Friday, April 28, 2017

Cuba Survives 100 Days of Trump

What Gives?
        Yesterday -- Saturday, April 29th, 2017 -- marked 100 Days that Donald Trump had been President of the United States. So far, he has not assaulted Cuba as many expected he would in those first 100 days.
       Twice in Miami Trump pointed at the "murderous" Castro rule of Cuba and vowed to reverse the monumental Obama-orchestrated efforts to normalize relations with the nearby Caribbean island.
       In one of his two blistering speeches in Miami, Donald Trump stood before a large Brigada Asalto 2506 banner and promised remaining veterans of the April-1961 Brigade 2506 Bay of Pigs attack on Cuba that he would at long last reverse their humiliating defeat and also overturn Obama's positive overtures to Cuba.
       Donald Trump named to his transition team twelve of the richest, most powerful and most visceral Cuban counter-revolutionaries in America, and that included Bush-inspired veterans such as Mauricio Claver-Carone. When such names emerged in the Trump administration by the end of January of 2017, it was assumed by some that a second and more powerful Bay of Pigs-type assault on Cuba was imminent, certainly within Trump's first 100 days in office. But by Trump's 100th day, uh, well...it hasn't happened.
       This Reuters photo shows that Cuba is peaceful and placid. It was used to illustrate an article in the London-based The Guardian that is entitled: "TOP DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATOR IN CUBA WARNS TRUMP." 
       Cuba's "Top Diplomatic Negotiator" is, of course, Josefina Vidal. She brilliantly represented Cuba in negotiations with the Obama administration to slice deeply into a half-century of brutal Batistiano-directed Congressional laws that have severely hurt innocent Cubans on the island for over half-a-century and also severely hurt America's and democracy's reputation around the world, as evidenced by the current 191-to-0 condemnation in the United Nations of America's Cuban policy. Thus Vidal is Cuba's prime monitor and decision-maker regarding President Trump's plans for Cuba. The aforementioned article in The Guardian quoted Vidal sending this reminder...the British newspaper called it "a warning...to Trump: "Aggression, pressure, conditions, impositions do not work with Cuba. This is not the way to attempt to have even a minimally civilized relationship with Cuba." Whether that is a reminder or a warning, Vidal steadfastly insists that "Cuba be treated as a sovereign nation and not as a pre-revolutionary possession of either the Miami Mafia or the United States government." But Cuba is a vulnerable island and the unpredictable Trump is now the Commander-in-Chief of the world's all-time most powerful military. While he seems to have so far disregarded the advice of anti-Cuban extremists, he also is not likely to heed Ms. Vidal's warning.
       Of course, many political experts predict that Trump will be impeached long before his first presidential 4-year term is scheduled to end in 2020. As you can see above, those expert predictors include Allan Lichtman, one of the few people on the planet who predicted Trump would win the presidency and the man who has correctly predicted the last nine United States Presidential elections. For sure, Cuba is not a threat to Mr. Trump or to the United States but President Trump has his hands full with more pressing problems...such as North Korea, a mainstream U. S. media trying desperately to destroy him, a bevy of left-wing billionaires able to fund any Trump-impeachment movements, etc., etc., etc., etc.
      But study this photo and you'll understand that, at the moment, there are powerful pro-Cuban influences on President Trump that supersede anti-Cuban influences such as the mighty lobbyist Mauricio Claver-Carone and even the four anti-Castro Miami-based extremists in the U. S. Congress. Sonny Perdue, the former Georgia Governor, is urging President Trump to normalize trade relations with nearby Cuba.
        Sonny Perdue has just been sworn in as President Trump's powerful Secretary of Agriculture. As he did as Georgia's Governor, Sonny Perdue now has a national platform to promote his Cuban agenda, which is to normalize trade relations with Cuba to benefit American farmers and other agricultural entities.
       As Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue right now has the most White House influence concerning Cuba. And he is a very persuasive and brave man who fortunately has a sane, decent Cuban perspective.
        The above photo of Sonny Perdue was included along with the above Tweet from Jose Ramon Cabanas, who happens to be Cuba's Ambassador to the United States. As you can readily surmise from this Tweet, Cuba knows and deeply respects Sonny Perdue. While Obama used Executive Orders to make deep inroads into normalizing relations with Cuba, only Congress or Trump Executive Orders can erase them. And Congress-mandated anti-Cuban laws remain, like the one Cabanas references above that Sonny Perdue is trying to change...and that involves the continued restrictions on financing trade with Cuba.
       So now pro-Cuban advocates like Patrick Leahy and Sonny Perdue -- shown amicably discussing politics above -- are teaming up to combat the anti-Cuban extremists who have made the Castro Cottage Industry in the United States a scary but ultra-powerful and usually unchallenged force for over half-a-century. But Mr. Leahy, a powerful U. S. Senator, and Mr. Perdue, now a powerful member of President Trump's cabinet, are indeed powerful opponents of the wickedly revengeful and self-serving anti-Cuban cabal in the United States. Both Senator Patrick Leahy and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue have been to Cuba trying to create a Cuban policy for America that will benefit most Cubans and most Americans as well as boost America's reputation as the worldwide bulwark for democracy. And now Leahy in Congress and Perdue in the White House can further their sane and decent aspirations for America and for Cuba.  
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Cuba's Fascinating UNIQUENESS!!

It's like NO OTHER!
         This is an absolutely gorgeous, precious, beautiful and absolutely amazing Cuban baby girl. She illustrates why the Cuban saga is totally unique and like no other nation's history or topicality in the entire world. Her father, sentenced by a controversial Miami court, was imprisoned...supposedly for life...in a top-security California federal prison. His wife -- far, FAR away on the island of Cuba -- was not allowed to visit him. YET, she was impregnated with her husband's sperm and their reward was this little angelic girl.
       By the time this little girl was born in Cuba, her father -- his name is Gerardo Hernandez -- was miraculously out of that California prison and BACK IN CUBA IN TIME TO WITNESS THE BIRTH OF HIS UNIQUE CHILD. And now, perhaps, you know what I mean by the title and sub-title of this update. This saga's propitious turnaround relates to a United States President and a United States Senator intervening in what they considered an egregious United States Cuban policy that also currently gets a LOUD 191-to-0 international condemnation in the United Nations, a policy largely dictated since 1959 by a handful of two generations of revengeful Cuban exiles from the overthrown Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba.
     Senator Patrick Leahy from Vermont and President Barack Obama are the two great and brave Americans who made it possible for that gorgeous little girl to be born on the much-maligned island of Cuba. Mr. Leahy and Mr. Obama are/were rare birds in American political circles, meaning they care about totally innocent Cubans on the island and they care about the worldwide image of America's democracy.
         Prior to Donald Trump, Mr. Obama served two terms...8 years...as the U. S. President and, thankfully, he listened to the wisdom and decency of Senator Leahy when it came to Cuba, as shown above as Air Force One neared its historic approach to Cuba. Senator Leahy often visited Cuba and in 2016 Mr. Obama became the first sitting U. S. President to visit the island since Herbert Hoover arrived on a warship in 1928. Obama, encouraged by Leahy, arrived peacefully in Cuba and without any hint of belligerence...and both men in their positive political careers have had the rare guts to display dire respect for the safety and the sanctity of totally innocent Cubans on the island. And that's why Obama and Leahy played significant roles in the birth of the little Cuban girl who is now healthy and beloved on the appreciative island.
      The story of the Cuban Five is a microcosm, but a HUGE one, in the contentious and historic saga of U.S.-Cuban relations. As I suggest often in this forum and in this Google era, judge things for yourself after using your search engine and, for details about the aforementioned little Cuban girl, merely type in "Cuban Five" to access literally thousands of pages of information. The five Cubans depicted above were in the Miami area in 1998 when they were arrested and charged with being Cuban spies. But as Wikipedia correctly explained: "They were in the United States to observe and infiltrate the Cuban-American groups Alpha 66, The F4 Commandos, the Cuban American National Foundation and Brothers to the Rescue." The five Cubans, with ample reason, believed that those four unchecked groups were involved with or supportive of extreme and repeated acts of terrorism against innocent Cubans -- such as the terrorist bombing of the child-laden civilian Cubana Flight 455. Indeed, when a decent Cuban-American newsman in Miami, Emilio Milian, also complained about such things, he was car-bombed. But after their arrest, the Cuban Five were tried in a Miami courtroom, almost assuring their fate. Thus began a major chapter in U.S.-Cuban history.
        With their convictions and sentences in a Miami courtroom a foregone conclusion, the Cuban Five were sent to five different federal U. S. prisons with sentences up to life. Cuba immediately launched what became a worldwide clamor to "Free the Cuban Five." That plea quickly attained worldwide resonance.
Amnesty International and others joined the fight.
      When President Obama became the first American president with the guts to seriously attempt to normalize relations with Cuba, Josefina Vidal, Cuba's Minister of U. S. Affairs, was responsive but she drew a line in the sand -- "Free the Cuban Five and we will talk." The President was informed, "She means it."
Josefina Vidal stuck to her stringent DEMAND.
      President Obama, acutely concerned with Human Rights and how America's Cuban policy so acutely harmed America's image, bravely and decently defied Miami and Congress as he embraced the enormous task of freeing the Cuban five. And that was the embrace that eventually led to the reopening of embassies in the two capital cities for the first time since 1961, along with other major Obama-orchestrated steps that sliced deeply into the Miami-Batistiano-Congress axis that for over half-a-century had solely dictated America's Cuban policy, a policy that to this day receives a 191-to-0 condemnation in the UN.
       But as President Obama, aided by American patriots such as Senator Patrick Leahy, began working on freeing The Cuban Five, they had all served 14 years in separate U. S. prisons. It was widely reported that Gerardo Hernandez, shown in the middle in the above photo, was receiving the worst treatment in his California prison. In Havana his beloved wife Adriana had given up hope of ever seeing him in person again and, with all her heart, she wanted to have his baby as an everlasting remembrance of their love for each other. Unaware of the headway President Obama and Josefina Vidal were making on freeing The Cuban Five, Adriana's wish concerning a baby was conveyed to Senator Leahy. Incredibly, Mr. Leahy used his considerable power in the U. S. Senate and with the White House to have Gerardo's semen flown from his California prison to Havana and the rest is history; Adriana was impregnated with Gerardo's baby!!
        Also incredibly, thanks to President Obama and Senator Leahy, Gerardo Hernandez was a totally free man AND back in Havana in time to feel his baby moving inside his wife Adriana's very pregnant stomach!!
After watching his baby being born, Gerardo held it.
Gerardo named his baby girl Gema.
 Adriana, Gerardo, and their little girl Gema.
Gerardo and his baby girl.
Gema Hernandez Perez.
A beautiful part of U.S.-Cuban history.
And by the way:
An excellent map courtesy of Cubacasas.net.
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Another Cuban Milestone

Just 24-hours old!!
        As of today -- April 27th, 2017 -- Cubans have much better and much faster Internet service as the above Desmond Boylan/AP photo shows. Google Global Cache is now available on the island. It's a big deal and another milestone for Cuba. GGC marks the first time a foreign company has launched and hosted Internet service on the island. It enables Cubans to quickly and easily store content from Google services such as GMail and YouTube. The Cubans surfing the Internet above are in Havana and there are now 240 such Wi-Fi hotspots across the island, plus an additional 2,000 new in-home hooks-ups.
         This Adalberto Roque/AFP photo shows enthused Internet users in Havana who now have faster and better service starting today with the newly available Google Global Cache access.
        The world Internet giant Google now has its own technology center in Havana in the office shown above. It's located in the studio of artist Alexis Leiva Machado who is shown here just to the right of the two ladies. The man right behind him is Brett Perlmutter, the head of Google's Cuban office. The password to access the Internet in the studio is AbajoElBloqueo, which means "Down With The Blockade."
          This future Internet user in Cuba is also projecting an anti-blockade sentiment, the consensus opinion on the island pertaining to the U. S. economic embargo that has severely hurt Cubans like this little girl and her parents and grandparents since 1962. In 2017 the international vote in the United Nations is 191-to-0 in condemnation of the embargo, which only the 535-member U. S. Congress can end but for decades a mere handful of Cuban-American extremists have maintained with the self-servicing aid of a handful of right-wing sycophants. But today's new Google Global Cache on the island is a reflection that former U. S. President Barack Obama, at least temporarily, bravely and significantly sliced into the Batistiano dictation of America's Cuban policy, meaning that Mr. Obama was the first U. S. President since the 1950s to show proper, non-imperialist respect for innocent Cubans, like the little girl depicted above.
        This amazing Reuters photo shows that Playa Giron in Cuba has been invaded once again in April of 2017. Americans refer to "Playa Giron" as the Bay of Pigs. In April of 1961 the U.S./Cuban-exile military attack commenced at this very spot in a famously failed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution. This week in April of 2017 the invasion above is by a massive army of crabs. They have swarmed out from the forest and fields around the famed Playa Giron-Bay of Pigs spot in a desperate attempt to reach the welcoming sea waters so they can spawn.
A driver forced to crush crabs at Playa Giron.
In April of 1961, Fidel Castro led the Bay of Pigs defense.
Cuba calls the 3-day battle by its Playa Giron location.
The Bay of Pigs location at Playa Giron.
       This photo was taken from the Hotel Playa Giron and shows the very site where the Bay of Pigs attack commenced in April of 1961 and where the mass invasion of crabs is taking place in April of 2017. It's now a peaceful and picturesque part of Revolutionary Cuba. And after spawning in the sea the crabs don't return...and presumably neither will attacking soldiers from counter-revolutionary foreign forces. 
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cuba Marches On

Americans Need to Keep Up
I'll Try to Tell You How to Do That!
        If Americans are to ever understand Cuba or U.S.-Cuban relations, they need to know great journalists such as Will Grant. Brilliantly reporting from Cuba, he will honestly tell you the pros and cons of what is happening on the island. He works for the BBC, the London-based biggest and best worldwide news organization. With extremely rare exceptions, American journalists -- print, television and online -- simply do not have the freedom that Will Grant has to tell you the truth about Cuba. That has been so since the 1898 Spanish-American War when the U. S. wrested imperialist control of Cuba from Spain, and then maintained that control until Jan. 1-1959 when the Cuban Revolution finally achieved independence for the island. Lies about Cuba in the U. S. media have been particularly prevalent since 1976 when the honest Cuban-American journalist in Miami, Emilio Milian, was car-bombed because he criticized Cuban-American terrorists for harming innocent Cubans, such as with the deadly bombing of Cubana Flight 455.
          After the demise of Flight 455, the Miami media was effectively used for such celebratory chants as, "It's the biggest blow yet against Castro!!" To this day, well-known anti-Cuban terrorists, including those attached to the Cubana Flight 455 bombing, are heralded citizens of Miami. Since the ill-fated Emilio Milian car-bombing in 1976, as far as I know only one U. S. journalist -- Jim DeFede -- has had the integrity and the guts to criticize such things. Jim WAS the top columnist for the Miami Herald when he wrote a famous column excoriating Cuban-American members of Congress -- Ros Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers -- for their lavish support of the most well-known Cuban-American terrorists. I underlined Emilio and Jim in case you want to Google their bravery and judge it for yourselves. And please note, I make these points not because of a passion for Cuba but because of my passion for America and Democracy, both of which I believe have been severely harmed by America's Cuban policy since the 1898 Spanish-American War and especially since the victory of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 when former leaders of the ousted Batista-Mafia dictatorship reestablished themselves on U. S. soil -- particularly in Miami and especially deeply within the confines of the United States Congress and the Republican Party.
           Meanwhile, permit me to explain why Will Grant of the BBC is the best bet for Americans to know the truth about what is happening in Cuba as the island tries to survive the lingering vestiges of America's Batistiano-imposed Cuban embargo as well as the future requiems of America's Trump rule. {requiem means hatred, rancor, hostility, animus, antipathy, acrimony, etc., in the above usage.}  
          While Americans are programmed to hide behind the lie that little Cuba has no major consequence for America, it had enough consequence in 1959 when it ended the Mafia's and America's rule of the island. It had enough consequence to become the only nation that mounted a successful revolution against a vile U.S.-backed dictatorship. In 1962 it had enough consequence to bring the world the closest it has ever been to a nuclear holocaust. It later had enough consequence that the Cuban Revolution inspired many other Latin American nations to get shed of U.S.-backed dictators like Trujillo, Somoza, Videla, Pinochet and even Mobutu in Africa to make way for dear Castro friends such as the democratically-elected leaders of many Latin American nations plus Nelson Mandela in South Africa, etc. AND today Cuba has enough of a unique consequence to have the U. S. condemned by a 191-to-0 vote in the UN for its Cuban policies.
           So, that's why democracy-loving Americans, I believe, need to get their Cuban news from fair-minded, highly respected, and unbiased journalists such as the BBC's Will Grant. This last week in April of 2017, for example, Will Grant authored a refreshingly brilliant BBC article that tells you all about what's really happening in Cuba. It's entitled: "Cuba's Slick TV Channel That Supports More Revolution." As Cuba marches on in the Trump era, that is a major new development on the nearby island that Americans should know.
         Will Grant and the BBC this week used EFE photos like the one above to tell the world about a major new development in Cuba. Its an ultra-modern television channel called "Canal Caribe," which means "Caribbean Channel." It airs 18 hours a day with mostly live news for Cubans. The anchors are superb young journalists like Cristina Escobar, who is perhaps the very best news anchor in the entire region. The BBC points out that the anchors and reporters are very well-educated and speak fluent English too.
        The BBC says Canal Caribe has state-of-the-art studios, features live link-ups with international correspondents via Skype, and that it makes good use of topical social media sites such as Twitter.
       The Canal Caribe network is Cuba's answer to America's controversial 24-hour cable news channels -- the extreme left-wing MSNBC, the extreme right-right Fox News, and the extreme anti-Trump CNN.
       The Director of Canal Caribe is Ovidio Cabrera. He maintains that his new station will present news and information that Cubans need...with a powerful pro-revolutionary edge. He told the BBC: "This is a channel for more revolution. We won't shy away from criticizing what isn't working...but always through the prism of supporting the revolutionary process, not against it." Mr. Cabrera primarily aims Canal Caribe's coverage at the vital young generation of Cubans -- upper teens and young adults -- who will likely predicate the island's future. He believes Cuba's young generation prides independence and cultural traits above a return to foreign dominance and that his Canal Caribe is ready to test that resolve. Cubans on the island, he believes, are so well-educated and so well-informed that Canal Caribe couldn't mislead them.
       Americans that need to know about such things as Canal Caribe also need to know what the above EFE photo represents as Cuba marches on instead of just passively waiting around to see what Miami, President Trump and the U. S. Congress in this new era have in store for the fiercely independent island.
        This photo shows two young and very inquisitive Cubans in Santiago de Cuba. As you can see, they -- not so unlike many millions of Americans and other young people worldwide -- are very engrossed in whatever data they are getting from their very Smart Phone. Instead of primarily blocking access to the internet, as most Americans believe, Cuba's Etecsa communications outlet is strongly improving the availability of internet data and exchanges. It now has about 4 million cell lines and over 1,000 public navigation spaces with Wi-Fi service. Revolutionary Cuba is well aware that the Miami-Washington axis -- via the embargo, etc. -- will continue to pressure the island's youth to "get rich in America" as the key Cuban Ana Mari Machado puts it. But she also depends on enough of Cuba's increasingly powerful young generation to embrace the "historic resilience and vast potential of our proud independent Cuba."
     One of the most powerful Cubans today is Ana Mari Machado, and her star is ascending at a very significant time -- with the advent of the Trump-era in America, the recent death at age 90 of Fidel Castro, and the retirement in about 10 months of the 85-year-old President Raul Castro. Ana already holds the hugely important title of Vice President of Cuba's influential National Assembly. Ana is well respected by Cuba's young generation of adults and by the few remaining, fast dwindling revolutionary icons. Ana is a prime reason Cuba is embracing such important youth-oriented projects as the new Canal Caribe news channel and the increasingly easier access to the internet on the island. Ana envisions a new revolution in Cuba BUT a revolution designed to protect the Cuban Revolution. Ana fiercely supports her Revolutionary Cuba. And Ana is a force to be reckoned with -- in Havana for sure but also in Miami and Washington. 
        The above photo montage was posted by Ana Mari Machado this week on her Facebook page. It reflects her two favorite revolutionaries -- Jose Marti who died on Cuban soil in 1895 fighting Spanish imperialism; and Fidel Castro who died on Cuban soil in 2016 of old age at 90 after fighting Batista, the Mafia and American imperialism. Ana Mari Machado, an ascending power in Cuba -- some say the ascending power -- wants a revolution to protect the Castro Revolution. And, significantly, she wants Cuba's young generation behind her. To know Cuba, study this montage and the lady who posted it on Facebook.
  Ana Mari Machado.
If you don't know her, you don't know Cuba.
And by the way:
        The new owners of the Miami Marlins Major League baseball team are Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush. There winning bid was $1.3 billion. The Marlins are the cheapest Major League team with the New York Yankees, now worth well over $4 billion, the most expensive. Jeter is in his first year as the retired New York Yankees shortstop. The website Celebrity Wealth says Jeter is worth $800 million. Yes, he was well-paid for two decades by the Yankees but that's not how athletes get on the fast track to becoming billionaires. Massive amounts of endorsement money from corporations quickly make billionaires out of athletes such as Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, etc., and that easy endorsement money continues well after such athletes have retired. In the meantime in capitalist America, there are very legitimate billboards that tell us that "one in 5 American children have hunger problems" and "one in 4 children in North Carolina have hunger problems. In a more decent and less greedy America, corporations that shower massive endorsement dollars on already extremely wealthy athletes should also be required to give, dollar for dollar, millions of dollars to help alleviate childhood hunger in America. But, of course, that won't happen because Americans are programmed to worship celebrities as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
         Also, U. S. politics is now a fast-track to becoming a billionaire. Ask Jeb Bush. He was born rich within the Bush dynasty but wanted to get rich on his own. So he went to Florida in the late 1980s and actually announced he did so "to get rich." His first major step in that direction was to endear himself with the richest anti-Castro zealots in Miami, including extremely controversial real estate moguls. {Yes, you can Google that}. The next thing Jeb did was to become Campaign Manager for Miami's most anti-Castro, Havana-born zealot Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who, thanks to the Bush dynasty, has been an anti-Castro zealot in the U. S. Congress since 1989. So, how wealthy today is Jeb, the new co-owner of the Miami Marlins? Celebrity Wealth says Jeb is worth a piddling $25 million but that's probably because ONLY ONE of his bank accounts was checked. Current and/or former politicians can and do get very, very rich very, very quickly by selling their politics to the highest bidders, including foreign entities who want to purchase America.  
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cubaninsider: Legal Free Flights to Cuba

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