The Batistianos vs. Democracy-lovers!

Why Are the Batistianos Winning?
{Updated: Thursday, May 30th, 2013}
      Judy Chu {above} is a member of the U. S. Congress. Born in Los Angeles 59 years ago {July 7, 1953}, Representative Chu was elected to Congress in 2009 from California's San Gabriel Valley. She is a brilliant and exceedingly decent woman who has a profound and abiding love for America and for democracy.
     As a majestic lover of democracy, Judy Chu in the U.S. Congress fights doggedly for her constituents, the people of San Gabriel Valley, and for all American citizens
   This past week Congresswoman Judy Chu visited Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, site of the U. S. Naval Base that sits on 45 square miles of plush Cuban land that the U. S. stole from Cuba back in 1903 shortly after the Spanish-American War, which established the U. S. as the imperial masters of the island, at least until the overthrow of the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship in 1959. Rep. Chu was starkly embarrassed and ashamed at what she saw at Guantanamo Bay in May of 2013. With teary eyes upon her return to the U. S., she issued this statement: "We must close this detention center. Ultimately, this is more than a policy concern. It's a moral one. This nation is synonymous with justice and the rule of law. Our government must live up to the ideals that the American people abide by each and every day. And that starts by closing Guantanamo." Simple, profound, truthful words that should be heeded.
        Of course, what shamed and embarrassed Congresswoman Judy Chu the most on her visit to Guantanamo Bay was the U. S. military prison, euphemistically called "a detention center" by the U. S. government but known worldwide as a brutal prison, one that Amnesty International calls, "The gulag of our time." Not closing the prison, and not returning Guantanamo Bay to its rightful owner, Cuba, makes the U. S. resemble -- in the eyes of America's Caribbean and Latin American neighbors as well as its best friends around the world -- an anti-democratic bully and pariah. In previous eras, the U. S. cast a different image.
      For over a decade, the infamous U. S. prison at Guantanamo Bay has spouted international headlines about the depraved treatment...including torture...of prisoners, some of whom have been held for over a decade without ever being charged or given a trial. The prisoners have included a Canadian citizen that Canada believes is totally innocent and a young man who was captured when he was in his young teens and claims he has never had a terrorist or anti-American thought in his life, at least till he was scooped off a street and shipped to Gitmo. America's image and its treasury both need to recover from Gitmo.
        An Australian named David Hicks claimed he was totally innocent but ended up being one of the tortured prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Later, after the Australian government intervened, Hicks was flown back to Australia, totally free and presumably enriched with a lot of U. S. tax dollars courtesy of Gitmo.
     The New York Times recently published a long, heart-wrenching article entitled "Gitmo Is Killing Me" that was actually penned by prisoner Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel. The article flashed around the world.
   Democracy lovers were shamed to learn that the waterboarding/police dog-loving Bush administration, which funneled billions of tax dollars to refurbish Gitmo and hire dozens of politically connected security firms and construction companies, also flew many prisoners to other countries, including dictatorships, so they could be tortured-interrogated away from U. S. bases or soil. Photos such as the one above circled around the globe, embarrassing and shaming democracy lovers, especially those who were told that the photos represented a routine policy of the United States, which they  once so mightily admired because of its cherished democracy ideals. Who is proud of a Gitmo dog threatening a helpless prisoner?
       The UPI News Agency last week used the above photo to graphically tell the world how painfully the hunger-striking prisoners at Gitmo are being force-fed. Over 100 of the 166 prisoners at Gitmo were/are being kept alive by tubes running up their noses and down into their stomachs. Democracy lovers this week were also informed by the mainstream U. S. media -- CNN, the New York Times, USA Today -- that it costs hard-pressed U. S. taxpayers $1 million a year {correct} to incarcerate each Gitmo prisoner while, if they were transferred to a maximum security federal prison in the U. S., it would cost only $25,000 per prisoner per year {correct}. Is Gitmo okay because the U. S. has it on Cuban soil?
         Could the billions of tax dollars being spent at the U.S.-occupied Guantanamo Naval Base on land that rightfully belongs to Cuba be better spent on, say, fighting child hunger in America and then helping those children secure decent educations...even if the U. S. has to divert some of the billions being poured into Guantanamo Bay into more decent and worthwhile projects on U. S. soil?
        Last week a vital bridge in the state of Washington simply collapsed, dropping vehicles into an unforgiving river. Americans are told that the U. S. does not have the money to adequately begin refurbishing what is known to be a vastly decaying infrastructure. But since 1959 Americans have also been told to cough up billions and billions of dollars to re-capture Cuba, to enforce the U. S. embargo of Cuba as well as a wide litany of other Batistiano-inspired anti-Cuban dictates, to send pipelines of tax money to anti-Cuban propaganda outlets such as Radio-TV Marti in Miami, to make Guantanamo Bay a plush U. S. base on ill-gotten Cuban land, to create and operate a prison aT Guantanamo Bay that besmirches the image of the U. S. democracy, etc., etc. Is it time Americans asked if some of those billions of dollars could be diverted to other more decent and badly needed projects? LIKE, for example, THAT BRIDGE!
       On the second day of his first four-year term as President of the United States, Barack Obama famously reminded the American people "I will close Gitmo," as he had promised he would do during his historic presidential campaign. More than five years later Gitmo is still open and still sucking U. S. oxygen.
         Once again last week, now deep into his second four-year term as President, Barack Obama explained to the American people how vital it is to "close Gitmo" to begin to restore at least some of the damage it has done to the United States and its image as the bastion of democracy.
        But a very sad President Obama knows that he is not strong enough to close Gitmo or to do other sane, sensible Cuban-related things that the vast majority of Americans and the vast majority of people around the world want him to do. He is a smart, decent man. He is President and Commander in Chief of the United States, the strongest nation by far in the history of the world. He is the Leader of the Free World. Yet, he is not strong enough or free enough to do sane, sensible Cuban-related things that the majority of people in the United States and the world would like for him to do. His sadness is America's sadness.
President Obama is aware this is the image the world has of the U. S. - Cuban policy.
       President Obama is aware that a few anti-Castro Cubans in Washington dictate America's Cuban policy as a Government-{or Dictatorship}-in-Exile. Yes, that is the first such abomination for the U. S. democracy. 
      Moreover, President Obama is aware that his precious legacy as a two-term, black President will forever be tarnished by the above graphic, which correctly depicts him as the ashamed, embarrassed, and unwilling defender of America's Cuban policy. "How has this happened in the strongest nation and the best democracy in the world?" That, I believe, is a question you should ask and, more importantly, you should keep asking it until you are satisfied with the answer. I asked it and, after diligent research, came up with an answer that takes me back to Judy Chu,  a valued member of the U. S. Congress from California.
         Judy Chu is an anomaly and not just because she is one of the 535 members of the U. S. Congress -- 100 Senators and 435 Representatives. She is a rare bird in that she is a member of the U. S. Congress who has not been bought-and-paid for by special interests, such as the rich and powerful Cuban-exile lobby also known as the Batistianos. Thus, as a decent democracy-loving Congresswoman, Judy Chu can visit Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and then, in tears, express how ashamed she is about America's Cuban policy.
 And consider Kathy Castor...please!
       Kathy Castor is also an anomaly, a rare bird. She is a member of the U. S. Congress and she is neither bought-and-paid-for nor is she intimidated by the Cuban-exile zealots who have dominated her area since 1959, seven years BEFORE SHE WAS BORN. Kathy Castor was born in Miami 46 years ago, on August 20th, 1966. Since 2007 she has represented the 14th District of Florida in the U. S. Congress. Her District includes Tampa! The three Mafia kingpins that ruled Cuba in the 1950s -- Fulgencio Batista, Meyer Lansky, and Santo Trafficante Jr. -- all owned homes and/or businesses in the Tampa area both BEFORE AND AFTER their lucrative dictatorship in Cuba. A couple of generations later, rich and powerful remnants of that overthrown dictatorship in Cuba remain ultra-powerful factors in the Tampa area. Yet, Kathy Castor has forged a political career that REPRESENTS THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE MAJORITY OF HER CONSTITUENTS IN THE 14TH DISTRICT OF FLORIDA AND THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
    Kathy Castor recently returned to Tampa from a visit to Cuba where she bravely and righteously continued her passionate quest to improve U.S.-Cuban relations BECAUSE SHE WELL KNOWS IT WOULD IMPROVE THE LIVES OF THE MAJORITY OF CUBAN-AMERICANS, THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS, AND THE MAJORITY OF THE WELL-DESERVING BUT MUCH-MALIGNED EVERYDAY CUBANS ON THE ISLAND. As a businesswoman and since 2007 as a member of the U. S. Congress from Tampa, Kathy Castor has long advocated sane, decent relations with Cuba...brilliantly pointing out how unrestricted tourism to Cuba and normal business relations with Cuba would vastly benefit the city of Tampa, the state of Florida, the United States, Cuba, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the world. But powerful Cuban exiles disagree with her.
       And sadly, the U. S. Congress does not have enough anomalies to go along with Florida's Kathy Castor and California's Judy Chu. That's why the approval rating of the U. S. Congress is in the single digits, 7% according to one recent poll; and that's undoubtedly the 7% that have bought-and-paid-for it's majority decisions, most of which, of course, are contrary to the sane, decent views regarding Cuba, Guantanamo Bay, and Gitmo as represented by Congresswomen Castor and Chu. Is the Batistiano-maligned U. S. democracy strong enough to remove the obviously incompetent and/or bought-and-paid-for members of a U. S. Congress that has a single-digit approval rating? Apparently not. Incompetent money-hungry politicos who are not unveiled as serial killers are basically entrenched because, by selling out to special interests, they have too much money for less endowed candidates to compete. Thus, most Americans now realize that decent, public-minded candidates no longer enter the political arena...with only a few glaring exceptions.
      In 2011 the U. S. Supreme Court surprised, blind-sided, and dismayed democracy-lovers like me when it essentially ruled that anyone or anything, individuals or corporations, could use vast amounts of known and unknown money in political campaigns, further distorting the democracy process.
          Karl Rove-type political fund-raisers rejoiced over that U. S. Supreme Court decision, but not democracy-lovers. And Karl Rove, you might remember, already had enough audacity and money to make George W. Bush a two-term governor of Texas and then a two-term President of the United States. Oh, my!
 The Founding Fathers bequeathed to the American people the greatest government in world history.
For over 200 years the United States democracy prevailed.
      But in the 1930s a military dictator in Cuba, Fulgencio Batista {above}, secured military and economic support from the U. S. by allowing American businesses to partake in the rape and robbery of the island. By the early 1940s Batista and his cronies had stolen millions of dollars from Cuba's resources and American taxpayers. So Batista retired to his mansions in South Florida where his best friend was Meyer Lansky!
     Meyer Lansky, the Jewish Mafia kingpin, mentioned to the retired Batista, "I've always wanted the Mob to own its own country." And so...Batista obliged. He returned to Cuba in 1952, along with his buddy Lansky, and easily formed the 2nd Batista dictatorship. Batista and Lansky were smart enough to again secure the support of the U. S. by allowing U. S. businesses to also partake in the rape and robbery of Cuba.
Batista's 2nd Cuban dictatorship began in 1952 as a favor to his friend, mobster Meyer Lansky.
     During the 1950s the mainstream U. S. media regularly informed the American people of the piggy-bank Cuba was for the Batistianos, the Mafia, and U. S. corporations. As the Mafia kingpin in Cuba, Lansky was in charge of gambling, prostitution, and illegal drugs. Life Magazine used the above photo to show Meyer Lansky and a female companion leaving one of his casino-hotels in Havana, reportedly with about $200,000.00 in the satchel -- one night's loot from just one of his eleven top casino-hotels on the island.
     In 1952 newspapers told the American people about the Batista-Mafia takeover of Cuba...with the "blessing" of the governments in Havana and Washington.
         By 1958, the year before the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, everyone was aware that the Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba {above} was powered by a U. S.-provided military courtesy of the U. S. taxpayers.
In 1958 Cuban dictator Batista was a welcome guest {see abovein President Eisenhower's White House. 
After fleeing the Cuban Revolution, Meyer Lansky resumed his long, safe life in Miami.
In the 1950s tourists, especially sinners with a lot of money, were beckoned to Cuba!
     But the Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba in the 1950s made a big mistake: Routinely murdering Cuban children as a warning to their parents not to resist the dictatorship. The above march was led by the brave mother of 15-year-old Willie Soler, whose tortured body and those of his three classmates were left in an abandoned warehouse. Such murders aroused the female half of the Cuban population into a feverish do-or-die anti-Batista pitch. A young lawyer wisely took full advantage of the feminine hatred of Batista. Thus Fidel Castro became the first revolutionary to tap into the previously untapped and unending resources of an outraged female population, fully half of the island's then six million people.
     Celia Sanchez was an angelic doctor's daughter in eastern Cuba till she blamed the Batistianos for the murder of a beloved little peasant girl named Maria Ochoa. That transformed Celia into the greatest female guerrilla fighter and revolutionary leader in the history of the world. Maria, or at least Celia's belief about what happened to her, became the biggest mistake the Batistianos ever made on the island of Cuba.
       To this day Celia Sanchez epitomizes the triumph of the Cuban Revolution as well as its longevity.
       Thus the Cuban Revolution in January of 1959 shocked the world by overthrowing the Batista dictatorship although Batista was supported by the Mafia, the strongest criminal organization in the world, and by the United States, the strongest nation in the world. But that's not why the Cuban Revolution says a lot more about the United States, the world superpower, than it says about Cuba, an island.
          In Revolutionary Cuba in 1959 Celia Sanchez, as the top decision-maker on the island with Fidel Castro's full blessing, laid down a proclamation: "The Batistianos will never regain control of Cuba as long as I live or as long as Fidel lives." She died of cancer on Jan. 11-1980 but in May of 2013 Fidel Castro at age 86 is still alive. And thus Celia's proclamation remains alive...and she remains the prime reason that is so.
         But even Celia Sanchez was surprised that the Batista-Lansky dictatorship in Cuba, after fleeing the Cuban Revolution, simply reconstituted itself in South Florida, where presumably much of their loot had already been sent and where, for sure, their getaway ships and boats had been aimed...just in case those rebels in the Sierra Maestra Mountains of eastern Cuba fought their way close to Havana, which they did on Dec.28-1958 when they captured the city of Santa Clara. The U. S. teaming with the Mafia to support the Batista dictatorship in Cuba had surprised many democracy-lovers. The U. S. acceptance of the reconstituted Batista dictatorship on U. S. soil has surprised all democracy-lovers. But still, apparently because of lingering memories of the Batista-Lansky atrocities, the Cuban Revolution has managed -- against all odds -- to maintain control of Cuba from January of 1959 until today...and counting!
         Like most of the top Batistianos, Meyer Lansky died of old age as a Mafia kingpin who never had to worry about U. S. authorities. He never spent a day or night in a U. S. jail. The FBI estimated that by the time Lansky returned to Florida from Cuba he was worth at least 300 million dollars in 1950s dollars. Americans to this day are not supposed to wonder..."Uh, why did men like Lansky and Batista hate Castro so much while they were always quite fond of the U. S. government?" The answer is either "They loved democracy!" or "They loved ill-gotten money!" I leave it to you to decide the correct answer. And while you are researching or pondering that answer, ask yourself why you know so much about Fidel Castro and so little about Celia Sanchez. Is it because it is hard to vilify the child-loving doctor's daughter while, with the Cuban exiles essentially dictating the history of the Cuban Revolution, it has been easy to vilify the macho Fidel Castro? Uh, just asking...and hoping you'll research the topic yourself instead of being told what to think about it.  
        All of which brings me back around to a lament about a weakness of the U. S. democracy: It consists of just two parties -- the Democrats {a bucking mule} and the Republicans {a bellowing elephant}. It worked wonderfully for a long time, when both the mule and the elephant -- or at least one of the two -- were democracy-lovers. But in 2013, as personified by a U. S. Congress with a 7% approval rating, both the mule and the elephant have been bought-and-paid-for by rich and powerful special interests. SO MUCH FOR DEMOCRACY BUT IT SURE WAS SOMETHING TO BEHOLD FOR ABOUT 240 YEARS, wasn't it? 
      Thus the American schoolgirl who defined Democracy as "The freedom to elect our own dictators" apparently has done some diligent research, perhaps by just googling names like "Batista" and "Lansky" or topics such as "The Cuban Revolution." WOULD THOMAS JEFFERSON HAVE LIKED HER ANSWER?
      What are the chances of Uncle Sam ever regaining his statue and pride?
Not good, unless............
    .......someone like Kathy Castor of Tampa is elected President of the United States for two terms and, unlike President Obama, is accorded the power to circumvent a mostly bought-and-paid-for U. S. Congress when it comes to such insane, undemocratic items as the Batistiano-directed U. S. Cuban policy. Even while representing the U. S. democracy from the city of Tampa, Florida, U. S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor has both the guts and the integrity to defy anti-democracy/anti-Cuban insanity that, since 1959, has been designed to enrich and empower a revengeful handful of Cuban exiles and their sycophants. Kathy Castor, an anomaly in the U. S. Congress, could also be a rare bird in the White House! 
And so could......
...Judy Chu, the U. S. congresswoman from California.
     When a handful of Cuban-Americans in the U. S. Congress can dictate America's Cuban policy to the detriment of most Cubans, most Americans, most Caribbeans, most Latin Americans and most citizens of the world, then something is wrong with the U. S. democracy. Congresswomen Kathy Castor and Judy Chu have eloquently enunciated those wrongs after recently returning from the island of Cuba. But that's why Kathy Castor and Judy Chu are anomalies, rare birds. And that's why I believe the Cuban Revolution says a lot more about the U. S. than it says about Cuba.
By the way.............
         The REUTERS NEWS AGENCY this week had a major article on a racing pigeon named "Bolt." At an auction in Brussels, a Belgian man sold Bolt to a Chinese man for $398,500. Buyers from 27 countries attended the auction. Nine of the ten highest priced pigeons were bought by Chinese or Taiwanese buyers. Bolt's new owner stressed that his prized bird has about eight more prime breeding years.


Cuba Then, Cuba Now, Cuba Tomorrow!

     Sarah Rainsford {above} is the brilliant journalist that covers Cuba like a blanket for the BBC. This is important because, unlike American and most other Western journalists who are influenced by visceral Cuban exiles, Sarah has the freedom to publish positive as well as negative articles about the U.S.-embargoed island.
         On her travels around Cuba this week {the last week of May, 2013} Sarah Rainsford noticed an anomaly -- smoke spewing from the above smokestacks in the tiny Cuban town of Mejico. She had seen the smokestacks before but never with smoke emoting from them. For many years, the unused smokestacks had symbolized the devastation and poverty of Mejico. Sarah went over to investigate the unusual smoke.
     On her drive into Mejico, Sarah passed a sugar cane field. She noticed that a big truck was being loaded by a cane-harvesting machine. Wow! Sarah had driven past that field before...when it resembled a barren wasteland. So, what did this cacophonous activity entail? Sarah Rainsford anxiously resumed her investigation!
     When she reached the newly energized sugar mill, Sarah interviewed the enthused foreman, Jesus Perez Collazo {above}. He told her how much the re-opening of the mill meant to Mejico and the surrounding area. The huge operation, he said, is hiring 400 new workers and sparking a renaissance in the sugar-renowned region.
      Sarah next talked to three elderly Cubans {above} who were former sugar cane workers at the mill. They have now been hired to teach the younger workers at the revised business. It added some money and much pride to their retirements.
       Sarah used the above photo to tell the history of the sugar mill in Mejico, Cuba. It opened in 1832 when Cuba was ruled by Spain and Cuban slaves worked the mill. Those slaves were housed in the above barracks. In subsequent decades Cuba became the top sugar producer-exporter in the world, primarily benefiting its colonial masters -- first Spain and then, after the Spanish-American War in 1898, the United States. After the Cuban Revolution in 1959 overthrew the U.S./Mafia-backed Batista dictatorship, the U. S. embargo against Cuba, imposed in 1962, to this day greatly handicaps the island when it comes to purchasing equipment needed to plant, harvest, and manufacture sugar from the cane. But help from other countries, plus the recent surge of sugar prices on the world market, encouraged Cuba to reopen sugar mills, such as the one in Mejico that caught Sarah Rainsford's perceptive eye.
        The BBC used the above photo to illustrate Cuba's ongoing entrepreneurial quest to revitalize the island's economy. The young female government worker on the right is explaining to a Cuban mother how to open her own business. Sarah reported that sixteen farmer cooperatives are supplying the revamped sugar mill in Mejico, creating ancillary jobs to supplement the 400 workers at the mill. Cuba, Sarah reports, plans to vastly increase its sugar production to "three million tonnes per year."
     Sarah Rainsford's BBC report this week on the revitalization of the sugar industry in Cuba reminded me of the above photo. It shows Celia Sanchez -- Cuba's and history's greatest female revolutionary icon -- cutting sugar cane in 1960, the year after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. She was reminding Cubans how vital sugar was to the island's existence. Thus Celia, were she alive today, would have been pleased to have watched Sarah Rainsford's BBC report about the revamped sugar mill in Mejico, Cuba. {You can view that video by googling "BBC" and then in its upper-right search box just write in "Cuba." To comprehend Cuba, Americans should become familiar with Sarah Rainsford's unbiased BBC reports from the island, which is coverage of Cuba not directly or unduly influenced by revengeful Cuban exiles, meaning Sarah's reports provide an honest, truthful portrait of the island}.
And speaking of sugar, the above book is a must-read for anyone interested in Cuban history!     
     Julio Lobo {above} was indeed the Sugar King of Cuba and the island's last tycoon.
And being a baseball fanatic, I fondly remember the Havana Sugar Kings {above}.
      Above is a 1955 jersey worn by one of the Havana Sugar Kings. In the 1950s in Batista's Cuba the Sugar Kings led the Triple-A International League in attendance as the top farm team for the Cincinnati Reds. They played their games at Gran Stadium in Havana, which was about to become a Major League city! But things changed in 1959 after the Cuban Revolution overthrew the Batista-Mafia-U.S. dictatorship. 
       But revolutionary icon Fidel Castro, a former Athlete of the Year in Cuba and a one-time Major League baseball prospect, still supported the popular Sugar Kings. 
In fact...............
    ...in 1959 Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos, the two most powerful male revolutionary leaders, formed a team called the Barbudos that played the Havana Sugar Kings. {"Barbudos" means "the bearded ones.}. By 1960, as the U. S. worked with the Cuban exiles and the Mafia to recapture Cuba, the island's defensive posture spelled the end of the Sugar Kings and their close affiliation with the U. S. Major Leagues. But Fidel, to this day a baseball fan, has always powerfully supported Cuban baseball, which once totally dominated international competition.
      But in 2013, as an unwell Fidel Castro nears his 87th birthday in August, the cream of Cuba's abundant baseball talent -- such as the young Oakland A's slugger Yoenis Cespedes -- has defected to the U. S. Major Leagues where they receive millions of dollars in bonus money to sign and then millions more in huge yearly salaries.
    My all-time favorite Cuban baseball player is Minnie Minoso. Born in Havana on Nov. 29th, 1925, he was a superstar in Cuba as a teenager and then became a great third baseman in the Negro Leagues in the U. S. At age 23 in 1948 he was signed by the Cleveland Indians and was a star left-fielder in the American League from 1949 through 1963. In the Major Leagues, Minnie played with the Cleveland Indians, the Chicago White Sox, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Washington Senators. In 1954 with the White Sox, in a typical season in his prime years, Minnie hit .320 with 19 homers, 18 triples, 29 doubles, 119 runs scored, and 116 runs-batted-in -- MVP-type numbers! 
The 19-year-old Minnie Minoso:  3rd baseman for the New York Cubans in the Negro League.
The 27-year-old Minnie Minoso: Superstar left-fielder with the Chicago White Sox.
The 87-year-old Minnie Minoso: Still a Cuban-American baseball legend.

cubaninsider: "The Country That Raped Me" (A True Story)

cubaninsider: "The Country That Raped Me" (A True Story) : Note : This particular essay on  Ana Margarita Martinez  was first ...