in a race you can't win and won't. The Cuban people are making their own changes and the longer the hard-liners try to punish them for doing so, the less space their will be for them in Havana and Washington in the future.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An Example of Manipulation in the Free Press

   This is what I think about the over-hyped media creation of the "dissident" movement in Cuba and how the supposed "free press" chooses to report about it.
   This statement by the Church has disappointed the dissidents receiving financial support from the US government and extremists in Miami, but they have to smile and bite their tongues and sound happy about it. They are looking to create the impression that something similar is happening in Cuba to what is happening in the Middle East. What they face is not government repression, although it is possible that sometimes police as anywhere else  may be too rough with them. They face a public which, if they even are aware of them, view them as pawns for the US and rightly so.
    "The mobs are made up of members of pro-government groups" states the woman who is the spokesperson for the Ladies in White. Does she deny that there are people on the island who support the government? Does she suggest that Cuban people, ordinary Cuban people, who oppose her need the government to organize them to oppose her group? What kind of irrational person believes that the Cuban government doesn't have any support? Populations are easily emotionally charged when they believe that there are people working on behalf of foreign powers to subvert their sovereignty? Even if one chooses to look to Freedom House's reports about Cuba, one would see that their is a good number of people on the island that support and trust the government in Cuba.
    “Any other way of looking at Cuba’s reality that could affect peaceful coexistence and break down the nation’s well-being cannot find any support among those of us who have a Christian vision of the world,” the statement from the Church added. “It is not necessary to ask for the church’s opinion,” he said. “It is well known, and we have reiterated it various times, that violence of any kind against defenseless people has no justification.” They are right.
    But what these Ladies, and a few men, are looking for is not an opinion. They are looking for a way to further the slander and media manipulation about Cuba. Their group was wisely not mentioned in the Church's statement. As the statement said,“In the past few days journalists have asked for the church’s opinion on incidents in which the wives of some former prisoners . .. had been mistreated, according to their own declarations." Journalists were the ones being offered a response, not the Ladies in White. As Mr. Tamayo points out, the statement was carefully written. The Church officials are certainly no fools and they are intentionally avoiding elevating the stature of this particular group, not out of fear, but out of knowing that it would be irresponsible to perpetuate the notion that they are independent actors.
    Nothing will come out of this. Cuba is moving ahead with the reforms that they believe will improve the country. People are finding new ways of employment. People still live in one of the safest countries. Children still go to school then go home and laugh and play. People still have free health care, including the "dissidents" who decide to go on hunger strikes or are allegedly bruised by the authorities or angry neighbors. As much as some people wish to see scenes in Cuba similar to those in Egypt, they will be perpetually disappointed.
    Isn't it strange that those who are often quoted in our press are the ones who make regular visits to the Interests Section? Why does that detail always manage to be absent from the articles presented to us? If these people have such fantastic stories, why would that be left out? Do the reporters here like Mr. Tamayo, feel that if that was a known fact by Americans, we too would be as cynical as ordinary Cubans as to their "independence". Of course if our press were to tell us that these people meet with the American diplomats, receiving money, materials, and gifts these people would simply be laughed off as stooges. But our cherished free press is free to report things however it likes even if it isn't the full story. It is quite a disservice to those seeking to learn about things.

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There is another article in the Miami Herald that covers the same topic.  In the other article written by Paul Haven, the typical anti-Cuba slant can be seen, but to his credit, he chooses not to use quotes from the "dissidents" and even points out the possibility that they are untruthful.  This article is an example of how a reporter can maintain the anti-Cuba idea without stooping as low as Juan Tamayo by quoting obvious lackeys of the US and extremists in Miami. Mr. Tamayo can't find it in himself to report that these women may be phoning false information into "exile" radio and TV stations.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fidel's Warning on February 22, 2011

   Does anyone remember on February 22, 2011 Fidel Castro warned of a pending NATO invasion of Libya?  Does anyone remember his assertions being brushed aside as absurd?  Fidel's predictions were correct and now the future of Libya is uncertain. 
   What is certain is the press is acting in its usual manner.  It publishes articles about the possibility of Gaddafi seeking refuge in Venezuela or Cuba without any evidence to suggest it.  It continues to portray NATO as concerned with human rights.  But now we find out that Libya's intelligence had worked closely in previous years with the CIA and MI5 in the so-called "War against terror" in the interrogation of captured suspects. 
   What about the United States' desire to bring Gaddafi before the International Criminal Court?  Does the US support the court?  If so, why not become a participant?  Is the US fearful of its own leaders being brought to trial there?  Of course, as it always is with the United States, "do as I say, not as I do."
   So as the international press continues in its efforts to portray Fidel Castro as an out of touch conspiracy theorist, NATO has broken a country it had once collaborated with and in the process, confirmed the warnings given by Fidel Castro on February 22, 2011.