Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wake Up Mr. Reich

This is my response to an opinion of Otto Reich in the Miami Herald this weekend.  The link to his fantasy, or opinion, follows my response.
   In the parallel universe that Otto Reich prefers to spend his time, he imagines that his now home country, the United States, doesn't act in the way that he accuses Spain and Brazil.  The American people are for the most part, concerned with human rights.  Unfortunately, here in the real world, the US actually does "put ideological predilection and commercial interests above human rights, and shamelessly coddles" many countries with records of human rights abuses far worse than anything that Cuba is often accused of.  Many Americans are aware of this truth, so Mr. Reich's attempts to tug at our emotions is an act of willful ignorance on his part.
   By his logic, the people who are in more danger of facing a revolt are the representatives in South Florida.  These hateful people in Congress are upsetting a whole lot of constituents who don't like his or the other guy's (who is under investigation for criminal activity)  proposals to redefine family and prevent them from visiting family on the island when they would like.  Was it a hundred cars or so that rolled by the offices of Diaz Balart demanding to hand over a petition to not revert to the Bush policies on travel?  Ahh, but he refuses to meet with "Castro supporters" even if they are in his district and he is supposed to be their representative. 
   Thanks to the difficulties in Cuba, many although not all, which are the results of the economic embargo, the US has found it possible to find people willing to stage little protests and then send their videos to the interests section or their "contacts in Miami for a small price. The Cuban Democratic Directorate and the Cuban National Civic Resistance Front are well aware of the reality of the "dissidents".  They were burned by the Cuban intelligence when it was revealed that their groups in Cuba were infiltrated.  The infiltration exposed the fact that their own spokesperson from the Cuban National Resistance Front was actually working for ten years as a Cuban agent and their support came from CDD and MAR in Miami. 
   Mr. Reich and others do their best to create this parallel universe and present it as reality to Americans.  As they spend much of their time in this parallel world, they seem to have lost touch with the growing support within the US to finally do away with the embargo and travel restrictions.  As ordinary people here have their tiny voices joined by industry giants like Big Oil, the pressure is mounting and the Miami extremists will be brushed aside. Perhaps they have secured places for themselves in some museum in Miami to go to when they have become totally irrelevant politically here in the US.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

March to Brussels

  The Spanish protesters who headed to the streets two months ago, have decided to march all the way to Brussels.  They plan to march to the heart of the European Union, through three countries.  If and when they do get there, they will likely make it obvious to the world that what the "democracies" really don't care to pay attention to are the people. 
   There is no question that the European Union is choosing a path that caters to the wealthy corporations and banks just as the United States does.  Democracy in our countries is something of an exercise which consists of slanderous campaigns and ends with a vote.  The idea that people are equal is one that debunked by the reality of bankers and corporate giants given full attention by the elected officials while the poor in the streets demands fall on deaf ears. 
   Billions of dollars that are always ready to fund things like wars are taken from the pockets of the working people who then have to listen to the officials explain why cuts in social services are necessary.  It is garbage.  It is unjust.  The wars which are dressed up as humane actions, generously on the behalf of other peoples are expensive and destructive.  They serve to open markets for those giants who have the ears of the one in charge.  Societies are destroyed or setback decades and lives are destroyed.  All this while the "democratic" countries who claim to defend human rights do so at the expense of the people that they ignore. 
   Hopefully sooner than later, the voices of the people will become so loud and so strong that they can no longer be ignored.  Maybe this march will not achieve its goals, but it will be heard.  It is just a small step towards the day when the people finally break off the shackles of their so called democracies and get to have  a government that actually acts on behalf of its people.  Good luck to those who are marching.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

La arrogancia obvia de Jaime Suchlicki

(Traduccion por Google)
 Jaime Suchlicki agregó su opinión a las páginas del diario The Miami Herald esta mañana. Da a la gente una buena imagen en cuanto a cómo los extremistas anti-Cuba perciben la responsibilidad de los Estados Unidos en América Latina. Es útil tomar nota de su apoyo hacia el exterior del imperialismo de EE.UU. y sus deseos de dominar la región. Llaman abiertamente a socavar la democracia y la soberanía de Venezuela como a él le gustaría ver a los EE.UU. mediante la organización de la oposición a Chávez intervenir en las próximas elecciones de Venezuela. Curiosamente, sin embargo, los EE.UU. acusa a menudo, aunque no demuestra, que Venezuela interfiera en los asuntos de sus países vecinos. Esto es increíblemente hipócrita. Sr. Suchlicki y muchos miembros del gobierno de los Estados Unidos de alguna manera creen que interferir en los asuntos internos de otros países es algo de un derecho que los Estados Unidos, y sólo los Estados Unidos. Por lo que sugiere que Venezuela ha amenazado los intereses de los Estados Unidos, que sólo sería correcto si él quiere decir que los intereses de las empresas que desean entrar y dominar a otros países son sinónimo de los intereses del pueblo estadounidense. Los intereses del pueblo norteamericano ha sido ahogada por el poder corporativo y no hay nada en absoluto que amenaza a Venezuela hasta el pueblo estadounidense está preocupado. En realidad, si nada se puede decir de Venezuela y los intereses del pueblo estadounidense, sería positivo. Venezuela ha negociado con ciertas partes de los Estados Unidos para calefacción con descuento que ha hecho de la vida de algunos estadounidenses más fácil. De ninguna manera tiene el promedio de América sido afectados por Venezuela con Chávez como su presidente.
   La unica idea correcta de
Sr. Suchlicki es el hecho de que Cuba se ha diversificado el comercio más de lo que había en el momento del colapso de la Unión Soviética. Sería un duro golpe para Cuba si la relación con Venezuela sería más del agrado de los EE.UU., pero como Cuba ahora tiene relaciónes positivas con la mayoría de los países de América Latina, probablemente no sería en interés de Venezuela a dar la espalda a Cuba no importa quién estaría en la presidencia. Los venezolanos se benefician del apoyo de los servicios médicos, así como la cooperación educativa.
La inclusión de Irán en su análisis no tiene otro propósito que vincular a Chávez con un país al que los estadounidenses se supone que temer, gracias a una campaña mediática que ha tratado de preparar las mentes de los estadounidenses para una posible confrontación militar que, sin duda, seria como la invasión de Irak. Como supimos después, a pesar de que era fácil saber antes de que la mayoría de las razones de la guerra con Irak eran falsas.
Los Estados Unidos tiene que mantenerse al margen de los asuntos de otras naciones. Si llegara a tener relaciones respetuosas con las demás naciones, sería en condiciones de dar consejos sin tratar de imponer sus deseos a los demás. La arrogancia de la política exterior de los Estados Unidos no sirve para nada bueno para el pueblo norteamericano, ni tampoco traer buenos sentimientos de todo el mundo para nuestro país.

Jaime Suchlicki's Obvious Arrogance

   Jaime Suchlicki added his opinion to the pages of the Miami Herald this morning.  It gives people a good picture as to how the anti-Cuba extremists view the United States role in Latin America.  It is useful to take note of his outward support for U.S. imperialism and its desires to dominate the region.  He openly calls for undermining Venezuela's democracy and sovereignty as he would like to see the U.S. by organizing the opposition to Chavez interfere in Venezuela's upcoming elections.  Interestingly though, the U.S. often accuses, although never proves, that Venezuela interferes in the affairs of its neighboring countries.  This is amazingly hypocritical.  Mr. Suchlicki and many members of the United States government somehow feel that interfering in the internal affairs of other countries is something of a right that the United States , and only the United States has.  By suggesting that Venezuela has threatened the interests of the United States, he would only be correct if he means that the interests of the businesses wanting to enter and dominate other countries are synonymous with the interests of the American people.  The interests of the American people have been drowned out by corporate power and there is nothing at all that Venezuela threatens as far as the American people are concerned.  Actually, if anything at all can be said about Venezuela and the interests of the American people, it would be positive.  Venezuela has negotiated with certain parts of the United States discounted heating oil which has made the lives of some Americans easier.  In no way has the average American been affected by Venezuela with Chavez as its president.
   Mr. Suchlicki's only correct assertion is the fact that Cuba is has more diversified trade than it had at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union.  It would be a blow to Cuba if the relationship with Venezuela would be more to the liking of the U.S., but since Cuba now has positive relations with most Latin American countries, it probably wouldn't be in Venezuela's interest to turn its back on Cuba no matter who would be in the presidency.  Venezuelans benefit from the support in medical services as well as educational cooperation. 
   The inclusion of Iran in his analysis serves no purpose other than to link Chavez with a country to which Americans are supposed to fear thanks to a media campaign that has tried to prepare the minds of Americans for a possible military confrontation that would no doubt be as legitimate as the invasion of Iraq.  As we learned afterwards, although it was easy to know before, that most of reasons for the war with Iraq were untrue. 
   The United States needs to stay out of the affairs of other nations.  If it were to have respectful relations with other nations, it would be in a position to give advice without trying to impose its desires on others.  The arrogance of the foreign policy of the United States serves no good purpose for the American people, nor does it bring good feelings from around the world for our country.

Link to Jaime Suchlicki's opinion: 

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Does the U.S. Stand by Human Rights Watch?

   Does the United States stand by Human Rights Watch?  Well sometimes.  The blatant hypocrisy by the U.S. is pretty much clear to the whole world.  Many people now see the U.S. as one of the most dangerous countries despite its arrogant talk of being a defender of human rights.
   Much was made of the report released recently by Human Rights Watch, within the United States, about Cuba allegedly jailing people for their political beliefs.  The report states that  "The Cuban Criminal Code penalizes anyone who "threatens, libels or slanders, defames, affronts or in any other way insults or offends, with the spoken word or in writing, the dignity or decorum of an authority, public functionary, or his agents or auxiliaries." The violations are punishable by one to three years in prison, if directed at high ranking officials. Such laws violate the right to freedom of expression recognized in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - signed by Cuba in 2008."  If those people arrested have prior records or are known to be working with the U.S. government, certainly they will find themselves in hot water.  Perhaps these are points not taken into consideration by Human Rights Watch.  But Washington is quick to use the report as "evidence" in its campaign against Cuba.  Washington liked Human Rights Watch back then.
   Now Human Rights Watch has a new report, one that involves war crimes and torture.  It states " Bush and his senior officials are open to prosecution under the 1996 War Crimes Act as well as for criminal conspiracy under federal law. There is enough strong evidence from the information made public over the past five years to not only suggest these officials authorised and oversaw widespread and serious violations of US and international law, but that they failed to act to stop mistreatment, or punish those responsible after they became aware of serious abuses."  Wow.  What does Washington think about Human Rights Watch now?
   Can Washington have things both ways?  Can it be that Human Rights Watch is mistaken?  If so then when?  Did they leave out some precious details as to the "dissidents" who were arrested in Cuba?  Did they think that the United States would seriously prosecute members or former members of its own government for War Crimes?  We all know that the United States has paid people in Cuba, which essentially puts them in the employment of the U.S., to  attempt to cause a response by Cuban authorities which would quickly be pointed out as "repression."  So possibly it was mistaken in its conclusions in the report on Cuba.  It certainly couldn't have been mistaken in the report about the U.S.  Former officials have gone as far as admit to these crimes on television.  Really it is now just a matter of prosecuting these people. 
   Thanks for the hypocrisy Uncle Sam.  You certainly are an example for the world.  Just not the type of example you pretend to be.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mr. Tamayo's "Do-Over"

   A few days ago in the Miami Herald's website, Juan Tamayo wrote an article with the title "Cuban transgender woman says she was fired because her lover is with opposition."  Of course like most articles in the Miami Herald, the title alone would make an uninformed reader think that Cuba once again is repressing people.  For those people who get their news by reading through titles of articles without ever bothering to go any farther, they would easily form a negative opinion of Cuba.  But for those who take the time to read more than just the headlines, they would notice that in the very first line of the article, Mr. Tamayo contradicts the flashy title by writing, "A transgender woman has quit her job at a government-run sex studies center..."
   Amazing!  How can what Mr. Tamayo writes be considered journalism?  Can such blatant trickery be respected?  By the sympathizers of the anti-Cuba extremists this would be quite acceptable since they consider lying about Cuba the norm.  But to people who respect the idea of actual journalism, this type of thing is nothing short of offensive. 
   A few people brought up this point in the comments after the article.  After a couple of days, magically the same exact article appeared but with a new title which read, "Transgender activist resigns after clash with Castro daughter."  Amazing again!  What is even more strange is that both exact articles still stand in the same section of the Miami Herald with links to each other.  After the false impression was given and left for days without correction the damage was certainly done, at least for those who simply skim the titles. 
   What made Mr. Tamayo decide to change the title is any one's guess.  I would imagine that if not shame for such a blatant lie, embarrassment at the very least is what Mr. Tamayo felt.  But who knows.  Maybe the Miami Herald couldn't stand to let such an error slide.  People must be vigilant and thorough when looking through the news.  In this world of "free press" a lot more than just the truth gets by and it is our responsibility to point it out when a situation like this occurs.  So probably as a result of scrutiny, Mr. Tamayo was forced to make a "do-over". 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wet-Foot Dry-Foot (The Exception to Logic)

   People from countries whose economies face difficulties try to find better situations in other countries every day.  Here in the United States, this immigration has helped create a diverse society after centuries of accepting immigrants.  This is not to say that each group of immigrants have been welcomed with open arms.  There are always campaigns of propaganda that although divided by decades, have a similar theme.  Immigrants are portrayed as dirty, lawless, and of course taking our (Americans) jobs.  Of course immigrants will look for work, but rarely do they "take jobs" away from people.  There are plenty of lawless Americans but it seems easy to target immigrants since they are "different" in many people's minds.  What people often forget is that they too are able to trace their roots to other lands and often are here because their families were looking for a better life once upon a time.
   To come to this country from one that is considered an underdeveloped country a visa is necessary.  Americans who have not themselves had to deal with the visa process are easily led to believe that it is a simple process that if one follows the rules he or she will be granted a visa and happily come to the United States.  This is a half truth.  Certainly a person who has a visa has gone through the correct process and are entitled to come.  But what many people fail to realize is that most people are turned down even though they have jumped through all of the hoops and paid a thousand dollars or more. 
   Most Cubans who have visa  applications go through a similar process as others, although their are certain programs such as the family reunification program meant to speed up the backlog of applicants.  But there is another policy in place that is a sort of official unofficial process that is extended to Cubans and Cubans only.  It is the "wet-foot dry-foot" policy that states that even without a visa, a Cuban can stay if he or she sets foot on dry land in the U.S.  This is a policy created in the environment of propaganda that the U.S. has pursued against Cuba for the past five decades.  The rationalization for this "exception" is based on the idea that Cubans are subjected to an oppressive government.  Even if this were true, would it be the only oppressive government?  Why wouldn't this type of policy cover others from countries that are truly oppressive? 
   Images of Cubans trying to cross the sea in all kinds of vessels, from converted cars to regular boats, are broadcast to the American people to try and reinforce the idea that Cubans are desperate to "escape" the island.  Why then are similar images not broadcast of Haitians making the same dangerous journey?  Well in spite of the terrible living conditions and violence, both political and not, it isn't in the U.S.'s interest to show the desperation of Haitians as long as they have a government in place that is more or less obedient to Washington.   In fact the only true repression in Cuba is the repression of American corporate desires to control the destiny of Cuba.  That kind of repression will not be tolerated by Washington.
   Images of Mexicans and Central Americans dying in the desert trying to make it to the U.S. aren't shown.  We are just fed the line about those that have made it and are living undocumented and in she shadows are dangerous and need to be found and sent away.  These people aren't coming for political reasons, they are coming for the same reasons as the Cubans who are given political refugee status upon their arrival, economics.
   It is logical to require a visa process in order to immigrate to the U.S., but it is not logical to leave the door unlocked for a particular group of people with the untrue excuse of political repression.  This policy is a dangerous temptation for those willing to try.  Many people have died trying to play this game.  It is unfair to tempt people to risk their lives for the sole purpose of continuing a propaganda war against Cuba.  It also opens the door to a huge illegal business of human trafficking.  Ironically, the majority of people profiting from this horrible game of life or death are the Cubans living in Miami.  They charge upwards of ten thousand dollars for the reckless endeavor.  The U.S. government is fully aware of this and every now and then someone gets in trouble just as during prohibition the police would bust an illegal alcohol vendor only to allow the majority to go untouched. 
   In the tangled web of politics woven by the U.S. government in regards to Cuba, this policy is one that needs to be addressed.  It is logical not to tempt death and it is something that shows the hypocrisy of how the U.S. deals with Cuba.  Doing away with this policy would greatly reduce the number of people attempting to cross the sea in such a manner.  Doing away with this policy would save lives.  But along with doing away with this policy, the U.S. should do what it hasn't been willing to do up until this point, grant the number of visas it has agreed to.  By not granting visas that we have agreed to we only cause more people to try to take advantage of the exception too logic only extended to Cubans.  The idea that people aren't allowed to leave Cuba is a farce, unless what is meant is that most who apply for visas are denied by the United States. 

Human Rights (Medically Speaking)

   The World Health Organization, in 1989, called Cuba's  health care system a "model for the world."  It ranks Cuba 39th in the world even as it spends just a couple of hundred dollars per year per capita.  The mighty self-proclaimed king of human rights, the United States ranks 37th.  In terms of fairness, Cuba ranked 23rd, while the U.S. 54th. 
   Cuba's constitution guarantees free healthcare for its people.  The same cannot be said about the U.S. constitution.  Health care is treated as just another industry with the purpose of making profits.  Cuba sees health care as a human right.  What an interesting idea!  Stating that the people of a nation could be guaranteed healthcare without having to worry about if it fits in their budgets.  In spite of an intentionally harmful economic embargo against the island of Cuba, it has found a way to ensure care for its people.  The U.S. hasn't yet found a way to prevent this, nor has it tried to find a way to ensure that the 50 million uninsured people will receive healthcare on the level that Cuba has managed to provide for its people. 
   This is a shame for the United States, the country with the largest economy in the world and the so-called standard bearer of human rights.  Just as President Obama did nothing to earn his Nobel Prize after being awarded the honor, the U.S. is morally insuperior and its words are hallow when it comes to human rights in the field of medicine.  Perhaps Cuba should blockade its northern neighbor until it decides to recognize true human rights!  Would Cuba want to be seen supporting such a regime!?