Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cuban Leader Astounded By Florida Corruption

Josefina Vidal: "A stronger democracy would not condone it"
Francisco Alvarado (Miami journalist): "Where democracy goes to die"
      Josefina Vidal, Cuba's Minister of North American Affairs and Fidel Castro's choice as the post-Castro leader of Cuba, often caresses her brow and glances off into the distance when she is asked a question that she was not expecting or, if truth be known, she did not want to answer so, uh, she would not offend anyone. 
            Such was the case recently when she was hit with this question: "You have lived in the United States of America, you have made major speeches in English at the Kennedy Library in Boston and elsewhere, Fidel Castro reportedly once told his son Alexander that you can walk on water, and DeWayne Wickham, the top columnist at USA Today, seems to think you are Cuba's firewall against a return of U. S. dominance on the island." [With that preface, Josefina Vidal began gently shaking her head as if in modest embarrassment. But the Jamaican reporter judiciously continued.] "With all that in mind, what do you consider the biggest hurdle blocking the normalization of U. S. - Cuban relations?"
        Unflustered as always, Josefina Vidal then answered the question this way: "The biggest obstacle to normal relations between the United States and Cuba, in my estimation, is the right-wing corruption that permeates the American democracy, rendering it, in many ways, worse than your run-of-the-mill Banana Republic. Having lived in the United States, as you pointed out, and having to monitor the United States daily in my capacity as Minister of North American Affairs, it forever shocks me that the American people, once blessed with the world's greatest democracy and arguably the greatest government in history, in recent generations have not exhibited the courage or the intelligence necessary to defend it. The cancerous condition began in the 1950s when the United States aligned with the Mafia to support the Batista dictatorship in Cuba while at the same time supporting brutal dictatorships in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, the Congo, Iran...all around the world, really. The triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 began changing that imperialist domination and encouraged others, such as a young Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, to fight against military dictatorships supported by foreigners, eventually leading to people like Dilma Rousseff becoming the primary democratically elected leaders in the Americas. If nothing else, as Dilma Rousseff points out today, the Cuban Revolution over-came the right-wing American dictator-lovers to lay the groundwork for the waves of democracy that swept over Latin America beginning in the 1970s and 1980s, and perhaps even influencing the Middle East revolutions we now see. People have discussed a democratic wave in Cuba and, if the majority on the island want that, then it will happen. But the majority on the island remember the sheer brutality of United States-supported Batista-Mafia rule in Cuba. The majority on the island remember such atrocities as the Bay of Pigs attack and terrorism such as befell Cubana Flight 455. The majority on the island are not anxious for a return of the Batista and Mafia types supported by the neighboring superpower. Americans are told there was no terrorist bombing of Cubana Flight 455, for example. Americans are not told that, for example, Fidel Castro did not declare himself a Socialist until after the Bay of Pigs attack when he had to gauge the best means of defending sovereignty on the island. So, all that factors into answering your question. But, to me, the biggest obstacle to normalizing Cuban-American relations is two-fold: (1) the U. S. democracy embracing the Batista-Mafia dictatorship; and (2) the U. S. democracy allowing that dictatorship to flee to and take over U. S. soil -- namely, Miami and Union City -- in an attempt once again to dictate things in Cuba. Miami and Union City, to this day, elect people they send to Washington enabling their local corruption to spread nationwide and region-wide. There is no democracy nor is there any dictatorship in the world that would not be embarrassed by the political corruption that goes on daily in Florida. It is that corruption that stands in the way of normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba. Like other so-called 'U.S.-friendly' small nations, Cuba would love to receive billions of dollars each year in U. S. aide and then have hundreds of Wal-Marts on the island to buy things for ourselves and our children. And if we sold out to be a 'U.S.-friendly' nation, we would not have to endure the embargo that restricts our own economic prowess. We all know that. But we are not willing to give up our sovereignty to qualify for such ill-gotten, sell-out money. Cuba is David. The U. S. is Goliath. Goliath has been trying to starve us or kill us since the 1950s with the whole world watching. They see we are suffering, but still standing. And standing proud, I should add." 
(Josefina Vidal; Dec. 2, 2012)
        Fidel Castro is now 86-years-old and quite ill but in his prime [above] he was famous for six-hour, extemporaneous speeches under the boiling sun in front of millions. Since then, Josefina Vidal has been the most prominent Cuban in candidly stating Cuba's most stringent anti-American positions.
      For example, at the recent news conference above Josefina Vidal called the U. S. "a liar" in regards to its posturing concerning Cuba's imprisonment of American Alan Gross. But before she speaks, Ms. Vidal meticulously studies the facts and then presents them in a vigorous and convincing prosecutable manner.
     That's why the USA Today's top columnist DeWayne Wickham [above] and many others consider Josefina Vidal the prime Cuban firewall against a return of foreign dominance of the island.
       Franciso Alvarado [above] has emerged as the top investigative journalist in Miami. His recent revelations replicate Josefina Vidal's impressions of the political corruption that permeates Florida and, via elected officials sent to Washington, spreads nationwide. Alvarado writes for The Miami New Times [www.miaminewtimes.com]. In his Dec. 13-2012 article Alvarado began with these words: "You'd think that after Demetrio Perez Jr. pleaded guilty in 2002 to defrauding a trio of frail elderly tenants in his low-income Little Havana apartments, Miami-Dade politicians would steer clear of the felonious former school board member. But then they couldn't grease up to Perez and his deep pockets whenever an election rolls around. How else can you explain Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro and seven of his colleagues voting unanimously and without discussion last week to issue $110 million in municipal bonds to help Perez's private charter school business? Perez's scheme to scam old ladies in his low-income apartments wasn't his only scandal. Shortly after he pleaded guilty, a Miami Herald investigation alleged he also pocketed more than $1 million in rent payments from public school funds that were meant to benefit a program for at-risk children. So why are commissioners still supporting this guy? Well, in part because his school's treasure trove lets him shower campaign donations. Perez's biggest beneficiary was -- surprise! -- Barreiro."
       On Oct. 11, 2012, Francisco Alvarado's article was entitled "Florida Republicans' Ballot Fraud 2012" and also replicated Josefina Vidal's opinion of Florida's corruption. Alvarado, in meticulous detail, explained how Florida seems exempt from political criticism despite its incredible tendency in regards to election fraud. In this article, Alvarado simply said that Miami-Dade is "where democracy goes to die." Alvarado concentrated on present-day fraud but, of course, mentioned "George W. Bush's earth-shaking 2000 win" to saliently reference how fraud in Florida affects the entire nation, including who occupies the White House and/or the U. S. Congress. In the Oct. 11-2012 article Alvarado concluded: "The systematic fraud is mostly a one-sided game...scores of local Republicans have been tied to boleteros, including Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, property appraiser-elect Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and state Reps. Manny Diaz Jr., Eddy Gonzalez, and Jose Oliva." As Miami journalist Francisco Alvarado and Cuba's Josefina Vidal suggest, the political corruption in Florida is of little concern to the last two generations of Americans who clearly are not the democracy-lovers that dominated America from 1776 through World War II. After Alvarado wrote that Miami-Dade "is where democracy goes to die," his very next sentence was: "It's not difficult to understand why the problem is so odious. For more than two decades, Tallahassee lawmakers have worked overtime to ensure..." Tallahassee is the capital of Florida and Alvarado is a top Miami journalist.
     Josefina Vidal has a lot on her plate in Cuba.  Managing a firewall, you know, can be all-consuming. But she graciously paused while leaving a recent news conference to offer her opinion about the biggest obstacle confronting Cuba, which to her is: "The retrenchment of the Batista-Mafia dictatorship in nearby Florida. Yes, a stronger democracy would not condone it. So, Cuba pays a price for the weakness of the United States democracy. Of course, Cuba's proximity to the United States has been the island's most glaring historical problem."
      People seriously interested in understanding the chasm that separates Cuba from America seek the views of Josefina Vidal even if it means a flight to Havana. In the above photo, Elliot Gerson -- a top executive with the Aspen Institute -- is displaying a serious interest in understanding the mammoth divide separating Cuba and the U. S. That's why he spent considerable time [above] with Ms. Vidal when he led a large contingent of Aspen Institute scholars to Havana recently. The Aspen Institute's Azalea Millan then wrote knowingly about the "multifaceted perspective" surrounding the U. S. - Cuban diaspora. Yes, it is multifaceted. That's why democracy-lovers listen to Josefina Vidal when she says that the U. S. democracy was hurt when it supported the Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba and it continues to be hurt by supporting the "retrenched Batista-Mafia dictatorship on American soil." From her keen perspective in Havana, Josefina Vidal notices how politicians elected in Miami and Union City go to Washington where their monolithic anti-Cuban venom then adversely affects all of America, not just Cuba. In other words, when Vidal's side of the equation is ignored, Americans -- even in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave -- are being deprived of the democracy that was bequeathed to them by far braver freedom-lovers from 1776 till the 1950s. "Yes, a stronger democracy would not condone it." Josefina Vidal made that quote in Havana; the Miami journalist Francisco Alvarado, in repetitive articles, has revealed what a stronger democracy would not condone.
       Someone -- I forget whom, exactly -- suggested that the six fellows above would surely add more color and less corruption to the U. S. Congress than the current six congressional members who hail from Miami and Union City. Josefina Vidal and Francisco Alvarado would probably agree with such simplistic deductive reasoning. I think the six fellows above would greatly improve the U. S. Congress, which has a 7% approval rating although, of course, it is almost impossible to boot out incumbents because of the reasons out-lined by journalist Francisco Alvarado. In the above photo, the orange, yellow, and green birds appear to be moderate Democrats. The red, blue, and purple birds look like conservative Republicans. As far as I can detect, there is neither a left-winger nor a right-winger in the bunch and corrupt money will not corrupt their politics. Yes, sir. Beautiful, incorruptible democracy-lovers are just what the U. S. Congress needs. That deductive reasoning reminds me of the lead article today at www.nationalmemo.com. It said: "According to Public Policy Polling's latest Kentucky survey, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now the least popular senator in America. The poll also finds that Ashley Judd would be a strong favorite to win the Democratic nomination if she chooses to challenge McConnell." The Huffington Post today had this headline: "Ashley Judd Runs 4 Points Behind Mitch McConnell in Kentucky Senate Poll." Those two articles provide a glimmer of hope for democracy-lovers. Permit me to explain why that is so.
      The 70-year-old Senator Mitch McConnell is the quintessential U. S. congressman -- too old, too male, too right-wing, and two entrenched. A prime reason the U. S. Congress has about a 7% approval rating in a Democracy, McConnell is despised nationwide but his decades-long tenure in the Senate has been typically greased by local political favors along with massive bundles of money. Such incumbency shames the U. S. democracy and would surely shame its Founding Fathers, including my fellow Virginians James Madison, James Monroe, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.
      The actress Ashley Judd, should she indeed unseat Mitch McConnell in the 2014 election, would immediately strengthen the U. S. Senate but also drastically upgrade the U. S. democracy.
     Ashley Judd would help beautify and rectify the U. S. Senate. She is far more than an accomplished actress. Born in Los Angeles 44 years ago, Ms. Judd is an Honors graduate at both the University of Kentucky and Harvard University.  A passionate Kentucky Wildcats basketball fan, she is married to Dario Franchitti, the Scot who is a 3-time Indy 500 winner. She is also a philanthropist and a humanitarian who has traveled the globe to help others, especially to Africa in her tireless fight against AIDS. Her half-sister Wynonna, the renowned singer, struck it rich first and then gave Ashley a home and some land in Williamson County, Tennessee. Ashley still lives in that home and she has given much of her own money, and Franchitti's, to those less fortunate than her. She is a political activist who knows politics and she has more loving and honorable ties to Kentucky than Mitch McConnell, who was born in Alabama. Right-wing war-mongers -- McConnell, Graham, McCain, etc. -- have been entrenched in the lowly regarded U. S. Senate for decades. Women like Ashley Judd prefer to fight AIDS and other calamities, not other countries. She has not yet announced any plans for the U. S. Senate but many are hoping she will unseat McConnell. And you know what?  "U. S. Senator Ashley Judd" has a nice, refreshing ring to it. A politician not bought and paid for? Nice, refreshing, and inscrutably beautiful. And not impossible. Even if it sinks below 7% approval, the U. S. democracy can be resurrected. And it is richly deserving of that long overdue honor.  
Absolutely! These six birds and Ashley Judd could start a much-needed senatorial resurrection! 
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