Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ileana's Misguided Representation

   The fact that Cuba in partnership with foreign oil companies will soon be drilling in its territorial waters is one that the United States cannot prevent.  The historical coincidence that it will be done in an area closest to the district of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is somewhat ironical.  Many Florida politicians have fought hard against drilling for oil off the coast of their state and to a certain extent it makes sense.  Florida depends on its beaches as popular tourist destinations and are enjoyed also by the people living there.  Any chance of an oil spill that can ruin these beaches would be a terrible blow to the state and its ecosystem.  But Florida politicians do not represent Cuba.  They have determined policies for decades that deal with the relations between Cuba and the U.S. but as much as they have tried to subvert Cuba they have only accomplished restricting the rights of Americans and caused unnecessary pain to the people on the island. 
   Many voices have been reasonable as they have expressed the intelligent position of working with Cuba and the companies that will be drilling there.  Common sense would lead people to the conclusion that cooperation in planning for an emergency in the event of an oil spill would be the right course of action.  Alot is said to cause fear that an accident in Cuban waters could cause oil to harm the coastline of Florida.  This is true.  But instead of Rep. Ros-Lehtinen taking a position that would be proactive in helping to preserve the beaches of the Florida Keys, she instead finds herself allowing her extremist anti-Castro views preventing her from helping to protect her constituents.  She chooses irrationally to instead attempt to punish all those involved in doing business there.  She chooses to stand in the way of people trying to do there best to provide support for protecting the environment that happens to be her own district.  She has shown that the only people she chooses to represent are the group of people in South Florida whose agendas are nothing more than trying to cause harm to Cuba.  In doing this she alienates the people of the Keys who would only benefit from the U.S. cooperating with Cuba on this issue.  She chooses to instead smile and pose for pictures with people who have violent pasts and some are even terrorists or calling people to create spectacles in congress to try to further her cause of slandering Cuba.  A cause that is tiring the American people whose right are restricted by the policies she supports.  Americans are quite cynical and understand the hypocrisy of the policies towards Cuba and are ready for this chapter to be closed.  She is doing a terrible job of protecting the interests of Americans and in this case, the people of her own district.  Perhaps sooner than later she will lose her relevance as she has already her credibility and will retire from her job as misguided representative to go join her partners and reactivate one of the many violent groups working to hurt the Cuban people.  That is where this hateful person fits best.  There she can try to enrich herself with the American tax dollars allocated for "democracy programs" as part of a pseudo industry created by the extremists in Miami for themselves.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mario Tries to Flex His Muscle

   Today the House Appropriations Committee passed an ammendment that is intended to erase the tiny progress that Persident Obama has made allowing more travel and money to be sent to Cuba.  The less relevant extremists in Miami is trying to flex their muscles which are strong only due to the steroids they have beeen pumped with thanks to years of money and support by Washington.  But others' muscles will prove stronger.  When Bush tightened restrictions during his presidency, he upset a lot of people who want to see their families in Cuba and also support them in their tough circumstances by sending remittances.  Mario hates his family back in Cuba, since ironically his family tree has Fidel in it.  The blood connection from way back isn't as strong for him as it is for the majority of Cubans living abroad.  They love their families and don't support his endeavors.  His big brother Lincoln had to appear on TV to threaten the Cuban community living in Miami who were outraged at Bush's policy and became quite outspoken at the time.  Since so many people who enjoy the benefit of political refugee status granted to almost any Cuban as a political tool, a status that is much less given to people from other countries, he threatened to have immigration double check their claims of politcal refugee.  Obviously there are almost no true political refugees coming from Cuba, the majority have come simply for economic reasons conveniently using the "refugee" excuse to stay. 
   Undoubtebly, if his ammendment were to become part of the law, the same outrage would occur, as would quite likely the threats from the extremists.  The idea of separating families is one of the most disgusting pleasures of the Diaz-Balart brothers.  These individuals are incapable of caring about those who they purport to represent.  These guys are at a weak point, and their fears are what they are fighting against.  The changes in Cuba have along with an increase in remittances have made it possible for some on the island to begin their own businesses.  Mario certainly fears the prospect of people's economic situations getting better.  If less and less people choose to leave the island for economic reasons then where will all of the "political refugees" be?  There might be less photos in the propagandic press centered in Miami of people trying to "escape" Cuba.  There will be less and less applicants for "political Asylum."  There will be less and less excuses for this absurd policy.  The extremists are running in circles confused and scared.  Now they are even faced with the dilema of trying to fend off Big Oil, as it is extremely excited about the prospects of doing business with Cuba. 
   Now the question is whose muscles are bigger.  Are the withering muscles of the extremists down in Miami?  Or are the muscles of the American people who have had enough of their own rights restricted by these extremists?  I think that though it is unfortunate that the ammendment passed, we will see it eventually, somewhere along the process of creating a budget, get brushed aside with ease as there are now much stronger musles that the Miami crowd must contend with.  There time is passing, and soon they will all have to find a place in the Bay of Pigs museum down there in Miami.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Pretenders

   What is truly amazing about the ridiculous politics that the U.S. selectively employs when it takes its stand on the issue of Cuba is the outright dishonesty on the part of the government in Washington.  Never mind the fact that if another nation acted in the same manner as the U.S. does with Cuba towards itself, even in the slightest way, it would find all kinds of justfications to use military actions against the perpetrators.  Never mind that almost the entire world denounces the embargo of the island on a yearly basis.  Nevermind the fact that in its policy towards Cuba it finds itself violating Americans' right to travel.  Nevermind the fact that an angry mob with disproportional influence not only seems to direct Washington's policy from coffee shops in Miami where terrorists walk freely in the midst of an supposed "War on Terror."  Nevermind the fact that many of the millions of dollars have enriched some undesirable people in Miami and some other parts at the expense of taxpayers. 
   What is truly mindblowing is that Washington literally announces to the world that it seeks to give funds to so-called dissidents on the island and when those same so-called dissidents find themselves being targeted by the government of Cuba for working with the proclaimed enemy, it actually tries to fool the entire world that Cuba is not allowing dissent!  As Americans, let's imagine for a moment that some group of people causing problems here in the United States were found to be payed by Iran, North Korea, or even Cuba.  We would be whipped into a frenzy and public outrage would be fueled by our loyal "free" media.  There would be calls for trials or maybe just to hide them down in our military base in occupied Guantanamo.  There would be "nothing off the table" as they usually say in Washington as the Pentagon proposes all kinds of military interventions to wipe out those "trying to destroy America."  Why is Cuba expected to sit on their hands and not do anything about these people working for, if not with, the enemy?
   We know well that by creating these "dissidents" we are subjecting them to scrutiny at the least.  We openly acknowledge that Cuba's security has penetrated the groups to a large extent, so large that we suspect that we have been handing over funds right to their intelligence service.  what we also know well is that even though a large effort has been made to foment support for these groups, they remain virtually unknown in Cuba and aren't remotely close to achieving the goals of Washington, regime change. 
   The only thing that this crazy fantasy dissidence is capable of is being highlighted in our media and used as examples of repression on the part of the Cuban government.  This is their sole purpose.  They are creations to justify the wickedly immoral policies towards Cuba.  How long does Washington imagine that such an obvious hypocricy be believed?  More and more Americans have realized what the extremists in Miami haven't, that the policy must change.  Many Americans are either indifferent to the socialist nature of Cuba or just flat out against the waste of their tax dollars in pursuit of such goals.  Even some within the hardline "exile" community have called for a change in policy.  More and more politicians from both parties have stated that the embargo should be changed or done away with. 
   But still we find ourselves with the group of "pretenders" who openly hand out money, advertise opportunities for money to try to subvert Cuba, disregarding its soveriegnty, and pretending that all this never happened, that the "dissidents" are just honest people trying to make their country better!  Still they pretend that they have no idea about the connections they have created with some folks on the island who are just looking for a paycheck from Washington as they smile for the cameras and play their parts for the Miami press that just eats it up and then tries to say that they are "reporting."   They can pretend all they would like but most people don't buy it anymore.  They look like kids telling lies that only the kids themselves believe.  It is a terribly embarassing situation that the self-proclaimed leaders of the free world aren't free enough to speak the truth. They just pretend to.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Part 5: Response to Freedom House Report on Cuba

   Most people are already familiar with the fact that Cuba has decided to take a path which creates many changes in the predominantly state controlled economy.  In reporting on this aspect of Cubans' opinions, Freedom House describes opinions as being split.  People have a wide range of differences in opinion from cynicism to trust in the government.  In attempting to portray Cuba in a bad light, much is covered about those cynics who have worries about subsidies disappearing (which would suggest they are popular) and the fear that prices rise outpacing wages.  Only one respondent was mentioned as fully supporting the reforms as she believes that the government's guidelines must be correct.  The rest of the examples are people complain that business owners will have to pay taxes and unfounded claims that people will simply be thrown out of their jobs with no assistance (something that the government has explained it will not do).  The number of examples given by the report support the idea of opinions being split, but are presented in a way that suggests that the split is heavily towards being not favorable.  This type of presentaion of opinion may be a reason why the U.S. government payes Freedom House for this kind of reporting. 
   One of the economic issues widely of concern is the elimination of the dual currency.  This is an issue that the government has as one of it's goals.  One problem with this kind of change may be the fact that much of what is subsidized is sold in national currency and not in CUC.  What good would it be for a change in this without a corresponding change in the earnings of people which is another goal of the government's changes?  Much care will be taken, the government has stated, to avoid a shock to the society that leaves many people hopelessly unable to survive.  The government has stated that there will be a slow and careful change so that some of the fears expressed are avoided. 
   Complaints that marabu has grown wildly in the countryside as agriculture has been "abondoned" may actually end up as a positive thing and even possibly a job opportunity since it is used to make a charcol for export to Europe.  Imagine if exports of this among other things were allowed to be exported to the large market of the U.S. just north of the island!  Seems like certain opportunities are hindered due to the economic embargo imposed by Washington. 
   Political changes are desired by some while others would like to keep things as they are.  With certain things like the announcement of term limits for the position that Raul Castro currently holds, changes in the political structure are underway.  The respondent who said that  "Nothing is ever their fault," referring to the government is incorrect, although it is his opinion, since Raul Castro has criticized the governments lack of fostering the development of future leaders as Cuba has relied on many people who have been loyal for years and decades only to neglect to a certain degree new faces.  The government seems to be acknowledging mistakes.  Probably an upsetting finding for the extremists in Miami and the politicians who rail against socialism in Washington is the existing belief in socialism among those interviewed for the report.  I guess this would just serve as a justification for the policy makers in Washington continuing the attempted subversion with the goal of regime change against the government of Cuba and hypocritically against the people in Cuba who they pretend to want to spread "democracy" to!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Part 4: Reponse to Freedom House Report

   In the section of the report that adresses restrictions on society, there are contradictions in the report.  The report suggests that when talking about the government people's voices were lowered or they asked to go to a more private area.  First it is probable that since they were conducting interviews with a group funded by the U.S. government they may have been worried about the fact that they were treading close to what is illegal, working with the announced enemy of their country.  In spite of respondents saying that nothing can be said against the government there, Freedom House found a situation where a man was telling jokes about the Castro's in the middle of the sidewalk in Havana.  Perhaps he wasn't aware of the "restrictions."  While trying to convince the readers that Cuba's government is unfair, they point out that penalties are given to those people who don't follow economic restrictions.  Here in the U.S. much is said about the rule of law, so why is a penalty against breaking laws to be seen as a problem?  And why would Freedom House feel it necessary to say "regime critics" when describing those who are penalized?  We all know that in almost all prisons in the world evewryone is innocent(!) so why would they take for granted that the woman's story about being fined for not reporting someone who was renting a room in a timely manner?  Anyone who has been to Cuba has experienced the type of crime like a taxi driver not running the meter and pocketing the money for himself.  Are we to give the lady the benefit of the doubt that she wasn't doing something similar?  Perhaps she wasn't, but if she wasn't reporting things the way that she was supposed to then she was still violating something.  The report, although ignoring the possibility of black market activity in the case of the woman renting rooms, goes on to talk about the black market.  It brings up the fact that these casa particulares (houses for rent) rely many times on food purchases from unlicensed sellers.  The wilingness to engage in the black market whether or not out of necessity, should also call into the claims of the woman claiming to have simply not reported the rented rooms in a timely manner.
   The old complaints about Cuba's hotels being only for foreigners is an issue resolved a few years ago when the government lifted those restrictions.  Now the complaint that remains is that in practice very few Cubans can afford to go to such places.  While this is unfortunate, I'd like to know where there exists a society where all of the people earn enough to go on vacations.  There is no country like that to my knowledge and this complaint only serves as an attempt to pretend that Cuba is unique in this way.  How much emphasis is put on countries with similar situations by Washington?  Does Washington spend millions on reports to point this out?  Certainly not if the country is willing to go along with the economic desires bof Washington.  Washington even doesn't worry much about the form of government in countries who are economically or geopolitically advantageous to its own interests.  Pure hypocricy.  But then again, hypocricy is not all that uncommon when it comes to its policies towards Cuba.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Which People Rule In "Democracy"?

   Democracy is an idea almost universally respected.  The noble idea that the will of the people is something worth defending.  But what was seemingly achieved by so many people around the world seems do have been usurped by those who were entrusted to protect the people's gains.  Despite the varying forms of democracy, all too common is corporate power's ability to be heard over the desires of the people.  Corporations fund campaigns of politicians who find themselves serving those rich interests.  The simple act of an election can be said to be democratic, but many times falls short of being truly democracy.  How can it be that "democratic" leaders feel obliged to ignore the will of the people?  How can a people determine their own destiny if they are ignored by their leaders?  How can choosing the lesser of two evils be considered democracy?  How do we find ourselves arguing on behalf of someone who has broken their camaign promises simply because of party affiliation?  How can the "democratic" leaders who ignore the will of their own people consider themselves to be in a position to try to push what they call democracy on others?  Are they so arrogant to believe that all people can be so blatantly lied to?  As these "democratic" leaders have liberated corporations so much that they are considered to have the same rights of people, they have also enslaved themselves to such a system.  They are addicted to the money they depend on for their own survival politically.  They are aware that to act against those powerful interests would mean an all out war against them by those in control of the manipulative media.  They are aware that if they play the game well that the choice for the lesser of two evils will repeat itself.  They know, although they can't and wouldn't admit it, that the people will be afraid to not choose the lesser of two evils, even if it is against their own interests.
   When these "democratic" leaders start speaking of the need for democracy in other places, they really mean a space for their corporate sponsors to begin to entrench themselves in new places.  They can easily count on the idea of democracy being supported since it is a noble one.  They can easily ignore the will of the people to the point that they are willing to use violence to supress them.  In Greece and Spain we are witnessing this right now.  The governments ignore the will of the people, beat them down in the streets, yet still find a way to keep a straight face when they claim to be democratic.  Capitalist democracy seems to be just that.  Democracy for the capitalists.  The average worker is not a capitalist, he is simply working for them while living in a "democracy" that is run by capitalists.  Workers can strike, but governments can order them back to work when it starts to affect the health of the capitalist system.  Workers are forced to accept cuts in their benefits in order to help a business become more profitable.  What other choice do they have?  They certainly aren't presented a choice at the ballot box.  They certainly don't want to be left without a job.  They are not in a position to determine their destiny.  They simply need to be happy to live in a "democracy."  Maybe one day they will decide that another way is possible.  Maybe one day they will find a way to show what a democracy really should be.
   12 hours later:  I'd like to include a link to an editorial by Joe Cardona who I don't usually agree with. He describes the effects of Miami's "political cartel" of powerbrokers who fund to a great degree the politicians for their own corporate interests.  He states  "This “cartel” has its own interests to protect — often the business of those of the corner offices of high-rises on Brickell Avenue or downtown Miami or other corporate fiefdoms — so the general welfare and public interest goes wanting."  A corporate fiefdom!  Not a bad description of what people describe as "democracy."  Obviously frustration with the situation even causes those within the establishment to be concerned.  He sees the money in politics problem, which is obvious to most, but how can the politicians be expected to do something about it when they have moved so far away from the noble idea of democracy???

Read more:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Part 3: Response to Freedom House Cuba Report

   In the subsection of this report called "Daily Needs"  The report begins by pointing out that Cubans are preoccupied by their economic situation.  Cubans in the survey described their situations as "tight."  The fact that the Cuban economy has intentionally been obstructed by the policies of the United States is totally ignored as emphasis is given to salaries from jobs are usually supplemented by black market earnings.  Just as in the United States, many people have had to find jobs unrelated to their degrees.  This could be due to the fact that the U.S. would not serve as a market which would allow certain sectors to flourish leaving for example, an engineer who rents rooms in two houses for a living.  If there is limited ability to apply his engineering skills he must obviously look for something else to do.  But unlike the situation in the U.S., jobs are not outsourced for cheaper labor, they are simply not yet in demand.  With a growth in the economy, it would be logical to conclude that there are many educated and prepared people to fill the necessary positions.  Since tourism at this point is one of the more lucrative sectors of the economy it makes sense that now people are earning livings within this sector.  The problem of the black market stems from more than one reason and it is a difficult cycle to break.  Low level workers steal from their workplaces only to create scarcity and then cause the price of goods to be higher on the black market.  Some people certainly justify their actions as a way to make more money without realizing the negative effects that their actions have on the rest of their society.  Althought the wages are relatively low, the personal economic situations are made even "tighter" due to the black market.  By legalizing some of the goods and services that formerly were part of the black market, the society will be in a better position to prevent the values of goods and services from spiraling upwards in relation to salaries.  Scarcity will lessen as people are more personally tied to the goods that they aren't expected to steal. 
   One man commented that it is easy for foreigners to defend the revolution when one doesn't have to endure life within it.  To an extent that's true.  What is also true is that many foreigners are defending priciples that they share with the revolution.  By living outside of Cuba, one is able to see positive aspects of the acheivements in comparison to what they have in their own countries.  A Cuban has a tight situation, yet never has the fear of losing their home or medical insurance. 
   The report cites a musician who complains that some imported goods must be paid for in CUC while he receives a salary in national pesos.  These can easily be exchanged, but the inconvenience of a dual currecy system is not the actual problem he faces.  The problem is that whether he has national pesos or CUC he still doesn't have enough to make his puchase of instruments.  A currency exchange may be inconvenient but the value of the purchase remains the same.  If he had enough money in national pesos then the only problem was one of having to go to a currency exchange place (Cadeca). 
   Some respondents said that they had concerns about the ability to have a family if they have a tough time supporting themselves.  I would venture to guess, although not scientifically(!) that this is a concern for people in any country.  Having children is more costly than not, but many of the expenses that people face such as doctor bills and such are not at all of concern in the free universal medical system in Cuba.  Certainly it is responsible to think of how able one is to support a family, but there are babies being born in Cuba and they are being fed.
   Complaints about the transportation system are common among  the respondents are high and suggestions that this impedes the ability to take advantage of the healthcare system.  Though this is true in certain situations, neighbors with cars are usually willing to help out in an emergency.  There are medical clinics all over the island availible to anyone and most times are within walking didtance.  Besides that, I have personally witnessed doctors going to the peoples's houses to give medical attention to patients, all of which are free.  That is probably why healthcare (along with free education and low crime rates) are frequently mentioned as a main source of happiness.  The report felt it necessary to include concerns about recent spikes in crime but apparently it didn't detract from the sentiment of happiness for the low crime rates.  Nor did the suggested uselessness of the educational degrees the were mentioned earlier detract from the happiness of having free education.  Almost half responded that their families were their greatest source of happiness and which Freedom House has decided that by being happier with family than free medical, education, and low crime rates there must be a shift in people's attitudes (suggestively towards worse) since the last survey.  Quite an assumption! As if people being happier with their families than social services is a symptom of a problem in Cuban society!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Part 2: Response to Freedom House Cuba Report

   I'll begin part 2 by adressing the claims made in the Executive Summary section of the Freedom House report.
   The report was created by compiling the results of 120 interviews on the island of Cuba which has a population over 11 million.  By sending 5 researchers to the island in its attempt to make generalized assumptions about the feelings and opinions of the Cuban people.  Just the idea that 120 people could accurately reflect the will of an entire nation is a bit of a stretch.  But even among those 120, some of the responses were enough to demonstrate that the line of propaganda that spews from Miami is not accurate.  Much of the context of the report is based on the reforms outlined by the Cuban government in recent months.  The reforms expect to update the systems in Cuba so that it is more able to perform independently and productively in the world as it is today. 
   The Cuban government announced the elimination of redundant and unnecessary workers on the government's payroll of around 1 million jobs.  This would cut the public workforce by about 20%.   I can't find any reason why the Republicans in Miami would have an ideological dispute with Cuba having a smaller government since they preach the same thing over here.  The Miami media has done its best to evoke sympathy for the people left without jobs, a point quite silly coming from people who support the policy of causing hardship for the people in Cuba.  The Cuban government has stated that these jobs will not be eliminated at a fast pace so that the "private" sector will be able to absorb these workers.  It has made it quite clear that it does not intend to leave people lost in limbo to starve or lose their homes or anything else for that matter during this process.  One of the aims is to create a culture of work which to a certain extent has been lost due to the existence of redundancies at state controlled workplaces.
   The Freedom House study would try to suggest that "despite hopes" people don't expect personal benefits from the reforms.  Given the fact that Cubans, just like much of the world is suffering from the downturn in the global economy,  the high hopes of the Cuban people are no different than the rest of the world.  The question arises in my mind if they included in their 120 people any who have started their own businesses and are actually already seeing a difference in their personal situations.  Many people have taken advantage of the new situation and began to increase their incomes drastically and have been able to do so without the risks of losing their access to housing or healthcare, things that certainly people risk in our own country in their entrpreneurial pursuits.  In their attempts to portray a dire situation on the island they point out the fact that many surveyed describe their situation as "tight".  In all fairness they are not comparing Cuba to the U.S., but it would be a good if they would have some sort of admittance that this is a sentiment not unique in Cuba.  Presenting facts that private businesses are subject to hefty taxes and fines for violations suggests that inspectors may be doing their jobs as are inspectors in our own country.  Here too there are fines for violations and business are also expected to pay taxes which according to the business community are also to high.  The one time argument that Cubans didn't have access to the same places and things that foreigners do is blown out of the water as the study admits that these restrictions were eliminated already.  The complaint that prices are too high for people's incomes is in many cases true, but as people find work in the growing private sector their incomes will undoubtedly grow.  More people will have the ability to spend money in these places just as have the taxi drivers and others who have been earning money and going to these places in the past years.  Is there an outcry in our media about the fact that many people don't earn enough money to afford a family vacation at Disney World or any of the hotels that more well off people con stay in? Not really, so why if everyone on the island has equal rights to pay for types of things but not all can afford it be a concern for the people that write this report? 
   Several respondants spoke of their efforts to leave the country with exit permits.  Did they speak of the countless denials for visas by the American Interests Section in Havana?  Without a visa what good is an exit permit?  Just days ago the mother of the hunger striker who died last year arrived in the United States.  How many people did she skip in line for the single reason of being able to make a show out of her for the Miami audience?  I bring this up only because the report mentions the prisoner release last year in which most but not all were moved to Spain only to find themselves complaining about life there too! 
   The rport is honest enough to include one person's opinion that the government will implement them correctly.  This can easily be construed as people having confidence in the competence of the Cuban government.  Quickly to battle this idea of confidence though, the report then cites a woman who fears a loss of the ration books that all Cubans rely on and rising prices they will be thrown into a life in which she will no longer survive.  I'll once again point out the fact that the government is aware of this situation and has reaffirmed that along with the gradual phasing out of the ration book there will necessarily be an increase of the purchasing power of the currency so that the change will not cause these worries she expressed to become a reality.  Then they rely on a former prostitute to provide us with someone who believes that as long as a Castro is in power, changes are not possible.  This is obviously ignoring the reality that though a Castro is still in the leadership these reforms are already taking place. 
   At the time of this report being released, the blog Generation Y by Yoani Sanchez is not blocked and hasn't been so for at least a year.  So why is a woman who got the chance to see the blog on the internet included in the report wondering why the blog is blocked?  It must be an attempt to consistantly perpetuate the idea that only what the government allows is assessible by the people.  If the report is created to give a better understanding of what is happening on the island then it shouldn't include thes types of inaccuracies.  "Internet and email along with cell phone use remains low"  states the report.  Of course internet remains at low levels since the infrastructure is only now beginning to take shape as a cable was just a few months ago connected to the island.  Cell phone use is flourishing on the island and it is obvious to anyone who has been there.  Text messages are prefered to calls since they are much cheaper than the call minutes on the phone cards that charge the phones for usage. 
   The report seems complimentary to the seemingly progressive social values of the Cuban people.  Although it does characterize Cubans as being isolated from each other which makes no sense since people know their neighbors very well and come to rely on each other in many instances.  The study attemps to suggest that Cubans are different than other Latin Americans in this respect which actually seems to suggest that despite being "isolated", they have managed to form progressive ideas.  It also ignores the fact that many of the Latin American countries have elected governments, that we accuse all the time of being Cuba-like,  rejecting the conservative politics that they have endured for decades if not longer.
To be continued (with pleasure!).....

Response to Freedom House's Report on Cuba (June 9, 2011)Part 1

Due to the 40 pages or so of the report issued by Freedom House along with my own time constraints, I will write a reponse in a few parts.  I will meticulously point out the problems that this report contains point by point as I feel it is necessary do so that people are not left with an incorrect impression as to the happenings in Cuba. 
   Freedom House has declined to accept it's share of the proposed $20 million for "democracy" programs and it is a good thing.  Based on what they have to show for last years' allocations, it should be quite obvious to the American people that these funds could be used for something more productive right here at home.

The actual report can be found at for anyone interested at reading it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Props For the Show in Miami

   Just a few short days ago, the mother of the hunger striker who died last year while serving a prison sentence arrived in Miami with her son's ashes.  She shouted "Zapata vive" while holding her son's ashes in a wooden box to the crowd's delight.  There was something ironic though about her statement which accused the Castro brothers of  "brutally beating her son to death."  Was he not a hunger striker?  Did he not imagine that he might die?  Did he refuse to eat the food given to him by the "Castro brothers"?  Maybe she got carried away in the moment while being surrounded by members of the Cuban Democratic Directorate.  From Miami, she promises to "relentlessly fight for the Cuban people's right to freedom and democracy which my son so much dreamed of.”  She will fight, I imagine, just as the rest of the people in Miami "fight", with a detachment from the true hopes and desires of the people she decided to leave, just as the others in Miami.  She now represents nothing more than another voice in the already over the hill part of the "exile" community as its political power within the U.S. is on the decline.  These "fighters" have "fought" predominantly with the money of the American people and have managed to do nothing but discredit themselves in the Cuban people's eyes.  Their support for the policies which were intended to make Cubans' lives as difficult as possible has forfeited their claim of trying to help.  There is nobody on the island who appreciates these efforts and many of the more recent immigrants from Cuba don't support these "exile" leaders' policies either.  She has thrown herself onto the side of the most disgusting characters in this unfortunate unfinished story of US-Cuba relations/tensions.  This is a side that is being cornered due to the fact that their terrorist tactics, expensive government hand-outs are no longer as popular within the Washington political establishment.  Couple that with the fact that many Americans find it offensive that they too are victims of this policy and the oil industry among others are making alot of noise as they are itching to do business with Cuba.  She stated that she hopes to one day bring his ashes to rest in Cuba, which she took so much trouble to bring to Miami only to be used as a prop for the extremists in Miami.  Really?  Rest? Thanks mom.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Jose Azel, Professor of Miami Mythology

   Today the Miami Herald blessed us with the view of another of the celebrated theorists from the anti-Cuba crowd, Jose Azel.  His expertise have gotten him in the heirarchy of "Cuba Studies" and is a professor at the University of Miami.  Why?  Well his type of expertise are the kind that is always in demand at the institutions in Miami.
   He begins his piece with references to the uprisings in Africa and the Middle East, which have caught the world powers off guard as they struggle with the typical hypocrisy and inconsistencies as they try to deal with the situations.  Obvious favoritisms in that part of the world get in the way of being able to form a consistent policy on the part of Washington and Europe.  Our media chooses to highlight certain acts of violence carried out by regimes long considered hostile to our interests, while obscuring equal or greater violence being carried out by "friendly" regimes. 
   Since nothing of the sort has occurred in Cuba, Miami's right wing has been left day dreaming about countless "what ifs".  After their high hopes of a similar rebellion in Cuba, they are resigning themselves to the fact that it will not occur.  So back to their traditional theories they go as to what the future will hold.
   In what Mr. Azer calls a "milestone", the famous in Miami Dr. Biscet, declared that the "dissidents" in Cuba are prepared to negotiate a transition in Cuba.  This "milestone" most certainly will turn out to be yet another footnote in the annals of anti-Castro history in the pseudo-reality Miami's right wing lives in.
   Describing the "opposition movement" in Cuba as "coming to age" is an example of how out of touch some people are.  Many people have spoken to Cubans and have reported that most Cubans aren't in favor of regime change, just the ability to help improve their country's economy in order for all Cubans to live more comfortably.  He claims that the Communist Party "has lost its ideological footing."  The recent decisions affirmed by their recent congress reflects an evolutrion within the country to better adjust itself to the realities of the world.  There is no more communist bloc to organize trade relations separate from the capitalist world, so it is quite obvious to everyone on the island (and it has been for some years) that certain changes in its economy and laws are necessary.  As opposed to the suggestion by Mr. Azel, the party is putting itself on more solid ground as it adjusts things more in line with what the citizens of Cuba would like.  At the same time, the government is staying true to its ideology of trying to ensure that nobody is left with nothing.  By making sure that changes do not occur in a hurried manner, it is being careful not to repeat the disasters that occurred in some post-Soviet societies during the 1990's.
   The word "embryonic" chosen by Mr. Azel to describe the "opposition" is quite comical at this point since we are to have supposed that there has been this opposition for 52 years.  How long can an embryo exist??!!  So much of what is considered as the opposition by the folks in Miami are nothing more than their own creations.  The U.S. government working hand in hand with the extremists in Miami have worked long and hard at creating and supporting "dissidents" to no avail.  They remain virtual unknowns on the island and serve primarily as propaganda tools for our own consuption through our media.  Saying that there are challenges to the methods of government would be true, but the author fails to either realize or mention that these methods are being discussed and debated openly and at times implemented within the existing system.  He believes that the answers to Cuba's future can be found in pre-revolutionary Cuba, Talk about being stuck in the past!  What should be understood about Cuba before 1959 is that by having such a corrupt and foreign dominated government gave rise to the revolution itself.  This is something that the experts in Miami seem to forget.  Suggesting a return to such a situation is suggesting that you fail to understand why the revolution even happened.  He points out that previously the politics were "personality driven", but by elevating people like Biscet to prominence is nothing different.  He is banking on the idea that things will be more diverse if the regime were to disappear.  I suspect that part of that diversity would include a large voice at the table for the people in Miami as defacto representatives for Washington's interests as is the case in some of the African and Middle East countries which are experiencing the backlash of not enjoying true independence as Cuba does today.
   If Mr. Azel is planning to "chart" the future of Cuba, he needs not do anything but pay attention to what goes on there.  Otherwise he will waste alot of paper with the charts he creates, as he continues with the ignorant theories that have long guided the people in Miami.
  Please click on the link to the opinion piece if you are interested in understanding how out of touch professor Azel is.