Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Embargo Against Cuba LOUDLY Condemned

Again...By The Entire World
Friday, October 31st, 2014
**The whole world opposes the United States treatment of Cuba.**
**The President of the United States is powerless to correct the insult to democracy.**
**The U. S. President is forced to enforce the U. S. embargo against Cuba.**
**While U. S. citizens lack the courage or patriotism to care.**
   This week, for the 23rd consecutive year, the entire world expressed its outrage over the U. S. embargo against Cuba. The Reuters photo above shows Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez addressing the United Nations in New York. He minutely described how the embargo is the longest and cruelest ever imposed by a powerful nation against a small nation. The innocent Cuban people, he said, are the primary sufferers and the embargo has cost the island economy well over $1 trillion. After other nations spoke in support of Cuba, the UN voted on the "Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Embargo Imposed By the United States of America Against Cuba." The vote once again was 188-to-2. In all the world only Israel supported the United States and the rest of the world discounts that vote because of the billions of dollars in military and economic aid the U. S. Congress routinely gives Israel every year. For the same reason, three other tiny nations -- Palau, Marshall Islands, and Micronesia -- abstained from voting so as not to anger the U. S. But all the other sovereign nations in the world -- big and small, including America's very best friends -- condemned the embargo, and they did so very emphatically.
      U. S. envoy Ronald Godard this week had the unenviable task of defending the indefensible at the United Nations. The rest of the world, except for bought-and-paid-for Israel, ignored his embarrassing words before casting their votes.
     As illustrated once again this week, this is the image of the United States of America that permeates around the world because of the U. S. embargo against Cuba. It was first imposed in 1960 and then, after the failed Bay of Pigs attack on the island and numerous failed assassination attempts, it was strengthened in 1962, as registered by de-classified U. S. documents, to starve and deprive the Cuban people to entice them to rise up and overthrow their revolutionary government. Two generations of U. S. citizens -- because of stupidity, cowardice, intimidation or a lack of concern for their democracy -- since the early 1960s have allowed the embargo to continue to besmirch the image of the United States just to appease a handful of zealous Cuban exiles motivated by a fusion of greed and revenge that has been allowed to trump the decency and principles of democracy. The image above, as well as the UN vote this week, also reminds the world that teaming with the Mafia back in the 1950s to support the brutal, thieving Batista dictatorship in Cuba was not exactly a decent or principled act by the world's most powerful democracy; and neither was allowing the leaders of that overthrown dictatorship to establish an unchecked government-in-exile on U. S. soil. Americans are not supposed to comprehend those two points, but the rest of the world does...as revealed yet again by a pro-democracy vote in the United Nations. Propagandized, compliant, and pusillanimous Americans are supposed to ignore that UN statement, even as the rest of the world does not.
     The very hour that UN vote was taking place in New York soundly condemning the ageless and unjustifiable U. S. embargo against Cuba, this AP/Franklin Reyes photo was taken in Havana. It shows Juan Carlos Lazo at Cuba's famed Malecon Wall with his young child. The motorized bike in the foreground is how Juan makes a living selling donuts. For over five decades, Americans have been told that the embargo and other egregious acts against Cuba are designed to hurt Fidel Castro. The rest of the world readily comprehends that excuse is a blatant lie; the embargo hurts Juan, his child, and other innocent Cubans while it exists to sate the revenge and greed motives of a handful of self-serving Cuban exiles. That is the message this week's vote in the United Nations sent around the world for the 23rd consecutive year.
      This AP/Ramon Espinosa photo was taken on October 27, 2014. It shows three pregnant Cuban women taking an elevator to a special maternity ward in an Havana hospital. This week Cuba announced a litany of plans to encourage a much higher birth rate on the island. It is concerned with its aging population, the oldest in Latin America. More than ever, pregnant women will be rewarded and coddled.
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Great Journalists Are Targets

Gary Webb Remains A Prime Example
Monday, October 13th, 2014
      For the most part, since 1959 the Cuban narrative in the U. S. has been dictated by two generations of anti-Castro zealots. But not always. The above photo is courtesy of Ladyrene Perez/Cubadebate/AP and it was used this weekend to illustrate a major report by CNBC entitled: "Cuba Joins U.S. in Ebola Fight." This photo shows Cuban nurse Dalila Martinez practicing Ebola safety techniques in Cuba before she led a contingent of Cuban doctors and nurses to West Africa to fight the dreaded virus. CNBC said: "The tiny island has responded big time to the outbreak of Ebola, sending a disproportionately large number of medical workers to virus-stricken West Africa, in personnel contrast to the paltry participation from a number of large nations with major economic interests in the region." In recent days, the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC-TV and other major news outlets in the U. S. have uncharacteristically praised Cuba's "out-sized" contribution to the Ebola fight. Of course, for years Cuba has conducted an "out-sized" and "disproportionate" use of its medical expertise to help countless other nations in times of need. It is remembered that when Cuba and the U. S. knew that Hurricane Katrina was about to pulverize New Orleans, Cuba had 1500 of the world's best hurricane-disaster medics at Jose Marti Airport in Havana begging the U. S. for permission to fly to New Orleans. That permission was denied by the George W. Bush administration, which watched, along with the rest of the world, as New Orleans was unmercifully lambasted. So, it is surprising to see the U. S. media actually saluting Cuba during the Ebola crisis.
        Cuba, by the way, has the world's largest medical school. The photo above shows a classroom at the Latin American School of Medicine outside Havana. Cuba has awarded thousands of totally free, six-year scholarships to qualified students from the poorest areas of many countries, including the United States of America that, among other things, has imposed a cruel economic embargo against the island from 1962 to the present day because a few anti-Castro zealots tell the American people that any money that reaches Cuba goes into Castro's pockets or bank accounts. Of course, there are some doctors back home in ghettos in cities such as Philadelphia and Washington that would beg to disagree, doctors who have no student loans to pay back. For their free scholarships in Cuba, all they had to promise was that, at least for a time, they would return to their poor home areas to practice medicine. As a democracy-loving American, I think it is fine for the mainstream U. S. media to criticize Cuba when it is warranted, but all too often it lacks the courage and/or the integrity to praise. That reminds me that great American journalists have paid with their lives when they tried to tell the truth about Latin America and Cuba...journalists such as Lisa Howard in New York, Emilio Milian in Miami, Charles Horman in Chile and...Gary Webb in California.
       A major movie -- "Kill The Messenger" -- opened all around the United States Friday, October 10th. It stars Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb. Earlier this week Mr. Renner told USA Today that he was overburdened with so many major projects and he longed to spend more time with his one-year-old daughter Ava on the opposite coast. However, he said he could not pass up promoting "Kill The Messenger" because it was based on an incredibly true and intriguing story. If the movie stays loyal to that story, it too with be incredible and intriguing...and one democracy-lovers should watch and remember.
        As one of America's greatest investigative journalists, Gary Webb won more than 30 literary awards. But the articles that gained him both fame and infamy also resulted in either his assassination or his suicide. Gary was born on August 31, 1955 in Corona, California. He died on December 10, 2004 in the front door of his home in Carmichael, California. He was killed by two {2} gunshots to the head from a .38-caliber pistol. While bravely working for the San Jose Mercury, Gary wrote three startling articles known as the "Dark Alliance" series. He claimed that the CIA in the early and mid-1980s was intimately involved in the crack-cocaine epidemic that mauled U. S. cities, particularly Los Angeles. He purported to document the CIA role linked to procuring unsavory money to finance the CIA's right-wing Contra army that opposed the left-wing Sandinistas in Nicaragua, including Sandinista leader {now PresidentDanny Ortega. 
        In addition to the articles that originated in the San Jose Mercury, Gary Webb also made some powerful enemies when he published his book "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion." The movie that opened Friday -- "Kill The Messenger" -- is based on Gary Webb's book and on the book "Kill The Messenger" written by Nick Schou. Regardless of how effective the movie turns out to be, it is sure to revive the speculation and the mystery surrounding Gary Webb's short life.
       This historic Wikipedia photo reflects the U.S./CIA involvement in Nicaragua that resulted in the malaise, the lies, and the confusion that made journalist Gary Webb an icon. This 1971 photo shows President Richard Nixon on the left hosting Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza at a state dinner in the White House. That's key Republican/Army General Alexander Haig on the right. The Somoza family ruled Nicaragua as brutal, thieving dictators for 44 years beginning in 1936. As with other Latin American dictatorships during this era -- from Cuba to Chile to Argentina to Brazil to Venezuela, etc. -- the Somoza family in Venezuela eagerly accepted the powerful support of the United States. Such dictatorial alliances with the U. S. continued from the 1950s into the 1980s. The U. S. citizens didn't utter a peep. U. S. leaders like Nixon, when they hosted fiendish dictators like Anastasia Somoza, would simply say, "We warmly welcome this visit to the White House by America's dear friend Anastasio Somoza, the President of Nicaragua." Unfortunately, the American people had neither the intelligence nor the patriotism to defend their democracy, so they meekly accepted such state visits that fawned over vile dictators such as Somoza, Batista, Pinochet, etc. But each of those U.S.-backed Latin American dictatorships spawned revolutions that tried to overturn them. Those revolutions gained sustenance and inspiration from the Cuban Revolution, which shocked the region and the world by overthrowing the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship in Cuba on January 1, 1959. In Somoza's Nicaragua, for example, a young rebel named Danny Ortega tried to replicate against Somoza what a young Fidel Castro had done against Batista in Cuba. The threat of Danny Ortega and the Sandinista rebels created a chillingly dark and eventually self-defeating reaction from the United States. The darkest aspects of that U. S. reaction resulted in the articles and book that Gary Webb called "Dark Alliance." To say the least, Gary Webb -- the award-winning journalist -- was branded a dire enemy of the U. S. and the CIA. The movie that opens Friday -- "Kill The Messenger" -- derived from Gary Webb's eternal fame as a very great and very brave investigative journalist.
       On July 17, 1979 the BBC used this AP photo to show Anastasio Somoza fleeing Nicaragua. The BBC headlined the report with these words: "The notorious US-trained National Guard crumbled and its surviving commanders are negotiating surrender. In the last six weeks Sandinista fighters have gained control of 27 cities around the capital as well as the southern part of Nicaragua that borders Costa Rica. President Anastasio Somoza -- the third member of the Somoza dynasty to rule Nicaragua since 1937 -- has fled to the United States." Anastasio Somoza lived in exile for just over a year. He was assassinated in Paraguay on September 17, 1980. He was 54-years-old and one of Latin America's last U.S.-backed dictators. In a reinvigorated, revolutionary-minded Latin America, waves of democracy began to replace military dictatorships, although persistent growing pains, not unexpectedly, remain to this very day.
          As a young Sandinista rebel in Nicaragua trying to overthrow the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship, young Danny Ortega's hero and mentor was Fidel Castro, the Cuban rebel that had earlier overthrown the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship in Cuba. Danny Ortega, like Fidel Castro, surprisingly succeeded.
      In 2014 the now 68-year-old Danny Ortega frequently visits the now 88-year-old Fidel Castro, who remains Ortega's hero and mentor. This photo shows President Danny Ortega of Nicaragua visiting Fidel Castro in Havana this year as Fidel's wife Dalia Soto del Valle smiles her approval. After ousting the 44-year rule of the Somoza family dictatorship, Ortega led Nicaragua from 1979 till 1990 and has been his country's democratically elected President again since 2007. Today many key countries in Latin America -- from Nicaragua to Brazil to Chile to Venezuela to Bolivia to Argentina, etc. -- now have Castro-friendly democratically-elected Presidents where once U.S.-friendly dictators ruled supreme. Democracy-loving conservative Republicans, like me, believe that, at long last, right-wing Republicans in Washington -- Nixon, Reagan, Kissinger, Bush, etc. -- should be held accountable for creating and/or supporting foreign right-wing dictatorships that spawned rebels like Mr. Castro, Mr. Ortega, etc., but also spawned such positive offsprings as democratic elections throughout the region and great investigative journalists like...Gary Webb! Thus, it is presumed that Mr. Castro, Mr. Ortega, etc., will enjoy the new movie -- "Kill The Messenger" -- that most Americans are neither expected to enjoy or to understand. That's because Americans, since the 1950s, have meekly and compliantly accepted such self-aggrandizing explanations as the aforementioned one from Richard Nixon: "We warmly welcome this visit to the White House by America's dear friend Anastasio Somoza, the President of Nicaragua." Oh, yes! Fiendish dictators like Somoza, Batista, Pinochet, etc., were indeed "America's dear friends," but not for the reasons right-wingers like Nixon so easily convinced the not-too-concerned American people. Even in a democracy, killing the messengers -- like Gary Webb, Lisa Howard, Emilio Milian, etc. -- can have the effect of undermining or destroying some precious pillars of democracy while also building powerful political platforms for people like Richard Nixon, Jesse Helms, Dan Burton, Robert Torricelli, etc.
  Congratulations to 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai.  {Photo courtesy: www.mirror.co.uk} Malala is the youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor she very richly deserved. 
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