Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fidel's "coup de grace"?

   "Coup de grace" is a term used figuratively to describe the last in a series of events which brings about the end of something.  Is that what Cuba's invitation to U.S. oil companies amounts to?
   The embargo that the U.S. has maintained against Cuba for a half century has become recognized around the world as a policy that is misguided and wrong.  For years the international community has voted overwhelmingly to condemn the U.S. policy in the world's forum, the United Nations.  The U.S. has remained publicly defiant in the face of reason.  It has decided that backing down from this position would seem to suggest weakness, and weakness is the last thing a nation wants to project.  At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, an opportunity was squandered and instead of reproachment, the United States decided that by further tightening the embargo that surely tiny Cuba would crumble without its large partner.  Although Cuba went through what was called the "special period" and shortages caused lots of pain and suffering, but the tiny nation edured.  Now, after two more decades have passed, only a tiny few yet powerful people, claim that the embargo is necessary and has a chance to work.  It has gone from a policy intended to squash the revolution in its early years to one of punishment and spite, on the part of those people whose personal privileges were adversely affected by the end of the previous regime.
   Wikileaks exposed the fact that the U.S. government has no illusions, and understands well that much of the opposition inside of Cuba is basically representing different interests within the exile community and are never going to be capable of real support within Cuba and therefore will never be able accomplish Washington's goal of bringing down the Cuban regime.  Time is not waiting for Washington and neither is Cuba.
   Cuba's energy needs have long been a problem for its economy.  Venezuela's position of working with countries in need of development has helped, but hasn't completely fixed the problem.  Then came the discovery of oil in Cuban territorial waters.  Since this is not the type of project that Cuba could take on itself, it made offers to foreign companies to become partners in the endeavor.  This is the point where Fidel Castro extended the offer to American oil companies. Coup de grace?
   There aren't many people who defend oil companies as caring entities whose thirst for oil isn't larger than their desire for profits.  They are so powerful in Washington, that we have been unable to muster up the political will to invest meaningfully in alternative sources of energy.  It is profound the understanding of our political system that this move made by the Cuban government  shows on their part.  They seem much more inclined to recognize how things work in Washington than Washington is towards Havana.
   In reality, the business community in the United States is ready and willing to do business with Cuba.  Florida politics have been the major obstacle in eliminating the embargo.  Politicians in Washington have yet found a way around the overly powerful Florida politicians.  Big Oil is no ordinary interest group.  It happens to have one of the most powerful and pervasive lobbies in Washington.  Couple that with the fears that the American people have of a catastrophic oil spill, especially ofter what happened last year in the Gulf of Mexico with the Deep Water Horizon and there may be an opening for the politicians to change course and save face.  There is tremendous clamor in the media about the coming exploration and drilling off the coast of Cuba.  We hear on an almost daily basis reports from the oil industry and its supporters that it is time to recognize the failure of the embargo to produce the intended results and it is in our interest to be there drilling as a partner with Cuba. There are arguments that try to minimize their obvious greed as they tout how they are the best ones to be there to help avoid an environmental catastrophe.  Whatever their argument may be, it is sure that they are pressuring more than one politician or official in the United States right now, explaining the benefits of eliminating this policy because it adversely affects American competitiveness.  It is unlikely that anything will change before the next presidential election, but equally likely is that whatever is promised on the campain trail by any candidate won't matter because we all are aware that promises can be broken after elections.  This window of opportunity for the U.S. to change course with a good reason is probably one that can't be passed up on.  And that may have been Fidel's "coup de grace".  

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Father's Tears

   The first time I remember seeing my father cry was when he found the name of a friend on the Vietnam Memorial.  A friend who gave his life fighting in a country on the other side of the world for reasons that are still not understandable.  Today on Memorial Day, I wonder how many other fathers, sons, mothers, sisters, daughters, are having to shed tears for unfortunate reasons.  By opposing the wars that we find ourselves in and the politics that lead us into them, I am not trying to offend those who believe differently, or those who have lost their lives.  I honestly believe that as a nation, we should struggle to avoid falling for the dirty tricks that politicians play on us to envoke fear so that we support reckless wars and continue putting our soldiers lives in danger.  We all support our troops, but that doesn't translate into supporting wars that cannot be justified.  Cooperation and respect between nations and peoples are the only ways that this world can find peace.  I will remain hopeful in spite of my deep skepticisms that good people and rationality will prevail one day.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ros-Lehtenin "floats" a bill that will float away

   Today the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtenin, floated a bill in the committee that aims to deter the planned oil drilling off the coast of Cuba.  It has seven co-sponsors, five of which are from Florida and one from New Jersey.  If it were to become law, it prevents anyone investing at least 1 million dollars in Cuba's offshore drilling from being able to obtain a U.S. visa and it makes it illegal for Americans from helping in any way the oil exploration there.  She said that "It is in our national security interests to deter others from participating in these reckless schemes."  To this I must imagine that to the extremists in Miami, Cuba attempting to show that under their system it is possible to be more productive and offers a friendly environment for foreign investors is their idea of a threat.  That would leave these hard-headed extremists who like to argue that Cuba's system is backwards and can't be productive, with having to live with the fact that their arguments have become even more irrational than they have been, and even farther from reality.  She went on to say that "We cannot allow the Castro regime to become the oil tycoons of the Caribbean. I will continue to work with my Congressional colleagues to prevent oil drilling by the Cuban regime, which poses a national security and environmental threat to the United States.”  Quite simply this is more of the useless propaganda.  First of all, she certainly isn't opposed to there being tycoons in this world.  Secondly, the suggestion that the Castro's would be the beneficiaries of this is ridiculous.  They have shown none of the characteristics of the tycoons who are on quite good terms with the U.S.  They don't have fancy palaces like our friends in the Middle East, nor do they have suits embroidered with their names like our former friend who was thrown out of power in Egypt recently.  The truth of the matter is that this group of people are personally disgruntled by the fact that the Cuban Revolution threw Batista out of power, and along with him, their entire ruling class that exploited the people of Cuba as they enjoyed the life of luxury (like co-sponsor Mario Diaz Balart's family).  They don't mind trying to make the people of Cuba suffer since that was what they were accustomed to doing when they were in charge of the island.  What threat to our national security is she referring to?  The threat of an oil spill?  How many of those co-sponsors are opposed to drilling for oil?  Pure rhetorical garbage is what she offered as an explanation for this bill.  Is it any wonder that the delegates from Florida and the one from New Jersey, which are two of the states with the largest populations of extremists(and some terrorists!) are supporting this bill?  And to think that there are some people who say that Florida's politicians and politics don't get in the way of a rational, respectable relationship between the two countries. 
   The reason I believe that this bill, as I said in the title, will float away is that the oil lobby carries alot more weight in the "Halls of our Democracy" than the dwindiling, splintered, and fading group of loud mouth extremists from South Florida.  Along with that, the American people are ready and willing to move forward, not backwards, on the issue of Cuba. The high interest in travel and cultural exchanges that are going on right now is proof of this. 
   Reckless schemes are the ones being dreamed up in Miami as they are still some circles hell bent on violent provocations against the Cuban people.  That is probably one of the reasons that Washington bureaucrats, although sympathetic to the idea of ending the Cuban Revolution, are looking for different "representatives" to instigate situations on the island.   No longer are the Posada Carriles types the darlings in the American government's efforts to subvert the Cuban state.  They are busy attempting to create new international star "dissidents" in a futile effort to garner international support for pressuring Cuba.  If these efforts mattered to the rest of the world, these types of bills wouldn't need to be "floated" in the first place.  Instead Rep. Ros-Lehtenin feels the need to further restrict the rights of Americans and blackmale international investors by witholding U.S. visas.  She is on the losing side of a long and unfortunate battle that the Batista crowd has insisted on waging for way too long.  Her frustration is obvious.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Alan Gross a Victim?

   Are we to believe that Alan Gross is a victim?  Are we to ignore that he was breaking Cuban law?  Are we to think that our tax dollars being used to contract him through USAID weren't used with the intent of subverting a sovereign government?  Are we to think that nations don't have the right to punish subversion?  Are we going to say that the U.S. doesn't incarcerate people without charging them or allowing them due process?  Are we going to pretend that our Constitution can be ignored when we think it should be in certain circumstances?  Are we going to pretend that we aren't hipocritical in our foreign policies?  Are we going to say that Cuba is thumbing its nose at us because they prosecuted Mr. Gross?  Are we going to suppose that Americans who travel to Cuba should be able to visit Mr. Gross in the prison that he resides?  Are we going to ignore that the five Cubans being held in U.S. prisons for spying on the terrorist networks in Miami have been able to receive family visits?  Are we going to say that there are no terrorists walking free in Miami?  Are we going to imagine that Mario Diaz Balart grew up in "just another Cuban American household?"  Are we going to conveniently forget that his father was a Batista loyalist?  Are we going to hear if Bradley Manning thinks his "accomodations" are better than dispicable?  Are we going to let these extremists in Miami continue influencing our Cuba policy?  Are we presuming to know better than anyone else?  Are we really open to different opinions?  Are we really that righteous?  Are we fooling anyone?  Are we?
Please read the "opinion" of the "righteous" Pittsburg Tribune at the attached link.

Read more: Going to Cuba?: The wrong itinerary - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/s_738914.html#ixzz1NVnAhswf

Mr. Olivella Jr.'s UnReasonable Doubts

   A lawyer's job is defense.  A lawyer's success is raising reasonable doubt.  Miguel A. Olivella attempted to do just that regarding an article by Carl Leubsdorf that stated more or less that Florida politics are getting in the way of a rational policy with Cuba.  His attempt falls flat as the case he is arguing is one that is impossible to make.
   I can't defend the position taken by Mr. Leubsdorf completely either.  His contention that by changing our policy towards Cuba would bring about a change on the island in the favor of what many here in the U.S. consider a more correct form of democracy, is based on the typical arrogant feeling of superiority of how our country is governed.  I believe firmly that it is not our place to decide how another country should make its decisions.  The level of frustration that so many Americans have for our government officials should in itself cause people to not try and force others into a similar situation.  His point that Florida politics and the disproportionate influence that the anti-Cuba crowd has is quite valid.  It is also quite obvious for all to see.
   Back to Mr. Olivella.  In the sentence following his opinion that Mr. Leubsdorf suffers from "naivete", he states that he will now offer what he calls his own "humble opinion", without realizing that he already has.  He argues that Florida Governor Rick Scott, being a pro-business politician, is going against the majority of the business community who favors a relaxing of the embargo.  This point that they believe that there is worthy business to be done on the island flies in the face of the rhetoric by the anti-Cuba crowd saying that businesses can't benefit in Cuba under the current system.  Obviously this is not something that investors in the island believe and our business community believes either.  He chooses to pretend that Gov. Scott is somehow guided by a moral compass which helps him come to his position supporting the embargo.  I won't accuse Mr. Olivella of playing politics by his flattery of Gov. Scott on the basis of his name being on a list of possible replacements on the 1st District Court of Appeals, a decision to be made by Rick Scott.  It could quite simply be a coincedence that his response to Mr. Leubsdorf happens to come at this time.  Certainly he couldn't know that Mr. Leubsdorf would write his piece.  As for the moral compass of the governor, I wonder if it was working when he was a businessman running a health corporation that paid record fines for alleged Medicare fraud.  That idea of profiting off of health care is definitely at odds with Cuba's belief that health care is a right and profit motive has no place there. 
   He then, in the spirit of bipartisanship, offers Rep. Wasserman Schultz as an example of a Florida Democrat who has the same more compass for this issue as the governor.  He claims that she probably sacrifices support from her own supporters because of her position in favor of the harsh embargo.  I find this hard to believe since in our great democracy we are often stuck choosing the lesser of two evils and rarely is there a third option.  Something about these two examples he gives lends credibility to Mr. Leubsdorf's argument.  They are both Florida politicians!  He says that Pesident Obama's campaign position of easing certain aspects of the embargo would have made it impossible to win Florida as he did in 2008 if Mr. Leubsdorf's argument were true.  He ignores the reality that after the two terms by Bush, things in this country were so bad in so many people's lives that it is likely that anyone would have defeated the candidate from Bush's Republican party.  He accuses people who don't support the failed embargo of wearing rose colored glasses.  I would argue that the people who don't realize the complete failure of the embargo after a half of a century are the ones who have trouble seeing reality. 
   He goes on with the same old tired song sang by the right wing Cubans headquartered in Miami, that political dissent is punished and people are executed and tortured for disagreeing on the island.  He pretends that much of the dissent isn't sponsored and paid for by the self'proclaimed enemies of Cuba in Washington and Miami.  Certainly working with an foreign government in its attempts to overthrow one's own government is a serious crime in any country.  Why should it be different in Cuba?  Ignored also are the calls by the government for even more criticism and opinions by the people on the island as they evolve their system into one that is more suited for the realities of today's world.  The fact that companies doing business in Cuba must go through the state doesn't present a moral obstacle for the U.S. in its dealings with the rest of the world, so again, why should it be different in Cuba?  One who is guided by a moral compass surely wouldn't intentionally cause unnecessary suffering of a population in its attempt to weaken support for the regime.  Certainly those guided by a moral compass wouldn't give refuge to a man who is responsible for blowing up a civilian airplane and hotels as the U.S. does with Luis Posada Carriles who has Miami politicians speaking of his heroics.  He says that the Castro's have become rich, probably because a magazine once said so, although they admitted to having used an imaginary formula to come up with a supposed net worth.  Calling the U.S. a trading "partner" as Mr. Olivella does is not a fitting desription of the relationship if the majority of trade is not permitted because of the embargo.
   Our national interest is too noble, he claims, to "reward the regime in Cuba for acts that we accuse it of.  He forgets that here in the U.S. we have sanctioned torture, and created a worldwide "paredon"(which refers to the executions of Batista's criminals in the first years of the Revolution") as we feel it is OK to execute enemies, including American citizens anywhere they may be without a trial.
   So he has raised unreasonable doubts.  It is quite clear to all that the only obstacle to a logical policy with Cuba is the Florida factor and cannot be the result of some imaginary "moral compass."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Radio Marti New and Improved!

   Fox News Latino has given us all a good reason to continue throwing our tax dollars at Radio Marti.  At least that's what the folks at that abberation of a news agency thinks it has done.  In reality the group of "conservatives" over there have excused another waste of tax dollars as they defend the hopelessly lost government project aimed at subverting reality in the hopes of causing damage to the sovereign country of Cuba.  The "conservatives" rarely balk at such waste, as they can't resist the attempts to dominate other nations.  If it comes to the well being of our own country though, according to them, well we shouldn't be doing anything.  The market gods will figure that out.  Unfortunately, the same can be said for much of the other party. 
   The honest people at Fox begin by telling us that this useless entity, Radio Marti, is "keeping pace with the times" having made a slick transition towards social media and other marvelous platforms.  The new director has worked hard and is proud of the new tactics of propaganda being employed by this heroic organization whose results over the past thirty years have cost the American people around $500,000,000. 
  By using Twitter and Facebook, theese guys claim to have been able to aid the flow of their message to the island.  This is a great acheivement since what we have been paying for was easily blocked by the Cuban government and was nothing more than something to fan the flames of the extremists in Miami.  It is actually interesting that in their excitement, they have admitted to having been a total waste in the meantime.  But wait, that's not it.  They seem to have exposed one of their own fantasies in this stunning admission.  They contend that they are connecting with oh so many people through the use of the internet.  What fantasy have they exposed? The one where they almost constantly accuse the Cuban government of denying people access to the internet.  Well, I suppose that they won't worry about this minor detail from the story they have weaved.  Remember guys, if you tell a lie, it gets bigger and bigger until you can't keep track of your own story.  This game of contradicting themselves by the anti-Cuba crowd seems to be happening more often these days, as they feel the pressures of the real world pushing them into what will be almost total irrelevance .  They are losing ground and credibility day by day as their excuses are becoming extinct.  They seem to be the ones who are unable to adapt to things as they fight to bring back a past that is already long gone.
   The newly renovated waste site, excuse me, web site touts between 600 to 4000 hits a day.  That's one hell of a range!  I wonder how many hits are in Miami and elsewhere and how many are on the island.  At this point I'll just have to wonder, since that little bit of useful information wasn't brought up in the article.  They admit that, just as in the case of the radio an television stations, it is very possible and likely that the Cuban government blocks the internet sites to.  Sounds like we will continue to throw money into this new and improved bottomless pit for no reason other than to appease the powerful extremists in Miami.  The budget for this garbage was decreased by four million dollars this year to just under thirty million dollars.  This should make the conservative budget warriors a little more comfortable as they search for beneficial programs for the American people to cut.  But despite this decrease in funding, the director assures the folks at Fox that the programming hasn't suffered, it actually has improved!  (As if Fox News is concerned with the quality of broadcasting!)  Enjoy the new website Miami. Tweet to your heart's content, but remember that these recent revolutions elsewhere in the world were not products of the wack jobs in an exile's paradise.  They were homegrown and genuine, and the people in Cuba are moving on without you.

Israel and Palestine: What will be

   As a citizen of this world we live in, the issues of injustices anywhere I find of much interest and urgency.  Today I will express some of my concerns in relation to the issue of the situation facing the Palestinian people and the state of Israel.  I must disclose that my one of my grandfathers was Jewish.  His parents came to the United States almost a hundred years ago in search of a better life.  They left behind most of their family who just a few short years later became victims of the Nazis.  I understand the profound effect that their historical crime have had on the Jewish people as the subject was so horrible that my grandfather almost couldn't speak of it.  I myself am not Jewish, nor am I of any other faith.  This fact should not disqualify me from critisizing the policies of Israel nor should I be considered an anti-semite or "self-hating Jew." 
   It's a bit embarrasing that with the marvel of the internet, we are able to read opinions from around the world, and in spite of the fact that there seems to be a wide variety of opinions in Israel on the subject, we here in the U.S. are basically stuck with one prevalent opinion in our press with an almost disdainful reaction to any opposing view. 
   We openly speak of the importance of the problem, but our official stance is no more than a blessing for Israel's state to continue acting with virtual impunity in it's belligerent actions as it continually denies a peaceful reality for the Palestinian people.  Despite occasional rhetoric about how there needs to be a meaningful peace and a two state solution, the U.S. continues to support the state of Israel in it's "creation of facts" on the ground which makes such a goal more and more unlikely.  The dream of a Palestine free from occupation is one that will probably not come true.  The reality is that, thanks to a hard-headed policy on the part of some of the actors in this real life drama, that we have quite possibly passed the point where a two-state solution can be accomplished.  The fact that within Israel itself, the population of the Palestinian community is outpacing that of the Jewish one.  The likely outcome will someday be that there will be one country for all of the people, Jewish and Palestinian.  The question will then become will the state be one of an aparteid nature?  If so, then the problems will surely continue as the oppresed part of the population will struggle for equality.  Or will the hard-headed members of that society, from both sides, be marginalized enough that the people in the future state can live together in harmony as brothers and sisters, just as so many have already proven possible.  I am eternally hopeful that the good people will prevail in their search for peace as it is something that people all over deserve.  It is just a shame that so much pain and so much suffering must go on for so long.  As a world community, it is our duty to be on the side of peace and denounce the wicked politics that only prolong the misery that so many people must endure in the thing called life, that is no more precious for one person than another.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy Birthday

I'd like to take a break from my criticisms for a moment.  I'd like to wish a happy birthday to a special man who has worked hard his whole life and did whatever he had to to support the ones he loves.  89 years ago was his birth, and although he always suffers from the pains of reaching that age, he should feel good knowing that there are quite a few people who were born in Cuba who have made it past 100.  He may be lonely at times but everyone feels that way once in a while.  Thanks for all of the stories from your past. Most of all thanks for bringing me to that beautiful island where I fell in love with not only the beauty of it, but also the woman of my dreams.  Happy Birthday J.S.C.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Priest of the Miami Herald

  The star of the Miami Herald's Cuba section, Mr. Juan O. Tamayo, is working hard as usual.  I wonder sometimes how hard it is for some people who are "experts" to keep going without worrying about their inconsistencies as they slant reality in a direction somewhat off to the realm of storytelling.  The Herald works hard to keep it's readers in this false reality.
   Today he decided to play church people against church people.  Typical nonsense.  That's how the game is played in the Miami wonderland.  Of course he refers to comments made to El Nuevo Herald by what he calls "Cuba's most outspoken priest."  A priest who is outspoken, why?  Because he speaks the words that somewhat fit the storyline of the two Heralds.  On top of that he chooses to speak to the news outlets most hostile to the Revolution.  What about the storyline that people who speak out face "consequences?"  Let's not focus on a silly detail like that though, that's not the point he tries to make in this article.  The reason the Herald needs to find a "rebel" priest is that one of the bigger stories coming out of the island over the past year or so is that the Catholic Church appears to be taking a more cooperative role on the island.  Ever since the Pope visited Cuba years ago, reactionary Miami has scrambled to figure out a response to this.  Since hating the Pope, along with Nelson Mandela, was making them look ridiculous, they decided that a different approach would be necessary.  A major part of the propaganda the Miami crowd had used in it's long and fruitless campaign against Cuba had been the "suppression" of religion.  Had the Church not been actively working with the self-proclaimed enemies of the Revolution at the beginning, things may have been different.  The "rebel" priest speaking to the Herald stated how Cardinal Ortega has "more access to the people who hold power" and how "it reflects an advantage for both the Cubans and Catholics." 
“The church now does have a larger space, but to express ideas that do not affect the power,” Mr. Tamayo highlights.  I know that there are many people who support the idea of religious states, but what right would a church have in affecting power?  I would say that if the Church is affecting people and people are in power, then there is a chance that one's religious beliefs could affect the decisions of that individual.  But what Mr. Tamayo is basically suggesting is that the fair thing to be done is to allow the Church to make desicions along with the state.  The priest goes on to say that while on a visit to Krakow, he was told by a Polish Cardinal that the Church is on the side of the people as is God.  So guess who isn't!  The suggestion is that the government isn't.  But isn't this the government that   is "allowing the Church more space" and it would be reasonable to think that the people are not being prevented from having God on their side if they so choose?  By the way, did he travel to another country?  I'm just wondering what that says about the ability for people who aren't exactly aligned with the regime to travel.  Another silly detail that goes against what we are supposed to believe about Cuba.  Mr Tamayo is proud to tout the credibility of the priest who he says has long been a harsh critic writing letters to Fidel and Raul "blasting the government" in his comments to the media.  My goodness Mr. Tamayo, why isn't he rotting away in a dingy cell somewhere in the island?  Isn't that what happens to people like this?  No, actually he is ending a three month trip to multiple countries including the U.S.  Amazing isn't it?  Well maybe he'll be dragged away once he gets home.  Wouldn't that make for an interesting follow up article!  
   The priest went on to express his skepticism about everything from the release of prisoners to the new reforms being undertaken in Cuba.  He also gets the impression that the church is gaining a presence in the media.  How astute of him.  He feels that Cubans are "losing their fear of retribution for speaking out", and nowhere does he mention that Raul Castro has repeatedly called on the people to do just that.  The priest does mention that he welcomes more Americans being able to travel to Cuba on humanitarian visits, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and imagine that he isn't opposed to people visiting their relatives as often as they would like either.  That's a position that is almost unacceptable by the never give up group of fascists in Miami.  I guess that isn't a good sign for the Diaz-Balarts and Ros-Lehtinen types who would rather keep families separated for another fifty years.  
   All things said, we can see how the effort to twist our perspective a bit is being made on an almost constant basis by people like Mr. Tamayo.  But it's to bad for them that they find themselves stuck in the island of Miami politics and can't conquer the minds of everyone just as they haven't been able to conquer Cuba's Revolution.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Red, White, or Blue?

"Suppose it isn't true that there's no alternative.  Suppose impunity and harm aren't the only future.  Suppose it's possible that the thin line separating war and peace won't grow ever norrower.  Suppose that some madmen and romantics believe that another world, another life is possible.  Suppose the worst, that these madmen believe there are others, more madmen who think like them.  Suppose the inadmissible, that these madmen want to get together.  Suppose they suppose that from this meeting of the madmen, some measure of reason will emerge.  Wouldn't you like to attend such a mad meeting of suppositions?"---Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos 1996  from "A Call to Latin America"

  Fat cats with long noses (we all know the story of Pinocchio) and asses (since that's how they act) are the two parties that pretend to represent us. Which convention will you attend in 2012? Who will the people support? Who will support the people? Elephants or donkeys? Red republicans, blue democrats, and white flags for the voters who surrender their votes to these expensive free elections. There you have all the colors you need to create an empire.
   I, on the other hand, think that if combined correctly, those same colors could represent something else.  They could represent people's aspirations for a just society as a part of a just world.  Maybe a world where bombs are not used to make peace and people respect each other because they realize that they are the same, in spite of differences.  A world where the powerholders are many and not just a few.  I think I'll be looking for the meeting of madmen.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Discontent With Capitalist Democracy?

  The United States has waited for a half of a century for a day like this to come. A day when the people go into the streets to denounce the system that is filled with injustices, the system which takes people's dreams and uses them to keep people believing that a better future is coming. Since the founding of our country, the officials have opted for a system that depends on exploitation, depends on people having dream and believing in it's possibility of becoming a reality, on misdirecting our attention towards threats and enemies, whether real or not, from inside and out.  From the beginning, ideas put forth by our revolutionaries had been discarded such as agrarian reforms and an end to enslavement of human beings.  Thomas Paine had set forth the ideas and plans for creating an even playing field based on the fact that so much land and wealth had been amassed by so few.  And he foresaw that without a correction in the beginning, most people would never get a chance to be true equals in the country of  "equality." The just desire to end slavery was brushed aside as an inconvenience in order to create a more "perfect" union.  Two centuries later, the effects of both of these historical decisions, or mistakes, are still hindering the social development of our nation.  Every once and a while something wakes us up momentarily from our sleep, and we demand change and make it happen.  Then we enter back into our slumber and our gains our slowly chipped away until what's left is a shadow of our past victories. 
  The story of discontent is shared by people world wide, as most of our world is dominated by the same forces of capitalism, the system which has greed flowing through its veins.  We are told stories of all of the horrors of other places, without ever really asking why it is so.  They do there best to hide the horrors that occur in our own nation and keep us occupied with colorful news channels that tend to cover stories about celebraties as much as stories about current events of much more importance. Convenient pre-packaged excuses and scenarios are handed to us in our fast food style lives, to be digested as quickly as the 49 cent burger that so many of us ate for lunch yesterday.  
  The simple reality remains that every economy in every place has similar characteristics.  There are producers, workers, buyers and sellers.  There exists no other reality no matter what an ideologue economist might try to tell you.  What seperates one "system" from another is more than just a name.  The difference in "systems" is how a society decides to allow this simple yet seemingly complex process to function.  A decision is made as to who and how it benefits the most.  We have allowed our government to use us and our sweat for the benefit of a few and in the case that things go wrong for them, we are the one who rescue them many times to our own detriment. 
  As I began to say before, the U.S. has predicted that a day like this would come, when the people take to the streets and say enough is enough and demand a change.  We have predicted, instigated, attempted to incite the downfall of the socialist revolution in Cuba.  Instead we were able to see this occur in a country today which operates along certain principles more closely resembling our own than in Cuba.  Spain's people have come out in numbers today to show their desire to change their reality.  Let's ask ourselves the question if our official muted response to this situation would be the same if even one tenth or one hundreth of the people on the streets today in Spain had been in Havana instead.  We probably would have had a reason to invade the island as we did just over a hundred years ago to make sure the people would be alright. Just watch and decide where the true discontent may be.  See the video link below. Imagine what would happen if that were in Cuba.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Miami's Right-Wing "Opinion"

In Miami, amazing garbage can be considered legitimate opinion.  Carlos Alberto Montener is considered a leading voice on Latin America.  Why?  The answer is simple.  He is a right-wing Cuban "exile filled with hatred towards Cuba and is always eager to slander Cuba, Cubans, and the rest of Latin Americans.  He is never ashamed of himself as he insults the inteligence of his readers, for unless he is insane, he is intentionally dishonest and inconsistent in his "opinions".Below is my short but concise response to his "view" of the happenings in Ecuador, another country trying to break free from its subjugation to the U.S. A link is provided at the end if you care to read his opinion.

" As Brazilians say sarcastically about their own country: Latin America is the continent of the future -- and always will be." Remember that line Mr. Montaner?  You wrote it.  It exposed your disdain for Latin America and your imaginary superiority.  You don't seem to reconize things correctly.  After all, in the same column as that gem, you put Lucio Gutierrez in the same group as Chavez, and Kirschner.  Gutierrez was obviously not who you thought, and the people of Ecuador have since corrected that mistake.
  Speaking of split public opinion as a reason for head of state to pause and pay attention, you must explain you desription of Bush as being "led astray by rationality" as a justification foor attacking Iraq.  Did he, the self-proclaimed "decider" pay any attention to the largest protests happenning all over the place, or perhaps it just didn't matter in the least as Cheney stated quite clearly?
  You sir are nothing more than a pseudo intellectual who has made a career badmouthing the ideas and  actions of an independent Latin America.  Just another Cuban "exile" who can't bear the thought of not being able to make Cuba  submit to your wishes. Everyone friendly with Cuba is your enemy and subject to your criticisms.  Please sir, do know that you are being led astray, but not by rationality.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/17/2219804/ecuadors-correa-between-a-liberal.html#ixzz1Me8bKrPO

Monday, May 16, 2011

Downplaying Reality or Just Pretending It Isn't So

  Juan O. Tamayo's latest attempt to downplay the results of the recent congress in Cuba shouldn't be taken with a grain of salt, but an entire spoonful.  As is quite common for the anti-Cuba crowd in Miami, nothing that happens in Cuba can be spoken of positively nor taken seriously.  They suggest rather that their "exile" expertise should be recognized, even thought their predictions about Cuba have been wrong for fifty two years!  Besides having become something to make a living off of, Cuba is basically a thorn in the side of those who feel that it is some sort of natural right to be able to dictate to other nations according to their own interests, ignoring things like respect and sovereignty.  It is a point of view stemming from imperial arrogance.  In the view of most of the world, Cuba represents a nation strong enough to endure a fifty year old economic war waged by the most powerful country in the history of the world.  Not only that, to many all over, Cuba is also an example of unique progress ready to share what it can , whether it be doctors and medical training or ways to produce organic food efficiently with few resources.  These realities are all brushed aside by the folks in Miami and Washington because a recognition of any of this would be an admission of their own failures.
   In their confusion and lack of anything thoughtful in response to the recent congress, they have resorted to trying to say everything and anything.  Nothing has to make sense, nor are you supposed to realize it.  Your job is to just get enough propaganda to believe that Cuba's revolution won't be around for long.  Oh yeah, try not to remember that whatever the situation has been, they have been saying that since 1959.
   You have people trying to point out a black economist who says the changes will disproportionately affect black people on the island as opposed to whites, and it will be necessary to have a type of affirmative action to make things more fair. Really? And who is this argument directed towards? Certainly they can't be appealing to the white racists who moved to Miami after having maintained a system of segregation on the island.  Many of those same people intended to wait for the fruits of the embargo and acts of terrorism against the people in Cuba to return and pick up their exploitation right where they left off.  So this must be an appeal to the majority, the good people who are in favor of equality for all and won't accept racism.  The problem that they run against with this argument is the fact that most good people understand that our harsh policy towards Cuba  is unjustifiable and should be ended. 
   There is the argument that the changes coming in Cuba will be so extreme that the people who supported the "shock doctrine" that was applied in the former Soviet states would wince.  Without much thinking at all, it would be easy to understand that Cuba had the advantage of seeing the despair in those countries, and has long stated very clearly that that is not a path that interests them, not from the standpoint of the people, nor from the standpoint of the state.  Selling off one's sovereignty will not be the way for Cuba.
   Then we have the view put out by Juan O. Tamayo.  A view designed to protect the extremists' positions in "exile".  If they can say that changes really won't be occuring, they will find it easier to mantain their stubborn position.  Cuba will not fail and fall apart.  Instead they will be able to pretend that Cuba is "being ruled by an iron fist" as they always contend, which in their minds justifies a continuation of their parasitic existence.  They will have a reason for taking the American public's money for pet projects like Radio an TV Marti.  The politicians will be able to raise money for their campaigns as they all try to posistion themselves as "Cuba's worst enemy" in Congress or City Council or whatever. 
   Just weeks after the Cuban Congress finished it's work and days after they published all of the results for the population, Mr. Tamayo has, with his usual contemptuous atitude, decided that the Cuban people have already given up on the new direction put forth by the Congress. Utter silliness is what he offers readers as proof of his theory.  He suggests that although they sold quite quickly in the beginning, there now seems to be many left on the shelves.  He also states that the originals were so much in demand that they were even resold for more than the face value. If that is the case, then he helps disprove his own analysis since more people read the first copies, opting to buy them from others, which would mean more being left on the shelves later!  He writes off complaints about there being too many generalities, but in fact it puts a plan in effect that is able to move more quickly or slowly so as to protect the population from a "shock therapy" as others suggest.  It portays certain changes as decisions to not change!  There are certain things that cannot be given a specific timeline such as the dual currency situation, but it makes sense that there is an honest desire on the part of everyone to eventually have one currency.  The fact that there will be certain restrictions on the accumulation of property is a sign that Cuba's revolution will be sticking to its principles, although it will be allowing a market for private businesses (which is being promoted), home sales, and other things. 
   The postponement of layoffs is more unsettling for the enemies of Cuba than it is for the Cuban economy.  Although there is a need for trimming certain redundant jobs and jobs that can be handled by "cuentapropistas" doing so to rapidly would probably cause more harm than good.  Therein lies the reason for the disappointment on the part of the people waiting for Cuba to fail.  Oh how they would love to show pictures of the horrors of Cuba!  But they can't and they won't have their pictures. They try to use the new guidelines as evidence of a criticism of Fidel Castro, but anyone who has been paying attention would know that Fidel has been speaking of some of these things for a while.  In fact, some of these things are expansions of programs that started before his retirement.  Of course Mr. Tamayo had to finish his article with a metaphor talking about the mixture of chickpeas and coffee causing some coffee makers to explode.  What he and many others seem to not grasp is that is a sign of Cuba's ability to adjust and adapt to circumstances and not a sign of surrender.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

"Common" Complaints

   The rapper Common made it into the news today after being invited to the White House.  The complaints stem from the fact that he has spoken supportively of Assata Shakur, who has been living in Cuba for many years after being accused of an attack against the New Jersey police.  Having been involved with the Black Panther Party, it has been easier for her opponents here in the U.S. to accuse her of being a "terrorist".  After all, J. Edgar Hoover once desribed the BPP's free breakfast program as one of the biggest threats to the U.S.!!!
   The complaints aren't necessarily directed at Common as much as they are at Obama since we have already entered the 2012 presidential campaign season. So hey, why not try to portray him as having supporters friendly with "terrorist cop killers".  Nevermind the fact that for years she has been living in a country that everyone wonders why is on a list of "terrorist" nations, she has also had for years support from within the U.S. Congress itself.  Certainly the "critics" of the invite aren't suggesting that the President not invite members of Congress for those reasons.
   What is quite interesting though and not mentioned often in our expenisive "free" press, is that  the President swings by South Florida every now and then and rubs elbows with some quite obvious supporters of Terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.  This is a terrorist who walks free in the city of Miami!  This should raise more eyebrows than a rapper being invited to the White House.  For a President waging a "war on terror", arresting and extraditing this man would likely boost the credibility of this "war". 
   But here we are in the country of reality TV, arguing about who is invited to the White House once again.If anyone's image would be damaged by this situation, it very may well be Common's.  After years and years of thoughtful rap and poetry, it all could be put into question by visiting the Nobel Peace Prize President who orders assassinations and wages wars wherever he feels like it.  Honestly I don't think this should damage either one though.  President Obama has time left to do the right thing and Common is an artist who believes in him.
   Anyone of the critics remember George Bush's lunch with Eazy E? He said "F... the Police".  Ice T said "Cop Killer" and supported McCain! Obama probably won't invite Daddy Yankee and his "Mas Gasolina" after the BP oil spill!  Politics as usual!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Loco en el Coco (Farinas)

   After the death of the terrorist Bosch in Miami, the Miami newspapers have struggled to find anything to write about except for trying to portray a reflection of Fidel Castro criticizing the killing of Bin Laden as some sort of support for terror.  Of course that is to expected from Miami news outlets.
   The article that they have stumbled all over themselves to promote now is the one about the death of Juan Wilfredo Soto.  By running with the story as told by Mr. Farinas, which is one that blames the death on police brutality, they one again show their lack of investigation and inherent preference to simply use inflammatory statements by so-called "dissidents" to garner sympathy for their "cause".  When he was giving his version of events, he was clear that he had not seen the death certificate.  Choosing not to believe what the doctors had said, that the man died of pancreatitis, he decided that a story about police beatings would get him more bang for his buck.  Apparently  the deceased individual was actually a walking example of poor health.  He suffered from diabetes, hypertension, dialated cardiomyopathy, and hepatitis (which damaged his liver).  Also as a convicted criminal, he was excactly the type of person the US tends to consider as having been a "political" prisoner. 
   Unfortunately for him, he  is being exploited in death by those very groups who supported the policy of refusing to sell food and medicine to Cuba and along with the Torricelli Act, attempted to prevent other countries from doing so also. I wonder what kinds of medicines were intentionally made unavailable by US policy that could have given him a better quality of life. Although now it is legal to directly sell food and medicine to Cuba, it is on a cash only basis which is basically an attempt to deprive Cuba of using its money for development. 
   So the "Loco" Coco supporters will no doubt be selling new T shirts in Miami, exploiting a dead man, just over a year since having made money selling T shirts with the image of another "dissident", Zapata Tamayo.  Great group of people!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Miami and the "Free Press" That We Bought

   For all of the misinformed people who have a certain idea about what our free press is and how our government defends it, today's press release by the National Committee to Free the Five and two other cooperating organizations may make you think twice about your beliefs.
   Let me preface this by remindeng people that the United States government is prohibited by the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 from funding activities to propagandize domestic public opinion.  This of course doesn't restrict alleged news outlets from slanting their coverage of news stories.  Also it allows the domestic public opinion to be misled by "news" corporations who depend on advertising revenues for profits.  To be fair I'd like to add the following disclaimer: I do not receive any money whatsoever for writing my opinion.  My views are mine and although they may be shared by others, I have formulated them on my own based on facts.
   The city of Miami has since 1959 been a hotbed for anti-Revolutionary Cuba propaganda.  This propaganda has led to many unfortunate situations including Operation Peter Pan which separated thousands of children from their families, some of whom have never been reunited.  One of the reasons it has continued for so long is that the relationship between Washington and the origional "exiles" happened to begin in the midst of the Cold War.  The right wing Batista supporters quickly found support in Washington in the  context of anti-communist hysteria.  The community has largely remained immune from the law although it has profound ties to terrorism and other illegal enterprises such as arms and human trafficking.  Most of this has been kept in the shaddows so as not to offend Americans' sense of justice. Misrepresentations of the situation inside of Cuba are common in the press in Miami so as to hide some of the remarkable achievements of a country that has been a victim of the toughest embargo in the world.
   The five Cubans who are imprisoned here in the United States were presented to the American people as spies.  They were put on trial in the most hostile city in the world when it comes to issues about Cuba.  I firmly believe that the venue of that trial was poorly chosen and unfair to the defendants.  Not only was it a poorly chosen venue but many connections have now been exposed between the government and the Miami media.
   Throught the Freedom of Information Act, pages of contracts over 2000 contracts between Miami journalists and Radio and TV Marti have been released. Radio and TV Marti are not independent news organizations.  They have been operated by the US government's Office of Cuba Broadcasting since 1985 and 1990 respectively.  It is not a small investment.  It  has cost the US taxpayers almost a half billion dollars in that time.  With taxpayers' money, they have on their payrolls domestic journalists so that they would broadcast these propagandistic messages not only to Cuba but also to the domestic audience.The American people effectively payed journalists to create within themselves a particular bias in regards to the Cuban Five.
   Anyone suggesting that the loudmouths of Miami desire an honest reporting of the truth about Cuba or the casse of the Cuban Five are simply fooling themselves.  What was done by our government through its Radio and TV Marti quite possibly was illegal.  Not only may it have been illegal but it was done on behalf of the most violent and corrupt people in our country.  Perhaps "conspiracy" charges coould be looked into!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ghosts and Other Fantasies

     After hearing about the reports of "ghost" websites as a way to trick the Cuban government, I sat back and scratched my head wondering how silly these meetings must be when they discuss these ideas.  The images that come to mind are some old Miami guys, the kind that look like they are auditioning for a low budget version of The Godfather while they complain about John F. Kennedy over coffee on Calle Ocho.  These men lost their grip on reality about 52 years ago when they left their homes to their servants for what they thought would be a few months because in their world "revolutions" just changed faces not societies.  After leaving their homeland and spending decades trying to destroy the very people they purport to care about, I suppose all that they have left are "ghosts".  I do feel sorry about the situation that exists between the US and Cuba and take every opportunity to educate as many people as I can about the errors of our policy towards Cuba.  It must come to an end and Cuba's sovereign right to determine its own path must be respected. As for the guys getting in the way of progress that believe in "ghosts", I have a fairy tale for them. Here it is:
"Fidel and Raul have fled to Venezuela. The heroic employees of the US interests section, excuse me, the hardworking and patriotic dissidents have invited Lincoln Diaz-Balart to teach them about democracy and run the transitional government. Juanes is no longer invited to perform because Gloria Estefan says so as new new minister of the arts. She releaesed her statement through her spokesman Andy Garcia ( who now smokes real Cohibas). Elian Gozalez is currently wanted and when he is found he will be tried as an adult for treason and banished to live in the house of Janet Reno.  There will be a few million homeless people in a few months when the "exiles" return to their "stolen" properties but they have been assured by Willy Chirino that he will be opening a string of McDonald's and says there are about ten thousand new part-time jobs.  When asked how that would help the millions of newly homeless he declined to comment. Robert Menendez is saddened because although he would so much love to be in Cuba, he has been in Washington and New jersey for so long that he can no longer deal with a tropical climate, but feels proud to have done his part in trying to starve, I mean save the Cuban people.  There was a ceremony in front of the US interests section and there were a few confused faces in the crowd of 30 people when a Puerto Rican flag was raised just as the head of the Interests Section was saying something about "the US not wanting to colonize Cuba." As a side note, the average IQ in Miami has for some strange reason doubled according to a recent study."


Foolish Farinas

     Guillermo Farinas is quite simply a fool.  He is a Cuban man who does what he can to impress the people to the north.  His sponsors come from Miami and Washington.  He was in contact with Radio Marti, not to talk to the Cuban people but to his only audience here in the US.  He wanted to let the American people and his sponsors know that he feels that the killing of Bin Laden was a great blow to terreorism.  Thanks.  It also was a way not to have to put him in front of a court and allow him to speak about things we don't like to hear.  Hell, we already have Luis Posada Carriles walking around threatening to spill the beans on thing that he claims are pretty big and shocking so I guess we don't need another.  What a silly man to believe that Radio Marti is anything more than a useless invention for the consumption of the Miami audience.  We really should as a nation take a look at the amazing waste of public funds supporting fake reporters and attempting to pump this garbage into Cuba. Let these scoundrels find real jobs somewhere else.  There is no need to pretend there is a demand for this station besides the demand for jobs by those who work there.
     Mr. Farinas tries to put himself in a good light by playing on the emotions of Americans who felt the need for revenge.  The US claims that it would have captured Bin Laden if it were possible so anybody suggesting that it would be better to have brought him to trial is not "weak" or whatever the derogatory description might be, it is actually in line with what official desires supposedly were.  Mr. Farinas, just to let you know, the American people are cynical and those few who even know who you are, know that you and your image are quite simply a creation of a policy towards Cuba.  Nobody here thinks of you as a hero and for the most part people here are tired of this policy which offends Cuba's soveriegnty but, more importantly to many cynical Americans, offends their desires to tavel to Cuba and  their thirst to buy and sell goods to Cuba.  Mr. Frainas please don't take yourself too seriously.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Arrogant "Honorables"

News of NATO's killing of gaddafi's son and grandchildren the other night while they were inside a residential complex comes to many as a surprise but it shouldn't be a shock.  NATO claims that it is not targeting any indivuduals, is harder to believe every time they attack a residential comlex of the Gaddafi family.  Without taking a side in the internal affairs of Lybia, I must question what kind of credibility does NATO believe it has.  Being a supposedly defensive alliance, it is strange how its bombing of a nation to prevent a government from putting down a rebellion would be considered by honest people as self-defense.  The United States who is trying to appear to play a lesser role in the "defensive" offensive has a policy of targeting enemies for assasination, including its own citezens.  Already in the 1980's, Reagan's administration bombed Tripoli and was responsible for the death of another child of Gaddafi. Now as bombs continue to fall in what is basically an attempt to remove Gaddafi, we are supposed to find legal excuses for his assasination by twisting it into being considered that his very presence constitutes a threat to people.  Supposing that he were to be charged with something by the International Criminal Court, which was being prepared before the bombs started falling, one would have to be a bit cynical when thinking about the NATO countries love for due process.
As a responsne to the killing of Gaddafi's son, the UN staff decided to leave Tripoli because its offices were attacked by people.  Also attacked were the British and Italian embassies and US commercial and consular affairs offices.  Lybia's ambassador to the UK was expelled in response and the "honorable" British foreign secretary managed to keep a straight face while saying "The Vienna Convention requires the Gaddafi regime to protect diplomatic missions in Tripoli. By failing to do so that regime has once again breached its international responsibilities and obligations." Really guys? The arrogance is amazing.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Still More Ridiculous

     I'm purely speculating about what it takes to be an opinion writer for a Miami newspaper when I say there must be some kind of secret oath to fantasy and absurdity involved.
     Somehow, someone decided that one of these prominent voices sworn to nonsense is would be Carlos Alberto Montaner. Here my response to his "brilliant" piece about Jimmy Carter's recent trip to Cuba.(The link follows the response):

     "Mr. Montaner, please explain how this isn't another "opinion" piece trying to deflate the potential of Jimmy Carter's trip to Cuba. The anti-Cuba arguments coming from a smaller and smaller group in the United States are becoming more impotent by the day. It must be becoming more obvious to even some of the hard-liners here that our policy towards Cuba is close to being on the way out.
     The same lack of vision that has lead us in the wrong direction for fifty plus years is the same that makes it unclear to some ignorant people as to why Raul Castro would prefer Jimmy Carter over State Dept. officials. Quite possibly he understands the institutions here and how they function quite well since he has been around longer than many employees of that same Dept. of State. If you believe sir, that Cuba needs to be the only country of the two that must make offerings to the other then you obviously will sideline yourself since it is impossible for you to comprehend the respect that Cuba demands and deserves. You are unable to accept the idea of Cuba being a soveriegn state, which although may not see eye to eye with the US, does deserve respect if at the bargaining table. After all, outside of Miami and Washington Cuba is highly respected for its accomplishments in spite of all it has endured.

     "He infiltrates their ranks to learn their movements..." you suggest. Perhaps this is a tactic that Cuba has learned from American inteligence services (or any other country's for that matter).  I doubt it but I don't know why it is OK for some and not for others.

     As Wiki Leaks exposed, since you bring it up, is the belief of the US government that the traditional "dissidents" are absolutely ineffectual and are competing on behalf of the groups in Miami for positions in a post-Castro Cuba.  They are doing nothing to help Cuba nor its people. Basically the US is wasting resources on a group of "exiles" playing a political version of fantasy football. As I like to mention, it's all part of a delusionally hopeful group of "exiles" with some political clout in the US. These groups are some of the same groups that got beaten by the Revolution over 50 years ago.

     Before Cubans are allowed to take vacations in the US on a larger scale than they do now (usually older people who do return to Cuba at the end of the visit), we would have to address the pesky problem of the Cuban Adjustment Act and the corresponding Wet foot- Dry foot policy. Certainly that is a unique policy that Europeans don't even enjoy when they attempt to visit or emmigrate to the US. much less anyone visiting from the rest of Latin America.

     You probably are right that there will not be huge advances as a result of Carter's visit. The advances will be coming due to American's losing patience with the useless and counterproductive policy towards Cuba.. It just needs to happen in a way that the US can save face after so many years of such an internationally admonished policy. I only wonder what the people who make livings off of the embargo will do after it is gone."

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/03/2145885/cuba-twilight-of-the-regime.html#ixzz1L1derVZJ